As the world continues to observe the 75th anniversary of D-Day and Battle of Normandy, the Museum of American Armor in New York announced the arrival of an operational Tiger tank replica meant to remind visitors of American courage and the sacrifice required to defeat a well-armed and implacable foe.
Lawrence Kadish, president and founder of Armor Museum, said: “We are presenting several replicas of enemy armour for the purpose of instructing thousands of visitors, especially school groups, that defeating tyranny requires courage, sacrifice and valour. Those who faced down the Nazi Tiger knew that their odds of destroying it were small, but they confronted it in the knowledge that the Nazis had to be defeated at all costs. This operational reproduction helps tell that story.”
The enemy ‘Tiger’ was fashioned from a former East German tank that was once part of a massive military force confronting NATO during the Cold War. It was subsequently demilitarised and sold.
In private hands, it was professionally transformed to present the impression of a fierce Tiger tank. The reproduction was sold by the Global War Museum (GWM), Munkedal, Sweden, this year following review and approval of the Swedish government.
Historians note that when it was introduced in 1942, the Tiger was the most powerful tank in the world. Its 88mm gun was lethal at long range and the tank’s heavy armour made it almost impervious to frontal attack. While few in number, and mechanically fragile, its ability to withstand attacks while destroying Allied tanks from a distance allowed it to assume mythical proportions in battle.
Dr. Libby O’Connell, History Channel’s chief historian emeritus, observed: “The Tiger lurked just behind the D-Day battlefield, and had they arrived in force they could have confronted the Allied advance with deadly effectiveness. As we seek to make World War Two relevant to today’s students, this vehicle will do much to underscore the sacrifice required to free an enslaved continent.”
The Museum of American Armor has some 40 operational military vehicles within a 25,000 square foot facility on the grounds of Nassau County’s Old Bethpage Village Restoration, some 30 miles east of Manhattan, and works in close cooperation with the Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums.
For more information visit: www.museumofamericanarmor.org