… misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows…Trinculo. The Tempest, Act 2, Scene 2.
Last time out we looked at using the new Bagration; Axis Allies Romanian R-2 formation to field the fabulously named Panzer Ersatz und Ausbildungs Abteilung 100. This time around we are going to look at incorporating this kookie little force into large armies so that you* can get them on the tabletop.
*for “you” read “I” and for “tabletop” read “work out what more I need to get for the blasted Germans that I thought I had finished three years ago”
91st Luftlande Infantry Division
Do not be mistaken by its name – the 91st Luftlande Infantry Division was as prepared to conduct airborne operations as it was to repel them. I.e. it wasn’t at all.
Raised in 1944, long after the German Luftwaffe had any aspirations of using Fallschirmjager and Luftlande troops in offensive airborne assaults, they were stationed in the middle of the Cotentin Peninsula and were immediately in the thick of the action in the early hours of the morning of 6 June 1944 against the United States 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions. In fact, their commanding officer, Lieutenant General Willhelm Falley, was ambushed in his staff car and killed during the night of 6 June becoming the first German General to be killed in the Normandy campaign.
But why am I talking about a sub-par infantry division and not the Panzer Ersatz und Ausbildungs Abteilung 100? Well, as we discussed previously, the Panzer Ersatz und Ausbildungs Abteilung 100 fell under the command of the 91st Luflande Infantry Division on the Cotentin Penisula. Believe it or not, these obsolescent French tanks were supposed to bolster the fighting capability of the Division. I think this shows the dire straits that OKW was in when it came to mounting a defence of the Atlantik Wall in a nutshell.
Order of Battle – 6 June 1944
- Grenadier-Regiment 1057
- Grenadier-Regiment 1058
- Gebirgs-Artillerie-Regiment 191
- Feld-Ersatz-Bataillon 91
- Panzerjäger-Abteilung 191
- Pionier-Bataillon 191
- Nachrichten-Abteilung 191
91st Luflande Infantry Division also had operational control over the following independent units:
- Fallschirmjäger Regiment 6 (commanded by Major von der Heydte)
- Artillerieregiment z.b.V. 621 (equipped with captured Soviet guns)
- StuG-Abteilung 902
- Panzer–Ausbildungs-und-Ersatz–Abteilung 100
To represent these as a force that we can add our Romanian R-35 formation to we are going to use the infamous Beach Defender formation from the D-Day German book as that best reflects their status in June 1944.
The Army List
This is the foundation of the list, and let me clear there are some howling weaknesses here but – I think that this is a fair reflection of the force in place at the start of June 1944 on the Contentin.
The 91st Luftlande Infantry Division was short of heavy equipment so I have restricted myself to only including the three PAK40s in the formation and no 120mm mortars. I can’t find evidence to suggest that they would or won’t be equipped with these monster tubes, but it feels right not to include them. I’ve also continued the light infantry feel by only equipping the infantry with the ubiquitous panzerfausts and not their bigger reusable cousin the panzerschrek.
For support, there are some interesting inclusions. The 10.5cm mountain guns are what the 91st Luftlande Infantry Division’s 191st Artillery Regiment was equipped with on D-Day.
This caused all sorts of problems as they used ammunition that was not interchangeable with the standard German 10.5 cm gun. To compound this further, on arrival in Normandy they only had one basic load of ammunition. The logistics of having a niche artillery piece meant that during the battle they received only a sporadic supply of ammunition and gradually these howitzers were sent away and be replaced with other more standardised pieces.
In terms of the game, this just removes the gunshield trait from the unit and makes them a little bit cheaper in points.
I opted to include Heer StuGs from Bagration; German rather than the Fallschirmjager StuGs available in D-Day; German to these. It makes them a teeny bit worse but it does allow me to include two platoons of StuGs rather than one of StuGs and StuHs as this again reflects their composition in Normandy.
Obviously, on top of all of that goodness, we have the twelve R-35 from the Romanian R-2 tank formation giving us a nice round 100pt list.
Against high-end armour, this list will simply wilt, wilt I tell you! The anti-tank 11 and 12 of the PAK40 and the StuG is simply not going to cut it for long against some of the bigger, badder apex predators of the Late War arena. What it is going to be great against is lightly equipped infantry armies like, oh I don’t know just thinking off the top of my head here, US Paratroopers and Glider infantry!
You have access to three barrage templates and the ability for the StuGs to stay a bit further back and choose their targets will certainly help them stay operational longer. The R-35s can move around as machinegun carriers with the potential to launch assaults if needed and as long as you don’t expect too much from your infantry if should hunker down fine.
I think you would have to play with quite a defensive mindset to make this list work but it would be interesting to play against the right opposition and this is what making lists like this are all about!
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.