FoW Campaign – Erwin Schmidt’s War

The following is the historical background and game instructions for a Flames of War linked campaign. The campaign focuses on the historical experience of the Feldherrnhalle formation of the German Army. The unit change designation, type and division assignment during the course of 1936 to 1945 in fact was almost entirely destroyed at several occasions. Nevertheless, it is just barely imaginable that a fictional officer could have followed the entire transition of the formation. All historical information is pulled from Wikipedia and other common references.

All maps are from an excellent animated power point slide deck showing a fast track version of the Second World War. I found it online and unfortunately do not know the author or origin. I have edited the slides to focus on the appropriate aspects for this campaign and remove all the other “activity indicators” for the rest of the war.

All games use a fixed setup with the attacker listed on the left and the defender on the right, regardless of company type. The army lists are designed to be representative of the forces of the historical engagement and might not be the most effective combination.

Erwin Schmidt’s War

Erwin Schmidt served in the Feldherrnhalle Division and its ancestral units during the Second World War. This campaign chronicles his progression through the ranks of the division as well as the service history of the unit. Major strategic movements of Feldherrnhalle are indicated by the unit symbol in an eight-sided green star. The campaign is divided into five chapters which cover the major phases of operations for Feldherrnhalle. The tragedy and insanity of war cannot be highlighted more than by the fact that over half of the chapters end with the complete annihilation of the division.

Chapter 1: Early Years

Erwin Schmidt joins the Sturmabteilung (SA) in Muenchen (Munich) in 1936 at the age of 18. He is initially stationed as part of the reinforced policy units in the newly opened Rheinland region. After the paramilitary functions of the NSDAP are taken over by the Schutzstaffel (SS), Erwin joins the SA-Standarte Feldherrnhalle and is placed on guard duty at the Muenchen (Munich) garrison. The Standarte is one of the first units to march into Austria during the March 1938 Anschluss and Erwin rises to the rank of Truppfuehrer (Sergeant). Back in Stuttgart, he volunteers to join Sonderverband Danzig, a new SA police unit with responsibility for the isolated Danzig sector.

Chapter 2: Sonderverband Danzig

Under Generalmajor Friedrich Georg Eberhardt, Erwin Schmidt serves in Sonderverband Danzig. At the start of the invasion of Poland, the Sonderverband is tasked to occupy strategic locations in the city. Newly promoted Haupttruppfuehrer (First Sergeant) Schmidt is ordered to lead a strategic assault on the Danzig postal office.

Battle: Assault on Danzig Postal Office – September 1st 1939

Mission: Skirmish Building Assault                                    Terrain: City Terrain

The battle uses special skirmish rules adapted from the Partisan & Polizei mini game.

Sonderverband Danzig Danzig Polish Police Force
1 Sergeant with Pistol   20 Policemen with assorted weapons  
10 Fusiliers with Rifle      
1 MG Team      
1 leIG18 infantry gun with 3 crew      

 

Chapter 3: 60. Infanterie-Division (mot)

After the success in Poland, the Sonderverband is reformed into the 60. Infanterie-Division and receives enough rolling stock to operate fully motorized. Like many experienced SA NCOs, Erwin is commissioned to his new Wehrmacht rank of Leutnant. The new division received initial infantry training in Lothringen (Lorraine) but remains in the strategic reserve during the rapid conquest of France. Fully formed, the division is re-located to Romania in January 1941. In April the division kicks off Operation Marita but sees limited action in Serbia. In June 1941 the division joins Army Group South’s push into the Soviet Union as part of Operation Barbarossa.

Battle: Operation Barbarossa – Across the Border – June 23rd 1941

The initial assault into Soviet territory brings the 60. Infantrie-Division in contact with several Soviet Infantry (Strelkovy) divisions.

