River Of Heroes follows Hammer and Sickle and focuses on the Soviet units carrying out the final phase of Operation Bagration, the final assaults across the Vistula River led by the tank spearheads racing towards Warsaw along with the specialised assault engineers and supporting self-propelled artillery regiments.
With the lead tank spearheads finally meeting stiff German opposition the advancing Soviet Armies made their final Operation Bagration assaults to secure bridgeheads over the Vistula River.
What Soviet forces are inside?
River Of Heroes introduces the specialised Soviet Assault Engineers along with Independent Self-propelled Artillery Regiments designed to attack, secure, and hold key bridgeheads needed to continue the advance towards Germany.
These highly integrated battalions were organised to accomplish one objective. That was to attack, destroy and hold specific German strong points. To that end these battalions contained a full mix of platoons to accomplish this important and deadly task. Integrated with anti-tank rifles, Maxim Heavy Machine-guns, mortars, pioneers machine-gun teams and Pioneer Faustnika teams, these Assault Battalions provided the heavy assault capabilities to crack open even the most tenacious German defences.
These formations also have the support of mine-roller and flame-tanks to provide the speed and knockout power needed to quickly subdue the German defences before any counterattack can be organized.
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Self-Propelled Artillery Regiments
The solution to the Soviets problem of supply artillery support to their mobile spearheads was the self-propelled artillery regiment.
These independent regiments provided the heavy lifting needed to support the advance against German strong points and the heavy tanks. Organized with either ISU-152 or ISU-122 guns, the companies of the Self-Propelled Artillery Regiment could support both tanks and infantry assaults.
Using more sophisticated tactics to fight against German Panzers and strong points, these Guards units are not affected by the Hen and Chicks special rule. Bringing these big guns to bear can be decisive in assuring the success of your assaults.
The leading three Tank Brigades of the 3rd Tank Corps all contained the newest T-34 tanks.
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An entire Brigade of 85mm guns provided the firepower needed to continue the advance through even the best German Panzer units.
The 3rd Tank Corps contained the 50th, 51st, and 103rd Tank Brigades full equipped for Operation Bagration with 65 T-34/85 tanks apiece. This Corps led the final advance towards the junction of the Vistula with the Narew and Bug Rivers.
These new specialised forces have the best Corps support the Soviet Army of 1944 can provide. It includes Guards Heavy Tank Companies, Tank Killer and Tank Destruction Companies, Udarny and Strelkovy infantry, as well the artillery support of the Katyusha, regular artillery and heavy artillery battalions.
All three of these forces are ‘tip of the spear’ units designed to take the fight to the enemy. Together with their support they can take on anything the Wehrmacht can throw at them.
The teams in the Assault Brigades possess many new capabilities for the Soviet Army. Specially designed to attack enemy fortified and dug-in positions they are equipped with body armour, captured panzerfaust or Faustnika, and smoke to assist them in their assaults. The ability to infiltrate their sappers with their Spetznatz insures that you can close with the enemy quickly and effectively.
Other Special Rules
First seen in Stalin’s Onslaught, Volley Fire remains giving re-rolls to SU76M, ISU122, 76mm ZIS-3, 57mm ZIS-2 and 45mm obr 1942 guns that didn’t move during Movement step on failed to hit rolls at team up to 16”/40cm away.
The Heavy Breakthrough Gun rule remains as well and applies to the IS-2 and ISU-122. Infantry, Gun teams and Unarmoured vehicles are vulnerable to these massive rounds and automatically fail their save if hit by one.
Finally, the Engineering Assault rule applies to the Engineer-Sapper Battalion requiring them to attack in any mission containing Prepared Positions or it the defender had fortifications.
Leytenant Ivan Zabolotny
Leytenant Zabolotny is the 2iC Command team in an Engineer-Sapper Battalion and brings two unique capabilities to this specialised unit. Picked to form a small reconnaissance unit to find the weak points in the enemy lines, Ivan has honed his skills in selecting the right mix of troops to sneak out, find the right place to attack, and direct supporting fire for the Engineer-Sapper Battalion.
Leytenant Vasily S. Rat
Leytenant Rat has learned the survival skills needed to become a skilled Heavy Assault gun company commander. He has devised an effective manoeuvre against German heavy tanks and taught his company these skills in fighting Germans and staying alive. His prowess has paid off with medals and bounty for killing eight Tigers, one Panther and a Ferdinand.
