Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Fun tank combo's in World of Tanks

Abandoned SU-26
One of the joys of World of Tanks isn't just that you can play in 15-a-side WW2 tank battles and blow up the opponent, but that you can also play 'with a friend' in a mini-platoon.  This means that you can chat live with your 'buddy' within mixed games and share tactics etc...

Did I mention that you could do this for free?

Once you've got your head around the possibilities, here's some great fun double-team options you can play, I've selected all these options as they are great fun in their own and can be reached within a couple of hours of play time for free as they are all low tier options (or very cheap to purchase).

SU-26:  The Tinpot Tank - Tier 3

The SU-26 is tier three, meaning you are two steps (SU-18 to SU-26) from the bottom tier.  This is arguably one of the funniest tanks in WoT's, aritllery with a turret is unique and makes this tank a joy to play.  Maxed out with the best equipment, a load-rammer to speed up your Rate of Fire and some camoflague (and XP), this tank is a beaut.  It's exceptionally accurate, with a high rate of fire.  It can even 'put the willies' up level seven tanks with sustained fire.

Strength.  A team of two SU-26s can be devastating.  Think of the SU-26 as an infantry mortar team, moving in 100m behind the front line.  It can suppress a charge, or zero-in on a 'hiding' opponent and force them out.  A combination of 2 mediums, a smart fast tank some accurate SU-26's can completely own a flank.  Ripping 10-15% off a KV per shot, double trouble for anything in tier 4-7 and instant killers in tier 2-3.

Weakness.  It's actually got good options (thanks to its turret) against most scout tanks that come after it.  Sadly the T-50 has put the SU-26 in a tricky situation, as the T-50 can hit your base as the SU-26 barely leaves it!  That said, clever placement and map knowledge means you're barely suckered, but watch out for Ensk and Prokovia.  Staying in behind a big group of tanks helps, and they'll love your accurate mortar work.

T-50 Light tank - Greased Lightning - Tier 4

If any tank is due a significant nerf, it's this one.  Put simply, this is the best Tier 3-5 tank across the board.  Nothing has it's acceleration, bounces shots, goes up hills, circles like a buzzard like a T-50.  This is one tank that has the whole enemy army reacting to it and usually firing off everything they have.  Taking two T-50's is brilliant fun, and twice the headache for the enemy.  Level 4, but everyone should own one.

Strength.  Really quick.  Adding the cheap suspension boost means this thing barely slows for hills, it's always a useful tank.  In higher tier games a pure and menancing scout, in lower tier it's an awesome mixed light-medium with a solid gun and great firepower.  It's speed, movement and 'kinkiness' make it the bane of enemy loners as you can simply run round them.  Expect a lot of love (bullets) in this tank.  Double-teaming makes no effect on your tier and double the fun, after you die, you can watch and advise your maniac buddy!

Weakness.  It's got good bounce on very light armour, sporting down a flank will often get you one-shotted and in larger games those big tanks have fast traverse - taking you to one shot deathville.  Gotta hit you first.

T-57:  Agressive Artillery - Tier 2

The T-57 is a weird level 2 arty.  It's got great armour for it's tier, good speed and movement and actually can beat off a lot of tanks.  Double teamed at high tier, you become a standard arty (although end game base attacks become possible).  In lower tier, this tank works very well as a tank hunter, giving you some serious prestige in close range killing.

Strength.  Quick, well armoured, bounces shots and with an above tier damage rating.  This tank can bring the pain and is cheap to rebuild.

Weakness. Against anything serious - you are toast.

Panzer 4/T-34 combo - Tier 5

Taking either both or one of each will guarantee a fun game.  The Panzer 4 has an awesome top gun, giving you above tier reach to hurt mediums and heavies.  The turret is well armoured, but the chassis isn't, meaning hull down is a must.  The T-34 is a classic design, and on reputation should be dominant.  If you know the field and other tanks well, this little fighter can really harass.  It can penetrate a Tiger from the front and offer 20-30 shots a minute. 

