Friday 31 July 2015

Home Front 1941: Fallschirmjager Complete

Just to prove, to myself more than anyone else, that I can actually finish a project, here are my Fallschirmjager. This is a full platoon for Chain of Command (I haven't checked yet but it would probable be right for Bolt Action too, as the forces are about the same for both games). In addition to the three squads of FJs I have a medic, a mortar, and extra panzerschreck team and an infantry support gun. This should be enough to get me gaming when the Earlswood Wargamers get together after our summer hiatus. 
  While I say that this project is 'finished' I am sure that any wargamers out there will know that no project is ever actually complete. I do intend to add a few more pieces to this platoon to give me a few more options. A StuG assault gun and a static MG43 on tripod being the obvious choices.
  At Earlswood we are going to be basing our games around the Battle of the Ardennes, AKA the Battle of the Bulge. This was Hitler's last big gamble, when he threw this best reserves into a desperate push through the US held territory in the Ardennes forest, in Belgium. The US were caught flat-footed and fell back in disorder, and for a short time it looked like the tide of the war could be turned back in the Germans favour. Eventually, as history recalls, the US/British forces stalled the Germans attack and eventually drove them back, but at a terrible cost. 
The Fallschirmjager are the German paratroopers. They were part of the Luftwaffe (airforce) not the Heer (army). They fought as airborne infantry in the early war, most notable when they seized the Belgian fortress at Eban-Emael in a surprise raid, and in the Battle of Crete.   Later they were used as an elite light infantry, and played a key role in the defence of Normandy, at the battle of Caratan, where they fought US Airborne troops (see Band of Brothers if you haven't already) and at the Fortress of Brest they delayed the US forces for ninety nine days!
  By the time the Fallschirmjagers got to the Ardennes they were a different force. Many of their veterans had died in Normandy and they had lost many officers too. Their ranks were replenished with ground troops and officers from the Luftwaffe, many of whom had only basic infantry training. Never the less they fought hard and earned a reputation for tenacity (and even fanaticism). One tactic the Fallschirmjager employed was to go to ground , hiding in cellars or the forest, while the US armoured vanguards rumbled past them, only to return to catch the US tanker off guard, wiping out the tank crews before they could get back to their vehicals, and they driving back the disordered US infantrymen. The next morning the Americans would be forced to take the same town they had already captured the day before. 
  My Fallschirmjager will also be used to fight my 'Dad's Army' Home Guard, using the Crete 1941 list in the Bolt Action rules. All I will have to do is reduce the number of machine guns and take out the Panzershrecks. The German plans for the aborted 'Operation Sea-lion' would have certainly featured the Fallschirmjager parashooting in to sieze key naval defences and air defences ahead of the main invasion. 


tim said...

That's a mighty fine looking platoon!

Huzzah for "finished" projects!

Michael Awdry said...

Excellent and well done for completing the unit - great little history too.

pulpcitizen said...

Excellent work all around on the group. You should be proud of that little lot. :)

Vladgothic said...

Nicely done Rob, there must be something in the water as I picked up my US earlier last week, here's to finished projects!

Simon Quinton said...

Excellent looking force sir!