Today Lee takes a look at the new German Command Cards for Ghost Panzer and the opportunities they present with Das Reich T-34,
Gepanzerte Aufklärungs and the Sturm Division all making an appearance.
We covered the Soviet Kursk Command Cards so now lets take a look at their German equivalent. Much like the last review, I’m going to split this review into:
- cards that bring new formations or units
- cards that upgrade units or formations
- character cards
- miscellaneous cards
New Formations and Units
The Ghost Panzer Command Card pack contains ten new formations. Lets have a look.
Armoured Car Company
Based on what I saw at the Crawley event, German armoured cars have never been so popular, and this card probably only makes that more so. The HQ and light patrols can now be Luchs light tanks and the heavy patrol is now no longer a 1-3 but a 0-3. The optional PanzerGrenadier platoon is now an Armoured Panzer Grenadier option allowing them to enter battle on their
Brummbär Assault Tank Company
The problem with the Brummbär is that you feel you need three of them in a platoon to make the most of them, especially now they have gained a relatively short ranged bombardment capability. That’s tricky to justify in a support platoon so why not solve that by making the Brumbär a core choice in a formation?
This card allows you to take 1-2 Brummbär in the HQ, plus two to three platoons of Brummbär. But wait, there’s more. One of the two compulsory Brummbär platoons can be exchanged for a Ferdinand Platoon (as was apparently the case in the 656th Heavy Tank-Hunter Regiment), giving some
Captured T-34 Company and Units
Das Reich, a whole company of T-34! The cards that made Duncan squeal in excitement. And why not? The T-34 always looked better in Dunkelgelb.
The Captured T-34 Company card lets you take a Mixed Panzer HQ (PzIII and IV) from the book, then 2-4 platoons of captured T-34. The card has a negative points cost as it drops the Mixed Panzer HQ from “Veteran” to “Trained” but does bump them up to “Fearless”. Its not limited so, if you were playing a (very) large game, you could take multiple such formations. The average cost of a German panzer precludes this at the normal 100pts level or lower though.
The Captured T-34 Platoon card can be taken as part of the above company or as a support platoon. The platoon consists of either 4-3 T-34, or a Panzer IV (late) HQ tank and 2-4 T-34, using the stats on the noted unit cards but lifted (or dropped in the case of the HQ PzIV) to Fearless, Trained, careful and gaining “storm troop”.
Obviously, the T-34 has overworked to contend with, but seriously, how fabulous does it look in Dunkelgelb?
Ferdinand Tank Hunter Company
What’s better than one Ferdinand? A platoon of them! And what’s better than that? A Company! Maybe.
This card lets you take 1-2 Ferdinand as the HQ and then 2-3 platoons of the heavy tank destroyer. There is an additional caveat that the platoons must be 2-4 tanks, not the solo option, or escort tanks. That means you are going to burn a lot of points on heavy tank destroyers with relatively little left to provide protection from being assaulted by an infantry horde.
Personally, I think the Brummbär card is a more useful way of putting the Ferdinand into an actual formation.
Heavy Tank Platoon (late)
The Tiger platoon in the book reflects the earlier organisation with escort tanks to make up numbers. This card lets you field the platoon in its later form, with up to four tigers. Of course, at 29pts a tanks that does make for an expensive platoon! But a platoon of three supporting an armoured car company? That could be a scary prospect!
Panzer Company (RC)
The StuG Assault Gun Company does double duty as a StuG (RC) company but the StuG G was not the only mount for such units. The Command Cards present two alternative versions of which this is one. Here the RC crews ride the PzIII Long 5cm (PzIII J) from unit card MG205, reflecting 300th Panzer battalion (radio) in 1942 Sevastopol.
The formation has more constraints than most; the HQ has to be two PzIII, there has to be two platoons of PzIII (no more, no less) and there has to be at least one Borgward Carrier attachment (a second it also available). It does give a more economical way for fielding the Borgward though.
StuG Company (RC)
After Sevastopol, the 3000th was expanded to add three new companies, the 312th, 313th and 314th Panzer Companies (RC), all equipped with StuG. The book represents these at Operation Citadel when fully equipped with StuG G, but, before that, they were operating with the StuG F. This card allows that organisation to be used. Organisationally, its like the Panzer Company above, but swapping the PzIII for StuG (long 7.5cm). This is pricier than the PzIII but cheaper than the StuG G. You can also upgrade individual tanks to the new model, reflecting the F model being replaced through attrition.
Gepanzerte Aufklärungs basically!
This formation has a HQ and two-three Armoured Panzer Grenadier units but its formation support is very stripped down. It has a mandatory scout unit (light, heavy or Luchs) with a second one available and has optional mortar and 7.5cm guns (both available mounted and dismounted).
There’s no real advantage over a normal Panzer Grenadier unit, beyond having the scouts in formation, but its a great flavour option.
Sadly, having just covered the Universal Carriers card for the Rota, there’s a bit of a missed opportunity to let the PzGr units here have a second SdKfz251 per squad (as an avenue for count as SdKfz 250). Obviously there is nothing to stop one using the SdKfz 250 and its mortar and assault gun versions for this formation, but it would have been nice to have that extra redundancy (and mounted assault) that the spare half-tracks bring, especially for those of use who already have the Halftracks!
