This Tiger served in Tunisia, was captured by the Allies, and is currently at Fort Benning undergoing restoration. Details of its service history were long unknown, but comprehensive studies of its unit as a whole have recently brought new facts to light.
Its number was "221" and it belonged to s.Pz.Abt. 501, the first Tiger battalion in Tunisia, part of the 5th Panzer Army (not the Afrikakorps). They were later attached to Panzer Regiment 7 and later again to s.Pz.Abt. 504. "221" must have arrived in Africa in early January 1943. The 2nd company was the reserve, so it missed the famous battles such as Sidi bou Zid.
The company lost its command Tiger at Robaa. By the time they became the 8th company of P.R.7, Tiger "221" had been promoted to that role, so it was renumbered "81". It then participated in Operation Ochsenkopf; it did not fight at Sidi N'Sir but it must have been active at Kzar Mezouar, where four of its subordinate Tigers were lost.
The battalion's survivors reorganised into a single company. Tiger "81" was demoted and became "712". They were then attached to s.Pz.Abt.504 and immediately sent south to defend a weak position near Maknassy. The U.S. 9th Armoured Division tried to break through it, and Tiger "712" was with the handful of tanks that stopped them. Did it fight there or was it unavailable for mechanical reasons? We only know that its battle damage did not exist before this action.
The next information we have is Allied photographs showing Tiger "712" in a German repair yard in an olive grove. Every tank there seems to be comprehensively demolished except for "712". The German army was under strict orders to abandon no Tigers intact, so this calls for an explanation.
The most likely scenario is that "712" is the Tiger captured at Djebel Jaffa on 21 April by British forces. It could have been moved to the workshop for repair with parts from the other Tigers there.
Tiger "712" had the usual features of 2.company : spare tracks on the upper front, two pistol ports, a 1.4m wide turret bin, and the 32mm thick tow cables. Its distinct features were spare tracks on the lower hull front, the second type of skirting (with folding mudflaps), and clips for two shovels on the rear right hull side.
|Hub of the sprocket wheels||Central dome is small|
|Alignment of bolts on the sprockets||Bolts aligned with arms|
|Tow cable direction||32mm cable with the ends to the front|
|Tool holders on glacis plate||Custom tools in a nonstandard layout|
|Toolbox at rear left||Supported perpendicular to the wall|
|Mudguard type||Wide, folding mudguards|
|Thick area on mantlet||Flat with 2 small holes|
|Headlight arrangement||Two headlights on the hull roof|
|Turret bin type||Wide 1.4m bin with 2 latches|