Panzerschreck Design Studio

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Archive for the ‘Beginner’s Choice Armies’ Category

Four Late War armies designed to provide evenly matched forces with a nod towards ease of play and a predilection for more than the standard 1500 point tourney style game.

Beginner’s Choice, Part VI: The Fallschirmjäger options

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, April 6

The Fallschirmjäger

It was time for a long hard look at my options for my various Fallschirmjäger proposals. When it comes down to it I’m well catered for in everything except the heavier mortars and Anti-tank guns. Vehicles are simple enough to add from existing stocks especially softskins where I’m blessed to be able to field as many Horch field cars as I should ever require. I am however a bit short in regards to the Opel Blitz type lorries.

As a rough calculation I can field three full strength FJ platoons for each of the four armies I have in mind, with the addition of at least 4 MG platoons. Other support weapons are a tad skimpy except for my horde of LG40 7.5cm Recoilless and LG42 10.5cm Recoilless rifles. As always the artillery has been the last on my list to obtain and nothing has changed in that regard.

0ne of the areas I should have little or no issue providing is supporting armour. Even the early war FJs will have their own matching Panzer IV platoon as help in the form of four Panzer IVDs. The later war FJs will naturally enough be able to call on armoured support from my mid-war/late war germans (notably stuff like Marders, StuGs and any tanks I can justify – there’s a reason I bought quite so many Tigers and Panthers) with some degree of plausibility.

Perhaps the simplest army of the lot to build, given its meagre supporting resources, will be the 1940 army with it’s almost complete reliance on infantry and man-packed heavy weapons. No recoilless rifles, Mountain howitzers or even light AT guns available for the Holland jumps after all.

The real centrepiece of the Holland campaign FJ army will of course be the gliders and JU-52s. I expect to spend a fair bit tracking down decent 1/144th scale JU-52s, Bf 109s, and 1/100th DFS-230 and Gotha-242 gliders.

Where this army will shine perhaps outside of the logistic components is that I will need to look at how I represent the various iterations of Pioneers, assault troops and specialist FJ troop types. I’m still going to use the original Diving Eagles source book as a guide for the early war organisation. Because Flames 2nd Ed has only really been worked up for Mid and Late war so far, and as I’m not looking to ever play the 1940-41 FJs in tourneys or even in points games per se, I’ve got a lot more leeway in how I organise them as a fighting force.

The basic premise for the 1940 FJ force is that it’s purely air assault. It’s not a ground based unit with heavy support except as a relief type column, so I can focus on the actual teeth arms.

  • Kompanie HQ: Company CO Team, 2iC Team, AT Rifle (PzB785s) section, light mortar (50mm) section
  • FJ Platoon 1: Three sections
  • FJ Platoon 2: Three sections
  • FJ Platoon 3: Three sections
  • FJ MG Platoon: Two sections
  • FJ MG Platoon: Two sections
  • FJ Mortar Platoon: Three Sections (81mm GW34Kurz)
  • Heavy Mortar Platoon: Two 10.5cm Mortar sections, one Anti-tank Rifle section
  • Light Artillery Battery: Two gun sections
  • FJ Pioneer Platoon: Three sections with three optional Flamethrower teams
  • FJ Glider Assault Platoon: Three sections with the option of three Flamethrower teams and one HMG team

That’s pretty much it for the initial force. I’m thinking that the composition of the Relief Column for 1940 Belgium and Netherlands would be along the lines of maybe one platoon of tanks or an Armoured car troop, accompanied by some grenadiers on Bicycles or an aufklärungs motorcycle/sidecar unit, all of which I can easily accommodate from existing stocks. Given that the linkup for Rotterdam was made by elements of 9 Panzer, it’s pretty much straightforward to assemble the following force:

  • Scout Platoon: Three Sections of 6 MG teams + Cmd MG team on M/c combos and a Kfz 15
  • Recce Platoon: One patrol of 2 Sdkfz 222 and 1 Sdkfz 231(6rad)
  • Tank Platoon: 4 x Panzer IVd
  • Tank Platoon: 4 x Panzer II
  • Krad Platoon: Three sections as per scout platoon

Optional Unit taken if only light Tank platoon of two used:

  • SP Inf Gun Platoon: 2 sIG33 auf Pz1 Bison

Now the interesting points of Motivation and Experience crop up. For Holland 1940, the FJ were effectively untried while the units of XVIII Korps were almost all reserve units or even third wave. For that reason, I’ve decided to rate the FJs as fearless trained while the Relief unit being from 9 Panzer had at least been blooded in Poland and was one of the few front line units in Holland and thus are Confident Veteran. If I was using a non 9th Panzer Unit I’d be using either confident trained or conscript depending on whether it was one of the third wave reserve units. I know one thing, Bicycle mounted Germans would be a tad interesting if they were the infantry support for the panzers.

