A long time ago and in an office on the other side of Auckland, the very, very first Flames Of War army I ever got to paint was a Panzer IV company. I originally picked this up as a whole half to the annual trip the studio makes down to Panzerschreck in NZ which is usually a doubles tournament. I paired up with Andrew and he pledged to take the infantry side of things while I’d be bringing the tanks. The one that called to me, which gave me the flexibility and relative punching power was the Panzer IV. I was handed ten and off I went!
The Panzer IV in Late War
With the introduction of the Hetzer to Late War, the Panzer IV has lost its title of the cheapest tank formation (from the books) that Germans can bring but pound for pound, this tank still punching above its weight. 4+ to hit, Veteran skill, Stormtroopers, a 3+ Remount rating, and an MG. There is a lot of quality and you can still bring more than some might expect or prepare for. And of course, we have the 7.5cm gun with an Anti-tank of 11 giving it fantastic results against tanks of comparable weight while still threatening some of the heavier tanks out there with only the biggest and most expensive truly stopping it reliably. Even then you’ll have options! The Panzer IV to me is still a stand-out choice even as the bigger guns and bigger tanks come out.
The Panzer IV Tank Company Formation
The Bagration: German Panzer IV Formation has a couple of changes. We have our HQ and two mandatory Black Box choices one of which will have to be a Panzer IV Platoon. The second black box gives us a lot of flexibility and while you can certainly double down on Panzer IVs there are some options to consider here.
The STuG makes for a comparable unit Choice to the Panzer IV, while only ever so slightly more expensive for an extra point of front armour, lower assault, and counter-attack ratings, and a fearless motivation while still keeping the same gun, you get a more stand-off choice of a tank that will want to be a bit further from infantry and lean harder into dealing with armour.
The Tiger and the Panther are our two other choices. It’s hard not to gush about the big cats, with comparable front armour and main guns that can punch through almost any tank in the game with AT14 with the Panther being the more vulnerable to side shots of the two and the Tiger Tank having 2+ Last Stand and Remount though this certainly means the Tiger Tank is more expensive points-wise. Role wise you would want to use these carefully to threaten heavy armour and hopefully deal with the major armour threats early. Even just one platoon of these can really define who an opponent will deploy to deal with you so it’s critical not to lose too many too early.
Lastly and our latest addition is the introduction of an Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoon. This is honestly fantastic and it’s something that shows up in a lot of the returning Formations for Bagration: German. Being able to bring infantry to a tank list that is part of your formation makes you tougher to break (something which sadly lost us our games back in Panzerschreck) and give you a solid defence or even assault unit to deal with other infantry and thanks to their Sd Kfz 251 transports they keep up while being kept safe from machine-gun fire.
Also, how could we forget some of our newest models which while keeping the Sd Kfz 7/1 Quad AA Platoon and Möbelwagen AA Tank Platoon, we also got two new options both made entirely out of plastic with the Ostwind and Wirblewind. Both are great for fending off-air support attacks but the big question is what do you want them to do when there aren’t any annoying planes to swat at? The Wirblewind brings a pile of machine-gun shots that can shred unprepared infantry and the Ostwind brings some light anti-tank with a decent number of shots. Either bring something great to a Panzer IV formation or any tank formation for that matter!
Planning a list
So currently a total of ten panzer IVs fully painted and ready to hit the table so I’ll start there. This takes me to 55 points so I have lots of room to work with and a total of 45 points to play with for a 100 point list. With a bit of shuffling, I’ll put the second Panzer IV platoon into a gray box and take an Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoon as my second black box choice and max it out. This nicely covers the biggest weakness I found with my Panzer IV formation being broken a little too easily and I’ll chuck a full Wirblewind Platoon in too. For support, I’ll be using a Hummel unit I’ve had built (but not painted) and I’ll add two Puma Scout Troops in because John Lee ended up selling me on the idea of Puma Scout today and this might end up being my next army list.
My biggest concern with this list is going to be big heavy angry tanks but hopefully, I’ll have the mobility to avoid or flank them. But comparable Medium tanks or even infantry heavy lists? I think this will be a great match-up since I’ll have most of the tools to deal with them. I imagine a tide of Soviet infantry might be a struggle. Also, this list will be a great match-up for a British Army that I’ve fully painted. I’ve been wanting to get at least two fully painted relatively well-rounded forces that can fight each other and the match-up between these two will actually lead to some pretty balanced games, I hope! It’s something I’ll be experimenting with as I’ll be using them to help me recruit some more people to Flames Of War! The Painting and building are also pretty manageable too with me only needing a box of Pumas and an Armoured Panzergrenadier platoon to be built and the Hemmels somewhat already underway. Time to get started on this now!