The WW1 German Guns

Today, Duncan is back to look at some options for his WW1 Great War Germans – this time it is the support of The German Guns!   

Hi Duncan here and today I going to be looking closely again at another option to expand my Great War German army – again looking at alternatives to include over those beautiful yet oh so rare, AV7s.

Last time I looked at the obvious choice including more infantry into the mix – this time I’m going to look at how to support those Shock Troops in taking the Allied Trench lines and breaking through to the coast.

There are two artillery options integral to the German Infanteriekompanie – the Infantry Gun Platoon of 7.62cm Krupp infantry guns and the Artillery Battery of 7.7cm FK96 n.A. guns and two pseudo options in the Artillery Detachment of 7.7cm FK96 n.A. guns and the Minenwerfer Platoon of 7.6cm Minenwerfers. So there are plenty of options; but which is better?

*cue Harry Hill*

Infantry Gun Platoon

The Infantry Gun Platoon comes in two flavours: Confident Trained and Confident Veteran and can be purchased as either one gun or two guns but with no command team so each gun operates as separate platoons if you choose the two gun option.

The 30pts difference between the CT and CV options gets expensive quickly if you do opt for multiple guns so I’ve stuck with CT most of the time – I’ve found that the Veteran status comes into play so rarely that the extra investment in points is not really worth it.

So what do you get for you points outlay? Mainly mobility and flexibility. The infantry guns get the Trench Guns special run which means they can cross, enter and be deployed in Trenches. This is pretty nice as with a rate of fire of 2 they can add some additional fast firing to defensive deployments and in an offensive role have the potential to do some good work digging out teams from cover.

The downside – range 16”. That means that you will have to be taking return fire from whatever you are shooting at and with only a 50% of removing a pin once you have received one you are unlikely at that point to outshoot your intended target.

Artillery Battery

Again the Artillery Battery comes in two flavours: Confident Trained and Confident Veteran and as standard, pretty much, in V3 comes in a short 2 gun battery or full 4 gun battery. The points cost for the full 4 gun battery is frankly eye watering with the Veteran option clocking in at north of 700 points (That is correct SEVEN HUNDRED points!).

As with the vast majority of artillery battery support options, the Artillery Battery allows you to access a bombardment but it is nothing to write home about with a firepower of 6+ severely limiting you being able to dig out enemy troops and with no staff team you will have to zero in each and every turn BUT hold on because….

If you take an Artillery Battery you will always defend. Always. Even if you also select tank support which usually would make you always attack! This means that with a barrage and a range of 64” you can, as a defender reach out an influence the battlefield away from your defensive trench lines. A 24” direct fire capability also means that you can sit 7” back from your front line and be able to fire directly at those target that give your infantry issues should they want to get within 16” of you.

Artillery Detachment

Artillery Detachments operate in the same way as the Infantry Gun Platoon with an option for one or two guns acting as individual platoons and as their own command stand. This gives you more direct range than the 7.62cm Krupp but the firepower remains at 3+ and gives you access to a single gun barrage that might come into play once in a blue moon.

I find the cost of these over the Krupp prohibitive – for around 1/3 more points you get 8” more range but lose the trench gun ability so you are pretty much fixed where you are unless you fancy trying to haul them across the table with a horse drawn limber (not for me thank you). The other thing you lose is the always defend – this to me is worth the 15pts for an Artillery Battery instead.

Minenwerfer Platoon

Strictly speaking these aren’t German Guns but a discussion around there potential when considering support options for your German Infanteriekompanie is very valid.

Like the 7.62cm Krupp guns the Minenwerfer Platoon gets the Trench Guns rule – very nice – and can be purchase in Platoons of 1-3 Minenwerfers. Again they are not a cheap option with 3 Veterans racking up a cost of over 500pts and a Trained platoon of 3 is just shy of 400pts; in terms of cost they nestle nicely in the middle ground between the short and full Artillery Battery options.

Amongst the positives they have a very healthy 2+ firepower and can fire over intervening friendly teams so are perfect to sit behind an assault neutralising machine gun nests and other prime targets. The downside is that they have no barrage capability so no way to pin down large platoons by themselves and they only have a maximum range of 32” and a minimum range of 8”.

So Which Is Better?

Well now that really is a question and a half! So it is cop out time so here I go: It really depends on what you are trying to achieve… Sorry.

I think that this choice in the German army really does heavily depend on what else you are taking and what you plan to do with your army. For example if you take a Stoss Platoon, armed with pistols mainly, and have to defend a trench line with them because you choose to bring a short Artillery Battery then you are 100% shooting yourself in the foot.

For me if you are designing a defensively minded Infanteriekompanie (HMGs, Infanterie Platoons) then the inclusion of a full strength Artillery Battery gives you:

  1. Always defend.
  2. Heavy Anti-Tank (weird talking about AT in WW1) which covers more than half of the 4” x 4” table.
  3. A barrage that can reach out to any part of the table

If you plan to be on the assault and take an Infanteriekompanie designed to take the fight to you opponent (Confident Veteran with Stoss Platoons) then you do not want to bring the Artillery Battery; instead the Minenwerfers and Krupp Guns or the Artillery Detachment are by far your better bet as:

  1. Minenwerfers give you high firepower, accurate indirect fire to take out MG nests.
  2. 7.62cm Krupp guns or the 7.7cm FK96 n.A. guns give you 3+ direct fire power you are going to need to dig out defending troops.

As I plan to include a Stoss platoon next time my troops hit the table I think that I will try and include some, fewer or none from Minenwerfer Platoon, Infantry Gun Platoon and Artillery Detachments and see if my Great War Theory Dojo displays any resemblance to what happens on the table top.

Until next time The Kaiser Protects.

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