And the award for the overly complex title goes to……..
Lighting the Beacons
Part 1 of the Axis Allies Hungarian Tank Rank included all the actual tanks in their army list which of course means that this one will include all the stuff which isn’t actually a tank. That’s right a Tank Rank that doesn’t include any actual tanks. I may have split the entries like that on purpose. Also just to warn you, all the good jokes were in part 1.
Nope, I’ve no idea how you actually pronounce it, I generally go for something like Zee-Rin-eee but that might be wrong. If in doubt just call it a Hungarian super Stug, as that’s basically what it is.
The Zrinyi is similar to the Stug in that it’s an assualt gun built upon an existing tank chassis, and in this case, they have taken a Turan hull and rammed a 105mm howitzer into it. Its armour is 7/2/1, so very respectable from the front, but a little weak at the sides-you had best guard its flanks, as anything that has a weapon even remotely powerful will start poking holes in it if they get round the sides-even my Gran armed with a walking stick and on a wheelie chair would probably do the trick.
The main gun is range 24 inches, AT 10 and fire power 2+, which isn’t too shabby. It’s also RoF 2/1, which is a nice touch, as usually this type of weapon would be 1/1. It also has a has Brutal and Heat, making it useful against both infantry and good against tanks at long range. It can also fire bombardments, so taking a formation will be great for spamming ranged in markers at the beginning of the game.
It is slightly slower than a Turan for Cross Country and Road Dash, but the other movement is the same It also has a decent cross rating of 3+, so you can hide them on the edge of a wood and then come out when you need to without worrying about getting stuck on a mole hill. They only come in units of 3, but at just over 5 points a vehicle, they are very nice indeed. Also, as an added bonus, they are rated as Fearless Veterans.
So, at the risk of showing my hand, I will tell you I am rather a fan of these.
The Stug is to the Zrinyi what the Turan II is to the Panzer III, slightly different in a in a few ways, but not necessarily better or worse.
It’s got one point more of side armour, putting it up to a still very unimpressive 3, meaning it will still explode to anything that gives it a dirty look in the side. It has a marginally slower terrain dash speed of 12”, as opposed to the Zrinyis 14”, and a worse cross rating of 4+, but apart from that all the over movement stats and also the softs stats are exactly the same.
The only really difference is the gun, which on the Stug is range 32”, and AT 11 fire power 3+. So you get an extra 6 inches of range and a point of AT for the loss of some firepower, and the Brutal and HEAT special rules. The Stug is also incapable of doing bombardments. Well I suppose you could physically pick up the model and throw it at you opponent, but there’s nothing in the rules to cover that, so you’ll have to come to some sort of agreement amongst yourselves, possibly an agreement with the police to stop throwing tanks at people.
In short, the Stugs range and AT make it the better dedicated tank hunter of the two, but the Zrinyi is much more of a tool box that can deal with infantry and make a decent stab at stopping the enemy armour. The Stug is a nominal 1 point more per unit over the Zrinyi, which isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, but those 3 points per formation could be the difference between fielding some dirty filthy Panthers or glorious Tigers in support.
As no popular, (or unpopular for that matter,) song goes, “I give hurt because I’m a Hetzer”. Indeed I just made that up on the spot just now. I’m wasted in writing articles about toy soldiers.
Anyway, the Hetzer – take a Stug and send it on a crash diet, and voilà, you have yourself a Hetzer. Same armour, same gun, same movement ratings, (except the Cross rating but I’ll come to that,) but just shrunk down.
The shrinking process means that the main gun is now Overworked, the bazooka skirts have fallen off, and the Cross rating is only 5+. the crew are also downgraded to Confident Veterans, presumably because they keep banging their elbows in the cramped conditions inside, which is making them question their fundamental life choices – that or they were all standing at the back of the queue when the Fearless nutters grabbed all the Stugs and Zrinyi.
All this slimming down also results in a slimming down of the points as well-for less than the cost of 3 Stug you can get 4 Hetzer, and you can as well, since the maximum unit size for these is 5 hulls per unit. As it’s got the same armour and gun, this is really good – just as long as you don’t want to move the unit anywhere, at which point the Overworked and Cross ratings will really start to bite.
Now we are getting even more tenuous on the “Tank” part of the Tank Rank, the Csaba is an armoured car, so shouldn’t be used like a tank, but I thought I’d include it because I can be brief.
It’s a pit of poo.
Too brief? Okay, it’s very slow, even for a wheeled vehicle. It’s only fast movement value is its Road Dash, and that’s fast comparatively speaking-all the others are literally walking pace being the same values as infantry get. Its armour is 1/1/0, so it will explode if a leaf falls off a tree and lands on the roof, and its main gun is the same as the Toldi II …….. hang on a moment what shenanigans is this? Its main gun is the same as the Toldi II, BUT its RoF is 2/3, much like the Toldi IIs is in MW. This leads me to suspect that the Toldi IIs in this book is a typo. We will have to wait for clarification from Battlefront on that.
