Guest article by Mark Eudes Teoh
The Battle of Berlin, also known as the Fall of Berlin, was one of the last major offensives of the European theatre of World War II which was designated as the Berlin Strategic offensiveOperation by the Soviet Union. After the Vistula–Oder offensive from January to February 1945, the Red Army had temporarily halted 60km away of from Berlin. On 9 March, Germany established its defence plan for the city with Operation Clausewitz. The first defensive preparations at the outskirts of Berlin were made on 20 March, under the newly appointed commander of Army Group Vistula, General Gotthard Heinrici.
Gotthard Fedor August Heinrici born 25 December 1886 was a German general during World War II. He is considered as the premier defensive expert of the Wehrmacht. His final command was Army Group Vistula, formed from the remnants of Army Group A and Army Group Center to defend Berlin from the Soviet armies advancing from the Vistula River. He passed away on 10 December 1971 at the age of 84. Despite his effort in serving his country, Heinrici was dismissed for refusing to save Hitler.
He then surrendered himself to the British forces on 28 May. When the Soviet offensive resumed on 16 April, two Soviet fronts (army groups) attacked Berlin from the east and south, while a third overran German forces positioned north of Berlin. Before the main battle in Berlin commenced, the Red Army encircled the city after successful battles of the Seelow Heights and Halbe. On 20 April 1945, Hitler's birthday, the 1st Belorussian Front advanced from the east and north, started shelling Berlin's city centre, while the 1st Ukrainian Front broke through Army Group Centre and advanced towards the southern suburbs of Berlin. On 23 April General Helmuth Weidling assumed command of the forces within Berlin. The garrison consisted of several depleted and disorganised Army and Waffen-SS divisions, along with poorly trained Volkssturm and Hitler Youth members. Over the course of the next week, the Red Army gradually took the entire city.
On 30 April, Hitler and several of his offcials committed suicide. The city's garrison surrendered on 2 May but fighting continueds until the end of the war in Europe on 8 May as some German units fought westward so that they could surrender to the Western Allies rather than to the Soviets
With the release of Berlin Soviet, we now have Germany as these 2 nations fought in the Battle of Berlin which ended with the Soviet Victory.
AT WITS END!
Here, I will be talking about some of the units which I personally find it worth the tryout as well as my general point of view regarding the chosen units. So, what’s new for the German players in this new Berlin German update. First and foremost, Infra-Red (IR) night vision units were introduced in this new update. German players will not be having troubles when playing any missions that has Night Fighting rules. IR basically gives you better fighting capacities at Night, but also a new way to play, launching offensives in the dark by rolling 2 dices on the Night Visibility and choose the highest scoring results. This of course comes at a premium but can be quite the cornerstone of your strategy if your list and Battle Plan are built well.
In Missions without the Meeting Engagement rule, if you Attack, you can start at Dawn, with all Units of your Night Fighters Formations moving freely out of their deployment area. We then get the remnants of the Panzerwaffe, with experienced yet demotivated tankers represented by Clausewitz PanzerDivision and Panzer Battle Group. The last Panzers, inexperienced troops rushed into the front with whatever they have left in stock represented by the Tank Training Companies. Germany’s last foot soldiers, with a motley collection of equipment, variable experience and motivation represented by the Berlin Fallschirmjager and Berlin Battle Group. Lastly, we have a mixed collection of Support options across Heer, Super Soaps, and Luftwaffe, which is similar to Bulge German.
The Defenders of Berlin!
What really caught my attention in this update was none other than the Berlin Battle Group which formation can be seen as below:
The Berlin Battle Group provides a varieties of platoons ranging from the usual Panzergrenadier (Late) Platoon to the SS Panzergrenadier Platoon to Volkssturm Platoon to Hitlerjugend Platoon and so on. What surprises me the most was that they are relatively cheap in terms of point cost with the given numbers in a platoon. Thus, allowing German players to play Hordes of infantry which is also one of my favourite part of the game!
Despite being demotivated, the Panzergrenadiers choose to uphold their morale and fight for the Fatherland! The HQ comes with a very good stats with 3+ for their Fearless motivation while 2+ on their Last Stand. As for the Panzergrenadiers, they are also relatively durable as it is also easy for them to passed their movement order and then their Stormtroopers special rules. With perfect allocation and positioning, it will be very hard to hit them as it is a 4+ to hit them. With the help of the “Old Hand” special rule, whichever units that is within 6” from the Formation HQ will have Tactics rating on a 3+ but a 4+ rating if unit is from a Heavy Tank Training Company or Tank Training Company. This is also good for any units that has Reluctant Motivation on them by turning their Tactics rating from 5+ to a 3+ as long as they are within 6” of the commanding HQ unit, otherwise it has no effect.
