WWIII WEST GERMANS: The cutting edge
Guest article by Jing Hao. Enjoy this second article by our resident West German expert! ~Ed.
Previously we touched upon the new infantry formations and some support options from the new book. Given that the West Germans are now fielding reservist infantry in greater numbers in fight, we will look at the new vehicles of the Heer meant to maximize the hammer of the West German arsenal.
From Panzergrenadier changes to the introduction of the Leopard 2A5, you can be sure that seismic changes to the West German playstyle are coming.
DIE NEUE HEERESSTRUKTUR
Similar to how the old West German structure goes, most of the new tech is bundled together away from the old one. Interestingly the Marder 2 Kompanie does not give the option to bring Jaguar 2s into the formation, and the artillery option is limited to the new M109A3G. An expensive list, the Marder 2 Kompanie gives you a choice of the latest heavy armour as a compulsory option, meaning that we cannot bring any Leopard 2s as a Black Box option.
One change to the Panzergrenadiers is the option to add a single Carl Gustav Anti-Tank team into the platoon. With the introduction of the Chobham and ERA bringing side armour values to 16 vs HEAT, most NATO light AT weapons do nothing against them. While the SMAW and Carl Gustav are welcome additions to the US and British forces respectively, the Panzerfaust 44 has managed to retain their usefulness with its AT15 value compared to the 12. Even so, one additional body for the Panzergrenadiers would force the opponent to take out 4 stands instead of 3 before fiorcing morale checks.
The Marder 2 Panzergrenadier Zug costs 10 and 6 points compared to 7 and 4 of the Marder 1s. The reason for that would be explained below…
The Heer’s new Murder (Marder) machines
Introducing an update to the transports of the Panzergrenadiers, the new Marder 2 comes as a whole new murder machine to the West German Panzergrenadiers.
Compared to the Marder and their (now) puny 20mm AT7 FP5+ cannon, the Marder 2 brings an autocannon that can reliably attack and destroy opposing IFVs and backline units with a superior ROF3/3 and AT11, ensuring that Firepower checks mostly gets through unchallenged. An upgrade allows you to equip a 50mm gun which ups the AT to 13, threatening the side armour of most MBTs. Even the M1A1HC and T-80 might face trouble if the Marder 2 gets to their side.
Competing against their newly released counterparts, the Marder 2 boasts respectable front and side armour, as well as the same Chobham protection against HEAT weapons carried by the Leopard 2 tanks. With an SA16 against HEAT, this means that the Marder 2 is viable in the assault, being as strong as a Leopard 2 in that situation. Immune to almost all infantry weapons except for the APILAS and the new RPG-7VR, the Marder 2 is really a force to be reckoned with.
EINE STARKE KATZE
An improved version of the hulking beast back in Team Yankee V1, the march of time has unfortunately rendered the Leopard 2 obsolete in terms of raw stats. Unable to reliably kill anything above a front armour of 20, and with its FA18 making it vulnerable to anything from Milans to tank guns, the Leopard 2 has dropped in competitive rankings in some communities.
However, Battlefront’s new Leopard 2A5 rewards the West German faithful with the best of what the Rhine could give…
A side by side comparison of hard stats. It is clear which variant would prove much more useful in the new releases.
Look at those stats.
To take things into perspective, the highest AT Value in Team Yankee is 27, the Maverick missile carried by the American A-10 Warthog. This allows you a 5+ save to bail should you take one to the front. More importantly, the armour renders you nearly immune to AT23 ground weapons, allowing you to stand up against a tide of TOW-2s and immunity against Soviet tank guns.
The previous Leopard 2 faces the issue of being a high cost unit without the ability to reliably kill top tier MBTs while being able to be killed by them. The new Leopard 2A5 eliminates the vulnerability, although one may be forced to relocate in order to fight other MBTs with an FA higher than 19.
Another welcome change is the much thicker side armour. Previously the Leopard 2 can be side-shot by BMP-2s, autocannons with AP10 or above, and a plethora of other non-HEAT weapons. The 2A5 covers that, making it nearly immune to anything but high caliber main guns and missiles.
