I’ve now complete my initial target of 100 points (actually 101 but whos counting!).

This is by no means the end of the journey for this force. At the moment I’m just finishing off my three 15cm Nebelwerfer rocket launchers.

I also plan to paint another four Panzer IV tanks so I can swap these with the Tigers as I feel the need. D-Day: German sees the release of some great new models that are pretty hard to resist, so I plan to add at least one Panther Tank Platoon, as well as an Sd Kfz 250 Scout Troop.

Of course I also have some Support options to round out the Force.

Other tempting developments include expanding my Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoon into a whole Armoured Panzergrenadier Company by painting an HQ and one or two more platoons, and heavy weapons units.

It is the great thing about building Germans, units can be moved about several different forces.

I’ll keep you posted,

~Wayne

Big Four Battle Time – Wayne vs Victor

With the completion of Wayne’s first 100 points, Wayne and Victor thought they would have a game to celebrate another Big Four of Late-war army passing the 100 point mark and the release of D-Day: German.

Victor took a modified version of his US force he took against Casey on the release of D-Day: American. Wayne took his Panzer IV Tank Company.

They decided to play Free-for-All. Victor started deployment and Wayne won the dice off to see who goes first. Deployment was evenly spread, with both players concentrating their tank units on the forested side of the battlefield.

Turn 1:  The first turn saw Wayne push his Panzer IV platoons forward to engage the M10s and Shermans, but with only moving ROF just one Sherman was destroyed. Victor’s retaliation was swift and deadly three Panzer IVs were destroyed and one bailed out, all from flank platoon.

Turn 2:  The morale of the devastated Panzer IV platoon didn’t hold, and despite the last tank remounting, their Last Stand roll wasn’t so successful and he beat as hasty retreat. However, Wayne “88” began engaging the M4 Shermans on the hill knocking out two tanks. The last Panzer IV Platoon and the Tiger concentrated their fire on the M10 platoon which had advanced from behind the forest, destroying one and bailing out another. The HQ Panzer IVs knocked another two Shermans on the hill.

Victor returned fire on the flank, but only managed to destroy a single Panzer IV in the forest to the front of the M10s. On the other flank the M5 Stuart Tank Platoon pushed up and began machine-gunning the Panzergrenadier who had dismounted near the 88s and the objective. Despite massive firepower (25 MG dice), they only managed to kill the one team after on scoring four hits! Meanwhile, Victor’s artillery has been ineffectually peppering the Panzergrenadiers and 88s.

Turn 3: The Stuart had done enough to attract the attention of one of the 88s, it swung around and destroyed two Stuarts. The other 88 took aim at the American HQ Shermans who had also moved to the hill and knocked out one tank. The Tigers and Panzer IV Platoon concentrated on the M10 tank destroyers, knocking out all but one. The HQ fired on the last M4 Sherman Tank Platoon tank on the hill, but failed to hit it.

Victor managed to pass the Last Stand for his M4 Sherman Tank Platoon, but failed for his M10s. Re-ranging in both his batteries he managed to knock out three more Panzergrenadier teams, then destroyed one more with his Stuarts. His 76mm Shermans destroyed two more Panzer IVs.

Turn 4: With only one Panzer IV left the second platoon also failed last stand and quit the field. The Panzergrenadiers also gave up. The 88s killed two more Stuart and bailed out American commander. The Tigers continued to fire at the 76mm Shermans, destroyed one and bailed two. The HQ took a long range snipe at the Sherman OP and the last stubborn Sherman on the hill.

Victor remounted his 76mm Shermans, but the Stuart ran off. The repeat bombardment on one 88 had no effect. However, on the other flank the game was one. Wayne failed to save two 76mm hits on the Tigers and Victor made the Firepower rolls. With only the HQ left in Wayne’s formation they are not in Good Spirit and are destroyed.

A Victory to Victor.

Wayne Rolls Out With Infantry and 88’s

Progress is on my Panzer IV Tank Company has reached a climax. I’ve completed the last two units I need to bring my force up to 100 points (well, actually 99 or 101 points).

