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==== ====WW2 Reenactment! ====Natural SelectionThe Nazis were obsessed with Darwinian notions of...
Tiger 131 went on public display on Horse Guards Parade near Whitehall in London, where Alliedtank crews got to see just w...
found on every type of merchandise from mugs, baseball caps and t-shirts to video games.Truly iconic brands transcend time...
brutal of the war. They were virtually unstoppable. They were much better machines than theAllied ones. There is a mystiqu...
Books Millward Browns Iconic Brands, Sept, 2007Charlie Trumpess, MCIM, Chartered Marketer and founder of the new online st...
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German Military Products WW2


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German Military Products WW2

  1. 1. ==== ====WW2 Reenactment! ====Natural SelectionThe Nazis were obsessed with Darwinian notions of natural selection and survival of the fittest.Aggressive competition was woven into the very fabric of the Nazi state including tank design andproduction.The Tiger tank was born from a competition between the firms Porsche and Henschel to producea 45-ton tank with an 88mm gun, heavy armour, speed and manoeuvrability. A tank that wascapable of dealing with the Soviet T-34 and KV-1. The two firms were to have prototypes ready forinspection on Adolf Hilters birthday, April 20th, 1942. Despite Dr. Ferdinand Porsches friendshipwith Hitler, the Henschel design triumphed.Price PremiumTiger tanks started rolling out of the factory at a rate of just 25 per month in 1942. Peak productionof 104 Tigers per month was finally reached in April 1944. It took an estimated 300,000 man hoursto build one Tiger, and cost the equivalent of $100,000 U.S. dollars in 1941. Thats about $1.25mtoday. In contrast the Allies went for cheap, mass production, which ultimately proved decisive.Whats in a NameThe new Henschel tank was officially named the Panzerkampfwagen VI H (88mm) (SdKfz 182)Ausführung H1. However the tanks project design name was Tiger and the name stuck.ReputationThe newly named Tiger tank quickly gained a reputation on the Eastern Front during 1943 and1944. The fearsome 88mm gun gave the Tiger a clear reach advantage over its Soviet opponents.Often faced by inferior equipment and poorly trained men, German tank crews and individual tankcommanders were able to amass impressive combat scores, numbering hundreds of "kills". Theconcept of the "Tank Ace" was born and ruthlessly exploited for propaganda purposes.Occasionally just the sight of a German Tiger would make Soviet tanks withdraw.The Tiger had similar success in North Africa and Italy, creating a powerful psychological effect onAllied troops. In his book, Tank Men, Robert Kershaw explains that it was not uncommon for oneTiger to account for as many as ten Allied tanks in a single engagement. The British finallycaptured a Tiger intact during 1943. Tiger 131 was shipped back to the UK where it underwentextensive testing. By 1944 British research facilities assessed the Tiger as "basically an excellenttank".
  2. 2. Tiger 131 went on public display on Horse Guards Parade near Whitehall in London, where Alliedtank crews got to see just what a formidable foe they were facing. Restored and fully operational,today, Tiger 131 resides at the Tank Museum, Bovington, Dorset.Driving into LegendThe Tigers influence on Allied morale, known as Tigerphobia, was so powerful that BritainsGeneral Montgomery banned all reports that mentioned its prowess in battle. However it was theBattle of Villers-Bocage during the Normandy campaign of 1944 where the Tiger gained legendarystatus. In just 20 minutes a single Tiger commanded by the famous tank ace SS-Obersturmführer Michael Wittman destroyed around 21 tanks and numerous other vehicles ofthe British 7th Armoured Division.Strengths and WeaknessesCapable of punching a hole through 112mm of armour at 1400 meters, the Tigers combatefficiency was mainly due to its famous 88mm gun. The Tiger also had the best quality armour ofany German tank. Its frontal armour was 100mm thick, making it impervious to all but the largestcalibre Allied tank and anti-tank shells. The questionable quality of Allied tank and anti-tankammunition might also have contributed to the Tigers mask of impregnability.Certainly a combination of massive armour and powerful gun made for an almost unbeatable tank.Enemy crews often watched helplessly as their shots bounced off the Tiger and their own vehicleswere quickly destroyed...often from great distances. The Tiger tank also proved very nibble footedfor its size and weight.Where to Compromise? All tank designs are something of a compromise between firepower,armour protection and speed of movement. Overall the Tiger design was a good compromise, butit did have its weaknesses. A 60-ton tank needs a big engine and lots of fuel. Mechanical reliabilitywas a challenge, so the Tiger needed a lot of preventative maintenance to keep it operational. Itssize and weight could also work against it, making it difficult to transport by rail and difficult torecover. The German army would also have to find bridges capable of supporting the Tigersweight on its line of advance or retreat.Famous and infamous in equal measure, the Tiger I became one of the truly legendary machinesof WWII. Since the war the Tiger has gained a new type of celebrity. It has become a popularsubject for toymakers, modellers, military historians, authors, painters, computer game designers,film and documentary makers. Incredibly, the Germans only ever built 1,347 Tigers, and evenfewer King Tigers. Today just a handful of Tiger tanks remain. In the heat of a summers afternoonyou might just catch a glimpse of Tiger 131 prowling the Bovington Tank Museum showground.Iconic BrandOkay, so weve established that the Tiger tank was a ferocious weapon, but how does thattranslate into iconic brand? Well, icons by their very nature are visually striking, instantlyrecognisable, and embody certain qualities. Even today the Tigers distinctive, memorable designconveys raw power, engineering excellence and outright menace. Images of the Tiger I can be