SS Panzer Company
One of the few formation build cards with a surcharge, this allows the Germans to field a formation with all units “fearless”, but the units are limited to a Mixed Panzer HQ and two-four Mixed Panzer or Panzer IV platoons. Its therefore a little less flexible but has the advantage of a better motivation. That said, given the Heer has a 3+ last stand and 3+ remount, it seems a lot of points for a better “follow me”!
189th StuG Battery
Sturm Division! My first late war German force was a 189th StuG Battery so its nice to see their mid-war incarnation. Sadly no assault rifle armed tank riders here! What it does have it a HQ of 1 StuG G, two to three platoons of StuG G (each limited to 2-3 tanks as it should be for an artillery arm StuG battery) and a Grenadier platoon.
Having an in-formation infantry unit is no bad thing, helping to shore up a StuG battery that will likely only have two platoons of three StuG G, plus the HQ, given their cost. Additionally, the Grenadiers get a bonus ability to cross minefields on a 2+ and extend this to any StuG assault guns within 4″. Its somewhat situational but the ability, plus the advantage on in-formation infantry for formation survive-ability, means the card has a relatively small surcharge.
The card also prevents Borgwards being taken (again, not unreasonable).
In this section we’ll look at cards that upgrade a unit’s stats or equipment.
This card upgrades the two existing self-propelled AA guns to their armoured variants, turning them into armour 0 boxes. It’s a relatively cheap card and one that will no doubt be popular with those who like to have their AA guns depressed as big machine-guns.
The equivalent of the Soviet Motosikilisty card, this allows a Panzer Grenadier HQ or Platoon to start the game as a more mobile
Kübelwagen team. When I read the card’s intro I thought it was going to make the platoon a Scout/Spearhead unit when mounted but alas no.
Other than making use of existing models and being slightly more survivable against high end enemy AT fore than half-tracks, its hard to get excited about this card as its only marginally cheaper than having the platoon in halftracks. Still, everyone loves Kübelwagen.
Machine Gun Bunkers
A simple enough card that, for a small fee, converts your HMG in the unit into HMG Nests, meaning the enemy has to re-roll successful firepower tests to destroy them. The action can’t be done so its best employed on a static army or on a single Grenadier platoon (which has HMG added to it) assigned with guarding an objective.
Converts a 5cm or 7.5cm Tank-Hunter platoon to nests, increasing survive-ability. This card can be undone, giving some flexibility, but has a comparatively high cost so is probably best left to a defensive force.
Can be used to upgrade an Armoured Panzer Grenadier Company to have snazzy camo, questionable political views, and a Fearless rating for its HQ and Armoured Panzer Grenadier platoons. As its a fixed cost, it works better on larger formations and certainly keeps the smaller Panzer Grenadier units in the fight.
Veteran Panther Crews
Think Panthers are under costed? Well this card lets you restore the Panther to “Careful Veteran” status at a big jump in points per tank.
In addition to the above, we get the following cards from Cross of Iron carried across: Goliath Remote Control Bomb, Panzer Ace (useable on Mixed Pz and PzIV (late) platoons only), Panzer-Knacker, Pioneer Company, Softskin Transport and, unsurprisingly, Tiger Aces
A “bake-off” we can all get behind, Bake boost the Mixed Panzer or Panther HQ ‘tactics’ to a mighty 2+ and also provides this benefit to any unit leaders from the same formation with 8″ and Line-Of_Sight. Its a good way to boost the Panthers to passing some “Blitz”/”Shoot and Scoot” stormtroopers combos, though it is a touch pricey in an already expensive formation.
Can be applied to either type of Stuka (he flew both after all) to allow the unit leader to re-roll one failed “to hit” roll and one failed firepower test each shooting step. Its an expensive card but its certainly a way of shredding medium armour.
Remer has been a close combat monster ever since V1 and he’s no different here. He boots the morale of all units in his Armoured Panzer Grenadier Company (making him more effective than the the SS Panzer Grenadier card!) and also his stand hits on 2+ in assaults. I guess the PPSh-41 really does boost your assault value!
We get two new, what I would call miscellaneous cards:
Recognising that a fair number of tank aces started their careers in the StuG, this card allows the unit commander to fire the 7.5cm at RoF3 at the halt. On one hand that’s an extra chance to kill the enemy, but on the other hand it comes at a not-insignificant point cost on an already pricey unit. I’d almost prefer to spend the points squeezing an extra Marder or PaK into an anti-tank platoon.
Remember the 656th Heavy Tank-Hunter Regiment from earlier, well apparently this card is for them. Applied to a unit, the unit can now pass Blitz moves on a 2+. Its a pricey card for a pricey formation but it could be handy for the Ferdinand for doing classic German pop-out shooting. Should you need to do that with an armour 15 tank destroyer…
In addition, the following cards are repeated from Cross of Iron, a few with minor changes as noted: Blitzkrieg, Clever Hans, Clever Tactics (applicable only to a Mixed Panzer Company and more expensive than its previous outing), Cut Them Down, Dead Eye, Deadly Gunner (applicable to the Ferdinand as well as the Tiger), Diversionary Tactics, Elite Crew (applicable only to a Mixed Panzer Company), Every Shot Counts (mixed Pz and PzIV (late) platoons only), Ferocious Valour, Hidden in Plain Sight, Marksman, Mission Tactics, Precise Gunner (Mixed Panzer Company only), Pure Luck, Rapid Fire, Roll Over Them and Schnell