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Fielding Schweres Panzerjäger-Regiment 656

Fielding Schweres Panzerjäger-Regiment 656
with Dr Michael L. McSwiney
A player wishing to field a force that represents Schweres Panzerjäger-Regiment 656 in Flames of War now has a lot of great options with the release of Ghost Panzers.  Armed with a wide array of AFVs, including Panzer III tanks, Ferdinand tank destroyer, Brummbär assault tanks, and Sturmgeschütz III with Borgward support, the regiment offers myriad options for the player.  

In this article I’ll go through some of the historical force organizations, and how best to represent them on the table using Ghost Panzers, Iron Cross, and a few applicable Command Cards as well.

Click here to learn more about the Schweres Panzerjäger-Regiment 656...

Schweres Panzerjäger-Regiment 656 first went into action supporting German infantry on the first day of the Battle of Kursk with Ferdinands and Borgwards supporting the assault.  There are several ways to represent this force on the tabletop, depending on what formations you want to include on the tabletop, but all of them present challenges because of the relatively high cost of the key units from the 656th.

One obvious choice would be to use the Grenadier Company from Iron Cross (p. 35), and then add the appropriate support to represent the regiment on that day:

Fielding Schweres Panzerjäger-Regiment 656

Grenadier Company:

  • Grenadier Company HQ (MG215)
  • At least 2X Grenadier Platoons (MG216) and/or Assault Pioneer Platoons (MG217)
  • Ferdinand Tank-Hunter Platoon (MG253) 
  • Stug (Late) Assault Gun Platoon (MG251) with attached Borgward Demolition Carriers (MG252)
  • Other support as needed – machine guns, artillery, infantry guns, and anti-aircraft would be good choices.

I chose the Grenadier Company rather than the Panzergrenadier company because of its access to Assault Pioneers in the same formation as the basic infantry.  On the attack this unit could use Borgwards and Assault Pioneers to clear defences while the Ferdinands and Stug (Late) would handle any enemy tanks. You could even go so far as to use the Pioneer Company command card if you wanted a force exceptionally good at crossing minefields and digging in.

You could also replicate the force during the first day of battle using a Stug (late) force with Borgward support.  If you want to go that extra mile there is even a command card, “Stug Company (RC)”, that allows you to take the more characteristic Stug Ausf F used by Panzer Kompanie (Funklenk) 313 and 314 at the Battle of Kursk:

 StuG Assault Gun Company:

  • StuG Assault Gun Company HQ (late) (MG250) or 2X Stug (long 7.5cm) (MG221)
  • Stug (Late) Assault Gun Platoon (MG251) or StuG (RC) Platoons (MG221) - either with attached Borgward Demolition Carriers (MG252)
  • Ferdinand Tank-Hunter Platoon (MG253) 
  • Other support or formations as desired with an emphasis on infantry, artillery, and anti-aircraft – taking a separate infantry formation may be desirable!

Fielding Schweres Panzerjäger-Regiment 656

On the second day of the Battle of Kursk, the Ferdinands of Schweres Panzerjäger-Regiment 656 faced off in a long-range duel with Soviet armour (mostly T-34 tanks).  For this encounter, I’d choose the Ferdinand Tank-Hunter Company Command Card and build the force using that formation with support.  This will be a fairly difficult force to field on the table as many points will be devoted to the Ferdinands themselves (85!) leaving little room for other support, but can be made to work.

 Ferdinand Tank-Hunter Company Command Card:

  • Ferdinand Tank-Hunter Platoon (MG253) with 1X or 2X Ferdinands
  • 2X Ferdinand Tank-Hunter Platoons (MG253) – you likely won’t have points for escort tanks unless you’re going to go with an all-tank force
  • Grenadier Platoon (MG216), Assault Pioneer Platoon (MG217), Panzergrenadier Platoon (MG210), and/or Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoon (MG242)
  • Other support as points allow – likely anti-aircraft and/or artillery (especially Nebelwerfers)

Fielding Schweres Panzerjäger-Regiment 656

 At Kursk the Germans found that because the Ferdinand was slow and lacked a defencive machine gun, it was vulnerable to enemy infantry.  The same holds true in Flames of War! Therefore, infantry support is vital to both protect the vulnerable flanks of the Ferdinands and to provide an assaulting force when attempting to dislodge dug-in enemy infantry.

