Today we continue our look into the assorted flavours of German forces from the new Bulge German book. I’m taking a look at the “Brigade” forces.
I like to think that if they were an ice cream, they would probably be mint choc chip. If they were a flavour of crisps, they’d possibly be prawn cocktail. Basically, they won’t be to everyone’s taste, but if you’re a bit weird then you’ll really like them.
Good news: I’m a bit weird – although I still don’t like prawn cocktail crisps – they are just plain wrong.
Left boot goes on left foot
The troops in the Brigades are not the same crack German troops that invaded France in 1940 or the Soviet Union in 1941. Due to the war not entirely going in Germany’s favour, the training of replacement troops has been shortened to approximately 5 minutes; just enough time show the new recruits which boot goes on which foot and how to snap off a nice crisp salute.
In game terms that means that the Brigade forces stats, as standard, are:
Morale: Reluctant 5+ – although they do get an improved last stand of 4+
Skill: Trained 4+
Is hit on: Aggressive 3+
All this means that whilst their skill stat is still not bad, they are easier to hit and more likely to run away.
Only the best….. nearly
What the Brigade forces lack in training and experience they more than make up for in equipment. They receive only best that German industry can make…. well after the SS have had their pick of it of course.
The Brigade section on the Bulge German force list looks like this:
As you can see that’s two tank formations, two armoured infantry formations, and some poor sods who have to walk everywhere.
First up we have a panther company. These are using the late model version, so are basically as good as the panther is going to get. But, as you all know, I hate Panthers just on principle because its an awful tank. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the Germans built them as it probably helped shorten the war.
Anyway, the very best thing about the Panther in the Brigade forces is the cost. Due to the poor stats it means these Panthers are significantly cheaper than the standard German ones and even the SS version.
Three Brigade Panthers are less than 2/3rds the cost of three Heer Panthers, meaning fielding three platoons of them won’t break the points bank., although they do only come three to a Platoon, so there isn’t the option for a fourth one.
In regards to the formation, the CHQ is one or two Panthers and your two black boxes are platoons of 3, 3 and only 3 Panthers. Then the first grey box is Panthers, Panzer IV/70s or stugs, and the final one is a platoon of Wirbelwinds to help keep enemy air at bay.
Next up we have the classic German tank, the Panzer IV, possibly the tankiest looking tank that ever did tank. These are the same late model ones that we have had throughout the late war, so I wont bother going over those stats again.
As with the Panthers, these are very points cheap. They are in fact the cheapest Panzer IVs in late war, even cheaper than Romanian ones.
The formation is a bit thin on options though:
The CHQ has to be two tanks, but the Panzer IV platoons can be three or four hulls. To give you an idea of just how cheap these are, a full company of 14 tanks is only 45 points. They also still get protected ammo, so might actually have a chance of getting back in when they get bailed.
Now things are going to get a little bit more interesting as we move onto the armoured infantry formations, and when I say more interesting, what I actually mean is a just plain silly amount of flak halftracks.
The infantry Brigade formations were known as casseroles to the Germans as they contained a small amount of old meat and a lot of green vegetables, but these vegetables have access to the new triple 15mm halftrack.
The armoured infantry come in two flavours; the assault company and the panzergrenadier company. The biggest difference is that the infantry platoons in the assault company have assault riles, whilst the Panzergrenadiers have MG42s. The Panzergrenadiers can also have one more unit of the flak halftracks, which I’ll come to in a moment.
The big thing you need to know about these formations is that you can only take two platoons of infantry in them, and only one of those is mandatory. the other mandatory platoon is a unit of the flak halftracks, which I keep mentioning, so I best discuss those now.
The flak halftracks come in two flavours; 2cm and triple 15mm, but you will always want to take the triple 15mm ones. The only difference in stats is the RoF, for the triple 15mm its 5/3, whereas the 2cm has to cope with a measly 3/2, and it’s only 1 point more per unit for the triple 15s, so it really is a no brainer.
They both come in units of 3 or 6: in the assault company you can have 3 units and in the panzergrenadier company you can have four units. Yes, that’s right, in the Brigade panzergrenadier company you can 24 triple 15mm flak halftracks, putting out a total of 120 shots a turn; if they all stay still, at least. That’s so much dakka it could make an ork blush. Of course, they are made of wet tissue paper and have rubbish motivation so will die in droves and then run away. Looks like those Soviet AT rifles still have a use after all.
The rest of the Armoured infantry formation options are the usual mix of support halftracks including, mortars, 7.5cm gun (the short ones) and flamethrowers, with some foot slogging 12cm mortars and two units of panzer IV/70s rounding out the formation.
All in all, they are a very nice neat little package able to throw out a frankly ridicules amount of heavy machine gun dice back up with the AT punch of the panzer IV/70s. Their big weakness will be the fact they are hit on 3s and their poor morale: they truly are a glass cannon. I shall be doing a list building article on them soon.
Last and very, very much least we come to the poor foot slogging infantry. These have no cool options, its just infantry with low morale with some mortars, machine guns, and middling power AT guns for company.
The infantry platoons don’t even get the option of Panzerschreks. I should point out that the armoured version doesn’t get those either, but they don’t miss them as much. There isn’t really much else to say about them other than that.
Don’t touch that metaphorical dial
That concludes my overview of the Brigade forces in the new German Bulge book, which really could have don’t with a snappier title, but at least I guess it’s descriptive. In summary, if you want dirt cheap Panthers, Panzer IVs or hordes of flak half-tracks, you’ve come to the right place, and if that’s not your glass of schnapps then stay tuned for more German Bulge coverage.
In the meantime, I’m now off to see how many triple 15mm halftracks I can fit in an army.