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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Red Bear and Grey Wolf: Reviewed and Revealed!

As all of you know by now, the new Flames of War books from Battlefront Miniatures are Red bear and Grey Wolf- compilations of previous books covering the Eastern Front in Late War. These books are hard bound tomes, compiling all of the lists from Stalin's Onslaught, Hammer & Sickle, River of Heroes, and Stalin's Europe. Additionally, numerous PDFs have been compiled including (but not limited to) The Finn briefings, Kampfgruppe Bake, Pioneers, Soviet Exploitation Forces, Soviet Light Assault Gun Battalions, Partisans, German Police Battalions, and numerous others.

Both sides also feature "generic" lists suitable for the East Front. Germans get updated briefings for Grenadiers, Pioneers, Panzergrenadiers, and Panzers that are more "vanilla" than some of the more flavorful forces featured in the previous books (and which are ALSO represented in these compilations). I'm a big fan of running somewhat more generic lists so this made me happy. For the first time in all of Late War, the soviets have access to Guards Strelkovy utilising the "standard" organization!

Minor powers were also not forgotten. Hungarians, Romanians, and Finns are all represented with full fledged lists and numerous options. Where historical, both "red" and "blue" options are available to these lists- sometimes fighting with the soviets and sometimes with the Germans.

The physical books are up to Battlefront's regular standards. They are full color with gorgeous (though re-used) artwork. The pages are nice and thick, and the binding feels sturdy! Numerous new photographs grace the pages of the briefing sections, while the campaign background sections are very well presented, well written, and well researched. The physical composition, art design and layout, and general "expereince" of these books is nothing less than excellence.

Now I know why you're here. You want all the spoilers! I will do a brain dump and identify as many things as I noticed right here. Bear in mind that A) I'm sure I've missed many things, and B) my points and calculations may not be exact. If you want to know exactly how your army changed, you'll need to buy the books! You'll be happy you did!

 *Most (if not all) weapons with calibres over 100mm get "Breakthrough Gun" meaning all infantry and gun teams who take hits from them automatically fail their save.  This means StuH, Wespe, 10.5cm guns etc all now receive this rule!

*8cm mortars (82mm for the soviets) can now direct fire just like US 60mm mortars.  ROF 2, AT 2, FP 3+.


*As I mentioned previously, there is now an option for Guards Strelkovy in the "standard" (Fortress Europe) formation. These guys have plenty of support options and should satisfy any strelk player out there.

*Strelkovy can now buy Field Fortifications! And boy can they get a boat load of them. They can get a maximum of 12 HMG nests. Trenches, mines, wire, and gun pits galore. These fortifications can be attached to platoons to make them a fortified platoon exactly like in Hellfire and Back.

*As you well know by now Hen & Chicks has changed and thus Soviet armor in general has a price increase. The basic T-34 company (the CT guys who can buy 5 T-34/85 upgrades) went up a bit. The upgrade to 85s costs 25 points per tank.

*Other soviet rules got tightened up.  Komissar is worded better and is much more clear.  Also infiltration now includes a clause that independent teams can't mess it up like they used to!

*Stuarts got more expensive by a good deal, but T-70s stayed the same.

*There's a new list- HMG Artillery Regiment that is an ultra defensor list. Fortifications, Fortified Platoons, and not too many mobile assets. Their core units get a neat rule that gives them super gone to ground: basically from the beginning of the game until they've moved or fired, the enemy has to be within 16" to see or shoot them. Their core units are comprised of up to 4 sections each with 2 HMGs and 1 MG team. They do not have Quantity of Quality but do get to re-roll to counter attack. They have a unit of Zis-3 guns (up to 12!) in gun pits that can make combat attachments.

*In general Heavy, ROF 1 tanks have gone down in price. IS-2s got a big break! Something like 20 points each. ISU-152s and ISU-122s got a break, with the 152s getting a bigger one.

*Every gun mounted on a tank without a turret gets Volley fire. Additionally, every gun team gets volley fire (excluding a few like HMGs). Roughly everything with a calibre larger than 100mm gets Heavy Breakthrough Gun.

*CHANGES TO TANKRIDERS: Okay first of all they are now called "Tank Escorts". Tank Escorts are no longer seperate teams. They can never dismount, nor can they be killed individually (in either shooting or assaults). So they're basically an upgrade to the tank. They mostly do the same stuff as before except they're always ROF 1 (with no penalty for movement). The coolest thing they can do is allow your tanks to choose NOT to take a bog check in an assault where it would be required. Basically your tank can move up, but not make a "swing"- allowing your escorts to do it instead. Of course if they *do* risk it, you get a die for the tank AND a die for the escort.

