Monday, April 20, 2009

River of Heroes


Here it is! It's the third and final Bagration book - River of Heroes.

My local gaming store or LGS obtained a preview copy of the book, which is due to hit the stores in mid-May. Here are the highlights:
  • Assault gun company - Fearless Trained
  • Sappers - Fearless Trained
  • 3rd Tank Corps T-34/85 company - Confident Trained
  • SS-Totenkoph - Fearless Veteran
  • SS-Wiking - Fearless Trained
  • 501st King Tiger - Confident Veterans
Russian engineers are nasty. They get to use panzerfausts to bunker bust and have a variety of equipment available to them.

The Russian hero, S.A.Rat is a nice one, in my opinion. He developed a zig-zag tactic, which allowed his unit to approach defended areas and not get picked off by the long-distance gunnery skill of the Germans. Rat thought that since the German were very disciplined with their gunnery, they would have a hard time with vehicles moving in unusual patterns. Apparently, he was right because many times his unit suffered little to know casualties, while other tank assault regiments were gutted. S.A. Rat's unit gets a die roll when hit to see if the zig-zag tactic works and forces a miss. S.A. Rat himself is able to move and shoot at full ROF. Sweet.

Now some might say, who cares about CT T-34/85 company. Remember, the Hammer & Sickle T-34/85 company was a Guards company. Now, Russians players can field CT units with the great T-34/85 tank and at less cost then a Guards company.

King Tigers? Wow. Tiger-philes will be rejoicing. They have been clamoring for this tank for years and now they get their hands on it.

They also get their hands on the Sturmtiger! 12/8/2 of nice armor and AT 6, FP 1+ of boom boom goodness.

I think folks will find the Totenkoph Biermeyer Hero interesting. There is an option to field a Panzer company that is reckless and daring. However, if the Hero is destroyed, their rating starts to decrease. Biermeyer and his platoon is hit as if he was Trained. If he goes poof, then the whole platoon goes from Fearless to Confident Trained. Biermeyer's platoon must assault if they can and if they can't, must stormtrooper as far as they can towards an enemy unit or objective. These guys are nuts! The platoon Biermeyer panzers costs less than normal because they are madmen.

Oh yeah, if you think Kommisars are harsh when they start shooting stands, wait till you see what Totenkoph infantry will do when forced to take motivation checks. Oiy!!

For Wiking, they don't have a specific hero, yet their panzer platoons get to roll for Ace skills. They are called Panzer Kanones, because there were several tank aces in Wiking. A Panzer Kanon replaces a panzer platoon's command team.

All in all, I'll rank Hammer & Sickle, River of Heroes, and then Stalin's Onslaught as my favorites in the Bagration series of books. There are some that say a year's worth of Russian books is too much. I say, it was well worth the time and shed light on an important campaign. C'mon, D-Day got 6 books. Less than half that number devoted to the Eastern Front isn't asking too much.

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