From Our Readers: Reading Between the Lines: Estimating Tiger Tank Production

Today we present an original article written by Matt Dedrick titled “Reading Between the Lines: Estimating Tiger Tank Production.”  Mr. Dedrick has spent a good deal of time wrestling with the topic of Tiger tank production during WW2, particularly the effects on Tiger 1 production caused by the strategic bombing of Kassel on October 22,23, 1943.


This is the first of a series of articles intended to explore the effects on Tiger 1 production caused by the Royal Air Forces’s area fire-bombing of the medieval City of Kassel on the night of October 22,23, 1943. Though the bombing of Kassel was regarded by Henschel management and the Heereswaffenamt to have been the singular event most affecting Tiger 1 production, it has been virtually ignored in the available literature As a result, the production of Tiger 1 tanks during the four months following the bombing of Kassel has been poorly understood by modellers and tank historians alike.
Most of the data and documents on Tiger 1 production was lost during the war. Much of what is available has been researched, interpreted and published in the many books compiled by those two remarkable research-historians, the late Mr. Tom Jentz and the late Mr. Walter Spielberger The data found in their books has been largely based on Henschel monthly production statistics, wartime documents, minutes from the Heereswaffenamt /Henschel meetings, post war interviews, photographs as well as the data found in the various army manuals, journals and publications.

Full Article Available here.


  1. Mario Raspagliosi says:

    Dear Mr. Dedrick,
    I greatly appreciated your article, and I’m waiting for the following parts.
    It’s really an in depth study and, even if I’m not a Tiger expert, I found it interesting mainly for the general assumptions.
    But I have a doubt, You wrote:
    “Since it appears only one record for the introduction of a modification was recorded in the manuals and publications, the earlier ‘first appearance’ of the modification could not have been recorded in the manuals Obviously, it was only when that modification first appeared on all tanks in full production, that it was recorded, described and illustrated in the manuals.”

    But in the text I cannot find the proof of this statement: why “obviously” only when the modification appeared in all tanks it was recorded in the manuals? And not at it’s first appareance?

    Is this statement a result of a research between Tigers 1 ‘s photographic appearance and Jentz’s tables of modifications?

    I don’t know the German procedure for the introduction of a modification, but seems like – to me -that when begin the first serie production of a modified part, already exist drawings, contracts, ect., so all the documentation needed to publish the new part in the manuals.

    In addition, after the very first introduction on a modificed part, Units at the front will have both older and new vehicles and nned to know the replacements for both: this seems another reason to publish the modification at the “earlier ‘first appearance’” and not “when that modification first appeared on all tanks in full production”.

    I posted the same discussion on Missing Lynx Axis forum, here:

    Best Regards

    Mario Raspagliosi


  2. Steve Zaloga says:

    If you have been relying on the printed reports of the USSBS, you should keep in mind that there is often extensive documentation in the USSBS records at NARA II in College Park, MD. There is a brief overview of the collection here:

    I have not gone through the plant records for the Tiger, but I did go through those associated with the Panther plants several years ago when doing my Osprey Duel on Sherman vs.. Panther. There was a lot of interesting material beyond the printed report, including field reports on captured Panthers, interviews with plant managers, etc. Most of this is in the main files of RG 243 on the 2nd Floor.

    I know there are some overhead images in the RG 243 in the Still Photos collection on the 5th floor. However, it is my impression that much of that imagery is in the Cartographic Dept. I have never been interested enough in this to bother checking. You would have to speak to one of the research staff at NARA II. I did go through some of the imagery for the USSBS on Japan for an Osprey Fortress book I did on Japanese defenses in 1945. There was some marvelous stuff.

    There is no easy way to do this without visiting NARA II yourself. NARA II also has the enormous RG 242 microfilm collection of captured German records on the 4th Floor. There is a lot of Heereswaffenamt stuff there. Tom Jentz basically camped out there every Saturday for many years digging through the microfilm.

    Steve Zaloga

    Liked by 2 people

    • Leonard Hocking says:

      Hi Mr Dedrik,
      Would your comments about CID fitted turrets etc., and specifically your comment on page 7… “Due to the bombing of Kassel……….older turrets ” …used, apply to the Saumur Tiger I, where its chassis number is 251114 (May 44) but its Wegmann turret assembly serial number is 250857, (Feb 44 approximately), whilst it is never expected that chassis and turret serial numbers would match on each tank, this is cleary a huge dfference,

      The data plate for this Tiger exists in th evehicle and these numbers are taken from that data plate.

      Also, can the CID weapon only be fitted to the 40mm thick turret roof, or also the thinner one ?

      paul hocking


      • The author of the article asked me to post this response for him – Editor

        The wide difference between chassis numbers and turret numbers of over three months, on the Saumur Tiger 1 certainly appears to indicate either a Wegmann re-built turret was assembled on a new hull at Henschel…or else a re-built hull was assembled using the original turret at Henschel with a new chassis number assigned to the re-built hull with a new ID plate installed…which seems to have been the practice noted by Mr. Jentz for Tiger 1 rebuilds after June 1944..(The turret number in this case was the original number)..

        There must have been considerable communication, monthly planning and coordination between the Henschel and Wegmann production teams. The production of Tiger 1 and Tiger II command tank turrets, panther tank turrets and Tiger II battle tank turrets had to be coordinated with Henschel’s production schedules, Tiger 1 tank turrets appear to have been shipped to Henschel about seven days in advance of the completion date for a specific tank… so I suspect only minor variations in numbers would normally exist.

        Re: the close-in defense weapon, the difference between the 25 mm and 40 mm turret roofs would probably have been compensated for during assembly at Wegmann, simply by using longer bolts.



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