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Blood, Guts, & Glory Design Notes

Blood, Guts, & Glory Design Notes
with Mike Haught & Phil Yates

Hello, and welcome to Patton’s Third Army! The road to victory lies straight through the Lorraine, a stretch of land perfectly suited to mobile tank warfare. The American army and its allies have been steamrolling through France and the Low Countries. The end of the war seems so near with the Germans barely able to put up a fight. But the Allied advance has slowed as supplies and fuel become scarce. Furthermore, the Allied strategic and logistical focus has shifted to the north as Montgomery pushes for a bold attack to Arnhem. However, Patton won’t play second fiddle to Monty’s offensive and has stored up enough supplies to launch a small attack of his own along the Moselle River in the Lorraine. As an American company commander you are part of this offensive when you take your force from Blood, Guts, & Glory into combat!

Blood, Guts, & Glory Design Notes
Blood, Guts, & Glory bridges the gap between the breakout operations in Normandy in August 1944, and the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and January 1945. This is a very exciting time for American players. New equipment is finally arriving at the front. New Sherman models, such as the M4A3, are a definite improvement on the breed. There are a lot of new features on these new tanks, but I’ll let their game stats do the talking! Suffice it to say that the might of American industry combined with solid engineering have finally come to bear on the Axis! Faster more reliable Shermans are now on the prowl, heavy assault tanks like the Jumbo with its massive front armour plates are bouncing even the best German anti-tank rounds, and the smooth ride of the new M4A3E8 ‘Easy Eight’ gives the gunners the ability to accurately put rounds down range while on the move. Furthermore, new ammunition for the 76mm and 3in guns has arrived to help even the odds against thick German armour. The technological gap that the Germans enjoyed in the early years of the war has all but disappeared! Take all of these technological advances and excellent tank designs, give them to some of the US Army’s best tankers of the highly experienced 4th Armored Division, and what you’ll end up with is an unstoppable force hell bent on reaching Berlin!
Blood, Guts, & Glory Design Notes
The Americans
I’m very pleased to say that Blood, Guts, & Glory has several exciting lists lined up for American players out there. Since the book focuses on armoured divisions in the Lorraine, forces include the usual suspects such as the Tank Company and the Armored Rifle Company. We also introduce the Tank Destroyer Company as a force in its own right!

Tank Company
The tank companies of an armored division received all of the best equipment and latest tank models. This was especially true for Patton’s favourite, the 4th Armored Division. The division actually trained on the M4A3 model of Sherman back in the States before receiving older M4s for the invasion of France. Now the M4A3s have arrived in force at the front and Patton has made sure that the 4th receive its allotment in full. The same was true for when Jumbos and Easy Eights became available to the Third Army, the bulk of which went to the tankers of the Fourth.

In Blood, Guts, & Glory, you can field a tank company from either the veteran 4th Armored or the brand-new 7th Armored Division. The veteran troops know how to fight and this new equipment has made them all the more deadly! The tankers of the 7th Armored are relative new comers to the front, but being rated as trained allows you to bring a lot more of the new kit into battle. The choice is yours!

Blood, Guts, & Glory Design Notes
The company structure hasn’t changed much from the organization American players know and love. There have been a few changes from earlier Tank Companies:

1.    Points Reductions: Following Grey Wolf and Red Bear and stemming from a lot of thoughtful discussion during the Version 3 project, we decided that medium tanks, such as the Sherman (and similarly the Panzer IV) tank was a little overcosted. We’ve made those adjustments in Red Bear and Grey Wolf, so you will find that the Sherman tank has had a bit of a points break. Hold on to those saved points because you’re going to need them!

2.    Sherman Upgrades: As a company commander you can customize your force to a high degree using the Sherman Upgrades options. Basically you purchase a platoon of standard M4 or M4A1 tanks and then you can upgrade any or all of them to various models, such as Jumbo assault tanks or speedy Easy Eights. You can also upgrade the tanks in your HQ so you can arrive on the battlefield in style!

3.    M4 Sherman (105mm): With the advent of Breakthrough Gun in Version 3, the Sherman ‘105’ assault gun has become a must have for several reasons. Each tank battalion had six of these beasties and it was up to the battalion commander how he wanted to use them. Some broke them up, handing each company a single tank to help knock out nests and things while keeping three in reserve as the battalion’s own artillery asset. Other commanders pooled them all together into a six-gun battery to inflict maximum damage. You’ll find that all of these options are available to your tank company to ensure your tankers are rolling on to victory with all due haste.

