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The Captured Tiger Tank

by weymouthlibrary

Contributed by 
People in story: 
Roy Elliott
Location of story: 
North Africa
Background to story: 
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
24 February 2005

Roy Elliott with the first Tiger Tank to be captured intact. Now at Bovington Tank Museum, Dorset

Mr Roy Elliott served 4 1/2 years in the 8th Army in North Africa as a driver mechanic in the REME (They were called Desert Rats) He spent most of this time in the desert and the latter part in Italy. His job was “Tank Recovery”. During this time the British captured a Tiger Tank which was found to be intact and the engine was ok. They discovered that it was abandoned because the Germans couldn’t fire the gun because I believe a round had hit the barrel at the gauntlet and blocked it. According to Roy the turret had a fault too, which was rectified.

It was decided to ship the tank back to England as it was the first one captured intact. This meant a long haul through the desert to Alexandria, which took three weeks.

They loaded it onto a low loader American Tank Carrier then Roy and two other soldiers started their journey through the desert. The wheels kept getting stuck in the sand and the three crew had to dig it out. They decided to take it off the carrier and drive it for a while. They winched it back onto the carrier and drove the rest of the way, which took three weeks. They slept where they could but mostly on the sand. At last they arrived at Alexandria and it was then shipped to England.

It was years later that Roy heard that the Tiger Tank was at Bovington. He went to see it in 2004 after it had been renovated and said, “I hope they have kept the shell holes” and he even remembered where they were (and they WERE still there)

Sadly Roy passed away early in 2005 before he had the chance to tell his story. His friend Dulcie Cox has remembered it and told it for him.

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Message 1 - Tiger Tank

Posted on: 26 February 2005 by Trooper Tom Canning - WW2 Site Helper

As far as I am aware, the Tiger Tank now restored and on permanent display at the Bovington Tank Museum is the one which was knocked out by members of the 4th troop B squadron 48th RTR of the 21st Tank Brigade during the Battle of Medjez el Bab.
It was then recovered by the North Irish Horse of the 25th Tank Brigade and shipped to the U.K. and has now - after many years been completely restored.
There may of course, have been many more, but that particular one was knocked out by the 48th RTR ! Why it should have been shipped via Alexandia when there were perfectly good Dock facilities at Bone and Algiers, as Bizerta had not been "liberted" at that point !

I am sure however that my old friend Gerry Chester of the NIH can give us verse and chapter - and possibly the serial numbers of the Tiger ! I shall give him a call ...


Message 2 - Tiger Tank

Posted on: 26 February 2005 by GerryChester

Hi Tom,

Tom is correct, the Bovington Tiger was disabled by fire from a Churchill of 48 Bn RTR. Fore and aft photos of her can be found on:
[Broken link removed by Moderator]
In the group on her starboard side is L/Cpl Wallace, of the North Irish Horse.

Shortly after the end of hostilities in Tunisia she was transported to Tunis where she was put on view. Some time later (after the capture of Sicily) she was transported to Bône and loaded on a freighter for shipment to the UK.

It is possible that the Tiger of Pz.Abt.504, that was found abandoned in the Gafsa area, could have been transported to Alexandria for shipment, but it is highly unlikely.




Message 3 - Tiger Tank

Posted on: 28 February 2005 by Andy1971

I saw this tank a few weeks ago during a trip to Bovvy. They had a veteran there with a display, his name was Ron Huggins, 10th Hussars 1st armoured division.

I dont remember seeing any info about this Tiger, so its interesting knowing this now, thanks guys.



Message 4 - Tiger Tank

Posted on: 28 February 2005 by Trooper Tom Canning - WW2 Site Helper

Andy -

the fact that there is no information of this Tank probably stems from the fact that it was killed by an RTR unit of 21st Tank bde of 1st Army and not some Cavalry mob from 8th Army ???
You say there was a 10th Hussar man there with a display - he probably nicked it !



