VK 4502 (P)/ Porsche Typ 180/ Tiger P2

The VK 4502 (P)/ Porsche Typ 180/ Tiger P2 was the first attempt to mount a long barrelled 88mm gun on a tank, but was scrapped after the failure of the original Porsche Tiger.

Porsche had been working on their own heavy tank designs since 1939. The original Porsche Typ 100 'Leopard'/ VK 30.01 (P) set down the basic layout that would be used in the entire family, and in particular the power train. The Typ 100 was powered by two Porsche designed engines, each of which powered an electrical generator. The electricity produced from the generators was then used to power two motors, one for each of the drive sprockets. The tank could be steered electronically. The Typ 100 would have been armed with a 8.8cm Kw.K L/56 gun in a turret designed by Krupp during 1941.

On 26 May 1941 Hitler held a meeting on tank design. One of the decisions was that the Porsche tank should be given thicker armour, and enter production. The modified tank was given the official designation VK 45.01 (P) and the Porsche designation Typ 101. It was given more powerful engines, but was otherwise similar to the earlier Typ 100. A contract for 100 VK 45.01 (P)s was placed in July 1941, with the first to be delivered by May 1942.

Hitler's main criticism of the Porsche Tiger was the use of the 8.8cm Kw.K L/56 gun. He wanted a tank that could carry the long barrelled 8.8cm Kw.K L/71. Porsche responded with a modified version of the Typ 101.

The new design went through a series of different names. Porsche originally called it the Typ 101 versaerkt (strengthened), but it had become the Typ 180 by 23 March 1942. Officially it was originally the VK 45.01 (P2), but by 23 March 1942 had become the VK 45.02 (P). It was also know as the Tiger P2.

At first Porsche optimistically believed that this would be a simple change. The initial plan was to change the turret and ammunition storage, but leave the rest of the design largely untouched. A series of changes were introduced during the development process. In January 1942 a front plate sloped at 60 degrees from the vertical was adopted. In March this was changed to 55 degrees. In May the engine compartment was given a single piece armoured cover, with thicker armour than the original deck.

The Typ 180 used the same suspension as the earlier designs, with six road wheels carried in three pairs on each side. It had 640mm wide tracks.

A contract for 100 production tanks was placed on 4 February 1942, with the new design to replace the original Porsche Tiger on the production line from the 101st vehicle. The first six were to be delivered in November 1942. A second contract for another 100 tanks was added in April.

The Typ 180 was let down by the same problems that plagued the Porsche Tiger. Porsche struggled to fix reliability problems with the engines and transmission. Production of the Porsche Tiger was suspended on 14 October 1942, and cancelled on 22 November 1942. By this point the long barrelled Porsche Typ 180/ VK 45.02 (P) had already gone, having been cancelled on 3 November 1942. However the long guns were now to be installed in a tank hunter based on the Porsche Tiger, the Sturmgeschütz mit 8.8cm PaK43/2 (Sd Kfz 184) 'Ferdinand'.

During 1941 Krupp was asked to produce a turret that could carry the long barrelled 8.8cm gun (originally the 8.8cm Flak 41), and that could be carried on either of the Tigers - the Porsche or Henschel variants. By January 1942 the basic shape of the new turret had probably been decided. The horseshoe shaped turret of the Tiger I was replaced by a longer turret with sloped sides. Work on building the first of the new turrets was well underway by May 1942, when Krupp reported having problems with the forged armour components. The final design had been approved by 21 October 1942, and contained no elements taken from the Tiger I turret. This turret would end up being installed on the first batch of Tiger IIs, and has become known as the 'Porsche' turret, although it had been designed for both versions of the Tiger II.

Porsche produced five different designs for the power train. The Type 180A was the normal version, with Typ 101/3 engines and electric motors. The Type 180B used the Porsche Typ 101/4 engine, a ten cylinder 15 litre petrol engine that produced 300hp.

The other three all replaced the electric motors with Voith II hydraulic drives. The Typ 181A would have used the Porsche Typ 101/4 engine. The Typ 181B used two Porsche Deutz Typ 180/1 16-cylinder 19.6 litre diesel engines, each producing 370hp. The Type 181C used a single Porsche Type 180/2 16-cylinder 37 litre diesel engine, producing 700hp.

Names

Stats
Production:
Hull Length: 10m 71cm (with gun), 9m 50cm (gun to rear)
Hull Width: 3m 32cm (combat tracks)
Height: 2m 95cm
Crew:
Weight:
Engine:
Max Speed: 35km/ hr
Max Range: 157km road radius, down to 22 km radius of operation on difficult ground
Armament:
Armour:

Armour

Armour

Front

Side

Rear

Top/ Bottom

Turret

100mm

80mm

80mm

40mm/ 25mm

Superstructure

 

 

 

 

Hull

80mm

80mm

80mm

40-25mm

Gun mantlet

 

 

 

 

 

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How to cite this article: Rickard, J (24 August 2017), VK 4502 (P)/ Porsche Typ 180/ Tiger P2 , http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_porsche_tiger_P2.html

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