Guest article by the Procrastinating Professor
As the late war timeline moves forward, it is only natural that German generals are excited for the chance to use the newest toys and biggest cats in their Flames of War v4 games. We should nonetheless not overlook the infantry choices in every release, with Bulge: Germany bringing a multitude of variants and equipment combinations to the table in a manner never-before-seen in Bagration and D-Day.
A recurring theme throughout the infantry platoons in this book is the Limited 2 Panzerfausts built into their costs, although Panzerschreck teams are harder to come by. Additionally, many platoons have poorer ratings such as Reluctant, Trained, and Aggressive, albeit at a considerable discount over their other LW counterparts from previous books, particularly once you factor in Panzerfausts. This gives German generals an option to either penny-pinch to squeeze in some of the premium Late War choices like Tiger IIs and Jagdtigers, or take more units in an average game. For German commanders that prefer the more “elite” feel of German infantry, fret not, as most of the units mentioned here can be upgraded to more experienced versions with cards.
This article will focus on the infantry choices available in Bulge: Germany, organized according to the company they are found in within the book, to tease their potential synergies within their respective companies and the many other elements in the book.
Brigade Armoured Assault Company
The compulsory infantry platoon of the Brigade Armoured Assault Company is the Brigade Armoured Assault Platoon. At a glance, it looks relatively similar to a typical Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoon from Bagration or D-Day sans the option for Panzerschrecks, and with the downgraded ratings across the board at a substantial saving of over 40% per platoon. Their default inclusion of Panzerfausts makes them cheaper than Armoured SS Panzergrenadier Platoons from D-Day: Waffen-SS and the (very) popular 20th Panzer Division NCO Shortage Panzergrenadier Companies, although these two options do have better ratings.
However, costs and ratings aside, one trait makes the Brigade Armoured Assault Platoon stand out amongst the cornucopia of German infantry choices: StG 44 Assault Rifles. These give the platoon a respectable ROF 3 on the move at 8” range. Taken together with the Limited 2 Panzerfausts, this allows an aggressive and mobile playstyle, which is perfectly fine for how cheap they are points-wise. Likewise, they can also fulfill a defensive role well with their close-ranged firepower and ability to redeploy rapidly.
Although not a focus of this article, it would be remiss not to mention the plethora of very cheap halftrack platoons that are part of the Brigade Armoured Assault Company. Their low cost per model (mostly sub-1 point per half-track) and variety of weapons would allow a general to reach armoured target saturation levels previously unseen in Late War German armies.
Brigade Armoured Panzergrenadier Company
The Brigade Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoon is the compulsory choice of this company and is identical to the Brigade Armoured Assault Platoon, but with regular MG42 rifles instead of StG44 Assault Rifles. The platoon itself is an excellent substitute for those looking for a cheaper alternative to the Armoured Panzergrenadier Companies from previous books, without changing their playstyle too much. Also, much like the Brigade Armoured Assault Company, the Brigade Armoured Panzergrenadier Company still comes with the option for cheap half-track platoons, while the longer range of the MG42 rifles allows for a more flexible engagement range. Brigade Panzergrenadier Company The platoons in the Brigade Panzergrenadier Company continue the same trend of being cheaper versions of other Late War equivalents. In this case, a Brigade Panzergrenadier Platoon is almost 40% cheaper than a D-Day Panzergrenadier Platoon when you account for the Limited 2 Panzerfausts.
However, much like the other infantry platoons in Bulge: Germany, their lack of Panzerschreck team options also means that their Platoons are capped at seven teams. Small platoon size coupled with Reluctant Motivation and Aggressive makes them especially fragile and potentially challenging to get into position to utilize their Panzerfausts fully. However, their low cost also means you can bring more bases, and even Aggressive infantry can still be quite difficult to dislodge when dug in or garrisoning buildings while remaining a credible threat even to armoured targets.
The Brigade Panzergrenadier Company itself is reminiscent of other Panzergrenadier companies from other books, albeit with slightly different weapon availability. The lower ratings make for some exciting options, such as the Brigade 7.5cm Tank-Hunter Platform, an exceptionally affordable source for 7.5 cm guns in the Late War German army.
