Tiger (P) Heavy Tank
includes one Tiger (P) Heavy Tank.
Germany started work on a 27-tonne heavy breakthrough tank in 1937. Like the British Matilda, the French Char B, and the Soviet T-35, this tank was intended to breach WWI-style trench lines so that the light and medium tanks could fight a mobile battle.
After three successively heavier designs, the 45-tonne VK4501 specification was given to both Porsche and Henschel in May 1941. The Porsche prototype, now known as the Tiger (P), was finished in April 1942. Its suspension consisted of six pairs of steel-tyred rubber-cushioned road wheels with rear drive sprockets instead of the more usual front sprockets. Two air-cooled V-10 engines drove generators that powered an electric motor for each drive sprocket.
This sophisticated design had huge theoretical advantages, but proved to be troublesome in practice. As production of both designs was scheduled to begin in July, there was little time for testing or fixing the problems with the petrol-electric drive. With five tanks built, production was halted to enable the problems to be sorted out. The Henschel works was delighted when its production order was increased to compensate. By February 1943 many of the mechanical problems had been resolved and Hitler ordered the massive 8.8cm L/71 PaK43 to be fitted to ninety Porsche Tiger tanks as the Ferdinand assault gun in time for the Battle of Kursk.
Porsche vs. Henschel
The competition between Porsche and Henschel to produce the next German heavy tank had been intense and the resulting designs were very similar. Both had the same armour specifications and mounted the same gun in the same Krupp-designed turret.
The differences were mainly mechanical. Porsche preferred longitudinal torsion bars that saved space over Henschel’s transverse torsion bars, steel-tyred road wheels, and a new Petrol-electric transmission to solve the problem of moving such a heavy vehicle.
The basic principle of the petrol-electric transmission is that the each petrol engine spins a dynamo to generate electricity. This then powers an electric motor that powers the drive sprocket. In theory the result is a smooth transmission with no need to change gear and plenty of torque. In practice the system proved to complicated and unreliable.
Many tanks are destroyed not by the enemy shell but by their own ammunition being hit by white-hot fragments of armour and exploding. The chances of this were minimised by providing a safe place for stowing ammunition within the vehicle, such as an armoured compartment or inside a water-filled jacket.
If forced to bail out, crews of tanks with protected ammunition are far more confident when it comes to remounting their vehicle quickly.
Tanks with Protected Ammo re-roll all failed Motivation Tests to Remount Bailed Out vehicles in the Starting Step (see page 102 of the main rulebook).
8.8cm KwK36 gun
Rate of Fire: 2
Whether poorly designed, unsuitable for the conditions, or requiring more maintenance than current supply considerations will allow, these vehicles have a significant chance of breakdown when pushed too hard.
If an Unreliable vehicle attempts to move At the Double, roll a die. On a roll of 1 the vehicle becomes Bogged Down.
Some excellent tank designs have successfully utilised wider tracks, allowing them to cross almost any terrain.
If a vehicle with Wide Tracks becomes Bogged Down while attempting to cross Rough Terrain, roll again. On a roll of 4+ the vehicle immediately frees itself and continues moving.
Most tanks were either fitted with power traverse or had turrets that were light enough to be quickly swung by hand. Some designs suffered from heavy turrets lacking power traverse.
Tanks with slow traverse add +1 to the score required to hit when shooting any turret-mounted weapon except an AA MG at targets that are entirely behind a line drawn across the front of the tank’s turret before they rotate their turret to face the target.
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The Bear Awakens: Operation Bagration
In this Organized Play Season we will be taking players to the Eastern front, to participate in Operation Bagration. Operation Bagration was fought over two months from 22 June to 19 August 1944. The operation resulted in the near destruction of the German Army Group Centre, leaving a gap in the German line and opening the path to Poland and eventually, Germany.