Mission: Hold the Line                                                           Terrain: Trenches

Panzergrenadierkompanie (Eastern Front 1942) Strelkovy Batalon (Eastern Front)
Company HQ (2x Panzerknacker) 55pts Batalon HQ 25pts
3x full Panzergrenadier Platoon(Panzerknacker, 3-ton trucks) 195pts195pts195pts 2x Strelkovy Company (3 Platoons, Komissar, HMG, 2 Light Mortars) 330pts330pts
Machine-Gun Platoon 155pts Machine Gun Company (Kommissar) 205pts
Assault Gun Platoon (2 StuG G) 340pts Heavy Mortar Company (Observer) 225pts
Motorised Artillery Battery (2 Sections) 245pts Anti-Tank Company (2 Platoons, Kom.) 100pts
Limited Air Support (Ju87G) 135pts Anti-Aircraft Company (2 Platoons, Kom.) 100pts
  1495 Assault Gun Company (3 SU-122) 185pts

 Once through the Russian lines, the division advances on Rostov on the Don and conquers the city. Erwin is promoted to the rank of Oberleutnant.

Battle: Winter Defence near Rostov – January 15th 1942

Despite the successful conquest, the division and all of Panzergruppe 1 is ordered to withdraw from Rostov and form defensive lines for the winter. Soviet assaults on the line continue through the winter of 1941-1942.

Mission: Breakthrough Assault (Stalin’s Onslaught)  Terrain: Winter Trenches

Tankovy Batalon (Eastern Front) Grenadierkompanie (Eastern Front 1942)
Batalon HQ (T-34 Obr 1942) 90pts Company HQ (2x Panzerknacker, 8.8cm RW43, 2 Sniper Team) 185pts
Medium Tankovy (7x T-34, 3xT-34/57) 760pts 3x Grenadier Platoon(full, Panzerknacker) 160pts160pts160pts
Light Tankovy (8x T70 obr 1942) 230pts Machine Gun Platoon (Panzerknacker) 140pts
Tank Rider Company (3x SMG Plt., Kom.) 325pts Anti Tank Gun Platoon (2x 7.5cm PaK40) 150pts
Light Armoured Car Platoon (3x BA64) 95pts Heavy AA Gun Platoon (extra crew) 130pts
    Infantry Gun Platoon (Panzerknacker) 70pts
    Assault Gun Platoon (2 StuG G) 340pts
      1495

 The winter defence depleted the division but new equipment and reserves from the Western front replenish the unit in time to participate in Generaloberst Paulus’s 6. Armee drive to Stalingrad. The 60. Infantrie-Division is one of the leading units thrown into the defences of the city.

 

Battle: Assault into Stalingrad – August 1st 1942

Mission: Not One Step Back (Stalingrad)                        Terrain: City Terrain

Pionierkompanie (Eastern Front, 1942) Strelkovy Batalon (Eastern Front, 1942)
Company HQ (2x Panzerknacker, ATR) 75pts Batalon HQ (3 Sniper) 175pts
3x Pionier Platoon (3 Sections, Panzerknacker, Goliath) 250pts250pts250pts Strelkovy Company (3 Platoons, Kommissar, HMG, 2 Light Mortar) 330pts
Assault Tank Platoon (2 Brummbaer) 250pts Strelkovy Company (2 Rifle/MG Platoons SMG Platoons, Kommissar) 425pts
Artillery Battery (2 Sections) 245pts Anti Tank Company (6x obr 1942, Kom.) 160pts
Priority Air Support (Ju87G) 175pts Artillery Batalon (4 Gun Plt., 2 Howitzer Plt., Kommissar, Observer) 410pts
  1495

 Oberleutnant Schmidt receives serious wounds during the battle of the city and is send to Byelorussia for convalescence only two months before the 6. Armee is annihilated in the cauldron of Stalingrad.

 

Chapter 4: Panzergrenadier-Division Feldherrnhalle

After recovery of his health, Erwin re-joins the remnants of the 60. Infanterie-Division in the south of France where the unit is reformed into Panzergrenadier-Division Feldherrnhalle. As one of the few surviving officers, Erwin is promoted to Hauptmann and receives command of his own Panzergrenadierkompanie. After refit in France, the division is finally assigned to Third Panzer Army and joins the fighting retreat near Vitebsk in Byelorussia. The division is tasked with defensive rear-guard actions along the entire northern line.

Battle: Outflanked at Vitebsk – January 10th 1944

In January 1944 several units of the division are tasked with the defence of the Vitebsk line.

