Ben takes a look at his favorite Bagration german addition; the flattest of Panzer; the PzIV/70!
I’ll start this by laying my cards on the table early. The Panzer IV/70 is the best armour fighting vehicle ever made and I will fight you to the death in a 1960’s style Star Trek Arena battle if you disagree (…. I have a feeling I better clear my schedule).*
I’m not just talking about in 15mm wargaming terms either, it’s got the perfect look of completely crazy and a bit hodgepodge and yet like the “ugly girl” in every early 2000’s teen movie, she’s the prom queen.
Then in game terms, it has some massive weaknesses (I’ll get onto these in a minute) that lower its points but which can be mitigated with careful play. Finally, there are some really good strengths which in the right situation make it as good as any Big Cat.
So let’s look at the numbers and begin to work out why I love this AFV so much – and why the Panther wishes it was short and turretless! I’m going to mostly focus on the Panther here as they have always been seen as similar in the game and I feel it’s the closest, relevant, comparison.
So, for two fewer points a tank, the PzIV/70 gives you a worse Counter-Attack and Assault, slightly worse Side Armour (though, like the front armour, it has been bolstered from v3), one less MG shot, a much worse Crossing value and is slower at Dash speed. On the flip side, you gain Bazooka Skirts (not that you really want to use them).
That might sound like a lot of negatives but really it isn’t. Let me break these down.
- You probably don’t want to be assaulting with either vehicle anyway.
- Side Armour 5 in Late War isn’t much to write home so dropping it isn’t a big deal. The Bazooka skirt gives you side armour 5 vs HEAT anyway.
- Sure, maybe the extra mg shot might have pinned that assaulting infantry, or maybe the counter-attack will mean you don’t keep contesting an objective, but the odds are these won’t make any difference.
These negatives (bar one) are mostly situational and probably won’t impact your games or make a massive difference too often.
Now you Panzer IV/70 deniers out there (no idea if this is a thing, feels like I just made it up but, hey, it’s now a thing) will be crying out “what about the crossing value? 5+ sucks!”, and you know what?
You are right. It does.
So, don’t set up where it’ll be an issue, hug wheat fields, tree lines, walls, hills, etc. don’t deploy or ambush in a forest, the points you save per tank means you can afford infantry to screen this weakness in an armoured list anyway. This also works for an infantry list looking to play defensive (which, to be fair, was when Assault Guns/Tank Destroyers were their best).
Looking at the upside to the PIV/70:
- You have pretty good front armour.
- You still have a Rate of Fire AT14 gun which will be more than good enough to kill all but the infamous Elephant from the front.
- Storm Trooper and Skill 3+ is still a thing that matters – not getting shot at all is the best armour of all!
There is a lot to like here and all this for 2 points less per model than a Panther.
So, what sort of list do I see a PIV/70 in?
Well, I think I gave a little clue away above… German infantry are going to love this model.
They can screen the flanks, the AT 14 gun will keep enemy armour away and the FA 9 and 4+ to hit, along with any additional concealment as gravy, are going to make these hard to shift. A full armoured company I think can work too, in Bargation Armoured Grenadiers can be a compulsory choice; it opens up some interesting options.
So let’s try and put this into practice, here are two lists I have made with Panzer IV/70s.
- Panzer IV/70 Tank Company (100pts)
- HQ 1 x Panzer IV/70
- 3 x Panzer IV/70
- 3 x Panzer IV/70
- Full Armoured Panzergrenadiers Platoon
- 4 x Whirlwinds
- 3 x 15cm Nebs
- 250 Scout Troop
- Panzergrenadier Company (100pts)
- HQ 2 x SMG
- Full Panzergrenadier Platoon
- Full Panzergrenadier Platoon
- 4 x 75cm Guns
- 2 x 8cm Mortars
- 4 x Panzer IV/70s
- 2 x Pumas
- 4 x Hetzers
I think the Panzergrenadier list focuses on the strengths of the Panzer IV/70 better, the infantry can screen the flanks, with the main downside beingif you have to attack you are relying on your infantry will do the hard work of taking objectives.
You have a lot of AT assets and the infantry being MG armed means they should be able to hold off infantry attacks with your AT assets holding off any armour. For reserves, The Panzer IV/70s and Pumas are 40pts and makes sense to me to pop them both into the reserve. As a bonus, I love Panzer IV/70s and Hetzers in the same list. It sort of looks like the Hetzers are the children of the PIV/70 and that has always tickled me.
The Tank formation (they aren’t tanks) is probably harder to use, but using your speed….. you can hopefully pick and choose your battles.
Hopefully, I have convinced you that the Panzer IV/70 is the best thing since the Char-B, in my opinion. This is what Panthers wish they could be. It’s like the discount brand but when the discounted brand turns out it does the job better than the named brand. Plus it’s just a lovely looking model and I dare say even a lot of you FOW vets out there haven’t used it, so you get an exciting new experience.
Am I biased? Yes. Almost certainly yes.
There is a reason the old blog logo (and current podcast logo) was a Panther IV/70 but please do have a think about this tank (yes I know it’s not a tank) when you are making lists. It could easily fill a Panther shaped hole for you and save you some points.
Thank you so much for getting this far, honestly, it means a lot for people to spend time reading this blog. Please have a look at some of the other Bagration posts about the book, cards and other interesting new toys.
* The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Ben Horatio Hornblower Davy and do not necessarily reflect those of Breakthrough Assault or any of its interests or subsidiaries. No animals were hurt in the making of this blog entry – except Panthers. Yeah, Panthers took one square in the Zimmerit. Actual experiences may differ.