Message 5 - Tiger Tank

Posted on: 01 March 2005 by Andy1971

Cheers Tom, there may well have been some info on the tank, I just didnt see it mate.

Gerry the link you provided has been removed, I would be interested to see it. Has Tom got the link for it, and if so, Tom would you be able to mail me the link?

All the best



Message 6 - Tiger Tank

Posted on: 19 March 2005 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

This tank is Panzerkampfwagen VI, Tiger I(E, SdKfz 181; Fahrgestell (chassis) number 250112. The hull was built by Henschel at Kassel and the turret by Wegmann A.G. of Kassel. It was completed in February 1943.

It was issued to schwere Panzer-Abteilung 504 and shipped to Tunisia between 12 March and 16 April 1943. It was attached to No. 3 Platoon in No.1 Company (1.Kompanie./schwere Panzer Abteilung 504), and allocated Tactical Number 131. Only the first company of Panzer-Abtteilung was sent to Tunisia on 17 February 1943 and was assigned as III.Abteilung/Panzer-Regiment 8 of the 15.Panzer Division. 2.Kompanie/Pz-Ab 504 remained behind in Sicily with nine Tigers.

It was knocked out in action with Churchill tanks of No. 4 Troop, A Squadron, 48th Royal Tank Regiment at Medjez-el-Bab on 21 April 1943. It was abandoned by the crew after one hit had shattered the loader's hatch and another had deflected off the underside of the gun, jamming the turret, and clipped the armour vent housing, causing internal damage near the driver. This was one of the 11 Tigers of 1.Kompanie equipped with 5 cm Kw.K.39 L/60 guns.

The captured Tiger was recovered by the 104 Army Tank Workshops, Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers and 25th Tank Brigade Workshops REME using a Caterpillar D8 Tractor. It arrived in Tunis on 24th May 1943. The tank was moved, on its own tracks, to the harbour at La Goulette and sailed from there for Bizerta on 3 August in Landing Craft, Tank (4) No. 568. From Bizerta it sailed for Bone on 9th August board the Empire Candida and from Bone it was carried by the SS Ocean Strength (Captain William Rickard) to Glasgow arriving 8th October 1943. It was delivered to the Department of Tank Design in Surrey on 20th October 1943; displayed on Horse Guards Parade, London in November 1943 and then dismantled for a thorough, technical evaluation.

Details from the Tiger's restoration Journal here links and from "Germany's Tiger tanks - Tiger I & II: Combat Tactics" Volume 3, by Thomas L. Jentz. (Schiffer Military History, 1997).




Message 7 - Tiger Tank

Posted on: 19 March 2005 by Trooper Tom Canning - WW2 Site Helper

Peter -\

as always facts is facts and there is no way around them.... unless one is telling porkies !

best regards \tomcan


Message 8 - Tiger Tank

Posted on: 20 March 2005 by Frank Mee Researcher 241911

If you have a look at Peters Last link you get the pictures complete with all the facts as written by Peter.
As I for a few weeks in my early army career moved tanks in and out of workshops with a D8 amid clouds of fumes curses from the fitters and complaints about speeding??? it is a fact that REME could move anything. We used them most places I went to and I loved them, D8's I mean.
The story is well documented in several books I have read on the North African Invasion and the aftermath.


Message 9 - Tiger Tank

Posted on: 20 March 2005 by Trooper Tom Canning - WW2 Site Helper

Frank -
when we see the renovation of the Tiger and read the comments of the renovators, we no longer wonder why this animal was so difficult to knock out with our 6 pounders...we had already known this, but to see the detail of construction and the engineering it is a marvel that we won, or at least - we thought we did !

Message 1 - coplete loser

Posted on: 08 May 2005 by Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

your all gonna die!!!! MWAHAHAHAHAH!!!!



Message 2 - coplete loser

Posted on: 08 May 2005 by Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery



Message 3 - coplete loser

Posted on: 08 May 2005 by Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery


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