Flames of War

Rebuilding a Fallschirmjäger list for 4th Edition

24 March 2020 | 4th Edition

German Fallschirmjägers with MG42 in Normandy, summer 1944.
Heavy MG42 team, summer 1944, Normandy.
Photograph: Bundesarchiv.

One of the joys, or headaches, of a new game edition is rebuilding your armies in a new way. So let's see what changes, what gets left out because its no longer available, and what no longer makes sense to take.

Let's just start by saying that I count myself lucky that Fallschirmjägers have actually made it into a source book so early in this edition. It wouldn't have surprised me had they been held back unto a period of fighting in Holland, around the Rhine, or even the Ardennes offensive — that is of course Battlefront release source books for those particular theatres.

Anyway, here's the base 3rd Edition list. It's a fairly generic infantry set up with no special characters.

German Fallschirmjäger

Infantry Company, from Grey Wolf.

    Points
Headquarters    
Fallschirmjäger HQ
FV
CinC SMG, 2iC SMG
Both with Panzerfaust upgrades
75
Puppchen
FV
8.8cm RW43 Puppchen launcher 30
Combat  
Fallschirmjäger
platoon

FV
Command Panzerfaust SMG
9x rifles/MG squads
275
Fallschirmjäger
platoon

FV
Command Panzerfaust SMG
6x rifles/MG squads
195
Weapons  
Fallschirmjäger
machine gun platoon

FV
Command Panzerfaust SMG
2x MG42 HMG squads
80
Fallschirmjäger
machine gun platoon

FV
Command Panzerfaust SMG
2x MG42 HMG squads
80
Support  
Fallschirmjäger
anti-tank platoon

FV
Command SMG
4x 7.5cm Pak40 guns
240
Panzer platoon
CV
Command StuG G or IV
3x StuG G or IV
380
Heavy artillery battery
CV
Command SMG, Staff,
Observer rifle,
4x 15cm sFH18 howitzers
3-ton truck, 3-ton truck per gun
315
Fallschirmjäger
anti-aircraft gun platoon

FV
Command SMG
3x 2cm Flak30 guns
80
    1750

Giving a nicely balanced 8 platoons in total.
FV = Morale: Fearless Veteran, CV = Morale: Confident Trained.

Right now on to the v4 build:

The 4th Edition rebuild, German Fallschirmjäger

Infantry Company, German D-Day.

    Points
Combat formations   58
Fallschirmjäger HQ
FV
2 x MP40 SMG teams 3
Fallschirmjäger
platoon

FV
7x MG42 & K98 rifles teams
Panzerfausts
1x Panzerschreck anti-tank team
1x sMG42 machine gun team
15
Fallschirmjäger
platoon

FV
7x MG42 & K98 rifles teams
Panzerfausts
1x Panzerschreck anti-tank team
1x sMG42 machine gun team
15
Fallschirmjäger
8cm mortar platoon

FV
3x 8cm stummel mortar teams 6
Fallschirmjäger
8cm mortar platoon

FV
3x 8cm stummel mortar teams 6
Fallschirmjäger
7.5cm tank-hunter platoon

FV
3x 7.5cm gun teams 13
Support platoons   39
Fallschirmjäger
StuG assault gun platoon

FV
4x StuG (7.5cm) 23
Puma scout troop
RV
2x Puma (5cm) 4
8.8cm heavy AA platoon
CV
4x 8.8cm guns 12
Command cards   2
Lucky 1x Lucky card 1
8.8cm Tank-hunter 1x 8.8cm Tank-hunter card 1
    99

FJs in 4th Edition are still elite troops. Rated as Motivation: Fearless (3+) and Skill: Veteran (3+), they are Hit On 4+. Dug in on an objective they are going to be hard to shift, and with good baked-in anti-tank capability (schrecks and fausts) will give any armour getting too close a nasty sting. That's the hope of course.

There 6 platoons in the main formation which is so-so for staying power. The main formation costs 58 points — under the magic 60% reserve initial deployment figure, which being primarily a defensive list will come into play. Although that's by-the-by as it's doubtful that both the mortar platoons and both the FJ platoons will be deployed from the off. More on this later.

