Fighting First – US Forces in Action

Today Stuart, our US playing US writer, takes a look at some of the list building options in Fighting First

Here it is! The book most of us have been waiting for since the unveiling of V4!

By now you have seen Mark’s article outlining the release as well as going over the different unit options available to US players in the desert. If you haven’t seen it, you can see it here.

Now that you have the info, it’s time to take it one step further and start looking at how we can put all of these toys together in a cohesive force ready to crush Rommel!

Disclaimer: This article leans more to competitive gaming, as opposed to historical accuracy, so please bear that in mind while reading. All lists will be based on 100pt standard. 

While I think there are a couple of exceptional lists, I’m going to give examples of each company type, so that players of all tastes can see what their future Joe’s will look like!

M4 Sherman Company

HQ: 

  • 2x M4 Sherman’s

Core:

  • 4x M4 Shermans
  • 4x M3 Lee’s
  • 3x M4 81mm Mortars

Support:

  • Full-sized Armored Rifle Platoon
  • 2x T28E1 37mm AAA
  • 4x 105mm Artillery Battery
  • Stuart OP

A list revolving around a core of Shermans is a tall task. While they have the ability to hold their own in a gunfight with all but the best Panzer IVs, they die in droves to the dreaded Tiger. The biggest downfall will be their cost though. To counter-balance that, we have here a small contingent of the Sherman, backed up by the just as reliable M3 Lee. This allows us to fit in some much needed support choices while still having enough armor to tackle a German tank list. Green Joes aren’t the most skilled (5+), but they do the job. Built the same as before, they have enough firepower to stop most assaults, while are in large enough numbers to launch that key assault or anchor an objective. The added benefit of halftracks allow them to be a versatile tool in this list.

No tank formation is safe from the Luftwaffe, so we bring some essential AA to the table to cover our beloved tanks from the Terrors in the Skies.

Following that, we have 2 platoons of Artillery. American artillery is the best in the game, in my opinion, made so by their Time on Target rule and V4 Repeat Bombardment rule. This is also key, because we now have 2 platoons that can lay down lines of smoke when going in for assaults, or moving our boys across the open desert, without having to rely on the direct fire smoke of our tanks.

M3 Lee Company

HQ:

  • 2x M3 Lee w/ Long 75mm

Core:

  • 5x M3 Lee w/ Long 75mm
  • 5x M3 Lee w/ Long 75mm
  • 3x M4 81mm Mortars

Support:

  • Small Armored Rifle Platoon
  • 4x 105mm Artillery Battery
  • 2x T28E1 AAA Platoon
  • M3 Stuart OP

Another tank force, this time built based on the versatile M3 Lee. While slightly less armored, it is going to put out more shots (Secondary Weapon), while also retaining the 28″ range and punch once upgraded to the Long 75mm. Additionally, you can bring slightly more of them. I thought of composing this list with a 3rd platoon of M3 Lees, but still feel like the balance of Americans in found in the support. In order to make this list fit, we had to shrink the Armored Rifle Platoon by one squad, but otherwise it remains the same support as above. Of the American Tank lists, I feel that the M3 Lee version is going to not only be the most popular, but the most effective.

M3 Stuart Tank Company

HQ: 

  • 2x M3 Stuarts

Core:

  • 5x M3 Stuarts
  • 5x M3 Stuarts
  • 4x M3 Lees
  • 3x M4 81mm Mortars

Support:

  • Armored Rifle Platoon
  • 4x M10 Tank Destroyers
  • Armored Recon Patrol
  • Armored Recon Patrol
  • M3 Stuart OP

If you like speed, Stuarts are for you. This list has one thing in mind, SPEED. Zoom around the table to take advantage of your speed and small profile. Stuarts can hide as they move and then get those crucial shots into enemy side armor. When that fails, we are letting the big M10s go to work. Everything in this list is built to move, while also having a static infantry platoon if needed. Just because the Stuart’s are rated reckless, doesn’t mean you can afford to be. If left out in the open, you’re going to run out of flame tokens quickly. I think this is probably the weakest rendition of American tanks in a competitive environment, but if played well can be extremely taxing on an opponent, while being lots of fun for yourself. (List built as to avoid copying the Honey Swarm of the Desert Rat Brits.) 

Armored Rifle Company

Editor’s Note: Armored Rifles were the first army I ever had, and learned the game with. Extremely excited to play them again in V4 after a long break into other forces. 

