The guys over at WWPD have just put up their review of the upcoming Bridge at Remagen book for Flames of War. The review was largely positive overall. To be honest I've been feeling like a first time author anxiously awaiting those first reviews... which I guess effectively I am. I wrote the German lists for Bridge at Remagen - with several key inputs from Mike Haught. In the end I thought the collaboration had been very successful, and this first review implies I'm not totally off base!
My #1 goal with all of the lists was to make them as accurate as possible. Initially Mike H. wanted me to work on Kampfgruppe Hudel, which involved setting up lists for 512 Schwere Panzerjager Abteilung, 654 Schwere Panzerjager Abteilung, and 506 Schwere Panzer Abteilung (Mike H. later expanded it to include the 510. as well!). One of the playtesters, Andras Schneider, suggested that we needed an infantry list and highlighted the role of SS-Panzer "Westfalen" in the battles at Paderborn, so I went off and worked up that list as well.
I started with 512 Schwere Panzerjager Abteilung. As I started digging into the unit history, I realized that it would be impossible to make just one list that would adequately cover the unit. So I broke it into three lists, with 3/512 acting as support for "Westfalen" in the Paderborn battles. This allows you to field 2/512 under Otto Carius as RT and the excellent CV 1/512. as either their initial all Jagdtiger configuration or as the later Kampfgruppe Ernst.
Whether equipped with Jagdpanthers or Ferdinands, 654 Schwere Panzerjager Abteilung has always been one of my favorite units from World War II. While digging through their unit history I found an interesting time in late '44 and early '45 where their Jagdpanthers were supplemented with Nashorn tank destroyers (yes, I know it says "Hornisse" in the book, trust me, the unit called the vehicle a Nashorn at this point). Unfortunately the time frame was outside the scope of the book, but Mike H. let me throw in the list anyway. It provides an interesting variant on the standard heavy tank hunter list, with a lot of very unique support choices.
Researching 506 Schwere Panzer Abteilung was a bit more difficult because there are few in-depth references on the unit itself that are readily available in English. In the end, I had to pull several sources together to get the organization correct. Fortunately as a heavy tank battalion, the basic organization was relatively fixed.
One of the most interesting lists from both a research and writing perspective was SS-Panzer Brigade "Westfalen." The unit itself isn't exceptionally well known, but it provided one of the few real "speed-bumps" the American forces encountered during the Ruhr encirclement. Essentially an under-equipped rag-tag infantry unit, the brigade none the less fought well. Getting the support units correct involved a fair amount of detective work, but I'm happy with the final list.
Last, but certainly not least, I really want to thank Mike Haught at Battlefront Miniatures for giving me the opportunity to make so many contributions to this particular book. I greatly appreciate his confidence in me and his ability to collaborate on a project of this scope from a hemisphere away. From a gaming perspective, this is one of the most challenging things I've done. While I've written a few PDF's in the past, this project was far greater in scope and had a far tighter timeline. I hope you the players enjoy running the lists as much as I enjoyed researching and writing them!