With everyone building up their forces for the Summer Bolt Action campaign one of our regular gamers and painter Andy Singleton dropped us a line with what he’s up to and some inspiring shots to boot:
Andy: With the Summer Bolt Action campaign in full swing I have decided to revisit my long suffering German force. Currently my collection is split into 4 – early and late war Heer themed, as well as early and late war themed Waffen-SS. I’m waiting on the release of the new plastics at the end of the year before starting army 5 with the Fallschirmjager, and army 6 winter Germans is a slow project full of conversions (should we tell Andy about our forthcoming Wnter Germans range? – Warlord).
When I collect an army I like to build it around fairly historical force organisations, based around particular units within a set period of time. For me, this gives a deeper connection to the models and when using them in game it’s not 1,000 point German force, instead it’s the lead elements of the 79th infantry Division pushing towards Stalingrad in 1942. It brings the collection to life (and gives me excuses to add more gubbins when I read about a different formation that piques my interest…).
Luckily most of my gaming circle likes to play with similar forces to my own, so we tend to have some nice fairly historical match ups that get incredibly close. With 6 weeks or so of gaming ahead I’ve tried to get my forces to the stage where they can be reasonably representative from 1939 to 45.
79th Infantry Division (March 1939 – March 1945)
Some of the 11 commanders:
|General der Infanterie Karl Strecker||March 1939 – January 1942|
|Generalleutnant Friedrich-August Weinknecht||October 1943 – August 29, 1944 (POW)|
The theatre selectors are obviously a fantastic tool, and I’ve used these as a guide for the most part, along with various internet resources listing German force organisations, and then adjusted my pool of troops to each year of the war.
To break it down, my Heer force is made up from a box of the plastic early war German Infantry, with a few support teams. With this I have a core of troops broken into three 10 man squads of men with rifles and LMGs, as well as a few SMGs. The force is led by a lieutenant, and then I can bring in a medic and/ or an observer, depending on how I’m doing for points. I generally run these as trained. Veterans are nice, but eat a lot of points, plus I like using troops that are middle of the road in performance!
I’ve also recently been painting some of the new late war Grenadier set as Volksturm for when our games get to the stage of the war, when manpower was at its worst for Germany. Running these as inexperienced troops is daunting, but they have a fantastic amount of firepower!
My Waffen-SS forces are largely the same as the Heer, except for a bit more in the way of SMGs, LMGs and, of course, they are veterans. My early/mid war Waffen-SS are converted from the plastic Pioneer set, and come 1944 these are reinforced by the Charlemagne and Nachtjager sets.
I always like to include an MMG, and mortar. Both of these weapons are so iconic to the German military of WW2 that it just feels like something’s missing from the list if I don’t have them somewhere. MMGs are great for piling long range pins on your opponent’s units, and I like the mortar as it really encourages your opponent to move. Normally I just take a medium, though recently I’ve been experimenting with a light, and using it for smoke purposes.
Model artillery pieces just look awesome, so one of those normally has to come along too. With early war I like the little 37mm light anti tank gun. On paper its performance isn’t inspiring, however I think mine came with some sort of dice magic as it’s proven the deadliest anti-tank weapon known to man! There are bigger guns out there, however the light anti-tank gun is cheap and cheerful, and has the added bonus of being the most common anti-tank gun the Germans had up to about 1942. The big guns are awesome, but in purely game terms I find them a bit restrictive.
When not taking an anti-tank gun, a howitzer can give you a very nice edge. Lights are again cheap and cheerful, with the medium being sure to ruin someone’s day if it hits, and a heavy guaranteed to have an order dice come out the bag and much giggling be had. Like the anti-tank guns I favour the light pieces, as they aren’t a massive point sink, but can still cause significant damage to an enemy unit.
Finally the best bit – armour! It may not be the most efficient use of points, but everyone likes vehicles! My own motorpool is far larger than I’ll ever use in a normal Bolt Action game, but looks great on the shelf (and the occasional Tank War battle!).
Favourite vehicles for me are the Panzer III, as it can be used right through the war, and can be used as either a vehicle with an anti-tank gun or a light howitzer, and comes out at a very reasonable points level at regular. I think this will be my go to tank for most of the games as it has enough machine guns to throw lots of pins out, and enough armour and fire power from its main gun to protect itself. As an added bonus, the new kit allows swapping between weapons if you build it carefully!
I also love StuGs. They have a wide range of weapons, and as they were used from around 1940 onwards I can see most of my forces featuring one if I don’t take the Panzer III. The StuG works best if you can use its low height and big gun to snipe on enemies from a distance. It has either a heavy anti-tank gun, or either a light or medium howitzer depending on version, and these can make short work of opposing armour and infantry. It’s worth being mindful though that there isn’t a turret so if a target is out of the weapon arc you do need to give it an advance order to turn and aim…
The Panzer IV is another solid vehicle -very similar in many respects to the Panzer III, though later versions can mount a heavy anti-tank gun if you’re willing to pay the points upgrade that is. A very solid choice though, especially if you’re anticipating hostile armour.
This is where my force is at for now, although I will be adding a Nebelwerfer, StuG riders from the Ostfront book as well as more mortars and guns. I’d like to theme my late war Waffen-SS to a Pioneer company, so I’ll be painting some of the new grenadier figures in SS camouflage, and maybe sneaking in some left over bits from the Pioneer boxed sets. Naturally I’ll also be adding Hanomags and trying out a mechanised force… It’s a never ending list, but I’d not have it any other way!
Inspired by Andy? Then look no further – get your own army started easily here: