German tank builders started producing tanks with greater characteristics than those of their competitors since late 1942. First was the Tiger Ausf.E which had no equivalent for over a year. The Panther Ausf.D debuted in the summer of 1943. This tank was even more dangerous, if only because there was more of them. As practice showed, the Panther's gun was more powerful than a Tiger's, and its upper front hull plate was impervious to 76-85 mm guns at any range. The Ferdinand heavy SPG debuted alongside it. The USSR, USA, and Great Britain had to catch up. Only Soviet tank builders ended up producing a worthy opponent with the IS-2 and ISU-152. The Tiger Ausf.B was supposed to be Germany's answer, but it never reached the status of "king of beasts" like the Tiger did. Its influence on Soviet tank building was also far lesser.
The great slaughter at Sandomierz
The future replacement for the Tiger Ausf.E first came up at a meeting on May 26th, 1941, when it turned out that the turret of the VK 45.01 was not big enough to fit the 88 mm L/71 gun. Since only the turret needed to be changed, at first the VK 45.02(H) was the same as a Tiger Ausf.E, but with a new turret. This tank later changed several times over and little remained of the original. The thickness of the armour and its mass grew with each iteration. There was also an idea to unify the VK 45.02(H) with the VK 30.02(M) medium tank. This also had a significant effect on the heavy tank chassis, so much so that it is often called a further development of the Panther tank.
The idea of unification continued in the Tiger III and Panther II projects, although only the Panther II was ever built in metal. The Tiger III turned into the Tiger II. The concept of the tank that would be accepted into service as the Pz.Kpfw.Tiger Ausf.B fully formed in the summer of 1943. The second type of turret, often called the "production turret", was also already designed. Nevertheless, the first 50 turrets were inherited from a Porsche K.G. tank known as the VK 45.02(P) or Typ 180 that was never built. These turrets are often erroneously called "Porsche turrets" even though they were designed by Krupp and also meant fro the VK 45.02(H). The more common Tiger II turret is also often called the "Henschel turret", even though it was also designed by Krupp.