Great Big “Germans”, or should I say Austrians.

For the theme of my Panzer IV Tank Company I could have gone with one of the obvious candidates such as Panzer Lehr Division, 21. Panzerdivision, or one of the Waffen-SS Panzer divisions. However, I wanted to go with a divisions with a bit more of a war spanning history, so I chose 2. Panzerdivision.

When the Germans started expanding their army in the 1930s in defiance of the Versailles Treaty, it created its first three panzer divisions (1., 2., and 3.). 2. Panzerdivision was formed in Barvaria in Southern Germany in 1935, but after the Anschluss (the German annexation of Austria) in 1938 it moved its home barracks to Vienna. From that point on Austrians made up much of the manpower of the division.

The division participated in the campaigns in Poland (1939) and France (1940) before it returned to Poland for occupation duties (1940–1941). It took part in the 1941 Balkans campaign in Greece before it was transferred to the Eastern Front in September 1941. The division fought with Army Group Centre, including the battles of Moscow in 1941 and Kursk in 1943.

In late 1943, 2. Panzerdivision was sent to France for refitting, rather than Vienna. One battalion of Panzer-Regiment 3 was equipped with Panther A tanks, while the other was equipped with Panzer IV H tanks. Following the D-Day landings, the division was moved to Normandy where it engaged the British 50th Infantry Division and the 7th Armoured Division. It took part with its last tanks in Operation Luttich, the German counterattack at Mortain. It was later encircled in the Falaise pocket, but broke out with heavy losses in materiel and troops.

For a more detailed account of the division’s campaign in Normandy see the Flames Of War website…

It was a rather well-equipped division when it entered combat in Normandy on 12 June. It even had two Armoured Panzergrenadier battalions, rather than the normal one for a Panzer Division.

2. Panzerdivision in Normandy
Commander: Generalleutnant Heinrich Freiherr von Lüttwitz
Chief of Staff: Oberstleutnant i.G. Rüdiger Weitz

Panzer-Regiment 3 (Oberst Traugott Köhn, killed on 20 July 1944, replaced by Major Schneider-Kostalski, killed on 7 August 1944, replaced by Oberstleutnant Carl von Wagner)
I./3 (Major Joachim von Lehsten) (79 Panther A tanks)
II./3 (Oberstleutnant Walter Koch, relieved by Major Horst Rämsch on 25 July) (96 Panzer IV H tanks)

Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 2 (Oberst Karl Brassert) (one battalion in Sd Kfz 251 half-tracks, the other motorised)

Panzer-Grenadier-Regiment 304 (Major Dr. Anton Rauscher from July to August 1944, replaced by Oberstleutnant Christian Kübler) (one battalion in Sd Kfz 251 half-tracks, the other motorised)

Panzer-Artillerie-Regiment 74 (Oberstleutnant Karl-Heinz Finger) (12 Wespe, 6 Hummels, and 26 towed guns)

Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung 2 (Major Bernhard von Schkopp)

Heeres-Flak-Artillerie-Abteilung 273 (eight 8.8cm FlaK36 guns)

Panzerjäger-Abteilung 38 (Major Werner Sterz) (21 Jagdpanzer IV, plus nine 7.5cm PaK40 guns, the division had a total of 25 Pak40, the other 16 were with the panzergrenadiers and the Panzer-Aufklärungs-Abteilung)

Panzer-Pionier-Bataillon 38

Also attached to the division was 4. Kompanie of Panzer-Abteilung 301 (Funklenk) (a radio controlled demolition carrier unit armed with two Panzer III, six StuG, and 36 Bogward B IV demolition carriers).

All this equipment means I’ll have plenty of opportunities to expand my force in the future.

Nailing down the look and feel
There are lots of photos of Panzer IVs in Normandy taken during and after the campaign, however it is often hard to pin down what unit they belong to. However, tank nerds abound and usually someone else has usually identified what unit a tank belongs to. My initial quick bit of research has identify a few Panzer IV tanks as belonging to II./Panzer-Regiment 3, of 2. Panzerdivision.

As you can see the scheme is rather busy, but I think I can tone it down a bit to something like this modellers interpretation, or like in this artwork from Tank encyclopaedia.

The Panzergrenadiers’ half-tracks may be more of an issue, but I’m sure I can find something simple, yet striking I can model their camouflage scheme on.

~ Wayne

Sherman Tanks: Advance!

