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Overlord: Return to Normandy

Atlantik Wall (FW114) Overlord (FW115)

Overlord:
Return to Normandy
with Phil Yates, Wayne Turner, & Mike Haught

The funny thing about compilations is that no matter how complete you think you’ve made it, there are always things you wanted to cover but couldn’t for one reason or another. This is especially true of Normandy, where so many units fought that we just couldn’t include them all last time around and I’m positive that there are yet more forces to cover!

Overlord and Atlantik Wall are the latest compilation releases for the battles of Normandy and Brittany. These books update the older Turning Tide and Earth & Steel and bring the forces within up to date with all of our current books.
Check out Atlantik Wall in the online store here... Check out Overlord in the online store here...
In Overlord and Atlantik Wall, Wayne, Phil, and I have added even more forces to the already large Normandy compilation books. We’ve pulled in forces from our website, added new ones, and updated old ones. While they may seem like the same old books, I assure you there is a lot of new and exciting content for your Normandy forces.
Beach Landing

We’ve also taken the chance to update the existing forces and bring them into line with our newer Late War releases. So, things like Shermans have had a points reduction to bring them into line with current books.

We have also made sure that all of the forces are now compliant with the third edition of the Flames Of War rules. Things like special rules and the arsenals have been updated to make sure you get the most out of your troops and their equipment.

So without further ado, lets have a look at the three major sections of the compilations. Wayne spearheaded the effort on Atlantik Wall, so he will talk about that book, while Phil covers the British and Canadians, and I will have a look at the US forces in Overlord. We hope you will enjoy these new books because they were fun to work on and we’re pretty excited about all of the new content within their many pages.

Atlantik Wall

German Forces in Atlantik Wall
with Wayne Turner

New Features in 
Atlantik Wall
The changes made from Earth & Steel to Atlantik Wall were two fold. One was to simply bring all the points and rules to be in line Version 3 Flames Of War and secondly to take the opportunity to improve the design of some of the Intelligence Briefings and to add a few things we regretted leaving out of the original compilation.

Fortified Companies
One of the major changes from Earth & Steel to Atlantik Wall was to re-visit the Fortified Companies. We wanted to make these easier to use and understand, and to integrate the fortifications within the platoons. This means we went with the style of force first introduced for the Stützpunkt in Hellfire and Back. However, the fortifications facing the Allies on D-Day were more concentrated and the weapons more varied.

Atlantik Wall (FW114)

This meant the options had to cover a variety of bunker, nest and weapon combinations to match the variations among the strongpoints facing the Normandy landing beaches. We also had to cover the two divisions assigned to man most of these defences. To reflect the different combinations of strongpoints we divided the combat platoons between Omaha Beach, with the Confident Veteran 352. Infanteriedivision and the Confident Trained 726. Infanterie-Regiment defending, and Sword, Gold and Juno beaches, with the Confident Trained 716. Infanteriedivision defending. To cover Utah you use the Confident Trained 716. Infanteriedivision options to represent 709. Infanteriedivision.

With this more specialised organisation for the D-Day beach fortifications we have expanded the Fusilierkompanie to cover both divisional options and the options you could take in the old book if you hadn’t taken the fortifications.
We have also made some minor change to the Field Fortifications. Instead of supplying a bunch of trench lines we have simply made it so a force with Field Fortifications simply starts a game in Prepared Positions. This leaves the simple choice of how many Minefields and Barbed Wire Entanglements they take. We have also added a Dug In Panzer Platoon to the Armour support choices, giving you two to five Panzer IV turret bunkers (these are actually dug in Panzer IV tanks). We have also expanded the number and types of company who can take Field Fortifications to include armoured infantry and engineers, as well as infantry and motorised infantry.

Our final fortified force combines the various Brest themed companies, including the Bodenständig Grenadierkompanie and the Fallschirmjägerkompanie. These are now combined into a Festungskompanie (Brittany) covering the combined defence by the Fallschirmjäger, Grenadiers and Kriegsmarines. Like the D-Day Beaches Festungskompanie the combat platoons integrate bunkers and other fortifications.

