Friday, 17 January 2014

Fallschirmjäger Tactica Part I (My Current State of Play)

As my bonus New Year's resolution from the boys, I was given the heady task of writing a tactica for the mighty FJs. Which you can hear on episode 7 of our podcast here

The reason being is that I've been playing FJs for quite some time now, so I should have at least an idea of what i'm talking about right...well I'm not that confident, so I'm splitting this task up into several parts.

Part I, what you are reading now - is my thoughts on an FJ list and why I've been building it.

Part II, will be later in the year, there's so much happening to alter the FJ play style (Proliferation in Soviet tank hordes and new Italy books to name two big ones)

Part III, will be later still and will summarise my learning throughout the year.

CnC Hanging out with 1st platoon 

I've read a couple of tacticas on FJs, most seem to focus on making big platoons, utilising combat attachments, HQ attachments and kampfgruppe. TBH I didn't really get it, as in, why that's so cool and I don't think any of them explained why either. With LFTF most of those tacticas are woefully out of date.

Without further ado here's my thoughts on my favourite 1750 FJ list.

2nd Platoon - The Green Jackets
Company size, 10 platoons, why 10? Mostly because of the defensive missions, where you start half on/half off, so you want an even number of platoons. In case you are new to FOW, if you had 9 platoons, you would start with 4 on the table and 5 off the table in reserve. When the reserves start to appear, you're going to have a hard job getting them into play and all cosy in trenches. Well, why not 8. In my experience, you're going to lose at least one platoon and as we all know if you have 9 platoons+, then the first lost platoon does not count for victory points that's why 10 platoons, for me is the magic number.

I'm focusing on defending in defensive battles, as that is when FJs do their thing and do it well. If I have to attack or it's a fairfight battle, then I simply focus on killing a platoon at a time and try to remember to smoke.

The infamous Stummelwerfers, used to great effect at Cassino 
Back to the 10 platoon half can be off the table i'm going to get to 5 platoons as cheaply as possible. Let's take an example from Bridge-by-Bridge a great book for an FJ company. Naturally fearless vets :)

Our cheapest platoons are the FJ light guns and 2 2cm FlaK38 for 55 points. Take em, that's 110 points for 2 platoons and both are very useful.

My Recently Painted Recoilless Guns - Great for a cheap defensive AT
2cm Flak 38s, same price as MGs, less RoF but you get a Gun Shield :)
Next cheapest are some machine guns 80 points and 2 Mortar Sections for 120 points.

Here's the magic, declare a KG with the mortars and 2ic, so you have 2 tubes and an observer in each. Make sure you take the time to clearly mark which observer is for which platoon. In games where you start fully on the board, you might not want to KG, and take 9 platoons instead.
2ic and MGs 
We just made 5 platoons in 310 points, so when we do have to start half on/half off we can choose to start with 1440 points on the table.

In a mission where I start with everything on the table I might choose to not KG the mortars and keep them at 4 tubes. Then again I might and go for 2 small templates of smoke, that will depend on the size of my opponents army.

We've got to go for the HQ 55 points, recently I've taken to not fausting them...reason being I keep losing my CinC and my 2ic might be leading a small mortar platoon. However we need to integrate some AT in our platoons. So take 2 shreks for an extra 60 points.

Occasionally 3rd platoon see the light of day, all armed with fausts for some AT fun.
1325pts remaining

2 Combat platoons, take the full size, I ran undersized platoons for a bit and it just isn't worth it because you lose the platoon too easily. Add the magic faust.

775pts remaining and 3 platoons to make.

It's Pak 40 time...these are essential if you are facing an enemy with tanks...if not, then you could put them in reserve and bring out the machine guns.

Anyway, I'd take 3 - for 180 points. Pak40s are surprisingly survivable, especially if you don't shoot with them. If you're facing a tank horde, then resist the temptation to shoot too early. In fact, don't. These bad boys should be spread out as thin as possible, with the full 6 inches between them and 8 inches from the front line. Why...well you're going to lose some, maybe 2, but if they are so spread out your opponent is going to have a tough time destroying the entire platoon. They are your number one anti-assaulting-tank weapon. So take the time to judge where your opponent will assault you and get one of these 8 inches back from that point.

595pts 2 platoons - Things get hazy here and require some experimentation

We haven't got much smoke, especially if we are putting the mortars in reserve, but artillery is so expensive, too expensive for this list. If this was an Atlantik Wall list, then the heavy mortars are a great option. let's come back to that.

I think we want something mobile, especially for mobile battles or in case we're attacking, the assault howitzer platoon isn't a bad buy 285point, 3 breakthrough guns should come in handy, but I have a habit of rolling 1s for FP or just plain letting them get killed.

