Scale: 1 / 72
The kit's background
This small-scale kit represents Tigers serving in Tunisia in 1942 and 1943 with the 501st heavy tank battalion.
The 501st heavy tank battalion was the second unit to be equipped with Tiger tanks. Its Tigers had prototype external fittings, giving them a unique appearance. The battalion was sent to General von Arnim's 5th Panzer Army in Tunisia, starting its deployment there in November 1942.
At that time, American and British forces had landed to the west of the Axis zone while Rommel's Afrika Korps was fighting to the east. The 5th Panzer Army was urgently shipped to Tunisia to defend against this new threat. The 501st was given all new Tigers as a priority until they had 20, organised into 2 companies. At that time, Tiger battalions mixed Tigers with equal numbers of the smaller, more agile Pz.3.
The 501st fought in several battles between December 1942 and March 1943. Its Tigers were the first ones ever encountered by British or American forces, at the battle of Tebourba. Of particular note is the battle of Sidi bou Zid where heavy losses were inflicted on American armour. However, General von Arnim refused to lend the Tigers to Rommel for his subsequent assault through the Kasserine Pass.
At the end of February 1943, the 501st was attached to the 7th Panzer Regiment and sent on von Arnim's ill-planned mission to capture Beja. The mission ended with seven Tigers lost in the battle of Hunt's Gap. The eleven remaining Tigers were attached to the newly arrived 504th Heavy Tank Battalion and continued fighting until the surrender of Tunisia.
The all-plastic kit has link-and-length tracks. The unusual exhaust shields and air filters of the Tunisian Tigers are represented. There are decals for Tiger 142, which served with the 501st almost from their arrival in Africa, and "813". Turret numbers beginning with 8 were used only during the Beja mission.
My ongoing review and comments;
|Idler wheel arm||Turret spare tracks||Track links|
|Turret nose plates||Turret stowage bin||Loader's periscope|
|C hooks||Sprocket hubs||Shock absorber positions|
|Rear mudguards||RAL 8020 paint||Loader's hatch|
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