The first new unit is the Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoon (see page 50, D-Day: German). This unit consists of seven MG42 teams, a Panzerschreck team, and four Sd Kfz 251 half-tracks. I also plan to run them equipped with Panzerfaust anti-tank weapons. Most teams have one miniature armed with the Panzerfaust.

These are made from the plastic Panzergrenadiers that come with the Starter Army Deal. However, as I actually also split a Hit the Beach with Victor, I have a lot of these guys, so I may have mixed them up a bit during clean-up.

For the half-tracks I went with a green only camouflage to keep them a little different to the tanks. I painted the vehicle crew separately and glued them into the half-tracks before varnishing.

The second new unit is an 8.8cm Heavy AA Platoon (see page 65, D-Day: German) and consists of a pair of 8.8cm AA guns. I keep these pretty simple and didn’t bother with any camouflage. I painted the crew separately, then glued them to the base, before texturing and painting the bases. I placed the guns on the base, but not glued to work out where I could place tuffs. I didn’t want to place any tuffs where the gun might go, which would make it hard to glue down later after the flocking was done.

Afterwards I realised I had painted one too many crew, as I only need to place five crew on each gun. I had painted six, forgetting the seated gunner in my count. One less crew would have made it a little easier to position the gun on the base, but in the end it fitted anyway.

~Wayne

Wayne’s Panzer IV Tank Company Progress Report

With only a month or so until my deadline of getting 100 points finished in time for the release of D-Day: German, I think things are going well.
I have now finished my four tank units.

Panzer IV Tank Company HQ
2x Panzer IV
Panzer IV Tank Platoon
4x Panzer IV
Panzer IV Tank Platoon
4x Panzer IV
Tiger Tank Platoon
2x Tiger
That’s 79 points already!

As you have seen, if you are following our bigfouroflatewar Instagram account, I’ve started on my Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoon. I’ve got the Sd Kfz 251 half-tracks ready for crews and have the infantry teams underway.

After that there is a pair of 8.8cm AA guns and crew to complete the force.

I’m quite pleased with the tanks, and I’m looking forward to painting some more. I thought I might paint another four Panzer IVs that I can swap out for the Tigers when I feel the need.

You can check out Wayne’s first platoon of Panzer IVs here…

Mistakes were made
I discovered a couple of things I would do differently. First off, when assembling your Sd Kfz 251 half-tracks glue the drivers in before completing assembly. Secondly, don’t try and trim decals after you have removed them from the backing paper while wet, they are slippery and hard to cut.
~Wayne

Wayne’s First Panzers

It took me a while, but I have my first unit done for my Big Four Of Late War German force. I really enjoyed painting these Panzer IV tanks, and had a bit of fun modifying a few of the Schürzen plates. The haphazard spray-gun squiggly line camouflage applied by the 2. Panzerdivision tankers was an interesting challenge, but I think it has come out OK.

I painted these first with a Dark Yellow airbrushed basecoat, then a black magic wash (a mix of water, floor polish, and Indian ink), then airbrushed the flat panels with the base colour again, leaving the darker areas around the details. The green and brown camouflage colours were then applied with my airbrush as thinly as I could. The details like tools, tracks, and tyres were painted, decals added, before each tank was given a drybrush of Vallejo Model Color Buff.

Next, I’ll paint my the second Panzer IV Platoon. It will get the same treatment.

~Wayne

The Big Four Detour: Panzerschreck 2019 Report

Every year members of the New Zealand Studio travel down to sunny(ish) Palmerston North for the worlds longest running Flames Of War / Team Yankee tournament. This year the Big Four embarked on a road trip whilst other members of the team took the expedient option and flew.

The road trip down featured the customary stops at various model and gaming shops along the way, where some mistakes were made! At least there were no road closures resulting in 2-hour detours (unlike the last two years!).

