Big Four of Late War: Wayne


Wayne “the Veteran” Turner is one of the longest serving employees in the company, having worked in almost every department of the company from Game Design to Production. These days he finds himself primarily working on Team Yankee, but a return to Late War has him excited to return to World War II and the chance to build his first Panzer IV based German army.

You can follow Wayne’s big Four journey here… 

Alex’s Hit The Beach Germans

                with Alexander Nebesky

Way back in the distant days of this time-mid 2018, myself and a friend split the very last copy of Battlefront’s Open Fire! Two-player box set from our local game store in Hamilton, an hour-and-a-half south of Auckland. My first foray into building and painting yielded a passably painted grenadier company, a V1 flying bomb that now sits on my desk, and a trio of StuGs that have fallen victim to a continuous cycle of stripping and repainting.

Now that I’m on the other side of the curtain as it were, I’m given the chance to expand on or replace my first starter set with our brand new one. To that end, I’m freshening up, repainting, and adding to Hit the Beach to see if I can’t put together a better force than I did last time around.

Grenadiers in Early Morning Fog
The first step is to replace the Grenadiers form my initial run at Open Fire! With a fresh pair of platoons. I’m not too disappointed with my initial work, but I did spray varnish the grenadiers in less than ideal conditions leaving them with a cloudy film over them, as if they were out on a foggy winter morning between 6 and 11 am. It’s not such a bad thing if I decide to pretend they have been standing out on a football pitch all morning, but I want to replace them anyway with a fresh pair of Hit the Beach platoons. Besides, if I need to I can always add one of the foggy platoons to my grenadier formation to give me even more bodies to man the defences.

The plan, based on what one gets in the Hit the Beach is to run with the Grenadier Company. I like painting up infantry, and Fortress Europe gives me the classic and robust Grenadier Company to field.

Each of my Grenadier platoons will carry the Panzerfaust rule for +2 points a platoon, allowing one of my teams to fire as a Panzerfaust team each firing step. I’m also going to attach a Panzerschreck team to each of my platoons to up my anti-tank for +2 points each.

My two Grenadier platoons from Hit the Beach will require some heavier weapons to fill out the roster, so I’ll add 4 sMG34 HMG teams at 6 points and 6 8cm Mortar teams for 9 points.

I’m also going to add the two Hit the Beach 7.5cm Tank-Hunter teams to my surviving Open Fire! Guns to give me a four-gun strong platoon for 15 points.

I’ve opted for a generic green plants and brown earth basing style because I have neither the skill nor inclination to faithfully reproduce a slice of beach or French countryside on teeny bases.

Fortress Europe Grenadier Company

Grenadier Company HQ- 2 pts
            +Paunzerfaust- 2 pts

Grenadier Platoon- 7 pts
+Panzerfaust- 2 pts
           +Panzerschreck- 2 pts

Grenadier Platoon- 7 pts
           +Panzerfaust- 2 pts
           +Panzerschreck- 2 pts

sMG34 Machine-Gun Platoon- 6 pts
8cm Mortar Platoon- 9 pts
7.5cm Tank-Hunter Platoon- 15 pts

FORMATION TOTAL—  56 pts

Guns That Are Bigger Than a Regular Sized Gun
My Grenadier company has plenty of gnarly small arms and infantry support weapons but I just can’t help but feel I need something a little gnarlier to get my point across. Now, when I started buying and painting Flames Of War models I obviously bought a box of Tiger Tanks so I could tear through my enemies with reckless abandon, and that’s very much an option for me currently.

I could add a three-tank Tiger Tank Platoon to my force, bringing the total up to 92 points and giving me 8 spare points to goof around with- a pair of HS 129s or a JU 87 Stuka Dive Bomber Flight would both fit into that setup. However, I do have a four-gun strong 10.5cm Artillery Battery left over from this force’s previous iteration, and that’ll set me back 14 points. I could take them as a 7 point pair and keep the Tigers, but I kind of feel like I don’t want to be re-rolling hits with only two guns and having such fragile artillery support so that’s not a particularly appealing proposition. 

