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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Barbarossa Part One: The Germans!

Barbarossa has been a long time coming! Thankfully, most of the lists currently available have been able to act as a stopgap for anyone really looking to play the era, but now it’s official! You’ve read about the book already, so we’re here to do what we do. Spoil it for your benefit! Read on as we look at the Germans in Part One, and the Soviets in Part Two.

If you need to “get in the mood” check out Steven and Throck’s recent Fauxbarossa game, or look at our Batreps to see a handful of Early War East Front games!

German Special Rules
Nothing too new here. Panzer Crew Tank-hunter platoons ignore Tank Terror as in other books.

Hero: Oberfeldwebel Hermann Bix
Bix is a Command Warrior Tank Team and is Confident Veteran. He replaces the Command Panzer III F(late) or G with Bix’s Panzer III G for +50 points. Bix’s platoon gets Spearhead, which is nice. Bix himself gets a new rule called KV Killer. With this rule, if an enemy tank team passes an armor save when hit by Bi’x main gun at a range of up to 8”, roll a die. On a 6, he destroys the tank.

This is a pretty neat combo and seems to be worth the 50 points for the Spearhead alone. The other roll is just gravy to me. High AT is at a premium in this book, and this rule will certainly help, but with only a 1 in 6 chance to work, it seems hard to count on it.


Light Panzer Company - Confident Veteran
The focus of the Light Panzer Company is now on the Panzer III F(late) or G tank. With the tank weighing in at ~155 points, things get expensive real fast. This tank has a 3/3/1 armor profile and is equipped with the 5cm kwK38 gun with ROF 3, AT 7 and 4+ FP, which is very nice. 2MGs and Protected Ammo round out the profile. Upgrades are available for a Panzer III H and Panzer III J for 55 points and 85 points, respectively. Armor is the only upgrade you get, as all three tanks share the same gun.

From a force organization perspective, you get up to three Panzer III Platoons, with one being able to switch to a Dismounted Panzer Crew Platoon. The cost range here is amazing, with 420 points being the cheapest platoon, and 1170 being the top. You can mix and match from Panzer III Es, F (late) G, H and all the way up to Panzer III Js. This platoon is very flexible, but with the very high-cost tanks, you find your options dwindle quickly!

The last spot in the Combat Platoons is for Panzer IIs, with either II C (late) or III F models available.

Weapons platoon choices are good, with more armor - both Medium and Looted Panzers (T-26s, BT-7s, T-60s and T-34s); more Panzer IIs; Kradschutzen and Panzerpioneers.

The Divisional Support boxes are plentiful and include choices for Armor (Flammpanzers), Infantry X2, Reconnaissance, Artillery X2, Anti-Tank, Anti-Aircraft and Aircraft. Of special note, the Recce options include the Panhard in addition to the 221s. This is an interesting option and might let me be a Panhard Brother after all! In the artillery options, we see the usual 10.5s and 15cm guns - 360 and 585 points, but also see introduction of the 15cm NW41 Nebelwerfer (125 for 4) that we all know and love.
One of the most interesting options comes in the Anti-Tank box -- the Dicker Max. It’s only 960 points for two, so what’s the fuss? FA 4, SA1, TA 0 with an AA MG. Oh, did I mention that the gun is ROF 2, AT 15 and FP 2+? Interesting for scenarios, but WAY too many points to come into my thinking... unless you find yourself facing a KV in which case they're worth every point!

Conclusion: With only one required Panzer III platoon, the huge range of those platoons, and the large number of available options for weapons and support platoons, I think that this Company list is very nice. You can load up on heavy Panzer IIIs and IVs to really hammer the armor, or go with one cheap Pz III platoon and load up on Panzer IIs and support. I really like options, and I think this is a great list for differing styles and point levels.

Medium Panzer Company
At this stage of Early War, the Medium Panzer Company has enough Panzer IV tanks to make those the standard. With only one required - and two maximum platoons of Panzer IVs (D through F models), you can fill out the Combat Platoons with Panzer IIs or Dismounted Panzer Crew. The Crew is neat in that they are CT Rifle/MG teams with the No Fear of Tanks special rule. You can replace up to two team with Panzerknacker SMG teams, as well.

For Weapons Platoons, you can choose from up to four boxes - two Armor, Recce and Infantry. The first armor box has options for Panzer IIIs, Czech Panzers and Looted Panzers - T-26, BT-7, T-60 and T-34 options. The Recce is Kradschutzen, which is neat, but a bit of a pain to model.

Again, for Divisional Support, there are a ton of options - nine boxes worth. You get some Flammpanzers - Pz IIs of B-2s - which are pretty neat. There are five different Infantry options to choose from in one box, and a choice of Panzerschutzen or Schutzen in the other. I am really happy to see a second Recc box with all the armored car options.

There are two familiar Artillery boxes with standard options as described above, along with some AT, AAA and aircraft as described in the Light Panzer Company.

Conclusion: At 150+ points per tank, you are really going to have a hard time fielding a ton of Panzer IVs. I do think that the list does a good job of allowing options to mix and match a nice list at any point level. There seems to be everything I want available - tanks, infantry, AAA, Recce, arty, etc. I look forward to making one of these lists!