The Panzer has the raw punch and stopping power, but lacks the speed and low profile to spot.  It's also cumbersome at close range as the turret traverse lacks.  The T-34 fits well with it, offering a more balanced approach with a solid, high ROF gun.

A tasty combination.

PanzerKampfWagon B2 (actually a french B1 Char)

The PzB2 costs £4.22, and for that you get a lot of value for money.   Thanks to the tiering restructure, the B2 habitually starts game at 'top of tier', and at only tier 4, the worst you can face ain't that scary.  In line with other premium tanks, the B2 is cheaper to repair and makes more money than other 'standard' tanks.  This means that the B2 can quickly churn you up some ready cash.  Unlike most other premium tanks, this one's actually a joy to play.

With front and side armour and 60, the B2 can ignore a good number of tanks in battle and concentrate fire on the heaviest armed (the M3 Lee, Hetzer, PzIII and SU85B are its natural enemies.  It's gun is sub-par, but perfectly capable to punching holes in the majority of tier 2-4 tanks.  Unlike it's appearances, the B2 is surprisingly agile and has great movement, although the top speed is capped at 30kph.  This means that you are a hard target for artillery and not a heavy that can be jumped and circled by a leopard or t-50 that easily... you are not easy prey like a lone KV for example.

Taken as a pair, the B2 is hilarious.  My buddy and I have jointly sandwiched a fixed gun STuG III between us and then shot his side armour to bits, I've run a whole game ramming opponents and drawing fire and with the great movement, its a natural city fighter.  You need to be tactically aware in a B2 though, as you can't "race back to base" if you've been flanked ... so keep your buddies in check.

Best Combination Ever: B2 plus Su-26.

One of you plays enormous bullet magnet, while the other one racks up the kills with a super accurate mortar.  Great fun and 'productive'.

Friday, 16 December 2011

The Flames Tardis: Armies in both time AND space

The Tardis for your fish tank ... gotta love google images.
In THIS article I had a bit of a rant about all the things I think are broken in 40k.  One of the thigs that 'makes me sad' about 40k is that despite all the fluff and stuff, most players ditch their 'fluffy' armylist as soon as they start hitting the gaming table in earnest.  The lovingly painted squads of "sub-par unit of choice" gets left on the shelf as the players is forced to "not waste points" on throwaway units and buy HiveGuard/Trygons/Manticores/Hydras/Paladins.

Fact is, half those "great" units in the fluff are actually overpriced and pointless in the tournaments and even in your 'friendly neighbourhood club'.  Let's reflect on that for a moment...

Flames of War approach

Rather than using a formula army list approach like other games, Flames of War forces the user to choose a 'type' of army and then select company options that are available to that force.  Many individual units appear in many different army structures, but the structures are built to be reflective of historical unit AND balanced. 

Example: A tank battalion forces you to take a command unit (in a tank, obviously) and then a minumum of 2 tank companies (5-10 tanks).  In fact, you can 'optimise' up to 31 'standard' tanks within the structure, plus Heavy tanks (IS-2s or ISU122/152s) plus tank killer companys, assault guns etc etc.  What you'll sacrifice is access to masses of infantry, heavy machine guns, recon vehicles etc etc.  A Reconnaissance Company in comparison can field 0-25 tanks (still perfectly healthy), sacrifices all 'heavy' options, but gets better and more recon units, better infantry units (with flamethrowers!) and other options unavailable to the prior.  The 'motor rifle company' comes with the most 'vanilla' force, allowing you access to all areas, but limiting the numbers of each particular type - ie, you can take 1-2 of everything.

Using this approach forces the player to consider their army carefully, and consider their preferred tactical approach with caution.  Do you want to swarm the enemy with T-34s, then a tank company is yours (46 tanks), do you want to blow them apart from range, Motorised will give you the most 'arty', allowing you 46 artillery (including mortars) and anti-tank guns. But you'll be limited in what else you can bring.

