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The review of Berlin: German. The last book for late-war Germany in Flames of War.
The battle of Berlin gathers pace in late wear Flames of War version 4. The recent release of Berlin Soviet brought in the threat from the east to the doorstep of the Third Reich, but now Battlefront gives us the German response.
As ever, the new source book comes with a new set of command cards and a stater force as well. We’re going to take a look at the starter force at the end of this review, but before that, lets take a look at the book itself.
One thing you’ll notice in this new source book is the volume of units who have a 4+ hit on rating, strong skill, but a terrible motivation. Just check out this Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoon.
You read that right, hit on 4+, 3+ skill but they run 66% of the time.
That’s a theme you’ll find throughout the book. Great units who just really have had enough and are ready to give up or poorly skill units who are fanatically invested.
This battered condition of the forces extends through into the composition of the formations. For example, this Panzergrenadier company:
Where as the forces in D-Day, for example, were pretty focussed, this formation lets you put together a combined arms force. Mixing in armour and cheap AA options into or in place of more expensive infantry. This makes your formations more durable from one perspective, but also a little less focused.
One of the best things with a new source book is the new units which appear and, on that front, Berlin German does not disappoint.
Our highlights include:
SD KFZ 234 heavy scout troop
Who doesn’t want an AT12 gun on a scout, spearhead for only 3 points?
Did it actually see action? Probably not. But this oddball unit rocks a AT17 gun on a surprisingly fast chassis… even if you have more chance of throwing it over a hedge than it has of actually making the crossing itself.
Kleinpanzer Wanze tank-hunters
Look at it, what’s not to love? A city fighting, anti-tank specialist never looked this cute… even if it only has an 8” range.
With the fighting on their doorstep, the locals rose up and formed a militia of desperation. Ill equipped and poorly trained, this infantry is cheap for a reason. But as local militia they also don't count for reserves.
Similarly, poorly trained and equipped, the Hitlerjugend have one benefit… fanaticism. Still cheap, these guys can follow orders and are hit on a 2+ BUT they’re one of the least likely to run units in the game. And as local militia they also don't count for reserves.
The Germans have a sneaky trick up their sleeves when it comes to night-time engagements, IR equipment. Bringing the ability to light up targets or roll extra dice on when rolling on the Night Visibility Table, these can be pretty useful. This ties in nicely with the night fighter rule which you’ll find on some units too…
But it’s not just new toys you’ll find in here, we see the return of some units we’ve not seen since mid-war including…
The trusty Panzer III returns with some new bazooka skirts and a tasty price to pad out your formation!
Equally, the Panzer II turns up for the first time in late war. Cheap, lightly armoured and quick, the Panzer II may not upset a Sherman, but it will give transports something to think about!
Now you’ve seen some of the new units, how can you field them? There are eight formations in Berlin German, ranging from heavy armour to infantry focussed. As we’ve mentioned above, most of these have the ability to field a combined arms approach, mixing elements of armour and infantry in a single formation.
Our top three formations in the book are…
Heavy Tank Training Company
If you like it heavy, this formation is well worth a look. With the option of fielding Tiger II, Tiger or Panther platoons as black box options, backed up with armoured infantry, more Tigers and even Panzer IIIs, this formation can put some real pain down.
The downside? Hit on 3+ and poorly skilled.
Clausewitz STuG Assault Gun Company
It’s time to choose the STuG (Or STuH, if you’re fancy) life again, as Belin German gives us a formation dedicated to the finest SPG of the second world war (we will not be accepting disagreements regarding this).
These little guys are hit on 4+ with great skill of 3+ but are motivated on 5+ which isn’t ideal. The cap of 3 SPGs per platoon isn’t ideal either.
Mixed in with the STuGy goodness you’ll find Panthers and Jagdpanther with IR options, ordinary Panthers, AA platoons and even some armoured Panzergrenadier.
Berlin Battle Group
Whilst we love some combined arms, this formation is a really interesting proposition too. Letting you pick from pretty much any flavour of infantry in the book. So if you want to build a mass of crazy guys then SS plus Hitlerjugend will be the way to go. But you can then mix in more reliable and capable troops to offset the bonkers of the other guys.
Rounding the formation out with mortars, gun, machine-gun and tank-hunter platoons makes for a fairly sturdy core to any force.
Tank Training Company Starter Force
So, what about that new starter force? That’s based on the Tank Training company:
Featuring a Panther HQ, 2 tank Panther Platoon, 3 tank Panzer IV platoon, 3 SPG Hetzer platoon, 3 tank Panzer II platoon and 5 stand Panzergrenadier platoon in the core formation, this makes a resilient formation with some real teeth.
The addition of a pair of Tiger IIs and recommended Wespe Artillery battery (available in a separate, now plastic box) plus two command cards gets you up to 100 points. And, that’s a pretty good 100 point force too, balancing power output with durability, you could certainly do worse.
Overall, Belin German is a flavourful, flexible and interesting book which brings some interesting options for German players. If you’re ready to take up the defence of the Fatherland, you can pre-order the book, cards and starter box today here.