The Tiger II promised to return the German heavy panzer to the early days of 1943. It too could dominate the battlefield by destroying enemy armour at long range and assaulting its way through fortified enemy defences. The Tiger II’s increased armour once again placed it ahead of its adversaries.
Though capable of fulfilling its role as Königstiger (King Tiger), the Tiger II followed in the footsteps of previous German panzers rushed to the front.
Mechanical and maintenance problems plagued its combat debut just as it had for the Tiger I in Tunisia and the Panther at Kursk. Final-drive failures left only eight operational tanks out of 45 to participate in its first combat engagement. In addition, ammunition stored in the turrets caused fatal explosions and three of the new Tiger II tanks were destroyed in the first engagement.
After this inauspicious beginning and the initial problems fixed, the crews of the Tiger II found out the hard way that the battlefield had changed since 1943. Initial tactical deployment based upon advertised invincibility was no longer a reality for 1944 panzer battles. Upgraded guns of Soviet medium and heavy tanks now had the capacity to penetrate the heavy armour of the Tiger II. This forced the Tiger II to re-evaluate its tactics along the lines of the Tiger I.
Though still very capable of sustaining numerous hits in its frontal armour it could still be killed by flank shots and infantry assaults. The need for close co-operation with the panzergrenadiers and prudent use of cover and concealment provided a better tactical advantage for the Tiger II than long range gun duels and rapid advance into enemy positions.
A company, or better yet a full Tiger II battalion, was quite capable of steamrolling its way through enemy lines and driving a wedge to be exploited. But this would be one local break through, and with front lines extending over a thousand kilometres, the few Tiger II available could hardly have the impact needed to reverse the Allies in their assault on Germany in 1944.
As one of Hitler’s wonder weapons designed to change the course of the war, the Tiger II had the potential but not the numbers. It too, like the Tiger I, was a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield but small numbers, high maintenance, and vulnerability to aircraft and artillery kept it from achieving its promise of turning the war in Germany’s favour.
Production Quantity: 489
Front: 150mm at 50 degrees
Side/Rear: 80 mm at 25 degrees
Top: 40 mm at 0 degrees
Combat Weight: 70,000 kg
Speed: 35 kph
Vehicle Range: 170 km
One 8.8cm KwK43 L/71,
Two 7.92mm MG-34
501. Schwere Panzerabteilung
The first battalion to receive Tiger I tanks was also the first battalion to receive the Königstiger or Tiger II tanks. From 1942 to 1944 the 501. Schwere Panzerabteilung (Heavy Tank Battalion) fought in Africa, the Eastern Front, and finally in Poland.
Part of the battalion received its first Tiger II tanks while another part was still fighting in Minsk during Operation Bagration.
Initially equipped with 45 Tiger II, the 501st was attached to the 16. Panzerdivision in the counterattack against the Sandomierz bridgehead on the Vistula River.
In December 1944 the 501st was redesignated the 424. Schwere Panzerabteilung and moved to the Western Front.
Included in Box:
• 3x Individually sculpted Königstiger (Henschel) tanks
• 3x Tank commanders
• 6x Rare Earth magnets
• German decal sheet
• 4x Tiger Ace Dice
• 3x Bailed Out Markers
• 3x Bogged Down Markers
In Flames Of War
You can now field the Königstiger in a company of its own in River Of Heroes. 501. schwere Panzerabteilung featured in the fighting on the Vistula River and was the first Tiger battalion fully equipped with the new Henschel turreted Tiger II.
The Königstiger (Henschel) is Fully-tracked and has Front Armour 15, Side 8 and Top 2. It has a Co-ax MG, and a Hull MG.
However it is Overloaded, a Slow tank and its turret has Slow traverse.
It is armed with the 8.8cm KwK43 gun with a range of 40”/100cm, ROF 2, AT 16 and FP 3+.
Designed by Evan Allen
Stowage and Damage by Jeremy Painter
Painted Jeremy Painter