Monday, 16 February 2015

Quick Nachtjager review and new Universal Carriers?

My copy of Nachtjager arrived today - the new late war Flames of War book.

Not really all that enthused by it as a product. The contents, specifically the history, don't feel up to the usual (or previous) quality. The information on the Highland Division is not as great as provided in the Overlord book or the previous free PDF for the Scottish Divisions - in fact it's decidedly sparse and uninteresting. And then there is the silliness of the night vision kit for the Germans, no evidence of it being deployed in the west, but in a book covering the western front...

High points are that I can field my Jocks as Confident Vets - along with Sherman I platoons that are also confident vets. But as an example of the history being off - it mentions that the HD were supported by 33 Armoured Brigade during the Rhine Crossing under the Sherman entry. It's correct that 33 AB supported the Highland Division during that period. But they did so by driving the LVT (Buffaloes) - which is not mentioned anywhere.

The only unit from 33 Armoured Brigade that gets a mention is the Northamptonshire Yeomanry - but hey ho!

There are some weird things with the Rifle company list - like no Artillery listed as Divisional Support, only Corps Support. If you take any APC's for a single platoon, you must take them for all platoons - and you cannot mix and match APC types. Bagpipes are no longer a freebie for the HD lists and comets can't be taken as support for the infantry companies.

So yeah, pleased to get the ability to field a late late war force - though it really does suck that the Brits get only a choice of 3 (4 if you count the PDF for the 53rd Welsh Division). The Commando Brigades part in the Rhine crossings are mentioned, but no late late war Commando list. No Airborne lists. No late late war Sherman or Churchill lists. What is included is yet another German late late war infantry lists and two more late late war German armour lists (one that allows night attacks as well as all the normal German special rules).

Brit players are still being well and truly shafted, and it's not like there is a shortage of really interesting late late war British formations that by that point in the war were pretty individual. I guess it's pretty clear that the Yanks and Nazi's are where the focus is - and no doubt they will continue to be the most popular as there are the biggest model ranges and biggest list options for them both.

Anyway, in amongst the pics in the book were what could be new Universal Carriers. Certainly they don't look like conversions.

Front mounted .50 cal - this matches some of the reference pictures and from the front does not look like a conversion - if it is, it's a very well done one.


I think that chap in the back is holding a PIAT

Not a very clear picture, but the Bren guns have the bipod folded up under the barrel - something that the current Bren guns do not have.

Edit: One thing I forgot to mention, but I found to be rather telling - the painting guide no longer references Vallejo paints, but has gone down the road of using Battlefronts own paint range - complete with stupid 40k esk paint names. Not a useful move for a lot of modellers.

11 comments:

  1. I can't say I've been particularly inspired by this book either. With all the night vision gear it seems a bit gimicky. The term "late-late war" is being used so much now that it almost needs to become another period. I for one have no interest in trying to keep up with the power-curve, although at least with historical games it will have to end eventually. They are doing a good job milking it for it's worth though!

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  2. Good post, I largely agree. Take one of the most complicated and impressive operations ever mounted (Crossing the Rhine) and then...largely ignore it in favour of German IR kit never used on the Western Front. Then add a daft name like "Nachtjäger". Because Germans. And because "kewl".

    I'm pretty disappointed with BF's coverage of the British Army's actions in NWE for late 1944-45. There were some really interesting, difficult battles fought, but instead IR Panthers are the theme of the book? As you say, US and German focus, particularly the former: sales over substance is the current trend it would seem. This started with an incomplete coverage of British forces in Market Garden and has been continued since then.

    The new Carriers do look nice though. The Commando and Airborne lists, along with 11th Armoured Lorried infantry, etc. are supposed to be "digital releases". Can't say I'm liking where that is going, the trend seems to be more towards "lists" while going history-lite. I generally do my own research of operations and battles, but the shift to a more GW-like "army lists first" approach is sad.

    CdlT

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  3. The British and US paras are going to be covered in PDF briefings along with a Commando, second British infantry and SAS list. I really like the book, I think this is the go to British infantry list if you want Roos (and who doesn't!), the Cromwell list looks like it;s got legs, shame the Comet is a little too pricey to be effective.

