Berlin German : Old Men and no reserves!

With the release of Bulge German my long awaited plan can finally come together. Namely a viable (in fact I would say rather good) army with none of the dreaded reserves. How can you accomplish such trickery and shenanigans I hear you cry….well settle down I will tell you tale of the Volkssturm.

Volkssturm represent the desperate attempt to defend Berlin with those not fit to fight (eg old men) drafted, given old weaponry, bags of Panzerfausts and the chance to repel the invader.

Now bear with me here because I know they are not great, but look closely and see the local militia rule. This means they count as on 0pts when calculating reserves. This means that field 40 points of them (in a 100pt game) and you have no reserves and a heck of a lot of troops (and Fausts) on the board.

The best thing is that they bought their friends in the Command Cards, namely Mortars, HMGs and 7.5cm Infantry Guns. The Volkssturm feature in the Berlin Battlegroup;

I can therefore field 3 platoon, mortars and guns, oh and then do it again. It is worth noting the HQ cant be Volkssturm though. My 40pts looks like:

Hq 4
Full Str Volkssturm Platoon 5
Full Str Volkssturm Platoon 5
Full Str Volkssturm Platoon 5
4 x Volkssturm HMG with nests 4
4 x Volkssturm 8cm Mortars 3
2 x Volksturm 7.5cm Inf Guns 4

Hq 4
Full Str Volkssturm Platoon 5
Full Str Volkssturm Platoon 5
4 x Volkssturm 8cm Mortars 3
2 x Volksturm 7.5cm Inf Guns 4

Total = 43 pts of Volkssturm (ie your reserves) and 51pt grand total

The BF models are lovely.

Before adding anything else lets note that we have 12 Faust shots, 4 x templates (all with smoke) and 4 x HMGs to provide DF when holding a position (your older gentlemen only have rifles). Given that a LMG in the platoons is 1pt and you can get 4 x HMGs for 2 guess what everyone will pick (#100ptsystem).

To fill out my remaining force I start with some recce, SS armoured cars at 2pt will do the job I need. Now I add something nasty. 3 x King Tigers from the training platoon. Sure they aren’t as good as SS but they are 41pts for 3 and I can downgrade to FA15 (oh no how will I survive 🙂 ), for a total 3pt saving. Next up is 4 x Luftwaffe 8.8cm Heavy AA Railway guns. Yup I love getting a second ambush and I also like the price of 8pts. This provides some hard hitting AT to add to the King Tigers ensuring I can kill at range and then up close with the fausts.

The full list is therefore

Formation 1
Hq 4
Full Str Volkssturm Platoon 5
Full Str Volkssturm Platoon 5
Full Str Volkssturm Platoon 5
4 x Volkssturm HMG with nests 4
4 x Volkssturm 8cm Mortars 3
2 x Volksturm 7.5cm Inf Guns 4

Formation 2
Hq 4
Full Str Volkssturm Platoon 5
Full Str Volkssturm Platoon 5
2 x Volksturm 7.5cm Inf Guns 4
4 x Volkssturm 8cm Mortars 3

3 x Tiger II training platoon (with Porche command card) 38
SS SDKFZ 250 recce platoon 2
4 x Luftwaffe 8.8cm Heavy AA railway way guns 8
Lucky 1

Total = 100pts

All on table, every game…..

Now the big draw back here (before we talk tactics) is that you need to paint it all. That’s 49 inf stands, 4 x HMG nests, and 12 x mortars/guns, even before you get to support!

When you see a mixture like this you quickly understand the 6+ last stand!


I am excited by this but it wont be all smiles and walks in the (rubble wrecked) park. 5 platoons of infantry just isn’t really seen, especially at this size of platoon and certainly not with double Fausts. Deployment zones is a factor, you will cover a lot of it so dont get to hung up about templates. Trust me you can counter battery with your 4 templates. Key will be laying your railway correctly for the guns and take note that you get to ambush as if concealed, therefore you just have to keep the enemy 4 inches away to pop it. King tigers will of course the other ambush if you have it.

While this force is perfect for defensive battles it can certainly deal with a meeting engagement like dust up. The truth is you have to go quickly. Accept casualties and send at least 3 platoons towards their objectives. With 3 x King Tigers plus your railway guns, you should be able to thin out their armour and finish off what is left with your Fausts. Keep your HQ with you to help mitigate your reluctant status.

If the enemy has guns and infantry you can deny them with range in markers a plenty (if available) . Pick a point and wallop it. Equally don’t forget that you can have 4 turns of smoke which screens those aggressive inf and help to get them into the assault, or just protect them as they advance to Faust range.

