The plastic King Tiger is has now been unleashed into the wild with Battlefront’s “Bulge German” offerings almost complete. I have managed to get two painted up and they really are lovely, and in my opinion the best plastic tank Battlefront have made.
With much excitement of their return to the gaming table, I thought I would look at how we can run them. While much has been discussed about using them as a almost single dice reserve unit (likely to replace the, almost standard, three SS Tiger 1 option), I want to see how they can be run as a formation.
Heer today gone tomorrow
I am adamant that the SS Tiger II is the go to over it’s Heer cousin for the following reasons:
- It has 2+ motivation. This provides a 2+ counterattack that the Heer model is sorely lacking. These tanks are too expensive to just shoot things they are there to take objectives as well and once you get it to assault you better make the enemy break off.
- Its cheaper! 31pts vs 36pts for two. So, 2.5pts cheaper per tank. Not massive but adds up if you want to run a formation.
- The SS formation gets loads of options on it’s third platoon box allowing infantry that helps prevent a company break. Heer dont.
Now there are drawbacks and the key one is being aggressive. Yes that isn’t good but I basically can’t be hurt from the front anyway and if I am being flanked by things able to kill me then I need more than cautious to overcome that issue.
The wonderful thing about Tigers
With it settled on SS Tiger IIs, I had a plan with three options. As always the tick list for a force is:
- A formation that won’t crumble, i.e. not to easy to break.
- Can attack.
- Has smoke and a template weapon.
- Includes recce.
- Has infantry.
That’s a pretty good rough starter for 10; some lists can get by without all those items but it helps us compare.
This ticks every box but recce. Five King Tigers will be hard to kill and, in the right circumstances, can do a nasty assault. The Volks artillery packs a 3+ FP and a smoke bombardment. The drawback is that they are reluctant and therefore likely to stay pinned. The infantry is fearless yet green but has a 4+ assault which is perhaps the most important skill rating. Three Wirbelwinds round out the force and are a good unit to keep in the back lines to ensure formation morale is maintained. It can also deal with pesky recce probes.
The next list removes the infantry and Volks 10.5cm guns. In their place you get three Hummels with smoke and their fearsome 2+ FP. Alongside this you get recce unit which, while situational, can be game changing, especially when you have to get the very best out of your very few troops. While the Wirbelwinds have been bulked up to four strong, the formation feels a little brittle plus the 40pt reserves is tricky to work. Two King Tigers, recce and AA does not look efficient. That means either three King Tigers or two King Tigers and the Hummels. Neither seem that appealing.
Here we hit all the key requirements. A formation that has four platoons, three of which will be hard to kill. Recce in the form of SS SdKfz 250/9s. Wespes which have a respectable 3+ FP, smoke and cant be pinned (ie reliable). Six AA halftracks that will keep those yankee fighters off our tanks but, most importantly, deal with armoured cars and infantry. This, in turn, allows our big cats to deal with the enemy armour. Reserves are easily met by the wespes and two King Tigers or three Panthers, Wespes and AA halftracks.
The main downside is only three King Tigers. However, I really think you need to take the three Panthers if you want to round a list out. This is still far from perfect; it is not a massively competitive build, but it will be fun, is pretty historical and doesn’t rely on any gamey gimmicks.
Well there you have it, three different takes on the SS Tiger list. The first list is, in my opinion your best bet if you wantfive King Tigers however list three is the best ‘all rounder’. Either way get those big cats painted and we will be in Antwerp in no time!