The Tiger II Tank Wreck

This German WW2 King Tiger tank is currently in two parts. The turret has been rescued and restoration is starting but the chassis is buried under a French road to the North West of Paris.

Surviving German King Tiger II Ausf. B Heavy Tank

German King Tiger Tank

This is a photo of a King Tiger Tank turret in France. He said that this and other King Tiger Tank parts were found in 2001 near Mantes-la-Jolie, France, This Tiger 2 tank, from the 101 SS.s.Abteilung, was lost in a crater near Fontenay-Saint-Père on 26 August 1944.

It was blown up by a scrap dealer after the war and the small metal bits were buried when the D913 road was constructed. Bruno Renoult, a local historian, discovered and recovered parts of the turret, including the roof and parts of the turret’s left side.

Surviving German King Tiger II Ausf. B Heavy Tank

German King Tiger Tank

The hull of the tank still remain (in bits) under the road. There is a project to recover all the bits still remaining under the road, to reconstruct the tank and to build a monument where the tank will be displayed, but the project has encountered technical, Financial and administrative difficulties.

The tank is technically the property of the city of Fontenay-Saint-Père under the D913. But in France the roads are the property of "Conseil General". He has to agree to divert the road during excavation.

There is a bigger problem. It is believed that some of the shells in the King Tiger may be live and could explode. Agreement must be reached with the French Army Services to take on the job of deactivating the ammunition during the excavation.

Surviving German King Tiger II Ausf. B Heavy Tank

German King Tiger Tank 124 turret

In France at this time there are three projects which are "urgent" 1) Restoring the Tiger 1 tank in Vimoutiers, 2) Saving the Tiger 2 tank under the D913 road near Fontenay-Saint-Père, Mantes la jolie 3) Saving the last surviving example of a Hotchkiss H35 tank which is under water on a beach in Pas de Calais. These three projects will cost a lot of money.

The Vimoutiers Tiger 1 Tank project is the responsibility of the Mayor of Vimoutiers and the French Ministry of Culture.The Tiger 2 tank project is the responsibility of the Mayor of Fontenay-Saint-Père and the French Conseil General. The Hotckiss H35 tank restoration is a Saumur French Tank Museum project. Staff at the museum will be available to offer technical advice on all three projects.

The Vimoutiers Tiger Tank has legal protection as it is officially classified as a historic monument and may not be sold or given away

The Fontenay-Saint-Père King Tiger will be classified as a historic monument as soon as it is dug out of the ground. That means the local Mayors Office of Fontenay-Saint-Père cannot sell the tank or any parts of the tanks. A number of collectors have already made offers.

Surviving German King Tiger II Ausf. B Heavy Tank near Paris

Bad photo of the Fontenay-Saint-Père King Tiger Tank 124 turret. It is now restored, and dry stored, waiting its body to be dug up.

Operational history

The 11th August 1944, a company of King Tiger Tanks left Mailly le camp by rail. It did not arrive in time to participate in the battle of the Falaise Pocket. They fought near the town of Mantes la jolie centred around the village of Fontenay-St-Pére. Among them was Tiger II tank number 124 commanded by SS-Oberscharfuhrer Fritz Zahner of the German Heavy Tank Battalion Schw.Pz.Abt 503 

The American troops trying to liberate the towns of Mantois and Vexin underwent six days of repeated attacks by the Tiger II tanks. At 4. 46 pm, USAF  P-47 fighter-bombers come to the troops rescue and attack the Tigers.  King Tiger 124 is damaged by an explosion and retreats back to the village of Montgison.

This is where the stories differ. One story says that one of the American bombs caused an enormous crater in the road. The King Tiger's driver saw it too late and the tank falls down inside it. The crew cannot get the tank out of the hole and have to abandon their killing machine.

The second story is that a second air to ground attack causes the crew to bailout and abandon the tank. To clear the road it is shoved into the bomb crater. The third story is from a conversation Bruno Renoult, the historian who found the turret in an archeological dig, had with a local resident who lived through the battle. He recalled that the King Tiger tank was left over turned on its side by the edge of the road before it was dragged into the bomb crater. Bruno said he saw a photo of the tank on its side with the number 123 painted on the turret not 124.

Research has shown that this Tiger II was part of the same company as the restored King Tiger in the French Tank Museum in Saumur.

A decision was made that the tank and the bomb crater would be covered in soil to enable the road to be repaired. The tanks Turret was saved and is now under restoration.

Where can I find other preserved King Tiger Tanks?

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