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Berlin Book cover

Germany's Doom:
Soviet Forces in Berlin
with Wayne Turner

Berlin is the last of Flames Of War’s current series of late-war intelligence handbooks. It focuses on the Soviet assault on the German capital city of Berlin, the battles to encircle it, and the final desperate defence by the by the rag-tag German forces defending it.

The Soviet forces featured in the book gave us a chance to finish off the Eastern Front with a flourish. We’d already covered a great majority of the Soviet forces as they were after the end of Operation Bagration (22 June – 19 August 1944) in Desperate Measures. The forces left out of Desperate Measures dove-tailed well with what we wanted to put into Berlin. So the three Soviet forces featured in Berlin are the Hero Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy Polk (Hero Guards Heavy Tank Regiment), the Hero Tyazhelyy Samokhodno-Artillyeriyskiy Polk (Hero Heavy Self-propelled Artillery Regiment), and Hero Strelkovy Polk (Hero Rifle Regiment), all of which played an important part in the conquest of Berlin and the final defeat of the Third Reich.  Berlin Book cover

Guards Heavy Tanks

You can field the experienced heavy tankers of the Hero Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy Polk equipped with IS-2 obr 1943 heavy tanks or the improved IS-2 obr 1944. Both these powerful tanks will also be available as new plastic models. The IS-2 obr 1944 is armed with the same powerful 122mm D-25T gun as the IS-2 obr 1943, but has improved front armour protection, giving it a Front Armour rating of 11, compared to the 10 of the IS-2 obr 1943. The 122mm D-25T gun may have a slow rate-of-fire due to its two-part ammunition, but it more than makes up for that with its firepower. In Flames Of War it has a Range of 32”/80cm, an Anti-tank rating of 15, a Firepower of 2+, and is a Breakthrough Gun. Breakthrough Gun means that Infantry and Gun teams hit by it do not get a save, making devastating against enemy gun line or infantry blocking positions.

With its Hero crew the IS-2 becomes a powerful assault weapon as its Trained crew pass any Skill Tests on a 3+ instead of the usual 4+. They are also rated Fearless for Motivation, making them very hard to stop. As both Guards heavy tanks and Heroes they also do not suffer the penalties of Hen and Chicks. 

Berlin Book cover
Heavy Assault Guns

The heavy assault guns of the Hero Tyazhelyy Samokhodno-Artillyeriyskiy Polk have also gained in experience. These troops are armed with the ISU-122 and ISU152 heavy assault guns, which will also see the release of new plastic models.

The ISU-122 heavy assault gun is armed with the same powerful gun as the IS-2, while the ISU-152 is fitted with the even larger 152mm ML-20S gun-howitzer. This massive gun is that same as that used by some battalions of the Reserve Artillery. In Flames Of War it has a Range of 32”/80cm, Rate-of-fire 1, an Anti-tank rating of 13, a Firepower of 1+, and is a Bunker Buster. Bunker Buster is even more devastating than Breakthrough Gun against soft targets like Infantry and Gun teams. Not only does it negate their saves, its combination with 1+ firepower mean even bullet-proof cover is of little consequence. If enemy teams are caught in buildings the Bunker Buster comes into its own, clearing whole rooms with one blast!

Both the Hero Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy Polk and Hero Tyazhelyy Samokhodno-Artillyeriyskiy Polk have similar support options, including companies of each other. They can also take medium tank support in the form of T-34s and OT-34 flame-tanks, as well as anti-tank guns, infantry and engineers, artillery, rockets, anti-aircraft, and air support.

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Rifle Regiment

The third force featured in Berlin are the hard-fighting Red Army riflemen of the Hero Strelkovy Polk (Hero Rifle Regiment). This force comes with Guards (rating Fearless Trained) options and Red Army (rating Confident Trained) options. By the time of the fighting in Berlin many long months of constant combat had worn the Rifle Divisions of the Red Army down to a fraction of their original size. However, the Red riflemen were still determined to see the Germans defeated and Hitler’s regime brought to its knees. Instead of the usual battalion, the Hero Strelkovy Polk is based around a Soviet Rifle Regiment from the various Red Army infantry formations that fought for the streets of Berlin. Included as a Combat Company option is also the customisable specialist street-fighting Shturmovye Group formed from hand-picked volunteers for the Rifle Division.