  3. 3. found on every type of merchandise from mugs, baseball caps and t-shirts to video games.Truly iconic brands transcend time and space. They often live on beyond the cultural period thatcreated them. Their meaning for us surpasses the emotional or functional benefits of the productor service they originally championed. You dont have to be a smoker to know Marlboro country isa land of endless rolling plains; majestic, snow-capped mountains and herds of longhorn cattle. Aland populated by strong, silent cowboys who do the right thing and always get the girl.As an effective armoured fighting vehicle, the Tiger tank has been obsolete from more than half acentury. Nevertheless in popular culture it retains its machismo. Whether its Band of Brothers orSaving Private Ryan, when a GI shouts: "Tiger!" every adult male in the audience knows whatscoming next. Its the Hannibal Lecter of armoured warfare. According to Nigel Hollis, Chief GlobalAnalyst, Millward Brown: "Cultural roots can provide iconic brands with resilience, allowing them toremain attractive decades after they were withdrawn from the market."We instantly recognise and understand that iconic brands such as Nike and Chanel mean far morethan drinks, running shoes and watches. Iconic brands personify our values and aspirations, andwe trust them implicitly to meet our expectations. Today Nike probably represents lifestyleaspirations more than athletic footwear. However, when shopping for a pair of running shoes thefamous "swoosh" motif instantly translates into quality, performance and function. Brands take thelegwork out of the decision making process.A Model of SuccessThe difference between commercial brands and the Tigers journey to iconic status is that no onehas been steering its course. The Tiger has simply evolved into brand icon. According to MillwardBrowns research iconic brands must possess three important features that differentiate them fromlesser mortals. The iconic brand must be instantly recognisable. They must have strong culturalroots that tap into societys deepest values or speak to our most venerated aspirations. They musthave a compelling story that retains its power, relevance and meaning for current and futuregenerations. Certainly the Tiger has all these things. As a consequence the Tiger tank hasbecome a brand merchandising dream.Making a KillingResearch by model kit manufacturer Airfix revealed that German Tiger and Panther tank kitsoutsell the most popular Allied tank kits, the American Sherman and British Churchill, by a ration ofthree to one. John Tapsell, vice president of the International Plastic Modellers Society (UK), said:"I think it might be something to do with the typical British fascination with the loser and also aninterest in German engineering. British soldiers in the war were in awe of the Tiger tank, forinstance, and that sort of interest has remained. The (German) uniforms also look very smart."Darrell Burge, from Airfix, said the surge in popularity of German models, particularly tanks andfigures, had started within the last ten years. "Across the hobby, there is no doubt that the Germanmodels now sell more than the Allied ones. German subjects are far, far more popular and that isincreasing."German tanks are much better sellers than Allied ones. They are iconic as the biggest and most
  4. 4. brutal of the war. They were virtually unstoppable. They were much better machines than theAllied ones. There is a mystique about so many of their war machines that has translated intoincreased sales." Airfix sells in excess of 4.5 million model kits each year.Boys ToysIn 2008 the Daily Mail carried a story about the latest boys toy, a giant radio-controlled tank sopowerful it can actually pull a car. The story referred to a 1/4 scale model of a King Tiger tank. Thestory goes on to describe the Tiger as "the German weapon which wreaked havoc among Alliedtanks during World War Two." Mark Spencer, founder of Mark 1 Tanks, based in Easton, nearWinchester, Hampshire, says: "We have more than 20 models but my favourite is the GermanKing Tiger - I think its also our most popular model. "I think its the most recognisable and it waslegendary in the war for being pretty indestructible and just destroying everything it shot at." Thebasic 1/4 scale King Tiger costs from £6,600 but can get up to almost £10,000 with extras.Broad Market AppealThe market for radio-controlled models, die-cast and plastic tank kits continues to grow, andcompanies such as Armortek, Tamiya, Heng Long, Matorro, 21st Century, Corgi, Dragon Armor,and Forces of Valor all offer Tiger I and King Tiger ranges. As well as traditional model making theTiger features in over 20 computer games including the popular Medal of Honour and Call of Dutyseries. There are also a limited number of titles exclusively dedicated to German armour of WWIIsuch as Panzer Commander and Panzer Elite. A quick search of Amazon online bookstorerevealed over 1,600 titles that feature the Tiger tank. Although certainly a niche market, the Tigerfeatures heavily in military art with original works selling for thousands of pounds. The Tiger is alsoa YouTube phenomenon, and appears 1,350 times in search results on the video sharing website.Brand PersonalityBrands are like people. They possess unique personalities with which we can identify. Successfulbrands listen, respond and consistently satisfy our demands. Brands also accelerate the decisionmaking process at the point of purchase. Generally they make our lives easier. In return we givethem trust, loyalty and sometimes even forgiveness. These relationships are mutually beneficial,and the best of them can last a lifetime, or even longer.Few machines achieve iconic status. The RMS Titanic, Supermarine Spitfire, and AK-47 are thestrongest contenders from the twentieth century. Each an instantly recognised design classic, theyall possess vivid stories of triumph and tragedy. When Dr. Erwin Aders, the father of the Tiger I,set about designing his tank did he conceive of what his progeny would become? The Tiger hastaken on a life and personality all of its own. Brutally distinctive in appearance, legendary on thebattlefield, the Tiger continues to thunder across our imaginations, and engage us with its story.Sources:Alan Hambys Tiger I Information Centre - visit Spitfire,Hurricanes and Lancasters losing out to Nazi foes in kit toy sales, Jasper Copping, TelegraphOnline, Dec, 2008 Tank Men, Robert Kershaw, published by Hodder Michael Wittmann and theWaffen SS Tiger Commanders of the Leibstandarte in WWII, Volume Two, published by Stackpole
  5. 5. Books Millward Browns Iconic Brands, Sept, 2007Charlie Trumpess, MCIM, Chartered Marketer and founder of the new online store The War YearsVisit: Source: