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

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