Monday, February 27, 2012

Task Force A

Ah, the joys of V3.  Learning new rules, trying to see if your list was completely gutted (my Crocs will never see the table again) and then analyzing old lists to see what just got bumped up.  Admit it - you are all doing this!

Not me...

Damn you!  You make it sooooo easy (pun intended) to go out and look at a bunch of lists.  My productivity has been shot.

But one of my favorite "sneaky" army lists has always been Task Force A out of Turning Tide.  For the unfamiliar, it is an armored recon list like no other.  You have to take M18 Hellcats in a platoon and M8 Greyhounds in the other.  Then you add on platoons to taste.  Just like salt!

So after listening to an old WWPD podcast (I think Mike Haught was on there too) talking about TFA, I have always kept it in mind.

Then this past year, I saw the list in action.  I met and befriended a great guy from Poland, who was in the States on business.  He sent an email to me via the player finder app at and we got a game in.  We also invited Igor (that's his name) to a LW tournament, where he brought TFA.  It was really a lot of fun to see this list in action.  Tank detroyers with 16" of movement, little armored recon units acting like Stuarts - it was great!  But the list still had some challenges and holes.

No more.

Hear me now, believe me in 6 months - TFA actually became a viable list.  Now the list is not for everyone.  First, it is Trained.  With small platoons.  That is still a bad combination.  But everything is a recon platoon and with the changes to wheeled movement, they are all super fast.  Now add on the new rules for American Tank Destroyers and you have a potent strike list.

Want proof?

Just think the standard Defensive Battle mission.  TFA is "always attacks", so let's think about that.  You deploy.  Every, yes basically EVERY platoon gets a recon move.  And you get first turn.  Now, just think of the Security Section of the TDs as a mobile ambush spawning site.  For those of you who play computer games, you get where I am going.  Everyone moves forward in recon move.  If terrain is on your side, you move the Security Section as close as allowed by the rules to your enemy.  Then at the start of the game, spring the ambush.  But be sure to read the rules.  You only need to deploy a certain distance away from the enemies.  And you need to be in command with a team from the Security Section.  But if my Security Team is 16" away from the enemy (recon move limitiation), it doesn't say my TD section that is springing from the ambush needs to be that far out.  They just need to be concealed.

Let that last statement soak in.


And if you look at the picture in V3 that talks about the TD rules, you will see a TD sprung close to an enemy because the Hellcat is concealed by a fence.  It will shoot at short range and the target is in the open.


Yup.  Concealed.  Like wheat fields, orchards, woods or... a corner of a building.  RoF 2, AT 12 Light Tanks shooting at short range.  That's 8 shots.  Add the second TD platoon and you can get 16 shots (8 total Tank Destroyers).  Then push the Greyhounds forward in Turn 1 (or same turn you spring the mobile ambush / spawning point) and you will simply overwhelm the enemy.  8 shots at vets gets 4 hits (assuming open target).  AT12 is a big shell - assuming medium tanks are the target you will get 3 destroyed / bailed.  So there - a mobile ambush that maintains full RoF at short range.



So rethink TFA and American Tank Destroyers.  And think of the TDs as mobile ambush / spawning platoons.  Yes, you will see a lot more of these units on the table in the coming months!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

V3 Airpower

So I was able to get a game in last night with the V3 rules.  Most folks are posting differences in V2 / V3, so here I go:

I adjusted my 1,575 point list for LW to bring Typhoons.  At 170 points for Limited (5 dice), I really needed to make some harsh decisions on what to bring.  But I got them squeezed in and still had a formidable force.

For the record, this list was British 7th Armored (Recon with Cromwells) out of Turning Tide.

The game was fun.  I played a new player named Chris and he brought a similar list (Shermans instead of Croms and Confident Trained) to mine, but Canadian.  We played Dust Up.  In the end, I got him 5-2.  I got too aggressive with a platoon and he used every weapon to go after that platoon.  Bummer.

But what I want to focus on was the effect of air.  In V3, I am a fan.

With Limited Air, I got 5 dice.

In Turn 1, I rolled and received air.  2 planes.  I placed the template over 4 tanks in a field, but the are not concealed to aircraft.  He shot 5 dice (attached the 2iC that was not under the template) with .50cal AA MG.  He scored enough hits and firepower rolls to reduce my flight to 1.  After all the rolls, re-roll hits, armor saves and firepower, I destroyed 1 Sherman.

In Turn 2, I went after a platoon in concealment.  I wanted to play that out with the one attempt to range in.  He was trained, so with concealment I needed a 3+.  While there was some risk, I had a 66% chance I would range in on a juicy platoon.  I did range in, but got the same result - 2 planes, reduced to 1 and 1 destroyed M10.

For the rest of the game, various air arrived but always with 1 or 2 planes.  I bailed, but did not destroy anything else.

So did my 170 points pay off?  I think so.  1 Sherman and 1 Achilles / M10 wiped out.  Points wise, nearly a wash.  But the fact is that he had to adjust any moves knowing that air may be screaming down from above.

