Musings of a Hobby Hipster; 1001 Nights Volume V4

When the wind’s from the East
And the sun’s from the West
And the sand in the glass is right
Come on down, stop on by
Hop a carpet and fly
To another Arabian night

Songwriters: Alan Menken / Howard Ashman / Benj Pasek / Justin Paul
Arabian Nights lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company, Wonderland Music Co. Inc., Wonderland Music Company Inc.

Back… Back… Back in the mists of time… Back beyond the Pandemic… Back to when the New England Patriots mounted the largest comeback in Super Bowl history to beat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime after trailing by 25 points in the third quarter… Back when WannaCry was holding people in more than 150 countries to ransom… Back when the Last Jedi was released… Back in 2017…

I wrote an article.

This article in fact: Kampf-ing It Up – on the most wonderfully named Kampfgruppe 1001 Nights. Fast forward to 2023 and the release of Berlin – Germany and a light bulb moment; this book is absolutely perfect to bring this amazing composition of troops together.

The Birthplace

The origins of Kampfgruppe 1001 Nights lay on the banks of the Oder in March 1945. As the Second World War headed towards a climatic maelstrom of violence that led to the ultimate defeat of the German armed forces in Berlin, every source of manpower was tapped to try and slow down the Allied and Red Army troops crashing their way towards the capital.

This hodge-podge of troops being brought into the line as quickly as possible led to some truly ramshackle formations being born. This is true of Kampfgruppe 1001 Nights. The mainstay of the Kampfgruppe was three companies of V-2 guards that arrived at the German Ninth Army HQ on the Oder, at the same time as three companies of Hetzer panzerjäger from the 560th SS Tank Destroyer Battalion, which had been used for training purposes. General Theodor Busse, Ninth Army’s commander, decided to form these troops into a Kampfgruppe which could be used as a mobile reserve.

Soon after its formation, a motorcycle company and several anti-tank guns, armoured cars and a company of StuG III assault guns from the 27th SS Volunteer Division Langemarck and a company from the 600th SS Parachute Battalion were added to the Kampfgruppe. Bringing its strength to over 500 infantry and 43 serviceable armoured vehicles.

Major Gustav-Adolf Blancbois was placed in command and the Kampfgruppe was split into three further combat formations, named SuleikaHarem and Sultan. Now what is interesting is there seems to be no reason or explanation as to why this Kampfgruppe or its constituent parts, drew inspiration from the epic piece of literature 1001 Nights.

On the 27th of March, the Kampfgruppe was ordered into action near the town of Genschmar, in an attempt to reduce the Red Army’s bridgehead over the Oder, which it unsurprisingly failed in its objective to do so. It next saw significant action on the 16th of April, during the Battle of Seelow Heights. 1001 Nights were sent with the 25th Panzergrenadier Division and the 111th StuG-Lehr Brigade to support the 606th Infantry Division near the town of Wriezen. Despite these reinforcements, the Germans were driven back, with the Kampfgruppe battered and bloodied and down to 18 functioning armoured vehicles and just 50 men.

The Kampfgruppe was dissolved as a meaningful fighting unit near Müncheberg during the withdrawal to Berlin and its final remnants were encircled and destroyed in the Halbe pocket.

The Matter and the Manner of The Nights

As described above there were three combat formations SuleikaHarem and Sultan. These combat formations also contained specific force elements:

  • Kampfgruppe HQ
  • Suleika – 560th SS Tank Destroyer Battalion (SS-Sturmbannführer Wöst, later on Haupsturmfuhrer Markowz)
    • 1st Jagdpanzer-Kompanien 14 x Jagpanzer Hetzer (three-tone factory camouflage) 
    • 2nd Jagdpanzer-Kompanien 14 x Jagpanzer Hetzer (three-tone factory camouflage) 
    • 3rd Jagdpanzer-Kompanien 14 x Jagpanzer Hetzer (three-tone factory camouflage)
    • 3 x Sturmgeschutze III,  (from 27th Friewillgen-grenadier-regiment Langemarcke)
    • 600 SS fallschirmjager Kompanie (140 men) in Wehrmacht smocks. 
  • Harem – Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung Speer
    • Motorcycle and Kettengrad company (RAD uniform)(escort company of Albert Speer)
    • 2 x Sd.Kfz 231/17 75mm gun, 1 x 251 drilling mount armoured company
    • Anti Tank platoon – Pak40
  • Sultan – Marschregiment 2
    • 3 x Schutzen-Kompanie

Such an interesting composition, and one that we can translate onto the tabletop using the Berlin-German book. So let us start at the beginning and with the largest, and potentially most interesting, element; Suleika.