Mission: Breakthrough                                                          Terrain: Winter steppes

Gvardeyskiy Tankovy Batalon (Fortress Europe) Gepanzerte Panzergrenadierkompanie (FE)
Batalon HQ (T34) 55pts Company HQ (2x Panzerfaust,3x SdKfz 251/1, Panzerschreck) 95pts
Tankovy Company (4x T34, 4x T34/84) 420pts 3x Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoon (3 Sections, Panzerfaust, SdKfz 251/10) 285pts285pts285pts
Tankovy Company (5x T34, 3x T34/84) 405pts Armoured Mortar Platoon (1 Section) 110pts
Light Tankovy Company (5x T70 obr1943) 120pts Armoured Car Patrol (2x SdKfz 231) 80pts
  1000 Rocket Launcher Battery (1 Section, 7.5cm PaK40) 150pts
    Assault Gun Platoon(2xStuG G) 190pts
      1480

 

 

Battle: Defending the Narva Crossing – March 3rd 1944

Despite the pressure on the Byelorussian front, the division is airlifted to the Narva front to defend the river crossings into Estonia. Erwin led his Kompanie during critical bridgehead counter-assaults including the large waves on February 15th to 28th, March 1st to 4th and March 6th to 24th.

Mission: Encounter                                                                 Terrain: Winter rocky

Stelkovy Batalon (Fortress Europe) Gepanzerte Panzergrenadierkompanie (FE)
Batalon HQ 30pts Company HQ (2x Panzerfaust,3x SdKfz 251/1, Panzerschreck) 95pts
2x Strelkovy Company (3 Platoons, Kom.) 335pts335pts 3x Armoured Panzergrenadier Platoon (3 Sections, Panzerfaust, SdKfz 251/10)Armoured Mortar Platoon (1 Section) 285pts285pts285pts110pts
SMG Company (3 Platoons) 340pts
Scout Platoon (2 Squards) 165pts Armoured Car Patrol (2x SdKfz 231) 80pts
Guards Rocket Mortar Battery(2 Platoons, Extra Crew) 155pts Rocket Launcher Battery (1 Section, 7.5cm PaK40) 150pts
Assault Gun Company (4x SU-122) 125pts Assault Gun Platoon(2xStuG G) 190pts
  1485   1480

With the Narva river at least temporarily secured, the division receives orders to reinforce Army Group Centre near Mogilev and Orsha.

Battle: Disaster at Minsk – July 2nd 1944

The division arrives in May 1944 and forms the reserve of the Fourth Army under General Kurt von Tippelskirch. Weeks later the start of Operation Bagration places the full might of the Soviet Union against the depleted Army Group and the German lines crumble at Orsha. The rapid advance of the Soviet armies catches up with Panzergrenadier-Division Feldherrnhalle near Minsk and Erwin participates in several fighting withdrawals against heavy Soviet armour columns.

Mission: Fighting Withdrawal                                              Terrain: Steppes

Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy Polk (SO) Sturmkompanie (Stalin’s Onslaught)
Batalon HQ (IS-2 with Tankodesantniki) 170pts Company HQ (2x Pzfaust, 3x Pzschreck) 140pts
2x Tankovy (3x IS-2 with Tanko.) 515pts515pts 2x Sturm Platoon (3 Sections, Panzerfaust) 210pts210pts
Udarny Strelkovy Company (2 Rifle/MG  Platoons, 1 SMG Platoon, 2 HMG, Kom.) 300pts Sturm Pionier Platoon (2 Sect., Pzfaust) 305pts
  1500 Sturm AT Gun Platoon (Panzerfaust) 130pts
    Assault Mortar Platoon (2 Sections) 145pts
    Assault MG Platoon (2 Sections) 140pts
    Heavy Tank Platoon (1x Tiger I E) 215pts
      1495

 As Army Group Centre collapses around them, Hauptmann Schmidt leads one of many smaller scale breakout attempts to reach eastern Prussia. With heavy losses his unit is one of the few who make it across the Weichsel (Vistula).

