The allied troops nicknamed the PzKpfw VI Ausf B the Royal Tiger or King Tiger.
Just before the invasion of Russia, at the Führer conference on May 26, 1941, the Germany Army Weapons Department decided that the program to develop a 35-45 ton heavy tank should be sped up. Krupp was instructed to develop and produce a tank version of the 88 mm FlaK 41 anti-aircraft gun.
After encountering the T-34s and KVs the program was sped up even further. The Heereswaffenamt (Ordnance Department) issued contracts to Porsche and Henschel to produce designs for the heavy tank in August 1942. It was to be a replacement for the Tiger with thicker armor, sloped plates and use the 8.8 cm L/71 tank gun.
The hull was welded together and used a similar layout as the Panther.
The gun went all the way back to the rear of the turret, thus dividing the turret in half.
The armor on the King Tiger was so thick that it was almost completely indestructible against Allied guns. However, this created a tank that was extremely heavy and slow to manouver. The hull was 5.9" / 150 mm thick and the turret had 3.9" / 100 mm thick armor.
The front sprocket provided the drive. The wheels were nine sets of double bogie wheels overlapping which was an improvement of the interleaved design of the PzKpfw VI Ausf E. These helped with the problems of the wheels freezing up like the Tiger and Panther had.
The 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, and 9th were the outside wheels. The wheels had steel tires on a rubber cushion.
Like the Tiger there were two types of tracks, one for transporting the King Tiger and the other for combat. The combat track had two sets of guide horns that the bogie wheels were fitted to run against.
The 88 mm KwK43 L/71 was 21' long and was the largest caliber weapon fielded in a tank by the Germans. At the front of the turret were two trunions that helped to support the weight of the barrel. Above the gun were the two recoil cylinders. The 8.8 cm gun was placed 3.1" to the right of center in the turret.
Turret was built from bent plates and were more rounded and could carry 22 rounds for ready use. Located in panniers on each side of the King Tiger's hull were a total of 48 more rounds of 8.8 cm ammunition. There was much wear on the barrel, so in later models a two piece barrel was installed to allow for easier maintenance.
It could penetrate 7"/182mm of armor at 547 yards/500 m, and 9.4"@0° at 100 yards. The AP round weighed 22.4 lbs. and had a muzzle velocity of 3,281'/sec.
The driver and hull gunner were in the front with the driver on the left. The radio equipment was above the gearbox, to the left of the hull machine gunner. The turret contained the commander, gunner, and loader. There were many escape hatches for the crew and since there was no turret basket it was easier for the driver and hull gunner to escape through the fighting compartment.
For the driver there was a periscope in the roof above him and could be traversed. Also, some of the armor plate was cut away to aide his view. The driver's seat and controls could be adjusted so that he could sit with his head out of the hatch.
The hull machine gunner had a fixed episcope that was at the forward edge of the roof with some of the armor plate cut away as well to aide his view.
The gunner had a gunsight on the leftside of the 8.8 cm gun.
At the forward right hand side of the roof was an episcope for the gun loader.
The cupola for the commander did provide excellent viewing, but most often they chose to have their head outside the turret. The cupola contained seven episcopes.
There was a transmitter and one or two receivers installed above the gearbox to the left of the hull gunner. The aerial was located at the rear of the superstructure roof.
The turrets manufactured by Porsche were 11' 6" long. There was a rounded front and the side was bent up to place the commander's cupola.
The gun's mantlet was square. The coaxial machine gun was located in a slot to the right. The hatch on the rear was 20" x 14" and had a pistol port.
With the front of the turret being round it did form a shot trap that could deflect a round downwards, through the roof, and into the fighting compartment.
The Henschel turret was easier to manufacture as the pieces were kept straighter. The turret was made wider and the commander's cupola was slightly set in so that the side wouldn't need to be bent.
The gun's mantlet was a rounded skirt placed over the gun. The rear hatch was 20.5" x 18.75" and had a pistol port.