    Re the Germans Mike did cover the fact that they probably didn't have the infa red in the Beyond the Foxholes podcast, they probably should have been in Desperate Measures but thats why it's an option and not mandatory.

    Ben

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  4. I think alot has to be said for the fact that unless there is a new Gimick, a lot of the lists are already covered by the generic forces in previous books (as far as I'm aware). They've got to keep finding reasons for us to buy a new platoon or two!

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  5. Historical discussions notwithstanding, some new UCs would be marvellous...

    ...I wonder how/if they'll compare to the inbound Plastic Soldier Company carriers...

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  6. My own issues with the way the lists are going are largely tied to my focus on one or two specific units. For example, this list changes the 51st to Confident Veterans. In my mind that's what they were for the vast vast majority of the NWE campaign. Yes, the performed poorly for a month or so (due to a large number of factors which were solved quite quickly when Gen Rennie took over). But from Totalise onwards they were back to being one of the top assault divisions in the Allied forces. They were one of the first units to use APC's. They used them extensively throughout the NWE campaign. They became night attack experts. A whole host of factors that means if they were a American or German list would have seen them much more heavily covered. Rather than players having to play the June '44 to March '45 period with a RV list. My Grandfathers regiment was renamed 4th Royal Tank Regiment for the Rhine crossing. They carried the assault waves over. Literally, they were the first troops across the Rhine. They don't even get a mention in this book - in fact the book states 33AB were supporting the 15th Scottish at the time.

    The way FoW is going, the Nazi's are becoming the new Space Marine army's. They have an abundance of lists and figures. Special rules coming out their ears, divisions getting multiple lists over multiple periods... While the reality and history is getting less and less represented. The US follow shortly behind.

    Frankly BF should just declare they are making their own fictional war setting. Anyone looking at the army splits would think the Nazi super soldiers (green marine troops being rated that highly...) couldn't have lost.

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    1. I was going to mention this in response to a previous post of yours: anyone casually watching a Flames of War game would be utterly baffled as to how the Germans ever ever could have lost.

      I'm no historian, but I console my disappointment at the general lack of British variety with the *deliberately erroneous* counterthought that there genuinely was a lack of diversity. Every time I think, "But why don't the British...?" I force myself to think, "But remember, Drax, they kept on using the PIAT right to the bitter end despite everyone else having far more practical (or at least less weird) AT equipment. And they often fought in ties."

      I know it's in part a fallacy, but it serves a purpose...

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    2. Don't dis the PIAT! Your forgetting that unlike in FoW there are not a huge number of Nazi tanks charging around the countryside - led by thousands of totally reliable and fully fueled Tiger 2's and Jagdtigers with perfect night vision. While encountering no logistical issues and no issues with the total allied air or artillery superiority, the absence of high quality lubricants, bridges collapsing or the fact their equipment is run into the ground.

      The PIAT could deal with the most commonly encountered Panzer 4's and StuG's. It could be fired indoors - unlike the Bazooka and Panzershrek. It could be used like a mortar, had a useful explosive charge and similar range to the other 2.

      But yes, we wore ties!

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  7. I'm excited to finally be able to run Comets and paint new sculpts (SAS Jeeps!), but I'm with you on the US/Kraut bias.

    This book could have been so much more interesting for the British, especially with a new Infantry List that significantly differs from previous incarnations, but BF left us feeling flat and in the same category as the red-headed step children. I'm glad that we'll get some pdf's in the future to cover the air landings, etc of the Rhine crossings, but they really should have been included in this book as well.

    New UC's? I like the sound of that, but have no idea how I'd fit them in as I already own 3 or 4 patrols! (And yes, that is most definitely a piat in that passenger's grasp.)

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  8. For all the reasons listed above, I have steared clear of FoW in the majority. I love BF's minis, but I use them to play I Ain't Been Shot Mum.

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    1. It certainly has it's faults. However, if you have someone (or people) to play against that are sensible and play it as a WW2 game rather than a fantasy game, it works fine.

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