The first big goal for this blog was to showcase how me and a group of my friends discovered Flames of War, learned to play, paint and enjoy the historical WW2 war gaming hobby.
A major part of that for me was setting some goals in terms of painting and competing. I made NOVA open a major benchmark in my early FOW path, because for me, competitions give me goals and let me get out of my local meta, get drunk and meet cool people. So, I knew I'd need to choose an army, paint it, test it and get to know and love it.
And I've finally done it. I've figured out, bought and painted my 1750 late war army for 2012 NOVA Open.
As you can tell by the name of the post and the giant image, I've settled on Panzer Lehr Panzer Grenadiers.
Why? Well a bunch of reasons. First off, they've got a ton of cool history and were one of the key units of the Normandy Campaign. Secondly, they get all the cool toys. Rockets, tanks, flammtracks, recce you name this mechanized list can pretty much be built to taste. Finally, I think it's a stronger "all comers" list than a standard PzrGren list do to the addition of the tank hunter teams as organic elements in each platoon.
This is my first fully painted, cohesive army. I've only been in the hobby for 6 months and I've painted up a bunch of dudes, King Tigers, Stug batteries and a slew of panthers and panzers. But, this is the first time I've tested and winnowed down a list to what I think I'd like to play and will be most effective.
|A classic image from the Korsun Pocket and a key influence in|
the visual theme of my army.
Back to the army at hand. I went with a winter scheme, partly by necessity and partly because I think there's something about German's in winter that just looks sweet. It was by necessity because my original army was going to be a straight Gepanzerte Panzergrenadier army out of Grey Wolf, and I wanted to set it around a Korsun Pocket theme.
Because of that many of my early models were painted in a winter scheme with long coats and unless I wanted to buy new grenadiers/Lehr infantry I was stuck. But that's ok, like I said, winter is fine by me. At first I was a little nervous because, historically, I wasn't sure of Lehr's operational history after summer of '44. But after some (very little :) digging I found they fought under Manteuffel during Wacht Am Rhine/Battle of the Bulge and actually were involved in the fighting around Bastogne.
So while they were not going to be painted in a classic, summer '44 Lehr scheme, they would be at least arguably accurate in a winter look. Having decided that, it was time to build the army.
BUT OH GOD, there are so many options. Do you go with full or short squads or a mix? Panthers, Panzers or Tigers? Do you go for the Grille or a straight mess of PaK 40's? What about artillery and anti-aircraft options?
List building is always the hardest part for me. I tend to swing from one option to another over and over and play test lists a lot of different ways. This time, with huge thanks to Loon, Rotny, Jeb, Yank and all the Throck of War crew, we play tested this list A TON before we finally came up with this:
I know, it has no recce and is light on AA. But what it does I think it does very well and that's assault infantry and kill tanks. As a mech list I'll be hunkering down on defense against Armor Lists. To which I say, come get me, with 88's, 10 Schreck shots, & 2 tigers the tanks I fear I couldn't really solve for at range (other than bombardment) anyways: Konigstigers, Churchills (Especially Crocodiles) and to a lesser extent, Jumbos.
Against infantry, I'll be at a disadvantage because I lack the recce to remove gone to ground. but by taking Mortars and Rockets i feel like I've removed some of the uncertainty as the mortar re-roll and the rocket rules mitigate some of that on ranging in.
|I'm a Recce Heretic. Tru Fax.|
The real question for me was whether to take armor or not. At first I was dead set against it, but the more I thought about it in terms of utility vs. points spent I realized there were a few options that would add a ton of value to the list. It came down to Panthers Vs. Tigers (ahhh the age old debate). I love the Panther, it's cool, it's got a great gun and is all around one of the best tanks in the game. In the Lehr list I can get 3 for 560 points, a bit pricey to be sure. Alternatively I could grab two tigers for 480 points.
Now, why did I choose the Tigers over the Panthers?
If I were looking for a tank to prowl the back of my lines hunting other tanks at range, the Panther would have been the clear choice. But because I'll be defending against tanks and opponents will have to be at least within 16 inches to hit my infantry (Vets, dug in, gone to ground) I force an attacking opponent to get up close and it's at close range where I think the advantages of the tiger excel over that of the panther. The Tiger is less susceptible to side armor shots and to artillery, with solid use of cover it'll will be difficult to hit and the Tiger Ace skills will, for the most part, be a huge boon (For the fatherland is meh, otherwise, I'll be happy with whatever I roll).
|Tony, in winter.|
Now, I've got the army figured out. It's time to paint it up! Next installment, tomorrow probably, I'll showcase the full army. Cheers and thanks for reading.