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Friday, April 17, 2015

Flammpanzers and Cruisers

By Johan Wade

Hello fellow Flames of War gamers and greetings from a snow-clad Sweden. My name is Johan (typical Swedish name almost like Sven) and I live and work in the northern part of Sweden. We don’t have polar bears or wolfs stalking the streets but we have the occasional herd of reindeer clogging up the roads. I have been playing everything from tabletop RPG to war games for more then 20 years. I started playing Flames of War during the second edition rules and now I consider it to be one of my main games. This is my first try at a Flames of War article but I hope that you will find reading it as fun as I found writing it.

When I first got my hands on the Barbarossa book I was disappointed by the lack of beute options for the German forces. I see a lot of forum posts asking Battlefront to create this or that list or include a particular option. The reality is that most of the suggestions will go unanswered. In this instance I decided to write the list myself.

After a bit of internet pseudo research I found what I was looking for. The 100 f Panzer Abteilung most likely had 9 British cruiser mark VI tanks at the start of Operation Barbarossa. The abteilungs unit symbol was a multi-coloured flame and was attached to 18 Panzer Division. The abteilung was heavily engaged with Russian forces at the start of the campaign but after suffering heavy losses the unit was taken of the line in November 1941 and later reformed as a standard panzer abteilung.

At the start of Operation Barbarossa the abteilung had 3 flammpanzer companies with 3 platoons of 4
flammpanzer II and 1 platoon of 5 regular panzer II tanks. The abteilung also had 5 Panzer III (5 cm) tanks. I found no mention of the cruisers in any of the TOEs but I found pictures of the cruisers with both panzer II and flammpanzer II tanks and some sources mentions that the cruisers where used as gun tanks. I’m not surprised that the cruisers are not mentioned in the TOEs. The Germans usually did not include captured equipment in official documents.

I think, and that is the working assumption of this article, that the abteilung used the cruisers mixed in with their Panzer II tanks and when the TOE mentions that the abteilung had 24 Panzer II tanks this includes the 9 cruisers. This is why the 0-2 cruiser option is included in the Panzer II gun tank platoon. The force also includes the option to field 3-5 Panzer III tanks as a weapons platoon. This is because the abteilung had 5 Panzer III (5 cm) tanks at its disposal and, during the early fighting in the summer of 1941, lost 2 of them. The support comes from 18 Panzer Division and it is a copy of the standard divisional support for the panzer company from the Barbarossa book minus the flammpanzer option. Using the standard divisional support is a bit of an easy way out and there are support options that this makes available to the abteilung that historically was not available.

The flammpanzer abteilung was to be used as a concentrated offensive rescuer deployed across a small (no more then 850 meters wide) front. Company size attacks were only to be used if the terrain was too heavy for the entire abteilung to be effectively deployed.

The flammpanzer abteilung was to be used in conjunction with other armored forces in order to close with the enemy under artillery cover or by using the clouds of smoke that the burning oil from their flame throwers would create as cover. To simulate this offensive doctrine, and the advance under cover that the companies of the abteilung were suppose to undertake, the company has the always attack special rule and one combat platoon is allowed to use spearhead deployment.

In Hell Fire and Back the light panzer platoon can field a captured cruiser Mark VI for 130 points. The difference between the mark VI and IV is one point of front and side armor. That is also the difference between a Panzer 38t mark B and D. In that case the extra armor costs 25 points. Applying this to the cruisers leads me to believe that 105 points is a fair price for the German cruiser mark IV.

Below you will find the both the force organization chart corresponding with the Barbarossa book and the new options.

I hope that you enjoyed this article and that you will let everyone know on the forums if you play a game using this company.

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