Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Building A Herman Göring Panzerkompanie

by SandWyrm


Stelek's been making 2000-point Late War American 3rd Infantry Division lists from the 'Dogs And Devils' book lately. So it's only fair that I see what I can come up with to defeat his 'undefeatable' defensive infantry formations. To do that, I'm going to need a German tank list to work from. 


Dogs and Devils has 4 German lists to choose from. The Hermann Göring Panzerkompanie (tanks), The Hermann Göring Panzergrenadierkompanie (infantry), The Hermann Göring Schwere Auflärungsschwadron (mech infantry), and the 362. & 715. Infantrie Division Grenadierkompanie (infantry).

Only one is a tank list, so the Hermann Göring Panzerkompanie it is.


Historically, I consider Göring to have been a thief, a buffoon, and an albatross around the neck of the Wehrmacht. But his Luftwaffe ground troops proved themselves well enough in battle to be respected. So while I don't find the idea playing his personal army exactly inspiring... Well, at least they're not the SS.


The List

First up is the mandatory HQ and 2 Combat Platoons. The optimal HQ choices sort of depend on what's in the platoons, so we'll explore the options there first.

Obviously, I'll need some (relatively) cheap Panzer IV's with long 75mm guns to do the bulk of the long-range tank killing. So we'll take a 4-tank platoon of them. In Flames, 4 is a magic number for tank units because you take morale checks for a platoon when it's reduced to under half. So whether you take a 4-tank platoon or a 5-tank platoon, both will test after 3 tanks are destroyed. So why waste the extra points?
HG Panzer Platoon
390 - 4 Panzer IV H's
These tanks have an extra point of frontal armor over the PzIV F2's that I usually take in mid-war. They also come with Schürzen side skirts, which give you a 4+ invul save (in 40K terms) against bazookas and similar weapons when you're assaulting.

Now, I could take 2 units of H's right off the bat, but I have other needs to fill first. Namely, I need some tanks that can bombard infantry and shoot direct-fire smoke to prepare an enemy unit for assault. In mid-war, I do that with Panzer IV F1's. But those aren't available to me in this list. Hmnnn...

Checking the German Arsenal on page 78, I see something interesting though. It seems that Hermann Göring's Panzer III N's can fire bombardments and shoot smoke! That's interesting, as the same tanks in the North Africa book can't do this. What's your secret Hermann?

I can't take 4 of them in a platoon, but I can take 2 M's and 2 N's.

HG Panzer Platoon
300 - 2 Panzer III N's & 2 Panzer III M's
Of course, these also come with decent frontal armor and Shürzen. One M can carry a bail of concertina wire for deployment mid-game, but I'll come back to that option later if need be.

With these two platoons as my base, the HQ choices seem easy enough. One PzIV H and one PzIII N to go along with the 2 platoons. The extra N will come in handy in delivering the smoke.

Headquarters
165 - 1 Panzer IV H & 1 Panzer III N
Now that the required units have been added, I'll get to the other basics that I need. Namely, some artillery for pinning enemy infantry and delivering area smoke.
Rocket Launcher Battery
160 - 4 15cm NW41 Launchers
I could take 6 launchers so that I could lay down double-wide templates, but that goes down to just one template if a single launcher is killed. So I don't see the point. I will be taking return fire, and 4 launchers lets me lose 2 before I start having to re-roll my hits.
Limited Air Support
135 - Ju 87D Stuka
Germans don't get great air support options in late-war like they do in mid-war. But limited still gives me 5 dice to try and stop enemy aircraft from entering the table and to shoot down those pesky AOP planes. I might even get to drop a bomb or two on the table. Which forces tanks to hug cover as they move. :)

Next I need a Recon platoon to scout out ambushes and make GtG infantry easier to hit. I can't take PzII's in late war to do this (darn it!). My choices are limited to motorcycles and 2 different types of armored car. I'll go with the motorcycles for now.
HG Panzer Scout Platoon
170 - 3 Scout Squads (4 motorcycles with MG sidecars)
That covers all of the basics. Let's see where we are...



680 points left. Let's see what we can do to beef this list up. The most obvious thing I need is some way to dig infantry out of their defensive positions.


I don't have access to a bunch of cheap light tanks in this list, and the Puma armored cars are top armor 0, meaning that they can be pinned by 5 hits in defensive fire. So mass assaults with tanks will be problematic. Even Tigers fear bazookas and Pioneer platoons in assault. But shooting infantry out of their foxholes is a pain. Since they're 2 points harder to hit, get a 3+ save, and even if they fail their save, you have to make a firepower roll to actually kill them.

