In a world first, The Tank Museum is planning an exhibition that will bring every member of the Tiger Tank family together in one display: The Tiger Collection – The Tanks, The Terror & The Truth.
The new exhibition will feature the Museum’s Tiger 1, two King Tigers, Jagdtiger and the Elefant (on loan from the US Army Ordnance Training and Heritage Center).
However, one example that has eluded the Museum will be appearing virtually, courtesy of exhibition sponsors World of Tanks.
“We’re taking our experience of creating historically accurate models for our World of Tanks video game and using this to create an exhibit to complete the collection,” said Richard Cutland, World of Tanks European Head of Military Relations.
“Using the latest digital technology, visitors will be able to see a full-sized Surmtiger in the exhibition with the use of our Augmented Reality App. We’re pleased to be supporting an exhibition of such international significance.”
The new exhibition, which will be unveiled in April 2017, is aimed at enthusiasts of German armour and will feature new and previously unseen crew interviews and testimonies and account from those who faced them in action.
The development and technology employed in these huge machines along with historical detail about the battles in which they were fought will aim to assess the extent to which these tanks deserve their mighty reputations.
Veteran accounts will include reminiscences from those who were present at the capture of Tiger 131 and the story of Gunner Joe Ekins of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry, who in August 1944, knocked out three Tigers in his Sherman Firefly within a matter of hours. It is believed that one of these Tiger tanks was crewed by famed tank ace Michael Wittmann.
In an interview conducted before his death in 2012, Gunner Ekins recalled: “We were in the orchard, looking out over a couple of thousand yards of flat, plain land. Suddenly there were three Tigers coming across our front. We waited until they were about 800 yards.
“My commander said ‘target the rear one’ and I fired two shots at him and hit him. We pulled out again and fired at the second tank, hit him with the first shot and it went up in an explosion so, obviously we hit the ammunition or something. By this time the first tank of the three had realised what was going on and he started looking for cover, so it turned a bit towards us, we fired two shots at him and I hit him as well”.
Of course, the German perspective will also be presented. At TANKFEST 2015, former Tiger 1 driver Wilhelm Fischer was interviewed by Museum staff and research is being carried out to identify further personal accounts.
With veteran stories, supporting artefacts, unseen imagery and the stories unique to the vehicles on display, the exhibition will showcase the Museum’s collection of what were arguably the most feared and famous tanks of the Second World War.