Welcome to the first in a series of FOW Debate Club posts, this is a new series I have been toying with for a while now. The idea is I pose a question and get answers from a group of gamers and what people come up with. We are starting with my favourite period and a topic I think will see a brunch of different answers.
Bill Wilcox – This is not an easy question to answer since so many factors contribute. If you just look at armor/gun/movement (basically the vehicles stats alone), the answer is different (to me) than if you take army/national characteristics, list structure, and availability into account.
So looking at the vehicle alone, I’d say the Italians have the best tank. Good armor with 3/3/1, a decent gun, and an extra MG. It can stand up to pretty much anything except for heavies, and that extra MG shot can do wonders against infantry. Its downside is its speed. Them being so cheap so you can get so many of them doesn’t hurt either.
If I take the other factors into account, the German 38T starts to look pretty nice. 2/1/1 isn’t quite as good, but it has better mobility, a decent gun, protected ammo, the German National rules, and access to Rommel. The lower armor sucks, but standard bad EW FPs make the take a bit more survivable, particularly with the remount re-roll.
Always night attacking Japanese tanks deserve a mention as well. The tank itself isn’t great, but the army….
Alex Hamilton – I think you have to look at how they fit into the rest of their army, as such I think the British MKVIb is bloody amazing because it’s a cheap, fast 0.50cal in an army with no HE. It let’s the rest of the BAR focus on what it is good at (driving around quickly and killing tanks) without worrying as much about nasty AT guns.
Dave Madigan – Lol! Alex one of the tanks I am thinking about is the VIc. Cheap, decent AT for EW, small and mobile and tally ho rule makes them nasty. 5+ FP is ok for EW esp when combined with the b model as you get buckets of dice.
Dave Gollop – In the same vain, the lowly Panzer II must be considered. 1 armour all round, 20mm gun with co-ax mg, 12” move and Stormtrooper. In addition its veteran status makes it a more difficult target, and protected ammo, which should never be underestimated, and all for 45pts.
Hammy – I have been having a long hard think on this one and there are a number of good candidates. One that has been overlooked is the Polish 7TP, it is under 40 points a tank, has standard mobility, decent AT and is bullet proof (pretty much). Being fearless is a real boon in Early War and units of 5 are also good.
Just to be different.
Steve Charlton – I think it depends on the situation. What you want the tank to do? To hold an objective and be a pain in the ass Soviet Matildas, Valentines or KVs in a horde infantry army.
For a tank army really it has to be the Italian tanks very cost effective. For Assaulting a mix of panzer I & IIs in big platoons. Jap tanks with the reams of special rules for the army are very tough, KP had great results with those,also being such a good player.
Cool Pants Luke – I really like the Panzer II, mainly because it has a rate of fire of three. Protected ammo veteran status and all the drama national rules make it a really good tank against other
light tanks. The only real drawback is the firepower of five.
I have to admit though the Japanese like tanks are always going to hold a special place in my heart for early war. Night attacking, rate of fire 2, fearless so they get back in their tanks very easily as well as being able to reroll misses it close range and make it a very tough competitor. I would be remiss not to mention the Japanese Machine gun turret, which is the absolute bane of Soviet infantry.
Ben Davy – For me I think it has to be the M13/40, it’s just cheap enough to be a horde tank, it has a good gun and 5 possibly 6 MG shots a tank is pretty deadly. The only problem is it can be Conscript or Reluctant Trained. I also think the Somua has to be talked about, V3 helped it a lot and FA 4 is pretty good for a medium tank in Early War.
Tim Harris – I’d have put Somua in the mix, despite the one man turret. They actually require real finesse to use, you have to ensure the fight comes to you and with 4/3 armour that can be achieved. I think the M13/40 is probably the pole sitter though?
Hammy – The Somua on paper is a great tank. Historically it really was badly hamstrung by the limitations of the one man turret so I have no issues with it being the way it is. The V3 rules mean it is not a total washout like it was in V2 and the armour is pretty tough for EW. For me the problem with the Somua is the points cost. Over 100 points a tank, that makes it two and half times the price of say a 7TP.
So there you have it a bit of a mix, I was expecting there to be more of a stand out winner. It seems the Italian M13/40 was the overall winner with the Panzer II/38-T/MK VI b/7TP/Japanese Tank as a group in the mix as a good cheap light tank good. The Somua seems to have the most variance, with a few thinking it’s up there, while others point to it’s points cost.
So what do you think?