Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tactics: King Tigers

King Tigers.  The undisputed 1-on-1 masters of tank warfare in FoW (Battlefront just posted pictures of the Jagdtiger as I write this, so stay tuned).  Plus, the models are cool as ice.  However we all know that FoW requires a combined-arms, coordinated approach, and King Tigers are usually too expensive and too unwieldy to justify including in a competitive list. Although they can probably win any tank duel they come across, trained artillery can bombard them out of the game (AT 4 on bombardments...just don't roll a 1, right?), and my local meta is centered on infantry-heavy lists. But I didn't re-paint these mean cats just to have them sit on a shelf!

Let's look at what you get with the King Tiger: Front Armor 15, Side Armor 8, Top Armor 2. This bad boy can wade through bazookas in defensive fire and in assault.  The barrel of the gun is almost as long as the Sherman tank, and has the stats to reflect this: RoF 2, Range 40", AT 16, FP 3+.  Except for the yet-to-be-released Jadgtiger, no tank in the game is safe from this beast's wrath. Then can also spray infantry in the open with their co-ax and hull MG's.  After all of this they still get to take Tiger Ace skills.  So why isn't everyone taking these?

Knocked out on the plains of Eastern Europe. The right side is just gone.

Well...they're slow, moving only 8" in the movement phase (plus a possible stormtrooper move).  They don't have protected ammo either, which makes their crews less reliable.  They're overloaded, which further constrains their mobility. Plus, when I said they can wade through bazookas...that will only last until you roll a 1, which always happens at the worst time, of course.  And there's something else that I'm forgetting to mention, something fairly important...

Oh, right, a single tank is 345 points! God damn! for Confident Vet...that's easily two additional platoons for any other army out there, including the Germans (panzergrenadiers plus some armored recon would come in well under 345 points).  That's 345 points for a single-tank platoon, that can be wiped from the board by an artillery bombardment.  Now your 345 points went down the drain and your opponent has a VP.

So what have conclusions have I come to having used them in a few recent games? 

1. Don't use them as part of the Schwere Panzer list. That's a minimum of 3 King Tigers, and both of those compulsory platoons would be single tanks.

2. Take 2 of them.  I know, that's 690 points.  But two King Tigers is an impressive unit that, in my games anyway, was derided for being a points sink.  But think about how much better this makes the platoon, and how they will largely make their points back by killing one platoon of CV American Shermans. Two tanks allows you to retreat if one tank gets blown sky-high, and also won't force a morale check on one casualty.  My opponents weren't laughing when the King Tigers were on their objective at the end of the game.

Jeez that tank is huge.

3. If given the choice, take the "Every Shot Counts" Ace skill. RoF 3 sounds awesome, but tanks are going to be moving most of the time anyway, which means you really need to ensure that as many shots as possible find a target.  Don't forget that this applies in defensive fire as well.

4. Shoot tanks.  Unless you're softening infantry for an assault, don't get sucked-in and shoot infantry.  Shoot tanks, shoot guns, shoot artillery...forget the infantry.

5. Team them up with a cheaper anti-tank unit.  Whether it be StuGs, Panzer IV's, or even Marders (I reference cheap options because God knows you need to spare the points after taking 2 of these) use teamwork to try and trap units between the King Tigers and your other units.  Enemy armor will (probably) try to avoid your King Tigers, so steer the enemy into your cunning traps!

6. You need Recce.  You have to at least try to trip-up any Tank Destroyer ambushes, and recce is the best way to do it.  Maximize the veteran ranges for being in command, and use the recce 8" bubble of ambush prevention to its fullest.

These guys are so overpowered!! Battlefront sucks!! Unless they're on my side...

7.  Hug terrain, but try not to enter it if at all possible.  Being close to terrain will discourage planes from ranging-in on your tanks, but entering terrain is too much of a risk.  Bogging down would leave your tank as a sitting duck.

8. Don't get cocky. Good advice in general, but especially with a near-700 point unit. A roll of 1 at any point will royally screw the royal Tiger.

Well, that gives us enough to think about for a little while. Good luck to the rest of you big-mean-tough-armored-cat enthusiasts! 

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