"Rommel! Rommel! Rommel! What else matters but beating him!"
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Cairo Conference, August 8th, 1942.
I'm a retired Infantry officer that has served in both light and heavy units. (Side note, according to an acquaintance who is a C5 pilot in the Air Force: "The Army does not have light divisions; they have heavy divisions and heavier divisions") When I first saw the Flames of War rules I thought to myself, "Self, this looks really cool." Being an army combat kind of guy and militarian historian, it had appeal - lots of appeal.
As a longtime fan of Avalon Hill's classic boardgame Panzer Blitz, I have always wanted to recreate warfare on the Eastern Front in miniature. I had visions of T-34's and Panther tanks blasting away at each other at Kursk. So when I approached my geeks in training (my 5 sons) about World War II gaming they said:
I said, "Cool! What armies do you want to do?"
They said, "Austrailians and British!"
"Hmmmmm. . .", I said.
After careful research, I could find not references to the British Expeditionary Force that assisted the Soviets, nor any mention of the heroics of the ANZAC Corps during Operation Bagration in June of 1944. As a result, my first Flames of War Army: The Africa Corps.
(Side note: Honorable Son #3 went to the top of my will when he decided to do a Soviet Force - bless you Comrade!)
Fighting in an area with little terrain is like fighting in an area with little terrain. Talk about your challenges! Do the terms manuever, manuever and manuever mean anything? No? Well plan on having your butt handed to you in North Africa. And by the way, the Austrailian infantry is tough. In North Africa, the great killer of tanks were anti-tank guns, and this game accurately reflects that; I have my 88's and Honorable Son #2 has his 17lb AT guns. But tanks are tanks and you can unhinge an open flank if you move fast; but if you want to hold that objective, you better have your infantry along for the ride.
The two Lions of the Desert: I command the DAK and Honorable Son #2 commanding the Austrailians. Yes, you do play better if you wear a hat.
Here is the reason I have to wear my DAK field cap to win, the Austrailians are just plain tough!
Panzer III's and IV's of the 2. Kompanie 1/5th Panzerregiment, 21st Panzer Division advance.
Hauptmann (Captain) Josef-Willhelm Rettemeier leads 2.Kompanie. After the war, Rettemeier commanded a Panzergrenadier Brigade in the new West German Army.
The rear two tanks are Panzer IV's.
You get the feeling I like tanks?
Generalfieldmarschal Erwin Rommel, "The Desert Fox". Rommel is mounted in a Sd Kfz 250/5 half-track named Greif. Grief has a double meaning in the German language meaning both "Griffin" and "Attack".
"Herr Generalfieldmarschal, the Austrailian criminals stole our beer right here!"
This is the stand that represents me: The mighty Hauptmann (note the commanding pose) of 4.Kompanie, 2nd Bn, 104th Panzergrenadiers, 21st Panzer Division. That's my snazzy car behind me, a Kfz field car.
Panzergrenadier platoon with Kfz 70 trucks for transportation. I currently have 2 Panzergrenadier platoons plus a machine gun platoon in my Kompanie.
Here are some captured British trucks being used. Note the oversized cross and flags for recognition to avoid friendly fire.
The 2nd Panzergrenadier platoon.
The German Heavy Machinegun Platoon.
PaK36 3.7 cm light anti-tank gun platoon.
This is what made British and other allied tankers wet their pants, the dreaded 8.8cm Flak 36 gun. The "88" was designed for an anti-aircraft role, but the Germans figured out that it was an excellent anti-armor gun. It could penetrate the armor of any tank.
Crew working the guns.
This is the Sd Kfz 7 (8t) half-track used to carry the crew and tow the guns.
The back of a Kfz 70 truck. The D with the horizontal bar was the division symbol of the 21st Panzer Division.
How many games are there out there? These games appear to take longer to play than computer-type games. Are there others in Tuscaloosa who play these war games also? The painting of the miniature soldiers and gear makes it appear to be the real thing.ReplyDelete
Thats an impressive German Army! Piece of advice though - stay away from el Alemein.ReplyDelete
Very professional blog !!! I have just been reading the DAK comments nice 88mm FLAKS I recently came across ...about 6 20mmm 88s I'd previously made and have 3 larger scale die casts!! RECENTLY COMPLETED NO: of BOLT ACTION DAK PZRs and HANOMAGS !! THANKS a great inspiration!!ReplyDelete
Nice figures...just got some free Afrika Korp with war games illustrated and starting to paint the. Usually we are only in Europe, Saling rad or Pacific. You might like our blog for some Saling rad action if you like Russians...Glasgow WarhogReplyDelete