Today Mark finishes his series looking at the main LW nations in V4, with a discussion about the Soviets.
I’m going to jump in by saying that I truly think the Soviets have been massive winners in V4. Lets look at what has got better
- The God of War can bombard 3 different targets, and Zis 3s get 3+ saves.
- Zis3 got a 4+ firepower as well as still being good versus light armour.
- IL2 Tip 3M, literally the best thing ever. Flying tank, and AT12 with ROF2 each. The perfect way to take out those pesky King Tigers. No other nation has such a great weapon!
- Big platoons. These are much harder to break in V4. You need to get down to 1 active tank or 2 infantry stands before you start testing. When you can take platoons of 10 tanks and 30+ infantry stands, that gives you huge staying power and prevents the bleeding of points.
Of course there are things that haven’t gone the Soviets way,
- The IS2 is still a rubbish investment for the points. While yes it got more survivable due to the arty rules, its gun doesn’t autokill infantry and guns (which have a better save) any more. Additionally, bedspring armour is not as effective and tank riders don’t give an extra attack, or allow you to attack into terrain without a test. Lets face it, points wise it wasn’t optimal before, but it really isn’t now.
- Its hard to get the big infantry platoons/companies in command. Yes, you get 8 inches [Snigger – Ed] but you have to be careful, because when you drop down to a normal sized platoon, any stands in foxholes out of command will have to get up and move back into command! Also you have to really bunch up and that makes you prey to the V4 artillery rules.
- Infiltrate is now a bit rubbish and I just can’t see 100pts for scouts/Spetznaz being a good investment anymore. Basically it allows spearhead but with an extra 2 inches. Given how rare it is to get to use spearhead I really don’t rate it.
- The biggest upset is Quality of Quantity in assaults. You should basically forget the rule. Repeat after me: ‘You will not pull it off’, so just forget it and move on, don’t get hung up trying to get 12 stands into an assault, you are likely to get fixated on it and neglect other things (and, apart from very specific circumstances, it can’t be done). Also even if the stars align its now 8 hits rather than 10 in V3.
However, overall and looking at impacts to other nations, I think the Soviets have some really strong lists and some absolute no-brainers for purchases. Lets have a look at some example Infantry, Mechanised and Tank lists.
Infantry – Hero Strelk – 1625pts
Okay, first off it has 2 x IL2 Tip 3M; take it as a given that all my lists will have these. Flying tanks make them so survivable that they can literally ignore a lot of AA and just hunt nasty heavy tanks. This is a capability that most other nations really struggle with, i.e. how to kill the big cats. Russians no longer have this issue. AT12 vs side armour 8 with Fp4+. With 4 shots that’s rather nice, Panthers don’t even get a save!
Anyway, back to the list. Hero infantry have got rather better in V4 due to the skill being used in a lot of the orders, including blitz and digging in. They have a nice size of unit, around 14, meaning you have to kill 12 stands to make them test. With ‘fausts they can deal damage to tanks and also have an HMG to help bounce assaults. I also think that 14 is a manageable size of unit with the command rules. With three units, plus mortars, as core this formation is highly unlikely to break.
Artillery wise, you are covered with 8 Zis3 which allow 2 x bombardments or a respectable 16 AT9 shots. The nice thing is that these now operate separately which helps with the command rules. Additionally you have some mortars with FP3+. With 3 templates suppressing enemy arty and digging out HMGs or infantry shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Dedicated anti-tank is in the form of the Zis2, which is Fearless Veteran so difficult to kill off, and a great investment at AT11 and range 32″ with a 3+ save.
This list can certainly use the defend stance, giving some minefields to slow down the enemy that then has to wade through a mass of infantry while the IL2s shred their armour. Leaving the artillery, mortars, HQ and an infantry unit in reserve gets you the rest on table. 28 infantry, 4 guns and the mighty IL2, plus mines is scarier than it may sound.
I always find Mechanised a difficult middle ground. Often it lacks mass in smaller platoons, although makes up for it in manoeuvrability. Often the lists can just be a bit squishy. What I like about the forward detachment it that it gives you the best of both an infantry list and an armoured list with a 10 T-34s (5 of the big brother variety) as well as a 24 stand infantry unit with an HMG and a re-roll to morale.
Add to that 3 artillery templates and you can dig out a lot of guns (To protect your tanks) or infantry to help get the assault off. Additionally as in the inf list, the ZIS3s can deal damage well to anything FA6 and less.
As always the list is topped off by the IL2 Tip 3M for the anti-heavy armour role (The T-34s can take on medium armour).
Very much a bit of everything and a really Swiss army knife list. Its pretty hard to get a full tank unit and a massive inf blob!
The key here is that the list can defend as well as adopt both attack stances due to the ability to place a lot of inf and/or a lot of tanks. Or if needed you can leave one main unit in reserve and bring on the guns and air to open up expensive heavy tank companies before counter attacking with 10 tanks from reserve. There are literally bags of options with this list.
Tank -Tankovy – 1625pts
When it comes to tanks I really like numbers and the Russians can do this rather well. I have chosen the M3 as the basis of the list because it has a respectable gun, plus a back up gun and is cheap enough to kick out a huge amount of them and hopefully overwhelm any enemy medium armour and deal with gun teams in combination with the 2 sets of mortars which re-roll misses (handy!).
As always the IL2 Tips are there to open up big cats and Jumbos clearing the way for the armour and mortars to pop up. I have also included 4 AA guns as a nice defence for your mortars, which also has the fire power to deal with enemy air.
The list is all about the attack either hasty or prepared (I prefer prepared). You have to move fast and be willing to take casualties in order to get into position and then open up on the enemy and start to clear them out. Don’t forget to use the mortars re-ranged in marker to deny enemy buildings which your armour can’t assault.
Overall I really feel that the Soviets have gained in V4; they combine big units which are incredibly hard to break, with some excellent value units and the awesome IL2 Tip 3M which single handily will keep the now semi unstoppable big cats from being too common in the new meta.
Out of the three I think the Hero Infantry list is my favourite; I just like the mix of units and the three big infantry platoons, they give a lot of options; followed by the forward detachment which is just a brilliant swiss army knife of an army that really can hold its own against pretty much anything.
That concludes my look at the big 4 nations of V4 LW, roll on the UK GT in Oct when we can start getting a true taste for the new meta.