Instead, I could take two Tiger Tanks for 24 points and all four of my 10.5cm Guns for a total of 94 points, with 6 to play with, but I think given that Hit The Beach generously comes with three Panzer IVs, there’s a better option on offer.

What I’ll do is add two Panzer IVs to the three already in Hit The Beach and field a five-tank strong Panzer IV Mixed Tank Platoon as Formation Support for 28 points, and keep all four of my 10.5cm Guns. That’s 98 points, plus one for a dinky little Panzer II OP Observation Post bringing my total to 99 points.

I had a gander at some of the Panzer IV Normandy camouflage schemes on the Flames Of War website and found a few options. I put the choice to a few friends, and they unanimously voted that the top scheme was the best, and that I should in no uncertain terms, avoid the middle scheme. So I painted my Panzer IVs in a general approximation the top scheme, and of course took the middle scheme as inspiration for my Panzer II’s camo.

Panzer IV H in Normandy, France 1944. Base Colour: Dunkelgelb (Dark Yellow). Camouflage: Olivgrün (Olive Green) and Rotbraun (Red Brown).
Panzer IV H in Normandy, France 1944. Base Colour: Dunkelgelb (Dark Yellow). Camouflage: Olivgrün (Olive Green) and Rotbraun (Red Brown).
Panzer IV H in Normandy, France 1944. Base Colour: Dunkelgelb (Dark Yellow). Camouflage: Olivgrün (Olive Green) and Rotbraun (Red Brown).|

Fortress Europe Grenadier Company

Grenadier Company HQ- 2 pts
            +Paunzerfaust- 2 pts

Grenadier Platoon- 7 pts
+Panzerfaust- 2 pts
           +Panzerschreck- 2 pts

Grenadier Platoon- 7 pts
           +Panzerfaust- 2 pts
           +Panzerschreck- 2 pts

sMG34 Machine-Gun Platoon- 6 pts
8cm Mortar Platoon- 9 pts
7.5cm Tank-Hunter Platoon- 15 pts

FORMATION TOTAL—  56 pts

Support
Panzer IV Mixed Tank Platoon- 28 pts
10.5cm Artillery Battery- 14 pts
Panzer II OP Observation Post- 1 pts

SUPPORT TOTAL— 43 pts
GRAND TOTAL— 99 pts

So, assuming a friend and I decided to split two Hit The Beach boxes, and my friend took the US forces and I took the Germans, all I’ve added here is a few guns and some infantry weapons to give me a full army.

Not a bad force, and I’m looking forward to pitting it against another studio army.

Phil’s Move to Late War

with Phil Yates

I’m looking forward to the new late war books and trying out my various armies to see how they perform. I have nine mid and late-war forces that I could use, so let’s see how they go.

Late War British
Let’s start with my biggest collection, the Desert Rats in Normandy. I have a Motor Company and a Cromwell Armoured Squadron.

The Motor Company is fairly straightforward and can easily be built from Fortress Europe, although I’ll have to wait for the D-Day: British book next year for the specifically Desert Rats version with slightly different ratings and the command cards for their transport vehicles. My company has:

  • Motor Company HQ
  • 3-inch Mortar Section
  • 3x Motor Platoons
  • 3x Carrier Patrols
  • Vickers MG Platoon
  • 2x 6 pdr Anti-tank Platoon
  • 2x M10C 17 pdr SP Platoon

In Fortress Europe that comes to 94 points, so there’s room to add my Typhoons (using the Kittyhawk card for the moment) to take it to a round 100 points. For comparison, the same force from the old Overlord book comes to 1610 points* without the Typhoons.

