I, and I think others also, when I think of the Tiger I, I think of this time period, the hay day of the Tiger (NOTE: which sadly, we do not have a kit for). I had always been fascinated with the Kursk battle, due to it's size and scope, but also because of the new weapons that were there. But the Tiger was always the coolest and though the LAH division had a better record, the PR people were attached to DR, which is why we have a lot of photos on them.
I think the Tigers of DR were the coolest Tigers at the time, mostly because I found the Gnome to be cool. I have always tried to put my head around which Tiger was which in the photos, but could never make anything out, but now with digital photos and such, authors such as Remy Spezzano, have been spending time on the photos and making them much nicer to view, and I started to see numbers. So I put together all the photos I could find of the Kursk DR Tigers and was able to piece together which tank is which.
Most of everything was just being able to see a particular tank and to be able to see it in other photos, such as S11. It was the only one to have the smoke launcher brackets still on the turret. The camo patterns were not the same between each tank, and each had a different component on it, and some were not so easy, but I was able to see a certain aspect and try to locate it in another picture to put a number to it.
Painting, the first 8 Tigers were over sprayed yellow, either as a complete cover or used as a camo, TIKI, and can be seen as a shadow or dark shade, then green was applied as the camo. I say green because i believe that 1st SSPGD LAH used brown for their camo. When compared together, the camo of DR looks darker than that of LAH and I believe that the red brown shows up light in B&W photos.
Hope everyone likes this. I tried to do this on TIIF, but could never get logged in, so if you guys see this, help yourself. Sorry if some of the pics are blurry. Sometimes the scanner took great copies, other times i had to work at it to get an ok copy.
In the beginning, DR had been issued 10 Tigers. Two were lost during the Winter fighting, one a total loss, 831?? and the other, 801 was sent back for repairs. Of note, I noticed over on TIIF that they show an 800, but in the reading from, I think Das Reich Tigers, it said that 802 became 801, so Im sure that the 800 shown is not 800 or at least, not a DR Tiger, or someone, author, source is wrong.
Anyway, in March/April, they received 6 new Tigers, which I believe everyone, authors and the like, said they were 6 new, meaning with track hangers on the turret. But during my research, I found something out. DR only had 5 Tigers with hangers, and this is where I will start.
NOTE: I will be calling the Tigers mid early or late early. I call early to be 501, 502 and some 503 Tigers with the dual pistol ports, after this, it was the turret hatch type, the mid, then the latter type with the track hangers, the late.
S01: A mid. I always wondered about this one, because its paint, the yellow, was so bright compared to the other mids. Also it had the exhaust deflector attached. I have not seen any pics during the Winter fighting showing 801s rear, but others do not show the deflector attached, so I believe this tank was the one sent back for repair and returned with 5 new tanks.
S02: A mid. Not much to say about it. All its pics show the number. Of interest, I would think that the command Tigers would have been leading up front, S02 might have been, due to the damage seen, but I never saw a pic showing either command Tiger leading.
S11: A mid. This is the easiest to spot because of it still retained the smoke launcher bracket. For pic (f) in the file, I put it there because I could not find another fit. I thought that the fenders matched, the third one is lower that the other three. The end piece is a small triangle piece, rather than large. But compared to the other tanks, I didnt see any fits other than S11.
S12: A late early. In the picture with no latter, the first in the set, I could just make out the 12, at least the 2 and knowing what S22 & S32 are, this had to be S12. The same goes for pic (b), in the photo I could just make out the 2, so by having this shot, I had a front shot and now could get others, like the pic (2nd) which means it is the second tank in the column. And to get pic (e), you can see that from pic (b), that the Gnome is in the turret camo, but it was planned to be there due to the larger circle spot it sits in, also you can see the frontal camos line up.
S13: A mid. First it has a reenforced mantlet, and is missing its lights. In pic (d), you can make out the 3, so this can not be 23 which is a late, and it can not be 33 because of the Chinese Symbol not being there, so we have S13. Having this side helped me with (h), and for (g), it is because of the first pic saying S13, the helmet location lines up in the pics.
S14: A late. This was the one that got me started. Most all books show it as S11, but S11 has the smoke brackets and this one does not, but also, this one has track hangers. Of note, the 4s are hard to see and do look like 1s. But of all the lates, this one has it lights attached.
S21: A mid. Another well known tank with all sides shown in pics. Also, this was one of the 800 series that I could see and it was 821 as shown in pics (g & h). I also got these over on TIIF.
S22: A mid. Sadly, it has very few pics and all are post Kursk. Of interest is that in the latter pics, it carries the Chinese Symbol, must have been a crew change over after the hand over of the 9 LAH Tigers.
S23: A late. This one almost made me go blind, lol. Staring at those blurry pictures and I started to see the S23. In the first pics (no latter and b) you can just make out the number and the S. After this, I had this shot pic (h) and I could see that the turret camo matched the first pics and now I had a front view, which led me to the others.
S24: A mid. This one started with the shot up view, plus pic (e). These two views show the very elaborate camo scheme, which is not the same on the other side, but anyway, pic (e) shows a bunch of guys standing on it looking into a turretless hull. Also, next to the rear track, the air cleaners can be seen. In pic (d), you see the same bunch of guys looking into a turretless hull, and some air cleaners by the track, now i have my sides. In (c), you can see the number and on the turret bin, the yellow spot on the middle edge. For (f), this tank has the lights, but mostly, how the side skirt on the radio side is bent up, which matched the shot up pic. With pics (g, h, i & j), I had always thought of this tank as 829, see pic (g), but then I noticed the cupola being off its mount and the size of the cross. I looked at the shot up pic, and its cupola is off, in (h) you can see the bench up forward skirt, and the cross looks to be the same as in pic (c & e), and so we have a series of shots right after its death.
Now pics (k thru p) show tank 823. I matched up the camo from pic (d) to pic (n) and saw that they match up really well. You can see the camo splotch in front of the cross. Under the rear section of cable you can see the saddle like camo, and the camo under the light looks to be close. So my findings is that 823 became S24.
S31: A late. This was my last one to look for. I had only one pic, the one showing S34 and others in line. Pic (b) was the second best I had, but I could only make out the S because the numbers were on the yellow, which makes it difficult to see anything. With this i had front camo and a bent fender, but mostly the fender helped with pics (d thru h), but in (h), you can see the camo and the cross to match. pic (i) was match because of the turret camo by the Gnome and that the cross is in a boxish type of camo just as seen in the first pic.
S32: A late. Is another easy one because there are pics of all sides after camo application. Then we get to pics (f thru h) which shows S25, but this is actually S32 by matching up the front camo. These pics are post Kursk after the LAH handover and a re-numbering of the tanks, some, but not all original DR Tigers got re-numbered.
S33: A mid. Another easy because of the Chinese Symbol. Now for the fun. I believe 831 is S33. In pic (31 is S33 2), first the side camo matches up with pic (b), the rear vertical line, then an angled camo line, which in (31 is....2) can be seen next tow the guys shoulder, and the camo under the light looks close.
But under the one guys chin, Himmler??, by his neck, you can make out the corner of the Symbol and on the other side looks to be the DR symbol.
S34: A mid. We all know TIKI.
So this is how I came to looking finding these numbers and who was who. There are other pics, but nothing is clear, camo wise to put a finger on it. Everyone is more than welcome to check and see, and we can discuss and fix, if need be.