Next, we have the Hitlerjugend Platoon, the name “Hitlerjugend” means Hitler Youth. They were organised into fighting units for defence across Germany. For German players whom always loved to Assault, now is the time as Hitlerjugend will do its job. Despite very easy to hit on, they come with a decent amount of numbers with relatively cheap cost to filled them in. They also come with the special rule called “Local Militia” which is very good as it counted as “0” when calculating the Reserve’s points. Nonetheless, with Fearless as their motivation, nothing can stop them from charging into contact and fight for their Fatherland.
If the Hitlerjugend Platoon doesn’t catch your attention, don’t worry as we have the iconic Fallschirmjager Platoon. They come with great stats overall and also cheap to fill them in. No doubt that it is a 3+ to hit them but I believe they will do fair enough as their other platoons. If you are in the defending team, you may want to consider bringing in their HMG Team just to be safe as it gives 6 shots to the team that will be assaulting you when you are defending and with the help of Panzerfaust and Panzerschreck, it will be easy to hit on Medium and Light Tanks. The Fallschirmjager Platoon are also relatively cheap compared to D-Day German.
Last but not least, we have the Volkssturm Platoon (Left) and the Volksgrenadier Assault Platoon (Right), both are relatively cheap and with GREAT numbers which is good for assaulting despite their Reluctant Motivation unless players decided to add on some points for their HMG and Panzerschreck. With quantities, players can rush through the game and assault any pinned down infantries on the opposite team. However, if the decisions and strategy is planned right, things will definitely be in favour.
The Training Units!
In this update, we are getting a much more cheaper Panzer Divisions but they have become Reluctant. Keeping all its previous stats such as the Skill Veteran on a 3+, to Hit on Careful 4+ as well as its classic Bazook a Skirts which increases their Side Armour against weapons with Firepower 5+ and above but with lower motivation. Despite their low Motivation, players are still able to use German’s most iconic special rule, stormtrooper. Stormtroopers allows players to make an attempt on a second Movement Order after succeeding in its first Movement Order, however, the second Movement Order must be a different one from the first. Now, with a much more cheaper Panzers IV Tank Platoon option, players are now able to play an offensive full of Panzer IVs’.
Desperate moment, desperate measures, the old Panzer III tanks, previously being used for driving instruction have now been made for combat use. They are very useful for engaging enemy infantry and light tanks. With the same stats as Panzer IVs for their Front, Side and Top, they too are relatively cheap. Speaking of a cheap units, German players are allowed to upgrade the Panzer III’s weapon by replacing the 5cm to 7.5cm for free. The only difference for this is their Firepower rating where 5cm gives player a rating for 4+ Firepower while 7.5cm gives a rating of 3+ Firepower with HEAT but both are still the same Anti Tank 9 rating whereas 7.5cm are slightly shorter range to 5cm by 4” range. Again, this all depends on how the player play with their units when they are building their list, let it be a offensive or a defensive strategy.
Next, we will talk about every German player’s favourite Heavy Tank, Tiger II from the Training Platoon. All stats remained intact, it is much cheaper to ll them in but with a 5+ rating on their Skill. Despite the skill rating which are clearly worse than the Motivation 2+ ones of the Bulge, it is still a solid unit to be deployed into the Battlefield with a cheap costing. However, players are still be given the option to play the standard Tiger II Platoon but it will be more expensive than the Tiger II from the Training Platoon. Players are also given the option to choose either the Tiger II, Tiger or Panther as their commanding HQ from the Heavy Tank Training Company with the options of either adding one of the units as per the given costing. The good thing about these commanding HQ is that they all comes with the Special Rule “Old Hand”. So, for German players, in order to utilise well in these Formation must always remember to put units as close as to their HQ in order to get the Tactic benefit from “Old Hand”.
In conclusion, I believe that Berlin Germany is a good kickstart for German players who wants to play cheap cost units with efficiency. What’s great is it’s up to the players to decide what they want to bring and how it will work depending on how well they understand their units. I personally thinks that it will be a great competitive build and looking at how cheap the Panzers division are as well as other heavy tank units, I might even start playing the Germans especially when it comes to their infantry units that has the Local Militia special rule as well as mixing around the list with the cheap units or the elite ones. Hence, I am looking forward to see German players filling up the battlefield with hordes of many different type of unit formations.