The advantage is two-fold, structure AND time.

The strength of this approach is that in a similar fashion to 40k, you can 'try out' and test bed your units and easily switch from one structure to another.  To make this even easier, many of the lists come with two price structures, one for better trained or motivated, one for less so.  One is cheaper.  This adds another careful layer of control though, as 'Guards' are better than Red Army troops, but you couldn't have Guards and Red army in the same battalion.

Exceptions do apply though and many units come with either both options, or are 'add on' reserves units, that equally apply to both.  User beware though, as switching price brackets may exclude your 'must have' units!

So you can field wildly different forces while settling into the game (infantry are fairly transferable), trying out different approaches.  To make this more fun, you can also field army list from different time periods, giving you strikingly different forces, which will fight different opponents.  Here's an example:

1500pt Soviet Army Tank Battalion (Mid War)

This is before and during Stalingrad and way before Kursk, the Russians are on the defensive and throwing everything they have out of the factory and into the way of the Germans.  As such, the majority of the troops are cheap, and are classed as 'Fearless Conscripts', they are highly motivated to save the motherland, but largely untrained and inept.

This means that the tanks and troops are hit more often as they are comparatively incompetent, but will rarely rout or desert their vehicle when hit. (Commissars are SOOOO motivating)
  • T34/76 - Company Commander (Fearless Trained)
  • 6 x T34/76 - Fearless Conscripts
  • 6 x T34/76 - Fearless Conscripts
  • Tank Rider Platoon, including 1 Maksim HMG and a commissar (reroll motivational checks but remove a stand of infantry as traitors, sound familiar?) - Fearless Conscripts
  • 5 x Katyushas with extra crew (double Rate of Fire) and spotter team - Fearless Trained (these guys are reserves from base and less disposible than their brethren).
1510pt Soviet Army Tank Battalion (Late War)

This is during the 'Bagration' counter attack for Minsk, after Stalingrad and racing towards Kursk.  All Russian troops are now trained, although their 'fearless' drops to 'confident' if their just Red Army and not Guards forces. The Russians are now facing man-power shortages after the desparate sacrifice of Moscow and Stalingrad ... but their training and confidence is better.
  • T-34/85 - Company Commander (Fearless Trained)
  • 6 x T-34/85 - Fearless Trained
  • 6 x T-34/85 - Fearless Trained
  • Tank Rider Platoon, including 1 Maksim HMG and a commissar (reroll motivational checks but remove a stand of infantry as traitors, sound familiar?) - Fearless Trained
  • 6 x Katyushas with extra crew (double Rate of Fire) and spotter team - Fearless Trained (these guys are reserves from base and less disposible than their brethren).

So what's the difference?

The prior force will be facing mostly Stug and Panzer 4 medium tanks, lots of German infantry and   the occassional Tiger (which they'll struggle with, as the Russians did).  They are easier to hit, but highly motivated and will be facing less dangerous anti-tank weapons.  The tanks are all faster and are capable of blistering speed.

The latter force will face german (and other) armies where both vehicle, fixed gun and infantry weapons can cause havok with the T-34's armour.  It's slightly better, and thanks to training the T-34's are also harder to hit (you hit on your TARGETS skill level, rather than your own).  The Rider Platoon will be a more serious challenge in close combat - as will the 85's, but their guns are vastly better, capable of damaging all the troops.


Both armies represent the same (ish) number of models, but will face vastly different opponents and have vastly different capabilities.  The two armies will work in a similar fashion, using speed and armour to exploit a weak point in the line and then push through hard into the enemy defensive line, flanking the enemy.  This bring me to my final discussion point of the day...

Scale and tactics

Something that has occured to me since starting in flames of war is that flanking doesn't really work in 40k.  This has something to do with scale, but also something to do with tanks.

Unlike 40k, an infantry man is about a centimetre high.  The best infantry weapons are effective at 24" and guns get ranges up to 32", artillery is longer still, but lacks the accuracy (as you'd expect). This is roughly equivilent to 40k, but there's actually a huge difference in scale. 