My belief is that all armor players (like me) will need to keep within 2" of terrain that will conceal you from aircraft.  I also think if I play Trained, I would bring dedicated land based AA to the table.  Where you can't hug terrain, you best have something to wipe planes from the sky.

Oh, by the way Typhoons rock!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

More V3 nuggets

In my last post, I left with the teaser regarding the gun teams.

Now a gun team can shoot as if it were a rifle team.  I believe this also applies to the staff team.  So if you have guns with No HE and enemy infantry are heading your way, you can shoot!  I believe it is out there already that gun teams can shoot at side armor in assaults (not just Defensive Fire).  That will be a changer too.

But here are a few more:

2iC can roll for Company Morale

Gone are the days of the 2iC being the first team removed from the game.  The 2iC is now worth something!!  Because they are a Warrior Team, they can contest objectives.  They can also launch assaults.  But they also can roll for Company Morale!  This is really HUGE too!  Essentially, the 1iC and the 2iC are very close to being the same in terms of game benefits.  This should cause fewer wins based on an auto-fail Company Morale due to the loss of the 1iC.

Vehicle Moving ROF for MGs Stays The Same

There has been so much talk about 1/2 RoF for moving that people were assuming that would effect Vehicle Machine Guns.  Not the case.  Your Shermans are still going to pump 5 MG dice into the enemy infantry.  This will still cause the BAR and other Early War vehicles to retain their "mobile MG bunker" status in the game!  ;-)

I keep finding more little nuggets and I will post a few more here in the next couple of days!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

V3 - Impressions after first read and 3 subtle, but BIG changes

I got my grubby little hands on the new rules yesterday.  My FLGS (The Last Square) received 6 boxes, each with 36 rule books.  Amazing that BF would send these out for free.

Here are my first impressions, followed by some "details" that have not received a lot of attention, but will be game changers:

1) The quality of the book from a design point is fantastic.  There are numerous diagrams that show examples and should lead to quicker discussions around the table when there are rules issues.  A great example are the several pages dedicated to terrain and who is concealed.  Nice stuff.

2) There is an index and it is about 5 or 6 pages long.  All I will say is that this is a good start.  There could be more details and a much longer index - if that is your thing.  And yes, that is my thing.

3) Overall the game has been "tidied up" or "tightened up."  Many clarifications have been built into the rules that existed in MALFTF.  Airplanes and target being concealed - check.  Slow traverse - check.  Assaults - check.  Eliminating the daisy chain of Independents - check.

I have basically read through the book, but really focused on the diagrams and examples.  I will now start going through in more detail and create notes for myself to reference.

But here are are little changes that will have a big impact:

1) Direct Fire Smoke  All I will say is that direct fire smoke is now useful.  Two reasons - there are now two 2" smoke markers that are placed and those are treated like regular smoke per the rules.  This means 16" see / be seen and concealed plus gone to ground.  The second (and most important reason) - the shooter chooses the target and places the smoke.  Awesome.  In the past, if I wanted to smoke a Tiger but not the Panzer III in the platoon, I had to hope for a gun tank roll.  Not any more.  Yes, smoke in general got a little weaker (but better in my opinion), but direct fire got A LOT BETTER.

2) Warrior Teams v. Independent Teams  Ok, this will cause confusion for people moving from V2 to V3 due to the terminology.  Basically, Independent Teams are observers and recovery vehicles.  1iC, 2iC are Warriors.  Ok, so what you ask.  Ready for the answer??  Warrior Teams can claim, hold and contest objectives.  Yes, the 2iC can take an objective!  Not enough you say?  Try this then - a Warrior Team can launch an assault.  Yup.  1 stand assaults.  Very nice indeed.  Oh, Independent Teams cannot launch an assault and must break off at the first opportunity.

3) Sub platoons  Ok, this is a bit more esoteric because it links into another rule.  Basically, if you have sub-platoons they are treated like a normal platoon.  Example - Div Cav / Universal Carrier Horde.  You buy 4 patrols, but in V2 they are placed as a single platoon.  They also count as a single platoon for calculating Reserves.  Not in V3.  In V3 they are each a platoon - in every way.  Fine you say.  And maybe at first read you think this is great for Reserves.  A couple of hundred points and that 4 platoon Universal Carrier group can qualify for all my Reserves.  True.  But here is the kicker - if you have 9+ platoons in your company, you ignore the first destroyed platoon.  Yup.  Ignore the first platoon.  This will be big in tournaments.  Get to 9 platoons, lose one platoon and go on to win the game.  6-1 to you my friend!  Back loading points will become very, very common.  And British Artillery just became two platoons or more.

I am ignoring the Gone to Ground gun team save and others like that because they are out in the mainstream already.  The above are my first three that I see as big.  There are some others, but those will wait for a later post.  Here is a teaser - I have a gun with No HE.  They can see that pesky infantry and in V2 they just watched.  What happens in V3?  Could they actually fire at the infantry, even though they have No HE??  Yes, but...