HQ:

  • Armored Rifle HQ

Core:

  • Armored Rifle Platoon
  • Armored Rifle Platoon
  • Armored Rifle Platoon
  • 3x 81mm Armored Mortars

Support:

  • 4x M10 Tank Destroyers
  • 2x 105mm Artillery Battery
  • Armored Recon Patrol
  • M3 Stuart OP

Allied Platoon:

  • 3x British 6pdrs

-For old school American players who love their artillery, you can drop one of the Armored Rifle platoons to flesh out the 105 battery, and add in a second. This gives you 3 templates and makes it a much more classic American Arty Party. 

This is by and far my favorite list to play. Not just because I started with it,  but it’s the classic ‘Swiss Army Knife’ list. A tool for every job. Multiple Large platoons that can bunker an entire side of the field, ‘zooks galore, Tank Destroyers for heavy lifting, backed up by solid British 6pdrs (using the allied slot on the force chart). On the defense, this list is an overwhelming monstrosity, and on the attack, it’s a flood of green bodies to contend with. Mid War Americans did take a hit in the skill department, but that’s why we bring lots of guys. Strength in numbers. Artillery is purely a pinning/smoke element in this list, until your opponent decides to hole up in preparation for the impending assault. I hear lots of complaints about the changes to Spearhead, but we bring the Armored Recon for that reason, and that reason alone. In missions where we can use it, it’s a huge advantage to stretch out deployment zone for these big platoons, or to get our pesky OP a little further out. The 6pdrs are brought because we need some extra static AT to hunker down and do some long range shooting while on the defense. For those American players worried about Deep Reserves, worry no more. This list isn’t affected.

American Rifle Company

HQ:

  • Rifle HQ

Core:

  • Rifle Platoon w/ LMG
  • Rifle Platoon w/ LMG
  • Rifle Platoon w/ LMG
  • 6x Mortar
  • 6x Mortar

Support:

  • 4x M10 Tank Destroyer Platoon
  • 4x 105mm Battery
  • 4x 105mm Battery
  • M3 Stuart OP

Allied Support:

  • 3x British 6pdrs

It’s a party, it’s a party, it’s a party! American artillery park, but really; it’s just a hellacious list in defense that still retains every tool it needs to be adequate on the assault. I had thought to mix it up a tad and bring some HMG for weight of fire in the platoons, but chose to stick it out with the artillery. Numerous templates for both killing and pinning, smoke for every occasion, static and mobile Anti-Tank. I actually got excited to try this one out while building it, but don’t think I have anyone who will willingly play against it. I think this list shows the worst asset of the Americans in Fighting First, and that is their ability to spam units into the same hated lists as last edition. That said, as an American player in a competitive environment, this list is tough as nails.

M10 Tank Destroyer Company

HQ:

  • 2x M3 Stuart

Core:

  • 4x M10 Tank Destroyers
  • 4x M10 Tank Destroyers
  • Armored Recon Patrol
  • Armored Recon Patrol

Support:

  • 4x T28E1 AAA platoon
  • Armored Rifle Platoon
  • 81mm Armored Mortar Platoon
  • M3 Stuart OP

At the end of V3, and still in LW V4, I dabbled with the idea of running American Tank Destroyer companies and found that they can be a lot of fun, made better now by the boot to Front Armor of 5. This list is another that is built entirely around mobility and taking the fight, well wherever you want it to be. Everything moves in this list making it a headache for an opponent who can’t keep up. Mortar templates for pinning, or that one time you ‘just had to cross the open desert’. In the event you find yourself defending, you can drop the Armoured Rifle Platoon onto one objective for security while the rest of your mobile force causes mayhem across the board.

 

Well, there it is. Fighting First, in my opinion, went above and beyond. A massive upgrade in variety over the first two books, and a standard that I believe will be upheld in books going forward. If you can dream it, this book allows it. I hardly dabbled into what the allied slot allows, nor did I go two crazy with multiple formations. There are really endless possibilities here, and a lot to get excited about! With that said, load your doughboys into their “Purple Heart Boxes” and represent ‘Old Ironsides’ well!

USA! USA! USA!

 

 

 

Category: Flames of WarMid WarUSV4

Tags:

2 comments

  1. Why does the US Rifle Company get access to two platoons of mortars? From what I understand, the weapons company of a US Rifle Battalion had two platoons of four .30 cal MGs and one platoon of six 81mm mortars.

  2. The second platoon is supposed to represent the three 60mm mortars of the Weapons Platoon. They basically “pre-attached” the MGs to the platoons now, so the mortars are all that is left. They just don’t differentiate between the 60 and the 81mm mortars and people can choose to field them historically (a unit of 3 and a unit of 6) or non-historically (2 units of 6).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Article by: Stuart King