So after ten games with my ‘Von Ben’ night attacking panzer list I thought I’d break down what’s worked well, worked badly, would do differently next time and lessons learnt.
What worked well is pretty easy – night attacking! The ability for a spearhead move + always being hit on a 5+ on the first few turns is a huge benefit. With one exception where a king tiger rolled three sixes, I’m fairly certain this kept my force going most times. It really helps as well being a panther, as the FA10 is still huge, and all bar king tigers are pretty easy to ignore, add onto that IR equipment and Uhu half tracks and you’re in a good place to lead the charge. Alongside the night attack getting to spearhead is effective especially when married with panzersturm or recce!
This leads into the first nugget, you want to be fighting trained tanks with this list! Having played 7th armoured and KG Peiper the ability to hit your opponent more effectively is really good – just have to avoid things with a high FA (also according to an interpretation by those in ‘the Know’ for 7th AD to use Patton at night they need to roll for visibility – discuss!) I just want to now have a go against some T-34’s that could be lots of fun.
The other good aspect was having recce – there’s something really satisfying about keeping enemy ambushes away from your Panther, or making the usual difficult choice of shooting recce or letting them reveal you even more perilous due to them being visible at night!
However recon brings me onto the biggest weakness (IMHO)
dealing with infantry. You don’t have enough volume of fire to deal with them
directly, and whilst lifting GtG helps, veteran dug in infantry are a pain for
this list to shift – and the traditional alternative of infantry isn’t viable
either as you have such small platoons, both infantry and tank, and being
reluctant means getting a second swing is not guaranteed.
The other big weakness
really is being reluctant – not only reluctant, but reluctant with big
expensive toys. I still feel that I personally am cursed to roll ‘2’s’ for
every morale roll anyway, so I think even if confident I wouldn’t be
remounting, but with panthers bailed continuously for multiple turns, or recon
never moving as reluctant (6 turns) or even not being able to take advantage of
the cheeky assault on a bailed Panther, reluctant is a huge issue.
seemed artillery really punished this force as well. The numerous reluctant
bails aside, having no ability to return artillery fire (bar my two Grille)
meant they could operate a lot more freely.
infantry, but also the tanks – as good as it is being hit on 5’s, also hitting
your opponent on 5’s is a problem too – on at least one game I played neither
myself or my opponent fired a shot till turn three!
differently next time? Well strangely it would be to go for the other night
attack list! This may seem daft but I found repeatedly that this list worked
best when I played very aggressively, with lots of high front armour leading
the charge. So I think having a couple of platoons of panthers with IR gear and
the panzersturm platoon also with IR gear is the way to go – you lose the
recce, but most ambushes will hit you on a 5+ and with all the firepower in a
panzersturm platoon should be able to pin infantry before the assault.
I’ve enjoyed playing these lists, but would I take them to a competitive open
tournament? No. They will give some opponents a real headache, but they don’t
have the flexibility of tools other lists have. I personally would rank it
below my ‘Panzers to the meuse’ experience, but above my ‘KG Peiper’
experiences. I think it’s back to Italy now for my next panzer lists.