- For the Steel Division II unit see SD2:Königstiger (P)
Königstiger is a German Tank unit, developed as the successor to the Tiger I. It was a combination of the Tiger design with the sloped armour of the Panther and cost large amounts of resources and manpower to manufacture, during a time where Germany's might was on the decline. Nevertheless, it is the undisputed ruler of the battlefield and the most powerful tank in the game. A true monstrosity, the Tiger II is impervious to all Allied anti-tank units at long ranges and sports a tank gun that has no Allied equal, derived from the towed Pak 43 anti-tank gun. The same gun is also mounted on the Jagdpanther tank.
Two Königstiger variants existed:
The (P) designation stands for the Henschel chassis with the so-called Porsche turret mounted. It was a less effective design as the curved front created a shot trap: an enemy shell fired at the lower turret would deflect into the crew compartment, with lethal results. This initial and weaker variant is fielded by the 21. Panzer.
The (H) designation stands for the version mounting the Henschel turret, which would go on to become the standard production model for the Tiger II. it featured some re-designs, and these improvements are reflected in the game by the Königstiger (H), a more heavily armoured variant fielded by Panzer-Lehr.
- Neither designation is actually correct. Both turret designs came from one company, Krupp, with the conventional designations referring to the designs they were intended for: The failed VK 45.02(P) by Porsche and the successful Tiger II by Henschel. Turrets built for the Porsche tank were later mounted on the Henschel design, with the Serienturme (the so-called Henschel turret) being a modified version of the former for mass production. See here for an in-depth explanation.
The Tiger tank had been a formidable foe during the early years of the war, but the Allies were starting to catch up. Indeed, new Soviet tanks such as the ISU-152 and the T-34-85 were appearing on the Eastern front, while the British and the Americans were busy developing improved tank designs and upgunning existing variants. A new Tiger version was ordered in January 1943 that could mount the formidable KwK 43 88mm gun as well as sport more armour.
Henschel was the company which was responsible for manufacturing German vehicles and aircraft like, amongst others, the Panzer III and the Henschel Hs 129 ground attack aircraft. Vying with a rival company, Porsche, to produce a viable Tiger II design, the Henschel company won the contract to manufacture Tiger IIs in 1943 and indeed would be the sole manufacturer of Tiger IIs during the Second World War. The first fifty early turrets were (misleadingly) called Porsche turrets and contained flaws, the most severe of which was that it created a shot trap. Despite this, they were mounted onto the tank chassis and saw action. The improved Henschel turret eliminated the shot trap, and other improvements were introduced. The latter was to become the standard production model. Production figures remained low throughout 1944 and 1945, and only about 500 Königstigers were produced before the war ended.
The Tiger II design stressed German engineering to its breaking point. It was a complex tank to manufacture and maintain and was like most German heavy tanks underpowered and prone to breaking down. Many Tiger IIs were abandoned not through enemy action but due to mechanical failure. However, when it did arrive on the battlefield, it proved to be a formidable foe and a serious threat. There are no combat reports of its front armour ever being penetrated, though a 17-pdr using APDS ammunition could theoretically pierce the front of a Tiger II at close ranges of 500m. The heavy tank was deployed during the twilight years of Nazi Germany on the Western and the Eastern front.
The Königstiger fielded by 21. Panzer is the early Porsche (P) version, and is slightly inferior to the Henschel (H) version fielded by Panzer-Lehr. It, however, is no less a deadly foe on the battlefield. indeed, no Allied anti-tank gun is capable of frontally penetrating the Tiger II at long to intermediate ranges, giving it an unparallelled advantage. It sports an accurate gun and no Allied tank is capable of withstanding hits from it, though the Sherman Jumbo could survive a few shots. The Königstiger is manned by experienced crews and is a veteran unit, further adding to its potential. It is fielded in phase C for the hefty sum of 350 points, but in exchange, the player receives the most powerful tank in the game, especially if backed-up with anti-air (to reduce suppression) and a commander unit to max out its veterancy.
One thing, however, must be stressed. The Tiger II is NOT invincible. it is NOT a I-WIN BUTTON. The player should NOT expect it to drive through enemy lines and waltz through everything. Frontal unsupported charges against enemy lines can, should and will result in a burning wreckage and a waste of already scarce German resources. While it cannot be reliably penetrated from the front, it can still be panicked by enemy aircraft or repeated anti-tank gun fire. Its sides are also extremely vulnerable against flanking fire from concealed anti-tank guns and enemy aircraft present a real threat. The bocage allows enemy units to close in and fire at it at close ranges.
However, when the tank is used in concert with other units, maintains its distance so that the front is turned towards the enemy at all time, there are few units capable of putting up a fight against the Tiger II.
Behind the scenes
- The camouflage pattern on the tank is based on the camouflage used in July 1944 by Tigers of the schwerer Panzer-Abteilung 503 (503rd heavy tank battalion) in Normandy.