The German Assault on the village of Ponyri was a savagely fought affair that became known as “the Stalingrad of Kursk.”  While the Germans would eventually take the village, they never achieved the required breakthrough in this sector and eventually the Soviets counterattacked forcing the Wehrmacht back.  At the height of the battle on 8 July, the Ferdinand and Brummbär units were committed in an all-out push to take the city.  Because this was a truly combined-arms attack there are many ways to represent the force on the tabletop, but the key is the inclusion of at least one Ferdinand and/or Brummbär platoon!

Infantry based force:

  • Grenadier Company HQ (MG215), Panzergrenadier Company HQ (MG209), Armoured Panzergrenadier Company HQ (MG241)
  • Grenadier Platoon (MG216), Assault Pioneer Platoon (MG217), Panzergrenadier Platoon (MG242), and/or Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoon (MG250) as appropriate to the Formation
  • Ferdinand Tank-Hunter Platoon (MG253) 
  • Brummbär Assault Tank Platoon (MG254)
  • Other support as needed – machine guns, artillery, infantry guns, and anti-aircraft would be good choices

Another option is to use the Brummbär Assault Tank Company Command Card which allows you to build your force around the Assault Panzers:

Brummbär Assault Tank Company:

  • Brummbär Assault Tank Company HQ (MG254)
  • At least 2 Brummbär Assault Tank Platoons (MG254) – note you can swap one platoon out for a Ferdinand Tank-Hunter Platoon (MG253) allowing you to mix vehicles in your formation
  • Other support as needed – infantry and anti-aircraft would be good choices

Fielding Schweres Panzerjäger-Regiment 656

As with all of the options based on assault tanks or tank hunters, you’ll need strong infantry support for your flanks, though the Brummbär Assault tanks themselves can double as artillery and very strong anti-infantry support as well.  The Brummbär has strong front armour, though not as strong as a Ferdinand, but their flanks are extremely vulnerable!

Fielding Schweres Panzerjäger-Regiment 656

By 15 July 1943, the German offensive in the North was winding down and Schweres Panzerjäger-Regiment 656 moved over to defence as the Soviets began counterattacks all along the line. The Ferdinands continued to be used as a fire brigade – often to support various infantry formations which were coming under increasing Soviet armoured attack.

In addition to the force organizations above, there are a few other ways to accurately combine some of the iconic units of the 656th with Formations and Command Cards from Ghost Panzers to make some very interesting forces

  • StuG (late) platoons and Borgwards can be combined with Tiger tanks as Schwere Panzer-Abteilung 505 was support by Panzer Kompanie (Funklenk) 312. 
  • For any force with a Ferdinand Tank-Hunter Platoon or Brummbär Assault Tank Platoon, you can take the “Unstoppable Assault” Command Card which allows the unit to pass Blitz Moves on a 3+. While expensive, the ability of these heavy tank units to move on the tabletop when needed can make the difference between a win and a loss 
  • “Deadly Gunner” is another option when a firepower check is missed. Given you’ll often be working with small platoons
  • “Mission Tactics” improving Leadership distance and last stand checks could also be helpful


 While it only fought as a unit for a few weeks, Schweres Panzerjäger-Regiment 656 was truly in the thick of some of the toughest action on the northern arm of the pincer during the Battle of Kursk. It went through several battles with slightly different compositions, so the player can leverage the myriad options in Ghost Panzers, Iron Cross, and even Afrika Korps to build a historically accurate tabletop force.

Hopefully this article has not only given you an appreciation for the unit, but has inspired you to take the plunge and recreate this iconic unit in your own games of Flames of War (I know I will)!

Last Updated On Thursday, January 24, 2019