The early model Tiger I was a powerful beast designed specifically to deal with the shockingly good armor that was being fielded by the Soviets on the Eastern Front. Pound for pound the Tiger was an ungodly beast that could take on any tank it came across with extreme confidence. The common belief was that it would take ten Shermans to take out a Tiger, and nine wouldn't be making it home. The 88mm flak could engage enemy tanks at greater ranges than its foes could respond from with high accuracy and damage potential. It was tough, with armor that was very difficult to penetrate. Things only got worse when the Tiger II hit the field in '44.
Unfortunately for the Tiger, it was severely over-engineered. While a working Tiger was the most terrifying piece of armor in combat, the extremely complicated construction of these beasts result in their being very prone to breaking down, very difficult to repair and maintain, and very time consuming to construct. Only a little over 2,000 Tigers of all types were produced during the war and many of these were lost when they broke down and had to be abandoned in the face of advancing Russian troops.
Pound for pound this was the deadliest tank of the war, James Hinton says.
Tiger I Tank of the schwere Panzer-Abteilung 502 is painted with tiger shark’s teeth on the muzzle brake, summer 1943.
German tank commander Michael Wittmann (center) and his crew with their Tiger I tank. Wittmann is credited with destroying 138 tanks and 132 anti-tank guns during the war. (Eastern Front 1-18-44)
Panzer VI "Tiger" number 901 of the Waffen-SS Totenkopf Division, ca., 1944
Tiger tanks (left ‘222’, right '224’) from 503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion in Normandy, late summer of 1944
Mom, there's a Tiger in the living room!
Camouflaging a Tiger near Villers-Bocage, Normandy, June 1944
Tiger I near Villers-Bocage, France June 1944
Tigers of Schwere SS-Panzer-Abteilung 101 on the road to Morgny, Normandy, on June 7, 1944
Cleaning the barrel of a Tiger
A Tiger I outside of Rome, 1944
Tiger I, Kursk, Summer 1943
Crew of a Tiger I, Panzer Abteilung 502, taking care of personal business, near Lake Ladoga, Soviet Union August 1943
Tiger I, Tunisia January 1943
Loading ammo on a Tiger I, Soviet Union 21 June 1943
Tiger I, Tunisia 1943
German Tiger I France 1943.
Tiger 1's at Château du Bois-du-Loup (west of Reims), France 1943
Tiger I in Tunisia, 1943
Tiger I, Northern France March 1944
German Tiger I, Soviet Union, June - July 1943
German Tiger Tank and Crew
German Tiger I tank and crew (Eastern Front - 1943)
German Tiger Tank and Crew
German Army Tiger I heavy tank on a road in Italy, 1944