Nachtjager – Tactical Thoughts

Hi all 
Coxer here, and today I’m going to use my own
immeasurable tactical expertise to weigh in on how I see the new lists from Nachtjager will stand up in the maelstrom of tournament play. 
Armoured squadron
So let’s start by looking at the Comet. In my head I’ve
always had this unit compared to the Easy 8, and I think that’s not an awful
place to start. The comet is cheaper than the E8 just – but not by much.
They’re both quick on their feet, the comets AT is better, both have FA7 and
protected ammo – the Easy 8 though benefits from having a jumbo in it’s platoon
and detroits finest. I can see these guys being great on more open tables, but
they will suffer on the more congested tables we often play on here. 

In the list though, if you go for 2 HQ comets and 2 platoons
of 4 you are already on 1450 points! That is going to mean they are going to
often be lacking support on the field. If you look at a 1750 list as the aim,
what I think you’ll really need next is recon, I really like the idea of the
SAS unit with extra 50 cals +- the armoured upgrade, fearless should keep
themselves around, and the extra shots from the 50 cals should help them tear
out the infantry, and aid in assault. Speaking of which for assault we really
need some smoke I think here. Sadly unlike the MG lists we have no cheap heavy
mortars for smoke – the easy option ( I think) is 25pdrs, – you could go for
sextons, but they are so expensive. So at 4 platoons you are on 1710 points!
But I’d be tempted to drop the 25pdrs for some CS Cromwells, only 2 give you
the smoke which should help with assaults, alternatively go with infantry, but
I’m thinking that 6 comets (with some extra fire from 50cals) and smoke should
be able to decently engage enemy infantry – though a full FV platoon armed with
fausts is a worry! I the other hand speed should mean you dictate where you
hit, so allowing you to isolate units at the back such as artillery, and also
your speed is going to force the opponent to deploy certain units over others.
I don’t see this as being a tournament winning army – but should be a solid
B squadron 15/19 hussars
So the big news here is the challenger platoon – this will
really get some getting used too I think. The challenger still presents a
paradox to me, with a fantastic 3 AT 15 shots and ‘semi indirect fire’ (SiF),
they are still light tanks so want to be zipping around. I could see them
working well as a platoon of 4, 2 move 2 shoot as they advance. 
I’d still consider two full platoons of cromwells as you now
don’t need to risk a really expensive challenger in assaults, and I think this
is the advantage of this list over the comets, you’re not risking really
expensive tanks in assault – just expensive ones… 
In the end the big issue here continues to be
that terrain dictates this army so much, a desert board will have you laughing
while deep snow will ruin you. Both these lists those have the ability to
fight, but I think smoke is of paramount importance alongside your
manoeuvrability – to engage what and where you want to engage, and then
withdraw will be the key of effectively using this force.
Rifle company
Ok – I admit I’m a junkie for British rifle companies – but
what does this one bring the others are lacking? Two things to me, ‘having all
the night attack options’ and ‘bagpipes’. Ok disclaimer – I think if you want
to use this list, you want to be attacking at night – otherwise go Canadian/New
Zealand IMHO! You don’t have access to Cromwell’s like the Welsh PDF – but you
don’t need them to night attack as light tanks make no difference. You’re aim
here is to get into close combat, unlike the FV Ghurkhas you only hit on a 3+
in assault, but that bagpiper will get you there! Playing British airborne he
is an auto include, needing that extra hit on the way in to combat is powerful.
Otherwise it’s your choice! Recon has carriers or armoured cars, flame comes
from wasps or crocs, and as always I love pairing up M10’s and breaching
I will admit compared to all the other ‘Roo’ lists it may
not seem a huge change (and it isn’t) but as a CV infantry list with no frills,
but a small – yet important bonus – I think this will be the definitive Brit
infantry list.
So onto the Germans, before I hit the lists, let’s just talk
night fighting with these tanks for a minute.
As a British player who’s fought at night a fair amount,
using it is an art, if you open up you are really vulnerable to return fire!
Also shooting at vet units at night even after they have fired only leads to
hits on a 5+ at best due to them being concealed. Where I really see these
armour lists doing well is against trained armour, being RV there is the
ability to build up a huge weight of firepower, if it can be focused correctly
it should remove an enemy armour platoon very quickly – imagine facing a 7th
armoured US list and electing to night attack, if (big if) you win the role,
you’ll be up quickly with high AT assets and the ability to hit and destroy his
tank platoons, and in return the AOP is not in the sky and you’re still
concealed from artillery barrages – but into the lists. 
Another small thing to note is that unlike the armour lists
in ‘desperate measures’ and ‘Bridge at Remagen’ you’re not tailor made battle
groups, only ‘von Benningsen’ has the 2IC for this, but it’s always worth
remembering if needed.
Ok let’s start with this list, RV Panthers, I can see these
being very effective, 2 combat platoons + HQ clocks in at 1180 – in smaller
games especially I see this as powerful. The small StuG platoons look ok, but
with only 3 will be limited in assault – that’s the problem with both these
armour lists – you eventually need to hit combat – and you don’t have the
staying power! To me this list is not about subtlety when attacking objectives,
its firepower! You don’t get recon, but you get the panzersturm, with
opportunity to combat attach the heavy platoon for even more firepower! As well
as my perennial favourite model the triple 15mm drilling! Finally don’t forget
the IR jagdpanther, whilst the high AT is always appealing, I think in this
list more normal Panthers will be a better option for more shots.
Von Benningsen though I think requires a more subtle
touch. You continue with the Panthers, but this time support comes from panzer
IV’s, or (very interestingly) a pair of Panzer IV/70’s with a StuG/Jagdpanzer
IV! Firstly Ben will be happy, but secondly, I think that’s good access to high
AT shots – though no night fighting toys. The other nice addition (to me) are
the Aufklarungs platoons, motorcycle panzerfaust Recce, for a force which may
be attacking they are a mobile support unit, but when defending/fair fight,
they can dismount and hold objectives nicely! The other unit I like here (and I
admit maybe not a tactical genius level unit) is the ‘heavy Panzerspah platoon’
the puma pak40 is back – might finally use mine. 
Of the two Von Benningsen appeals more with a list like
HQ 1 panthers + IR, 1 panzer IV
3 panthers + IR + half track 
1 StuG 2 panzer IV/70
1 StuG 2 panzer IV/70
Heavy Panzerspah platoon
3 Ostwald
I like this list you can cover all bases though assaulting
infantry will be tough!

