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Armies of the Second World War


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I have been tinkering with my WW2 AE arc, and I've been toying with my representations of the various militaries.  The idea was to create three units for each army, and officer, an infantryman, and a special forces trooper.  They're just normal people with guns, so I gave each one ONE attack power only.  Officers were given one additional support power, intended to make the other troops more effective.  The idea is that this power should represent the "nature" of the particular army.  For example, American soldiers were known for their toughness and tenacity, so the officers got the Fortitude power (from Empathy).  British troops are known for that "stiff upper lip," their discipline, and so got the Clear Mind power (also from Empathy).  German troops of that time inspired a lot of fear, what with the conditions of their POW camps and the like, so I gave their officers the Fearsome Stare power.


I've been kind of thinking about whether I've represented the armies and their units properly, and I thought I'd see if anyone had some feedback.  In particular, do you think the officer support powers I chose are appropriate, do you think I've chosen the right special forces for each faction, and do you think I've armed them all properly.  I've highlighted the relevant units and powers I'm having issues with, let me know what you think.


What I have now is this:



Officer (Pistols, Fortitude) - representing the toughness of the US Army.

Infantry (Slug) - single shot, representing the M1 rifle.

US Marine (Buckshot) - representing the combat shotgun or "trench gun," for close quarters combat.  I'd considered giving them Burst, to represent the Thompson submachinegun, or Flamethrower, both of which were used by the Marines.  What was more typical?



Officer (Pistols, Clear Mind) - representing the discipline and tenacity of the British Army.

Infantry (Burst) - representing the Sten Submachinegun.

Commando (???) - British special forces... but I'm not sure what weapon they were best known for.  I thought of giving them a knife attack to represent the Fairborn Sykes Commando knife, or Full Auto to represent the Browning Machinegun.



Officer (Pistols, Gang War) - Russian troops were not known for being especially effective, but they were very numerous.

Infantry (Burst) - representing the PPSH submachine gun and similar weapons.

Sniper (Snipe) - forced to retreat at first, the Russians had some of the most effective guerilla snipers in the world.



Officer (Pistols, Fearsome Stare) - Germans were known for their brutality, and created great fear in many of their foes.

Infantry (Slug) - representing the various Gewehr rifles.

Stormtrooper (Burst) - I wasn't sure about this one, and considered using the SS. the weapon represents the famous MP40 submachine gun.



Officer (Pistols, ???) - The Italians weren't known for being a strong military, so I'm uncertain what power represents their strength.

Infantry (Slug) - representing the standard Carcano rifle.

Gunner (Burst) - borrwing the MP40 from the Germans.  Another unit I'm not sure of, what did the Italian special forces look like?



Officer (???, ???) - My inclination was to give the Japanese Officer Pistols and a Katana, but he can't have both.  So, I'm not sure what weapon to give him.  Also, I didn't give him a support power, because their special forces unit, Ninjas, are so powerful.

Infantry (Slug) - representing the Arisaka rifle.  Should they have an automatic fire weapon?

Ninja (Katana, Ninjitsu) - uniquely, this unit has several powers from the Ninjitsu set, so the Officer gets no support power to compensate.

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My impressions/ideas...


(And is Officer = boss, infantry = minion. and the last one an LT?) 



One attack seems pretty weak depending on the level of this. I often give them one or more of the invulnerable non-toggles to minions as it is trivial but gives them something small that does not muck with costumes.  

  1. Russians - Based on your description, the Russian officer could be a merc mastermind with maybe only infantry and a machine gun -warmth would be kind of a funny secondary 🙂 but not realistic enough. Also snipe in practice may have the opposite effect you are looking for - will mobs might aggro sooner if they can shoot further - bears testing.
  2. Italians - Officer could be pistols/grenade from Devices
  3. Japanese - Seems odd to me to have a Ninja in WW2. Could give the infantry guns/blaster martial arts and instead give the officer the katana and Smoke Flash from ninjitsu or something for support.


For what it's worth, I tend to have minions and bosses as combat types and LTs as support.


