“One of our tanks is worth 4 of theirs, but they always have 5…”
A few months ago I wrote about the meta and how it isn’t something to be feared. As I said before, it constantly evolves and goes through phases. Currently, I’d suggest we are in the light tank and armoured car period. Combined with constant staples such as the Marder and anything with AT12 (Pak40s, 7,62 German guns), there are some nasty Italian and German lists out there. Additionally, you now have the issues associated with the Ferdinand in the mix as well.
Before I roll into it, please note this is really discussing competitive play arena, but the principles apply to any game (you will see Marders), so please don’t think I’m saying don’t go with your own ‘rule of cool’ of what you want to field.
I have seen many discussions about how the allies are struggling in the current meta however I must admit in my gaming circles I haven’t seen this as a massive problem. That said I do agree there are certain hurdles
- Marders – Cheap, powerful and hugely survivable. Air power is an obvious answer but its unreliable. The cautious rating combined with range and scenery makes it massively survivable. It is the go-to unit of every German list I have played and this won’t be changing any time soon.
- Pak40s – Less of an issue as many plays just pack Marders however a Pak ambush combined with
Mardersis deadly as well. AT12 is just such a sweet spot. You aren’t wasting points on massive AT such as Pak43s or 88s, yet they punch through medium armour and even deal with FA9 KVs due being hit on 2s and generally being fielded in 3s.
- Ferdinands – Another competitive staple. Rather new on the scene and while it has drawbacks (no MG, poor counter-attack and morale), it packs a laser beam of death and can sit behind an objective shielded by infantry providing defensive fire. It can also roam around unless the enemy has a fair amount of AT9 plus to flank it.
- Armoured cars/ light tanks – By this, I mean Italian tank formations and armoured car formations. Flying circuses that seem to be everywhere and allow a great deal of support to be fielded. In a meta where medium armour is becoming an expensive luxury, players have gone small. If
I’mgoing to get hit by AT12 my tank might as well not have FA5/6 so why pay for it?
List 1 – British Infantry & Crusaders
Now at first glance, you might think I have gone a bit crazy here but bear with me.
- Almost the whole list is core so it’s hard to break and you have 18 cautious tanks (thanks to scout).
- The Crusaders have the scout rule. This means that they can remain gone to down when concealed unless they shoot. This is even when they dash and they dash a long way. The point is that those
Mardersand Ferdinandswill be hitting on 6s at close range. That’s rather nice especially when you have the numbers. Its all about withstanding those first Marder shots taking away their GTG status, now you can hit them. Once that happens even AT7 will tear through them. The 6pdrs can get through the SA of a Ferdinand and with the speed and scout status, the Crusader is a fair delivery system. Not idealfor sure but good for the points.
- The hurricane is also hitting the Marders. Four AT7 shots should kill or bail 1 each time they arrive. I see people say they are too unreliable, but then that’s the thing, there is no perfect answer. If there was everyone would take it. Combining air with the Crusaders will deal with Marders.
- Once the Marders are gone you have admittedly lightly armoured tanks, but enough of them to face off armoured cars and even Italian tanks.
- While dancing around with your Crusaders you have a fairly bulky infantry company to move forward as well. 6 Pdrs can lock down an objective with a platoon of infantry when playing games such as fair fight and 18 stands of veteran infantry are rather handy to have around. I find a large number of games are won or lost in assaults. Their mortars can also pin the Pak40 threat while the Crusaders get around their side or the infantry assault.
- My Universal Carriers are there for the odd spearhead opportunity but also as an ambush denier. Rush them to that wood or area terrain and sit them there. Deny the ambush locations to force those guns to less optimal positions, even it if costs you this 2 pt unit in the process. Remember if they are shooting at these guys they aren’t shooting at what’s valuable to you.
Is it the uber-powerful master of all list? Well no it isn’t, however, I think you will find it will put up a surprising amount of punch vs. the current threats. The key is maximizing that scout rule, don’t shoot until you are where you need to be even if it costs you a few tanks in the process. Strike when you are ready and the odds are at their best for your return fire. Don’t let the Marders and Pak40s play on your terms.
List 2 – SU76 Regiment
This is the force that almost never happened. The command card was meant to be in the Red Banner Command Card pack however it got missed out! Luckily it was noticed and is now available on Forces of War.
The theory here is the sheer amount of AT9 with FP3 + (40 shots in theory) plus four templates with FP 4+ (note they are trained not green like a lot of the Soviet stuff) overwhelms most forces.
- The backbone of the list is the 20 SU76s. With FA4 they are pretty much immune to anything short of a ‘proper’ medium tank such as a Panzer 3. Italian tanks with AT6 just don’t cut it and my return fire will devastate them. Fp3+ is so important as Italians have a nasty habit of getting back in from a bail. You want to kill what you hit, just as AT12 is a sweet spot of most armour ratings, AT9 for me is the sweet spot vs light tanks i.e. basically no save. You hit and it goes away. That’s what this list does.
- I love swing roll capabilities and the ability to start ranged in with the gun in ‘artillery mode’ means that you can deny a lot of deployment areas (most Marders don’t want to deploy under an AT3 template). The artillery is also perfect for removing guns before you roll forward in direct fire mode. Even better you re-roll misses until you take the first casualty.
- In order to take out Marders you have a combination approach just like the British list. Here you have the IL2 also with its cannon (albeit with a worse FP than the Hurricane), combined with four templates and some dirt cheap AT7 light tanks bearing down on them in the form of T-70s.
- Ferdinands need to be careful as well. That’s a lot of AT9 and at a dash, you will be surprised how aggressive you can play them. Get around its flank (I love not having overworked with these guys) and you will see results.
- The rest of the list is there to round it off for different situations. AT11 57mm guns is a useful ambush if you face a Tiger or even Churchills. They have to be dealt with before they move on. Remember to keep them in ambush until you need them as you only have two. I have seen them ambush into the side of a Tiger before with predictably explosive results. The infantry is there to protect the guns from anything moving fast to flank them plus clearing minefields and for when you need to clear buildings. BA-10s are just more AT7 shots (always good for the odd Marder pop) as well as Spearhead for when you want to be really aggressively.
I did consider a slightly different version. Instead of the 57mm, you take the Il2 upgrade card to make it veteran. That allows your AT5 rockets to range in on a 3+ providing a real threat to Tigers, Churchills and Ferdinands. I fancy trying it however, at 9pts, its very expensive and the odds still aren’t that great, hence four AT11 shots instead.
I will be taking the SU76s to an event next month so I’ll be sure to report back how they get on. Plus once my Crusaders arrive I’ll be able to try out the first lists vs a nemesis list and see how it handles. Until then hopefully, this has given you some ideas as you face the fascists.