Mark kicks off our coverage of “Bagration Axis Allies” with a look at the Hungarians.
I am not sure why, but to me it seems a while since a big Late War release. While Bagration Germans was cool, it was more a evolution of the D-Day book. Well, things have changed with the arrival of three new nations to shake up Flames of War; the Finns, the Hungarians and the Romanians.
Today I shall be looking at the Hungarians. I will focus on what is in the book with a second part to this article later, looking at what extra stuff you get in the Command Cards as all three Axis-Allied nations have their own set.
Well lets start from the top, the Hungarian part of the book comes with its own background, rules and lists; exactly what you would expect, there hasn’t been any cutting back of the normal quality each nation receives.
Formation wise we get:
- Panther Company
- Tiger Company
- Zrinyi Assault Gun Company
- Stug Assault Gun Company
- Turan Company
- Panzer IV Company
- Hetzer Company
- Rifle Company
I was pleasantly surprised to see so many formations included in the core book, and this is supplemented by a further SEVEN additional ones in the command cards,
Support brings a nice range of options and the ability to take allied support from the Germans. I will also reveal now that a command card allows a German player to take a formation support choice from the Hungarians and/or a Hungarian formation as allied support. That is really going to add some interesting options for existing German armies.
As a default, Hungarians are Confident, Trained and Careful. They also get the Huzar rule which enables a better follow me; this will allow them a rapidly advance and I reckon produce some surprising fast assaults when on the attack. Who doesn’t love an 18 inch Tiger assault range on turn 1 on a 3+ roll?
Well, the enemy I suppose.
I think this almost exactly middle of the road stats line benefits them point wise and is somewhat of a sweet spot, enabling it to be good at everything but not paying the points to excel. It will allow a few more toys on the table, especially if you want to take the bigger Cats.
Panther & Tiger Company
Both the Tiger and Panther companies have near identical structures, the only difference being the third platoon box allowing you to take an alternative tank time.
As you would expect, Tigers still have the 3+ remount due to protected ammo but will play massively differently to their German Allies. A 4+ last stand and 3+ remount is a long way from the German 2+ rolls. With the drop in these stats, plus only being trained, there is of course a cost saving, though somewhat minimal. I predict many Hungarian formations will be supported by their German counterparts in their Tigers unless you are incredible tight on points.
I do like the Toldo scout tanks being core, they are a useful way to bulk out your formation morale.
These little scout tanks are pretty zippy and come with some interesting gun options. Four Told II (20mm) are the same price as three Toldi IIa (40mm).
Lets look at an example Tiger formation:
3 x Tiger
3 x Tiger
5 x Turan (40mm)
5 x Toldi II (20mm)
This comes in at 93pt but has 7 Tigers and 10 other hulls, including spearhead. With the spare points you could squeeze in some infantry too.
Panther wise, the cost sits between the Heer version and the SS version, which certainly makes these a much more attractive choice. The equivalent list, swapping Panthers for Tigers, comes in at 86pts. This leaves enough for some 150mm Rockets (Nebs) and maybe an allied German Beach Defence Platoon with a panzerfaust (to represent second line troops on the Eastern Front). Alternatively drop a Turan and you can take three Zrinyi (see below). I quite like this list.
The Turan is Hungarian made tank and acts as their medium tank.
Like its little Toldi sister it comes with two types of gun options, with three 75mm coming in a point cheaper than five 40mm ones. This means you can employ a platoon for anti infantry/gun/squishy recce & transport duties and others for anti-medium tank firepower. While AT9 is rather underpowered for most medium tanks, it is HEAT and that helps a lot and will encourage you to stay at range, combining with cover to be 6s to hit in return fire.
Formation wise, again there are some nice options with the ability to kick out twenty FA5, cautious tanks, with 40mm guns for around the cost of three SS Tiger , or go for core Tiger or Panther support which will bring that much needed heavier AT. Its defiantly a flexible formation so let’s look at an example one:
HQ Turan II (40mm)
5 x Turan II (40mm)
3 x Turan II (75mm)
5 x Turan II (40mm)
3 x Panthers
5 x Toldi (20mm)
This comes in at a rather tasty 77pts, with a bit more heavy AT and a template weapon this could be a very interesting list. One option is to add three Zrinyi and two 88s and have 1pt spare at 100pts.
Panzer IV Company
While at first glance the iconic Panzer IV company might not look that interesting, on closer inspection I was excited to see the return of the Panzer III. While the Panzer IV to me seems a touch expensive
when compared to US 76mm, here and in the German book, the Panzer III options really provides something to dig into.
