||Barbarossa Design Notes
with Wayne Turner
The latest book covering the early-war period of Flames Of War covers the much expected and anticipated German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, known as Operation Barbarossa. We decided to simply call it Barbarossa, as this iconic operational name would be easily recognisable for even those with a passing interest in World War Two.
The book covers the German and Soviet forces engaged in the fighting across this massive front and we have tried to pack as much into the book as we dare. In addition we will also be producing a bunch of supplemental Intelligence Briefings covering the German and Soviet forces we couldn’t quite squeeze into the book, plus briefings covering Germany’s Axis allies.
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of the key components to the planned success of Operation Barbarossa
was the use of concentrated armoured and mobile forces in Panzergruppen
(armoured groups). The first three intelligence briefings you will find
featured in Barbarossa represent the German Panzertruppen (armoured
troops). These three companies represent the sharp point of the German
invasion forces, leading the attacks through the Soviet lines and
penetrating far behind the Red Army’s forward positions.
|The first of these is the Leichte Panzerkompanie (light armoured company) armed with Panzer III tanks.
in France in 1940, many of the Panzer III tanks are now armed with the
excellent 50mm L/42 gun, rather than the old lighter 3.7cm gun. In
addition, more recently produced tanks have improved armour giving them
vastly improved protection from enemy gun fire. The Leichte
Panzerkompanie it also contains Panzer II tanks and are supported by
Panzer IV tanks from the battalion’s medium company. They are supported
by the all the assets of the German Panzerdivision (armoured division)
including motorised and armoured infantry, armoured cars, artillery,
anti-tank and anti-aircraft units.
|As mentioned above, each Panzer Abteilung
(armoured detachment or battalion) also contains a company of medium
tanks, the Mittlere Panzerkompanie (medium armoured company). This
company is equipped with the excellent Panzer IV tank with its short
7.5cm gun. Ideal for dealing with dug-in infantry and guns, they are
often called up to clear the way for the light panzers. They gain the
same support as the Leichte Panzerkompanie and are also found in
divisions armed with Czech panzers.
The Germans gained the productions facilities of
Skoda and Praga in the Czechoslovakia when they invaded in 1938. With
the rapid expansion of the German Panzer forces in preparation of
Operation Barbarossa the Germans made use of the reliable Czech tanks
already in production to equip a number of panzer divisions. These
Panzer 35(t) and Panzer 38(t) tanks replaced the Panzer III tanks in the
organisation of light panzer companies. Though their 3.7cm gun wasn’t
as powerful as the Panzer III tank’s 5cm gun, they proved themselves in
combat in France. These Czech tanks were still supported by Panzer IV
tanks, as well as light Panzer II and Panzer I tanks. Their divisions
were also equipped with the full array of platoons and guns expected in
any other panzer division.
|While the panzers provided the tip of the spear
of the advancing Panzertruppen, the riflemen of the Schützen companies
supplied the supporting infantry to back up the success of panzers. The
Panzerschützenkompanie (armoured rifle company) mounted infantry in
armoured half-tracks giving them protection from small arms fire and
allowing the Schützen to closely support the panzers.
The bulk of the panzer division’s infantry was
mounted light cross-country trucks, offering the mobility and speed to
keep pace with the panzers, but when entering combat they dismounted to
fight on foot. Both these companies are fully supported with
infantry guns, machine-guns, mortars, anti-tank guns and all the other
assets of the panzer division.
|The third form of infantry found fighting with
the Panzergruppen were the motorcycle infantry of the
Kradschützenkompanie. These troops could be found in two forms, either
in their own battalions supporting motorised divisions or as part of the
panzers division’s reconnaissance battalion. Their speed and mobility
often found leading the advance, often even out pacing the panzers
during the advance through the Soviet Union. These troops can be either
Heer (army) or SS.
|The final German company you can field from
Barbarossa is the Infanteriekompanie. This force represent three types
of infantry used in Russia. The bulk of the infantry came from the hard
working Landsers (German colloquial term for a soldier) of the
Infanterie divisions, who relied on horse and foot power for transport.
The Germans also had motorised divisions where the infantry were mounted
in 3-ton trucks for transport, and these could be Heer or SS.
infantry are well trained, equipped and supported. The firepower of
their rifles and MG-34 light machine-guns is backed up by heavy
machine-guns, mortars, anti-tank guns, and infantry guns. The division
is also amply equipped with assault guns, reconnaissance, anti-tank,
artillery, and anti-aircraft. They could also call on corps level
support from the likes of flammpanzers and heavy tank-hunters.
also see the introduction of some new options at the divisional support
level. You can field the powerful Dicker Max 10.5cm heavy tank-hunter,
or the new Flammpanzer II flame-throwing tank. The Smoke Launcher
Platoon allows you to field either heavy mortars or the new 15cm NW41
Nebelwerfer rocket launcher.
We also introduce a new Warrior in
the form of Oberfeldwebel Herman Bix. This famous tank ace had an
uncanny knack of knocking out heavy enemy tanks by targeting their main
gun. He can be added to a Leichte Panzerkompanie in his Panzer III G
tank by replacing the command tank of a Panzer III Platoon.