Wiederstandnest
Panzerdivision Changes
In the Panzer Lehr section we have also added options to cover 2. Panzerdivision and other Panzer Divisions in Normandy. This means we have added options to field motorised Panzergrenadiers and Panzerpioniers. We have also added divisional appropriate extra options like armoured panzergrenadiers without the Panzer Lehr Tank-hunter teams, and Panzer II L Luchs light tanks for 9. Panzerdivision.
Panzer Lehr

Infanteriedivision Changes
The Grenadierkompanie has been expanded to cover the many German infantry divisions that served during the Normandy campaign, and has also had the non-fortified options for the Bodenständig Grenadierkompanie rolled into it. This means the artillery options have been expanded to cover the variety of captured guns used by these second-line formations. Support options have also been expanded to cover all the Infanterie Divisions in Normandy.

We have also separated the Normandy Fallschirmjäger from those in Brittany (now covered by Festungskompanie (Brittany). These briefings now cover 3. Fallschirmjägerdivision, and 6. Fallschirmjäger-Regiment in Normandy, and 2. Fallschirmjägerdivision when not fighting in fortifications.

Bunkers

SS-Panzerdivision Changes
We have expanded the SS companies to cover all five SS-Panzer Divisions to see action in Normandy. Now you can represent 1. SS-Panzerdivision, 2. SS-Panzerdivision, 9. SS-Panzerdivision, 10. SS-Panzerdivision and 12. SS-Panzerdivision.

We have simplified the options, as in most cases limiting who can take what is now covered by the fact the briefings cover five divisions. Most combinations can be found in one of the divisions. Rather than making hard and fast rules on this we guide you within each platoon’s background text. Now you simply choose your division to decide the combination of SS special rules.

Corps Support
We have also had another look at the German corps level troops and who they supported and when. So if you look through the support options of most of the companies you will find a few extra support options. So if you are an old-hand or you are new to the German forces in Normandy, Atlantik Wall is sure to have something to satisfy your Flames Of War itch!

~ Wayne.

Overlord
Overlord (FW115)

British and Canadian Forces in Overlord
with Phil Yates

Interestingly, the British section of Overlord needed more work than some of the other sections because Turning Tide already covered so many interesting divisions. In doing so, it left out the more plain vanilla British divisions that were covered in Fortress Europe. The new Overlord brings these all into the fold, along with several new forces. In addition, it tidies up a bunch of things and brings the points into line with more recent books.

Better Ammunition
One of the big changes for this book is the incorporation of improved ammunition for the 6 pdr and 17 pdr guns. The 6 pdr now has APDS ammunition (issued before D-Day) giving it an Anti-tank rating of 11 to match Market Garden. The 17 pdr didn’t receive APDS in Normandy, but was issued improved APCBC ammunition giving it an Anti-tank rating of 14. These changes have the interesting effect of countering some of the points reductions for medium tanks like the Sherman implemented in Blood, Guts, & Glory, leaving an Armoured Platoon just 5 points cheaper for instance.
Shermans advancing

Airborne Recce
The first new force in the book is the Airborne Armoured Recce Squadron with its Tetrarch light tanks. When we first covered elements of this unique force many years ago in D Minus 1, there wasn’t much information available about it. Over time more has come to light, and this incarnation makes use of the latest research to create a more dynamic and mobile force. Two of the more significant changes are to the Armoured Recce Platoons (both airborne and in the armoured divisions) making them more suited to their intended recce role, and to the motorcycle recce rules to give their supporting infantry more mobility and punch.

Assault Divisions
The Rifle Company from Turning Tide has been renamed as an Assault Company to make room for the standard Rifle Company from Fortress Europe. At the same time it has been focused more tightly on the D-Day landings. In line with this, the Breaching Groups have been simplified to match  Market Garden and made more accessible. Even the Royal Navy has had a makeover, giving you the choice between destroyers and light or heavy cruisers for gunfire support.

