Over the past few weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about my terrain and what is useful for playing a Kursk (or even Eastern Front) themed game. Looking through what we have in the office as well as my collection at home I found that I had quite a few great options for creating themed tables.
With the release of the upcoming books Ghost Panzers and Red Banner myself and Chris sat down and planned our next armies. Chris being the resident Soviet player grabbed the Red Banner book, meaning that I would be taking a German list: the first in a long time.
Taking the book over the weekend and having a read through (and also watching the great series on tanks on Netflix) my choices were narrowed down to a couple of the lists. As much as I loved the idea of a small but hard hitting Tiger or Panther force, I wanted a few more models on the table. So I jumped at the Mixed Panzer Company.
Using the upcoming Bӓke’s Fire Brigade as the core of my force my list was starting to take shape. I knew I wanted a couple of the big tanks—Panthers and one of my favourite tanks of the war, the mighty Ferdinand. So with a mix of Panzer III’s and IVs I feel that I have a good basic core to my force. Looking to the future I am planning on Armoured Panzergrenadier Company.
Mixed Panzer Company HQ 21 pts 1x Panzer IV, 1x Panzer III
Troops 27pts Panzer IV Platoon, 2 x Panzer IV 25pts Panzer III Platoon, 3 x Panzer III 36 pts Panther Tank Platoon, 2x Panther
Support 17pts Ferdinand Tank-Hunter Platoon, 1x Ferdinand
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!
Dave’s Forces: 6ptsT-34 HQ 23pts T-34 Tank Company, 3x T-34 13ptsT-70 Tank Company, 10x T-70 30ptsSU-152 Heavy SP Battery, 2x SU-152 14ptLight Tank-Killer Company, 4x Long 45mm 9ptsHeavy 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 15ptsPanzer III Tank Platoon, 3x Panzer III (short 5cm) 15ptsPanzer III Tank Platoon, 3x Panzer III (short 5cm) 10pts Panzer II Light Tank Platoon,5x Panzer II 39ptsStuG (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’ve since finished them off and am happy with how they turned out. The colour is a bit light and fantastical compared to standard Panzer Grey, but it stands out on the table and it was a fun experiment pushing contrast to the extremes.
Tomorrow I’ll be seeing how they perform in a TANKS! battle with Andrew, so I decided to make some custom cards.
Both Red Banner and Ghost Panzers contain stories of great battles on the Eastern Front. One such battle, famously one of the largest and fiercest tank battles of the Eastern Front, took place outside the small town of Prokhorovka.
Using Battlefield in a Box terrain, you can recreate any number of historic battlefields for your Ghost Panzers and Red Banner armies to fight over. Knowing that I had a Live Launch to orchestrate, which would inevitably require battles needing to be fought, it seemed a fair opportunity to whip out some of the studio Battlefield in a Box terrain and put together my own representation of the Prokhorovka battlefield.
As an aside, it is probably prudent to mention that on a 6 x 4 table it is unlikely that one will be able to represent a full scale battlefield such as the one shown in the image above. As such, I settled on a particular section of the battlefield to represent. This gave me the chance to cover the battlefield in enough detail to make it recognisably Prokhorovka, without trying to condense hundreds of miles into a few feet.
Perfectly illustrative of combat during the Battle of Kursk, fighting around Prokhorovka, especially in and around the October State Farm, took place place over expanses of Russian steppe punctuated by the occasional village and forest. Hill 252.2, captured by 1st SS Panzer Division Leibstandarte SS Adolf Hitler on July 11 offered a commanding position over the field of battle.
To recreate the battlefield around the October State Farm, I had to focus on some key features. Using Battlefield in a Box 2019 Premium Terrain Sale Rolling Hills, I was able to recreate the two hills on either end of the battlefield.
Rural Farm Buildings gave me what I needed to put together both the October State Farm and the small town just outside it.
Rural Roads and Rural Road Expansions, as well as Train Tracks criss cross the board.
Escarpments and Streams sit in one of the corners to represent the rocky streams the Red Army had so much trouble crossing.
Finally, a few woods dotted about provide concealment as well as representing the heavily forested areas outside the farm.