Hitler has sent two of his most vaunted panzer divisions and a new wonder weapon to try and stop these offensive machines that the Soviets have constructed. The IV. SS-Panzerkorps consisting of 3. ‘Totenkopf’ SS-Panzerdivision and 5. ‘Wiking’ SS-Panzerdivision has been organized to halt the last spearhead of Operation Bagration.
The SS-Panzerkorps organization provides a wide range of options to build a formidable force to halt and defeat the Red Army as it attempts to breach the line of the Vistula. Though battle losses and reorganization have taken their toll, new weapons, old heroes, and clever equipment mixes provide new approaches to halting Ivan.
The German companies in River of Heroes are designed around these concepts. Each company gives you a new and different opportunity to confuse your opponents and hit them hard and deadly with combinations that have never been seen before.
3. ‘Totenkopf’ SS-Kompanie
The notorious 3. SS-panzerdivison participated in some of the bloodiest battles of the war. Hated and feared across the Eastern Front, this fight to the death unit produced the fanatical leader, Fritz Biermeyer. With an organic Tiger I company and the introduction of the Stürmtiger, you have the weapons and support choices to match the mission with the equipment. Integrating the veteran core units of an SS-Panzerdivision together with the right mix of available support can provide the knockout blow to any Soviet offensive.
This is the key to using this unit. A wide variety of options are available, finding the right mix in the dilemma.
5. ‘Wiking’ SS-Kompanie
Huge combat losses and the re-assignment of many veterans to other divisions have diluted this unit’s combat prowess. However, it still retains its multinational flavour and vaunted Panzerregiment leadership. Fully refitted with new manpower and many new options to support either the Danish or Flemish regiments, the ‘Wiking’ once more provides the unyielding force of an SS-Panzerdivision with the reputation of neither giving nor receiving quarter.
A new contender has arrived to claim the title as king. The first operational battalion of Königstiger has arrived. The 501. Schwere Panzerabteilung was attached to the 16. Panzerdivision in an effort to halt the Soviet advance across the Vistula at Sandomiercz, Poland.
This heavy tank force, supported by other panzertruppen, was hastily unleashed, rudely indoctrinated in their first battle, but ultimately feared on both the Eastern and Western Fronts. These lumbering hulks with massive firepower can turn the tide of any battle, but their small numbers may not be enough to reverse the fortunes of war.
The IV. SS-Panzerkorps consolidated the divisional artillery of both SS-Panzerdivisionen into a Corps asset. This allows the flexibility of providing both additional and cross-divisional artillery support. For the first time you can field enough artillery to halt a Soviet advance in its tracks.
A 3. ‘Totenkopf’ SS-Kompanie can also field the Sturmtiger. This new Rocket Assault Howitzer can flatten a bunker or take out an entire platoon. Two of these monsters can level a city. Each Stürmtiger fires as a separate artillery battery making only one attempt to range in on its target. Once ranged in, its Roll to Hit is always a 5+ for each target under the normal artillery template. Armoured vehicles can make a save but all other teams are Destroyed.
A 3. ‘Totenkopf’ SS-Kompanie can also receive heavy tank support from its own Tiger Company.
Besides the normal SS-Panzerdivision support, both the 3rd and 5th SS-Panzerdivision can receive support from the deadly PaK43 anti-tank gun and the mobile S307(f) R-Vielfachwerfer battery.
Being attached to the 16. Panzerdivision, a 501. Schwere Panzerkompanie can receive full standard Panzerdivision support. This includes panzer, panzergrenadier, panzerpionier, assault gun and tank hunter platoons as well as artillery and rocket launcher batteries.
All three companies can receive Luftwaffe support in the form of aircraft, anti-aircraft, or FlaK Nests.
Sturmbannführer Fritz Biermeyer
Herr Biermeyer’s units always had the most casualties but always advanced mercilessly. He demanded total obedience and drove his subordinates towards victory no matter the circumstances. Relentless in attack he never stopped until victory was achieved.
The 5. SS-panzerregiment of the Wiking SS-Panzerdivision contained thirteen holders of the Knight’s Cross. These men alone contained the skills to lead any panzer platoon in the division to victory. Each one had weathered the perils of the Eastern Front and now possessed the individual skills to lift their unit’s capability above what was expected.
Released: 12 December 2009