Friday, August 28, 2015

See, Want, Must Have Now (SWMHN) Disorder, and Berlin

I thought that I might put up a little public service announcement this week about a serious disease that effects many people, not just miniature gamers. It is known as See, Want, Must Have Now (SWMHN) Disorder.

It involves you seeing something, deciding that you must have it... NOW. In most cases this resolves itself normally and goes away over time, but in a surprising large number of people it takes a turn for the worse where the afflicted person gains a variant of the disorder commonly known as See, Want, Must Have Now, Put In A Box And Do Something With It Later (SWMHN-PIABADSWITL) Disorder. This obviously does not roll off the tongue so easily but is very serious indeed.

After careful research I have found that I am in fact a sufferer of this Disorder and instead of hiding it, I am going to wear it as a badge of honor! How does it effect me? It does it in the most insidious way... it makes me buy figures that I intend on doing something with, but if I am being honest I think I may never get around to actually assembling, painting, or even gaming with!

In all seriousness though, if you see a post tagged with SWMHN it means I want to do this pretty desperately, but if this is the last time you see me excited about it before jumping into something new then don't be surprised!

Take the recent Flames Of War book Berlin. I love this book (of course I may be biased!) and think that it has some really fun flavourful lists. I also think that in the right hands they could be pretty nasty. Today I am going to take a look at my favourite list, and possibly one of the most flexible German lists ever (and thats saying something!).

The Berlin Kampfgruppe Company gives you a choices for your combat platoons, starting off with the traditional Panzergrenadier Platoon in Confident Veteran or Fearless Veteran and with or without halftracks. The Fresh Panzergrenadier Platoon recently brought to the fight as Confident Trained or Fearless Trained, Fallshirmjager Platoons, Volkssturm Platoons (yep and army of those outstanding figures) or my personal favourite, the Hitlerjugend Platoon. Seven Fearless Conscript Panzerfaust infantry teams for 85 points (and they can move and shoot with them unlike traditional 'faust teams). Plus they wear a blue uniform that looks pretty straight forward to paint up and (unlike the Volkssturm) they benefit from the "Enjoy the War" special rule meaning that they will stick around even when pushing to the limit.
Hitlerjugend Panzerfaust team

Once you have your infantry you have a pretty traditional mix of Weapons Platoons, but with the cool exception that you can have Volkssturm versions. Now if I were a better, faster, or more regular painter I would be all over these! For less than 200 points you can have 4 HMGs, 4 mortars and 2 infantry guns. Yeah they are Reluctant Conscripts so you are going to bleed VPs but thats three platoons that look cool, boost your platoon count and won't require much luck to get their points back.

Waffentrager (8.8cm)
Moving up to the Support Platoons you have the usual stuff - Panzer IV, Panther, Tiger 1, King Tiger, StuG and so on. I can field these in plenty of lists so whilst cool they are not what I get immediately drawn to. The Waffentrager (8.8cm) and Bedbug on the other hand really are a piece of me. In World Of Tanks I still haven't made it to one of the Waffletractors yet (so close) but "unlocking" it in Flames Of War is pretty close. Packing a nice long 88 on the back they can take down pretty much anything with ROF 2, AT 16, FP 3+ and the three of them only set you back 315 points. They don't want to move and shoot but whatever is in front of them is in some trouble. 

Kleinpanzer Wanze
The Bedbug (or Kleinpanzer Wanze) is tiny and had a couple of crew, but more importantly  it had a pod of 6 Panzerschrecks. It basically darts out, fires (at for ROF of 3 even when moving!), then runs off and spends a turn reloading. The Panzerschrecks have a normal stat line with AT 11, FP 5+ so they may not be outstanding but a platoon of three vehicles comes in at 65 points making it pretty impressive on a points to weight ratio.

For the rest of the support you have the options you would expect to see in pretty much any Late War German company diagram: 105mm and 150mm artillery, Nebelwerfers, Heavy Mortars and lots of 88's. What makes this a bit different is that amongst the 3 platoons of Luftwaffe Heavy AA Platoons you have a couple of interesting options over and above the traditional 88. There is the 8.8cm FlaK 41 (ROF 2, AT 16, FP 3+ and with a Gun shield) and the 10.5cm FlaK39
(ROF 1, AT 17, FP 2+. Both of which can have extra crew to bump their ROF up by 1 for 10 points per gun. Basically you always find that 10 points because you are missing out if you dont. 

8.8cm FlaK 41

The only downside of these guns is that being crewed by Luftwaffe they are Reluctant Trained so you may not get to use that extra ROF too many times if you get pinned down. 

So don't get pinned down...

So, with all that said what am I planning in putting in my Filemaster storage box labelled Berlin:

1500 points
Berlin Kampfgruppe HQ 60 points
Hitlerjugend Platoon - 3 Squads 85 points
Hitlerjugend Platoon - 3 Squads 85 points
Hitlerjugend Platoon - 3 Squads 85 points
Panzergrenadier Anti-tank Gun Platoon - 3 PaK40 guns 165 points
Tank-hunter Platoon - 3 Waffentrager (8.8cm) 315 points
Bedbug Platoon Platoon - 3 Bedbug 65 points
Volkssturm Platoon - 4 Squads 105 points
Luftwaffe Heavy AA Platoon - 2 8.8cm FlaK 41 (extra crew) 170 points
Luftwaffe Heavy AA Platoon - 2 8.8cm FlaK 41 (extra crew) 170 points
Luftwaffe Heavy AA Platoon - 2 8.8cm FlaK 41 (extra crew) 170 points

With this list I would be very tempted to swap out the PaK40 platoon for some Nebelwerfers or other artillery just to put a bit of smoke in the list to help hide some of my troops. And if you bumped it up to 1750 points I'd keep both the PaK40 and Nebelwerfers and add in some of those Volkssturm platoons I mentioned before. Having 12 platoons can't be a bad thing right?

Is this a meta-defeating, all conquering list? Probably not, but with this much AT lurking around a tank player better not mess up his alpha strike or he will be scraping his Shermans up and putting them in the bin! Plus with some creative basing it would look outstanding!

Next time, Soviet Hero Guards Heavy Tanks!
Volkssturm infantry and a 10.5cm FlaK39