A while ago our very own Soren started a campaign, entitled Make Panthers Great Again. Panthers in V4 have be incredibly rare due to the far more capable Tiger for a meer 1pt extra. Despite some brave attempts they are sorely absent in the Tourne play which is a shame, being one of the iconic tanks of the war.
However, chin up, German Bulge is here and it has Made the Panther Great Again!
One of the downsides of the Panther thus far has been it’s FA9 compared to its previous FA10 rating. In some ways this would have been a nice trade of versus the advantages of the Tiger, making it very survivable, especially at long range. Well BF teased that a late Panther would appear, and it is now upon us and it comes with FA10 goodness.
FA10 really is a nice spot to be in:
- FA10 becomes FA11 at long range making it the equally highest armour vehicle outside of the super heavies (King Tiger, Jadgtiger, Elefant).
- FA10 makes you almost immune to AT12, which is prevalent in LW. Standard 76mm guns just aren’t enough.
- FA10 keeps the status quo versus the new shiny US AT13 High Velocity ammo.
Now this obviously comes at a price, although it is minimal with +2pts for three tanks. So with three Panther (late) coming in at 35 points you could be forgiven for asking what all the fuss is about? it is certainly a bit more attractive but not game changing.
Enter the Panther
Ladies and Gentlemen I introduce to you the Brigade Panther (Late)
Here we have a Panther that has some fairly surprising stats. Firstly an aggressive rating to represent the offensive action and aggression of the initial German offensive, along with a reluctant rating, highlighting the change in ethos within the Brigade forces. Germany is no longer the all conquering force, it is surrounded and holding off the allied ‘wolf at the door’.
These stats of course affect the points and freed up from the constraints of the existing costs set by the Veteran, Cautious DDay Panthers, BF have given us a surprising gift.
Three Brigade Panther (Late)s are 20pt!
Yup suddenly you can field a serious amount of FA10, Panther goodness.
Of course it isn’t all wonderful, the Panther stats aren’t great. Aggressive we can perhaps deal with, SS Panthers already work with it and many view them as superior to their more expensive Heer brothers. However, the SS Panthers compensate for the aggressive rating with fearless stats allowing a 3+ motivation. This keeps them in the fight longer, mitigating the loss of cautious. Brigade Panthers don’t have this mitigation with a rather dreadful 5+ motivation, although with a 4+ last stand.
Personally I think the Brigade Panther is game changing for the Germans. FA10 actually mitigates the aggressive and reluctant rating a great deal. I never saw the Panther as an assault tank (way too expensive and TA1) so reluctant doesn’t faze me as much. Everything is outweighed by the weight of armour and firepower you can get on a formation.
I can see a lot of players using three Brigade Panthers and two SS Tigers as their reserves. Sure it is more than you need to keep back in a 100pt game but it gives you a super assault tank and three heavily armoured, highly mobile cannons. 10 x AT14 in two reserve rolls isn’t to be sniffed at.
The Brigade Panthers allow the third platoon to be swapped out for PZ IV/70s (A Breakthrough Assault favourite) or StuGs. These provide a few different options and reduce the price of a full formation. Personally I think you will want all four platoons, inc the AA to ensure you are not too fragile.
Hitting the table
I have been pondering a Brigade Panther (Late) formation for a while. The great thing is that you can easily squeeze in a second formaiton if you want, or a wide array of support. This is my go to list formation laydown:
HQ 1 x Brigade Panther (Late)
3 x Brigade Panther (Late)
3 x Brigade Panther (Late)
3 x Panther IV/70 (Late)
4 x Mobel Wagons
All of this comes in at 67 pts.
The Mobelwagons are a command card upgrade to the Brigade Wirbelwind. I like it because it is AT7 and ROF3 and most importantly FP4+. I just find that the Wirbelwind FP5+ doesnt make up for it’s extra shots.
The Panzer IV/70s save me a few points over the Panther and act as a base of fire, snipping at long range while the seven Panthers can manoeuvre. When you think that 67pts would get you five Tigers and a platoon of SS infantry you can see how substantial your force is.
With 33pts left for a typical game, you have a wide array of choices. If you want to be super cheesy you could add 16 Finnish T26s, recce and some artillery (6 x Volks 10.5cm or swap them for bombarding Pak40s with a command card). However if you want to be more rounded and historical, a Volksgrenadier formation is a perfect addition.
HQ 2 x assault rifle stands
Full strength Assault Platoon
Full strength Rifle Platoon
4 x 8cm mortars
All supported by
3 x Heer Nebs
Heer 250 recce patrol
This gives me two platoons of infantry packing double fausts, a smoke template and a salvo, alongside some recce. This will allow me to threaten infantry and gun teams, something the main formation struggles with.
There are loads of alternatives, two King Tigers and SS recce is a perfect 33pts (definitely worth a go).
If you want to be offensively minded, then Nebs, Wespes, SS recce and a 12th Volksgrenadier Division Rifle Platoon with 2 x Panzershreks and a HMG (Cautious, Confident, vets) is a nice choice as well.
So many choices, and so little time to try them all!
Bulge has so many pleasant surprises for German players (not so much the Allies!) but the Brigade Panther (late) is perhaps one of the most welcome. We are definitely doing to see this cat roaming the forests once again and with enough points to bring along a ton of friends.