D-Day: Waffen SS, an Overview

The SS DDay book is almost upon us and as usual we have got our hands on an advance copy to fill you in on the all the details about what this will bring to your local FOW table.  However, first and perhaps for the first time there is a need to quickly address an elephant in the room.

Yes the SS was a terrible thing and their actions represent a dark part of human history, however, playing them doesn’t make what they did okay, its just history and the game of FOW focuses on tactical engagements, not the off table war crimes committed.  So with that said lets park that discussion, and if you prefer, just consider this a German book with different stats for your forces.

On with the show

A lot has already been revealed about the SS book via Battlefront’s excellent Twitch Stream Q&A sessions.  But let’s recap the key points;

  •  The SS are aggressive, fearless, trained.
  • This comes with a points reduction over their Heer cousins to the tune of approx 18-23 %.
  • Formation HQ is still veteran and has the old hands rule providing 3+ tactics (blitz/shoot and scoot) to any platoon with its command team within 6 inches.
  • No headlining new tanks or units but new SS infantry sculpts plus the return of the 222 & 222 scout cars which you can recognize from Fortress Europe as well as the 231.
  • There are some excellent new missions which I can see becoming popular in FOW (Martin will do a separate article on these).
  • SS Tigers now have a straight 2+ morale for everything (I am looking at you counter-attack) for a 1pt increase per platoon.
  • Unit cards for SS and Heer will be included in new plastic boxes.
  • Pak38 is also back as a support option

I know a few people may be a bit disappointed here.  Despite BF being quite upfront with what’s coming, I think there was still somewhat of an expectation of a new tank or shiny must-have new mini to mix up the meta.  This, of course, isn’t there, however, what’s on offer is subtlety different and perhaps even better from a gamer POV.  A completely different way to play LW Germans and while it will probably make you look at purchasing some new options you could do many of these new lists with all your existing models.

Going deeper

Let’s have a look at the force organisation for the SS.

As discussed above, the headline is that its the same main formations as the DDay German book with the loss of the Beach Defence guys.  Support wise a few things have changed.  Gone are the Pak40s, and that’s a big deal, they are replaced with 5cm guns.  Now you can only take them as a formation support unit for the infantry formation.  What you do gain is up to 4 units of recce to support the force and dominate those games with the spearhead rule.  When playing with aggressive troops getting stuck in quickly is vital.

What is quite interesting is the options for tank formations.  Firstly the Panther formation allows a mix of Panthers, Tigers, as well as either Stugs or PZIVs.  Very much the right tools for different jobs.  Meanwhile, the Stugs and PZIV formation allow you to take both medium-sized hulls with a heavy choice as well.  Also worth noting that there is no StuH option for the SS StuGs.  Overall I think they are less versatile as a formation compared to the Fallschirmjager Stug formation in the German book however a full formation of 17 Stugs as well as 3 Quad AA guns (Maxed formation) for 87 pts isn’t to be sniffed at, especially when they are a 2+ remount and 3+ last stand.  Also interestingly their fearless rating gives them a 4+ counter and while they are assault guns so still suffer a 5+ assault value they are more viable in a fight now.

Here is what I am thinking

HQ 2 x SS Stug 10
5 x SS Stug 24
5 x SS Stug 24
4 x SS Stug 19
3 x Quad AA 5
4 x 8.8cm AA guns with assault gun card 6
SS 250 patrol 2
SS 250 patrol 2
3 x SS Wespes 7
Lucky card 1

That’s 100pt on the dot.  The assault gun card reduces the cost of 8.8cm AA guns by -1pt per gun.  In exchange, they gain 5+ last stand and become confident.  6pts for 4 x 88s umm yes, please! Also it’s worth noting that the same number of PZIvs with AA comes in at 81pts giving you

HQ 2 x SS PZIV 10
5 x PZIV 22
5 x PZIV 22
5 x PZIV 22
3 x Quad AA 5
4 x 8.8cm AA guns with assault gun card 6
SS 250 Patrol 2
3 x SS Wespes 7
Allied Beach Defence Grenadier Platoon with 7 stands of rifle/mg 4

Again 100 pts with 17 medium tanks, AA, 8 x AT14 shots, good arty and some cheap infantry.

Or more simply 22 PZIVs and recce for 100pts.  Again with 2+ remount, 3+ counter and last stand and a 4+ assault. That will give any T34 or Sherman army a run for its money.

Star of the show

For me, the star of the show is the new aggressive Panther.  At last, we have them in a more competitive point level after their recent absence compared to the better priced Tiger in the German book.  While they have the same stats as other SS, the aggressive is mitigated by FA9 and they get a whopping 23% price drop.  Also Fearless keeps them in the fight with a better remount.  Now while they are better I still don’t think you will be seeing a full formation of them ie 2+3+3+3.  You can do that at a squeeze into 100pts.  Very cool and also frighting to some matchups, you will struggle against infantry as you are no better off in an assault than a PZIV (and they get 22 of them!).  However, luckily you can swap pltns out allowing you to throw in Tigers and either Stugs or PZIvs.  That really helps, the Tigers scratch the assault itch while the Stugs are capable, still FA7 but a lot cheaper.

HQ 2 x SS Panther 20
3 x SS Panther 26
2 x SS Tiger 26
4 x SS PZIV 18
SS 250 patrol 2
3 x SS Wespe 7
Lucky 1

100pts

Still a little fragile but it has 4 core platoons which is nice.  Personally I think  3 x SS Panthers will be a popular formation support choice and also will be useful to the when playing Heer Germans as you may use the allies rule to include 1 formation support unit in your force.  4 for 35pts is also a powerful single reserve roll.