With my Cromwell Armoured Squadron, I have two choices: field them as Shermans in the meantime, or wait for the D-Day: British book. I’d rather get them onto the table and have a few games, even if my Cromwells won’t be as fast as I’d like (but then again, the extra speed will be an exciting bonus when the Cromwell arrives!).

  • Sherman Armoured Squadron
  • 4x Sherman Armoured Troop
  • Stuart Recce Patrol
  • Motor Platoon

That comes to 97 points, so I might take the opportunity to throw in a Daimler armoured car troop as well.

Late War German
My German forces are a bit smaller with a very small Tiger SS Tank Company and a FHH Panzergrenadier Company.

My Tiger SS Tank Company is normally commanded by Michael Wittmann for a tiny, but elite force. Using Fortress Europe, I can field this six-tank company without Wittmann (I’ll have to wait for D-Day: Waffen-SS to add him). The company has:

  • Tiger Tank Company HQ
  • 2x Tiger Tank Platoons

Six tanks for 72 points, so that’s a better deal than before (it would have been 1300 points previously*). To bring the force up to 100 points, I could add a Panzergrenadier Platoon from my FHH Panzergrenadier Company and finally get around to adding some Sd Kfz 7/1 quad 20mm AA to my collection (although I could use some of my single 2cm AA from FHH in the meanwhile..

It will be a while before we get to the Lorraine battles where the Feldherrnhalle (FHH) panzer brigade fought, so meanwhile I’ll just field them as a normal Panzergrenadier Company. It would have:

  • Panzergrenadier Company HQ
  • 2x Panzergrenadier Platoon
  • Light AA Platoon (using my Sd Kfz 251/21 AA half-tracks)
  • Armoured 8cm Mortar Platoon (using my 12cm mortar platoon)
  • Armoured 7.5cm Gun Platoon
  • Armoured Flame-thrower Platoon
  • 2x StuG Assault Gun Platoons (using my Panzer IV/70)

That comes out at 96 points in Fortress Europe, so that’s pretty good. I’ll have to ponder what I might add to use those last four points.

So far then, it’s looking good for a conversion across from the old books to the new. I’ll have to wait a little for a perfect translation for a couple of my forces, but they’ll be fun to play in the meanwhile.

Mid War Forces
So what about my Mid-War forces? How will they fare? I have a Grant Armoured Squadron, a Panzer III Tank Company, and two variants of Soviet Tank Battalions.

My Enemy At the Gates Soviet mixed tank battalion isn’t really a good fit for Late War as both the KV-1 and T-60 are pretty much long gone by then (there were apparently a handful of KV-1 still fighting around Leningrad though!), although if I used the T-60s as T-70s and ignored the odd organisation, I could probably make a small 60-point force.

On the other hand, the Red Banner version transfers over nicely (especially if I get that SMG Company painted!).

  • T-34 Tank Battalion HQ
  • T-34 Tank Company
  • Valentine Tank Company
  • T-70 Tank Company

That all comes in at 51 points under Fortress Europe, so I might need to invest in another T-34 company to replace the T-70s, and possibly model some of the new tanks as up-gunned T-34/85. That would give me 28 tanks for 100 points!

My Grant Armoured Squadron really doesn’t cross over to Late War. The Grant was already on its way out at the Battle of El Alamein where my force fought, so it would be optimistic to expect to see it in battles nearly two years later. On the other hand, if I didn’t already have a late war armoured squadron and I wanted to give a mate a game, I’d probably consider fielding them as Shermans while I worked on a new Late-War force.

My Panzer III Tank Company would translate across a bit better as Fortress Europe has a Mixed Panzer III & IV Tank Company. My models are much earlier marks than you’d find in early 1944, and are painted in desert sand camouflage, but they’d do at a pinch, but it would have to be a small game as my whole force wouldn’t be much over 60 points – even proxying them as later model Panzers!

All-in-all though, if I didn’t have any Late-War forces and wanted to give it a go, I could certainly try out a few games using my Mid-War forces while I built up my Late-War collection.