Next up some thoughts on the Crete force.

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Beginner’s Choice Armies, Part V: German

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, April 2

Now we come to the OpFor for all three preceding armies.

I’ve already stated my opinion on the comparative strength of this force as written by Shaw and in relation to that this doesn’t really fit my view of a cobbled together mixed kampfgruppe in terms of equipment mix. I’ll probably drop one of the Panther platoons for a PzIVH platoon, keep the Heavy Tank platoon but use Tiger Is (I have enough of the suckers now), have the A/T platoon use Jagdpanthers cause I have them ready, and substitute the 105mm Arty with Nebelwerfers. So let’s see how that pans out:

German Armoured Kampfgruppe 1944
Battlegroup HQ
2 x Sdkfz 251 Halftracks, 1 x Sdkfz 7/1 with quad 20mm    140pts
Armoured Recce Troop
1 x Sdkfz 250/1, 2 x Sdkfz 250/9                    115pts    ( 255pts)
Armoured Recce Troop
1 x Sdkfz 250/1, 2 x Sdkfz 250/9                    115pts    ( 370pts)

Mixed Company
CHQ 2 x Panther, 1 x Sdkfz 7/1 with Quad 20mm            420pts    ( 790pts)
Platoon of 4 x Panther G                            750pts    (1540pts)
Platoon of 4 x Panzer IVG/H                        380pts    (1920pts)
Platoon of Panzer Grenadiers in 4 x Sdkfz 251            285pts    (2205pts)
Platoon of Panzer Grenadiers in 4 x Sdkfz 251            285pts    (2490pts)
Platoon of Panzer Grenadier Heavy weapons in halftracks     220pts    (2710pts)
2 x 81mm Mortar, 2 x 75mm short
Heavy Tank Platoon
4 x Tiger I                                    860pts    (3570pts)
Heavy A/T Platoon
2 x Jagdpanther                                 530pts    (4100pts)
Artillery
3 x Nebelwerfer 41                                130pts    (4230pts)

Just looking at the points differential alone is enough of a pointer to the skewed nature of the German force.  But jeez this would look good on the tabletop. Really I think I’m going to have to buy Shturmoviks, Thunderbolts and Typhoons along with boosting the Soviets with a full God of War Artillery complement and drop the Japgdpanthers and halve the amount of Tiger Is.

As for what I require to field this army, I still need to buy the 250s, the AA halftracks, and 9 or so 251 variants. Everything else is bought and mostly painted.

So here’s the washup in terms of points values:

British Armoured Recce:    2970 + Priority Air Support of Typhoons @ 220         = 3190
US Army Combat Command:    3135 + Priority Air Support of Thunderbolts @ 190    = 3325
Soviet Tankoviye Corps:    2720 + Katyushas @ 155 and Shturmovik Il2M3 @ 290    = 3165
German Mixed Kampfgruppe:    4230 – Jagdpanthers & 2 Tiger Is @ 960            = 3270

I think I’ve got the mix right now. But really it come down to what feels right on the table top, not reigid adherence to points values,  especially as points values have no bearing on the victory conditions of a game.

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Beginner’s Choice Armies, Part IV: Soviet

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, April 1

The Soviets are probably the easiest to get ready to field now that I’ve grabbed Kelly’s old Sov army. There are a few things that need to be changed: for example, the SU100s have to go, as they really only saw battle in ’45 and anyway, the SU152s look more styley and are more useful against dug in infantry. I’m not sure I want to field a complete 85mm equipped T34 force anyway as that will limit me away from the whole 42-43 era which my Sovs definitely will be used for.

This army is one where it should be the most canon, but I’ve disagreed with Phil on several levels about Soviet force composition many times and so I’m probably going to stick with what feels right to me unless I’m playing tourney or strict canon games.

Soviet Tank Corps 1944
Battlegroup HQ
1 x T34obr42 with desantniki, 3 x 12.7mm DShK AA on Truck 130pts
Scout platoon
4 x BA64 armoured carS 110pts ( 240pts)
Medium Tank Company
10 x T34obr42 with desantniki 630pts ( 870pts)
Medium Tank Company
10 x T34obr42 with desantniki 630pts (1500pts)
Tank Rider Company
3 x Platoons, 1 x MG platoon 325pts (1825pts)
Guards Heavy Tank Company
5 x KV-1e with desantniki 435pts (2260pts)
Guards Heavy Assault Gun Company
2 x SU 152 with desantniki 220pts (2480pts)
Assault Gun Company
4 x SU76M with desantniki 240pts (2720pts)

I’ve dropped the 2 SMG companies mainly because I don’t have the figures painted and to be honest my SMG infantry are destined for my Stalingrad themed army rather than this particular force.