Let’s look at an example formation:
Hq 2 x PZ IV
4 x PZ IV
4 x PZ III
4 x PZ III
3 x Panther
5 x Toldi (20mm)
This is 89pts, add in a template thrower or some infantry and, again, I think that’s a pretty cool list. Okay it will struggle ,a lot, versus an IS-2 company or a Tiger Formation, but all lists have their Achilles Heel.
The four PZIII is only 3 pts more than three 75mm Turans. So, for 3 pts, you lose HEAT but gain a hull MG, plus an extra pip of armour on the front and side armour. Certainly nice to have choices.
Zrinyi, Stug and Hetzer Formations
I have to be upfront and say I think these guys are the stars of the Hungarian options. First off check out the stats below.
Yup, a ROF2 105mm. Take that StuH! All of a sudden we have an Assault Gun that can actually be useful on direct fire, plus it gets the bombardment options; even the single HQ! To top it off, that extra ROF only costs a smidge more than the German StuHs. Sure they lose a point of side armour and storm trooper, but ROF2!
The formation is also interesting with the ability to mix in the Hetzer platoon (same costs as their German brothers with the same stats). This means you could get a nice mix of affordable AT11 as well as weapons for bombardment/anti AT gun duty. The AT gun platoon in the third slot is a nice option and maybe more useful if this is being played as part of a two formation force.
Let’s look at an example formation:
3 x Zrinyi
3 x Zrinyi
4 x Hetzer
This comes in at 54 pts meaning a second formation can be easily added. I will certainly be considering three Zrinyi as an allied support platoon for my Germans; a pair of tigers and a trio of Zrinyi makes a nice round 40pts for my Beach Defence Company. Look out for an article by Duncan looking at using these rules with proxy models for his Herman Goering force.
The StuG and Hezter formations consist of three platoons with the third platoon being able to be 7.5cm guns instead, like the Zrinyi.
While the command cards add more, the only infantry formation in the book is the humble Rifle Company, however it has a ton of interesting options.
There is pretty much has everything you want as options in a formation. Lets pick a few out:
The infantry platoon is well priced and large, always a good start. Panzerfaust is an option as usual and will be a must, as is a panzershrek for 1pt, again cheaper than the Germans. Those added brings the platoon to the same price as a Heer Panzergrenadier platoon with the same options. While they lack the MGs of panzergrenadiers and are only trained, I really like the three extra stands. 10 strong platoons when cautious have real staying power, and are much better on the attack.
These are a bit different! AT14 but with the draw back of short range and poor FP. I can see these being a nasty ambush unit option when facing heavy tanks. A few infantry nearby then can then assault and pop up the likely bails. These guys don’t come cheap though; I will be interested to see how well they do outside of typical mathhammer debates.
It just wouldn’t be Hungarians without some Cavalry and they come with the option for horse mounted fausts; what isn’t to like! A 20 inch dash could have these guys up the table and causing chaos on turn 2 of most games. A smoke bombardment to screen them will probably be handy.
Let’s take a look at an example infantry formation:
10 stand Rifle Pltn with Faust and Skrek
10 Stand Rifle Pltn with Faust and Skrek
3x 7.5cm Anti Tank Guns
4 x 82mm mortars
3 x 44M Rocket Launchers
This comes in at 53pts, if you drop the rocket launchers you could combine this with the Zrinyi formation I posted above. That’s quite a lot of stuff and a very rounded list. It would stand up vs a medium tank formation and could bring a world of hurt to a infantry formation with three FP3+ bombardments plus the FP4+ mortars.
The Hungarian support is mainly artillery options with 100mm, 105mm and 150mm (15cm) Nebs. One new item is the Bofors 80mm Heavy AA gun.
Coming in at AT11, these are a cheap option to get two AA guns which can be useful for taking out medium tanks. However FOW V4 really punishes two strong platoons with the morale rules, which is a shame. That said two 88cm AA guns could be a cheap way to squeeze in some higher AT without taking Panthers and/Tigers.
Well there you have it, the Hungarians in all their glory. There are some really cool options in there and they only get better with the Command Cards which we will reveal in a follow up article. For me the Rifle Company and Zrinyis are the stand out options and luckily they can combine together nicely at 100pts.
The cheaper Panthers I think are a better option than the Tigers, the loss of 2+ morale is a huge loss for such a small point reduction. However, the Panthers provide a nice spot between the SS and Heer equivalent.
Stay tuned for more Axis Allies coverage.