What About the Romanians?
I also have a Late-War Romanian Panzer IV Tank Company. If I field it using the German Panzer IV Tank Company formation, it gets a bit of a skill and reliability upgrade, but works fine. Just focussing on the tanks, I’d have:

  • Panzer IV Tank Company HQ
  • 5x Panzer IV Tank Platoon (3 tanks each)
  • Grenadier Platoon

Since they are relatively better, and hence more expensive, I’d need to drop some tanks to get my 100mm howitzers in there, and even more to field a small infantry company. Or, looking at it from the bright side, I can field nearly 150 points for a really big game!

And the Score is…
Well, out of nine forces, five transfer over almost without a hitch, although I would need another ten T-34s to get to 100 points with my Soviets. Of the other four, I’ll need to proxy my Cromwells as Shermans to make that one work, and the other three Mid-War forces could be transferred across in some form, even though they are 1942 forces, but since I already have Late-War forces, I don’t think I’ll bother.

All-in-all, transferring over to Late War using the new books looks like it will be fairly straightforward for me..   

*The old books used a different points scale with typical forces being 1500 to 1750 points rather than 100 points.

Fortress Europe: German Spotlight

with Phil Yates

Despite the setbacks of 1943, at the start of 1944 the German Army was still a formidable force. The front-line forces were receiving increasing numbers of the latest weapons, including Tiger and Panther tanks, powerful 8.8cm tank-hunters, and armoured infantry half-tracks, and the soldiers manning them were highly-skilled, hard-bitten veterans, still confident of victory despite the many enemies arrayed against them.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of building a German force is simply choosing what to take. There are so many exciting options, but their exceptional quality — both technically and in their training and doctrine — limit what you can take. The good news, though, is that this makes it easy to collect a variety of options and vary your force depending on the situation you expect to face and the style of tactics you want to try out today.

Tiger Tank Company

  • Uses same Tiger tanks as Mid War.
  • Elite heavy tanks with thick armour and powerful guns, yet more mobile than most medium tanks. Ploughs through terrain without a problem.
  • Expensive quality, but still cheap enough to field a good-sized company.

Panther Tank Company

  • Uses same Panther tanks as Mid War, or the new plastic D-Day Panther.
  • More cost-effective than Tigers. Same front armour as a Tiger, gun has the same performance, speed is faster than most medium tanks, but thinner side and top armour.
  • Flexibility. Can swap out platoons of Panther tanks for a platoon of Tiger heavy tanks and a platoon of Panzer IV medium tanks.

Mixed Panzer III & IV Tank Company

  • Same organisation and equipment as Mid War, so easy to transfer across.
  • Baseline German medium tanks. Good armour and better guns than Allied medium tanks. High-quality crews.
  • Platoons can mix older Panzer III light tanks with up-to-date Panzer IV medium tanks.
  • Flexibility. Can swap out platoons of Panzer III & IV tanks for a platoon of Tiger heavy tanks, a platoon of Panther tanks, and a platoon of Flammpanzer III flame-thrower tanks.

StuG Assault Gun Company

  • Same organisation and equipment as Mid War, so easy to transfer across.
  • StuG assault gun has better front armour and the same gun as a Panzer IV medium tank, but has no turret so can’t shoot targets to the flanks, and is less effective when assaulting infantry.
  • StuH assault howitzer has a brutal gun with 2+ firepower for knocking out enemy guns and infantry.

