Modern Day Blitzkrieg (Battle Missions Combined Arms)

Welcome ladies and gentlemen to a symposium on the modern blitzkrieg, or more commonly known as combined arms maneuver warfare. The German army since world war two has been very good at launching combined arms blitzkriegs and with the reinvention of the modern German army, it was lucky to have General Speidel at the helm who understood combined arms maneuver warfare. So how do combined arms translate to the game? Well first off we need to look at the extended battle plan missions as this will dictate what kind of list we take. We also need to know what stance we are going to take, be it attack, maneuver or defend, then we can plan accordingly.

For example, if you want to play a defensive list and think you can hold back the hordes of mother Russian and her allies then you need to build your list accordingly, taking into account things like deep reserves which will affect certain aspects of your battlegroup like tanks and FA4 and above transports. The next part to consider is your counteroffensive ability in order to launch assaults or to quickly shift the momentum back in your favour for holding objectives by the use of a quick response force (QRF) to contest or hold objectives until a more concrete defence can be mounted. The same needs to be done for both the maneuver and attack stance as we still need to mount a solid defence while remaining in an offensive posture as we launch our “blitzkrieg” on our unsuspecting opponent.

While looking at our options for attack and maneuver we need to take into consideration the ability to change the flow of the battlespace in order to keep the enemy on the back foot by placing pressure on one point but next turn be able to change to another by exploiting gaps in their defence, forcing them to shift elements of their battlegroup to counteract your move, thus giving you the tactical initiative over your opponent so that you can dictate the battlespace to your advantage.

So for this, we are going to use the West Germans as our army (who doesn’t love new toys) as the new book gives us a lot of options to pick from to make a list for all three stances.  Each list is made with a stance in mind. Now, this isn’t a foolproof guide and should not be considered as such as we will also look at all three lists individually.

First up the defensive list. Our core needs to be strong enough to hold objectives and to be able to counter assault if needed, with this in mind we have a couple of choices. Two options come to mind when considering our core; the Gebirgsjäger list with massed infantry that can hold objectives with their numbers, and Fallschirmjäger which when the need may arise can launch a counteroffensive or be utilized as a cheap QRF role with Huey transports. Both have decent infantry, however, the Fallschirmjäger do have smaller platoons which may become problematic as you start to take casualties as this diminishes your defensive capability. So for that reason, we will go with the Gebirgsjäger formation as it gives us large infantry platoons that have the staying power to defend. It also gives us access to a unit of cheap leopard 1s (Leo1) which can be used to fill that QRF role and can also be used as a deterrent for tier 1 MBTs (T80, M1 family, Challenger) from assaulting your infantry for fear of AT19 side shots.
For our defensive list at 120pts we have a Gebirgsjäger formation:

Our defensive infantry formation is only 55pts and gives us a strong core to hold objectives as you can have two platoons holding one objective each making it harder for your opponent to shift your infantry off them, as well as allowing you to use one of the platoons as a screening force similar to how a real-life company with defensive positions with a platoon in-depth for covering fire and rally point. It also gives us a cheap QRF unit in the Leo1s and some mortars for cheap arty that can if needed lay down smoke to help cover your infantry that won’t be affected by it as they have Thermal Imaging. This also takes into account the one unit that can be more than FA4 for those pesky missions that have deep reserves. So quite the bargain, however, I’m sure right now you think that this has nothing to do with a blitzkrieg. Remember, we still have 65pts to go. So knowing a strong defence is a good offence let’s look at the other half of our list.  The next consideration when defending is what we have in the reserves, as at 120pts, 48pts are allocated to the reserve. So with that in mind, we need to plan accordingly, but we also need to worry about Air and pesky Spearheads which can make you lose the tactical advantage.  So in this instance, it will be our Leo1 formation and Gepard’s as these will be most likely affected by the deep reserve special rule. Once our force is complete we then can look at defensive strategy and how to utilize our force. The good thing about this force is it gives us the ability to change the stance if we end up playing a different type list where a bit more aggression can be used.  The reason why the Leo1s are there is that when coupled with a successful blitz move, it’s a cheap way to bring in decent fire support and gives you the mobility needed to get to the right spot. Additionally, the Leo1s will be able to go toe to toe with T55 hordes or BMP hordes as their ROF both on the move and stationary is sufficient enough to put enough shots downrange.