Panzerschreck is normally a doubles event and under Team Yankee it was decided a force should contain a minimum of two Formations, using one Force diagram as the basis for the army. Wayne and Victor paired up, using West Germans and Israelis, whilst Casey and Chris teamed up with their Soviet and Czechoslovakian armies. The combined forces could be up to 140 points with no prescribed way as to how they are split.

Over the weekend we were fortunate enough to play some really great opponents, as well has facing off against some tough armies. Of course, Panzerschreck is known for being a hard but friendly event so this was no surprise.

In addition to the gaming activities during the day, in the evening we would retreat back to Evan’s (our NZ based sculptor) house for some post game debriefs and some boardgames.

Before we knew it the weekend was over and it was time to return to Auckland… of course we made time for a few more stops, including a quick visit to the New Zealand Army Museum at Waiouru.

To check out some of the armies and games, click on the thumbnails below

The Big Four Detour: Panzerschreck 2019

The Big Four have been working on a secret (or not so secret in some cases) project to get armies ready for this weeks Panzerschreck tournament. Panzerschreck is the longest running Flames Of War tournament in the world and this year it has been hijacked to run a Team Yankee doubles event.

The Big Four paired up along traditional lines, with Wayne and Victor (Bratwurst and Bagels) and Casey and Chris (Chalk and Cheese) each joining forces.

Wayne had most of his army already painted having taken his West Germans to a number of events over the past couple of years. His Panzergrenadier Company has a mix of Panzergrenadiers (no surprises there), Leopard 2 tanks and some support vehicles.

Victor painted (most) of his rather homogeneous force as part of the Oil War launch, having just completed the extra stowage and tank commander this week to complete the Company. He is bringing 11 Merkava 2 tanks to the battlefield and expects to be leading from the front, thanks to their heavy armour.

Casey, finally, finished his first Soviet army for Team Yankee after a couple of years – he did paint a pretty massive Soviet army for someone else during the time as well. His force consists of 15 T-64 tanks, as well as anti-aircraft launchers, anti-tank launchers and some recon.

Last, but certainly not least, Chris has been gagging to do a Czechoslovakian force for some time now and has used this as a chance to get the first part of it finished and ready for battle. Of course, his pile of T-55 tanks, support vehicles and infantry only come out to 35 points, so he has quite a bit more work ahead of him (once he has finished his Big Four project) to complete it as a stand-alone army!

Stay tuned to the Big Four Instagram feed over the next few days to keep up with all of their progress and road trip activities!

 

Selecting The Great Big Germans

It is with great honour I join the ranks of the Big Four for our journey into Late-War Flames Of War. As we’ve outlined in the Big Four Of Late War intro article each of us is making a force for Late-war from one of the Big Four nations in WW2. I’m building the German force.

I’ll be using Fortress Europe to make my initial list and the new German Starter Force Panzer Kampfgruppe to supply the core of my models. The German Starter Force Panzer Kampfgruppe is great value and gives you an excellent selection of tanks, guns and infantry. In fact I won’t be using them all immediately, but they will be used. The StuGs have already been earmarked for expanding my Mid-war Assault Gun Company so it can be fielded in Late-war.

I’ve decided to theme my army on 2. Panzerdivision in Normandy and base it around Panzer IV tanks. In the past I’ve concentrated on Panthers and StuGs, as well as other types of assault guns, so this will be the first Late-war Panzer IV Panzer Company I’ve ever made. So using the Panzer III & IV Mixed Tank Company in Fortress Europe (page 42) I will take:

Left over from the German Starter Army are three 15cm Nebelwerfer rocket launchers and three StuG assault guns. The StuGs will go towards my period straddling Assault Gun Company, while the Nebelwerfers will be painted to be used with this army as needed. You may have noted I have a total on 10 Panzer IV tanks, but the starter army only comes with five. For the additional models I’ve split a Hit the Beach with Victor, getting three more and I also had a box of five Panzer IV H tanks at home! My German share of Hit the Beach also gives me more Panzergrenadiers and 7.5cm PaK40 guns I can use later.

I have one point left to spend which I haven’t quite decided on. I’m sure a handy Command Card will fill the gap in the future.

~Wayne

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

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