However, the fighting power of the humble Hero Stelkovy Battalion is not to be taken lightly. They have adapted and changed to suit the fighting conditions of the last offensives. These Hero units are smaller, more compact, fighting formations. They benefit from the Hero rules, making Skill Tests on a 3+ (instead of 4+ for being Trained) making them especially dangerous in Assaults. They come as Rifle/MG teams as standard, but teams can be upgraded to SMG teams, and even Panzerfaust SMG teams as the troops take advantage of thousands of captured German Panzerfaust anti-tank weapons. The battalion can also add its own integrated Maksim HMG for extra firepower.

One of the up to three Combat Companies can be a specialist Hero Shturmovye Group instead of the Strelkovy Battalion. These units have been assembled especially for street fighting. Their unit can be tailor made to suit the combat situation. 

Berlin Book cover

The core of the unit is made up of SMG teams, high rate-of-fire short-ranged weapons ideal for close-quarters fighting. They can be supplemented with Pioneer and Panzerfaust SMG teams for more destructive power, MG and HMG teams for covering fire, and a variety of heavier weapons like mortars, anti-tank guns and rifles, and hard-hitting artillery pieces.

One of these is the massive 203mm obr 1931 tracked howitzer. These towed howitzers were often pulled forward by their Stalinets tractors to take out particularly stubborn resistance. Often one hit was enough to bring down a building and halt all enemy resistance. This is reflected in Flames Of War by the Building Destroyer rule, which works much the same as the Bunker Buster rule, but expands the explosive power of the shot by expanding the area of effect to adjacent rooms in a building.

In addition to these exciting options, a Guards Hero Shturmovye Group is rated Fearless Veteran, while a Red Army Hero Shturmovye Group is rated Fearless Trained. Both still benefit from any Hero rules that are relevant.

The Hero Strelkovy Polk also has some excellent Weapons Companies to call on. The Hero Strelkovy Flame-thrower Platoon can be allocated out as you wish to give your Hero Strelkovy Battalions and Hero Shturmovye Group flame-throwing capabilities. The Hero Strelkovy Scout Platoon can be used to infiltrate a Combat Company from your Hero Strelkovy Polk and get the drop on the enemy. The heavy 120-PM-38 mortars of the Hero Strelkovy Heavy Mortar Company provide convenient on-call heavy firepower.

Corps Support

Support comes in a variety of armoured options, including IS-2 heavy tanks and ISU heavy assault guns, Medium T-34 tanks, OT-34 flame-tanks, and SU-76M and SU-100 assault guns. Engineering support comes from either the Hero Sapper Company, or Hero Inzhenerno-Saperniy Company, which, much like the Hero Shturmovye Group, can be customised to suit a specific job. As elite specialists, the Hero Inzhenerno-Saperniy Company is rated Fearless Veteran. 

Artillery and anti-tank support comes from variety of companies and battalions. The specialist of the Hero Tank Destruction Company can be armed with anything from a 45mm obr 1942 light anti-tank gun to the powerful 100mm BS-3 anti-tank gun. As another elite unit, they are also rated Fearless Veteran. The 203mm obr 1931 tracked howitzer makes another appearance as an option in the Reserve Artillery Battalion alongside the usual 122mm and 152mm weapons of this unit. Another artillery weapon new to Berlin is the 160mm obr 1943 mortar. This weapon is available in a unit of 2 to 8 weapons. This mortar fires indirect artillery bombardments and has a Range of 56”/140cm, Anti-tank of 4 and Firepower of 2+.

Berlin Book cover
New Plastic Models

As well as the new metal and resin models of the 203mm obr 1931 tracked howitzer and 160mm obr 1943 mortar, Berlin will also see the release of new plastic models for the artillery and Strelkovy. We have a new box of plastic Strelkovy infantry from which to build Strelkovy forces throughout the Late-war period. Also available will be an artillery box containing four plastic 57mm ZIS-2 anti-tank guns or 76mm ZIS-3 field guns crew and command, and another box containing four plastic 122mm obr 1938 or 152mm obr 1943 howitzers, crews and command.

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Strelkovy Company (SBX33)
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Zis Gun Battery (SBX34) + Reserve Artilery Battalion (SBX35)
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ISU-122 or ISU-152 (SBX37)
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IS-2 (SBX36)
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Last Updated On Thursday, June 18, 2015 by James at Battlefront