Had another go with my Udarny list in a FoW tournament held over the weekend in Hartford, CT.
The list I played:
I made a few changes to the list that I played up in Canada last month. Most notably, the IS-2’s were left out. I just don’t think that a ROF 1 tank is worth the points hitting on 5’s and 6’s. I was outshot by AT12 assets thru weight of fire – twice as many dice hitting twice as often caused more damage to me than I could to him, even with the enormous mismatch in armor values. With the usual German stormtrooper and smoke shenanigans keeping me on the move I couldn’t get off a decent volley. In a Tankovy list I might still take them to provide high AT assets to complement faster tanks, but not with infantry.
I used the points saved to beef up both Udarny Strelkovy companies to three platoons – 12 stands in each + CC. I also dropped a couple of Maxim HMG teams in one platoon. With the company commander I added AT rifles and AT guns to attach out to the platoons. With Flamethrower teams added in this is enough to reach QoQ levels for both companies.
As additional AT assets, I went with 4 BS-3 AT guns. AT16, yay, ROF 1, boo. I’m not sold on immobile assets but my thinking was that in defense these are my ambushers. They can effectively create a dead-zone for opposing armor as AT16 threatens basically everything, and volley fire is brutal (more on that later!). I’ve never used them before but was basing this decision on the difficulties I’ve experienced attacking against Pak’s. They are worth the points just to interdict movement.
I purchased a one-squad scout platoon for infiltration and recon, as this is thematic with this list. My thinking process was that I can attack against infantry (the list is Always attack against opposing infantry) with big infantry companies supported by flamethrowers. Infiltration opens up the possibility to have flamethrower teams right in the enemy’s face on turn one. It would be nice to have infantry, flamethrowers, and better recon options along with infiltration – this is an idea I’ll be list shopping. Udarny provides the bonus to skill checks that is a big plus, however.
On defense, I have enough AT assets to keep my opponent honest, and a nasty pile of infantry for him to try to dig out.
To round out the list I had 120mm mortars and 4 SU-122’s. The SU’s aren’t worth much against decent armor, but they can really mess up dug in infantry if given a chance and provide my only mobile asset on defense.
Six platoons total.
Round 1: Encounter against US Infantry
My opponent had US Infantry with a 6-gun battery of 105’s with AOP. The game was a snooze fest. There was no way my opponent could attack me outnumbered 2-1 by fearless vet-equivalents in assault without softening me up first. There was no way I could get my infantry into assault range against his artillery with AOP – everything I moved died. He had two platoons of TD’s which kept my assault guns from setting up an effective fire base and he smoked me on those few occasions that I was able to get a good shot set up. My BS-3’s kept him honest and basically prevented his armor from moving on half of the table. I gave away an easy point trying to surprise his recon with my scouts coming in from reserves and lost a 2-1 draw after at least twenty turns. Thinking about the game I could really use AA assets to help with AOP lists.
Round 2: Surrounded against German Infantry (as attacker)
The perfect set-up for my list. German Infantry with tank and SP arty support. My opponent hid all of his armor in woods to prevent BS-3 sniping, but this left him open to infiltration, which I took advantage of. One objective was flamed and assaulted on turn one and was under constant pressure for the entire game. He was left with only his open-topped SP guns defending the other objective, under BS-3 fire and threated by flamethrowers and AT rifle armed infantry.
Now for the down side – we only played three turns and I lost the game 4-3 on time. If we played five turns I would have reduced my opponent to just a few tanks and there was almost no chance he could survive more than one more turn on both objectives. This was a very disappointing result but the tourney was only 2-hour rounds and in fairness the other player was in dire straights and playing very carefully right from the first turn. He wasn’t slow-playing and he did a bunch of damage to one infantry platoon, causing a morale check. Thank goodness for big companies and Komissars ;->
The silver lining was that the list worked in an infantry-infantry attack exactly as I had planned/hoped.
Round 3: The Cauldron (as defender)
Another decent set up for me, table wise. My opponent had one infantry platoon, Panthers, StuG and StuH’s, recon, and bloody Rudel. The avenues of attack available to my opponent were pretty obvious and I had defensible terrain to set up in. I placed my BS-3’s in immediate ambush and spread out my infantry to cover both objectives. Scouts, SU’s, and mortars went into reserve. The Germans deployed pretty much where they had to, I placed by BS-3’s opposite his Panthers.
The Panthers advanced onto a wood-covered hill facing my BS-3 line, the StuG/H’s danced around trying not to get destroyed by BS-3’s and his infantry and recon were in reserve. The stand off between Panther and BS-3’s was very one sided as I lost three guns in return for one random shot on a StuG and nothing (not one single hit needing 5’s on 4 dice) against the Panthers. In the turn I lost three of my guns it dawned on my tiny brain that I had forgotten the Volley Fire rule on the BS-3’s for four turns running!! Crapola!! That should have been a game-changing screw up – missing for four turns was statistically improbable, missing for four turns WITH re-rolls would have been almost impossible.
The silver lining of the one-sided gun duel was that I had forced my opponent to make a choice; either fire at my BS-3’s or take shots at the infantry assembling to assault him. He took out the guns and in the following turn I was able to successfully flame his three Panthers (no damage done but NO DEFENSIVE FIRE ;->) and then assault with a pile of AT Rifle infantry (Tank Assault 3) and SMG infantry. End result – three dead Panthers!
The balance of the game saw my opponent lose his infantry assaulting my right flank. This attack diverted assets from my left and my opponent put a lot of pressure on the objective placed there. My reserves were either stupidly squandered with a very lazy placement that allowed defensive fire (I could have moved my scouts over half an inch from where I initially put them down and suffered no defensive fire) or taken out with a miracle volley (5 StuG’s, 5 shots, 5 hits, 5 failed saves, 5 passed firepower checks. Poof, 4 Su-122’s erased).
After 14 turns (yup) I was still in possession of both objectives when time was called. Result, 4-3 win.
So, a 20+ turn lost draw, a 14 turn win, and a 3!!! turn loss that I was dominating on the table.
The list did what I thought it would and was a lot of fun to play in 2 of 3 games. I’m thinking of making a couple of changes for next time.
I had a lot of infantry teams and it wasn’t always useful or easy to deploy. I am going to tweak the balance of infantry in the two companies by only selecting the third platoon for one Udarny company and using the points saved to add the pioneer teams available in company support. The flamethrower/assault trick I used against the Panthers was an eye-opener for me. Need a few more stands with high Tank Assault rating to up the defensive ante quite a bit.
Speaking of flamethrowers – I like. I like a lot. They provide a crushing alpha strike. I think I want to try replacing the Su-122’s with Flamethrower tanks. If I drop the Su-122’s and swap out the BS-3’s for Zis-2’s I can buy 10 OT-34/85 flamethrower tanks. As assault assets the flamethrowers work just fine and that is another 20 dice of flame-throwing goodness. Russians don’t have to leave the battle after using flamethrowers, so all good. They are of course not as useful in an anti-tank role as they are brittle and reduced to ROF 1 on the main gun. But, there are ten of them and they are still AT12. I think it is worth a try, as it is a marginal decrease in my AT power (if at all) and a huge boost to my anti-infantry firepower. Thinking about the first game, I may have been able to deploy flamethrowers from the tanks before the TD’s came on from reserve. Wouldn’t have worked out as well against the Panthers perhaps, but that is debatable. I lose the BS3 heavy hitters but still have ROF 3 AT11 Zis-2’s in ambush to keep Panthers and Tigers honest. Or I could ambush with the tanks if circumstances are right. I think it is worth a try either way, with AA assets thrown in the mix to round out the list.