Welcome to the Blitzminis coverage on Bulge: German, the long-awaited Flames of War sourcebook for German forces on the western front in end 1944-45. Best known as the last gasp of the German army, the Ardennes offensive, better known as the battle of the bulge was a desperate attempt by German high command to deny the strategic Belgian port of Antwerp to allied forces on the western front in order to stymie the American and british forces. As the Germans had no way of repelling the incoming Soviet armies on the eastern front, this was a last ditch attempt to encircle and destroy allied forces there to terminate the western campaign so they could re-assign available forces to stop the Soviets.
Taking advantage of Allied complacence and bad weather, the Germans launched an attack with total surprise on 16 December 1944, taking a direct route through the dense Ardennes forest and catching many allied units off guard. However, the poor snow conditions also hampered the German attack, which caused it to lose momentum within just days, and allowed the Allies to reinforce positions before they could be overrun.
Comprising a heavy armored element, German forces dealt a heavy blow to American forces in the sector, making it the third bloodiest campaign in American military history. By 26 December, the US 3rd Army managed to reinforce the besieged town of Bastogne amid improving weather conditions, which also allowed Allied air superiority to attack German supply lines, dooming the German campaign. Forced to engage in a breakout action to prevent total destruction, the Germans lost significant armor and manpower and fell back to the Siegfried line, marking the end of this ambitious, but ultimately flawed offensive.
This event is historically significant as it was the final offensive action for German forces, which were thereafter pushed back into retreat after the failure of the campaign.
Blitzminis has reached out to members of the Southeast Asian wargaming community to review this release, which is chock full of iconic and famous units and personalities. From Skorzeny to Carius, our intrepid writers will cover not only unit reviews, but also the historical side of the war from the eyes of Asian wargaming.
Guest article by Nicholas Leong
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Ardennes Armoured Animal Reserve. I'm your host for this tour. Feel free to grab a copy of the park map from the seat pouch in front of you, and please remember to keep all your limbs inside the vehicle at all times.
I strongly recommend some insect repellent as the mozzies and other bugs around here are known to be packing HEAT.
On your left you should be able to see the European Panther. They're one of the most important species on the planet because there's no more than a few thousand left in the wild. At our zoo we've been very successful with our breeding program and we have several kitty formations which you should be able to see soon. Their fur coats have the same zimmerit colouration as their Early cousins but are even thicker. Look at those treads that they use to range right across the plains and forests of Europe. See the way they go chomp chomp L/70 teeth to teeth? It's all a big game, they're not hurting each other.
That's the SS Panther. You can tell them apart by the lightning bolts and the mythological symbol patterning on their coat. Their senses are just as sharp, but in the wild they're much more aggressive and spend less time stalking than the other cats. Their audacity at hunting prey many times their number or weight, with no apparent concern for their safety can be amazing. Have a go at this wild little unit! Das Reich over there has spotted a herd of Shermans grazing out in the open. Look at him go!
Now we're getting into the exotic kitties: the Jagd subspecies of Panther. If you look carefully there's one right there, sneaking through the brush. They've got this lower profile and sleek angular front which they use when stalking their prey. Crikey, what a beaut!
Shhh....you can hardly hear anything together as they get into position. Now, when the Jagdpanther is good and ready, they strike quickly with their powerful 88mm gun to pierce and overpower their prey. WHAM!
In front of you is a big one, the Bengal Tiger or King Tiger weighing at just under 69 tons. Look at that glorious FA16 of rolled homogenous armour...it's so fluffy I just can't resist giving it a scratch. They're not afraid to go up against anything that enters their territory, and with their powerful KwK43 jaws they can crush flesh and armour easily. Just the other day, our volunteers found Churchill Crocodile scales in a poo sample. Truly a King.
Watch out for this huge Tiger cousin. At just shy of 72 tons, it's the largest of all German cats. It's got an even more luxurious coat than the other Tigers, which allows it to withstand some of the harshest punishment on Earth, and with its 128mm L55 jaws it can deal some out as well. Despite its size, it's no less cunning than the other cats. They can be almost impossible to see in the woods at all, but you can be sure they're out there. After all you can't have Tiger Woods if you don't have Tigers in your woods.
The Sturmtiger may not be the largest cat around, nor does it have the deadliest bite. Its short 380mm teeth aren't well-suited against the thick hides of the larger game animals, but do just fine at rooting out smaller burrowing mammals like some dug in infantry. But its most distinguishing feature is its great roar. It's got the loudest and most fearsome cry of any big cat, sounding almost like thunder. The kitty uses that to scare its prey out of hiding and save it the trouble of rooting them out of their hidey holes, hence the name Sturmtiger. Thundercats, ho!
In the wild, packs of big cats are known to form symbiotic relationships with other animals. Infantry help them find their prey and also groom the kitties' fur coats, while Wirbelwinds and Ostwinds keep the pesky buzzards off their kills. In exchange, the cats scare away the other predators that would normally hunt and kill small marsupials like the infantry. After all it's hard to keep all your side skirts and zimmerit in place out in the jungle without some handy little friends.
That concludes today's tour. I hope you enjoyed your time with us at the Ardennes Armoured Wildlife Reserve, and look forward to seeing you again.
We cover the infantry formations of the battle of the Bulge with The Procrastinating Professor, a wargamer from Malaysia! Be sure to check out this article!