There appear to be 3 solutions in the HG Panzerkompanie list:

  1. Infantry
  2. Brummbärs
  3. Armored Flamethrowers
Infantry are an obvious solution. They're also useful in defensive missions when you want to limit enemy tank movement. The best choice here is probably an 'HG Motorized Auflärungs Platoon'.
HG Motorized Auflärungs Platoon
285 - 3 Aufklärungs Squads (6 stands) + Cmd w/Half-Track Upgrade.
Hmmnnn... pricey; and it's not going to get the job done by itself.


Brummbärs have bunker-buster weapons. Meaning that if I direct-fire at infantry they won't get a save. Yay!
Assault Tank Platoon
280 - 4 Brummbärs
With decent armor and Shürzen, these guys are made for the job. The downsides? Their movement is only 8"/turn, their range is only 16", they suck at crossing obstacles, and they only have one shot. If they move they'll have an additional to-hit penalty, and won't be able to shoot at any tank that's not already bailed out.

That leaves...

HG Armored Flamethrower Platoon
280 - 4 Sd Kfz 251/16 (Flamm) Half-Tracks
These guys hit the target on a skill check to simply remove the enemy infantry stand. They're also 2 shots each. Nice!

Downsides? Their range is only 4". To fire, they have to move 6" or less. So they'll have to weather at least one round of counter-fire from heavy machine guns and rifle teams. They're open-topped (pinnable by 5 hits), and opponents get to re-roll their firepower tests against them (because of the fuel tanks). They're one-shot weapons, though I don't have to immediately remove the vehicle after firing. Worst of all, they can't assault.

So while they're scary, I have to get them on target, which I hope is densely packed enough to maximize damage. But after one turn of killing they're either gone or hanging about wondering what to do. To me, that makes them sexy but unreliable. Brummbärs it is!
 

 

So with the Brummbärs as the tip of my anti-infantry spear, I'm going to need to protect them from enemy aircraft and infantry assaults. So we'll add some Flakpanzers to the list to follow the Brumms around with.
HG Panzer Anti-Aircraft Gun Platoon
130 - 3 Flakpanzer 38(r)
Next we'll need some more anti-tank assets to round out the list.  I could just add some more PzIV H's, but what if the enemy brings something big and nasty to the party?

Heavy Tank Platoon
430 - 2 Tiger 1E
A couple of Tigers ought to be able to handle pretty much any odd thing that an enemy can throw at me. We're over points now, so let's drop the air support. It's value is a bit marginal with the Flakpanzers around anyway. That still leaves us 25 points over, so we'll drop the 1iC down to a Panzer III N. 


I'm there, but... I do feel like I need another anti-tank unit. One Tiger is probably good to have as a Joker in my deck, but 2 is likely overdoing it a bit. So let's drop a Tiger and add in another Panzer IV H platoon. To pay for it,  I'll trim the first H platoon down to 3 tanks instead of 4. These guys are going to be the last ones to assault enemy infantry, if ever. So I can trade some quality in order to get a second unit that can move around and snipe.

I'd also really like to have that Air Support in addition to my Flakpanzers. They can hit targets that my Arty will never be able to observe, and let me hunt down those annoying AOP planes wherever they are.  They'll also force enemy tanks to hug cover as they move. :)

To pay for the Stukas, I'll cut down the Recon Motorcycle platoon, the Flakpanzers, and the Rocket Launchers.

 

And there you have it.

General Strategy

The Tiger and the PzIV H's will kill enemy tanks/vehicles at range.

The Brummbärs and mixed PzIII/IV platoon will move in to assault with the 1iC and the 2iC attached. It's up to the Rocket Launchers and the Stuka to pin the enemy. While the 4 PzIII L's smoke them. The Flakpanzers will follow the advance to ward off enemy airstrikes and help shoot up infantry. The recon motorcycles's job is to zoom up and remove GtG from enemy infantry and/or deter annoying ambushes.

Thoughts? Comments? Criticisms?

11 comments:

  1. That Hermann's a creepy lookin dude.

    and if you take the first finished list, and drop both Tigers, you'll be at 1570, in the 1575 ballpark for LW Nationals!

    I still kinda prefer building at 1750 LW, or 1575.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I agree. 2000 is just too big for late war. Though I do like it for mid war.

      Delete
  2. At last more FOW stuff. I really don't like 1575 points for LW; some armies don't work, others all look the same. 1750-2000 for me.

    Now onto the list. I don't think the list can deal with some of the more extreme lists that run around in Late War. It has limited answer to stuff like 15 T-35-85s + IS2s, SS Panthers or Fearless Veteran infantry hordes.

    I think part of the problem was that you cut down so much on your combat platoons for that Limited Air. As it stands with 2 really small Artillery units I doubt that you would be able to even hit units past the third turn.

