The Germans don’t have a word for fluffy – Reviewing the 21st Pz Starter Set.

The Teutonic reputation for brutality is well founded. Their operas last three or four days, and they have no word for “fluffy”. — Captain Blackadder 1918.

I am getting more conscious as I approach 40 that some of our younger readers may not be aware of the sheer comedic joy that is Blackadder so before we launch into the articles go and watch Black Adder Goes Forth on Youtube immediately and then come back.

Done, excellent….

DDay release

With the release the of the DDay Compilation Book I have managed to get my hands on the 21st Panzer Div box and I have been pondering what to do with it. The box itself does provide a legal army but has far less points that the other DDay starters and an incredibly weak formation (Loss of 3 x SPGs and some failed last stands and that’s you done!).

Given that my competitive ETC army for this year is complete, I decided to do something different, and try and build a fluffier fun list based around the 21st Panzer (hear the sound of Duncan fainting somewhere on the south coast). However, a little caveat, the aim of this article is to show that you can still be fluffy but eek out every benefit of your army for competitive play.

21st Panzer Boxed Set

The released 21st Panzer set provides you the following army out of the box.

1 x Hotchkiss 7.5cm HQ – 4pts
3 x Hotchkiss 7.5cm – 13pts
3 x Hotchkiss 10.5cm – 12pts

Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoon with 7 stands and 4 halftracks – 11pts
Scout Troop (2 x 2cm and 1 x 2.8cm) – 4pts
6 x Lorraine Schlepper (15cm) 22pts
1 x Lorraine Schlepper OP – 1pt

Total 67pts

Its a bit of a odd army with only 2 core units (plus the HQ), supported by recce and armoured infantry with a massive artillery battery. In the Pros (for such a small pt level), it has some good AT (up to 8 AT12 shots), decent infantry with lots of MG shots (and option to add a Panzerfaust), recce and a very nasty AT3 FP2 bombardment which bombards alongside the 10.5cm Hotchkiss. On the downside is brittle and will easily break, no smoke on either bombardment (a massive issue).

Making it better

Given the aim is to remain fluffy, we know we are safe to add to units in the core formation. This is vital to add some missing capabilities and beef up our break point.

Options are pretty limited with 3 more Hotchkiss, some SPAA and multiple launch mortars. I am immediately going to take the Mortars. While I would rather not spend 12pts on a bombardment, I really need core units and a salvo does a lot of damage, plus it has that vital smoke ability. Next I add the 4 x AA Halftracks, not to kill aircraft (almost pointless in FOW) but to kill the range of light vehicles and recce I will come across.

This brings us up to

This is a much more capable core formation with a respectable 6 units. It includes some capable Anti Tank, 2 x good bombardments (inc smoke) plus some light AA to keep recce honest.

Rounding it out

Now if we were being competitive (well we wouldn’t take 21st panzer!) I would take another formation here, prob some recce with some Stummels, and cheap arty but no we are sticking with DDay fluff. Therefore, we need to look at other options.

Option 1: Using the box

If we want to keep to the contents of the box we would add a 21st Panzer Armoured Grenadier Platoon with Panzerfaust (7 x MG stands and 4 x Halftracks) for 13pts. I would also then add 3 x 10.5cm Lorraine Schlepper for another good template with smoke (8pts). I go for this over the 15cm version due to the smoke bombardment. Sure FP2+ is nice, but it rarely makes a difference as its hitting the target and the infantry/gun save that is the issue you face plus the Anti Tank in a bombardment is the same. Finally, we add the 21st Panzer Scout troop for 4pts .

Now forces isn’t updated with all these points yet but on top of our 60pt core formation we now have a total of 85pts. This in turn leaves enough points for 4 x 88s at 12pts, the armoured AA command card to make your light AA Front and Side Armour 0 (vital to keep them alive), the Lorraine Schlepper OP and the lucky card for a grand total of 100pts.

In all you now have 3 good bombardments (Vets) inc a salvo and 2 x smoke. Some capable AT with 14 x AT12 shots plus 8 x AT14 shots. SP AA which is now armoured to take care of light vehicles plus capable infantry and recce.

The issue he is the ability to push an objective, you just don’t have the assault units. Therefore, I see this as a defend or manoeuvre army. It isn’t going to be glorious against meta builds, but will give ‘average’ normal lists like Brit Shermans a good run for their money.

Option 3: Heavy support

In this case we are going to use the Berlin book in a historic way! Just for a second, forget the name of the books; while they are themed to the period they often contain units that match other historic areas. A perfect example is the King Tiger Porsche. This earlier version of the King Tiger with a different turret and reduced armour. It was used in Normandy however is not in the DDay book (due to the model only coming out when the Berlin book arrived).

To make this work we have to choose Berlin as our main book (I know it seems odd) then add our 21st Panzer Assault Gun Company (as above) before taking 2 x Tiger 2 Training Company Tanks along with the ‘Porshe’ card for a total of 25pts. I will still add the Armoured Infantry for 13pt, lucky and the armoured SP AA card. That is bang on 100pts.

The difference here is that I trade the 88s, Recce and 10.5cm artillery for the 2 x King Tigers. As the rest of my army is very fragile, some FA14 beasts is quite a boon. Whilst they are reluctant in an assault they are still highly useful allowing me to assault and cause the enemy to have to counter-attack. In Red vs Blue games (especially themed DDay) SA8 is going to keep you massively safe. Brits and Yanks only have AT10 in assault (Bazooka or PIAT) so a 1/12 chance of hitting and killing you outright (assuming they have an assault rating of 4). If they are assault 5 then this drops to 1/18.

I still have 2 x good bombardments, and capable infantry to push the attack.

The front turret is the Porsche version

Option 3

The final option is to go with the second formation support option from the 21st Panzer Armoured Grenadier Formation, the Recce Platoon.

Due to forces not being updated the Pumas are acting as the 21st Panzer Scout Troop and I save 2pts on the 21st Panzergren platoon (now has 4 not 7 halftracks in the DDay compilation).

I have had to reduce my AA to 2 hulls to make this work meaning they are really back line obj lurkers to keep the formation in good spirits. However, I still have 3 great bombardments, some respectable AT and 2 very capable infantry platoons. The recce inf can also move as scouts, so in theory I can spearhead them with the recce troop and then drive them up in cover to give them a nice 6+ to be hit. With 2 x smoke bombardments, I can also support the assault and use the Salvo template to soften the objective area in the way in. Thus, this becomes more of an Attack list and also manoeuvre vs likely defend.

Conclusion

I am not going to sugar coat that the 21st Panzer SPGs are a great formation and list, but they are fairly unique and have a rule of cool. I think option 2 and 3 will give you some fun games depending on your play style and will give a good showing vs ‘average’ games night lists. If you are facing some cheese meta build (yeh yeh what I normally run) then you might need to manage your expectations. That said I think the whole list is ripe for a points decrease when we eventually see dynamic points for LW!

Perhaps a good one for the Warfare event coming up in Nov at Farnborough, which Fez is organising?

Lee and his “Time of Day” co-host, Mike, have had a look at the new starters and added them to their late war tier list.

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