The Road to the GT

The Road to the UK Grand Tournament.

In Oct the wonderful guys responsible for the Sturm series of UK tournaments will be hosting the Grand Tournament in the UK on behalf of Battlefront. After the previous years debacles this has been received positively and entries are already full. Luckily I got in early and I am looking forward to playing in another great event.

Of course a new event brings with it a need for a new army. I am a realist, while I am an ETC player who can hold my own, normally coming in the top third, I am not a contender for placing at the GT. After realising this, it has actually allowed me to be a bit broader in my list selection. While I was going to go full cheese with the Citizen Soldier lists I have decided to try something a bit more fun for me and importantly for my opponents.

Having faced loads of Churchills at the AOW last year, I settled on an Overlord Churchill Company. I have never done Brits and the time has now come, plus at 1420pts I think you can put out a cheeky number of hulls and abilities…. We shall see…

The List

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After numerous discussions, tweak and rule queries regarding Breaching Group rules and reserves, I have settled on the list above. I did debate the 6th Army which is Guards so gets to re-roll platoon and company morale tests, but they were just too expensive. 1420 pts is a huge challenge to get an all round list (A future article will be looking at the good, the bad and ugly of 1420pts LW).

List Overview

So what is this list about. Well it’s an auto attacking tank company, which for me as mainly a infantry player makes a nice change. I want to have the initiative and practice attacking more. It also has 7 FA9 tanks with TA2 and wide tracks. Not to be sniffed at especially at a point level where high AT is rarer due to the cost.

It has a solid infantry platoon as well as 8 good arty guns. 25pdrs for smoke and softer targets and 5.5s to crack the big stuff and also start digging out dug in guns. The British arty rules are great at attacking infantry where you can range in and force the enemy to re-roll saves. Lovely stuff against a more static army.

The Breaching group gives some extra hulls, and even 2 short range heavy breakthrough guns in a pinch, as well as the ability too deal with pesky pioneer defences. However I will need to be careful with the Sherman’s, FA6 and trained is not a great combination in LW.

Finally a bit a recce which is fast and quite survivable. It’s able to assault with a degree of confidence and has a respectable gun if needed.

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What Am I Missing

At 1420 points you have to make hard choices (Well unless you are US infantry but let’s face it they have been proven at event after event to be broken), and this list is no exception. I lament the lack of AA, that will hurt especially against bombs. However I can mitigate this by being aggressive, staying near buildings and woods. Also I hope that air will be rarer at 1420 when a lot of lists are struggling to hit the golden 6/8 platoons and where the smaller army requires more reliability, which air does not excel at.

I feel a bit uncomfortable being 7 platoons. At first I thought that keeping their AVREs separate and not upping the Sherman’s would make 8 platoons but this has been addressed in LFTF. Again I have mitigated the issue by being an always attack tank force. However defending in a mobile battle won’t be pleasant, but then it never is with an armoured list.

The army has a great deal of medium AT, 6 AT 11 shots, 16/18 AT10 shots (depending on breaching group), 6 AT 7 as well as an AT4 and AT5 template. However as you can see it will struggle above FA8. I looked at lots of ways to get around this but the list only really has 3. 5.5 guns to crack open heavier armour, AT14 M10s and air. I opted for their 5.5s due to the survivability, the fact that they can deploy if forced to defend in a mobile battle and finally I just don’t trust so many points in a FA4 trained tank! Air was a no go as it’s just too unreliable and lots of lists have cheap AA.

Finally I lack an AOP. This will make the 5.5s a bit less effective and make me more vulnerable to ambush, I could get one by dropping the CiC to FA8 and the Stuart’s to CV carriers however I am not sure it’s worth it.

The Plan.

Well it’s a list built to attack. Blunt but survivable churchills roll forward with infantry in support to protect their flank, with the supporting fire from the arty. The first target will be anything with AT12+, I need to lift GTG then hit those guns with everything I have. Once they are gone, I can relax a bit and start to pound the enemy with repeat bombardments, and massed tank fire. The breaching group will not be pushed forward but will wait until the return fire has slackened before adding their DF. The Stuart’s may be able too exploit a gap in some missions to get into the flank and maybe just maybe get into the their gun park and start causing chaos. A 16 inch move surprises a lot of people!

Defending will be tricky, especially as the breaching group has to deploy, leaving me with only 2 other platoons.

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What I Fear Facing

Japanese! These guys will be all over me and I prob can’t bring enough DF to stop them at night. However I need to check the Japanese rules. As I am an always attack tank company I think I trump their always attack night rule (same as I do with the Brits). If so then I still need to be careful that’s they don’t come assault me. I need to keep my distance, or bunch my tanks to produce enough DF to stop them.

Big cats, will be tricky, basically I need to hide and hope that the 5.5s do the job. The Churchills are too slow to go for their flanks.

Tank Destroyers will be nasty, but hey they are nasty for everyone. As I say there is little point trying to find a list that will counter the US effectively.

Purchasing.

With BF shortages this has been tricky. I actually tend to shop on eBay, it’s cheaper and you know the stock is there. I tracked down a well priced BF Churchill box and added in some PSC Churchills as well. The Facebook FOW trading sites are great and I got some cheap inf, guns and PSC Churchills through them. The Arty is very poor value from BF and the 5.5 box is OOP anyway. I was lucky to get all my guns from someone having a clear out for a great price. Finally I’ve gone with Zvezda for the Stuart’s a bargain at £10 for 3 All in I think I paid £135 which is great value for a small army.

Next steps

Well now that everything is purchased assembly needs to occur and then paining. I want to have it ready to play by the end of June so I can get a few games in. While I am not trying to win the GT I need to make sure I am not going to lose my self respect. If it all goes really wrong then their always is 10 Tigers….

Category: Flames of War

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Article by: Mark Goddard