Smaller: Flames Tanks are generally smaller than a matchbox, allowing them to 'hide' behind hills and other terrain easier than 40k infantry.  This means that terrain has a greater impact in denying firing altogether.  Obviously the terrain is much smaller, but this doesn't lead to huge terrain pieces absorbing large chunks of the board in order to 'make' the game competitive.

Faster: A standard tank can 'double time' at 24" in a turn.  A tank can move 12" and fire (although at a reduced Rate of Fire), a 'fast tank' can move up to 32" in a turn!  This makes breakthroughs a real threat.  Additionally, the scale of the models means that an dug in infantry line is a line an 1" wide.  Meaning that 'artillery' can be a long way (comparatively) behind the front line, and open to assault by the breakthrough!

Scaled: Blocking tactics (like with rhinos) are near impossible at this scale.  Defences are 'deeper', as scale means that if you punch through my front line, my 57mm zis-2 are going to punch straight through your side armour! Attack, penetration and counter attack are more tactically dynamic as there is more 'room' to maneuver on the same board.

Example:  I set up a defensive line on troops.  They carry SMG's and HMG's, so the Germans won't want to assault with infantry or half tracks.  They punch through the 'weak' part of my line with a panther tank group in assault, and push through with several units of crack panzergrenadier units.  The panzers are their front armour left to face the T-34's they are going to flank next turn.  I then reveal my 4 zis-2 guns hidden in a wood on a hill.  They open up on the exposed Panthers and score 6 hits from my 12 shots.  The panthers cannot pass the side armour hits (armour 5, antitank 11, requiring 6's to avoid penetration!) and 5 penetrating shots later (one bail-out test) you have 3 destroyed tanks and 2 bailouts, crippling the German breakthrough.

40k tanks are a bit of a joke.  Normal tanks are barely faster than troops, and can only escape 'fleet' troops due to a bad dice roll for the chaser.  In Flames, the relationship is reversed, with tanks providing the maneurvability, whilst the infantry provide the fixed durability.

But 40k Infantry aren't durable and treat foxholes and cover as 'optional' ... hence the weird reversal of reality.  40k tanks as mobile pillboxes.


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

A Rush to Flames of War?!?

Farmpunk unwraps his Flames of War Starter Set - Open Fire!

Ok, so I'm talking about it, but there seems to be a real smoulder about Flames of War on the 40k blogs I requent.  Games Workshop should pay serious attention to this.
  1. Unlike Hordes & Warmachine (Hormachine lol), Malifaux, Infinity or Cutlass! Flames of war isn't a skirmish game (like Necromunda or Advanced Space Crusade).  It's entirely within that medium to large scale battle that GW have placed 40k. 
  2. WW2 is just as cool as space monsters from mars, and is actually more appealing to the older player.  Post 30's, Space Marines are a bit childish and the appeal of guardsmen, humans in an inhuman war (or Tau, the 'most' Startrekian race) appeals more.  Plus, something about getting older and having kids makes WW2 and the sacrifice for their childrens, children more meaningful.  Something about growing up methinks...
  3. The models are as attractive and beguiling as 40k models.  In fact they are more so as they are smaller, you can actually focus more effort on every vehicle and unit.
  4. The game scales really well.  500 point battles are very quick, but just as urgent as 1500pt engagements.  I'm also told it scales exceptionally well to larger points brackets.  This means a player can get engaged from the start, without accumulating a huge cost.
  5. The models are cheaper, a FoW 1500pt army may cost £172 (last army list, Wayland Games prices), an equivilent 1500pt 40k army with will be significantly more.  My Blogwars list of Guardsmen would cost £250+ (discounted prices at Gifts for Geeks, excluding the custom made rough riders).
  6. There's competition in the 15mm field, keeping prices low.  The same sort of 'healthy competition' doesn't exist (ok, maybe marginally) in 40k - so GW price hikes are habitual, based upon shareholder feedback.  To put this into context, the same army list above would cost just £81.75 in Plastic Soldier Company and Zvezda models (Gifts for Geeks Prices).  £80 for a brand new 1500pt army, I'm getting all nostalgic for the early days of 40k, 30 orks a box man @ £12 each!
  7. Finally, the game system actually works.  It has the pace and zing of 40k, combined with the tactical acumen and strategy (thanks to a lack of stupid dice rolls) of EPIC.  Yes, I said EPIC.
So Games Workshop should look out.  Flames of War is a well built, well thought through and much more competitive environment than the flabby old 40k.  It's also a well networked sales stream, as available online and every Hobbycraft store.

