Pushing Von Luck

Creating Kampfgruppe Luck in Flames of War

No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy

– Helmuth von Moltke the Elder

The Background

Those words may have come from the lips from an early age but they still hold true today and certainly held true on the 6th June 1944.

On paper, the 21st Panzer Division was set up like any number of Panzer Grenadier Divisions across German forces on either Front with a single Panzer Regiment and two Panzer Grenadier Regiments as well as associated support and logistics units creating a formidable force opposing the Normandy Beaches:

  • 22nd Panzer Regiment
  • 125th Panzer Grenadier Regiment
  • 192nd Panzer Grenadier Regiment
  • 155th Panzer Artillery Regiment
  • 21st Panzer Aufklärungs Abteilung
  • 200th Panzerjäger Abteilung
  • 200th Sturmgeschütz Abteilung
  • 305th FlaK Abteilung
  • 220th Panzer Pionier Battalion

This is all very neat and proper and probably how OKW had the Division laid out on their strategic maps of the French coastline defences. The reality that dawned on the 6th June, along with the Allied troops storming up the sand of Normandy, was very different indeed.

Almost immediately the 21st Panzer adopted combined arms battlegroups, Kampfgruppes,  with the Panzer and Panzer-Grenadier regiments as the core of these formations. There were three Kampfgruppes in total: Kampfgruppe Oppeln (22nd Panzer), Kampfgruppe Von Luck (125th Panzer Grenadier) and Kampfgruppe Rauch (192nd Panzer Grenadier).

These three battle groups each had their own unique flavour to them.
Kampfgruppe Oppeln retained the bulk of its panzer regiment and was, therefore, the main armoured punch of the division but this was now supplemented by armoured, and motorised infantry from Von Luck. 

Kampfgruppe Rauch retained almost the entire complement of its infantry and was intended to support the armoured thrust of Oppeln. 

Kampfgruppe Von Luck was a well-rounded force containing amour, infantry and the totality of the 200th Sturmgeschütz Abteilung and therefore extremely capable of independent action. 

On the 6th of June, Rauch performed a classic infantry and anti-tank holding action north of Caen, while Oppeln prepared to support him and launch his own armoured counter-attack against the bridgehead. Meanwhile, Von Luck was operating east of the Orne against in an ongoing struggle against British and Canadian paratroopers. Separated from the rest of the division by the very nature of the Normandy terrain.

The Force

So how do we create a good representation of Kampfgruppe Von Luck in a Late War game of Flames of War? Well, let’s dig a little deeper into the units that constituted the Kapfgruppe in June 1944. 

The main elements of Kampfgruppe Von Luck were as follows:

  • 2nd (Mot.) Bataillon (125th Panzer Grenadier Regiment)
  • 3rd (SPW)Panzergrenadier Kompanie (125th Panzer Grenadier Regiment)
  • 9th Kompanie (125th Panzer Grenadier Regiment)
  • 10th Werfer Kompanie (125th Panzer Grenadier Regiment)
  • 21st Panzer Aufklärungs Abteilung
  • 1st Kompanie (SPW) 220th Panzer Pionier Battalion
  • 1st Kompanie 716th Pionier Battalion
  • 200th Sturmgeschütz Abteilung
  • 1st Bataillon 155th Panzer Artillerie Regiment

The core has to be the Panzer Grenadier Regiment from the new 21st Panzer booklet so let’s start there:

  • 21st Panzer, Panzer Grenadier Company HQ
    2 x MP40 SMG Team
    2 x U304(f)
    Panzerfaust anti-tank upgrade
  • 21st Panzer, Panzer Grenadier Platoon
    7 x MG42 teams
    7 x U304(f) – 1 with 3.7cm AT gun
    Panzerfaust anti-tank upgrade
  • 21st Panzer, Panzer Grenadier Platoon
    7 x MG42 teams
    Panzerfaust anti-tank upgrade
    21st Panzer Command Card: Soft Skin Transport 

This gives us a great foundation of a list and mirrors the motorised and mechanised elements of the original Kampfgruppe. There are some more support elements that we can include in our main formation so let’s add those in now too:

  • S307(f) Tank Hunter Platoon
    3 x S307 (f) 7.5cm
  • Reihenwerfer Multiple Mortar Section
    2 x S307(f) (8cm Reihenwerfer)

This gives us some mobile, long-range AT capability and a devastating salvo barrage to deal with infantry and gun teams. I realise that there are only 2 models in the Mortar unit but justifying the cost of all four is a bit problematic. The Salvo template alleviates some of the downsides by having such a large target area. 

As the whole of the 200th Panzerjäger Abteilung was assigned to Kampfgruppe Von Luck, I’m going to choose to include a second company; the Hotchkiss Assault Gun Company.

  • 21st Panzer 7.5cm (sf) Hotchkiss Assualt Gun Company HQ
    1 x S307(f) (7.5cm PaK 40)
  • 21st Panzer 7.5cm (sf) Hotchkiss Assualt Gun Platoon
    3 x  S307(f) (10.5cm)
  • 21st Panzer 7.5cm (sf) Hotchkiss Assualt Gun Platoon
    3 x  S307(f) (7.5cm PaK 40)
  • Sd Kfz 10/4 Light AA Platoon
    2 x 10/4 (2cm)
    21st Panzer Command Card: Armoured Flak Half-Tracks
    *These will be used as U304(f) (2cm FlaK 38) models*

This gives us more mobile AT 12 in a cheap second formation; it’s not a strong formation but it is also not our primary force, as well as a strong self-propelled 10.5cm battery for direct or indirect fire supplort. To complement this I’m also going to add the Major himself in his Panzer IV.

Hans Von Luck is a decent investment in points but he has some excellent special rules. Scout is always handy for Germans with their high To Hit ratings but the ability to pass Tactics rolls on a 2+ within 6″ will make those Blitz + Shoot & Scoot attempts with your lightly armoured mobile PaK 40s much more reliable. On top of all of that, you have a re-roll on Reserves as some icing on the proverbial cake AND he is still a Panzer IV; costly but I think he’s really useful.

Finally, with the points we have left from our 100pts allocation we can include some Support in our force. I’ve opted to include some assets from the 1st Bataillon 155th Panzer Artillerie Regiment but you do have some flexibility. 

  • 10.5cm Artillery Battery
    4 x 10.5cm howitzers
    D-Day German Command Card: 265th Infantry Division, Russian Guns. Making them 12.2cm FH 396(r)

I am cheating a little here as you need the D-Day Command Cards in order to include the 122mm capture Russian guns but they were there and in Kampfgruppe Von Luck so it seems appropriate to include them 

I don’t believe that this is a super competitive, fine-tune and honed list, but I believe it says true to the spirit of the forces available to the 21st Panzer in those desperate days following the overwhelming force of the Allied invasion on D-Day.

I need to invest in some more 7.5cm PaK 40 auf 39H(f) and try and see if I can find a 15mm manufacturer of a Panzerbeobachtungswagen 39H(f) for the 200th Sturmgeschütz Abteilung and then I can give this list a run out on the tabletop (answers on a postcard if anyone knows of one!).

In the meantime don’t forget your (f) suffixes
– Dunc

Category: Flames of WarGermansLate WarV4

3 comments

  1. Very neat, Duncan!
    In your Background you descrobe 21 Pz Divn as a typical Panzer Grenadier Division lay out. I gather it’s a slip of the pen, as it has a Stan 1944 Panzer Division organization with an added StuG Abt ( As the Pz Gren Divns were supposed to have as a stop gap Tank Bn). Love the 122 mm (r) Houwitzers !

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Article by: Duncan Gosling