Infantry Divisions
The Rifle Company itself has been expanded to cover the trained 15th (Scottish), the veteran 50th (Northumbrian), and the reluctant 51st (High-land) Divisions as well as the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division. This somewhat eclectic mix of divisions allows you to field all of the British divisions that fought in Normandy, the 43rd (Wessex) Division for instance being the 15th (Scottish) Division without the optional bagpipers.

Digging deeper into the battles of Normandy showed that the British infantry were often more heavily supported by tanks than previously allowed. In the new Rifle Company it is now possible to field a more versatile mix of armour, including Breaching Groups with Crab mine-clearing flails and AVRE engineering tanks The Tank Company has been reorganised to allow its Churchill tanks to operate in half squadrons, as well as matching the organisation of the period better with a mix of 75mm and 6 pdr tanks (with the improved anti-tank capability) in each platoon.

A new Independent Armoured Squadron brings in the three-tanks-per-troop organisation of the DD amphibious tank regiments. The platoons have a variety of options including all-75mm Sherman platoons (backed up by an all-17 pdr Firefly platoon if you want), and platoons of two Shermans and a Firefly.

Cromwells on the burst

Armoured Divisions
The British were typically quirky in that every armoured division they sent to Normandy was different, giving us five variations to cover: Guards, 7th, and 11th Armoured Divisions, the similarly-equipped veteran 4th Armoured Brigade, and the 4th Canadian Armoured Division. In many ways the Armoured Squadron in Overlord is similar to that in Market Garden allowing you to adopt the mixed battlegroup structure used towards the end of the Normandy campaign. The veteran 4th Armoured Brigade have an interesting option to group all of their Fireflies into a single troop as they did at the start of the campaign. 

Desert Rats
The 7th Armoured Division, the Desert Rats, have gained a little more flexibility for their Cromwell tanks with the option to have three tanks in a platoon, along with the option of replacing some of their Firefly tanks with Challengers. The downside though, is that their tanks and guns have increased slightly in points as we have been rating Reluctant tanks and guns more highly in recent books. Still the increased power of their 17 pdr guns combined with their proven speed keeps them at the top of the heap.
 

Humber I scout car receiving orders

Reconnaissance
This is an area that we expanded immensely. Not only do the Armoured Recce Squadrons get a limited reconnaissance capability that reflects their attempts to lead the British advances, but there are also four different Armoured Car Squadrons and an infantry Recce Squadron. Even more so than the tanks, the armoured car regiments did things their own way. No two were organised and equipped the same! Fortunately they worked with a wide variety of divisions, so you have plenty of choice when it comes to support.

If you have ever had an interest in the British forces in Normandy, this is a must-have book giving you a huge variety of choices as to how you go about recreating the battles on the table top.

~ Phil.

American Forces in Overlord
with Mike Haught 

I was excited to have the chance to update the US forces in Overlord. Obviously there were some points that needed updating, but I was keen to add some new forces to the book.

Overlord features four new US divisions using the existing companies in the book. I’ve also included a new Tank Destroyer company and a Cavalry Reconnaissance Squadron. I also took the opportunity to give US Rangers a new look and feel.

Overlord (FW115)

The 4th Infantry Division
The first new division included in the book is the 4th Infantry Division. This division was the first American seaborne force to hit the beach on D-Day. Up to now players had to use the 29th Infantry Division to represent the 4th Infantry on Utah Beach, but further research has turned up some curious things about the ‘Ivy’ division to warrant it being its own Assault Company variant as well as featuring in the Rifle Company.

The 4th was unusual in that it’s 8th Infantry Regiment retained its D-Day assault configuration well into June, much longer than either the 1st or the 29th Infantry Division’s assault regiments. In game terms, this means that an Assault Company from the 4th Infantry Division has a much wider selection of support platoons compared to those of the Omaha Beach assault divisions.

