Tiger 131

Discussion in 'RAC' started by Murphy_Slaw, Sep 18, 2012.

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  1. I have recently been scouring amazon for some decent (factual) military books. One search revealed this tome:

    Catch That Tiger: Amazon.co.uk: Noel Botham, Bruce Montague: Books

    Briefly it is the story of a daring raid to capture a Tiger 1 in North Africa, on the direct orders of Winnie himself.

    The synopsis on amazon states:

    Winston Churchill close a brilliant young army engineer, Major Doug Lidderdale, as his special agent. In a late-night briefing in the subterranean War Rooms under Whitehall he ordered him: 'Go catch me a tiger'. Doug did not hesitate and by February 1943 was facing Rommel's desert army. After several unsuccessful and hair-raising efforts to bag a Tiger on the battlefields of Tunisia, Doug and his team put their lives on the line in a terrifying, close-hand shoot-out with the five-man crew of a Tiger, capturing the tank intact.

    All good stuff and highly believable, however one of the book reviews is very scathing.

    1.0 out of 5 stars A book that "captured' my money 16 July 2012
    By Gerry Chester
    Format:Hardcover|Amazon Verified PurchaseOn reaching page 17 finds a Lieutenant lying to the Prime Minister. Churchills did not arrive in Tunisia until February 1942 and no Tigers were deployed at El Alemain.

    A few pages later we find Churchill lying to a Major, thereafter the lies in the text go on and on.

    This book, classified as being non-fiction, dishonour those who crewed, and sometimes died, aboard Churchills in Tunisia - the writer of this comment was one of them.

    Complete documentary proof is available to back up the above statements.

    Sergeant Arthur Gerald Chester, North Irish Horse, 25th Tank Brigade.

    Wiki states:

    Tiger 131On 21 April 1943, a Tiger I of the 504th German heavy tank battalion, with turret number 131, was captured on a hill called Djebel Djaffa in Tunisia. A 6-pounder solid shot from a Churchill tank of the British 48th Royal Tank Regiment hit the Tiger's gun barrel and ricocheted into its turret ring, jamming its traverse and wounding the commander. The crew bailed out and the tank was captured.[Notes 4][30][page needed]. After repairs, the tank was sent to England for a thorough inspection.

    On 25 September 1951, the captured tank was officially handed over to the Bovington Tank Museum by the British Ministry of Supply. In June 1990, the tank was removed from display at the museum and work began on its restoration. This was carried out both by the museum and the Army Base Repair Organisation and involved an almost complete disassembly of the tank. The Maybach HL230 engine from the museum's Tiger II was installed (the Tiger's original Maybach HL210 had been sectioned for display[31]), along with a modern fire-suppressant system in the engine compartment. In December 2003, Tiger 131 returned to the museum, restored and in running condition.

    I have no reason to doubt Sgt. Chester and we all know of so called "factual" war books on the market.

    So my question to Arrser's and the tankies in particular is. Is this book factual? Has anybody read it? and should I spend my money on fifty shades of grey instead?
  2. Well, yes, it IS true. More by sheer luck than judgement, though.

    I'm assuming that you've never actually SEEN the world's only running Tiger i in action at Bovington?

    If it's a figment of somebody's over-active imagination it's has been convincing hundred of thousands of visitors over the last nine years of public appearances.

    Almost as good a read is the Haynes Manual of the Tiger 1 [yes, it's true - £19.99 off Amazon].

    But uf you are a German reader then the ultimate is the 'Tigerfibel' - a 'comic-book' guide to the everyday running and mainenance of your very own Tiger, published by the original owners.

  3. It would appear that according to a DM article published in April, the book is "factualy incorrect"

    Back on the move again after 70 years: A mighty Tiger 131 is put through its paces for anniversary challenge


    Apr 2012

    Posted by MSW in Uncategorized
    ≈ Leave a Comment
    Afrika Korps AFVs

    2012. Making tracks: Tiger 131 is put through its paces at Bovington Tank Museum

    By Daily Mail Reporter

    PUBLISHED: 22:26 GMT, 1 April 2012 | UPDATED: 07:51 GMT, 2 April 2012

    With its huge cannon and almost impenetrable armour, the German Tiger tank struck fear into the hearts of Allied troops.

