Whilst others might be excited for the Cubans to hit the south-western continental US, or VDV to occupy the Wonalds in Colorado, or even dream of the perfect landing of their airborne forces on the Dutch, Belgian, or even French, border I have been thinking about the rear.
That’s right, thinking about the forces that, in continental Europe, might have to try and retake that vital road bridge, power station, or rail terminus from this striped t-shirt-wearing, blue beret-toting menace dropping in from either parachute or their new cool Mi-8 HIP helicopters. These aren’t the front-line, heavy-hitting tanks and troops that we might usually see on a battlefield – these are the lighter elements designated to guard these rear areas and quick reaction forces, light armour, and friendly airborne forces.
So, here we are… I’ve already raved about the Jäger/Gebirgsjäger/Fallschirmjäger when the latest WW3 West German book was released. Now is their time to shine, and I think my preference is with the Jäger.
These lightly armed units would have formed the backbone of the Heimatschützbrigades (Home Security Brigades) and were part of the Territorial Brigades in the Bundeswehr. Ideally, their role is to defend the rear areas of the Army, in particular, to secure infrastructure, roads, ports, and communication centers. Also, they would form reaction forces in the case of any airborne or amphibious troops managing to successfully complete a landing behind the front lines or attempt to hold the line in the case of a Soviet breakthrough (…all the best with that!).
That makes these troops perfect for trying to take on the might of the Soviet airborne armada that is cresting the horizon here on the south coast. The other lovely thing about using these troops is that they would’ve served in all AG so can be flexible enough to prevent the Polish, counter the Czechoslovakians and see off the Soviets landing and gaining a foothold that they can attempt to exploit with their ground forces. So, what does that look like?
Let me explain my choices here…
This is the bulk of the defensive force here and is a wonderful juxtaposition with the assaulting Warsaw Pact troops – especially the elite VDV; NATO troops that are Hit On 3+ are like hen’s teeth! Three platoons of Jäger infantry are the core and are represented here without their M113 transports to show that they have been in place for a good amount of time and could be seen as even more of a second-string, second-line formation.
This is underscored by the inclusion of the kanonenjagdpanzer in the formation. This wonderful tank-destroyer-esque-looking beast is well out of its depth by the mid-1980s against the Soviet T-72 and T-64 family of tanks; it’s 90mm gun conceived in the mid-1960s now completely outmatched by the opposition. However, in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king and against lightly armed, and amoured, airborne operations these kanonenjagdpanzer can provide a decent punch.
Whilst, less than ideal I see the formation of Leopard 1 tanks (again not a first-rate formation!) racing to the rescue of the beleaguered Heimatschützbrigades with their accompanying M113 Panzergrenadiers and much-needed mobile anti-air. I think for some balance, I would have the two Red-eye teams start on the table with the Heimatschützbrigade Jäger troops to give them some defensive capability. It would be interesting to see how the Soviet player would dig those troops out quickly.
Finally bringing the heavy anti-tank are a pair of PAH helicopters with their deadly HOT missiles. I imagine these attack helicopters having been dispatched to prey on the Soviet forces desperately trying to link up with the landing VDV and secure the bridgehead and objective that they have captured. This gives the West Germans some true striking power and rounds out the force overall.
All this article has done is led me down the merry path of acquiring some Jäger Zug (TGR712) blisters… yes yes I know… to give me a solid, small force to assist my Dutch in defending the north of Germany. Another infantry army but an important one I think for mixing things up and seeing as Lee has 84 (or something like that) Hinds and a MILLION (or something like that) VDV it will make a nice change of pace.
So that is the bomb that is the West German Jägers I’ll be back soon with a cup of single-origin, cold brew flat white artisan coffee with more thoughts from the hipster’s beard.