They were also unique in that they converted two of their towed 105mm howitzer battalions into self-propelled batteries equipped with M7 Priests HMC. So the Ivy troopers had some unique assets available.

One last interesting thing concerned its 70th Tank Battalion. Veterans of the North Africa and Sicily campaigns, these guys became noteworthy for being the first and only independent tank battalion to draw M4A1 (76mm) Sherman tanks during the Normandy Campaign. So the 4th has the unique option to field 76mm Shermans in support.

Pool

The 2nd Infantry Division
The 2nd Infantry Division, or ‘Indianheads’, have long been a favourite division of mine. The story of the battle of Brest is one of the most interesting in the battles for France, and sadly it gets largely ignored. The battlefields of Normandy and Brittany hardened the Indianheads into a professional unit,  showing an incredible ability to adapt and overcome difficult missions. 

Attack!
I had originally intended for the Indianheads to be in Turning Tide, but they appeared too late to be added and instead were published on the web. Since then  I’ve added them into Overlord as a variant of the Rifle Company.
Veteran Indianhead players will still have all of their old toys, such as the submachine-guns and Ivory X, but there are some new things as well such as the experimental T27 rocket launcher, which is basically a single rocket rack found in the truck bed of a Xylophone launcher.
The 4th Armored Division
The 4th Armored Division has been rated by many historians as America’s best combat formation in the war. This is due in large part to its commander, General ‘Professor’ John Wood. His philosophy was to put the right man in charge of his units and surround that man with the most competent company and platoon leaders available. His hard work paid off in people like Creighton Abrams and Bruce Clarke, both of whom would go on to play critical roles in days to come.
To take it a step further, the 4th Armored Division trained harder than most armoured divisions in the US army and hit the beaches as a highly proficient fighting force. As a result, I’ve rated the Fourth as Confident Veteran, despite only entering combat in July 1944.
Shermans advancing

As a ‘light’ division, the 4th was not one of the divisions to receive 76mm Shermans until about September, but then again they didn’t need them where they were heading: Brittany.

Tank Destroyers
When I was doing the research on the 644th Tank Destroyer Battalion for Blood, Guts, and Glory, I ear-marked this unit to cover should I ever get the chance to revisit the Brittany campaign. The other unit to cover was the 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion. These veterans of the battle of El Guettar in Tunisia are another old favourite unit of mine.
I’ve included these two tank destroyer companies in the book, giving players the option to field either a Trained or Veteran tank destroyer company.

M10 in action

Tweaking the Rangers
I end this portion of the article about the American forces on the largest change in the American section: US Rangers. Up to now US Rangers have been something of a labour of love for many players. They were tough fighters with a solid reputation, however in Flames Of War they have always been seen as the poor cousins of the British Commandos, upon which they were originally patterned.

Our goal here was to fix that and make them a force worth taking beyond simply the ‘cool factor’. Talking with Phil and Wayne and taking aboard some feedback from our trusty playtesters, we’ve given them an overhaul.
The new Rangers retain their Fearless Trained rating as well as their No Obstacle Too Tough and Rangers Lead The Way special rules. However, they gain Mission Tactics and a new Get Tough! special rule, which gives them the ability to hit on a result of 3+ in Assault combat.

We’ve also revised the I Shall Never Fail My Comrades to help focus the rule on Rangers, rather than their support platoons. The Rangers keep their elite status, but are now built like a more conventional army.

Well, that’s a quick rundown of the US section in Overlord. The book gives you even more forces to storm the beaches, drop from the skies, or crash through hedgerows. You’ll be on the way to Paris in no time!

~ Mike.

Want to know more?
Download a PDF of the forces in Atlantik Wall here... Download a PDF of the forces in Overlord here...


Last Updated On Thursday, July 04, 2013 by Blake at Battlefront