In this article I will analyze the German special rules and how they affect a German company and its platoons on the FoW battlefield. At first glance the Germans have some of the weaker overall special rules. They dont get any motivation modifiers, artillery rules, or shooting help. But put into the context of a mainly Veteran army force, the rules that are provided keep your generally more elite units operating longer on the battlefield.
Doctrines: The three main doctrines that apply to all German companies on a FoW battlefield are Kampfgruppe, Mission Tactics, and Stormtroopers. The easiest of these rules to apply is Mission Tactics as all that is required to remember is that if your platoon command team is destroyed another team in the platoon that is in command distance automatically takes over. As a German player myself I often overlook how important this rule is simply because it is second nature to me. Always having your platoons in command means that your forces can keep moving, they can counterattack in assaults, and you can keep equipment that only command teams may have access to.
Probally the most well known of the German rules is the Stormtrooper move. Allied players generally hate this roll mainly becasue of the extra minutes it adds to the German turn! For the Germans, this extra 4 inch move in the assault phase can be used for a myriad of purposes. Be it getting back into cover after the shooting step, getting your tank turrets and hulls facing the right way, or getting your platoon a few inches closer to the objective, the Stormtrooper move can instantly get your out of position forces back into line. This is especially vital for an agressive player. While by no means is the move automatic, with the vast majority of German lists being Veteran, passing on a 3+ is an acceptable risk and gives the German player a potential “out” if he overextends himself. Also overlooked is the ability to move teams that would otherwise have very hard times getting across a battlefield. Getting a medium gun team 6 inches of movement a turn instead of 2 can be a huge difference.
Kampfgruppe is a rule that I dont often use but it certainly has its uses. By essentially adding a platoon to your army the number of platoons in your company can be manipulated to your advantage. This is especially helpful in deciding how many platoons you can deply in missions that require reserves. Also useful is the ability to make customized platoons with specific missions such as an assault group or anti-tank platoon.
Unit and Weapon Special Rules: All other German special rules apply to specific units and weapons. Again the idea behind this is to give your Veteran units the maximum chance to survive and inflict damage. The most useful of these rules in my opinion is the Schurzen rule. When taking fire on your side armour with a weapon with a 5+ or 6+ firepower check your tank gets a special 4+ save against these shots. This is most useful in the assault phase as German Veteran forces must get as many teams as possible into contact with the enemy in the first round of assault. Negating that one PIAT or bazooka hit can be absolutly critical.
Mounted Assault is one of the more unique FoW rules in that it allows your panzergrenadiers to lauch assaults from inside their halftracks. While a cool rule it can be hard to pull off. Mounted assaults can still be pinned by defensive fire, and your infantry can be terribly vulnerable to any kind of anti-tank while in their halftracks. Still, when properly executed this kind of assault can be devastating and it gives your infantry a potential 16″ charge range.
The last rule I will cover is the Tiger Ace skill. Every WW2 fan and most people in general know of the Tiger and the Germans get a whole skill set for these fearsome tanks. While the Tiger has the gun and armour to shoot it out with the enemy, I believe that it is more valuable as an assault oriented tank and most of the skills are geared for that purpose. Three of the five skills are about keeping your tank moving or passing motivation tests to keep it in the fight. Even the rerolls to hit skill is best employed when advancing on the enemy in my opinion. These skills are what make the Tiger useful in Late War as in this period of the game it is no longer the invincible monster that it was in Mid War.