The guts of this main formation is centred around the two large infantry platoons. Although each only seven strong (I would have preferred 10 teams for at least one platoon but that gets ridiculously expensive very quickly) each is bolstered by a panzerschreck team and a heavy machine gun team, so effectively nine teams per platoon in total. It's simply not possible to squeeze in a larger 10-team base platoon from the off as I wanted to include some mortars and pak40s in the formation too.

As to the support slots, to be honest the Pumas are a bit of a speed-bump / sacrificial unit. Their 5cm pop-guns might keep infantry in cover but up against anything more they are quickly out of their depth and will need to be kept out of trouble. Interestingly this is why their production was halted as their crews would get a bit overambitious with what they took on so getting themselves into tight situations. Rated Motivation: Reluctant (5+) and Skill: Veteran (3+) Hit On 4+ they're not exactly fullfilling the 'elite' feel of the rest of the army. Maybe adding SS Aufklärungs will be the answer at some point in the future. The option to field three 250 halftracks is also there with the bonus that their weapons have the anti-aircraft capability, but armour is worse.

In this edition the 8.8cm AA platoon is no longer a Luftwaffe unit rated Reluctant Trained as it was in v3. They are now rated Confident Veteran which is a bonus. The crews will still be wearing their Luftwaffe blue though to keep the vibe going. These are very characterful artillery units capable of killing tanks as well as the inevitable allied jabos. Their reach makes them powerful providing terrain is helpful. But they will undoubtedly themselves be primary targets for enemy artillery — they would be mine.

Comparison between the v3 and v4 lists there are some various obvious differences. I'm not including any towed howitzer artillery for one, mainly because it's expensive, and I wanted to flesh out the core formation with as many units as possible. To fill that void I've done two things: taken two platoons of mortars, and, taken the command card 8.8cm Tank-hunter. This card allows the 8.8cm AA gun platoon to fire an artillery bombardment, which is very usefull for 1 point. No smoke with that card though, smoke will be provided by the mortar platoons.

Sadly there is no puppchen available in v4. These cool squeeze bore weapons were very widely used in Italy and I'm pretty sure turned up in Normandy too. But not for late war FJs it would seem as Battlefront have restricted them to mid war FJs only.

Backed up by the 88s the four StuGs will successfully protect a flank or an objective for a few turns, their guns being sufficient to deter lighter armour including Shermans, and transports. Interestingly, being a Fallschirmjäger assault gun unit they are rated like the infantry as Fearless Veteran.

As to deployment, the pak40s will be set aside to ambush. The Pumas would deploy first turn using their Spearhead capability if that is required depending on mission. If not then both mortar platoons deploy and Pumas go into reserve. I'd like the 88s to deploy too from the off depending on the mission.

The main thing this list lacks rather obviously is true mobility, hence it will be used in defensively. No change from previous editions on that score. Although the Infantry in assault/counterattack are a not too shabby 3+/3+ and supported by the StuGs could easily swamp and objective when required if they can footslog it there in time.

Variations? Yes. I don't like three of anything — preferring fours. To achieve this, one of the stummel mortar platoons could go, the remaining one upgraded with another tube. In addition, another pak40 will get added to the 7.5cm Tank-hunter platoon. Overall it results in one less platoon in the formation, but those that remain will be stronger.

Looking further ahead I'd like to include SS units in the Support slots. Why? Character. Another great v3 list was the Veteran Fallschirmjäger Infantry Company from Bridge By Bridge and this included SS Jagdpanzer IV tank hunter platoon as a support option. I love the combo of FJs and SS purely for their elite status.

It should be said that with infantry this expensive this is NOT by any means a tourney winning list. It does not follow what is commonly regarded at this stage (prior to the release of the SS source book) as being 'good German meta'. But who cares? No doubt it will be hammered by horde tanks and the very effective US Armoured Rifles. It will also be interesting to see how it fares against a British Churchill list which is going to be the British go-to list I think.

Addendum

It's a bit confusing having game 'editions' for both 40K and Flames Of War. So FoW 4th Edition will be referred to as 'V4' from now on.



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