Barbarossa gave us an opportunity to expand out from the forces already covered in Rising Sun. Barbarossa featured four new intelligence briefing for the Soviets: Tankovy Batalon; Inomarochnikiy Tankovy Batalon; Motostrelkovy Batalon; and Strelkovy Batalon.
By 1941 the Red Army had added a range of new and powerful tanks to its ever expanding arsenal. Large numbers of new T-34 obr 1940 medium tanks and KV-1 obr 1939 and KV-2 heavy tanks had been issued to frontline mechanised corps. These new and powerful tanks added to the thousands of light T-26 and fast BT tanks already equipping the mechanised corps.
Both these tanks took the German by surprise when they first encountered them in the first few week of Operation Barbarossa. Counterattacks by the new tanks were able halt the German panzers’ advances, forcing them to change direction and avoid concentration of the new tanks. The KV in particular proved a tough nut to crack, deflecting almost everything the German threw at them. Often the panzers were forced to keep the Soviet tanks busy while pioneers, 8.8cm FlaK36 guns, or s10cm K18 guns were brought up to knock them out.
|The T-34 obr 1941 is a formidable tank in 1941. It has thick front and side armour (Front 6, Side 5, Top 1) and is armed with a powerful 76mm L-11 gun (Range 24”/60cm, AT 8, FP 3+). The KV-1 obr 1940 is even more heavily armoured (Front 8, Side 7, Top 2) and armed with the same gun.
As the campaign went on the Soviets introduced improved versions of these tanks with improved guns and, in the case of the KV, more armour!
The Tankovy Batalon lets you field a force with a core of T-34 tanks and light tanks. Options include scout tanks, flame-tanks, self-propelled guns, anti-aircraft machineguns and medium T-28 tanks. Infantry, artillery, aircraft and rocket support are all available. You can also take heavy KV or T-35 tanks in support.
|In late 1941, just in time for the defence of Moscow, British lend-lease tank began to arrive. These were available in small numbers and were often found fighting alongside T-34 obr 1941 tanks in newly formed tank brigades. You can field one of these forces with the Inomarochnikiy Tankovy Batalon. You can have a mix of Mark III (Valentine II), and T-34 obr 1941 or light T-26 or BT tanks. You can also add a Heavy Inomarochnikiy Tankovy Company equipped with Mark II (Matilda) tanks. The Inomarochnikiy Tankovy Batalon has less in the way of Weapons Companies, but can call on heavy KV tanks, infantry, artillery and air support.
The other main component of a Red Army mechanised corps is the infantry of the mechanised and motorised
divisions. These are represented by the Motostrelkovy Batalon with big companies of infantry supported by good numbers of tanks, both new and old. They also backed up by artillery, anti-aircraft, sappers and air support.
The bulk of the Red Army is made up of the infantry of the Strelkovy battalions. These formations are the main line of defence in the fight against the Fascist invaders. Though infantry focused, they were not toothless with their own tanks in support, usually in the form of T-26 or BT tanks. As the battle for the Soviet Union continued through 1941, some units proved themselves in combat and were made Guards or were presented with the Order of the Red Banner and continued to fight with skill, bravery, and distinction. The People‘s Militia were rallied from the population of Moscow and pressed into action defending the approaches to the city.
|During the battle of Moscow, Strelkovy battalion were often directly supported by tanks from the new tank brigade seeing them fight alongside the T-34 and KV tanks, as well as the lend-lease and older models.
The corps support has some new equipment and units to add to the support of your Red Army forces. New weapons like the 57mm ZIS-2 anti-tank gun (ROF 3, AT 11, FP 3+) are available as part of the Tank Destruction Company for knocking out heavily armoured enemy tanks alongside the 85mm obr 1939 heavy anti-aircraft gun. The new self-propelled ZIS-30 57mm gun mounts the same excellent ZIS-2 gun on a Komsomolyets gun tractor and can be taken in Self-propelled Anti-tank Platoon.
You can take the Guards Rocket Mortar Battalion in support of a Red Army battalion. These are armed with either BM-13 Katyushas armed with 130mm rockets or BM-8 Katyushas with 80mm rockets. These multiple rail rocket launchers can fill the sky with a devastating wall of rockets. The BM-8 Katyusha mounts 36 rockets in every salvo, saturating a target area with many small rockets, another Soviet weapon emphasising that quantity has a quality of its own.
|In the early border battles a number of Soviet armoured trains belonging the Soviet Union’s internal security forces, the NKVD, were caught up in the fighting. These armoured beasts were able to lend their fire support to a number of engagements. Two of the trains used by the NKVD were former Polish trains. You can field one of these trains in support of a Strelkovy Batalon.
We have also added famous Soviet tank ace Leytenant Konstantin Samokhin as a Warrior teams. He can be taken at the command team of a Light Tankovy Company in hit BT-7 tank, or as the commander of a Tankovy Batalon in his T-34 obr 1941. His skill and leadership earn him the Order of Lenin and later promotion to Gvardeyskiy Leyenant, then Kapitan.
So as you can see Barbarossa is packed full of new forces, equipment, and options to attract established Flames Of War Early-war players, as well as those looking to get into this exciting period for the first time.
Last Updated On Thursday, October 9, 2014 by Blake at Battlefront