The Armored Rifle Company
‘Blitz Doughs’ have long been a crowd favourite with their combined arms approach to combat. The basic company hasn’t changed at all and you will find all of your usual tools still available. Like the Tank Company, you can run them from either the veteran 4th Armored or the trained 7th Armored, depending on your preference.

The biggest benefits they receive are all of the Sherman upgrades to support their attack. Jumbos and M4A3 Shermans are ideal choices for getting your armoured infantry to where they need to be, soaking up hits and paving the way.

Blood, Guts, & Glory Design Notes
Tank Destroyer Company
The Tank Destroyer Company is one that I am very happy to present! Its long been something I’ve wanted to do and the Lorraine provides many examples of Tank Destroyer (or simply known as TD) units operating independently from the division they are attached to. This was especially true in the case of TDs operating with armored divisions. These divisions tended to keep their attached TD Battalions together and use them as a light tank battalion, rather than infantry divisions, which used them as infantry support and broke up the battalion amongst its companies.  So during the tank fighting in the Lorraine, the 4th Armored Division’s 704th Tank Destroyer Battalion went to work, smashing German armoured spearheads just like they were meant to be used.

The Tank Destroyer Company focuses on two specific battalions, the first (644th Tank Destroyer Battalion) was equipped with M10 3in vehicles and have been fighting since the breakout in Normandy. The 644th was instrumental in helping turn the tide of battle at the Twin Villages of Krinkelt and Rocherath, taking under its command elements of a towed TD battalion as well.

Blood, Guts, & Glory Design Notes

The second is the 704th TD Battalion equipped with the excellent M18 Hellcat. This veteran unit featured prominently in the fighting during the Lorraine campaign and went on to play a critical role in the relief of Bastogne in December 1944.

The company has three platoons of either M10 or M18 tank destroyers. Companies weren’t mixed, so you’ll want to chose your favourite vehicle and go for it! M10s are excellent work horses with the ability to install a top armour kit, making them great for supporting infantry and dealing with close assaults. M18s rely completely on speed and their heavy–hitting gun to out flank German tanks and smash them before fading into the background.

Like the Sherman tanks, the Tank Destroyers have new ammunition to help crack the tough hides protecting German tanks. This improvement alone will have Panthers and Tigers stick to cover, allowing your fast tanks and tank destroyers to quickly get an angle on them to knock them out. 

Blood, Guts, & Glory Design Notes
Support Platoons
There are a number of excellent support platoons that American players will be familiar with. For those looking at Americans for the first time, all I can say is: artillery! You’ll have a wide assortment of towed and self-propelled guns to aid your tankers.
There is also plenty of infantry support options, ranging from regular ‘General Issue ‘(or simply GI) infantry or engineer platoons to elite paratroopers. These dogfaces are excellent at securing a vital objective or flushing out Germans from their hiding holes in villages.

Blood, Guts, & Glory Design Notes

More tank destroyers are available as support platoons. These platoons represent other tank destroyer battalions operating in the area, some of which are equipped with the new M36 90mm Jackson. This tank destroyer’s gun has enough power to crack open a Panther from the front at long range—something your opponent will soon learn to respect!

One last thing to mention is the helping hand of XIX Tactical Air Command. Patton’s Third Army enjoyed a significant amount of air support. In fact, XIX TAC relocated its headquarters to where Patton’s was to increase cooperation. This had the effect of doubling the presence of aircraft on the battlefield.

~ Mike.

Blood, Guts, & Glory Design Notes

The Germans
I was quite excited when we decided to do a book on the fighting in Lorraine in September 1944, as I’ve been fascinated by the German panzer brigades that took the lead in the counterattacks against the American penetrations across the Moselle River.

In existence for just over a month, these panzer brigades fought on Germany’s borders, buying time for the army to be rebuilt after the summer debacles in Normandy and Byelorussia. They were small, but extravagantly equipped with all the latest and greatest gear: Panther tanks, Panzer IV/70 tank hunters, and masses of armoured half-tracks, and lead by highly-decorated commanders, veterans of the hard fighting over the winter of 1943 and spring of 1944.

Western chronicles are harsh on the panzer brigades that fought in the Lorraine Campaign, based on exaggerated accounts of their destruction at the hands of American forces. There is no doubt that they suffered heavily, and that their own claims of success were equally exaggerated, but their ability to continue the fight and their remaining strength at the end of the campaign belie their destruction in one-day battles.