A big threat is large templates, like Nebs etc. Make these a priority for your artillery and/or go after the OP. Remember if you smoke correctly to obscure the ranged in marker then its +1 to hit your troops even once ranged in. Every little helps.

When defending remember to use your board coverage to your advantage. You want to have no enemy within 8 inches of the obj on turn 6, therefore deploy forward. Accept that eventually you will get assaulted and fall back but make the enemy have to suffer defensive fire from your King Tigers (main gun or MGs) to do it. With so much infantry you should have no issues protecting their flanks.

Accept that you’re not going to win 8:1, adopt the Soviet mentality that people are expendable and take that objective.


While you could use the blocking platoon in Bagration to produce a 100% on table force, I would argue this is the first viable one. Plus I would also argue it is far more than ‘viable’, 3 x KTs is enough to scare most forces, let alone when combined with the templates, guns and 5 infantry platoons. Painting is going to be slog but I think it will be worth it.

13 thoughts on “Berlin German : Old Men and no reserves!

  1. I had planned to take such trickery using the Bagration Sperverband platoons for Corrivalry but bailed at the painting stage
    Good luck to anyone willing to run this”

  2. Until just I interepreteded all these “no counting for reserves”-unit rules differently: Regardles how many Army points do not count for reserves, of the remaining sum only 60 % may be fielded if a scenario calls for reserves.
    Keeping your sample “remaining” army with 48 Army points (Tigers, Recce and 88) 19 points still have to be sent into reserve. In other words: the Tiger platoon will still be your reserve

    I will check the rule wording and the FAQ…

    1. Nope you aren’t reading reserves correctly along with the command card. You could already do the same with bagration and the blocking platoon as well as the resistance forces in the Allie’s. It’s just this is the first time you get an actual formation to make it work.

    2. Here is the rule

      Volkssturm and Hitlerjugend Platoons in your Force count as being worth 0 points when calculating Reserves .

      Remember the rule is that you get to deploy 60% of your total army force (100pts)not that you have to keep 40% in reserve. As they are 0pts for reserve purposes I never have more than 60% of my force on table. Exactly the same rules as the other units in bulge, Bagration and dday it’s why double resistance platoons n day Brit’s is popular. It’s 13pts and means you only have 27pts of reserves.

      1. Hi all,
        Yes but still you don’t have 60 pts on table. The rule state 60% of the total army, thus meaning 60 pts to be deployed max. They do not count for reserves this means that are not in the rules that govern the reserves of the scenario. In TY Red Dawn, the US Militia also count as 0 points for reserves but still need a roll of 5 to come.
        I kindly ask advisory on this….

        1. You get to deploy 60pts on table and anything with the militia rule counts as 0pts for deployment purposes. Therefore all gets deployed. You really need to sit and read the reserve rule and the militia rule in the German book.

          It’s business as usual for calculating reserves there is no confusion or argument around this at events. It’s been done for years with other units.

          The Red Dawn stuff has a different rule for arriving on board not relevant to this.

          1. Thanks Mark, we have been a little confused having in mind the red dawn militia rule.
            I don’t have the German book yet, it’s on the way.
            Your feedback is clear.

        2. Also this will help explain it to you from LFTF

          If I have a Unit that counts as 0 points for Reserves (such as an FFI Platoon supporting a D-Day American force), how does this work?

          You can have 60% of your points on table, so if the game is 100 points, you can have 60 points on table. Since this Unit is counted as 0 points, you can have it and 60 more points on table.

    1. You just deploy them as normal. The units with militia exceed 40pts so you can deploy everything

  3. After re-reading all sources I was wrong.
    An army mainly consiting of Volkssturm (like the authors example above) can circumvent the reserve restrictions and starts with all units on table.
    But as a German I’m not keen on playing Volkssturm (or Hitlerjugend) in a tabletop myself.
    Nonetheless an nice thought experiment – keep on your excellent work.

  4. I’m happy with the other offerings like BeachDefender or fresh Volksgrenadiers/fresh Brigade units when wanting to play lower end German forces.
    There is no need to “re-brand” a Volkssturm list.
    If we chose a specific battlefield (like Arnhem or Bulge) I’m even prepared to play Waffen-SS.
    But children and pensioneers is simply a no-go for me.
    And games at the very end of the war in Europe have not been requested so far in my nick of the woods (as Volkssturm and HJ are not limited to the fighting in Berlin).

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