He recalled the tanks’ unreliability and blamed sabotage. He said: “There were lots of foreign workers in the armaments industry and they also built the engines. That got them into a right mess and they couldn’t run.”
He also said he’d suffered from nightmares: “When I was younger, lying in bed, I would wake up in the morning soaking in sweat because I thought the Russians were coming.”
Another Tiger veteran, Waldemar Pliska, served on the eastern front and recalled: “We saw 100 refugees that had been freed from a concentration camp … I asked everyone, who are those people? But they said to me keep my mouth shut as they were from a concentration camp and we were forbidden to speak about it.”
He added: “This I will say to you; terrible experiences, and I often dream of them still. I wake up drenched in sweat because I can’t forget.”
On the Tiger tank and the sense of awe which surrounds it, Waldemar Pliska concluded: “This Tiger is a weapon of war and it promotes it. Very much a killing machine… I cannot endorse it. Simple as that.”
David Willey, Curator of The Tank Museum, said: “Tigers are large and impressive by contemporary standards – but there is a moral responsibility to remember what they were used for and the regime who created them.
“Representing less than seven percent of their wartime tank production, Tiger tanks failed to have a real impact and our exhibition will be presenting a more balanced account of these vehicles.
“Importantly it will also be presenting the views of the veterans who fought in them; bringing the human stories of the German tank crews here for the first time.
“Hearing the voices of these veterans who are still with us today really helps us understand the war from both sides.
“As well as having our Tiger 131 – the most famous tank in the world that was captured in North Africa – on display, we have our other three Tigers as well as the Elefant which was shipped over from the US.
“And using the latest digital technology, visitors will later in the year be able to see a full-sized Sturmtiger in the exhibition with the use of our Augmented Reality App.”
The exhibition begins on April 6.
The Tank Museum is an independent Museum and registered Charity.