Everyone calm down and breath…..Bagration is here.
Now that this is out of the way, we are ready to share with you what this new book has to offer, and boy does it offer a lot. As a Soviet player of many years I have enjoyed MW and while Fortress Europe has some nice lists, I have been awaiting this book to bring the Soviet Forces to the ‘proper’ LW standard.
In a nutshell
As a quick summary here are the key points
FIFTEEN Formations plus new support units.
– IS2 & IS85 Regiment.
– Heavy Sp Arty Regiment
– Engineer Sapper Battalion
– Recce Company
– Hero and ‘vanilla’ T34 Battalion
– Hero and ‘vanilla’ T34/85 Battalion
– Medium SP Arty Regiment
– Hero Shock Rifle Battalion
– Hero Motor Rifle Battalion
– SU 76 SP Arty Regiment
– Motor Rifle Battalion
– Rifle Battalion
– 152mm Arty
– IL2 37mm
– ZSU M17 AA
That is a lot of new stuff, so lets get cracking!
IS2s & IS85s
These have already been spoken about a lot after the images appeared in a BF video. You can find an article we did on it here.
In short it is a bit of a beast with five of them coming in at the same price as 3 x SS Tigers, there are now some new big boys in the town. FA10 means you can almost ignore AT12 or less (bye bye Pak40 and 6 Pdrs) while SA8 and TA2 makes them assault monsters. Packing an AT14, FP2+ breakthrough gun is nasty. It’s down side is a short range and slow firing. This is mitigated by skill 3+ for some blitz moves.
The IS85 is the same hull but, with a relatively short ranged AT12, ROF2 main gun, these work better on the move. They are a little more expensive and you can’t combine the two types in a formation. However, you could take IS85s as formation support in your IS2 list!
The ability to take infantry in both formations means that you can add a bit of integrated staying power and protect flanks and/or assault big guns. I really like the Sappers (we will come to those later), however the hero SMGs are a bargain.
These guys are one to watch out for, keep an eye out for my upcoming batrep.
Heavy SP Arty Regiment
This formation packs the big assault guns; the ISU-152 and ISU-122. Both are very similar stat wise with the big difference being points.
The ISU-122 comes in cheaper, by 4pts, for five and in my opinion are better. A platoon of four comes in at the same price as a pair of SS Tigers and you get an, albeit short ranged, AT14 gun and a 3+ bombardment which makes them quite versatile.
The ISU-152 gains a better bombardment but trades that for less direct anti-tank penetration. However, its points bring it almost in line with the IS2 and really I would rather take the latter and then add dedicated artillery and the soviets have some nice. cheap. but effective. options.
Medium SP Arty Regiment
These are the lighter tank hunters, the familiar SU85 from MW and Fortress Europe is joined by the SU85M. Now, if you are planning on taking SU85s you will want the new version, it’s a no brainer. For 1pt more, your platoon (even five strong) go from FA5 to FA7, though you lose a little dash speed. I think BF are basically saying the SU85 was a bit too expensive in Fortress Europe and are making amends here.
The 3rd option is the SU100. Now, here I am less excited. A drop to FA7 (old version was FA10) but with an AT15, FP2 gun, which is slow firing. It has great gun stats but, for me, its completely different to how I would have used it. FA7 is nice but the SU100 used to sit back with FA10 sniping things (with re-roll to hit for the old cat killer rule). These are priced the same as the SU85M. Perhaps nice if we see a heavy armour meta. Again, for me, it’s outclassed by the IS2 for only a small extra investment in points.
I think there may be a list to be had here with a HQ T34/85, 8 x SU85M, 4 x SU100 , 3 x IS2 and BA-64s. One to dabble with.
SU-76 Light SP Artillery Regiment
This was one of my favourite lists in MW, I have 20 of them. Now, of course, they will be coming out in plastic, making it rather cheaper to do! Still 13pts for five, which I think is pretty fair, especially as they re-roll misses in a bombardment with five guns. AT9 isn’t great in LW but, en masse, can hurt medium armour at FA6 and will also ruin recce and halftracks. Also FP3+ direct fire is pretty effective vs guns. I can see these as support for my IS2s. Again, you can take SMG troops to support them. At 60 points for 20, including HQ and Hero SMGs, it could be fun to have on table. That’s plenty of support for heavier guns or even five IS2 and recce. Use your four templates with re-rolls to blow apart any guns (what Pak front?), then mop up with five beasts and infantry.
These are very interesting.
First off, specials rules. Body armour is back with a six plus save in assaults (not from defensive fire) and the ability to swap out teams before a battle to tailor yourself. Two flame throwers and a mortar to sit at the back seems a no brainer to me. Also you can take a captured panzerfaust.
Just look closely at the stats there. Yes, that is right, limited (2)! That is TWO Faust shots a phase; these are better than zee Germans and are the same points. No it really isn’t a typo! As if that isn’t enough, you get smoke pots. You can set a smoke screen, once per battle, from your troops. It means you get 8 inches of smoke and you can still assault. When they do get into assault they are 3+ to hit and fearless.