Motivation and Skill are two of the most important stats in Flames Of War, determining how keen your troops are to do scary things, and how good they are at doing them. Selecting a Nation and an Army for the Big Four Project (for me at least) tapped in to the same two things…

Motivation: what drives us to do something. In the case of the Big Four we all wanted to go on the Late War Journey as a group of friends, whilst sharing it with a community of (hopefully) interested Flames Of War players. Drilling down further we see that:

  • Victor: wants to build a great looking, visually thematic American force that he can plug in new units into.
  • Casey: also wants a visually themed force, but one that challenges his ability (Skill) but working on a different painting style.
  • Wayne: is planning a historically themed force that fought throughout Late War.
  • Chris: well….

I am drawing on a few different areas, TV and Movies, Gaming, and a desire to finish a project that I have failed to complete previously…

TV, Movies and the Internet – if you haven’t watched A Bridge Too Far, then go to your favourite streaming service or movie rental and watch it… now!

Obviously ABTF isn’t the only reference that I am drawing from but there is just something about that movie and its portrayal of not just the Paras, but also the Irish Guards and their columns of Sherman tanks pushing up the road to Arnhem that has really stuck with me.

Then, just do a search on the internet for images of the British army in Normandy – from images of troops fighting in the hedgerows to Shermans covered in stowage and track links, there is plenty to draw inspiration from.

Gaming – I enjoy playing the mix of models that a British Army can run in Late War – middle of the road Sherman tanks, very shooty Firefly tanks, resilient Rifle Platoons, nippy (fast) Carriers, all rounders like the 25pdr gun, and heavily armoured Churchills. There is something for everyone, and in a game where you can field a good mix of models this means I am not short of options in my Army Building Toolbox. A balanced force can deal with anything…

Finishing Something – I’ve started British forces three times since I started at Battlefront… a Cromwell Company not long after I started, inspired by the individually sculpted resin models that Jeremy and James built and painted. A British Guards Sherman Company when we were working on the Bridge Too Far Firestorm Campaign – a terrible paint job left me too grumpy to complete the project. The final false start was my Comet Company, still sitting in a box, assembled and ready for painting, relegated to a box in the garage. Spoiler Alert – year four of the Journey it will be coming back to the painting table!

This brings me to Skill – I am the least capable painter/hobbyist of the group. I am handy with a paintbrush but my painting ability is not what brings me to the hobby. However, I have a plan here as I work alongside some pretty clever guys. I will be picking their brains to come up with a painting plan that means I can complete a nice looking (hopefully) tabletop army using some of the tips and tricks from Colours Of War, along with a few of the skills I have picked up along the way.

On the good side, British vehicles can have a lot of colourful markings on them and there is nothing like a pile of decals and a couple of interesting pieces of stowage to really help finish off a tank and make it look good.

Where I am backing myself is the gaming side of things. I feel like I have a very solid list to build initially that will let me dish out some hurt on the tabletop. Casey, Wayne and Victor’s tanks will all burn the same colour after my Firefly tanks brew them up…

So with the Late War Journey just beginning I feel like have the basis of solid plan put together – time to sort out an initial painting list and get it assembled.

~ Chris

Breaking Out With Americans

When we started work on V4 Late-War, I began thinking of all the new armies I could build. There’s so many exciting options but I wanted to find something new that I hadn’t painted before. It wasn’t until I was halfway through working on D-Day: American that I realised: I’ve never made an American army!

I’d always liked the idea of an American Sherman army, and the tank itself is really iconic. I guess I normally trend towards heavy tanks as it means less painting, so I came up with the “Big Four of Late War” journey as a way to push myself out of my usual habits. Then it was just a matter of finding three suckers to join me to make the name work…

Some people might find the idea of painting a horde of Olive Drab tanks a bit dull and… drab… but I see it as something I can turn into a positive! My goal for this journey we’re embarking on is to have an American force that is all cohesive in the way it looks, so that I’m able to swap in and out units to build any American list I want.

All of my previous Flames Of War armies over the past 10 years have been based around a very specific battle or division (Market Garden FJ, Welsh Guards Cromwells, Late T-34’s in Berlin, to name a few) which meant once the army was complete, it remained as is without any list building flexibility. They also often had advanced painting techniques used and specific camo schemes or markings that while they were fun and satisfying to do, were often hard to repeat on a new unit (especially months later if I hadn’t written my process down!).

With my new Late-War Americans I want to figure out painting steps that are easily repeatable, so I can add units to change up my lists and grow my collection as we progress through the war. I’m much more a painter than a gamer though, so it has to be something I’ll be happy with and proud of.

This lead me to think about camouflage options for American AFV. I had seen black camo patches over olive drab before, but hadn’t ever looked into how common it was. So I plan to do a bit of research on it to educate myself, and see if it’s viable for a full army.


