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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Stepping into Flames of War...




Hobby wise lately, I've been working almost entirely on my Flames of War stuff after having it sit on my shelf for a few years.  I've always been fascinated by history, but lately I've been bitten by the WWII bug much harder than ever before!  Seeing as I'm also not really playing any other gaming systems at the time of writing this, I've started to make FoW more of a priority.  Here are some of my initial plans for Flames of Wars...



     There are TONS of different options when it comes to starting flames of war, by years: Early War, Mid War, Late War, then you also have lots of various campaigns and fronts to choose from.  Me, I started by choosing which campaign I wanted to focus:  "Operation Husky" and "Operation Shingle", the allied invasion of Sicily and mainland Italy.  Right now, this is covered in two books, and spans from Mid war into Late War.  (I'm also excited for a new book set that will cover these operations in March 2014)  Out of all the various campaigns and fronts to choose from, there is just something about these two that really resonate with me, so that will be my focus.  Next up is faction choice..


Operation Husky.  The allied invasion of Sicily that provided the
stepping stone towards invading mainland Italy...

     Here's where things may get a bit awkward depending on how sensitive people are.  I am a German/Italian American, which I think may be why those are the only 3 factions that interest me.  Luckily, all three of those nations fought in the Italian Campaigns!  I've always been drawn towards the "bad guys" or the villains in almost everything, and you can't get closer to the definition of the villains of WWII than Nazi Germany.  When I initially looked into this game a few years ago, I picked up a few boxes of Panzer IV's and a platoon of Panzer III's, so I guess I'm starting with Germany.  With that out the way, I had to find a unit/division that fought in both Operation Husky and Shingle, with the hopes that I could get two armies (Mid & Late war) for the price of one.  Through research, I stumbled upon the Hermann Göring Fallschirm-Panzer Division, which I found to be interesting.  So, that gives me a tank company (or in this case, a Panzer Kompanie) to play, but what if I want to try infantry once I get a better handle on the game?  That led me to looking at the Italians, which limits me to the Mid War with them.  Further more, I fell in love with the Semovente 90/53, and since I also picked up a few of those, I'd like a list that uses them... which narrows things down even further, to a single list, a Battaglione Fucilieri list to be exact.  Finally, what about the Americans?  As with my Germans, I'd like a force that spans both operations, both mid war and late war.  The background of the First Special Service Force ("the Devil's Brigade") sounds absolutely wicked.  They were given their nickname of "the Devil's Brigade" due to their calling card they left on raided fortifications and german corpses containing their unit insignia with the words "Das Dicke Ende Kommt Noch..." which translates to "The worst is yet to come...".  Now, tell me that is not totally BA!  BUT, they were present for the invasion of mainland Italy, but not for the invasion of Sicily.  Another unit that peaked my interest after reading Lloyd Clark's book about Anzio was Darby's Rangers.  They fought in both operations, and had some equally BA moments that saw them infiltrating numerous enemy lines in the dead of night, silently killing along the way.  Sadly, they did meet a tragic end during the Italian campaign, which makes for an interesting, tragic narrative.  So, when I get around to starting a US force, I think it will be based on Darby's Rangers, using the Ranger's list from the North Africa, and because the unit options closely match, I'll use the SSF list from the Dogs & Devils book.

     Phew, so those are my ideas.  Starting with a Late War HG Panzer Kompanie that can transfer to a Mid War Panzer Kompanie, followed by an Italian Mid War force focused on defending Sicily, and finally a US force based on Darby's Rangers that will also transition from Mid to Late War provided I'm able to get in plenty of games that would warrant a third force.  I'll also be striving for a bit realism when it comes to list building, and trying to get the overall look of the miniatures as historically accurate as possible.  Overall, those are my plans for Flames of War.  As with anything, things may change,  I may not get around to a full 3 armies, but I think a good start will be to actually read the rule book...

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