Ardennes Armoured SS Panzergrenadier Company
As the name implies, this company focuses on armoured SS platoons, although notably, it can also take a single platoon of SS Tiger IIs. The SS infantry platoon in this book comes in your typical flavors that are mostly identical to their D-Day: Waffen-SS equivalents, albeit with a slight point increase to represent their compulsory Limited 2 Panzerfausts. They would likely find a place in many lists as an alternative to their D-Day counterparts. Additionally, the Tiger II SS Tank Company can take Ardennes Armoured SS Panzergrenadier platoon, giving this tank-focused company a reliable mounted infantry that can keep pace. Ardennes Armoured Panzergrenadier Company The Armoured Panzergrenadier platoons that make up the core of this company continue the trend of Limited 2 Panzerfausts and no Panzerschrecks, but are otherwise similar to the D-Day: Germany Armoured Panzergrenadier platoon. The company itself is also in many ways identical to the one from D-Day: Germany, but notably trades the reconnaissance platoon for the ability to bring a platoon of Panther (Late), Panzer IV, or Panzer IV/70 tank-hunters.
Panther (Late) SS Tank Company
Although ostensibly a tank company, generals can take either an Ardennes SS Panzergrenadier platoon, Ardennes SS reconnaissance platoon, or Ardennes Fallschirmjager platoon as optional platoons. Notably, the latter two infantry platoons are uniquely available in this company. The Sd Kfz 250- mounted SS reconnaissance platoon is similar to the D-Day: Waffen-SS equivalent, albeit with the usual Limited 2 Panzerfausts factored into their costs and without the option to take a 3.7cm on their half-track. Nonetheless, Sd Kfz 250 platoons are a popular choice given the added survivability and anti-infantry firepower these smaller transports provide while keeping pace with the tanks.
The Ardennes Fallschirmjager Platoon is quite possibly the best-equipped platoon in the book, with the option for both StG44 assault rifles and Panzerschrecks (up to two teams to boot!), and sMG42 teams. This allows you to build extremely large 14-team platoons with a lot of kit, which is par for the course in Fallschirmjager platoons. However, unlike the often-reliable Veteran Fallschirmjager from D-Day Germany, the Green skill and Aggressive rating make them quite a bit less reliable. The tradeoff, however, is that you can get a 12-team StG44 platoon with two Panzerschrecks and Limited 2 Panzerfausts for a mere 14 points. They bring enough firepower to threaten anything on the ground, and their large platoon size and Fearless Motivation still take some moving, particularly in defensive positions.
Panther (Late) Tank Company
The non-SS variant of the Panther (Late) Tank company gains access to Ardennes Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoons, as well as Panzergrenadier and Reconnaisance (Late) Platoons. These two platoons are some of the few Confident, Veteran and Careful options in the game without the use of command cards.
It is probably fair to say that out of all the infantry options in Bulge: Germany, these were the ones many were most excited for. The Volksgrenadier company comes with various weapon team options, including 7.5 cm tank-hunter and gun platforms, 8cm mortars, and sMG34 machine guns. Their main infantry platoons come in two varieties: assault and rifle platoon, which are identical except that the latter comes with MG42 and K98 rifles while the former comes with StG44 assault rifles (with the option to trade them out for MG42 and K98 rifles should you want to retain the longer range in your compulsory selection).
Despite their Reluctant Motivation and Aggressive rating, their costs are elevated by the compulsory Limited 2 Panzerfaust. Nonetheless, their option to take two Panzerschreck teams also means that, point-for-point, they have the highest anti-tank firepower “density” of any LW German infantry platoon. This makes them affordable yet threatening defensive units; fitting, given their historical role. Playing into this defensive theme, Volksgrenadier Rifle Platoons also get a command card that grants them 3+ on Dig In and crossing minefields. Major Siegfried Moldenhauer takes this to the extreme, granting every team in joint assault +1 to their Assault ratings and boosting Counterattack and Rally to a 3+ to units in the formation with a leader within 6” and LOS. A minimum Volksgrenadier Company clocks in at under 20 points, making it an easy fit for those looking for a cheap second Company. It even comes with the option of a Volksgrenadier Scout Platoon with Spearhead, for those so inclined.
More options are never a bad thing, especially if said options bring something different to the table, as is the case for Bulge: Germany. This book provides German generals with a wider spectrum of infantry options on the lower point end of the spectrum while still providing an option for better stats via Command card upgrades. It will be exciting to see how these new inclusions shake up the meta in the months to come as the various factions gain full access to their late war arsenals.
NEXT WEEK: German recruit Andrew covers the history of the Ardennes offensive from an amateur historian's viewpoint!
The Procrastinating Professor has been an avid tabletop gamer and hobbyist for over 25 years, with an eponymous Youtube channel primarily focused on painting tutorials and miniature gaming content. Although his interest spans all genres, historical tabletop games such as Flames of War are one of his favourites. He plays Late and Mid-War Germans in Flames of War, with a preference for infantry-heavy army builds.