If you did want to go heavier on the Panthers (as they do look cool!)

Hq 2 x Panther 20
3 x Panther 26
3 x Panther 26
4 x Sd Kfz 10/4 SS Light AA Platoon 4
250 patrol

Tiger King

Equally 3 x ‘vanilla’ Tigers have always been a popular choice due to you getting 36pts on the table with a single reserve roll.  Perfect for a defensive infantry force.  Now you can get 3 x SS ones for 37pts.  Tigers with 3+ counter are going to be great.   Get a formation commander near them and those bad boys are pushing almost anything off an objective.  Literally, why would you not pay the extra point?

1pt for all your tigers in a platoon to get 2+ counter-attack and follow me…..

I have had quite a bit of luck running 7 Tigers but the SS makes a new option

HQ 2 x SS Tiger 25
3 x Tiger 37
5 x PZIV 22
3 x Wespe 7
3 x Quad AA 5
2 x SS 250 patrols 4

Now it’s not to everyone’s taste but that’s a scary list.  It’s not for beginners, it will have to be carefully played and will be tough in reserves but against a lot of lists, it will be great.  Equally against some lists, you will have a really tough time!

What about the infantry

I will be honest for me the SS book is really about the tank options.  They hugely stand out for me as things I want to play with that said there are loads of interesting options for the SS inf with the points drop.  The issue is I just think the Heer with their cautious rating and Grey Hound card do it better and in some cases cheaper. 

That said Fearless really appeal to others approach who like to be more aggressive with their infantry.  They will keep advancing!  My top pick is the panzergrenadiers.  They are cheap and can afford to max out platoons, plus unlike their Heer version get a full-sized 8cm mortar platoon.  Also worth noting that SS mortars are Vet.

HQ 2 x SMGs, inexperienced card (no old hands rule) 1
7 x MG teams, panzerfaust, panzershrek 11
7x MG teams, panzerfaust, panzershrek 11
7 x MG teams with panzerfaust, panzershrek 11
4 x 8cm mortars 5
3 x 7x5cm Pak40s 9
4 x AA 8.8cm guns with assault gun card and Pak front 12
3 x SS Tigers 37
SS 250 recce patrol 2 
Lucky 1

I like this, you can leave the Tigers in reserve with the mortars and lay down 3  platoons that tanks won’t be keen to come near and have bags of MG dice all backed up by solid AT and a recce screen.  Plus it has smoke and a average bombardment.  3 x Tigers come on first reserve roll, magic!  The Pak Front is fantastic (same rule as the German book) reduces the effectiveness of enemy artillery against those vital 88s.  Plus it removes the downside of the 5+ last stand from the assault gun card.

Summing up

These are a new auto-include with the command card option.

The SS Book brings some interesting options to the table and sits well alongside its German DDay counterpart.  The key thing that we will see on the table is the new Tiger.  As I said earlier for 1 pt per platoon it gains 2+ follow me and counter assault. 

The latter is brutal to take an objective (or regain one).  It’s really a no brainer and further increases the Tiger over the Heer Panther.  That said the SS Panther is interesting at 8.6 pts each now, however, I still think they will be seen as a supporting option far more than as a formation. 

Infantry wise you can create a solid all-round list however I still think the Greyhound Heer version nips the SS here, especially as you can take the same SS Tigers as formation support. 

The combination of cheap 8.8 AA combined with the assault gun card will be almost an auto-include for every army and you can add pakfront for the same cost as 4 x Heer versions.  I have already played some games with the SS and these guys have been a headache to every opponent. Allied players have to have an answer to AT14 Pak fronts.

In conclusion the book rounds off the German forces allowing new options rather than new forces to the Axis on the western front.  What will be interesting to see is how BF develop the SS for the latter parts of the war such as Battle of the Bulge. 

Late (hopefully) FA10 panthers with aggressive could be very interesting as would King Tigers with counter-assault 2+ backed up by cheap SS troops.

Category: Flames of WarGermansLate WarList Discussion

7 comments

  1. Great info guys, thank you so much, you gave me food for the thought. The news are not that great, part from that awsome PZ 4 cost. Just wonder how much would a 4 tank Platoon cost? Tigers should be taken in platoons of 3 for sure now being cheaper than 2 per piece. Panthers are also a good option as long as you play them just as support as you said, and I think taking 3 or 4 Panthers will be much better than the tigers. Do we still have stummels? Keep up the good work and fill us in on the cards as well… from what you showed us they look like the ones in D-Day and that is a bit sad 🙁

  2. 4 Panzer 4 is 18.

    No stummels

    3 tigers are excellent. Panther is okay but poor assault and easily killed when flanked. Tiger is more expensive but way better. However at least now both have a place.

    8 panthers, 4 panzer4, wespe, recce

    1. Great news Soren! Thanks. I liked representing Wiking Division on the table (a favorite) in V3 and always take my platoon of 4-6 SdKfz 251/9 “Stumps”. One is labeled Caspar Sporck on it’s belly and has a distinct vehicle commander.

  3. Thanks Mark. Sounds like BF has delivered exactly as promised giving us some interesting options as well as clearly listening to the panther criticisms so we have much better priced panthers. Nice job.

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Article by: Mark Goddard