Our friend Bryan over on the WWPD Blog has been beavering away at a new, and rather fantastic looking, themed army – a late war Aufklärungsabteilung!
Byran: My first late war German force will be something a little different. I want to paint and play the ‘Panzer scouts’, a Aufklärungsabteilung (reconnaissance battalion), the eyes and ears of the Panzers.
The force will be fast, and have a decent amount of firepower but will be fragile, having no big tanks and not many men. I’ll be relying very much on manoeuvrability and the veteran Panzergrenadiers to get the mission done. The core of any force is infantry, and what makes this recon platoon different to a normal Panzergrenadier platoon is that the Aufklkärungstruppen have twice the number of armoured half-track transports per squad.
Each squad of 10 men is mounted in two 250/1 half-tracks. These are smaller versions of the iconic Hanomag and carry 5 men each. To represent this each of my infantry sections consist of 10 man squads split into 5 man teams, the squads splitting into two for Bolt Action terms. With the MG42’s, STG44’s and Panzerfausts these units will hit hard though have very limited ability in assaults.
Things even out when you consider the extra order dice and firepower of the half-tracks and the smaller units they carry. Each ‘squad’ is now 4 units, all with plenty of firepower. My initial army features 4 squads of 5 men in halftracks. The models I am using for these troops are a mix of the new Volksgrenadiers and German winter sets. You can also use the fantastic decal sheet from the German Grenadier plastic set to add characterful details like these tank destruction awards.
To give my Aufklärungs platoon the right feel I have added some iconic Kradschützen bikers. The BMW bike and sidecar were used by the Panzer scouts right up to the end of the war. To give mine the late war look of 1944-45 I simply combined the metal DAK bike blister packs with the wonderful German Grenadier plastic set as you see in the photos. This squad will be fast and can easily keep up with the halftracks and fight alongside the Panzergrenadiers as they disembark.
No Aufklärungs platoon is complete without recon vehicles, so to start things off I have modelled up a Schwimmwagen with the pintle MG42. Again, I have just added a plastic MMG gunner to the resin Schwimmwagen to have it being fired while the driver spots for targets.
I will be avoiding heavy tanks with this force so instead I have planned to include a Panzer II ‘Luchs’ recce tank and some armoured cars, especially the SDKFZ 234/3. I’ll report on a later date of what I chose out of the Bolt Action range to support my Aufklärungs platoon!
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More German forces to round off your collection!