The one glaring issue with this army is the absence of any real artillery. The army I currently have does at least have two Katyushas. To fill this out I still need to buy 10 T34obr42s, 4 SU76Ms and the BA64s, but my mid war version has BA-6s and the Katyushas. But the main thing is that my Soviets are ready to play.

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Beginner’s Choice Armies, Part III: American

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, March 31

The US Combat Command is the only one where I actually have far more of the Footslogger component ready than I do of the armour. In fact, this army is going to require some significant acquisition of vehicles which is scary. I’m actually rather looking forward to the release of the M4A3E8s – I have some of the original Easy Eights that BF made and I’m sure I can easily bring them up to scratch with some judicious acquistion of new suspension units.

U.S. Army – Armored Combat Command North West Europe 1944
Higher Command Team                                                  50pts
Cavalry Recon Platoon                                                  175pts    ( 225pts)
Patrol 1:        1 x M8, 2 x jeeps
Patrol 2:        1 x M8, 2 x jeeps
Patrol 3:        1 x M8, 2 x jeeps
Medium Tank Company
CHQ:            2 x M4A3(75), 1 x M4A3(105mm)                            210pts    ( 435pts)
Platoon 1:        5 x M4A3(75)                                        345pts    ( 780pts)
Platoon 2:        5 x M4A3(75)                                        345pts    (1125pts)
Platoon 3:        5 x M4A1(76)                                        445pts    (1570pts)
Armored Infantry Company
CHQ:             1 x M3 halftrack, 1 x jeep, 1 x Bazooka                     40pts    (1610pts)
Platoon 1:        5 x M3 Halftrack, 5 x Bazooka, 1 x 60mm Mortar                240pts    (1850pts)
Platoon 2:        5 x M3 Halftrack, 5 x Bazooka, 1 x 60mm Mortar                240pts    (2090pts)
Platoon 3:        5 x M3 Halftrack, 5 x Bazooka, 1 x 60mm Mortar                240pts    (2330pts)
Anti-Tank Guns:    1 x Jeep, 3 x M2 Halftrack + 57mm ATG, 3 x Bazooka            135pts    (2465pts)
Tank Destroyer Platoon
1 x Jeep, 2 x M20 Scout Car, 4 x M18 Hellcat                335pts    (2800pts)
Artillery Battery
HQ:            1 x Sherman OP, 2 x M2 Halftrack, 6 x M7B1 Priest            335pts    (3135pts)

If anything I actually have more infantry than is needed to field this force as I have the 81mm Mortars, the I and R recon platoons and the MG platoons for both a rifle company and an Armoured rifle company. What i am sadly lacking in are the vehicles. Oh I have numerous M3A1 and M3 halftracks but I really should look at grabbing a full company of Shermans at some point. I’m not struck on the using the Hellcats in place of the M10s. I like the M10 models more, and there’s something about a fully crewed M10 model that works better for me aesthetically.

So looking at what I still need:
11 x M4A3 Sherman 75s, 3 x M4A1 Sherman 76s, 4 x M18 or M10s, 3 x Priest, 1 x M20, 5 x M2 halftracks, 3 x 57mm ATGs, 2 x M8 Armoured Cars. So a fair bit required still.

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Beginner’s Choice Armies, Part II: British

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, March 30

There was no way I was going to be able to or even want to match the exact force composition of each army, particularly given I’ll be using Flames of War and trying to remain as Canon as possible, but as an exercise in planning an army including purchasing, it’s certainly interesting.

Here’s the British Force converted to Flames of War with points calculations done purely from an academic standpoint:

British – Armoured Reconnaissance North West Europe 1944
Higher Command Team                                                                                                 50pts
Motor Infantry Company
– Company HQ 2 x White SC                                                                                         30pts       (    80pts)
– Platoon 1 4 x M5 Halftracks + 3 Sections                                                            120pts     (  200pts)
– Platoon 2 4 x M5 Halftracks + 3 Sections                                                            120pts     ( 320pts)
– Platoon 3 4 x M5 Halftracks + 3 Sections                                                            120pts     ( 440pts)
Carrier Patrol:    3 x Carrier                                                                                             70pts      ( 510pts)
Carrier Patrol:    3 x Carrier                                                                                             70pts      ( 580pts)
Carrier Patrol:    3 x Carrier                                                                                              70pts      ( 650pts)
Armoured Car Troop 2 x Daimler AC, 1 x Daimler Dingo SC                           90pts      ( 740pts)
Armoured Recce Squadron
– Squadron HQ 2 x Cromwell, 2 x Cromwell CS                                                    285pts      (1025pts)
– Troop 1:  3 x Cromwell                                                                                                    230pts      (1255pts)
– Troop 2:  3 x Cromwell                                                                                                    230pts      (1485pts)
– Troop 3:  3 x Cromwell                                                                                                    230pts      (1715pts)
– Troop 4:  3 x Cromwell                                                                                                    230pts      (1945pts)
– Troop 5: 3 x Cromwell                                                                                                     230pts      (2175pts)
Recce Troop: 3 x Stuart VI                                                                                              155pts       (2330pts)
SP A/T Troop:  4 x M10 Achilles IC                                                                             260pts      (2590pts)
Artillery:  1 x White SC, 2 x Sherman OP, 8 x Sexton                                           380pts       (2970pts)

