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SS Youth in
Beyond Normandy




The Nazi War Machine
By Mike Bennighof, Ph.D.
October 2012

Numerous scholars have compared Nazi Germany to a feudal empire, with high-ranking nobles competing for their sovereign's favor. Very valid comparisons to a crime syndicate have also been made, with Adolf Hitler serving as boss of bosses and followers like Herman Goering, Martin Bormann or Heinrich Himmler as his lieutenants. Whatever metaphor is used, the one statement that does not fit despite the wishes of some warped romanticizers is that Nazi Germany represented a model of economic and/or military efficiency.

By the end of the war, almost every element of the Nazi bureaucracy fielded its own army, from the Regular Army itself, through the Todt labor organization to the Waffen SS and the Air Force and Navy. Fire brigades went to war, as did the national railways and the police. Most remained under the command of their own leaders, and many wore the uniforms of their supposedly "civilian" organization. All of this was not for the sake of efficiency, but rather to assure that their parent organization did not lose the slightest shred of political influence by transferring manpower to Army control.

In our Third Reich game, we didn't really address the irrationality of the Nazi system. All German units are simply German units, just like those of every other nation represented in the game. Unlike some wargames, German Air Force and Waffen SS units do not receive their own special color schemes (though the German Afrika Korps does).

But given the nature of Nazi Germany, there is a legitimate reason to show these services separately, as their waxing political influence dictated resource allocation. Badly-trained Air Force and SS units received modern weapons, new equipment and ammunition desperately needed by veteran Army units, while inexperienced party activists or Air Force officers led raw troops into battle to be slaughtered - men who might have survived with the leadership of long-service Army professionals. Military practicality gave way to political reality: The groups that lobbied most effectively received the greatest resources, no matter what the actual needs of the war effort.

This new variant for Third Reich forces the German player to allocate resources between the Army, Air Force and Waffen SS. The German player receives more units, but they are usually very weak and he or she loses the ability to build and repair them exactly as he or she wishes.

Required Builds

In turns taking place from 1939 through 1942, the German player may build or repair units in any manner he or she wishes, within the usual confines of the game rules. Starting in 1943, the German player must build or repair ground units one at a time, in the following order: Waffen SS, German Air Force, German Army. Note that German Navy units have their own special rule below.

Example: The German force pool contains two Army 4-6 ARM, eight Army 3-3 INF, five Air Force 1-3 INF, one Waffen SS 1-4 CAV and four Waffen SS 1-3 INF. The German player wishes to build the eight 3-3 INF and two 4-5 ARM, but must also build all of the Air Force and Waffen SS units in order to do so. If there are not enough BRPs to do so, or the German player does not wish to spend that many BRPs, the units would be built in order: one Waffen SS 1-3 INF, then one Air Force 1-3 INF, then one Army 4-6 ARM, then another Waffen SS unit, an Air Force unit, an Army unit and so on.

Repair takes place in the same sequence: If an SS unit is at cadre strength and eligible to be repaired, it must be repaired before an Army unit may be built or repaired.


Remove both 3-3 PARA units from play, along with one 5-6 ARM that is added to the force pool in 1943, and three of the 1-3 INF, one 3-3 INF and the 4-6 ARM that are added to the force pool in 1944. These are replaced as follows:

In the Navy

Two German Navy 1-3 INF are added to the German force pool in Spring 1943. Starting in Spring 1943, if the German player scraps (15.6) any SURF or CV units, in the same Production Phase he or she must build at least one Navy 1-3 INF if any are in the force pool. Otherwise, the German player is not required to build a Navy ground unit (though he or she may choose to do so; these count as Army units for build sequence purposes).

Off We Go

The German Air Force begins with one 3-3 PARA in the force pool.

In Spring 1941, add an additional 3-3 PARA to the force pool.

In Spring 1942, add six German Air Force 1-3 INF to the force pool.

In Spring 1943, add one German Air Force 4-6 ARM to the force pool.

Les Boys

The Waffen SS begins with one 3-4 INF on its 1-4 cadre side. It may not be rebuilt to its 3-4 side until the Spring 1940 turn.

In Spring 1941, add one Waffen SS 3-4 INF to the force pool.

In Spring 1942, add one Waffen SS 1-3 MTN to the force pool.

In Spring 1943, the two Waffen SS 3-4 INF may each be replaced with a 5-6 ARM at a cost of 10 BRPs each.

In Spring 1944, add one Waffen SS 5-6 ARM, four Waffen SS 1-3 INF and one Waffen SS 1-4 CAV to the force pool.

Brothers in Arms

Waffen SS ARM units may only be repaired in a hex in Germany not adjacent to any enemy unit.

Money for Nothing

Thanks to the corruption endemic to the Nazi system, Navy, Waffen SS and Air Force units cost an additional two BRPs to build from the force pool, instead of the usual one. For example, an Army 1-3 INF costs two BRPs to build, but a Waffen SS or Air Force 1-3 INF costs three BRPs.

Suicide is Painless

If the Hitler Killed political marker is drawn, all SS units are immediately removed from play and may not be rebuilt. Any Army units stacked with them are flipped to their cadre side, or placed in the force pool if they have no cadre side or are already on it (as fighting breaks out between Hitler's adherents and his assassins). All Air Force ground units are removed from the map if in play; place the corresponding Army units in the force pool (note there are only three Army 1-3 INF available for this purpose; the other three Air Force 1-3 INF are permanently out of play). The German player may build and repair units in any order he or she wishes; the Air Force has lost its influence. Navy units are not affected, but the special building rules and additional BRP cost no longer apply.

You can download the new units here.

Order Third Reich now and conquer the Nazi war machine!