310points and a platoon to buy, so we can afford some big boy artillery. Do we want to? The problem with this list as it stands is that it's really boring. There's nothing about it, nothing for our opponent to really worry about...what's he looking at and thinking "How do I deal with that" and we need something, something to give us an edge or to distract our opponent with.

lol, I'm going to let you decide. Trap teams and arty? Heavy arty? Short platoon with fausts? Ditch the StuH42s (assault howitzers) and replace with some JagdPanthers?

Von der Heydte and the boys, ready to bring some spice 
I don't know at this point, it's going to be situational, but I think it needs something to add some spice, some flavour to the list.

With regards to using this list, where possible, dig deep and resist the temptation to shoot the guns off. Spread out your guns, nice and thin...overlapping if needs be and always always always measure 8 inches back from your front line troops..there should be some form of AT asset waiting there.

Well I hope that helps someone. I'm not a brilliant player by any means, but hopefully I've learned a few things in 2013 and these are most of them. I hope the new Italy books will provide us FJ players with some new toys...I'm anticipating fortifications, so have been buying some in preparation for that. I'm also anticipating re-basing my entire collection...but that's another story.

I know some people don't like the half cheap platoons idea, as some missions you will be fully on the table and/or when they do arrive then it can be easy VPs for the opponent. That's fine, these are just my thoughts on FJs and these ideas are by no means perfect, just what's in my head ATM.

Please do add comments below, let me know what you agree with and disagree with and if you made it this far thank you for reading.

Winner Dave


Quick note on Trap Teams...

It has taken me a while to get used to using trap teams, I first saw them used to great effect by the mighty Kev.  I was running a Soviet Heavy Self-propelled Artillery Regiment, Kev deployed 2 trap teams (over 4" apart) in order to distract the heavy guns, from memory he didn't shoot with them, preferring to make me hit on 6's.  I fell for the ruse and in the time it took me to deal with the trap teams he'd moved a platoon of FJs into a wood close by.

I usually use them in pairs, I'll wait for an opportunity to get a tank on it's own and pop the pair, one either side of the tank.  If all goes well, one trap team bails the target, the second follows up with an assault.  If the first trap team fails to bail the tank, then I resist the temptation to have another go and leave the second trap team gone to ground.  After this they are usually too far away from an enemy to be useful, or they get shot to pieces, but when it works it's a beautiful thing.

Occasionally, the first trap team will kill the target out-right, but that's rare and I play for the bail.  However when you do get the kill (chalked up 1 King Tiger this year), it's a requirement to dance a jig.

Happy trap teaming :)


  1. As for a BBB list, the cheap 88s in a gun-pit are something to consider as well, combined with Von Der Heydte's dark magic and 2+ motivation, they just keep on giving... Trap teams also work wonders when somebody bogs down, allowing for a easy kill with no dice involved :) They teams can also be used to kill opponent's artillery in certain missions, deny fast road movement and so on. I've managed to clear observers and command teams on a few occasions when having to attack with trap teams on point ;) I'd keep the Faust on the CiC still, as you'll want more than Faust plus Schreck on key points of defense, to have bit more chance on deflecting the assault. Also, list built to attack, usually defends quite well... I think the list is a bit lacking in having only 1 real direct fire At platoon. YMMV, IMHO and all that jazz, VonRichthofen

  2. Brilliantly painted FJs by the way.

  3. Yeah I waiver back and forth with the 88s, problem always is the deployment as the gunpits have to be laid before the objectives :( My current version of the list i'm planning on taking to the next tournament will have the 88s as rof2 and yes artillery hunting trap teams are great fun.

    I think 88s and Pak40s are the only direct fire AT in BBB apart from the tanks of course, which is why i'm going to run a short platoon of fausts as well.

    1. Well, you have to deploy the gunpits, but not necessarily the guns in those... Which is something that your opponent does not think...

  4. For my FJ list i always take the HMG platoons2 of them and make combat attachment.2 to infantry and 2 to the squad to defend the mortar and AT assets.

  5. I wonder how the list is going to be for the folgore at Anzio.I am going to be using them for allies with my FJs.

  6. Thanks for the thoughts - FJ are my army of choice as well. Trap teams are also quite useful for hunting down enemy artillery in the rear areas. New 'Lessons from the Front' also dramatically improves their usefulness allowing you to deploy them in anything except open ground i.e. this includes roads as they are... terrain features. My initial deployments were always hampered as I read the rules to mean they could essentially only go down in forests.

    Very nicely painted FJ btw.. BbB is great by still prefer a smaller number of FV to a larger number of FT platoons. Forces enemy to come closer where your PF are more effective.