I love these guys; they are the swiss army knife of infantry. Alas, the down side is aggressive, which means actually getting an assault off is tough. Smoke helps a lot, but also a small platoon can use the smoke to support your IS2 assault. I think the sweet spot is 15 stands, coming in at less than the cost of four PzIVs (when the Sappers have panzerfausts).
The formation is rather limited in options, no AT guns or other toys, but you can take IS2 as a core platoon; five IS2 backed by thirty stands of Sappers splt in two platoons sounds mighty tasty, and you can do it even with 24pts left for support toys!
Combine these with the RPG-6 grenade card (two stands can attack at AT10 FP5+ vs side armour every single round of every assault) and no tank is going to come near them.
Hero Shock Rifle Company
Veteran status and with a Kommisar making them Fearless, all be it still aggressive due to the Russian push forward at the time. It also allows you to take two Fearless, Veteran and Cautious Storm Groups which are very versatile. The only draw back to the list is no decent integrated AT, however there are always support options.
To be honest, unchanged since Fortress Europe with a 4+ save. I would also point out that, stand for stand, they are not much cheaper than hero infantry with the 3+ save and much better stats. The basic rifles do get the Urrah rule allowing them a 6″ charge. so that is something. Sorry. not for me, but you can’t have a Soviet book without this core option.
It’s just outclassed by the Hero versions.
Hero T34(85mm) & T34 Battalion
Now you can have a lot of AT12 with all four tanks in a platoon being the 85mm version. There is also a slight reduction in the upgrade cost between a T34 and a T34(85mm) making them a little more affordable. Another nice addition is the 57mm gun platoon; combined with an infantry platoon you can hold an objective, bombard big guns with six 82mm mortars, and tear around with 13 T34(85mm) for 78pts. That leaves just enough points for three IS2 to bring that assault home. I like it, I like it a lot.
As for the the normal T34 Hero battalion, the only real difference is that you can only take a platoon of T70 or Valentines. Although you do get the AA, and AT guns like the 85mm version. Points are unchanged for the T34s.
Hero Motor Rifle Battalion
These are beyond a doubt the best infantry formation in the book, maybe even in the game. Fairly priced, get bags of options for the formation including the brilliant 57mm gun, ROF2 on the move and pinnned, BA64s are part of core, double mortar options and, if that isn’t enough, you can take tanks as core as well!
While the Kommisar is alive they are Fearless Veterans and, wait for it, have a 2+ assault! Madness, I say; why wouldn’t you take these guys? My go to formation and I’ll be playing them backed up by 100mm guns and IS2s.
T34(85mm) and T34 Battalion
These are the non Hero version so become Green but with a better last stand value. These come in a fraction below the cost of Heroes for the 85mm version. You are getting a sizable discount on ten 85mm guns compared to how much they would have cost based on Fortress Europe points, so again BF have given Soviets players a good break here. You can include 21 in your formation in two platoons and still have points left for artillery, anti-air, SMG infantry and/or recce. I’ve played it and its fun, but tough. If you have reserves you will struggle to protect two objectives. Three platoons of six is perhaps a sweeter spot. What is a shame is that you can’t take ten T34 (85mm) in one unit and ten T34 in another within the same formation. But, hey. You can’t have everything.
Motor Rifle Battalion
This is the same formation set up as the Hero version however not Veteran and with a 4+ save. Oddly, per stand, it’s more expensive than the hero version, but worse with the caveat that you get the Urrah rule. Again, not sure why I would take these over the hero guys.
Same stats as in Fortress Europe, a small but a fearsome little unit with or without transports, also packing a 2+ assault. The formation now gets T34s as core (Hero and Vanilla) as well as BA64s.
100mm Guns – AT15, FP2+, ROF1, these are cat killers and bound to draw artillery down on them. However, they are well priced and give some useful defensive long range AT.
152mm Artillery – FP2+ and AT3. The AT12 FP1+ direct fire also makes these handy when protecting an objective.
IL2 37mm – Still has AT5 FP4+ bombs and rockets for cat hunting but now has an 8″ raange, AT8, ROF2 and FP4+ cannons. Expensive but scary!
I really want to like them but AT 8 just isn’t good enough to deal with SA5, I really wanted to attack Panthers. Very useful vs Achilles though and other tank hunters. Bunch up and get rockets, spread out and get cannons.
As if that isnt enough the book has a mini campaign based around the iconic Bagration river crossings as well as all the rules for city fights as we also got in the Stalingrad book. Yes the plastic ruins have been sorted and boy do they look cool. We will be covering these later when we get our hands on some.
Wow a big book with so much to talk about. The command card pack is amazing as well but thats for another day. Have a think on these formations and I shall return with lists ideas/meta discussion plus a batrep. We will also have some some more detailed articles on our favourite formations (Sappers for Martin) and that command card reveal as well.
Forward comrades! Our time has come.