Today Martin brings you his view on what he thinks really delivers from the new D-Day American and what has left him a bit underwealmed.
To be honest there isn’t much in this book I didn’t like; being a veteran American player with multiple American late war forces I was glad to read I didn’t have any more models that were no longer required.
The return of heavy artillery to the game in the form of the M12 155mm self propelled guns was great news. This augers well for future releases for other nations and just maybe my fire direction control unit may get back on the table in a role other than as an objective marker.
My top 3 picks for what’s hot!
No. 1 has got to be the book itself. The design, layout , graphics and content are all simply stunning, this is much more alike the older books but better in every way and taking all that was done well from the Mid War releases and combining it. The book covers the history in neat sections of text introducing new formations and units as you progress through the Normandy campaign. There is some helpful modelling information on collecting and assembling your force and insights on force building all coupled with 3 interesting and challenging scenarios, in fact the only thing missing are the generic rules. Being a cartographer I particularly like the new style map artwork as well as the narative storey elements which reference 1940’s stytle documents with some clever colouration and period look font selection.
My No. 2 is the Glider Rifle Platoon; with up to 15 stands including a pair of 60mm mortars, two bazookas and an LMG, this has got to be the best value for points and most flexible infantry platoon in the American arsenal.
The two mortars give this the edge over the other large platoons reducing the risk your opponent can knock out your ability to pin them down before an assault.
These units are essentially upscaled versions of the Assault Boat Sections. Couple this with the ability to opt for a Glider Assault and they really are an exciting option to play with and I’ll be adding these to my collection (probably in 2029 judging by my cupboards!)
For No. 3 I’ve gone with the M4 Sherman (76mm) Platoon because I was really suprised to see this still with FA 7. Plus you gain a massive 8″ (20cm) of extra range as well as the 2 extra AT but do suffer with No HE. At a little under 6pts a tank these are possibly a better value platoon compared to their veteran equivalents.
So what’s underwhelmed me
To be honest not a lot but I do have two for you. One is in the book and one isn’t. So my first dissapointment is the L4 Grasshopper Observation Post.
What I found underwhelming about this was the fact I had to roll to get it on the table every turn; sure its a 3+ but even without any AA defensive fire to deal with, on 1 in 3 turns it simply wont be available. If it ranges in my artillery and then fails to return next turn, I automatically get a +1 to hit on my repeat bombardment for not having the spotter available and this may prove a distinctive to add this cool little model over the standard Sherman OP.
So what’s not there is the M18 GMC better known as the Hellcat. First introduced to Normandy in July 1944 with the 704th and 705th TD formations several of my Breakthrough Assault colleagues, as well as me, had expected to see this in the book but alas no. We will have to wait until 2021 to see its return along with things like the Easy Eight and Sherman Jumbo, I hope, in the Bulge book.
This leaves the Americans still limited in its AT 12 options for this period in the war meaning the German big cats are still going to be a significant issue for you to deal with frontally at range. Some aggressive attacking and fire an maneuver are going to be the way to play the Americans, for which the speed of the M18 will be sorely missed.
As I said at the start the book overall has left me a bit stunned, it is so much better than what has been done before and I can’t wait to get playing with my Americans again. If you agree or disagree with my view on the hot or not options feel free to let us know as always – Martin