Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ist das nicht ein Bundeswehr?
(Ja, das ist ein Bundeswehr)

With the inherent enthusiasm of a new game interest, I've been able to complete the first units for the modern Kampfgruppe Commander rules. In no time at all, I've become Oberst Dave of the Bundeswehr. The plan is to complete a panzer brigade that would comprise the following:
  • Two panzer battalions with three companies of Leopard 2A1 tanks (each)
  • One mixed panzer battalion with two companies of three Leopard 2A1 tanks and one company of four panzergrenadiers in Marder 1A1 IFVs
  • One panzergrenadier battalion with three companies of four panzergrenadiers in Marder 1A1 IFVs and an M106 self-propelled 120mm mortar
  • One Raketenjagdpanzer company with three Jaguar 1s mounting HOT ATGMs
  • One recon company with three Spähpanzer Luchs recon vehicles
  • One artillery battery with three M109 self-propelled guns
  • Various supporting units that are outside the brigade formation, such as PAH-1 attack helicopters and LARS batteries
Looking at that list, I'm impressed by two things: First, that a Bundeswehr panzer brigade is significantly stronger in tanks than a WW2-era panzer division; second, that in 1/285th scale it's much easier and much cheaper to build a significant force than it would be in 15mm. That's not to say that microarmor is cheap, but at an average of $2.00 per model, it's less than 20% of what 15mm would cost and considerably less than 20mm or larger.

I also like how easy it is, mostly, to put together 1/285th scale tanks. My Leopard 2s come in two pieces: turret and hull. Occasionally, you get a model with more fiddly bits, like the Flakpanzer Gepard AA tank or the PAH-1 helo.

The first fruits of my project are done and ready for, I hope, a successful game this coming weekend. The units are:

A panzer battalion of nine Leopard 2A1s and a M577 command vehicle. This is a pretty simple formation of three tank companies, which could be augmented with other units ad hoc.

Leopard 2s in column on a dirt road
Leopard 2s again with the M577 command vehicle in the pea patch beyond
Leopard 2 in the rough ground
The Raketenjagdpanzer (I love how appellation that rolls of the tongue) company is three AFVs mounting HOT ATGMs. More than likely this would be attached to a panzer or panzergrenadier battalion as extra anti-tank strength.

Jaguar-1s ready to launch the HOTness
Close-up (Ja das ist ein gefährliches ding!)
The one panzergrenadier unit is either the single panzergrenadier company in a mixed panzer battalion or one of three panzergrenadier companies in the brigade's panzergrenadier battalion. I only have the Marder IFVs so far. The dismounted infantry is yet to arrive.

Panzergrenadiers in Marder 1 IFVs
Marder 1 up close
A recon unit of two Spähpanzer Luchs vehicles. Mounting only a 20mm autocannon, these are exceptionally non-formidable. However, the standard groundscale makes it possible to play scenarios where the action covers several kilometers. A good scouting force is essential for spotting the enemy and, once we get the rules for it, calling in the artillery strikes before they reach your main line of resistance.

Luchs reconnoitering the pea patch
Behind the brow of a hill looking for Ivan
I've started the remaining models of the first order to GHQ. I've made another recently, so I'll be able to get the complate complement of Leopard 2s and Marders that I need for the brigade. I'll also get some infantry figures for the troops that dismount from the Marders. I ordered some Ros and Heroics infantry a few weeks back, but there's no indication that they've shipped. I wanted the Ros and Heroics because they make figures in 1/300th that are specifically West German infantry. Of course at that scale, how can you tell? With that thought in mind, I also ordered some British modern infantry because they could pass as Germans if I paint them in the moleskin color and they heavy weapons teams include Milan ATGMs, which is what the Bundeswehr used.

Once the West Germans are done, I'll start with some East Germans. I don't really need to do Russians since John Kennedy and Ken Kissling between them have—or will soon have—and entire shock army's worth of T-80s, T-64s, BMPs, and BTRs. The East Germans, being non-Russian by definition, didn't get the big boy toys. In the mid-80s, their arsenal (even up to reunification) consisted of a lot of T-55s, with T-62s and T-72s replacing the older tanks in some units. They also had BTR-50s for their mechanized infantry. Painting East Germans will be an interesting way to get some of the older cold warriors on the board. However, I think the Leopard 2s will eat them for lunch.

No comments:

Post a Comment