Saumur Tiger II at Retromobile

This past weekend, the last Tiger II tank in running condition was featured at the Paris Retromobile show.  This tank normally resides at the Musee des Blindes in Saumur, France.  Several videos have appeared on youtube documenting this historic vehicle arriving at the show and moving into position under it’s own power.

WWII Tiger II Panzer arrives at 2015 Retromobile Paris Show

Tiger II starting, unloading and driving – Rétromobile 2015

The History of the Saumur Tiger II (reprinted from Retromobile website)

Entering the War

In late August 1944, 14 Tiger II tanks were transported by rail convoy from their delivery point at the Camp de Mailly to the East of Paris. The squadron then moved towards Beauvais. On 23 August, they were sent to the front at the US bridgehead at Mantes-sur-Seine. Half of the tanks broke down on the way; the others arrived in the Vexin region, 5 kms from the American front.

Battle of Sailly

The Tigers were engaged in battle on 26 August at Fontenay-St-Père, and on 28 August they were deployed once more at Sailly. Surrounded in the village, our Royal Tiger managed to escape northwards, crossed the Montcient bridge, and toiled up the slope.

Totally exposed, the giant was soon spotted by the Americans. It tried to avoid the intense artillery fire by advancing in zigzag fashion. Once on the plateau between Sailly and Montalet, a small area of woodland afforded temporary shelter, but the Americans promptly focused their fire power on the wood. The hunted 70-ton Tiger hurtled forward at full speed, crushing everything in its path. It crossed the entire wood, clearing a path that would be visible for a long time after. When it reached the edge of the wood, the oveheated engine broke down. The crew abandoned the tank under machine gun fire and did not take the time to sabotage it. Besides three destroyed in combat, most of the tanks in this company would be abandoned (because of mechanical failure or lack of fuel) and sabotaged.
Our Royal Tiger remained forgotten on the edge of the wood until a free French military unit came to collect it. It is thought that it was then taken to AMX at Satory to be reconditioned. In early 1945, this tank, along with other German machines, formed a French armoured squadron made up of captured tanks scheduled to be deployed during the German campaign. Following this it was taken back to Satory before being moved to the Musée des Blindés in Saumur under the supervision of Colonel Aubry.

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