Riding the Unicorn, playing T34’s at the ETC.

Summer is here and tournament play is on a low as most people go on vacation with their families and spend a little less time wargaming, but summertime also means European Team Championship(ETC) time. After a year break Team Iceland once again will attend the circus.

Considering Iceland’s population size and FOW player base, it can’t be a surprise that we are not aiming for the top spot, but we do plan to have fun and lots of great games. In this little article I will take a look at the army I am bringing to the competition and try and explain why I have picked the different elements.

Why oh why?

As you most likely have figured out by reading the title, I am taking T34’s to the ETC. The most produced tank during WW2. During WW2 the Soviets produced around 65.000 T34 tanks, either with the 76mm gun or the 85mm gun, for comparison the Americans produced around 50.000 Shermans of all variants and the Germans produced 48.000 tanks in total.

But still this Iconic tank is a rare sight on the table top. This is not only because of the issues with the tank itself, but also the problem the Soviets have in general. Fred have in previous articles explained his view on the problems the soviet faces and my view is that they are lacking mostly because of horrible pricing. As a quick example is the 100mm AT gun. 4x fearless, veteran, careful guns, with RoF1, slow-firing, AT15, FP2+ costs 11 points, whereas the Germans can have 4x Luftwaffe 88mm guns, Reluctant, Trained, Aggressive, RoF2, AT14, FP3+ guns for 6pt. You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that double the shots for half the price is better. Being veteran is useless for a gun, Fearless is nice, but not 5pt nice.

The same problem is true for the T34’s, it’s not as bad as the 100mm gun but still. The vanilla version of the T34/76 is 3pt per tank. Being confident 4+, Green 5+, Aggressive 3+, sporting an AT9 gun with overworked and having front armour 6 simply isn’t good enough, when you for the same price can get Lend Lease Churchills for 3points as well. The Churchill has, better armour incl. the better top armour making it invulnerable to normal assault weapons, better motivation and better skill and with a gun that is at least as good as the AT9 gun of the T34/76. The only downside of the Churchill is, that it is slower than the T34. And this is just looking at T34 and Churchills, if we was to compare the t34 to a sherman it would get even worse. Well enough of me complaining, lets see what it is all about.

The List

So despite me not considering the T34 being the best choice, I have still chosen to bring them and not only as a support choice or in the Forward Detachment Company, but as a full Formation. I think it is about time that we see the iconic tank on the tabletop in the worlds biggest FOW tournament. When running a Formation the option here is either going with the Hero version or the Vanilla version. The points are the same, with the skill level and platoon size being the key differences.

I have chosen to go with the vanilla version, mainly because i want to see those big platoons of T34 rolling across the board. With front armour 6 and being aggressive I will lose tanks very fast so I have gone with one max platoon of 10 tanks and another of 6 x T34’s. Not because I didn’t want a another max platoon, but because at 105 point I also have to consider reserves. 2 Platoons at 30pt each simply wouldn’t work as it would mean having too much stuff in reserve.

First draft
Final version

My first draft of the list included 4 x IS85 to act as the forces main assault threat and at the same time being the main anti tank with their AT12 gun without overworked. I also had the Partisans to make sure i only had one unit in reserve.

The problem with this list was that one of it’s weaknesses was a tendency to break when under prolonged fire, but soviet lists are often win or lose by turn 3. I also encountered problems when, my opponents fielded numerous tanks with front armour 7 or higher. The AT9 gun of the T34/76 requires them to flank and they can’t do that when they do not out number the enemy and the 4 IS-85’s simply couldn’t destroy the enemy’s tanks fast enough to give the T34’s the advantage they need. Therefore I ended up dropping the IS-85 and Partisans to make room for a maxed out unit of T34/85’s. This gives me a potential one drop reserve and a lot of decent AT shots that will require the attention of my opponent, while the T34/76 do the important job.

The small infantry unit is there to help keep the formation alive and the 82mm mortars also help with that and still adds a template to pin gun and infantry teams before the inevitable assault. The Formation is still relatively easy to break. An option could be to drop the T34/85 platoon and instead upgrade some of the T34/76’s, but that come at a extra cost of 2pt per tank, meaning I will pay 5pt per T34/85 where as they only cost 4,3pt per tank when taken in the pure T34/85 platoon. In an already expensive list adding an extra cost of 7pt is a lot.

Tactic

So what can my list do and what can it not do. Obviously it will have a hard time defending. Deep Reserves will crush it, so that leaves me with Attack and Manoeuvre. Attacking with all my force on table should be a decent option, focussing all my tanks on one objective and accepting casualties on the way in and during the assaults. With no smoke, speed is of the essence, so hopefully that will help having 60cm of cross country dash speed.

Manoeuvre looks like it will be very mission dependant. Attacking an Infantry army with gun in Covering Force will surely lead to my destruction, on the other hand I would think a mission like Bypass should be fine as I can move fast and directly towards the uncontested objectives.

But only time will tell if my T34 mission will lead to losses as high at the ones the Soviets sustained during WW2 with nearly 2/3 of all produced T34 tanks being destroyed.

That’s all for now. I will do my best to make an After Action Report when the tournament is over so you can share my ups and downs.

-Soren-

7 thoughts on “Riding the Unicorn, playing T34’s at the ETC.

  1. Brave man! For the reasons you cited, no one here plays T34s. It’s a shame that the iconic Soviet WWII tank is never used as all the players use Churchills or Shermans.
    NYET! This is the best reason for dynamic points in Late War.

    Have fun at the tournament!

    1. Hi Rich,
      I agree, it’s such a shame. If The T34’s was to be repointed what would you think was an appropriate reduction. I have personally landed on a reduction of 0,5pt per tank would be around the right number. That would mean you would get the points to add another Artillery unit or infantry for each 2 platoons of T34’s.

      Soren

      1. Hi Les,
        One of my points is that it needs to be the most produced tank of WW2. The Soviets can spam Churchills and Lee’s, but they shouldn’t be the best choice everytime.

  2. Hi Soren,

    I will agree with Rich, Brave formation thus Brave the man who goes to battle with that . Playing T34s is understood that will accept loses however still they are very pricy for what they do. I would expect that the Hero be rated as careful (hit on +4) considering that a hero unit is manned mostly by veterans ( thus Hero units are smaller) An overworked AT9 for 76s, makes them useless when will move to flank and shoot. In V3 we had also some T34/76 with AT11 , a decent AT for a front armor vs AT9. Personally I don’t play the T34s expect the flamers (OTs) and I was always wondering, same like you, why the main soviet battletank is missing from the tabletop.

    1. Hi John and thank you for your comment.
      I think we can agree that most people see the T34 as over costed. As I wrote to Rich I think that maybe a drop of 0.5pt per tank would help, but also as you say giving the Heros Careful(hit on 4+) would be an option or return to the front armour 7 or any combination of this. As it currently stand the T34 will remain absent from the table top.

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