Panzergrenadier Company

  • Same organisation and equipment as Mid War, so easy to transfer across.
  • MG teams give plenty of firepower.
  • Can add Panzerfaust anti-tank and 7.5cm anti-tank guns to keep tanks at bay.
  • Armoured Sd Kfz 251 half-tracks for battlefield mobility, even under fire.
  • Infantry can assault while mounted in their half-tracks to overrun light opposition.
  • Half-tracked heavy weapons, including 7.5cm guns and flame-throwers. Grille gives integrated 15cm heavy artillery.
  • Option to take dismounted troops. Save points by leaving the half-tracks at home.
  • Fast and mobile with plenty of firepower in the attack, solid with massive firepower in the defence.
    Grenadier Company
  • Same organisation and equipment as Mid War, so easy to transfer across.
  • Excellent, high-quality infantry.
  • Platoons can get extra firepower with heavy machine-guns, 2.8cm anti-tank rifles, and Panzerschreck anti-tank.
  • Well defended against tanks with both Panzerfaust and Panzerschreck anti-tank and 5 and 7.5cm anti-tank guns.
  • Lots of integrated artillery with mortars, and 7.5cm and 15cm guns.
  • Use skill and careful manoeuvring to avoid getting hit while pounding enemy with superior firepower, then assaulting to finish the fight. 

    Support

  • Same organisation and equipment as Mid War, so easy to transfer across.
  • Lots of impressive anti-tank options, especially the Hornisse, Ferdinand, and towed 8.8cm tank-hunters.
  • Lots of artillery choice, with Hummel 15cm and Wespe 10.5cm self-propelled guns, Brummbär 15cm assault tanks, 10.5cm howitzers, and 15cm Nebelwerfer rocket launchers.
  • Aircraft for every occasion, with the Stuka dive-bomber, Stuka (3.7cm) tank-hunter, and heavily-armoured Hs129.

How Do the Germans Play?
The Germans in Fortress Europe are among the last of the old guard, trained before the tide turned, in the days when Germany was winning the war. They are rated as Confident, Veteran, and Careful, so are some of the best trained and most experienced troops available. Their faith in the thousand-year ‘Third Reich’ gives them a better Last Stand rating, so you can trust them to hang in there, even when things look bad.

This training follows in the footsteps of their legendary forebears, the stormtroopers of the First World War. Their Stormtroopers ability allows German troops to attempt two movement orders in each turn. Combined with their high skill rating, this allows them to fight with a finesse that no other army can match.

To go with this superb level of tactical prowess, German engineering provides you with the best tanks, such as the Panther and Tiger, and the most powerful guns, like the long 8.8cm which can penetrate any tank with ease. Even older tanks like the Panzer III have been brought up to the latest standards with bazooka skirts and HEAT ammunition.

In summary, a successful German force will use their superiority in equipment, training, skill, and cleverness, combined with a good dose of aggression, to keep the initiative, hit the enemy in their weak spots, while minimising the enemy’s opportunities to hit them back.

What to Expect in D-Day: German
Your Fortress Europe force will easily transfer to D-Day: German, transforming into a classic late-war force in the process.

Because the panzer divisions in Normandy had just been rebuilt with new equipment, all of their old equipment like Panzer III tanks and Ferdinand tank-hunters have been phased out, and replaced with useful new tools. In recognition of the increasing Allied airpower, the tanks gain their own integrated anti-aircraft, including powerful Mobelwagen self-propelled AA mounted on the Panzer IV chassis. The StuG assault guns have their own infantry escorts, and the infantry start fielding the very effective 12cm heavy mortar.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the infantry charged with defending the ‘Atlantic Wall’ are mostly older family men and foreign conscripts, so the quality and resilience of your grenadiers is much reduced. On the other hand, you will get cheap infantry to hold ground while your elite panzer divisions fight a mobile battle.

D-Day: German will bring plenty of other exciting new choices and forces as well.

If these improvements aren’t for you, or you want to keep fighting on the Eastern Front, you might prefer to stick with Fortress Europe, and you certainly won’t be disadvantaged by doing so. No matter which way you plan to go, a Fortress Europe force is a good solid way to begin your journey.

What About D-Day: Waffen-SS?
The D-Day: Waffen-SS book is a little further away, so if that is your destination, you’ll want either Fortress Europe or D-Day: German (or both of them) to start building a panzer or panzergrenadier force in the meantime, ready to join the Waffen-SS when they arrive.

