11th Panzer – Ghost Division

To start 2022 I’ve decided to build some Germans!

Not only that, but mid-war Germans and tanks to boot! With Battlefronts announcement of two new Mid War compendiums for the Desert and Eastern Front and Lee organising Dak Dak Goes Fourth in February I found myself rereading the current MW books. There is some great background information in these and I was drawn by the paragraph below about the  Ghost Division, covering the Panzer Divisions operations on the Eastern Front in 1943, and the accompanying Regimental diagram for the 8th Kompanie, Panzer Regiment 11, 6 Panzer Division, 3rd Panzer Korps July 1943.

This is interesting……
How many points is this?

As you can see this kompanie had a mix of all three late model Panzer III tanks, 5cm, 7.5cm and Flampanzers, as well as some new later model Panzer IV tanks. After a bit of research I found some more insight suggesting that the Panzer III tanks the regiment had covered everything from older Panzer III J’s and L’s which had been upgraded
(represented by models with 5cm uparmoured guns with some shurtzen) to brand new Panzer III M (represented by 5cm late model kits) and N (represented by 7.5cm late model kits) models.

The Flampanzers will follow a similar pattern of mix and match with the shurtzen based on the photo below. This offers me a nice modelling opportunity to make some different kits which I like the idea of and not everything is exactly the same which visually appealed to me.

The HQ would get a Panzer IV Beob command tank with a StuG cupola to make it stand out even more.

Flampanzer III in action. interesting there is no sign of Schurzen.
Image from Nevington War Museum website

I already have a large MW Panzer Regiment for the Iron Cross period and these are in a 1942 winterised colour scheme over the older dark grey base, but who can’t resist the opportunity to paint up some camouflaged tanks? Err…me!
So I am going to proceed with this project with nice new plastic Battlefront models but, luckily not too many at first! Also I don’t intend to paint them all the same to represent the mix of new and older tanks in the Kompanie.

My original Panzer Regiment 11 in winter 42 paint scheme

After getting a bit of a buzz going from the modelling opportunity I started to think about how I could represent and play with this Kompamie on the tabletop in a historically reflective manner rather than just build a generic all around gaming list. First up I started by pointing up the diagram – oh dear that won’t work for a game, the five platoons in full come in at an eye-watering 222 points with the attached platoon of Flampanzers!

First up, this list won’t be very balanced as the very high cost of the German tanks makes this an all or nothing type list. Before getting on to the Battlefield Hobbies website and ordering a random collection of stuff I needed to think carefully on how to make the list, one that reflected on the real 8 Kompanie and that offers me some way to play an effective game.

To do this I could only really afford to include two of the Panzer Platoons and make them understrength as well, so this will be a very brittle formation. I will need to win quickly; I can’t fight a war of attrition, my platoons won’t last long being both small and few in number.
I have gone with an HQ, platoons 1 and 2 with their mix of Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks and rather than the third platoon I have added the platoon of Flampanzer III.

The first batch of  models the Kompanies new Panzer IV (late 7.5cm) tanks.

My HQ will get just a single Panzer IV (late 7.5cm) to lead the Regiment, I’d have liked both tanks but just can’t fit in the second. I went with the Panzer IV as this offered me a more flexible way to use the few Panzer IV tanks I could get into the list. From Platoon 1, I have dropped the Panzer III 7.5cm and the Panzer IV to leave me with a platoon of 3 Panzer III (5cm late) tanks, a rather generic option but which, if led by the HQ, will make a decent anti-armour platoon which will be a challenge for MW Soviet Armour to counter.

Platoon 2 retains the Panzer III 7.5cm but I have dropped the second Panzer IV giving me a bigger platoon with a good all-around capability – this is my key platoon in gaming terms. The final platoon in my list is equipped with the Flampanzers. I took these as they provide excellent fire against infantry and guns and give me a way to deal with troops in buildings but do have the drawback that they can’t start an assault, so I will need them to work with one of my other platoons to deliver victory. The list I have come up with is this:

  • HQ platoon – 1 Panzer IV (late 7.5cm) 13pts
  • Platoon 1 – 3 x Panzer III (late 5cm) 25pts
  • Platoon 2 – 1 x Panzer IV (late 7.5cm) 2 x Panzer III (late 5cm), 1 x Panzer III (late 7.5cm) 39 pts
  • Paltoon 4  – 3 x Flampanzer III 22pts

The eagle-eyed amongst you will have spotted this list is just 99 points, that’s because if I use all 100 points I will have problems with reserves losing 2 platoons, this way I can start with just one platoon in reserve if needed. The list is very much a surgical scalpel with only 11 tanks in it.

The overall basic tactics are to try to attack swiftly on a narrow frontage, using the flame tanks to quickly close on the target objective and act rather like very short-ranged artillery once there. You can do this in MW as defending infantry platoons generally have fewer integrated AT assets to threaten the tanks with from close range. These will initially be supported by my larger platoon which can launch any required assaults once the flame tanks have done the softening up. The smaller platoon and my HQ will provide covering fire and, hopefully, break up the Soviet armour.

So there you have it my take on a historically orientated way to reflect Panzer Regiment 11 on the tabletop, if you follow us on Facebook you will be able to see how the building and painting are progressing. I’ll get an AAR organised as soon as they are all tabletop finished. Oh, I’ve also created a more generic gaming list representing Panzer Division 11 at Kursk but more on that later. For now, thanks for reading and I hope this gives you some inspiration to look at your gaming a bit differently.