One of the nice surprises of the Bulge German Command Cards was the inclusion of a fair few Market Garden themed cards for the German defenders. In this article we will take a look at these cards and also look at theming formations from the new book for Market Garden.
Now, I had looked at this after D-Day: SS came out but the Bulge book really make the effort easier.
Lets start by looking at the command card based formations first.
Gräbner’s early charge across the Arnhem road bridge ended in defeat
Whilst only one platoon gets its half tracks, there is a command card for Gräbner’s reinforced trucks used to mount the rest of the infantry.
The card isn’t far off my suggested force from my original article, which is nice to see; they even added a three-strong unit of SdKfz251 (7.5cm)!
For support, we don’t have any of 9th SS’s artillery to draw on, but we do still have standard 105mm and 15cm Nebelwerfer artillery battery that are “good enough”. We can also add a SdKfz 10/4 AA platoon. This should be more than sufficient for defeating an airborne force, so long as its not entrenched in a city and backed up with PIATS and 6pdr.
Nothing deals with Paras quite like heavy armour! And what’s bettter than heavy armour? Cheap heavy armour!
KG Hummel was drawn from the crews at Paderborn tank training school plus their training wheels in the form of old, worn out Tiger Is. To reflect this, the card downgrades Bagration German Tiger HQ and platoons in the following way:
Almost every stat takes a hit of some sort. Hummel Tigers move slower, are significantly worse on cross, less motivated (though still fairly good!), get hit easier and are less skilled. But they are 2/3rds the price and still keep their armour and gun. You can rock up with 12 tigers (and little else) in a 100pt force!
Support with Heer or SS Panzergrenadiers, artillery and maybe even a mixed panzer platoon from Fortress Europe.
Much like KG Hummel, KG Knaust was formed from the fighting strength of a training school, in this case Panzergrenadier Ausbildungs und Ersatz Battalion 64. The KG was made up of dismounted panzergrenadiers and some training tanks (six PzIIIL or M and two PzIVG). Whilst lacking in experience, the force was well motivated and set about fighting the entrenched Paratroops in Arnhem. Expecting only 120 enemy troops, the going was slow and it was realised they were dealing with closer to 600! 105mm field guns were used over open sights and the appearance of two Tigers helped immensely. After two days they had reduced the paratroop holdings from18 buildings to 10 and the numbers from 600 to 150 or so. By the 21st September, they had pushed the paratroops back sufficiently to restore control of Arnhem bridge.
In Flames of War we use the trucked Brigade Panzergrenadiers as the basis for KG Knaust. The title card bolsters the motivation to Confident, with a Last Stand of 3+, but leaves them aggressive and trained; a fair reflection of the performance of these troops doing on-the-0job training.
The card modifies all the units available to a Brigade Panzergrenadier formation but, for maximum historical effect, we should not use 120mm mortars, 5cm anti-tank guns, the light AA platoon or the Volks 7.5cm gun platoon.
Back these guys with:
- Tigers (or a small KG Hummel formation!)
- A Fortress Europe PzIII Mixed Platoon with three PzIII (5cm) and a single PzIV (or a small formation with six PzIII (5cm) and two PzIV divided between the HQ and two platoons).
- A Sd Kfz 250 Scout Troop (Heer or SS)
- Veteran 10.5cm or 15cm Nebelwerfer (these were SS units but the difference is mute for artillery)
- 8.8cm Heavy AA Platoon
We can also field the man himself, though his peg-leg appears to have not made the transition to v4!
Kampfgruppe Von Swoboda
Do you like massed 88s? Then this is the force for you. Though its not really a force, but a collection of support units. There are two cards. The first deals with the 88s.
For a small reduction in cost per gun (a full platoon would be 8pts in cost) we take one pip off Motivation, Skill and Hit On, but we gain a bombardment and the ability to have a second platoon (with same cost and stats) so long as we also take a support 2cm Light AA Platoon. This gives us potentially 16 AT14 shots (or two artillery templates) for a 1pt a shot, basically! What’s that? Cromwells on the Polder roads? How unfortunate for them!
The second card deals with the light element:
Stacked with the 88 card, that means we can take two 88 platoons and two 2cm AA platoons all for 24 points. That’s a lot of cheap Dakka. Sadly we can’t upgrade the 2cm AA platoons to be 3.7cm FlaK (actually used by Von Swoboda) or Quad 2cm as they are also build cards and you can’t stack build cards. A shame as six 3.7cm could be quite frightening! The cards are also not title cards so these guys can support KG Knaust or similar on clearing the Island of Polish paras.
There are other Market Garden units that are not covered by cards but which Bulge Germans can represent.
559. Schwere PanzerJagerabteilung
We’ve already covered 559. Schwere PanzerJagerabteilung in my last article, but its worth noting that the formation lest us easily field that unit.
107 Panzer Brigade
The 107th was fairly typically equipped for a Panther-equipped Panzer Brigade and fought with some distinction in the campaign, shutting Hells Highway for 24 hours and requiring the 101st Airborne and 44 RTR to deal with them.
Use the Brigade Panther (late) Tank Company with “Courageous tanks” (boosting their motivation to Confident) equipped with Panthers, PzIV/70 and Mobelwagens, These can be backed up by a platoon or even a second formation; either a Brigade Armoured Assault Company/Brigade Armoured Panzergrenadier Company (with the “Courageous Infantry” card and infantry platoons, Flak platoons and a heavy mortar platoon) or a Fallschirmjäger platoon of the 21st Parachute regiment. A Volks artillery battery with 105mm to reflect the 59th Infantry Division would also be a fair inclusion.
506 Schwere Panzerabteilung
Tiger IIs are back! The heavy tanks of the 506th, along with the StuG of 280 Sturmgeschutzbrigade, proved a major thorn in the side of the defenders of the Oosterbeck perimeter. Lacking heavy anti-tank, the only answer the Paras had was long ranged medium gun support that broke up an assault that was able to penetrate deep into the pocket.
Confident veteran Konigstigers are not cheap so, whilst you could support these guys with StuG, Heer or SS panzert grenadiers, SS artillery and Luftwaffe AA guns, I suspect points for support will be scarce!
Hopefully that gives some food for thought in fielding German forces in your Market Garden games.