Sunday, November 06, 2011

Organising my WWII troops

For my 20mm WWII project I've decided that the main set of rules that I'll use is Troops, Weapons & Tactics from Too Fat Lardies, though I will also look at trying out some other sets of rules such as Flying Lead from Ganesha Games. One of the main reasons for my choice is that I prefer to do platoon level actions in this scale and feel that a lot of rulesets can break down a bit for this level of game.

For unit organisations there is a section in the national force descriptions in the back of TW&T, but I found that there was a very useful resource at Bayonet strength which has helped me get completely clear on the organisations that I will be adopting for the US paratroops and infantry platoons and German Volksgrenadier platoons that will be used in my Bastogne campaign.

The US Paratroop Platoon had an HQ with a Platoon leader, usually a Lieutenant, a Platoon Sergeant, Sergeant Guide, radio operator and two runners. The Lieutenant and guide would be armed with a M1 carbine, the sergeant a SMG and the others officially carried M1 rifles. There would also be a bazooka with no crew, a sniper rifle and extra Browning MG that could be allocated to the squads. The mortar squad would have 6 men to crew the 60mm mortar. Most of these crew would officially have M1 rifles, but in reality I suspect M1 carbines would have been favoured because of their lesser weight.

The two rifle squads would have a Staff Sergeant leading and a Sergeant as second in command, a scout team of two riflemen, three man LMG team with a Browning M1919A4 or A6 MG with these possibly having M1 carbines and a five man rifle team with M1 Garand rifles. Though this officially based organisation does not include Browning Automatic Rifles it is definitely the case that Paratroop units had them as well as probably more SMG than they were allocated officially.

For the Volksgrenadiers I am using the final organisation from November 1944 with a Rifle Company consisting of 1 Rifle Platoon and 2 Sturm Platoons, with the Sturm platoons being largely armed with automatic weapons. These Sturm platoons have been originally called Machine Pistol platoons with the assumption being that like the Russian SMG platoons they were almost entirely armed with SMG, but I have been convinced that they had a mixture of weapons including MP40, Stg44 and probably still some K98 and G43 rifles. The November 1944 organisation is clearer in describing most of the Sturm platoon as being armed with Stg44, but it is unlikely that all of the troops would have been equipped with new weapons that quickly.

The Sturm platoon HQ has a commander with a Stg44, 2 messengers with Stg44, 3 rifle grenadiers with K98 and Scheissbesser rifle grenade attachments, 2 drivers for the supply wagon with K98 and a stretcher bearer with a pistol. There is also supposed to be a spare LMG with the HQ, but I would expect it to be used by one of the squads to give some additional ranged firepower.

There are two squads led by an NCO with a Stg44 and made up of another 7 troops with Stg44 on the official organisation. I will have these as a mixture of weapons including MP40 SMG, G43 and K98 rifles as it would have not necessarily been possible to have all the new weapons supplied and one of these squads would also probably have the spare LMG from platoon HQ. The third squad contains an NCO with SMG, 2 LMG gunners with a pistol and an MG34 or $2 and 5 men that are meant to have Stg44 from the official organisation.

The Rifle platoon has a more conventional organisation with the HQ having a commander and 2 messengers with MP40,  3 rifle grenadiers with K98 and Scheissbesser rifle grenade attachments, 2 drivers for the supply wagon with K98 and a stretcher bearer with a pistol. The three squads have an NCO with MP40, 1 LMG, 1 MP40 and 5 K98 rifles.

There is no official allocation of Anti Tank weapons in the Volks Grenadier Company, but I think it is fair to assume that each squad would have a number of PanzerFaust available.

In my next post I'll set out how I'll actually organise the figures on the table.

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