German Tank Maintenance Crew
Powerplants are crucial components for any motorized vehicle and combat vehicles are no exception. Along with fire power and crew protection, maneuverability directly effects survivability. During WWII, Germany"s Tiger I heavy tank initially used a Maybach V-12 cylinder, 21,400cc HL210 P45 gasoline engine. It had a maximum output of 650 horsepower and plenty of low RPM torque; however, propelling a 65 ton chassis through rough terrain was not easy, even for this well engineered unit. On the Russian front during summer months, the engine would overheat and sometimes catch fire, due to the heavy loads and work far exceeding its limits.
In order to check the engine oil level and radiator coolant, the Tiger I had to stop every 45 minutes of running time during the summer. Maintenance of the engine was usually the driver"s responsibility, but once trouble occurred, the whole crew was compelled to fixing it. These problems and breakdowns were other "battles" for the crew. At a later date, the improved Maybach HL230 P30 engine, with 700 horsepower was used in late production versions of the Tiger I, the Panther, and the King Tiger. Daily maintenance and repair work were still indispensable, and to make maintenance more efficient, an engineer was dispatched from Maybach to the maintenance company of each Tiger heavy tank battalion, to assist in servicing the engines.