So here we are, another sneak peek at the new Command Cards for the latest release for Flames of War, this time it’s the snowy boots and tracks of the Bulge American release. Now, as always we aren’t going to cover every single card here – merely a smattering to whet your appetites for the delicious flavour that these cards can add to your games.
4th Infantry Division “Ivy”
The 4th Infantry Division “Ivy” was the first division ashore on Utah Beach in June 1944 are rightfully weary by the time that December 1944 rolls around. The Title Card allows you to include a battery of M7 Priests in your Rifle Company rather than 105mm cannons, giving you the options of the Priests or the 105mm Shermans. Now, you could do this in the D-Day list too but what I think shines through here is the fact that the Shermans are now Veterans and are therefore significantly more points. You can squeeze in 3 Priests for less than the price of two 105mm Shermans and add some stonk to your Rifle company.
291st Engineer Combat Battalion “Damned Engineers!”
The engineers, and their shenanigans, are synonymous with the Ardennes Offensive so it is nice to see their inclusions as a complete, bulked out formation in this set of Command Cards. In the D-Day iteration, you had a very light formation, but now using the Glider Rifle Company as a base you can field a much more rounded company with HMGs and 57mm anti-tank guns – just watch the cost though!
761st Tank Battalion
The 761st Tank Batallion was attached to the 26th Infantry Division in Patton’s Third US Army and certainly made many patriots in the German army during the Battle of the Bulge. They were also used by Patton to man checkpoints to guard against disguised German units operating in US uniforms. For the inability to take the Pershing and Super Pershing tank in formation all your Shermans gain the flat Skill 3+ statistic rather than relying on Yankee Ingenuity for Tactics rolls.
For a very small cost, this makes your Shermans much more reliable in assault and also has the added benefit of making those HQ observations actions better too. I’m not convinced that you need the Pershing so sacrificing that inclusion in your force is a small concession.
99th Infantry Division
Break out your D-Day – American book because the Battle Babies are here! Forget being Battle Weary these troops are fresh and green. Using the Rifle platoon from D-Day you lose your 3+ Rally but gain a 3+ Counterattack and 3+ Last Stand… pretty handy! The better Rally is nice but I really like this combination which really makes it tough to shift from a defensive position.
LVT-4 Amtrac Transport
I love the Amtrac. It is awesome. As an addition to Battle Weary Rifle Platoon, it gives you some real options. Because of the huge carrying capacity, you only get a couple of vehicles but those are loaded up with machine guns and can allow you to sneak about in more easily than a big blob of infantry usually can. I think you might see a few of these about.
76mm High Velocity AP (HVAP)
AT 13 – Yes, please… YES PLEASE! The capping of the available AT for the US at the moment at 12 is a known factor having a cheap way to bring that up to 13 now opens up some different threat vectors. Panzer IVs no longer have any chance to save at close range and Tigers now need a 6 to avoid any damage from the side. That is all pretty nice. It generally makes your 76mm guns more threatening and more intimidating to your foe – why wouldn’t you like that!
The best American paratroopers get access to Jumpin’ Jim Gavin as a Warrior card for the Bastogne Parachute Rifle Company and he evens things up nicely when it comes to Reserves. Normally the fewer units you have in your 40% Reserve the better, well Gavin changes this. By having a higher number of units in your Reserve pool the more chance you have to deny those all-important Reserves from turning up.
Richard “Dick” Winters led the heroic defence of Bastogne against 15 divisions of German forces for more than a week until relieved and this card reflects that stubborn refusal to budge in the face of overwhelming odds. Any units in your formation rally on a 2+. Flat. No range requirements of the command stand. Just rally on a 2+.
But there is more – if your units command stands are with 8″ of Winters, rather than the usual 6″, get to reroll their other Motivation checks. Goodness, this will make your force incredibly tough to break or keep in check.