This is the end for Germany.— Maj. Werner Pluskat, 352d Infantry Division at dawn on 6 June.
Having pushed our way up Omaha with the D-Day American book it is time to look at the other side of the Atlantik Wall and try and throw the Allies back into the Channel with the D-Day German book.
Addressing the Elephant
Before we go any further, and not to be negative, and in the interests of transparency I think it’s important to address some of the things that aren’t in the D-Day German book. I’ve done this upfront so that readers are aware and to forestall any internet rage because, on the whole, this is another excellent addition to the V4 collection.
21st Panzer is not present in this book. Fear not though as we have received a note stating that they will be available later on as an official online force with cards.
As a 21st Panzer commander, I’m pleased that these will be coming in the future but in the meantime, there is plenty of new opportunities to explore in the new book so let’s dive straight in.
Like their US counterparts, there is the same full-colour illustrations and information that were present in the US D-Day book. Still useful, still lovely…
The available forces to recreate the majority of the units under Army Group B as well as Panzer Group West. Like the Americans, the list is split; this time into D-Day Forces (Beach Defenders and Fallschirmjager) and The Normandy Campaign Forces (Panzer Formation).
Beach Defence Grenadier Company
Fancied playing the Eastern Front veterans of the 352nd Infantry Division or the extremely reluctant 716th Static Infantry Division then you now can. All the defenders are part of the Beach Defence Grenadier company, and should you wish to, you can add flavour to this base formation using 2 or 3 cards from the Command Cards to give you different units.
If you are looking for a hardy, highly skilled and tough as old boots infantry keep heading down to the Fallschirmjagers but these boys are plentiful and work really well opposed to the US Boat Platoons. You have access to plentiful artillery and HMG platoons “in formation” as well as some integral AT capability.
They aren’t by any stretch the elite Panzer Grenadiers that you have enjoyed in Mid-War but they are appropriately costed and can have 2 x Panzerschreks, 2 x HMGs and a Panzerfaust making them a chunky unit.
Like chalk and cheese sit the Fallschirmjagers next to the Beach Defenders; they are motivated, skillful and tough to hit and on top of all of that the platoons are large! On the downside, they are very pricey but you really do get what you pay for – 14 x Fearless, Veteran troops should be.
The other issue is that your support options pay for their Motivation, Veteran and Is Hit On values so are also a tad expensive.
Fallschirmjager StuG Assualt Gun Company
This lovely little formation was an unexpected, but most welcome, inclusion in this book. Not only is it nice having a StuG formation but the addition of an integral infantry unit is super – another way to drop in some Fallschirmjagers should you feel inclined – but they are also Fearless.
That’s right 3+ Motivation and Front Armour 7 – lovely stuff. This gives them a real, discernable differentiator to the Panzer formations later on.
Having the option of the StuH also gives you some barrage template support without having to dip into the Support options, so all, in all, it is a very self-sufficient inclusion.
Tiger Tank Company
That’s right – the Tiger Company is back! All the long-barrelled 88mm gun you can handle and now with an integral AA slot for either SdKfz 10/4 or 7/1 which is really handy.
The Tiger is pretty much the same as the iteration from Fortress Europe so I won’t dwell too long here; suffice to say it was good, it is still good.
Panther Tank Company
The little brother of the Tiger is present and still sleek and deadly. There is a new option to mix a Tiger platoon into a Panther company which could be a real benefit.
Again, you have an integral AA asset in the form of the SdKfz 10/4 or the newly arrived Mobelwagen.
The powerful 37mm gun gives you some decent, mobile AA for your Panzer troops but being Careful 4+ is definitely going to be the best armour.
Panzer IV Tank Company
Like the Panther Company, one of your Formation compulsory slots can be Panthers or Tigers and I think that this makes the Panzer IV Tank Company the go-to armoured formation for German commanders.
Having that tremendous high AT as a core platoon means that you don’t have to compromise on your formation strength to include it. The Panzer IV is it’s familiar self and is the match of the majority of the opposing armour that you will see coming across the table at you.
Armoured Panzergrenadier Company
When it comes to listing the Panzergrenadier units that are in the formation it is probably easier to simply list what is NOT in their formation.
You will almost certainly run out of points before you run out of options! There are options for artillery support and AT, as you would expect, as well as Flame-Throwers, AA and HMGs.
The platoons themselves have plenty of integral AT with up to three panzerschrecks and one panzerfaust but like the Fallschirmjagers you will chew through points with these platoons if you fully load them up.
The formation composition of the Panzergrenadiers is broadly the same as their armoured incarnation – the armoured mortars become an 8cm mortar platoon and you gain the option of 12cm mortars over the 75mm armed SdKfz 251/9 “Stummel”- but they are very similar.
What is new is the inclusion of ground-mounted AA guns in the form of the 2cm Light AA Platoon as part of the formation. Nice to have these handy little guns back in the book and in V4.
This might be the cream of the crop in terms of the D-Day German book and might hold some kind of record for the variety of choices in the formation.
The options are a little mind-bending with 10 available slots to fill. The Reconnaissance Platoons themselves are only slightly less tooled up than their SdKfz 251 counterparts but with far more available SdKfz 250 hulls… that’s a lot of MG fire.
Again you will burn through points but you have some excellent, cost-effective in formation options available to you; the SdKfz and SdKfz 250 gun variants.
A lot of the support units are the same as their inclusion in Fortress Europe but there are some awesome new units too.
Jagdpanzer IV Tank Hunter Platoon
The first of the flat panzers makes its V4 debut in the form of the Jagdpanzer IV – and very nice it is too!
Similar to the earlier StuGs this lovely looking beast will add some additional hitting power to Panzergrenadier formations.
8.8cm Tank-Hunter Platoon
And while we are talking about tank hunters, the D-Day German book also gives us the PAK43 on the gorgeous cruciform mounts.
Got a problem with Churchills? Not any more with these AT17 monsters. Aside from there considerable hitting power they really are a beautiful new plastic model which if you are a German player or collector you should probably own.
There is another linked campaign to fight your way through with your friends – this time simulation German counter-offensives after the beach landings; again a lovely touch that introduces some new scenarios for us to play.
These have got some really cool ideas incorporated into them and will add a nice bit of variety to games overall. I really like the look of the Armoured Fury scenario.
And wrapping things up there is a rather nice section on various painting guides using the new Vallejo paints – always handy for new and veteran player alike.
My initial, personal, disappointment aside I think that the German D-Day book is another strong instalment in the V4 library. There are some, apparent, stand out formations but I would not rule out the Beach Defenders if for nothing more they give the German player access to a cheaper troop type which will lead to a different playing dynamic.
Overall I’m very interested now to see the British and SS books next year – Battlefront is well into Late War now and it’s going to be interesting to see where we go next.