Points wise you get 4 Csaba for the cost of 3 Toldi I, so it’s difficult to call Judgement. If the Toldi II rate of fire is accurate then you get to choose between lots of Dakka from the Csaba, or better speed of the Toldi II, and I may personally lean towards the Csaba, but if the Toldi II should be RoF 3/2, then I’d pick the Toldi II.
This also brings into question the comparison between the Toldi II and the Toldi IIa. In short you might have to ignore everything I have said on that whilst we wait for a ruling.
Although if you want some Scout and Spearhead in your army, the Csaba might be your only choice. The Tank formations can all have either of the Toldi types as in formation support, but all the others will have to rely on the Csaba.
We are in the home straight now with only 1 vehicle left, and that is the Nimrod AA tank, again thoroughly abusing the definition of tank.
The Nimrod is designed for shooting at aircraft, which we all know in this game actually means shooting up infantry and light vehicles. To aid in this, it has 2 of the 40mm guns off the Turan next to each other, giving you an impressive range 24”, RoF 3/2, AT 7, fire power 4+ gun, which will chew through light vehicles in no time. Unfortunately, as it’s designed to shoot down planes and not get into fisticuffs with other vehicles, its armour is 1/1/0, so pretty much anything with a pointy end will make a hole in it. It’s well known that the crews of them were not allowed sharp pencils for that very reason. Their movement stats are exactly the same as the Turan, except with a 4+ cross rating, so they can keep up with the tanks, but don’t try to drive them through a forest.
They also only come in units of 2, so when one has been lost to enemy fire, or possibly poorly stowed stationery, there’s a 50/50 chance the other will run away. They only cost a handful of points and they are information options for all your actual proper tank formations, so if you have space in the list, you might as well include them.
And you never know, one day your opponent may actually field some aircraft.
Plus, they look really cool.
That’s a lot of tanks and things that might be mistaken for tanks to go through, 13 if you count the different types of Turans and Toldis as different entries – which you should for the purposes of arbitrarily deciding which one is best. So, I’ll try and put them in some semblance of order and whilst doing so I’ll try and justify my decisions.
Unlike the Finns and Romanians, the Hungarians have a decent selection of tanks to choose from and they can tick all the boxes of heavy, medium, light and support. Several of the tanks are extremely similar, like the Panzer III and Turan II, not to mention the Panzer IV and Stug which I have mentioned on several occasions as being very similar, that’s mudded even further by the introduction of Zrinyi. At least we can all agree that the Panther is terrible ….. can’t we?
So, after careful deliberation, or possibly a hefty measure of gin and a random number generator, here we go.
1) Tiger – nice and obvious, it’s the best tank in the book, and whilst it doesn’t have the special rules of the German Tiger, it does make it a bit cheaper
2) Panzer IV – A good all rounder with decent armour, decent gun, decent stats and not too expensive, just pips the Stug as it has more options in the formation
3) Stug – just as good as the Panzer IV, even has slightly better armour, but lacks a bit in formation options.
4) Zrinyi – at last, a Hungarian unit in the Hungarian Tank Rank, and to be honest it is just as good as the Stug. I’ve put it as number 4, but it could have easily been number 3. Ultimately it comes down to how you want to use it. The Stug is the better tank hunter, but the Zrinyi is more of a tool box.
5) Hetzer – quite simply it’s a Stug, just not as good. It’s fine, unless you want to drive it through a forest or get the crew to remount once you’re bailed out.
6) Panzer III – can you tell we are onto the 2nd tier stuff? Cleary it’s not going to be as good as the Panzer IV, but it’s still not a bad tank by Late War standards. It can still give T-34s and Shermans pause for thought.
7) Turan II – Just like the Panzer III, it’s not bad for Late War, it’s just that there are other things that do what it does but better. The only reason this gets beaten by the Panzer III is because of its weaker armour.
8) Panther – I had to put it somewhere and its clearly better stats wise then the Toldi II, so here it is. Its biggest problem is the fact its not a Tiger. Also, it’s my article and I can do what I want.
9) Turan I – They are cheap and can be fielded in large numbers, but Sadly AT7 just won’t cut it anymore. They will however be great if you’re facing a Romanian tank swarm.
10) Toldi IIa – A fairly decent light tank, good for scouting, just don’t let it get into a fight with a proper tank.
11) Nimrod – small unit size and lack of armour make these a poor choice, however, if you’re opponent has aircraft, then they might be useful.
12) Csaba – A bit poo, but it might be the only scout you can get, so needs must, plus they may actually do something useful just by the sheer number of shots.
13) Toldi II – it’s sitting in last place as it’s a bit rubbish all round, however, if it turns out the RoF is wrong, then it would get bumped up a couple of places.
Now for wrath, now for ruin and the red dawn
That concludes the Late War Axis Allies tank rank series. All I need to do to complete the Axis Allies in full is to do the MW Hungarians, which as I said at the start will come next. But then what; what Tank Ranks would you like to see? Do you think I should round of the Axis Allies by doing the Italians-after all they will have more options when North Africa comes out, or would you rather I switch periods and maybe do one for the Israelis or Arab nations in FOAN?
Let me know what you would like below