Order of Battle: WWII –Specialisations Guide Pt. III: German Campaigns11 Dec 2017 0
Greetings, and welcome to Part III of my Specialisations Guide for Order of Battle: WWII! All we have left is the new German grand campaign, including Blitzkrieg and the newly released Panzerkrieg (PK); read Ian’s review here! If you missed Part I, where I went through the Americans’ choices in U.S. Pacific and U.S. Marines, you can check it out here; Part II, delineating the Japanese campaigns in Morning Sun and Rising Sun, is here. Once again I will not repeat myself regarding some general points and reminders I went over in Pt. I, including abbreviations, so if you haven’t read it or don’t recall them, I recommend doing so, although I have updated Pt. I’s table, below, to include the new PK Specs. What’s new on that front, you ask? I’ll have to keep you in suspense a bit longer, fearless reader, while I first cover off Blitzkrieg!
Like MS, choices are rather limited at first in BK, albeit we do start with Tank School. After the first scenario you can select from Flight School, Specialized Training, and War Economy. If you’ve been following along you probably already know I usually pick the last one – but not this time! I now know from experience that it’s hard to fill all my CP, so in this case Flight School appears to be a good selection if you haven’t already got more than 7-8 Air CP worth of aircraft; I did, and I still had 13 more Land CP to fill, so I took Spec Training. Even so, I couldn’t fill them all, since I hadn’t enough RP. You’ll have another 7SP after Warsaw, though, so the order depends on what CP you have left to use up as well as your RP – the latter varying according to Difficulty – and your priorities, including how you like to use Replacements (Elite or Regular; I generally go with the former for all but non-core units and maybe recon, which naturally further reduces my RP pool). In Norway, the third scenario, you’ll be able to upgrade your infantry to 1940 versions, and that’ll cost more RP…
On the Belgian Border in May, 1940, Magnetron Radar and Auftragstaktik unlock, and the last of the initial four (three, not including Tank School) is also available. Mag Radar gives only warships increased visibility, so, other than as a prerequisite for Scrambling, it isn’t useful in BK. We are awarded 5SP (they vary in this campaign, disregarding SO), which means Auftragstaktik, at 10SP, remains out of reach; yet I have now run out of CP, thus, War Econ it is! Once you reach the Channel Coast, Auftragstaktik is still unaffordable, so Mag Radar is the choice for Scrambling later on, unless you want to save for the former. Nothing else is available come Northern France, and even once we invade Yugoslavia, neither is Scrambling, but we can now afford Auftragstaktik.
April, 1941 finds us in Greece and opens up lots more stuff, including the first new Specialisation, Organisation Todt. I admit I had to look up “Bautruppe”; they’re apparently like U.S. Seabees, engineers without demolitions expertise. In any event, heading east to the Soviet Border in June ’41, everything else unlocks except Forced Labor, which is procurable next, at Smolensk. Waffen SS grants the SS-Div. Wiking, as well as opening up the SS as a separate ‘core’. While some SS units have slightly better stats – as well as being a little more expensive – what’s nicest about this selection is that you get a separate reserve of RP to spend on them, and you can also transfer RP from your main core, albeit only at the beginning of certain scenarios. Yet it’s a dear choice, plus you only have two more scenarios left to obtain any of those remaining. I have to say that Scrambling does it for me, albeit Drop Tanks is also useful.
As with the Japanese campaigns, at the start of Panzerkrieg you can import your core force from Blitzkrieg, but this time you start with a whole bunch of Specs, apparently all you obtained in BK! We still have to resurrect all our units, albeit in a different way than previously (and much more convenient, I must say), and all experience is lost save 1XP star, but otherwise organic transport and leaders now remain! As an aside, I have mentioned in another article that this aspect of OoB’s campaign system diminished my ability to identify with my core force, so this is a very welcome change indeed. Although I have yet to revisit the other campaigns to see if it has been disseminated across the series, according to their website, it has. Bonus!
The end of the first PK scenario grants 5SP and a choice between Beutepanzer, Drop Tanks, Forced Labor, and Female Factory Labor – albeit your options may be different depending on what you took during BK. Adding our starting 3SP, all are affordable, so my pick will be either Drop Tanks (7SP) or Female Factory Labor (6SP). Seeing that my air force is grounded at the start of Rzhev Salient, I go with the latter, and then, in Kharkov, I take Drop Tanks. This scenario presents one of the new PK Specs, Goliath Mine, but since it appears to be more of a fortress assault choice, I bypass it for now and take it at Sevastopol, where I have a suspicion it will prove more useful. At Voronezh I decide to save my SP; only Beutepanzer, Centimetric Radar, and Forced Labor are available, the latter not affordable, and Waffen SS II (albeit see below) and Pilot Rotation are on the horizon.
Kalach is next, and I take Pilot Rotation. The Caucasus presents the opportunity to obtain Forced Labor, Beutepanzer, and Centimetric Radar again, but I’m holding out for Waffen SS II. Although I at first thought that SS units performed rather poorly compared to regular troops, I realised I was using the SS-Div. Wiking as… well, regular troops! They actually have the Guerilla trait, and although aren’t commandos, they are certainly light infantry (and the AI seems to pick on them ruthlessly!). In any case, I want to take SS II to report to you, dear reader, if it’s worth it or not, seeing that it’s 15SP yet I only have 10 at this point. At the same time there are several other new Specs coming up – Pakfront, Panzerfibel, Synthetic Fuel Plants, and Panzerkiel – that I’d like to test as well; I’ll have to see what comes about.
So, on the Outskirts of Stalingrad, I take Waffen SS II; it proves most useful, as I’m now able to use the SS as essentially a separate army or corps, assigning it its own sector. Unfortunately you can’t attach any commanders to the SS (hopefully this is just an oversight that will be fixed, as I can’t imagine why not). Stalingrad Oblast starts with my having 5SP, which is enough for Beutepanzer or Centimetic Radar, but I want to save for the new Specs – in addition to saving 6. Armee! (Beware: Devastating Soviet artillery!) Kharkov Oblast (2nd Kharkov) follows, but nothing else unlocks till the second Kharkov Oblast. (Note: The scenario names are quite confusing; the list on the website has different titles than the briefings – which I am going by – and the save game files.) Here I doubt I will have any extra CP or enough RP to buy more tanks, so Panzerfibel seems redundant, whereas Panzerkiel and Pakfront are likely to be much more useful. Although extra Air CP may appear contradictory, seeing that I just mentioned I wouldn’t be able to buy more tanks, I’m also considering that Air CP were quite limited in recent scenarios; thus, I acquire Synthetic Fuel Plants as well. (I’m not sure why this only applies to air units, since tanks use fuel too, and those Panthers and Tigers require 7CP each!) Finally, at Kursk Oblast, I take Proximity Fuse.
You Can Get There From Here!
It should go without saying that I have had little time with Panzerkrieg, given how long it’s been out, but I look forward to testing the new Specialisations some more, as well as seeing what’s next in the series. Scuttlebutt has it that there is “a yet unannounced final chapter in the German European campaign” – presumably a heroic defence of the Fatherland? Then, here’s hoping that following installments from The Artistocrats will be either a Soviet campaign or something to link Burma Road; perhaps facing Rommel in the desert?
Until then thanks for reading, and by all means leave questions or comments!