You will have already seen the battlefield in Chris and Casey’s Battle Report, and while it’s potentially a little too sparse for tournament play, the intention was always to evoke something of an ope Eastern Front feel.
When Chris and I were first talking about playing a big game I had the thought of taking a Tiger company to take on Chris’s Soviet T-34 horde, but thought that it probably wouldn’t be a fair match-up.
(I’m still planning on painting this army at some point as I love the Tiger and new Panzer III models)
Instead, I decided to brush off my Das Reich T-34s and give Chris a rematch from a version 2 game we had, where my T-34 tanks were overwhelmed by the sheer number of T-34s that Chris was fielding.
My Army is based off the Captured T-34 Command Card. I won’t go into too much detail about the command cards here as Victor is going to write an article about this later.
I have 10 T-34s painted, so I decided to split these into 2x platoons of 3 tanks and a platoon of 4 tanks. These are led by a Panzer IV and a Panzer III. I’m just going to use my Grey Panzer III & IV tanks for the moment, until I get a chance to paint some new ones.
To back up the T-34s I’ve added a single Tiger, again mainly because I love the model.
I figure the Tiger will anchor one flank and my T-34s will deploy en-mass, strength in numbers.
or: Using an Iron Cross formation with Ghost Panzers Support Units with Mike Haught
All four of the mid-war Eastern Front books were designed together. There was a lot of crossover between units in both books, so we wanted to make that cross support possible between books. For instance, in the German case, we wanted to make sure that you can take your Grenadier infantry forces from Iron Cross and back them up with Ferdinand and Brummbär heavy tanks from Ghost Panzers, just like what happened in Model’s 9th Army attack on the northern front of the operation. Of course the reverse is also true. You can field a Ghost Panzer formation with Iron Cross support, such as an Armoured Panzergrenadier Formation with your early panzers and StuGs to represent the half-track mounted troops involved in the 1942 summer offensive.
Let’s take my Grenadier company from Iron Cross as an example. Here’s the 100pt Grenadier Company I’ve been using:
Grenadier Formation 2pts Grenadier Company HQ 16pts Grenadier Platoon, 9x teams +2x MG34 HMGs 16pts Grenadier Platoon, 9x teams +2x MG34 HMGs 14pts Assault Pioneer Platoon
Support Units 14pts 10.5cm Artillery Battery (4x Guns) 2pts Panzer II OP 27pts StuG (early) Assault Gun Platoon (3x StuG long 7.5cm) 9pt Ju 87 Stuka Dive-bomber Flight
I originally modelled this force as an assault unit involved in the 1942 summer blitzkrieg attacks. It’s got some defensive power, but has an offensive footing with flame-throwers, submachine-guns, and Stukas.
I’m excited about the upcoming release of the Ferdinand, so I’m going to convert this force into a Citadel-themed one so that I can include them. However, I also want to retain as much of the tactical flexibility from Iron Cross as possible, such as artillery. I can achieve this by using my Iron Cross Formations with Ghost Panzer support units. I have to choose which book to draw support from, I can’t do both, so I need to drop my StuG assault guns because these early versions are not available as a Ghost Panzer support unit. On the other hand, my artillery and Stukas are both available in Ghost Panzers, which means I can bring them across.
Dropping the StuGs earns me back 27 points which goes a long way towards getting me a pair of Ferdinands. However, I still need to find another 7 points, which I can get from reducing my Grenadier platoons to 7 teams each and taking out an HMG somewhere. So in the end, my 99pt Citadel Grenadiers will look like this:
Grenadier Formation 2pts Grenadier Company HQ 13pts Grenadier Platoon, 7x teams +2x MG34 HMGs 11pts Grenadier Platoon, 7x teams +1x MG34 HMG 14pts Assault Pioneer Platoon
Support Units 14pts 10.5cm Artillery Battery (4x Guns) 2pts Panzer II OP 34pts Ferdinand Tank-hunter Platoon (2x Ferdinand) 9pt Ju 87 Stuka Dive-bomber Flight
So with just a few small modifications to my army I can field my tried and true Grenadier force in Operation Citadel battles using a pair of mighty Ferdinands.