Finally we have 2 Marine-Grenadier Divisions
The first thing to consider is that all the Luftwaffe AA
units become like volksturm and are always on the table, and ignored for
reserves – even if we ignore the special railway car rules, for 860 points you
start with 2 volksturm platoons and 2 sets of 4 twin 88’s with extra crew –
that’s where the money is I think! You can have so much firepower when the
enemy gets near your objective you will obliterate them – I don’t think you’ll
see this too often, but any list able to deploy all this and four other platoons
in a half on/off mission is great.
You will spot FT, no storm trooper, auto defend, and
equipped like Volksgrenadiers – but does it work? The extra firepower of the
assault rifles is nice, but is this platoon really planning on moving?
Likewise, comparing the rifle/mg platoon with its equivalent from Westfield, I
think I want ‘enjoy the war’. But let’s take these two units + the Panzerschreks
–  560 points! The other platoons I like are the marine tank hunter
platoon – a great little ambush unit – or the pioneers, to add barbed wire to
an already tricky assault! 
Other great options include CV Her units, the Nebs are
always a favourite of mine, – the other nice bit here is the anti tank choices,
pak40’s and Hetzers very useful. 
It’s an interesting list no doubt, more blunt than
Westfalen, and crucially (to me) lacking a recon option.
So there we have it, 6 lists which I think all bring
something new, and shake up the gaming environment. I think the night attacking
panthers will change things up nicely, whilst the marine list is going to give
armour players some pause for thought too. The comet, will be more interesting,
in the right hands/terrain it’ll cause havoc, whilst the reorganised Cromwell
list, might tempt those models out of the carry case more.
But in the end, with my birthday coming up, all I want are
railway cars full of flak 88’s!