Of the Uselessness of Endeavour Against Persistent Ill Fortune

Berlin – Germany Tank Training Company

This formation is so easy to start with and to replicate… so long as you like assault guns

  • Tank Training Company HQ – 2 x Hetzers
  • Hetzer Training Platoon – 4 x Hetzers
  • Hetzer Training Platoon – 4 x Hetzers
  • Hetzer Training Platoon – 4 x Hetzers
  • Triple 15cm FlaK Training Platoon 3 x SdKfz 251 (Triple 15mm)

Very up and down. Nothing too exciting. But, that clocks in at less than 50% of a standard list and gives us quite a lot of AT11… vulnerable, squishable AT11 but never the less plenty of scope to add other troops. There is some fantastic modelling opportunity though for creating the T34 FlakPanzer 15mm Drilling in the Flak platoon and this would give a unique look to the unit and force. I’d also use the Bergepanzer III as an objective marker… what an ugly beast!

Next up we’ll add a second formation in the form of the 600th SS-Parachute Battalion. Born from the ashes of the 500th SS-Parachute Battalion, this unit – alongside the 1st Fallschirm-Panzer Division Hermann Göring – may be the epitome of waste, duplication and confusion that gripped the divided German war machine.

The 600th SS-Parachute Battalion had a cadre of more experienced troops from the remnants of the 500th Battalion but the unit itself was newly formed and rough around the edges so the Berlin Fallschirmjager Company seems to be the perfect place to start.

  • Berlin Fallschirmjager Company HQ – 2 x StG44 assault rifle team with Panzerfaust
  • Berlin Fallschirmjager Platoon – 10 x MG42 & K98 rifle teams with Panzerfaust, 1 Panzerschrek team
  • Berlin Fallschirmjager Platoon – 10 x MG42 & K98 rifle teams with Panzerfaust, 1 Panzerschrek team
  • Berlin Fallschirmjager 8cm Mortar Platoon – 4 x 8cm Stummel mortar
  • Berlin Fallschirmjager 12cm Mortar Platoon – 3 x 12cm mortar
  • Berlin Fallschirmjager Scout Platoon – 5 x StG44 assault rifle team with Panzerfaust

Again, we have TONNES of AT11 and AT12 in the form of Panzerfausts and Panzerschreks but we also have access now to two artillery bombardments and some recce. Angry Recce at that with StG44 and Panzerfausts!

Digging in with these chaps is going to be a pain but under normal conditions, I think they are no worse than a lot of the SS troops we have seen before. I was surprised that they got the boost for Veteran NCOs which is a nice touch.

Finally, the Support for the force and for this we delve back into the previous books and haul forward the (D-Day SS) StuG SS Tank Platoon to represent the Sturmgeschutze III,  from 27th Friewillgen-grenadier-regiment Langemarcke. Now, I could’ve included the StuGs in the Tank Training Company, or taken them from the Clausewitz formation as a support choice but I wasn’t sure that the stats feel right for a unit that has been doggedly fighting on the Eastern Front since 1943.

The End of the Tailor’s Tale

So, we’ve definitely not created something from whole cloth here – more recycled an old idea and used a new book to create a wonderful patchwork quilt. And I truly do mean that. The variety of list possibilities that the new Berlin-German book grants the Flames of War player is truly epic. From Heavy Tanks and Tank Destroyers to fanatical streetfighting youths and accordion-playing grandfathers there is something for everyone.

So that was the wonderfully titled Kampfgruppe 1001 Nights, so hipster it hurts my hips so until next time enjoy a cup of single-origin, cold brew flat white artisan coffee and ponder more thoughts from the hipster’s beard.

– Dunc

4 thoughts on “Musings of a Hobby Hipster; 1001 Nights Volume V4

  1. As much flak as V4 gets for generic lists, I do love the fact that with your own research you can absolutely create such historically accurate formations like this

    1. Agreed. The BIG problem our group had with so many “generic lists” was in the very beginning of V4. It took quite a while for BF to address this problem/complaint and I personally feel it never was resolved in all of MW. Not until LW started was this somewhat addressed by BF. It was all too late as my group of 18 guys from V3 disintegrated and I’m the last man standing.

  2. Another great article from “the Hipster”. As a Freiwilligen SS history nut, I have represented the 27th Belgian SS Langemarcke since V3 (Grey Wolf, when they had special rules). As for the 500th SS paras I believe they’re the ones that jumped behind enemy lines during the Bulge, that went so terribly bad for them. Few made it back to friendly lines, but this is what you see as the core of the 6ooth SS paras. It’s an interesting list I might try, just because it features the representation of 27th SS Langemarcke and 600th SS Paras. Nice research again, just like the 33rd SS Charlemagne article.

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