Edited by Ankylosaur

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Actually, I made them ALL minions.  The idea is that the regular troops, even the officers, are all just normal people, it's the superhumans that are the real threat in the missions.  I wanted the regular soldiers to be little more than cannon fodder, letting the heroes feel extra powerful, wading through literal armies.


I thought about giving the Russian officer mercs, but they look exactly like my German infantry, so I didn't want to do that, as it might be confusing.  Also, they're a lot stronger than the posse members.

I thought about giving someone of them grenades, but the only explosive grenade is fired from the gun, something that didn't really exist in WW2 (I think there was a dedicated grenade launcher, but it wouldn't have been useful as a regular firearm).

The Japanese were something of a conundrum.  I'm not entirely sure how best to represent them, and they really only appear in one mission.  So, I opted to go for a bit of flavour instead of sticking to realism for that one mission.  It works ok, I think, since it's the most unusual of the five missions (as it also involves Ouroboros and the Rikti).

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  • 3 weeks later

I'm not a professional historian or anything, but I can give my opinion on this.


The Italian army in WW2 had two major problems - not only was their industrial base sorely lacking in comparison to their neighbors, they also suffered greatly from endemic corruption and inefficiencies caused by fascism(Germany suffered these too, but had inherited much stronger institutions as well as a tradition of perfectionism that kept their industry from cutting corners - for better or worse). In both the army and the navy, competence seemed to inversely correlate with rank, so I'm not sure their officers should have anything but a pistol. Their elite forces, on the other hand, were the bersaglieri(singular bersagliere), identified by the black feather stuck to their helmets. They had minimum height requirements as well as very high standards in both physical performance and marksmanship. Giving them the MP40 fits since historically Italy needed a lot of aid from Germany, and you might want to consider giving them a second power and not giving the officer anything.


As for the other armies, giving the US marines shotguns is fine and adds a bit of diversity to things, though flamethrowers would also be very fitting. The British commandos, at least in WW2, were picked for intelligence and initiative and were a rowdy but highly motivated bunch, and of course they underwent much harsher training than the general infantry. Of the two weapons suggested, I'd say the knife fits them better, though it'd be a bit odd for them to have only a knife attack and no gun. Oh, and did you confuse the Browning and the Bren machine guns? Because the British Bren LMG would fit them a lot better than the American Browning HMG.


I have no particular comments on the Russians, though I'd like to note that a lot of Western historiography of the eastern front is based entirely on German sources, who were obviously quite interested in covering their own asses. The red army was never known for its tactical ingenuity, its approach to equipment was always 'what corners can we cut to produce more faster?' and both its soldiers and factory workers were illiterate peasants but after the initial shock of Barbarossa wore off it showed itself to be very effective on the operational and strategic level, best evidenced by the late-war Operation Bagration and the Manchurian Operation. Raw manpower alone does not win battles - force concentration does.


I think making the German elite be a stormtrooper is a good idea. The SS have a lot of baggage and were selected on a basis of political reliability, so while they had high morale and the best equipment, the actual quality of SS troops varied wildly. Also, while the equipment you picked is good, you might want to consider giving the soldier the MP40 and the stormtrooper a flamethrower(and a gas mask), especially if the US marines keep their shotguns. Gas mask, flamethrower and an all-black uniform just screams WW2 German to me. Finally, I'd like to note that if I was going for realism I wouldn't give their officers a fear effect, but it fits the superhero comic aesthetic of this game just fine.


Finally, giving the Japanese ninjas is very silly, but again it's not out of place in a superhero comic. Japanese officers did have katanas but they were cheap mass-produced status symbols rather than actual weapons. I'd say have them use their pistols. Also, the Arisaka is very fitting for the infantry, but it's too bad there's no bayonet attack. Only army bayonet-crazy enough to put a bayonet mount on their machine gun. Also, if you want a more realistic special unit there's the Special Naval Landing Forces(Rikusentai).


Hope that helps.

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Awesome analysis there!  I'm not a pro historian either, but have some knowledge of WW2.  I appreciate a second opinion on the matter.  I worry that making the Italian special forces with the special ability might make them more effective than they should be... but then, I made all of them Minions, so the Officers are as likely to spawn as the Special Forces.  I might go with that.


Thanks again, and I welcome any other thoughts.

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