“WW3: West Germans” Mountain a Defence

Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Every morning you defeat me
Small and white, you rbring the fight
You look happy to Milan me

Blossom of snow, you need no TOW
Need no TOWs not ever
Edelweiss, Edelweiss
Bless my panzerfaust 44 ever

West German Gebirgsjäger  

I know what you are thinking… another infantry-centric army… and you’d be 100% correct and what an army it is!

Sporting the iconic edelweiss the soldiers of the West German Gebirgsjäger  Division can draw a line back to the Austro-Hungarian empire and a proud heritage in conducting military operations in some of the most hostile environments. They continue this tradition through to the World War III Team Yankee West German supplement and are a most welcome, if thoroughly unexpected, inclusion in the new WWIII Team Yankee: West German book. 

1. Gebirgsdivision Context

The 1. Gebirgsdivision (1ast Mountain Division) was part of II Corps of the West German Bundeswehr and in the time period of Team Yankee consisted of: 

  • Panzer Grenadier Brigade 22 (Murnau )
  • Gebirgsjägerbrigade 23 (Bad Reichenhall)
  • Panzer Brigade 24 ( Landshut )

The 23. Gebirgsjägerbrigade was headquartered in the Bavarian spa town of Bad Reichenhall, near the Austrian border, as part of CENTAG.

In the Rules

The Gebirgsjäger are the rarest of things in Team Yankee – a mostly infantry based force – and something that is an extremely useful tool for the already expensive West German army. The Gebirgsjäger might be lightly equipped but these elite mountain troops are hardy, cost-effective and provide an excellent breakwater against the Soviet masses. 

As I mentioned already the West German forces in WWIII Team Yankee are infamously expensive, and what is more, their infantry units are tiny –  and I mean TINY! The Gebirgsjäger on the other hand now provides a decent sized infantry unit to hold ground for you until relieved. 

7 x teams with Panzerfausts 44s and 2 x teams with Milans is really good when compared with the Panzergrenadiers and their 3 x teams with Panzerfausts and 2 x Milans. You have a lot more staying power – especially combined with the Morale and Rally 3+ ratings. They are a couple of points more than their Marder-borne cousins but what you lose in mobility and AFV support you gain in manpower. 

You also have in formation support in the form of self-propelled mortars, Leopard 1s – which come in a 5 strong unit – recce and AA. Which gives you a lot of flexibility

Elevating Your List

So, having shown that the Gebirgsjäger can form the core of your list how would you deploy them? 

The Core

  • Gebirgsjäger Kompany HQ
  • Gebirgsjäger Zug
    7 x MG3 & G3 teams with Panzerfaust 44
    2 x Milan missile teams
  • Gebirgsjäger Zug
    7 x MG3 & G3 teams with Panzerfaust 44
    2 x Milan missile teams
  • Gebirgsjäger Zug
    7 x MG3 & G3 teams with Panzerfaust 44
    2 x Milan missile teams
  • Leopard 1 Gebirgspanzerjäger Zug
    5 x Leopard 1
  • M113 Panzermörser Zug
    3 x M113 Panzermörser
  • Luchs Spah Trupp
    2 x Luchs
  • Gepard Flakpanzer Batterie
    4 x Gepard 

That is a chunky company – plenty of staying power and covers your bases for artillery, AA, Recce and some amour. Those tanks are not going to hang around very long but when you consider that its real 1980s adversary was going to be Soviet 2nd or 3rd line troops, or Czechoslovakians it does make sense. 

The Snow on the Peak

Now to support my infantry – first up some horribly out of date jagdpanzers but they are flat and lovely! 

The last remaining Kanonenjagdpanzers were still hanging on with Territorial units and in 1. Gebirgsjäger-Division up until the late 1980s so it seems appropriate to include them too. I’m not sure that they are going to strike the fear of the almighty into anything but they seem very appropriate. 