In any case it’s something I want to try painting, at least on one tank.

As with most of my army projects, I do a test piece to try out colours and techniques before committing to the full army. Sometimes it’s a spare hull top from a previously completed kit, but this time I want to finish a full tank to work out the painting steps from start to finish. Then I can judge it and see if there’s anything I’d do differently for the full force.

So stay tuned to see my first experiment…

~Victor

Who Are The Big Four?

Four Nations. Four People. Four Army Deals. Welcome to the Big Four Of Late War…

Victor “el Presidente” Pesch is the ring leader of Big Four, having come up with the entire concept of embarking on the Journey alongside our players. Known in the Studio for his painting prowess he spends his days wrangling Photoshop and InDesign working as a Graphic Designer, whilst his nights are spent working on whatever new project takes his fancy. He has his eyes set on an American force filled with Sherman tanks. For now…

Wayne “the Veteran” Turner is one of the longest serving employees in the company, having worked in almost every department of the company from Game Design to Production. These days he finds himself primarily working on Team Yankee, but a return to Late War has him excited to return to World War II and the chance to build his first Panzer IV based German army.

Casey “Comrade” Davies has built more Soviet models than anyone can count, with an astounding seven complete Strelkovy Companies to his name. After some debate he grabbed the new Soviet Army Deal whilst making noises about wanting to try his hand at building a new Hero Company. Like Victor he spends his days creating the books, cards and imagery that you see whenever you play a game of Flames Of War (or Team Yankee).

Chris “The Magpie” Townley is always looking forward to the next project, even before he has finished whatever is currently sitting on the painting table. He spends his time pouring over spreadsheets and planning documents, all the while looking over the writers shoulders trying to noodle his “next big project”. For Chris, the Late War Journey is a chance to finally build that British Sherman company that he has been planning for almost 10 years…

To follow their individual progress you can click on the handy icons over on the right hand menu, as well as checking out the groups Instagram feed to see plenty of behind-the-scenes activity. Over the next few years there will also be plenty of great content coming from the rest of the Battlefront family so don’t forget to keep an eye on the Flames Of War website for this, as well as all the latest news and information on what is happening.

~The Big Four Of Late War

The Big Four Of Late War – A Flames Of War Journey

On June 6, 1944, thousands of men were nervously waiting in landing craft, transport aircraft and bunkers as the fate of the world rested on their shoulders. The liberation of Europe was about to begin.

75 years later, across the world, thousands of gamers are preparing to embark on a journey of their own as Flames Of War returns to Late War. Starting with Fortress Europe and the D-Day series of books Battlefront will spend the next four years extensively covering the fighting in Europe through 1944 to 1945.

For gamers this is an amazing opportunity to grow a new army from nothing, starting by choosing a nation, a theme and then selecting the models that they want to use as the basis for their army. Then, over the next four years as each new theatre is explored, they will be able to add new units to their force, just like the real armies of World War II.

At the beginning of the journey, the humble Sherman will be fighting head to head versus the dreaded Tiger tank, whilst as the war progresses the King Tiger, Pershing and IS tanks will change the shape and nature of the battlefield. These changes will make the shared journey through Late War that much more interesting and dynamic as we, the commanders of the battlefield, pick the best forces available to us on the day, whilst looking forward to the next “wonder weapon” that will ensure that we will be victorious in tomorrows battles.

Collectively we (the “Big Four” – more on who we are later) have been playing Flames Of War for around 50 years and we think that the Late War Journey is the one of the most exciting things to happen to the game since its original release back in 2001. Now, with people all around the world taking their first look at Late War and building new armies, we wanted to come on the journey with you and take a fresh look at our favourite period of Flames Of War.

This will be like no “Tale of Four Gamers” series of articles that you might have seen in the past. Instead it will be an epic journey (one with Tanks instead of Ringwraiths) that will take part over four years…

Starting with the release of Fortress Europe we will be creating armies using our new Army Deals as the basis, building and painting from scratch, and then getting them on the tabletop to play some games.

During the course of the first year, we (just like you) will be able to access new units and Formations as the D-Day series of books is released. This will give us the chance to tweak our armies by selecting new organisations or building and painting new models. On the Big Four Of Late War website you will be able to see our finished efforts, as well finding out what we are planning on working on next.

If you want to keep up with what we are up to on a day-by-day basis you can also follow our Instagram feed where we will be showing off progress photos as we build and paint the models.

At the conclusion of the Journey we will have built entire new armies, filled with great new models, as well as having played a pile of games as we try to find out who is the biggest of the Big Four.

We look forward to you coming on the trip with us…

~The Big Four Of Late War