I like big guns and I cannot lie… as long as they are self-propelled
Who doesn’t love an assault gun? It’s like a tank, but stripped back to the bare essentials; big gun, tracks and slabs of solid armour. As the saying goes, “real tankers don’t need turrets”.
The new Soviet book comes with three options for assault gun formations, and between them there’s a choice of six different assault gun models. So, let’s take a look at the formations and the pros and cons of each assault gun option.
Light SP Artillery Regiment
The light SP Artillery Regiment has the least options of the three formations. Your HQ is a humble T-70, so you will want to keep it hidden and out of sight, but it’s so cheap that you don’t really mind if it’s hidden behind a hill not doing anything.
The meat of the formation is two to four units of SU-76.
This is, (unsurprisingly,) the lightest of all the assault gun options. Being hit on a 3+ and having low armour means they need to be wary of anything bigger than an armoured car. In terms of offensive power, they have a respectable bombardment that has a chance of digging out some infantry. Direct fire is AT 9 with two shots if they stay still. Whilst this won’t worry any Panthers or Tigers, it is high enough to at least give Panzer IVs cause for concern, especially if you take the SU-76 in volume. Volume is certainly something that’s easy to achieve;-four full units of SU-76 and their T-70 HQ will only set you back 53 points, leaving plenty of points left over for some harder hitting support options.
Overall, these might be better off being used as artillery and only using direct fire against targets of opportunity, otherwise they will soon start taking heavy losses.
The Formation is rounded out by the option to take either a SMG Company or Hero SMG Company, although these options might not gel well with the more ‘sit back and bombard’ style of the rest of the army.
-Reasonable shooting power
Medium SP Artillery Regiment
The Medium SP Artillery Regiment is designed with one thing in mind- hunting the German big cats. You won’t need your artillery template for any of the vehicles here.
This time your HQ is a T-34/85, one that’s Fearless Veteran and hit on a 4+. Those stats and it’s AT12 main gun mean that it’s quite capable of causing problems for your enemies. This does, however, all come at a price, as it’s now more expensive than a D-Day German Panzer IV.
In the formation you get a choice of three different T-34 chassis based tank hunters: the SU-85, SU-85M and the SU-100. They are all Fearless Veteran and hit of 4s, so they only difference is in the armour and the main gun.
I said there are three options and, whilst this is technically correct, I think there are actually just two choices due to the differences between the SU-85 and SU-85M.
As you can see the SU-85M has two more front armour than the basic SU-85; these two extra front armour cost just 1 point more. That’s not 1 point per vehicle-it’s 1 point to upgrade ALL the vehicles in the unit. I can’t see why you would ever take SU-85 over the SU-85M; if I needed to shave off a couple points from the army list, I would drop something else. The jump from front armour 5 to front armour 7 is huge. It means you actually get to roll a dice when shot at by an 88 at long range!
I have to agree with Mark’s comments in his overview article; the reason this is so cheap is probably because Battlefront over costed the SU-85 in Fortress Europe.
The 85mm is AT 12 and a ROF of 2/1, so perfect for taking out Panzer IVs and StuGs. It’s even high enough to scare Panthers and Tigers.
The 100mm, on the other hand, is AT15 with 2+ fire power, but a ROF of 1/1 with slow firing. This will make a mess of even the most heavily armoured enemy vehicles, but it’s low rate of fire and penalty if it moves make this more suited to sitting still and engaging in some long-range sniping, which is when the extra 4” of range comes in handy. The SU-100 is slightly more expensive than the SU-85M, but not by much, meaning it will mostly come down to personal choice.
I think the best would be to take a mix of units, have a unit or two of SU-85M as your main manoeuvre elements and then a unit of SU-100 for taking out the big stuff.
All three of these vehicles are Fearless Veteran and hit on a 4+, which does mean they are on the pricey side for soviet equipment with 15 SU-100 and the T-34/85 HQ coming in at a nice round 100pts.
The last option in the formation is the infantry, which is the same as in the Light SP Artillery Regiment. They do make a bit more sense here; they can ride forward on the SU-85Ms and deal with any enemy infantry that are threating your SP guns,which will be good seeing as none of the SP guns mentioned here have any form of machine gun-it’s main gun only.
-Hit on 4+
-Lacking in anti-infantry weaponry
Heavy SP Artillery Regiment
The Heavy SP Artillery Regiment is neither imaginatively named nor subtle. It’s the biggest guns mounted on top of the toughest chassis.
Your HQ is an IS-2 (122mm). This beast has more armour then a Tiger, but whilst its gun is still AT 14, like the Tiger it has less range and is RoF 1/1 with slow firing, meaning that you need to pick your targets carefully to make the most of your shots. It’s also hit on 3+, so whilst your armour will protect you against most things, you still need to watch out for heavy AT guns.
In the Heavy SP Artillery Regiment you get a choice of two different SP Guns, the ISU-122 and the ISU-152.
These share the same IS-2 based hull, so have the same ratings, armour, and movement stats. The only difference is the main gun.
Both guns can be fired as either artillery or over open sights, and are RoF 1/1 with slow firing, if you choose to do the latter.
The 122 has a higher AT rating in direct fire and longer range in both direct and bombardment. The 152 has better Firepower in both modes, being Firepower AUTO over open sights.
They also both have the option of upgrading the entire battery to have 12.7 AA machine guns. This is probably worth taking if you come across any infantry in the open.
Cost wise, you can’t quite squeeze three full units of 122s and the HQ in a 100pt list, but that is possibly not the most sensible list anyway. Three units of four 122s with AA MGs and the HQ is 85pts, which leaves some space for infantry and recon if you’re doing a 100pt list.
The 152 is a point more per vehicle than the 122 and, whilst I personally think that in general 122 is the better option due to its higher range and AT, certain lists might benefit from paying the extra to get the 152. Tthe discussion of which could fill an entire article in and of itself so we’ll leave that well alone for now!
Infantry wise, the formation has the option of taking the same SMG infantry options as the other two SP Artillery Regiments, but in this one you also get the option of an Engineer-Sapper Company instead. I won’t cover these in too much detail as they have already been discussed a lot of other articles, but if you like aggressive infantry with SMGs, flamethrowers, Panzerfausts and body armour, these might be the infantry for you.
-Option to take Assault Engineers in formation
-Low rate of fire
A little bit of everything
That covers the three SP Artillery regiments in Bagration. Each formation has its uses, and ultimately you may be best picking one as a core formation and then adding in a unit each from the others as support.
Personally, I currently have 10 SU-76, 4 SU-85M and 4 SU-100 and I wouldn’t be surprised if my future contained some ISU-122s.