Last time I talked about building a force I provided a few ground rules that I use and a couple of example forces built using tank formations. Today I am going to turn my attention to using the Infantry Formation option as the core of the force and share how I go about constructing what I hope will be a good all around Force – Martin.
Lets start by reminding ourselves of the rules I use when building a force
1.. A force is not necessarily intended to be representation in miniature of a real world historical force
2. It should be able to play all the basic scenarios.
3. It should be able to play choosing all three Battle Stances – Attack, Manoeuvre, Defend
Infantry, like tanks, come in several flavours but these essentially break into two groups; those who walk, and those who ride, into battle. For my examples in this article I have chosen to use a Late War British Rifle Company (from D-Day British) to reflect on the walkers and a Mid War German Armoured Panzer Grenadier Formation (from Ghost Panzers), the riders.
Unlike tank formations, we have lots of options of platoons to include in the core formation so:
- they will be strong and able to hold ground,
- they have both integrated artillery and anti-tank capability and
- helpfully, aren’t affected by the Deep Reserves rule.
What is generally lacking with the walkers is the ability to make rapid movements. Now the current rules for FOW do mitigate this to a degree with the ability of some Infantry to move up to 20″ in a turn, but then you can’t do anything else once you have finished moving. The mechanised infantry overcome this, but place their transported troops at higher risk from assets such as dedicated anti-tank guns (often these have the no HE rule making them less dangerous to infantry) whilst doing so and only Germans can assault in transports.
I will need enough infantry to overcome a well defended potion so I would suggest, if going down this route, you should look to include either two large (10+ teams) or three smaller ones. This includes any additional teams you can add or fighting transport vehicles they come with. As the British have a maximum platoon size of nine teams, I will take three Rifle platoons in my list.
The Germans they can have 11 teams (eight infantry and four “tanks”) so, following my general rule, I will just take two infantry platoons for them. The other consideration I bear in mind is that I really don’t want more than three platoons for reserves as they are unlikely to all get on to the table in some scenarios before it is too late for them to contribute; this is a limiting factor for the British at present due to their point costing unless you use an Allied platoon.
The Foot Sloggers – British Rifle Company (D-Day British)
Looking at the Company diagram, I have most of the tools I need but I am lacking in a couple of areas. To help the infantry assault you need something to punch a hole with. Luckily the British have access to the best tool in the box for this; the near unstoppable Churchill Crocodile flame tank.
The other area they are weak in is anti-tank, particularly mobile anti-tank, having just a single platoon of 6pdrs. Again, here the British have an excellent option in the M10C, equipped with the deadly 17pdr gun.
These two units together come in at 39pts which pretty much means they will have to form the reserves so I will keep this in mind.
With the formation weaknesses covered off lets build out the force. Alongside my HQ and three Rifle platoons, I have added the 3″ mortars and Vickers Medium Machine-gun Platoon. I particularly like the MMG as they can provide a second bombardment option for when you need to pin the enemy infantry down and the odds of getting 5 or 8 hits are low, saving your mortars for something better.
I have taken all the integrated 6pdr Anti-tank guns; six of these will stop almost any medium tank unit and most heavy tanks if they get into short range thanks to AT11.
My final points went on two patrols of Universal carriers to provide a large spearhead bubble if I am attacking or, if I have reserves, I can assign one of these to make up the points needed without impacting overall on my Force.
The Riders – German Armoured Panzergrenadiers (Ghost Panzers)
Here we have a slightly smaller Formation but, again, with not quite all the tools I want. This time I have no in-formation spearhead option and nothing to threaten heavier tanks. As this is mid war, the lack of high-end anti-tank is less of an issue than in late war; the only formations this is inherently an issue against are the Churchill and KV-1 companies. Lets look at filling these gaps.
The recce is easy; I will add an armoured car unit.
For dealing with the heavy tanks, my options are multiple, but as my platoons are relatively cheap I am going to pick one of the expensive options to reduce my numbers of platoons in reserve. A pair of Ferdinands deal with that.
It may seem a bit counter intuitive to pick my Support options first, but I find this allows me to look at the limitations of the formation more effectively and thus hopefully I end up with a more rounded and thus more effective force overall on the table top. I will start with the HQ and two Armoured Infantry units, one with an additional 2.8cm AT rifle team. This gives it two integrated AT weapons with the 3.7cm HQ halftrack; ideal if defending a position.
Next I will add in some Armoured Flame Throwers to help them pin the enemy front line.
Next comes an Armoured 7.5cm Gun platoon to deal with Medium and Light tanks. These make a great ambush unit as well.
Next an Armoured 8cm Mortar unit for bombardments and smoke.
My final choice is some SdKfz 10/4 Light AA halftrucks which have a lot of usability in mid war versus light tanks and recce vehicles where being an unarmoured tank team can, in certain circumstances, actually be more helpful than having armour 1 or 0.
So there you have it two very different looking Forces but both are capable of playing all scenarios and stances and they cover all the basic needs of a Force.
Hopefully this has provided some insight into how you can go about building out your own infantry focussed armies.
So That’s it from me until 2022 I hope you have a happy holiday and Santa brings you lots of nice new toys – Martin.