The three recce units also give us some flexibility to go after enemy AA and arty. The Luchs will have no change to their role in the battlespace as these units will be able to get behind enemy lines quickly and hopefully quietly enough to take care of arty that will try to pin or kill your infantry once ranged in with repeat bombardments.  As for the Marder 2 recce, these nice little units of death with their 50mm 36”, ROF 3, AT 13 gun will be able to hit and run enemy units as well as provide a deterrent for assaults from enemy tanks and any that wish to be foolish enough to expose their side armour. By utilizing Blitz and Shoot and Scoot this unit can become an annoyance as their range will be long enough to become problematic. They’re also useful for supporting infantry assaults as they do have the protection of FA and SA 16 against HEAT thanks to Cobham armour.  So that’s our defensive list, it has everything we need to launch a blitzkrieg if required during the last stages of your defence when you may need to shift the enemy away from the objective or to keep IFV’s in check to ensure you can hold with your infantry.

Next up will be our maneuver stance list. This is where we will see the true form of the modern blitzkrieg come in to play as this is where we can start to make those lightning strikes and shock and awe moves that put your opponent on the back foot. For the list, I have gone with a Leopard 2 Panzeraufklärungs company as this gives you plenty of mobility and the ability to reserve your forces if needed without losing too much of your force. So keeping with the 120pts we have;

Leopard 2 Panzeraufklärungs company;

This list still gives plenty of flexibility, as the leo2A5s will be our reserves if required. First is our HQ, with the Leo2A5 we have plenty of staying power and can run with the other leo2A5s to keep them in the fight with re-rolls for morale and remount which will become crucial.  With three of these beasts, it should be no doubt what our shock and awe unit is just like the panzers of yesteryear. These will form the core of our maneuver stance blitzkrieg. Keeping with the theme and the stance we have rounded it out with 4 Marder 2 recon units as they have the armour, mobility, and firepower to keep up with the Leo2s by applying pressure on exposed flanks. Because these can spearhead we can start to threaten objectives early in the game if our Leo2s are not in the reserves. Who wants 3 FA 22 with SA 13 (16 against HEAT) in their face from turn 1? You can deploy 16” away using spearhead and then use the mobility and skill to get with 18” of any objective on turn 1 with any of these 5 units. We also have our combined force elements for support like our AA and arty for smoke and digging out pesky infantry. The LARS is a good arty choice as it has a good range, is a salvo with a decent FP as well as the ability to lay down a minefield if required to channel a flank or to force low skill units to go through it by dropping it on right on top of them (handy against regular soviet tanks especially T80s). Speaking of heavy armour that’s what our close air support (CAS) is for, as this will be able to make those tier 1 MBTs quake in fear if AA is not around to save them. Last is our infantry, we have two units: the Marder 2 infantry and the Gebirgsjäger platoon. The Marder 2 infantry will be able to keep up with the rest of the battlegroup, but not only will it give you some infantry to hold objectives it will also come with an extra 3 Marder 2s taking our total up to 11 giving us a combined 33 AT 13 shots a turn. Our last infantry unit is big enough to leave on our objective to secure it and defend it given it’s a 9 team stand unit. So that rounds out our list, with this stance we want to try to put pressure on the opponent and be quick enough to block or counter any move they make. As this is a quick force suited to lighting strikes, utilizing Shoot and Scoot to get back into cover to give concealment from return fire will be key.

Lastly, our attack list is designed so we get most of our battlegroup on the table. Keeping with the theme of combined arms blitzkrieg I’ve gone with a Marder 2 infantry company as this will give us enough to keep attacking and apply pressure. On to the list:

Marder 2 Infantry Company:

So this list has the infantry to hold objectives, especially the Gebirgsjäger platoon, and the Marder 2 infantry can advance and disembark once close to an objective and continue to threaten it and apply pressure so any mistake can quickly be taken advantage of. Now I’ve gone with Leo2A4s primarily because despite having less armour than the Leo2A5s it still has the same skill set and gun coupled with its TAC move that can threaten flanks and has the numbers to do so, it also has the ability to assault infantry and support your own if threatened due to its mobility.

The Marder 2s can also go hunting for tanks with flanking side shots due to their great mobility and skill. LARS and Panzermorser can lay down smoke if need to cover the assault but can also dish out the pain to dug-in infantry once ranged in – keep up those repeat bombardments. CAS will do its thing as previously stated in our maneuver list. The idea with this list is to have a locked-down flank with the Jag 1s who have the range and AT to deal with Tier 1 MBTs, then use either the Marder 2s or Leo2s to get flanking shots on them. The LARS minelets will also come in handy for this as well.

So there we have it, three lists for each of the battle mission’s stances, remembering to keep synergy with the battlegroup, as this is key in a combined arms force as each element has its part to play. Each list can choose another stance if required but do remember when choosing your stance take into account mission special rules as this may mean that you may have to place certain units in reserve like Marder 2s due to their high FA.

So I hope you enjoyed this little symposium on the combined arms utilizing the battle matrix stances, as this is an insight on how you could use these lists for each one. So good luck in your future games defending Germany.

~ Scott McCorley