Wayne’s StuG Force

with Wayne Turner

I’ve decided to put together a StuG Assault Gun Company for the Kursk period from Ghost Panzers. By June 1943 many Assault Gun Battalions (Sturmgeschütz Abteilungen) had started to be equipped with the latest version of the StuG assault gun, the StuG III G armed with the long 7.5cm StuK40 gun. The 301. Panzer Battalion chosen as the theme unit in Ghost Panzers is a radio control unit that also contains Borgward demolition carriers, but by not taking the Borgward options it can also be used to represent any of the Assault Gun Companies or Batteries that served on the eastern front.

At Kursk in particular there are a number of Assault Gun Battalion or Brigades involved in the operations. Sturmgeschütz Abteilungen 904 (31 x StuG III) and 245 (22 x StuG III and 9 x StuH 42) served with XXXXVII Panzer Korps on the north side of the salient. Sturmgeschütz Abteilungen 177 (22 x StuG III and 9 x StuH 42) and 244 (22 x StuG III and 9 x StuH 42) served under command of XXXXI. Panzerkorps.

In addition a number of divisions had their own assault gun units. 78. Sturm Division had Sturmgeschütz Abteilung 189, Panzergrenadierdivision ‘Grossdeutchland’ had Sturmgeschütz Abteilung ‘Grossdeutchland’, 7. Infanteriedivision’s Panzerjäger Abteilung 7 contained one company equipped with StuG III, and 6. Infanteriedivision’s Panzerjäger Abteilung 6 contained one company equipped with StuG III.

To be a bit different I’m going to base my StuG force on 6. Infanteriedivision, representing the Sturmgeschütz Kompanie (Assault Gun Company) of Panzerjäger Abteilung 6 (6th Tank-hunter Detachment/Battalion). 6. Infanteriedivision fought in the middle of the 9thArmy’s attack on the north of the Kursk Salient and pushed as far as Olkhovatka during the battle along with the Panzertruppen. During the fighting the divisions also has the 1st and 2nd Companies of Heavy Panzer Battalion 505 (Tiger IE heavy tanks) and Panzerkompanie (Fkl) 312 attached.

My Force

13 pts StuG (Late) Assault Gun Company HQ, 1x StuG (late 7.5cm)

39 pts StuG (Late) Assault Gun Platoon, 3x StuG (late 7.5cm)

39 pts StuG (Late) Assault Gun Platoon, 3x StuG (late 7.5cm)

That’s 91 points. I’ll make this up to 100 points, but I haven’t decided what to spend my last 9 points on as yet.

 

If I Could Turn Back Time…

with Luke Glover

I started my Flames Of War journey earlier this year when I was invited an joined in the annual Battlefront Staff trip down to Panzerschreck. The aftermath of the weekend of fun was I now had ten Panzer IVs all painted and ready to go. Ghost Panzers has introduced the German Panzer IV to Mid War so this seemed like a great chance to take parts of it into a Mixed Panzer Company, expand my Flames Of War collection and get a Mid War army all set.

I partnered up with Andrew for Panzerschreck and we sat down to plan out what sort of forces we’d be taking for the Late War doubles. Early on I decided I quite liked tanks and eventually I settled on Panzer IV Company. This paired up well with Andrew’s Finns who would bring mortars, guns and an infantry company to round out our force and cover all the bases. Our plan was to go all out offense and take our chances and win big or lose big. The aftermath of the weekend of fun was I now had ten Panzer IVs all painted and ready to go.  

My games at Panzerschreck taught me some much needed respect for the T-34 (Andrew and I lost to a pair running absolutely massive T-34 companies) but also a great deal of pride in the effectiveness Panzer IVs that they easily became my favourite German tank. With that in mind I will be making a 120 point force using the Mixed Panzer Company. I like slightly larger games and means I’ll get a few more goodies on the table (as will my opponents).