  • Kanonenjagdpanzer Zug
    4 x Kanonenjagdpanzers

This is the real heavy lifting – 8 (EIGHT) PAH Anti-Tank Helicopters in two flight of four. These HOT missile slinging strike helicopters will provide the overwhelming heavy anti-tank that is missing from the rest of the list. 

  • PAH Anti-Tank Helicopter Flight 
    4 x PAH
  • PAH Anti-Tank Helicopter Flight
    4 x PAH

Finally, as I have a few points left I’m going to add in a small flight of Tornadoes to give me even more airpower. Their salvo template will be useful again to take on clustered Soviet tanks and adds to the overwhelming concentration of German airpower in this locale. 

  • Tornado Strike Flight
    2 x Tornado 

Modelling

The lovely new WWIII Team Yankee West German range really covers the bases here but there are some things you can do to give your force a bit of a unique slant. 

The first is converting the new Weisel kit to make some Weisel 120mm mortar carriers. The Weisel seems to have always been deployed with modern Fallschimjäger and Gebirgsjäger forces so you could even use the 20mm option as an alternative model to the Luchs.

I think everyone knows that I love me some custom 3D objective markers and I think that there is some opportunity here to get creative. The Gebirgsjäger division had some organic air support in the form of the Alouette II Observation Helicopter, up until the late 1980s when they were replaced with the Bo-105M Observation Helicopter. I think that using a flying stand would make an awesome objective, considering the airpower you are bringing to the table if you can magic up a suitable model.

Another idea for a cool objective marker would be to create a TPz 1A3/ABC or Spürpanzer Fuchs. The West Germans were second-to-none when it came to NBC Defence and having the Spürpanzer Fuchs lurking around as a rear objective would look extremely cool – even if you just used the Fuchs vehicle by itself! 

The Rock and the Hard Place

Now you have your fantastic looking Gebirgsjäger force, all painted up and looking swanky as… how are you going to use it? 

Let’s be frank, it’s a defensive force. It’s designed as and should be deployed as. Which means you have to consider reserves. For me the simplest way to get to 40% with the force we have is to leave the following off the table:

  • PAH Anti-Tank Helicopter Flight
    4 x PAH
  • Gebirgsjäger Zug
    7 x MG3 & G3 teams with Panzerfaust 44
    2 x Milan missile teams
  • Leopard 1 Gebirgspanzerjäger Zug
    5 x Leopard 1

That means that you will have to be wary that you don’t get overwhelmed by opposing armour – your  Milan and HOT missiles can only do so much and aren’t really going to put a tonne of shots down range by themselves. 

The Kanonenjagdpanzer Zug makes a nice ambushing unit to thin out lighter armour-like BMPs but is not going to really take on too much to the front. 

Your two on table infantry units will have to ready hold fast and I think that they should do a good job of that given the right conditions. If you want to get that 3rd unit on the table it would probably mean sacrificing your Gepards and that will depend on your opponent’s force. You will have some flexibility but knowing how to respond in a given situation will be vital. 

Your infantry is the rock that your Soviet opponent will beat themselves against whilst your missiles and arriving panzers can counter punch and begin thinning out their ranks.

Capping it Off

Anyway, I’ve probably rambled on long enough now on these glorious mountain men; sufficed to say I’m extremely pleased that they made it into the new West German book and definitely provide West German players something new to take to the table top. 

I’ll be back soon with a cup of single-origin, cold brew flat white artisan coffee, maybe with some delicious apfelstrudel with more thoughts from the hipster’s beard. 

-Dunc

Category: Hobby HipsterList DiscussionRamblingTeam YankeeWest Germans

2 comments

  1. So, all in all a lovely article. Inquiring minds would like to know about the Packhorses that equipped 23rd Mtn Brigade, and I guess we are not using the FH70 howitzer because it it towed.

  2. They also had a rapid reaction force, to send up to the alps via helicopter, and the Hochgebirgsjägerzüg, seems like a real cool elite mountain special forces unit!!

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Article by: Duncan Gosling