    I also really don't like the Brummbars. You noted in your post how slow they are, in addition to being a 1 shot gun. I don't see them getting anything but ignored, or smoked and laughed at. If you move, you can't hit Concealed vets. And with you chopping down the size of the Recon unit...

    However, I've looked at that book and not gotten any better idea on how to not make that briefing suck.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I dunno. I kinda like the thought of 2000 points Late War.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Why are there quite so many pictures of Göring? And for that matter, why even address the subject of Göring himself only saying "a thief, a buffoon, and an albatross" without mentioning the whole genocidal war criminal thing? You know the whole thing that we, as Western Civilization, killed him for?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are so many pictures of Göring because everything in the book is "Hermann Göring" this and that. It was his private army after all. I find that intensely creepy, yet also fascinating. All he needed was a fluffy cat to be a James Bond villain. Oh wait, he had a tiger cub. Even better.

      I remarked on his character because I find it disgusting and unlikeable. I didn't comment on the greater NAZI genocide because I didn't think anyone needed to be reminded of it. It goes without saying. Though I've not seen anything that says Göring was particularly bloodthirsty compared to the rest. He was more of a thief than a murderer.

      His troops even displayed some good character. Such as the evacuation of many irreplaceable artworks from the Monastery of Monte Casino to the Vatican before Allied bombers turned it into a burning ruin.

      In that way, I can at least entertain the thought of collecting a 'Hermann Göring' Panzerkompanie. Though I won't. When it comes to the SS, I won't even entertain the thought.

      I'm attracted to playing North African Germans because of Rommel. A fine soldier of good character who succeeded for a while in his mission despite overwhelming allied opposition and lackluster support from his own side. Later, he took part in the plot to kill Hitler; where afterwards Germany's best general was forced to take poison to save his family from the Gestapo. THAT I find admirable.

      Delete
  5. This is good stuff.
    Dunno why Stelek's focusing on 2000 points, since it's so rare to play at that level, even in LW.
    FoW is like 40k, where you get to take all of your toys.
    List building at the normal 1500 to 1750-ish level forces hard decisions, and many lists don't even have enough support options to build a decent 2000 point list without being force to take questionable stuff, like AA halftracks.
    :P

    ReplyDelete
  6. Not to be a downer, but...

    You forgot to add heroin addict to Goering's list of accomplishments-- or was it just opium? And while you may admire Rommel, please remember that he put his military genius at the service of the Third Reich, for many years, and killed many, many American and British men, among others, in the process. And would have continued to do so, had not killed himself. Were he a man worthy of respect, he would have resigned his commission and, with his family, fled the Third Reich. At best, he should be pitied. He may not have been a monstrosity like the others -- although he and his troops still had the whole 'vae victis' mentality -- but he was, at an absolute minimum, an 'accomplice by omission' (to borrow Koestler's term) to the crimes of the Third Reich, a war criminal, like the rest of them. What does it say about a man whose noblest action was to commit suicide?

    Oh, and Monte Cassino...why was the Wehrmacht using the monastery in the first place? The Allies bombed it because the Wehrmacht was using it for military purposes. Occupying a place of worship is never a display of good character.

    Enjoy playing the armies -- FOW is historical fiction gaming after all --but please don't forget who were the bad guys. And please do not try to defend them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You forgot to mention that Göring spent some time in a Mental Institution.

      Still, of the top 4 NAZIs (Hitler, Himmler, Göring, and Goebbles), I'd rather have to plead for my life in front of Göring. He at least was bribe-able. The others were all true believers of the most dangerous sort.

      Now, if we're going to talk about good guys and bad guys… Well, go read Slaughterhouse 5 and get back to me on how 'good' we were. Ask a survivor of Dresden or Horoshima what they thought of our 'goodness'. Also realize that Stalin killed more of his own people than Hitler did. We really did make a deal with one devil to fight another.

      As for Monte Casino, look it up. The Germans were NOT occupying it when it was bombed (only women and children were). The German troops only moved in once it was already rubble. The SS sent agents to KILL the army officers that rescued the artworks, because Göring was known as such a looter. The monks had to plead for their lives. After the war, General Alexander had to save those same officers from being hanged for their 'war crimes' of saving works of masters like Da Vinci from being destroyed by his country's bombs.

      Rommel's reasons for fighting in North Africa were probably the same as his reasons for joining the Hitler assassination plot. He did it for his country and family. If he were to give up and resign, then there would be nobody left to pick up the pieces when it was all over. So he did the best he could. That's even assuming he could resign. He was too famous to just fade away.

      I'm sure there are many military men fighting today that don't like their elected leaders. But if they walk away, they lose their seat at the power table. And you need that seat if you're going to make a difference anywhere.

      Delete

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