First step will be deciding just how many Panzer IV Lates I’m bringing. First step will be filling out my mandatory picks. My Commander will be riding along in his Panzer IV (this guy passed an unbelievable amount of saves) and I’ll be taking a platoon of four. With AT 11 and front armour 6 they’ll be able to take nearly all comers with very few questions outside of a KV or Churchill. To help out with those I’ll be bringing along two Panther tanks. Their tough armour is sure to attract some firepower but it will keep their eyes off the Panzer IVs with their aggressive +3 to be hit on working to my favour hopefully making the Panther a more tempting target to less powerful guns. Of course the downside is that those weapons that can penetrate the Panther reliably will be hitting more often so it’s a trade-off, but one I’m willing to try out since Panther tanks just look awesome.

With armour largely filling out the list (102 points to be exact) it’s time to look towards what else I need. Since I imagine the tanks will be the ones looking to take objectives I will need something that can hold the fort and take on infantry. For this I’ll be taking a full strength Grenadier Platoon in support and two sMG HMG teams. This will give me nice solid base of infantry with plenty of bodies and (hopefully) enough machine guns to deal with Soviet infantry based armies.

The overall battle plan for this list is fairly straightforward. The tanks themselves will be looking to take out the sorts of things that can destroy them ASAP. The Grenadiers will likely be expected to hold an objective, whether it’s in my own or if I have to take it from the enemy. I can’t rely on the Panthers for any tricks but hopefully they won’t need them

I expect this will be a fun army to paint up and model that adds on very well to my existing models. The new variety of tanks and infantry make this a hobby project I look forward to. I’m especially looking forward to seeing how the Panthers do on the table and start painting up the two I need. With some great results it could well suit me moving towards a Panther company but for now one project at a time!

~Luke

Dave vs Brian – T-34s vs Panzers Battle Report

with David Griffin

Dave’s Forces:
6pts T-34 HQ
23pts T-34 Tank Company, 3x T-34
13pts T-70 Tank Company, 10x T-70
30pts SU-152 Heavy SP Battery,  2x SU-152
14pt Light Tank-Killer Company,  4x Long 45mm
9pts Heavy Tank-Killer Company, 2x 57mm

Brian’s Iron Cross Panzer III Company with Ghost Panzer Support
16pts Panzer III (Uparmoured) Tank Company HQ, 2x Panzer III
15pts Panzer III Tank Platoon, 3x Panzer III (short 5cm)
15pts Panzer III Tank Platoon, 3x Panzer III (short 5cm)
10pts Panzer II Light Tank Platoon, 5x Panzer II
39pts StuG (late) Assault Gun Platoon, 3x StuG (late 7.5cm)

We decide to try out some of the new lists and threw together an interesting Free For All.  I positioned the SU-152 in the middle with both AT gun groups on the left in cover facing the PzIIs and StuGs, both tank groups on the left facing his PzIII tanks. 

The 45s moved up through the trees with no problem on the left while the tanks moved forward to get shots on the right.  There must have been a brisk breeze because nothing hit on the first turn. Brian then blitzed every unit he had (successfully) and returned fire much more effectively, killing both 57s on the left, one T-34 in the middle and two T-70s on the right.


The 45s then blitzed to the side and engaged the Pz IIs killing one and bailing one.  The T-34s killed a Pz III in the Hq and the T-70s on the right moved forward to get side shots but missed entirely.  My SU-152s moved to the left side and engaged the Stugs, missing both shots.

 

Brian then, in true form, killed one and bailed one with his Stugs. His Pz II attempted to get in the woods and assault the 45s, but only succeeded in getting one before breaking off.  On the right his PzIIIs kill three T-70s and bailed two.

Needless to say, with my luck, my SU-152 ran away, leaving two poor 45s all by themselves on the flank. Time to try to kill some platoons and break the company.  The 45s kill a Pz II and Bail another while the T-70s get in and bail one of the HQ Pz III. The T-34s move forward and kill two Pz IIIs in the send platoon. Return fire is substandard this time, but succeed in bailing all T-70s.

