Blitzfreeze campaigns take place amidst the shambolic retreat from the siege lines around Leningrad. Players control a group of stragglers, making up the very last elements of the German rearguard.
The supplement makes some modifications to the character creation from Five Men in Normandy, allowing players to create a disparate band of desperate men to lead through the 150km trek back to the Panther line at Narva.
We’ll run through the character creation to illustrate the personalities that can be generated.
The supplement recommends creating five characters to start off with.
The first step is to select a battlefield role for each man. Rolling 5d100 we get:
- A Pioneer
- A Clerk
- An Officer
- A Driver
- A Machine Gunner
Next, we have to establish what each man was getting up to during the lengthy siege around Leningrad.
Rolling 5d10 again, we have:
- The pioneer was caught up in the thickest fighting, as befits his role as a combat engineer.
- The clerk spent most of his time in the stockade awaiting court martial, perhaps for falling foul of a senior officer.
- The officer, like the pioneer, saw more than his fair share of the fighting, scrapping with the Soviets over every inch of rubble-strewn streets.
- The driver spent his time malingering in the rear area, doing his best to keep as far away from the shooting as possible.
- The machine gunner was assigned to headquarters, spending most of his time behind a sandbagged emplacement, polishing his weapon.
After determining what our unlikely protagonists were doing just prior to the rout, we have to figure out what they got up to before joining the army.
Rolling 5d100, we get:
- Our pioneer had a successful career in the landespolizei, earning distinction in the street battles against communist rioters during the depression.
- Our clerk was a senior gamekeeper on a country estate, spending more of his time managing larders and storehouses than pursuing poachers.
- Our officer was plucked from a Berlin jail, but distinguished himself during Operation Barbarossa and swiftly rose through the ranks to the position of junior officer.
- Our driver was a successful folk musician, who spent most of his time touring Bavarian beer halls with his trombone.
- Our machine gunner fought alongside the alter kampfer in the SA, cracking bolshevik skulls with fist and truncheon. Like many of his comrades, he was absorbed into the Wehrmacht after the Night of the Long Knives.
Finally, we need to add some personality to our soldiers. Rolling 5d100 again, we get:
- The pioneer is a cheerful soul, unhindered by the horrors he has witnessed during the siege.
- The clerk is particularly unruly, a trait that propelled him straight into the stockade.
- The officer is a realist capable of adapting to even the most trying circumstances.
- The driver is exceptionally courteous to all, quick to ingratiate himself for any perceived personal gain.
- The machine gunner is devoted to the fascist cause, whipped into a state of fanaticism by state propaganda.
With all the rolling done, all that remains is to attach names and ranks to our crew and lead them out into the frozen hellscape.
In command of our understrength squad is Oberleutnant Eberhard Specht, a decorated officer commended for his dependability under fire and his actions during the bitter fighting in the Russian campaign.
His nominal second in command is Pionier Willy Bretz, the cheerful policeman turned combat engineer who distinguished himself in the house-to-house fighting across Leningrad.
Rounding out the trio of combat arms personnel is Gefreiter Hannes Kraus, a fanatical ex-SA member who wants nothing more than to mow down bolshevik scum with his MG42.
The first of the tag-alongs from the rear areas is Kraftfahrer Knut Saller, a truck driver who spent most of the siege inventing assignments to take him as far away from the combat zone as possible.
The last member of this unlucky band is Soldat Laurenz Hummel, rescued from the stockade by Pionier Bretz Laurenz joined the army as a typist and telephone operator. He was caught trading supplies to peasants in the area around Leningrad and swiftly demoted and imprisoned.
Before the campaign begins, we need to generate 3 non-player characters that may provide assignments and assistance to our merry band. Rolling 3d100, we get:
- An infantry officer; likely the most senior ranking officer in this portion of the rearguard.
- An SS officer; potentially engaging in anti-partisan operations, or simply fleeing like everyone else.
- A fascist partisan; perhaps a local turncoat engaged by the army as a guide through the frozen wasteland.