- Yes, as a standard tech tree vehicle
- Yes, as a GE Premium
- Yes, as a Battle Pass vehicle
- Yes, as part of a store bundle
Of the 489 “King Tiger” production tanks completed during WWII, approximately 5% were command tanks which saw service in the HQ platoons of heavy tank battalions. Of these, two variants of Panzerbefehlswagen Tiger Ausf.B existed: Sd.Kfz 267 and Sd.Kfz 268. The former (the only one to see significant service) was used by battalion HQ for long range communication with the unit’s company commanders and with other ground forces. The latter was to be equipped for coordination with Luftwaffe units, but no tanks were known to be fitted with this equipment in service, meaning all active command tanks were Sd.Kfz 267.
The Sd.Kfz 267 carried the Fu 8 medium wavelength radio set in addition to the standard FuG 5 (and FuG 2 mounted in company HQ and platoon commander tanks). The Fu 8 used a 1.8m long “star” antenna which was mounted in the roof of the engine compartment. The radio’s range could be increased via extension masts stored in a cylindrical case at the top of the hull rear plate. The Fu 8 was powered by a 400W GG400 two-stroke generator made by Auto Union. To accommodate the generator, the rearmost ammunition rack of the right pannier (next to the fighting compartment) was removed, reducing main gun ammunition capacity by 11 rounds. Accessories for the radio and tools for the generator were stored here as well.
The Sd.Kfz 268, instead of the Fu 8, mounted a Fu 7 set for communication with aircraft. This thread is focused on the the Sd.kfz 267, but both command tanks were constructed with the same changes. Which variant of command tank a vehicle was depended solely on which extra radio set (and its associated equipment) was installed. The most notable change intended for Sd.Kfz 268- and therefore also present on Sd.Kfz 267- was the removal of the forward ammunition rack in the right pannier (next to the radio operator). In its place was provision for a U20 transformer, a first aid kit, and MG boxes. The loss of this rack reduced main gun ammunition capacity for the Pz.Bef.Wg Tiger Ausf.B by a further six rounds, bringing the total down to 53.
The antenna for the Fu 7 was a 1.4m unit mounted on the engine deck. This took the place of the Fu 5’s 2m antenna that would normally be found here on a standard tank. As such, in command tanks, the Fu 5 radio set was relocated to the turret next to the loader and the 2m antenna for it was mounted on the turret roof behind the loader’s hatch.
In addition to the reduction of main gun ammunition capacity to 53 rounds, Pz.Bef.Wg Tiger Ausf.B had a reduced MG ammo stowage capacity of 3300 rounds to accommodate the radio equipment.
Currently, the HL 230 P30 on the “Tiger II (P)” and “Tiger II (H)” in War Thunder has an incorrect rpm limit. While it is not unheard of for crews to modify engine governors in the field, all Tiger B tanks produced had their engines governed to 2500rpm at the factory, resulting in a maximum speed of 34.6 kph in forward gear and ~9 kph in reverse. I intend to create another forum thread detailing this, but for the time being, the statistics given here will reflect the necessary changes for the current Tiger Bs (with HL 230 P30) in the game.
Whether these changes are implemented or not, the statistics for the Pz.Bef.Wg Tiger Ausf.B should be identical to those of the standard Pz.Kpfw Tiger Ausf.B with the exception of reduced ammunition capacity. I do not have figures for any change in weight between Pz.Kpfw and Pz.Bef.Wg, but the reduction in mass from the reduced ammunition load would be at least somewhat negated by the additional radio equipment, rendering any change in net weight negligible.
In the Game
While very similar to existing vehicles, the purpose of suggesting this tank for the game stems from the idea for a new premium tank to serve as an alternative to the Sla.16, which is only available via a pack and has some historical errors both in its representation and its visual modeling. The Pz.Bef.Wg Tiger Ausf.B could be made available for GE or through some other means and has the provision for new mechanics if command tanks receive some form of rework in the future. If nothing else, it adds historical “flavor” to the game in the same manner as some other premiums like the M18 “Black Cat” or T-26 (1st Gv.T.Br.). Assuming the Tiger B model is replaced in the future, that replacement would be a good opportunity to add some variety via the minimal changes needed to implement this tank. It is also worth noting that numerous suggestions have been made in regard to unique functionality for command tanks in the game. Should any changes be made in the future, the Pz.Bef.Wg Tiger Ausf.B would be eligible for such adjustments.
-Jentz, T., Doyle, H. (1997). Germany’s Tiger Tanks: VK45.02 to Tiger II
-Jentz, T., Doyle, H. (2001). Panzer Tracts No. 6 Schwere Panzerkampfwagen: D. W. to E-100 Including the Tigers
-Spielberger, W. J., Doyle, H. (1998). Der Panzerkampfwagen Tiger und Seine Abarten
-Volgin, Alexander (2018). Panzerkampfwagen Tiger Ausf.B Construction and Development