Last week, we revealed all the Soviet divisions (opens in new tab) Eugen has designed for Steel Division 2 (opens in new tab), so this week it's the opposition's turn. Germany is looking to put a stop to the Soviets' march through Belarus, which is easier said than done with facing an opponent more than four times larger. Historically, the German line was demolished by the Soviet assault, but in Steel Division 2, the Axis can still field plenty of experienced, well-equipped troops.
5th Panzerdivision (German 5th Armoured Division)
The German 5th Armoured Division has a lot of weight to throw around. It's a beefy, battle-hardened division, the toughest in the sector, and boasts plenty of Panthers and Tigers. Its one weakness is a fluke of history—its heavy recon battalion was back in Germany training when Operation Bagration kicked off, forcing them to make do with infantry scouts. It packs a heavy punch, but it can't see very well.
20th Panzerdivision (German 20th Armoured Division)
The German 20th Armoured Division was caught a bit unprepared for a big fight. With only one tank battalion containing some Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks, it lives in the shadow of its flashier sibling above. It's a scrappy division, however, and has shored up some of its weaknesses by pinching Soviet tanks, anti-tank guns and infantry weapons. It's a rubbish Panzerdivision, but Eugen says it can be a versatile Panzergrenadier division.
78th Sturmdivision (German 78th Assault Division)
The Sturmdivision was meant to be the model for future infantry divisions, small but boasting lots of support weapons and guns, including MP-44 assault rifles, StuG assault guns and the Pak 43 anti-tank gun. It can pack a wallop. It's even stronger than a Panzergrenadier division, says Eugen, and thus protects the critical Moscow-Minsk highway, backed up by heavy Nashorn tank destroyers and unfortunate penal units.
28th Jägerdivision (German 28th Light Infantry Division)
This division had been around the block a few times when Operation Bagration started. It's an experienced division that excels in close combat. The Jäger are equipped with MP-40 SMGs and MP-44 assault rifles and get some additional support from assault guns and tank destroyers.
14th Infanterie-Division (German 14th Infantry Division)
Another improvised division, the 14th Infantry Division is actually missing a bunch of its infantry, but it makes up for this with strong mechanised support units, including StuGs and Tigers. You'll spot a lot of captured Soviet artillery and anti-tank guns in the roster, too, making this another almost-Panzergrenadier division. That seems to be a theme—armoured and infantry divisions that are really mechanised infantry. Don't let anyone put you in a box.
Gruppe Harteneck (German Battle Group ‘Harteneck’)
Battle Group Harteneck was put together in a pinch and flung at Soviet vanguards. Its losses were then replaced by whatever was just sitting around, so there are a lot of different units. It's built around the 4th Cavalry Brigade, mounted infantry with MP-44s and supported by light tanks, such as the Panzer II and III. There's even a half battalion of tank-destroying Tigers. Eugen says you'll want to use it for recon mostly, and it's got almost no anti-aircraft capabilities and has to instead rely on the Luftwaffe.
Köruck 559 (German Security Command 559)
Initially designed for security and anti-partisan jobs, this division ended up getting stuck right between Soviet armour and a key German command hub at Minsk. The last force between them and their target. It's got a wide assortment of units, historically gained over the course of the battle, so you'll be able to field everything from elite Tigers to anti-air artillery, as well as the weaker police troops and light armoured units it was originally built around.
1st Lovas Hadosztály (Hungarian 1st Cavalry Division)
An elite Hungarian division, the 'Hussar Division' is full of experienced infantry and recon units, supported by lots of Hungarian medium tanks. It struggles in the anti-tank department, but thanks to its Nimrod self-propelled anti-air gun, among others, it can handle plenty of threats from ground and air. During Operation Bagration, it was thrown against Soviet armoured divisions to cover the German retreat, costing the 1st Cavalry almost all of its tanks. The division survived, however, and it got some of the first Hetzer tank destroyers as replacements.
5th Tartalékos Hadosztály (Hungarian 5th Reserve Division)
The Axis' second Hungarian division, unlike the one above, was only formed for security and anti-partisan duties, but it was still called in to shore up the German line after the Soviet assaults had punched holes through it. Eugen describes it as "WWI-minded", fighting defensively and mostly with infantry and machine guns. It has some backup, however, in the form of an independent armoured company with tanks designed for infantry support. It gets some help from the skies, too, thanks to the Pumas, the elite fighter-wing of the Royal Hungarian Air Force.
That's all of the new divisions for both Soviet and Axis armies, though you'll also be able to use divisions from the first game if you own it, at least in skirmishes. I don't know about you, but I can't close my eyes without seeing tanks now. They're everywhere. This will no doubt be exacerbated in a couple of months when they're filling the screen in their hundreds.