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A Reluctant Hero A Reluctant Hero:
Fielding Otto Carrius in Flames Of War
with Rick Gearheart

Otto Carius, a name synonymous with famous hero or infamous villain depending on which side of the front you might have called home, but also with Panzer ace regardless of exactly where home was. The new Bridge at Remagen book presents you with an opportunity to field this historic winner of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves as a Reluctant Veteran commander of a Jagdtiger from the 2. Kompanie of the 512. Schwere Panzerjägerkompanie on your tabletop.

Learn more about Carius here...
Oberleutnant Otto Carius brings a pair of special rules to the table with him:

Setting Up The Shot

This obvious benefit is meant to demonstrate the sort of skill it would have taken for Otto Carius to have destroyed the more than 150 tanks credited to him.

Enemy teams do not benefit from Concealment when shot at by Carius. Furthermore, Carius ignores the normal +1 modifier when shooting at teams greater than 16”/40cm away.

There are a couple of things to keep in mind with this rule. First, if a team isn’t Concealed it doesn’t benefit from the additional +1 to hit from being Gone To Ground either. This, combined with Range 48”/120cm, Anti-tank 17, Firepower 2+ of his 12.8cm PaK44 gun, and his ability to ignore the +1 to hit for Long Range shots makes Otto Carius an absolute butcher on the table, especially when throwing in the Breakthrough gun attribute. As a brief aside, remember that while you must be both Concealed and Gone To Ground to gain the extra +1 to hit, it is entirely possible to be Gone To Ground without being Concealed, meaning that this special rule will not rob Gone To Ground gun teams of their 3+ save, but the Jagdtiger’s Breakthrough Gun will!

A Reluctant Hero
Hero of the Fatherland
This one isn’t quite as obvious a benefit, however I contend that so long as your opponent is aware of it, it can be used to shape your enemy’s behavior, a bit like dangling a very well armored carrot before the horse. This rule is meant to show just how well-known a man Carius was as a legend in Germany, or a man with a bounty on his head in Russia.

If Carius is Destroyed during a game, the morale of the entire German war effort takes a heavy blow, despite any other gains. The German player loses one Victory Point and their opponent gains one Victory Point at the end of the battle.

Tailor Made Battlegroup
Long story short, beggars can’t be choosers. You’re fighting with all that’s left at this point of the war, and the luxury of the Kampfgruppe special rule isn’t one you can afford.

A 512. Schwere Panzerjägerkompanie does not use the German Kampfgruppe special rule on page 242 of the rulebook.

Defenders of the Ruhr
This is where it’s at! The German forces encircled in the Ruhr pocket were now fighting to defend their homes.

A 512. Schwere Panzerjägerkompanie will Always Defend.

That’s right, Otto and his big cats have Always Defend! This should allow you to sit back and exploit your high front armour, and the gigantic cannon on the front to pull apart an enemy’s armoured advance.

Every list Otto can be a part of is rated Reluctant. This may frighten some folks, but in my experience, the motivation rating of either a Jagdtiger or Königstiger doesn’t really matter. In fact, I’m ecstatic about the rating here on these big cats and the price reduction we see as a part of it. Sure, no one looks forward to having to make a 5+ Reluctant morale check. However, your enemy has to get through your armor before you’ll be making any checks.

A Reluctant Hero
We’ve a few strengths and weaknesses to keep in mind here. First, even with our Reluctant rating point discount, you most likely won’t have any sort of numerical superiority, so we’ll need to setup with the best firing lanes we can possibly have. Of course, this consideration isn’t unique to Otto Carius, we always want the best firing lanes we can have. What is fairly unique however is our ability to effectively disregard the enemy’s return fire because of our massive Frontal Armour of 16. The ability to disregard enemy fire does still most certainly depend on its nature. That is to say while we don’t care about direct fire from the front, we most certainly need to worry about our flanks, and anything falling out of the sky, be it from an artillery battery or air support.

So how does one go about nullifying these threats? When it comes to Air Support, you have two options, hide or shoot those planes down. Hiding involves keeping your big kitties within 2”/5cm of a building or a forest. This isn’t necessarily mutually exclusive with our need to place Otto in the best firing position possible, but the two concepts can certainly be adversarial. In addition, the Overloaded nature of our Jagdtigers can make moving through difficult going a very dangerous proposition. The other option dictates a portion of our army list to us. To shoot those raiders down, you’ll obviously need some Anti-aircraft (or AA). Thankfully, even if your opponent doesn’t have Air Support, this option is rarely a waste. Should your opponent’s army be primarily armor, they’re playing right into the strength of your Jagdtigers, and you’ve little to worry about. However, a pile of infantry can give you fits! The pile of shots that an AA platoon can put out can be just the ticket. Keep in mind however that your AA teams are nowhere near as resilient as your Jagdtigers, and should be kept back in the face of anti-tank threats. The added range for AA weapons firing at planes should make this a bit easier to do while still keeping your kitties protected.

A Reluctant Hero
When it comes to Artillery, the range of your breakthrough guns and Otto’s ability to see right on through concealment should offer you a reasonable chance to handle observers or guns spotting for themselves. Further, using your command distance to keep your teams spaced-out, limiting the number of targets under any one template is good practice.

Finally, I’m not suggesting you completely eschew sticking your Jagdtigers in concealing terrain. It’s obviously better to be harder to hit, especially when it comes to big artillery rounds. If your opponent has an artillery park, or air support and you can place your Jagdtigers in such a way as to be spaced out, concealed, in defense of an objective, and with good firing lanes, by all means go for it! However, if your opponent lacks the ability to smash through the top of your tanks, or your confident in your ability to neutralize those threats, than trust in the superiority of German steel!

The Defenders of the Ruhr special rule makes this an Always Defends list, which is a pretty powerful thing, considering that our Jagdtigers are Slow, Overloaded, and Unreliable tanks. The terrain itself will obviously have a lot to say about this, however good deployment should limit the amount of moving you’ll need to do. If you do find yourself needing to maneuver to answer a threat, keep in mind the relatively limited number of shots your list will be putting out. If you can anticipate where you’re going to need to be, use that Stormtrooper move to get there without reducing your ROF.

A Reluctant Hero
Yup, shoot them, all of them. There isn’t much to be said about this that’s any sort of specific to this list. Focus your fire to remove whole platoons if possible, and keep Otto’s Setting up the Shot special rule in mind, when paired with a breakthrough gun this can make short work of those pesky observers.

This really isn’t where you want to be. In most cases you’ll be wanting to break off as early as possible.

This is an interesting list to play, revolving around a very interesting piece of history. In my experience things either go very right, or very wrong, there is little to no middle ground here. If you’ve been looking for a chance to get big cats back out on the table, this might just be that chance.

~ Rick (from the Battle Badgers www.battlebadgers.com)

Last Updated On Thursday, July 3, 2014 by Blake at Battlefront