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  • Writer's pictureBlaxkleric

"More Than Seven Thousand Panzer IVs Were Constructed Throughout The Second World War."

Updated: Mar 30, 2023

"The Panzer IV tank was designed by German engineers before the start of World War II in Europe in 1935."

This plastic 15mm Panzerkampfwagen IV is sold by “Battlefront Miniatures” and can be found inside the company’s “Hit The Beach” starter set for “Flames Of War”. The model consists of a medium tank equipped with "Bazooka Skirts", and is the fourth and final fully-tracked armoured vehicle needed to complete my 50-point strong German Beach Defence Company's Panzer IV Tank Platoon.

Initially primed with two layers of "Vallejo" German Grey. The model was then shaded with "Citadel" Nuln Oil, heavily dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo" German Grey, and later more lightly dry-brushed with "Vallejo" Sombre Grey. The Panzer IVs' spade, stowage, machine-gun, muffler and tow-cable were subsequently 'picked out' using appropriate combinations of "Vallejo" Gunmetal, "Citadel" Nuln Oil", "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and "Citadel" Agrax Earthshade. Whilst its tracks were tied in to my usual basing with some "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna, "Citadel" Rakarth Flesh and Agrax Earthshade.

The Americans form up behind as much cover as possible. Whether it be woods or houses

Alongside one of my last submissions to the "Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge" (AHPC) for this year's event, I have finally settled down to play a game of "Flames Of War" against a Veteran M4 Sherman Tank Company. Unfortunately, I still didn't have my 7.5cm Tank-Hunter Platoon ready for the battlefield, but was able to field a cobbled together 49-point force by upgrading my two Panzergrenadier Platoons and bringing along a sMG42 Machine-Gun Platoon (which doesn't come in the "Hit The Beach" Starter Set).

As this was going to be a 'learning game', it was determined that we'd simply play the Annihilation Mission in the rulebook, with the Americans being the attackers for the purposes of deployment and the Germans rolling to go first. Most of the other rules, such as all infantry starting the game in Foxholes (giving them Concealment and Bulletproof Cover), and all teams starting the game Gone to Ground, were ignored.

Quantity over quality..? Unit wise the Germans vastly outnumbered the Americans

However, it was agreed that my Mortar Platoon would be unable to fire Artillery Bombardments in their first Shooting Step. Something which meant going first probably wasn't as great a proposal for the Germans as it first seemed, albeit I did hope it would allow my Panzer IVs to get first crack at the Veteran M4 Sherman (76mm) Tank Platoon it was facing. Resultantly, as all of my Teams counted as having moved for the first Shooting Step regardless of whether they had or not, I (re)positioned my tanks into a firing line along the shore and moved up all my infantry alongside them - sticking to as much cover amidst the buildings and forests as they could find.

Sadly, I wasn't all that impressed with the firepower of General Heinz Guderian's brainchild when my four Panzer IVs subsequently blazed away with their 7.5cm guns, as they caused just one Allied tank crew to bail out - and the cursed Yanks re-entered their vehicle to return fire shortly afterwards. At least I was safe in knowledge that their 80mm frontal armour would keep them in the battle for at least a second salvo...

The American Shermans tear through the German Panzer IVs like a hot knife through butter

Several shots from the American tanks later and my sole-surviving Panzer IV decided that retreating was the better part of honour by scuttling away to the rear of my lines and off the tabletop. So much for my impregnable Vogtländische Maschinenfabrik manufactured machines. Disappointingly though, my 12cm Mortar Platoon wasn't winning me over either, as having needed and then thrown three sixes to hit the victorious Shermans, I then discovered due to my limited number of artillery stands (you really need more than two) that I had to roll a further three sixes so as to hit my targets. Well that was never going to happen.

Buoyed by their success, the Allied armour sauntered down the battlefield's main road, and dominated the centre of the map. With my own tanks completely gone, I decided to shore up my left flank with a unit of Panzergrenadiers, and trust that their Panzerschreck anti-tank teams would do what my Panzer IV's 7.5cm guns couldn't. In the middle I deployed my maximum strength sMG42 Machine-gun Platoon to ward off the fast-approaching Shermans with some withering fire.

Machine Verses Man - The Shermans gun down the Panzergrenadiers.

Needless to say, at this point things went from bad to worse for the Germans. The American tanks' .50 calibre machine guns tore through the Panzergrenadiers and caused them to seek shelter as quickly as they could. Whilst it suddenly became all too clear that despite being "a powerful weapon capable of firing 1200 rounds per minute" (or at least six dice per team), the "Flames Of War" rules don't allow for sMG42 Machine-gun Platoons to have any effect on armoured vehicles whatsoever. So much for the notion of them pinning the Yanks down in the centre.

Incredibly though, things suddenly turned in the Germans' favour at the last minute, when the Allied Parachute Rifle Platoon arrogantly decided to break cover from some Woodland and stroll towards the second Panzergrenadier Platoon on the right. Two Shooting Steps later and there wasn't an American left standing... and it was a good time to bring our test game to an end as a hard-fought draw - at least for Field Marshal Erwin Rommel's forces.

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