Blood, Guts, & Glory Design Notes
Recreating their performance in Flames Of War was an interesting challenge. They had fantastic equipment, but frequently failed to live up to their promise. We decided that the key feature would be rating them as Reluctant Trained to reflect both their rushed creation and short lifespan, and their response to repeated poundings at a time when Germany seemed doomed to defeat.

This rating produces the interesting match ups found in Lorraine with Panther tanks being defeated by similar numbers of regular 75mm-armed M4 Sherman tanks while producing new challenges for players. It takes a different approach to take on large numbers of excellent tanks and then find their weaknesses and destroy them!
Blood, Guts, & Glory Design Notes
106. Panzerbrigade Feldherrnhalle
The first part of the German section deals with 106. Panzerbrigade FHH under the command of the renowned tank leader, Franz Bäke. This brigade was tiny, with just one battalion of Panther tanks (backed up by a company of Panzer IV/70 tank hunters) and a battalion of armoured infantry. These are covered in three briefings: a FHH Panzerkompanie, a FHH Panzersturmkompanie, and a FHH Panzergrenadierkompanie.

The FHH Panzerkompanie is a remarkably clean unit with lots of tanks, some anti-aircraft tanks, and a couple of platoons of infantry. The panzer brigades were small, tight counterattack forces, so lacked support like artillery or reconnaissance, relying on speed and hitting power instead.

Blood, Guts, & Glory Design Notes
The armoured infantry battalion have a fascinating and unique organisation with relatively little actual infantry and masses of anti-aircraft and other supporting half-tracks. The first two companies had two platoons entirely equipped with assault rifles and Panzerfaust anti-tank launchers, supported by the usual heavy platoon, and a platoon of six Sd Kfz 251/17 (2cm) or Sd Kfz 251/21 (Triple 15mm) anti-aircraft half-tracks (with several more anti-aircraft platoons backing them up!).  This is the FHH Panzersturmkompanie, a hard-hitting mechanised assault force. The third, the FHH Panzergrenadierkompanie, has two platoons of conventional armoured infantry fully equipped with Panzerfaust launchers, backed by two or more anti-aircraft platoons.

The anti-aircraft platoons actually outnumbered the rifle platoons, so I’ll talk about them first. The Sd Kfz 251/17 (2cm) and Sd Kfz 251/21 (Triple 15mm) anti-aircraft half-tracks are normal German armoured half-tracks mounting 20mm or triple 15mm anti-aircraft cannon. With a platoon or two of these on the table, Allied aircraft are no concern at all. They are also the core of the rifle companies’ tactics, operating as light tanks to shoot up and suppress the enemy to the point where the infantry can finish them off.

Blood, Guts, & Glory Design Notes
111. Panzerbrigade
The second part covers 111. Panzerbrigade and 112. Panzerbrigade, both of which fought against the American 4th Armored Division in the battles around Arracourt. These brigades were scraped together after 106. Panzerbrigade FHH, so missed out on the best gear, getting Panzer IV tanks, StuG assault guns, and trucks instead, although they got a battalion of Panther tanks attached just as they went into combat. The resulting Panzerkompanie can field more Panzer IV tanks than the Americans can M4 Sherman tanks, or use the extra points to back them up with Panthers and infantry.

The Panzergrenadierkompanie still has masses of Panzerfaust anti-tank launchers and machine-guns making it a nightmare to dislodge once it establishes itself in a position. As well as the heavy 12cm mortars used by the Feldherrnhalle Panzerbrigade, they also have 7.5cm PaK50 infantry guns. These cut-down PaK40 guns combine a reasonable anti-tank capability with artillery support capability.

Blood, Guts, & Glory Design Notes

Shock and Awe
The German forces in Blood, Guts, and Glory are an exciting combination of the best equipment the Germans can field and an affordable points cost—a company of eleven Panther tanks for less than 1500 points is really cool! The panzer brigade forces can be fragile if mishandled, but hit hard and do a lot of damage straight off the bat. In the hands of a good general, these forces create a totally new challenge for Flames Of War players.

~ Phil.

Blood, Guts, & Glory Design Notes
Tanks Aces
Whether you are new to tank forces or a seasoned veteran, Tank Aces will open up a whole new world of tactics for you to explore. You will have to make full use of support weapons at your disposal, including mortars, assault guns, and self-propelled artillery, in order to achieve victory on the battlefields of the Lorraine.

Learn more about Tank Aces here...

Last Updated On Thursday, May 3, 2012 by Blake at Battlefront