Czech Panzer Company

The venerable Panzer 38(t) (and it’s predecessor the 35(t)) and it’s derivatives long served in the German army. The Czech Panzerkompanie in Barbarossa is very similar to it’s organization in both Blitzkrieg (EW) and Eastern Front (MW). The difference between this list and it’s other EW sister list, is the addition of support options.

Gone is the mandatory Panzer II platoon (though the Panzer II platoon is still a combat platoon option). The company can still be comprised of 35(t) or 38(t)s, but not both at the same time. The 38(t)s may now also be upgraded on a tank by tank basis to 38(t) E/Fs at a cost of +25 per tank bringing their front armor from 2 to 3. As with previous panzer lists, the Czech panzers have an optional Dismounted Panzer crew platoon, though the two mandatory combat platoons must be made of Czech Panzers.

Weapons platoons round out with a choice between Mittlere Panzer Platoon and a Looted Panzer platoon; a Light Panzer or Panzer II platoon; a Kradschutzen Platoon; and a platoon of Panzerpioneers.

The list has loads of divisional support, which is the same as the Mittlere Panzerkompanie above.

Panzerschutzen Company
The Predecessor of the Panzergrenadierkompanie is back in Barbarossa, and like other lists repeated from Blitzkrieg- it’s better than ever! The company diagram has even more options than the Blitzkrieg version, while the core infantry in the combat platoons have been upgraded to MG team status. The sd kfz 251/1s don’t quite have the optional 3.7cm gun yet like they do in East Front, but the infantry is bulked out with the addition of a light mortar and an AT Rifle.

Unlike the Blitzrkrieg flavor, this list has two Armour platoon boxes, allowing a healthy mix of all of the various armored forces the Germans have available. This list can wholesale replace the Blitzkrieg list as no options are removed- only new options added.

Schutzen Company
Continuing to compare lists to their Blitzkrieg counterparts, the Schutzenkompanie again bears a striking resemblance but is loaded with more options. The boys are still rollin’ around in the kfz 70 truck, but all of the infantry teams have been upgraded to MG teams. Like most infantry options, the command teams can now be optionally upgraded to Panzerknacker SMGs (at a cost of +10).

Just like the Panzerschutzen, support is essentially the same as Blitzkrieg but with a lot more options. Again, two solid armour choices, lots of recon, and everything else you would want.

Kradschutzen Company
Like the other lists in Barbarossa, this list remains much like it’s bltizrkrieg counterpart. In fact, aside from a slight reorganization of the force org, they’re nearly identical except that the SS Kradschutzen has been rolled into the Heer Kradschutzen force org, and thus resembles it much more closely than the SS Kradschutzen option in Blitzkrieg. The SS are, now, Fearless Veteran as well which would make for a very different force.

The Krad’ platoon retains the original team structure, except the Rifle/MGs are now all MGs.

Infantry Company
The Infantry Company strongly resembles the Infanteriekompanie from Blitzkrieg as well, with most of the core functions remaining identical. An additional armor slot featuring flammpanzers and looted panzers is available, making the list a bit more flexible. The core infantry platoons are organized like the “New Infanterie Platoon” from Blitzkrieg, and is the same structure you’ll find in MW Eastern Front.

Divisional Support

Divisional support in Barbarossa is, again, mostly as in Blitzkrieg except most entries now have an SS option as well. I will highlight any structural differences below:

*Assault Gun Platoon: same as Blitzkrieg.
*Tank-Hunter Platoon: Panzerjaegers same.
*Heavy Tank-Hunter Platoon: added with options for either the Dicker Max or the Bunkerflak. No SS option.
*Self Propelled Infantry Gun with the 15cm sIG33 is the same but with no SS option.
*Flammpanzer Platoon with Flammpanzer IIs and Flammpanzer B-2 (looted char Bs). No SS option.
*Looted Panzers! Options for 1-3 T-26s, 1-3 BT-7s, 1 T-60, 1 T-34 1940, 1 T-34 1941.Heer and SS options. CT and FT respectively.
*Panzerpioneers are pretty much the same, but are tank assault 4 now.
*Gepanzerte Panzerpionier Platoon- same org as the Gepanzerte Pionier Platoon from BK, but have armored halftracks and Tank Assault 4. No SS.
*Divisional Anti-Tank Gun Platoon has Pak36s, Pak38s, 7.62cm FK36 and 7.62cm FK39 (looted guns).
*Light and Heavy artillery are the same. Must field a light battery in order to field a heavy battery.
*Smoke Launcher Platoon with options for the 10.5cm NbW35, NbW40, or the 15cm NW41 we all know and love. The NbW35 is man packed with 40” range and is AT 3, FP 4+ with no direct fire. The NbW40 is a light gun with 16” extra range over the NbW35. Both can fire smoke.
*The SS get their own options for light AA (sd Kfz 10/5 (2cm)s on unarmored chassis (2 or 4), as well as heavy AA with 1 or 2 88s.
*Luftwaffe support looks the same, and the option for the Stuka Schwerpunkt still exists.

Check back tomorrow for Part Two as we take a look at the Soviets!

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