    Although more than 1,300 were produced during the Second World War, this is the only working example in existence.

    Tiger 131 has been restored to its original war time specification after a two-year restoration project costing £80,000.

    The 55-ton tank can be seen tackling the tank course at Bovington Tank Museum in Dorset.

    It has been fitted with a genuine German Second World War Maybach engine and its fan drives have been re-engineered from original blueprints. Now it is coaxed into life using a starting handle.

    The Tiger was superior to anything the British and Americans had until near the end of war.

    Rounds from Allied tanks could not penetrate its thick armour, while its 88mm cannon had huge destructive power. The tank soon gained legendary status after its introduction in 1942.

    Tiger 131 was captured following a lucky hit by a British Churchill tank, belonging to 48 Royal Tank Regiment, in the Tunisian desert in April, 1943. The shot wedged in the turret ring, rendering it useless.

    The five-man German crew abandoned the Tiger, which was captured intact. Winston Churchill, who was in Tunisia at the time, had the chance to inspect it.

    The Tiger was then sent back to Britain so the Allies could look for design weaknesses.

    It was taken to Bovington in 1951. Although museum staff have had the tank moving before, the old engine kept breaking down.

    David Willey, museum curator at Bovington, said: ‘The Tiger outmatched anything that the Allies could field at the time.’
    • Like Like x 1
  4. I am not suggesting that the Tiger at Bovington is anything other than the genuine article. I am however finding out a bit more about how it came to be in allied hands. My original post was casting doubt on the truth of the story in the book Catching the Tiger. The more I research, the more I feel this book is another OPJB type of novel, where the author has cobbled together some facts, put 2 and 2 together and come up with 75!
  5. Seriously?

    You been drinking meths?
  6. Thought you might like another brief comment from someone who's actually read the book.

    I originally posted the following on ww2talk.com where we have been having a lively debate on what constitutes fact.

    I was determined not to look at the book until after the end of the games but couldn't help having a browse.

    In the process of presenting an honest review of the book, as I had promised to do on behalf of this forum, I got as far as this:

    ‘Eva!’ said Hitler, a rare smile broadening his thin lips. “When did you get to Wolfsschanze?”

    This morning,’ said Eva, giving her lover a coquettish look. ‘Now my dear Adi, you must make your birthday wish…and receive your gift.’

    Hitler made a great fuss of blowing out the candles, then turned to his aide, ‘Leave us, Heinz’.

    Heinz gave the slightest acknowledgement and left the room. He closed the door and caught a glimpse of Eva Braun’s naked legs as she slipped out of her knickers whilst clambering on to the bed where Hitler was already throwing back the bedclothes.

    My money is strictly on Gerry and I am already regretting the outlay of £1.19

    End quote


    Just for the record, I am an ex-4th Hussar man who holds Gerry Chester in the highest regard.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. Thanks ex4th. I am indebted to you and Gerry, and not just for the book review it seems!
  8. There is another running Tiger 1, however it is a modern build built to exact specs of the original.

    And no its not that T34 hybrid
  9. Precisely what is it about my post that has caused you such obvious offence?

    Is it the use of words of more than one syllable, or something really important?


    PS - I actually DO use meths, but for powering my Gauge 1 trains - see tac's trains on Youtube, unless the site of old men playing with trains also causes you offence. tac's guns has a few shooting-related vids as well - with the same proviso.
  10. Hello Chris.....I got involved in this Tiger Saga some time ago....what a load of crap!
  11. That book is really badly researched as Hitler´s Butler and his wife in Bertchesgarten never found any traces that Hitler and Eva Braun had ever had sex together,his relationship with his niece was even more bizarre and she ended up shooting herself!

    Some piccies from WW2,there are 6 or 7 parts to the series. http://www.socialphy.com/posts/images-pics/3211/World-War-II_s-photos-Part-2.html
  12. Hello Chris, I know Gerry Chester and his envolvement with NIH and as he says, it's an insult to the chaps who served in North Africa, I see todays Daily Telegraph has a report of the SAS, LRDG and Popski's airfield raids on Benghazi and Barce on Sep. 13th. 1942......the planes were still there as late as 48.