However, with great power comes great cost. A single Leopard 2A5 would costs just 1 point short of an M1a1hc at 17 points a pop. While the West Germans sorely require a reliable tank with an AT value higher than 19, it will take a shift in playstyle and complex list-building to ensure that the points pumped into your Leopard 2A5s don’t strip your force of a critical component.
Personal advice – Avoid bringing them into games of pointage less than 100. The West Germans have better toys at that range.
A HQ of two Leopard 2A5s means a near permanent move of 18 inches every turn. Skill 2 allows you to blitz all day, and a Counterattack reroll means you get to stay in the assault so long as you don’t die out to those RPG-7VRs.
A similar table to the Leopard 2 Kompanie, one must keep an eye on the compulsory option as bringing this formation limits what you can use as a Black Box support.
The Heavy Armoured Recon Company. A pure armoured option for Leopard 2A5 players to bring onto the table.
Ditching the Luchs, the Marder 2 Spah Trupps replaces them with heavier armour and armaments for a price.
If the Leopard 2A5 Kompanie is too expensive for your liking, the Panzeraufklarungs option allows you to take fewer heavy tanks and more Marder 2s.
DEATH FROM ABOVE
Astute players will already have noticed that the New West German Army deal contains an M113 observer, a unique addition to starter boxes. West Germans bring to the field an astounding amount of indirect fire, which will mulch both infantry and light armour if left unmolested. ~Ed
“Artillery brings dignity, to what would otherwise be an ugly brawl”
– Frederick the Great of Prussia
The West German version of the Multiple-Launch Rocket System with the best soft-stats so far, and they go up to 4 vehicles able to be fielded per battery, which unlocks one additional minefield with their minelets ability.
Price wise they trade one less firepower point for being armoured compared to the LARs. On field performance gives them better survivability against counter-battery fire as well as the ability to utilize 6-guns to reroll misses. However the inability to get consistent kills makes them less appealing compared to the M109s or Panzermorser options. In case you can't make up your mind, you can simply field BOTH the MLARS and the MARS as your support options. ~Ed
The 'new' SPG present in the West German Army box, we have an improvement to the West German artillery battalions in the form of the M109A3G. While the short-barreled M109G provides decent artillery support and anti-infantry brutal guns, their AT value of 12 would do nearly nothing except against soft-skinned tanks and the Soviet T-72 from the side. Faced with an onrushing armoured charge, the M109G could do almost nothing to halt them.
The M109A3G’s long barreled guns tell a different story. With the point cost for three teams bumped up from 7 to 8, they provide total map coverage in terms of artillery range, and their direct-fire capabilities bumped to a decent 15, actually making them a threat against side-armour of even the T-80.
Their cost remains consistent across long-barreled NATO M109s, and the integrated bomblets give them a one-time salvo shot if needed.
Author’s Note - A game I played recently had my frontlines overrun by T-55s and T-80s with 40% of my force in reserve. The M109G battery was ignored due to the Soviet player only needing to roll 2+ to bail. The M109A3G would actually force them to eliminate the battery, or risk a dangerous hit.
What do I think of the new units?
Firstly an update to the West Germans Formations with the Black Box option is a very welcome change.
Running an armoured formation but want more than one platoon of infantry? Black box the Fallshirmjaegers or Gerbigsjaegers in. Wanting some Marder 2s as a recce? Black box them in!
A refreshing take on the West German armoury and finally weapons with an AT value between 19 and 7 from the Leopard MBTs and Luchs respectively, I expect to see the Marder 2 aplenty in field not just as a kamikaze unit deep diving into the opponent’s rear, but as an actual versatile unit in both attack and defence.
Fun times await those willing to take up the challenge of the Leopard 2A5! While it would surely mean that you’ll be outnumbered in quantity, careful selection of mission choice and positioning as well as utilizing Forward Defence can prove decisive in the games to come!
Written by Jing Hao.