July 23nd, 2010
In Focus Review - Dogs & Devils: Breakout at Anzio, Italy, May 1944
The latest Campaign book for BattleFront Miniatures Flames of War is called Dogs & Devils: Breakout at Anzio Italy, May 1944. This book details the battles between the elite Herman Goiring Fallschirmpanzerdivision, and 3rd Infantry Division and First Special Service Force (SSF).
The Germans are given 4 new army lists to work with. The first list is the Herman Goiring Armored Company (Panzerkompanie), which calls for a Company HQ of 2X Panzer III Ms, (which for a few points more could be upgraded to Panzer Ns, and for 20 points more each upgraded to the Panzer IV H). There's also the option for a Recovery Half-Track at just 5 points. It also calls for 2X HG Panzer Platoons including 3 or 4 Panzer III Ms (which can be upgraded with the same options as the HQ for xx points more) each. These are Confident/Veteran choices.
Special rules for the German lists include Elite Troops which allows for Platoon and Company Morale checks to be re-rolled. The Stacheldrath rule allows Panzer III Ms equipped concertina wire, during the Assault Phase to perform a Stacheldrath maneuver once per game. This essentially allows the player to deploy Barbed Wire Entanglements on each side of the tank, extending 8-inches to the left, and 8-inches to the right, (pending there's room, and nothing is blocking the deployment). These tanks can also act as Pioneer Supply Vehicles for any platoons in command distance attempting to Dig In. Lastly the Motorized Movement rule allows Motorized Infantry to pass a Skill Test to survive their Passenger Save when being hit by a Firepower 5-6 weapon.
The next list is the Herman Goiring Heavy Reconnaissance Squadron. This calls for a Company HQ comprised of a Company Command SMG Team, 2iC Command SMG Team, a Kfz 15 Field Car and a Motorcycle and Sidecar, and two Combat Platoons made up of an HG Auklarungs Pioneer Platoon (mounted in Kfz 70 trucks) and an HG Aulkarungs Artillery Battery (utilizing 1 or 2 Gun Sections of 2 Wespes per section), Those are also Confident/Veteran rated choices.
If it's infantry you enjoy playing, there's the HG Motorized Infantry Company. This list calls for one Company HQ (mounted in Kubelwagens), and 2-3 HG Panzergrenadier Platoons (mounted up in Kfz 70s trucks, with the command MG team riding in an Kfz 15 Field Car). Once again, these are Confident/Veteran choices too.
The last army list is based on the 362. & 715. Infantry Divisions, and is an Infantry Company calling for a fairly standard Infantry HQ, and 2 Grenadier Platoons, and this list can also utilize Herman Goring and Italian troops as support options, which would count as Allied Platoons. That just covers the required options for each force, there's a plethora of optional choices for each force, including a ton of Herman Goring specific platoons. The Germans seem to get the most options and attention in this book.
A single scenario is provided called Operation Buffalo – Cisterna, which sets up the US forces to assault the town of Cisterna, and the Germans must repel the assault. The US wins by capturing an objective and securing the town, and the Germans win by preventing the capture of objectives.
There's only two lists for the Allied side, but they're pretty interesting. First up is the 3rd Infantry Division Rifle Company. A fairly standard Company HQ is called for (utilizing a Company Command Carbine team and a single 2iC Command Carbine team), with the option to upgrade to 2X Bazooka Teams at 20+ pts each, and to swap up to SMG teams vs being Carbine teams for 15+ pts per team. One Assault and one Rifle Squad is also standard, with the option to add a Sharpshooter to each for 10+ pts per platoon. These are also Confident/Veteran trained choices.
Special rules are in place like Medal of Honor Winners (this is an Assault phase bonus, to give them an edge if they get pinned down by Defensive Fire, and with the right result, they can go ahead with the Assault) and Sharpshooter (allows for a Sharpshooter from an Assault or Rifle Platoon to reroll To Hit and Firepower tests once per Shooting Phase). Tank rules for Improvised Armor allow for a 2nd Save when failing a save from a Firepower 5-6 weapon. If a roll of 5+ is made on the 2nd Improvised Armor save, then the tank lives. The Tank Telephones rule has Infantry and Tanks working together, allowing the infantry to act as a Recee Platoon, using the Eyes and Ears rule, spotting targets for an adjacent Sherman.
The First Special Service Force was a multi-national force, made up from the US commandos from various service branches, and elite Canadian paratroopers. The Germans called them The Devil's Brigade. The force provided for them is aptly called The Devil's Brigade - Special Service Force. A SSF Company HQ and 3X SSF Platoons are the required options.
The SSF HQ calls for a Company Command Carbine Team and a single 2iC Command Carbine Team. The SSF Platoons utilize a Command Pioneer Rifle/MG Team and 2X SSF Sections made up of 3X Pioneer Rifle/MG Teams each. These are Fearless/ Trained choices too. There's 10 more pages of Divisional Support Options for the SSF, including the Fire Direction Center (FDC), which gives more very nifty options to SSF artillery, with counter-battery fire and strategic bombardments.
Essentially this is a nice book depicting the Anzio landing setting, and gives players the tools to dig into an Italian Late-War 1944 campaign, with six very specific yet interesting forces to take into battle. The Road to Rome covers the historical details well with about 10 pages of historical background, and there's full color pages referencing the German and US forces both, to help you paint the proper period historical patterns, with the right colors that were utilized. In all it's 80 pages, and like most campaign books it too cost $25.00 MSRP, which is roughly about $22 discounted from various online retailers.
To play out the Anzio scenario, there's also an entire range of new models to support this campaign book. This past week brought the release of the 10.5cm gun-based Semovente 105/25 model used in this book. Last month yielded the HG Pioneer Platoon blister packs, HG 7.5cm leIG18 gun (2x per pack) blister pack, and the HG 15cm siG33 gun blister pack (also 2x per pack). A variety of Devil's Brigade models are also available, in addition to other Herman Goring force models.