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The D-Day German Reconnaissance Company

The D-Day German Reconnaissance Company
with Gavin van Rossum

The greatest thing about being a wargamer is having opinions. While writing this article I saw that Phil had also written a piece on the Reconnaissance Company from the D-Day: German book, you will see his choices differ from my own.

His force is lighter and faster on its feet and may be relying on the armoured Formation to deal to large numbers of opposing vehicles, mine aims to retain the wonderful Sd Kfz 250 focus while increasing the light and medium AT component integral to the force. There are so many lovely core Formation Units to choose from, all able to quickly apply themselves to achieving your goals and thwarting your opponent. With the solid and well-equipped German Panzergrenadier as the basis for the force, you will always have reliable defensive options at hand, but really that is the boring approach for a Recon force.

The D-Day German Reconnaissance Company

The new Reconnaissance Company in D-Day: German has some great options for the Late War period and they are geared towards thoughful and daring play, with a ton of small dangerous vehicles dodging and diving around the table like angry wasps. The force is quite light, but very mobile and full of firepower which you can back up with heavier Panzer forces. You get to field the excellent light APC the Sd Kfz 250/1, which can carry one squad or Infantry base per vehicle (better than those Jeeps ay Amerikaner!) with a smaller footprint, same firepower, even faster movement profile compared to the Sd Kfz 251/1. You also retain all the wonderful weapons carrying chassis options to include more 250s in your force, such as the short 7.5cm cannon (250/8), 8cm medium mortar (250/7), even a 2cm turreted scout troop (250/9)!

The D-Day German Reconnaissance Company
So starting from the finish, my Reconnaissance Company has 3 heavy Tiger tanks from a TIger Tank Platoon as Force Support to occupy the majority of any Reserves allocation and provide a stiff backing to the flexible force. When the force is on attack and the enemy dugin, powerful Wespe 10.5cm armoured artillery is needed to backup lighter mortar fire and can also be used for direct fire and reserve anti-tank support.

With the high Front Armour, high AT, and heavy artillery force needs taken care of, the rest of the force must include the cute and capable Sd Kfz 250, lots of rapid reaction units to occupy the enemy, and useful direct fire and artillery templates to reduce enemy strongpoints. The core of a Reconnaissance Company are the reliable and well armed Reconnaissance platoons. I will take a 7 team strong Unit of these with the 2 options available, being a Panzerfaust for the MG teams (Limited 1) and also a door knocker for the Unit Leader’s taxi, a little 3.7cm cannon to toughen up the unit and pester enemy light vehicles. These options make them stronger on attack or defence, able to threaten more enemy units and I consider is the more German thing to do. While in the halftracks this Unit will make use of the Scout rule to avoid incoming attention, then raus aus of the halftracks at their destination.

The D-Day German Reconnaissance Company

While the Reconnaissance Panzergrenadiers are sneaking about, the rest of the force needs to also be contacting and containing the enemy, while taking advantage of opportunity targets. The Reconnaissance Company has 2 Formation Unit choices for wheeled or half-track recon, these are great to distribute the load for Formation Good Spirits, allowing your more combative Units to perform heavy lifting and take casualties to achieve your chosen tasks and set you up for the win. I know I am not alone in loving the Sd Kfz 234/2 Puma armoured car, it is a very distracting beauty, also having an excellent place in Flames Of War vehicle statistics, points cost and rules. With 2 Scout Troop Units added, each with 2 Pumas, there are now more armoured chassis with Scout roaming around with medium 5cm cannon, without loading on too many more points to the Force total. Being Scouts these Pumas have a worse Assault rating, but being mostly immune to rifle fire they can pick on Infantry or out-manoeuvre Guns to Assault them in the side.

The D-Day German Reconnaissance Company

Another excellent core Formation unit is the supporting firepower of the Sd Kfz 250/8, in a Reconnaissance 7.5cm Gun platoon, bringing 3 more sneaky Scout vehicles, this time with a 7.5cm short cannon attached as well as the required MGs. With their 24” range they can either shell a revealed enemy from long range or move in close with Scout to dissuade enemy opportunity fire, then open up at teams opposing your advance. They are well covered by the Sd Kfz 250/7 mortar track, another tiny beast with great firepower and Scout to get into position safely then unleash accurate 8cm mortar fire on the enemy. 3 of these will do nicely as my lighter artillery option. Both weapon carrier Units can even Assault infantry without AT weapons with almost impunity, although with reduced Assault ratings of 5+. Good for trimming off enemy infantry platoons in areas you didn't want to send other units.

Now we are getting down to the final force choices and you are probably already on the social medias complaining that I have only chosen a single black box Combat Unit. Never fear, I have a standard Reconnaissance HQ in Sd Kfz 250s (no Faust) and my second black box unit is a regular Panzergrenadier Platoon. With so many mobile and gunned up Units in my Force, I suspected that I would have a great time on attack, but needed something more like an anvil on defence. I do not doubt my Heavy Panzers, however they need combined arms to be truly superior (and to not burst into flames). The excellent D-Day Panzergrenadier Platoon reminds me of the Panzer Lehr forces from previous versions, which were my favourite (among many esteemed gamers, damn Bede and his three 88s!) and I am happy to field them again. This defensive and tough Panzergrenadier platoon sacrifices vehicle borne movement rates to gain heavy antitank firepower, with 2 additional Panzerschreck teams and a valuable collection of Panzerfausts across the Unit. With the base 7 MG teams providing heavy anti-infantry fire and all the anti-Panzer weapons, this Unit will be the great wall marking the high water line for Allied attacks, while my well armed Scouts will distract and weaken the enemy flanks, making ready for the finishing blow from the Tigers and Wespe. 

The D-Day German Reconnaissance Company

The last few points scraped out of the barrel go towards a Panzer II OP, but wait! It can be an Sd Kfz 250 OP for the same points by using the command card! This provides more flexibility to my Wespe to bring down accurate fire without exposing themselves to return attention.

That’s the force and some discussion on why I would take them. It is not only an excuse to see fifteen of the cute and deadly 250s in the force, but also a good fun build with a lot of firepower, a lot of moving parts, and a strong board presence. This force will likely do well in an Attack or Maneuver stance for Battleplans, but can still defend your objectives well when required. You will be always on the lookout for chances to MG infantry in the open and side shot vehicles & Guns. With so much Scout across your vehicles you can also see how your Cross checks go before committing to firing, allowing a bit of recovery from bad dice rolls (or incautious play). If you are looking for more defensive options, the Wespe and 250/7.5cm Units could be swapped for a nice Core Unit of 4 Pak40s, reducing your medium AT but supplying a very reliable Ambush unit able to hold the line and deal out very serious punishment to enemy armour. If you want even more light armoured vehicles operating in the face of the enemy (and I fully support you in this choice) you can drop the Wespe for the Sd Kfz 234/3 armoured car platoon, with three 234 chassis mounted with the short 7.5cm cannon (and a few points change), or even the big brother 251 chassis option, with six of the Sd Kfz 251/9s, mounting the same short 7.5cm cannon.

The force is brimming with mobile fun, the vehicles are easy to paint up and look great on the table. The new plastic kits for the 250, 251, and 234 are all festooned with options and give great value to you, the wargamer. I hope you enjoy this force and thanks for reading.

Last Updated On Thursday, October 17, 2019