To field this currently, I’d use my M3 halftracks to sub for the M5s until such time as I obtain enough M5s. I’ll need to buy another 7 Cromwells, 3 Stuart VIs, 3 x White Scout cars, 4 x Sextons. And if I really was smart I’d not do Armd Recce per se but do a 7th Armoured Div Armoured Squadron, which would allow me to drop the 5th Troop of Cromwells and add 4 x Fireflies. It’s a very realistic force to think about completing given how much I already have.

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Beginner’s Choice WW2 Armies: Part I An Overview

Posted by panzerschreckdesign on 2008, March 29

I had thought I’d outlined my plan for the late war armies somewhere in the mists of time but it doesn’t seem to have survived the various domain shuffles, hard drive crashes and now the packing of all my data backups.

Years ago when I was still doing 1/300th WW2 and thinking seriously about dabbling in 1/200th (for what reason I cannot remember) I often used Ian Shaw’s TTG army lists as a convenienty way of picking a force for a game. As I delved more into the esoterica of OOBs and TOEs I found there were issues of interpretation and research.However it was more the move away from gaming WW2 locally that consigned the army lists to the bookshelf.

It was only when I started collecting WW2 in 15mm that I returned to Shaw’s book. It wasn’t the army lists per se, but the little appendix of Beginners Choice armies. These armies were designed to “give any of the others a good fight, whichever set of rules is used.” and were “not balanced in points”. What struck me as I started working on Flames of War was just how similar the force sizes were to the upper limit of armies we were fielding at points in the playtest.

The four armies were:

British – Armoured Reconnaissance North West Europe late 1944
– Battlegroup HQ  (4 x Dingos, 2 x M5 Halftracks)
– Armoured Car Troop (2 x Daimler AC, 2 x Dingos)
– Armoured Recce Squadron (15 Cromwells, 3 x Stuarts, 4 x Challengers)
– Motor Infantry Company (3 halftrack platoons, 1 x Carrier Platoon)
– SP A/T Troop (4 x Archer)
– Artillery (8 x 25 pdr)

U.S. Army – Aemored Combat Command North West Europe 1945
– Battlegroup HQ (2 x M3a1 Halftracks, 2 x Jeeps)
– Recon Troop (3 x M8 Armored Cars, 6 x Jeeps)
– Medium Tank Company ( 12 x M4A3 Sherman 75/76, 1 x M4A3/105, 5 x M4A3E8 Sherman 76)
– Armored Infantry Company (20 x M3 Halftracks, 3 x jeeps, 3 x 57mm ATG)
– Tank Destroyer Platoon (4 x M18 Hellcats, 2 x M20 Armored cars)
– Artillery (6 x M7 Priest 105mm)

Russian (sic) Tank Corps 1944
– Battlegroup HQ (2 x T34/85)
– Scout platoon (4 x BA64 armoured cars)
– Medium Tank Company (10 x T34/85)
– Medium Tank Company (10 x T34/85)
– SMG Company (3 Platoons)
– SMG Company (3 Platoons)
– SP Platoon ( 4 x SU76M)
– Tank Destroyer Company ( 5 x SU100)

German Armoured Kampfgruppe 1944
– Battlegroup HQ (2 x Sdkfz 251 Halftracks, 1 x Sdkfz 7/1 with quad 20mm)
– Armoured Recce Troop (1 x Sdkfz 250/1, 2 x Sdkfz 250/9)
– Armoured Recce Troop (1 x Sdkfz 250/1, 2 x Sdkfz 250/9)
– Mixed Company
 CHQ 2 x Panther, 1 x Sdkfz 7/1 with Quad 20mm
 2 Platoons of 4 x Panther
 2 Platoons of Panzer Grenadiers in Sdkfz 251
 1 Platoon of Panzer Grenadier Heavy weapons in halftracks (2 x 81mm Mortar, 2 x 75mm short)
– Heavy Tank Platoon (4 x Tiger II)
– A/T Platoon (4 x Jagdpanzer IV/70)
– Artillery (4 x 105mm)

My personal viewpoint is that the German force is far too strong for any of the others and would make mincemeat of the US and the Soviets in short order given the preponderance of long 75s and the four Tiger IIs coupled with the lack of any Artillery of note for the Soviets.

However what immediately comes to mind is just how close I am to being able to field all four armies almost to the exact mix of vehicles. Obviously a few tweaks and substitutions are required, but when one takes into account what I already have, I’m pretty well set already.

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