Chapter 5: 106. Panzer-Brigade Feldherrnhalle
The survivors of the collapsed Panzergrenadier-Division Feldherrnhalle are assigned to Warthelager and separated into several Feldherrnhalle formations. Wounds received during his escape across the Weichsel (Vistula) make it impossible for Erwin to serve in the new Panzergrenadier-Division Feldherrnhalle. Instead, in recognition for his service in the Feldherrnhalle ancestral units since the outbreak of hostilities, Erwin is assigned to the new 106. Panzer-Brigade Feldherrnhalle and assumes command of the V/Panzer Abteilung 2106 Feldherrnhalle. His direct superior is famous Panzer-Ace Oberst Dr. Franz Baeke. The brigade re-locates to Elsass-Lothringen (Alsace-Lorraine) to blunt the assaults of General Patton’s US Third Army in September 1944.

Battle: Ambush in Alsace-Lorraine – September 8th 1944

The hastily assembled Panzer-Brigaden are thrown against the US forces in Alsace-Lorraine. Without adequate aerial surveillance, communication equipment and unit level training, the 106. Panzer-Brigade Feldherrnhalle penetrates deep into US lines only to find itself cut off from the main German push.

Mission: The Cauldron                                                           Terrain: Woodland

Panzerkompanie (Villers-Bocage) US Rifle Company (Fortress Europe – Normandy)
Company HQ (2 Panther) 375pts Company HQ (1 Bazooka) 30pts
Panzer Platoon (3 Panther) 560pts 3x Rifle Platoon (full) 155pts155pts155pts
Panzer Platoon (3 Pz IV H) 285pts Weapons Platoon (full) 125pts
Armoured Car Patrol (2 Puma) 110pts Anti-tank Platoon (3 M1 57mm) 80pts
Motorised Scout Platoon (full) 160pts Field Artillery Battery (full) 145pts
  1490 L4 Grasshopper AOP 40pts
    Tank Destroyer Platoon (2 Sections) 335pts
    Tank Platoon (4 M4A1) 275pts
      1495

After the massive defeat in the Lothringen (Lorraine) valley, the brigade regroups and withdrawn with the rest of the First Army behind the Rhein (Rhine). Short in tanks and equipment, the brigade (now with less than 20 active tanks) is shifted slowly north-east in continuous rear-guard action. In January 1945, Baeke is relieved of command for division training and a rapid succession of commanders replaces him during January to March.

Battle: Last Stand – April 13th 1945

In early April 1945, Hauptmann Erwin Schmidt is in active command of the now nearly-combat ineffective 106. Panzer-Brigade Feldherrnhalle near the Harz Mountains during a final encounter with US armoured units.

Mission: Roadblock                                                                 Terrain: Hilly rural

US Tank Company (3rd Army) (Cobra) Panzerkompanie (Villers-Bocage)
Company HQ (+M4 (105mm)) 275pts Company HQ (2 Panther) 375pts
Tank Platoon (5 M4A1 (76mm) 575pts Panzer Platoon (3 Panther) 560pts
Tank Platoon (5 M4A1) 450pts Panzer Platoon (3 Pz IV H) 285pts
Tank Destroyer Platoon (1 Section) 175pts Armoured Car Patrol (2 Puma) 110pts
  1475 Motorised Scout Platoon (full) 160pts
      1490

With the unconditional surrender of Germany, the 106. Panzer-Brigade Feldherrnhalle disbands on May 8th 1945 and individual survivors surrender to American forces. Acting commander Erwin Schmidt is incarcerated until 1947 and ultimately dies in a car accident in Frankfurt in 1978.

Historical Note: The overall framework of this campaign is historical. In particular, the ancestral units of Feldherrnhalle and their deployment history are accurate. Individual battles are fictional creations but influenced by likely scenarios given the disposition of forces at the time. Erwin Schmidt is a fictional person and not based on any serving member of Feldherrnhalle. All other named personalities are historical figures and served in the given roles. After Oberst Dr. Franz Baeke was relieved of command of 106. Panzer-Brigade Feldherrnhalle, the unit went through rapid command changes due to battlefield casualties: Major Bernhard von Schkopp (Jan 12 – Jan 24), Oberstleutnant Heinrich Drewes (Jan 24 – Mar 29), Hauptmann Richard Pohl (Mar 29 – Apr 11) and finally Oberleutnant Ernst Matten (Apr 19 – May 8).

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