*The tankrider company (which is a company on its own) are normal infantry but get a 3+ save when riding on tanks as passengars.

*Decoy tanks MUST start on the table- they can never be held in reserve

*BIG Katyushas!  They are over twice the price of the regular katies, but have 1+ firepower in a bombardment and can get 8 tubes with extra crew!  To get that coffee table of ultimate destruction, however, you're paying over 700 points.


*Honestly the Germans changed a lot less than Soviets, but do see their points brought in line with Earth & Steel. Panzergrenadiers are finally affordable!

*German Train! This train is available to most of the "vanilla" lists. There's 2 options: A captured Polish train, and a purpose built BP44 German train. The Polish one has basically the same options as it does in early War, except it's cheaper and confident veteran. It can have a Panzergrenadier platoon in the infantry car which can add mortars and pioneers. Both trains can also add 2 Anti-Tank cars which is a Panzer IV turret on a chassis. The BP44 train can get positively HUGE. You can have 2 AAA cars and 2 Artillery cars (which nets you 2 bombardments- an AAA car has a 10.5cm which pairs with an artillery car to fire the 10.5cms). Then you can add an infantry car... THEN you can add a staff car... THEN you can add 2 AT cars. In all, including the locomotive, the German train can have 8 cars! You can also get 2 38(t)s as an escort.

*While the train looks neat, I'm a bit worried that it's proliferation will get old. I mean, how many times were they featured in a battle? How many times will they now be seen on a FoW battlefield? Oh well- they do look fun! Their armor is also poor enough to make taking them a risky proposition.

*Panzer IVs- down in price! Panzer IVs are now 5 points cheaper than a Stug.

*More stuff with heavy breakthrough Gun. STUH, Wespe, etc all get the rule.

*Hetzers are now available as tank hunters to the majority of lists. Hetzers gonna hetz... There's a confident trained Hetzer list that looks pretty fun.

*Fortifications! Vanilla grenadiers can get fortifications- and those include booby traps. I foresee booby traps being annoying. They're basically mini mine fields that you can place under enemy teams in the ambush step. You can put your AT bunkers to use on the Eastern Front!

*Like I mentioned earlier- Panzergrenadiers are appropriately costed now, which was my biggest complaint with Stalin's Europe when it came out.

*As with the soviets there's a boat load of list choices. Something like 4 Panzergrenadier lists: "vanilla", the Streetfighting guys (with Panzer IV/70s in support), the 2 SS lists... maybe more.

*Begleit use the same rule as the Soviet Tank Escorts- are 15 points each rather than 30 but can't form the begleit platoon.  You can, however, buy a dismounted begleit platoon and at the start of the game decide to convert them to escort teams.  The dismounted platoon, however, is 310 points at full strength.

*There are also "street fortifications" in addition to the standard forts to allow for the city fighting (and is available to the feldharnelle panzergrenadiers)
Alright, I think I've spilled enough. There's countless more little gems hidden in the books- but you'll have to grab it and have a look for yourself!

All in all I really like every aspect of these books. Great design, and great lists. I have no major complaints! Wayne did a great job compiling this, and I look forward to gaming out of these books in the future!

8/8 German Train Cars.

*images courtesy of Battlefront Miniatures


Tyler said...

Wow! I think this might be a must buy :D

Neal Smith said...

Yeah... It is a must get.

I started spraying my German LW armor "park" that's been sitting there for awhile. I'm also going to start putting together my T-34/85s, etc. :)

Tyler said...

Also, excellent coordination with the BF website

Rabid Monkey said...

My favorite part of Grey Wolf is that the Sturmtiger can now use a building as an aiming point for its bombardment. If it hits all infantry in the building are automatically destroyed! :D

WarHighlander said...

Bit disappointed with the lack of info about the changes for the minor Axis and Allied nations, but thanks for the spoilers.

indierockclimber said...

To be honest I'm just not an expert on those lists so nothing really jumped out at me.

They of course got the same upgrades- 2+ firepower stuff got breakthrough gun. Finns can get field forts. Hungarians can get street forts as can the Polish AK guys.

zsavk said...

Thanks Steven!

Chris said...

Awesome... Love the Pz4 price break

cbaxter said...

this is awesome!

Neal Smith said...

According to UPS, mine's sitting on the doorstep! Woohoo!

Jester_prince said...

My friend is going to wet himself when he hears about the German train. Though this time im not going to shell out for the compilation books, he can buy these.

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