Lately I have been on a Panzer kick, as I seek to dispel the notion that German Panzers can't be competitive in an environment that favors the Western Allies and defenders. While I have reasoned that that trained Panzers (as opposed to veteran) may be the answer (more hulls and more shots in each list) I am worried about their durability when I need to make bold attacks. Also, there is a big difference for artillery when it comes to ranging-in on veteran troops as opposed to trained troops.
Now, if you want to play veteran German Panzers, the list that generally stands out above all the rest is the Panzers to the Meuse pdf. I don't want to hear any bitching from American or British players, and German players should be thankful for this list (Soviet players can go ahead and complain, you poor bastards). There are three things that make this list strong:
1. Spearhead - The ability to spearhead is huge. A good spearhead move can eliminate entire turns of getting shot at by AT guns and artillery.
2. Plentiful, Cheap Recon - The availability of 2-team Puma patrols means that you can bump up your platoon count very quickly without sacrificing tabletop effectiveness. We have all been in situations where we take somewhat useless units simply to pad our platoon count, but in this instance our small units are really good.
If this is a model on someone's lawn they did a great job on the mud effects
3. Always Attack Tank Company - This list will only ever have to defend against another Always Attacks tank force, and it is perfectly suited to do so. In all other situations it will attack, and thus you can easily predict your army's strategy from game to game. Now, the current meta favors defenders, but as I will explain this list is well-suited to the Always Attack role.
Luckily for me, this is also one of the lists that include the Sturmvogel.
So, without further blathering, here is the list:
HQ - 2 Panzer IV's
4 Panzer IV's
4 Panzer IV's
Gepanzerte Aufklarungs - 2 squads, tank hunter
3 x Puma Patrols
Volks 15cm Nebelwerfers
Armored AA - 2 10/5's
Sporadic Air - Sturmvogel
Total: 1650 points, 8 Platoons
What we have here is a basic German list that is made formidable by the Spearhead and Always Attack rule. There are 6 platoons/patrols in this army that will get spearhead/recce moves at the beginning of the game. The three Puma patrols are there to stop ambushes and harass enemy infantry caught in the open. Of course, Allied tanks would be wise not to discount the threat posed by the AT 9 gun on the Pumas. If the situation presents itself then the Pumas, since they are armored, can also be sent around the flanks of artillery parks and eliminate those threats as well.
Spike the guns!
The AA and the Sturmvogel's primary responsibility is to take out enemy AOP's. If the Sturmvogel has a lucky game and manages to kill any ground troops, well then that's an added bonus.
The Nebelwerfers are there to do what they always do: drop smoke. The plan is to concentrate fire on specific targets each turn, and any threat that isn't being dealt with via direct fire will be blanketed in smoke. Their smoke trails and poor training mean that they might become a target for enemy artillery, but that's fine with me: if their artillery isn't shooting at my main force then that's good for me.
The Aufklarungs are too small a unit to be reckless with. Truth be told, I probably wouldn't even include them if I wasn't forced to. I envision them as staying mounted in their halftracks, running around countering infantry threats. They can assault heavy armor if they have to since everyone is armed with a panzerfaust, and given their speed can even be relied on to flank and assault artillery.
As for the Panzer IV's, there role is obviously to deal with the enemy's armored units and to blast infantry out of their foxholes. They are a superb all-around unit, and their Protected Ammo should keep them in the fight for a while.
The weaknesses are ones that have always plagued German lists: small units whose losses can't be replaced. I'm just going to have to use smoke and Recce to minimize those losses to the best of my ability. I will also have to be careful of bleeding points with this list, although I have already resigned myself to the fact that I'll probably never win a game 6-1 with these guys. But that's ok, I'll take whatever wins come my way.
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