 

 

The T-70s run leaving only the T-34s on the field with a couple 45s, which drive off the Pz IIs. Unfortunately Brian makes all the rest of his morale rolls and the company stays intact with his Stugs on the objective.

 

 

 

8-1 victory to the Germans.  It will take some work to get used to the overworked issue on all the units, although the better save on the AT guns are a relief and kept them in the fight.

I don’t think I will let Brian use my dice again.

Panzerjäger I Unit Card

with Mark Nisbet

Germans are not my first army, being on the receiving end of their effective weapons, especially the fearsome Marder, I have a profound respect (and mild fear) of their tank hunters. The Panzerjäger I is one of the few tank-hunters that I can happily roll my Churchills, Shermans, and even Grants forwards with minimal worry. However, put up against the more evenly matched Stuarts, and Crusaders and the Panzerjäger I suddenly becomes a weapon to be reckoned with.

Even with the dated, and ramshackle look of the vehicle, it was very popular amongst German players, which is why today we’re doing another ‘Unofficial’ card for players to field them in your Afrika Korps force.

Brief History
Even at the start of the war, the Wehrmacht recognised that the Panzer I was obsolete, even for a scouting role. With this in mind, they devised a project to take the chassis of these light tanks and mount usually static anti-tank guns, giving the weapons greater versatility, and to keep up with the Blitzkrieg. With the capitulation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, the Germans found themselves with a surplus of light to medium anti-tank guns of Czech origin. The Škoda 4.7cm, was chosen for this task due to its reliability and lightweight frame.

The gun was originally mounted in place of the turret in its original form; gun shield, with wheels and trail removed. This was soon improved upon with a fighting compartment comprised of sheet metal, a marked improvement over the original design.

The vehicle originally served in France, before twenty-seven of them were equipped to the Afrika Korps in 1941. During Operation Crusader almost half of these vehicles were lost, with only four replacements arriving for the Battle of Gazala, and a further three later in 1942. By the time of the Second Battle of El Alamein, the Anti-Tank Battalion (605) only had eleven working vehicles.

The Panzerjäger I saw more action on the Eastern Front, during Operation Barbarossa, but that’s for another time.

Making a Unit Card
To stat up the Panzerjäger I, it’s natural to look to its successor; the Marder (7.62cm). Much like the successor, the Panzerjäger I had very little armour; only the thin steel fighting compartment, and the thin Panzer I armour, combine this with the open-topped nature of the vehicle, and it results in a 1-1-0 armour rating.

In terms of rating, these Tank-hunters were crewed by the same Veterans of France, and so retain the 3+ Skill rating, and with similarities to the Marder, the Motivation remains unchanged.

The armament of the Panzerjäger I is where the biggest difference lies. The 4.7cm (t) [For Tscheschisch, or Czech], was a larger round than the 2pdr, or American 37mm, with slightly higher armour penetration, but with a similar amount of firepower once the target was hit. This gives the gun an Anti-tank rating of 8, with a good Firepower of 4+.

Finally, the movement of the Panzerjäger has an identical mobility line to the Marder, given the lighter frame, chassis, and gun; but with a less powerful engine under the hood.

In terms of points, the Panzerjäger I is a tank-hunter for players on a points budget. With the loss of effective armour, and a major drop in penetrating power, it’s no surprise that the tank comes in at half the points of the bigger Marder.

 With the ability to field the Panzerjäger in the place of the Tiger, Marder, and even the Diana, this light tank-hunter will be a must-have for supporting the usually expensive German Companies, who don’t feel the need to have anything as powerful as a Tiger or Marder in their battle line.

Though it may be older, and ramshackle, the Panzerjäger I remains a favourite for German players, and will continue putting the fear into Crusaders, Stuarts and pesky US armored rifle platoons.