And once you start to play (and the entry level game is £20), you'll realise that 40k's rules are about as flabby as 40k's prices.

Grown up gamers, revolt against the prices. (You weren't really buying 40k anyway) and get into something awesome - Flames of War.

Friday, 9 December 2011

40k 6th Edition ... what needs fixing?

I typed GW rules fail into google and look what popped up ... funny.
Warhammer Tau (or just plain Tau, as he's now called) got me thinking.  What's wrong with 40k and how could they fix it?

Here's the Macro-problems:
  1. Uber-Unit Spamming is leading GW down a cul-de-sac to WAAC boredom.
  2. Space Marines are over powered in the macro and that, plus problem 1, is yawning the tournament scene into boredomville.
  3. 40k does not scale, armies vary greatly depending on points listings.
  4. The idea that identical deployment equals 'fair playing field' is childish.
  5. The obsession with the 'fairness of a dice roll' makes reserves frequently pointless.
  6. 40k is moronic in some senses, and overtly over-complicated in others.
Here's some suggestions:
  1. SPAM: Drop the 2+3+6+3+3 choices and define builds based upon balanced (fake) historical precident.  You can take three squads of the first company, but you lose the chance of fielding x, y and z.  For example, codex Blood Angels could give you 10 different company structures to chose from, each with different essential and optional units to build with.  This stops the 'best unit in codex *X = win' and shuts STTH's down in one go.  Flames of War have made this the cornerstone of their army building and it allows both balance on the army wide scale AND better scalability.
  2. Spezz Merins:  Simply changing the 'cover save' rules aren't enough.  A torrent of fire should do more than just bounce off Terminators, the addition of a cumulative 'armour save reduction' on torrent of fire might mean that achieving 15 wounding hits on a 5 man Terminator squad reduces their armour save to 4+.  In addition, and this isn't original, TSKNF has no relevance in 40k.  It is an opt-out, and Speez Merins either need to opt in to Europe and leadership tests, or piss off.  Genestealers run away, but Smurf's don't, Necrons run away?  Bollocks.
  3. Scale: 40k armies vary greatly from points band to points band.  Building structures that can't be spammed would stop this cycle, see option 1.  In addition, fixing the leadership rules (which are 90% ignored) and applying those modifiers fairly to the points of units would dramatically balance the game at all levels.  It's not enough that something is tough/weak, but it's ability to stick/run adds a balancing dimension.
  4. The 'classic' deployments: They are childish, they are so stupid, they hand a huge advantage to the first turn 'grabber' to the point where 'Alpha strike leaf blower' guard armies can dominate.  Using grown up 'scenario' rules with benefits for the 2nd turn player would be key.  Changing the rules to "Infinity", so there is a tradeoff between deployment and first turn (ie you can't have both the good one's) - making the choice tactically telling would be a start.  See flames of war, for more grown up ideas.
  5. Random equals fair: This is a stupid religion at 40k.  Many games build some brilliant concepts around having reserves arrive 'when you want them', not piecemeal like idiots.  Changing the reserves rules into something more dynamic would transform 40k and create a real buzz on the game.  All armies have good reserves, but they are largely ignored (unless you're old school Fritz), making reserves more tactical and less random would up the game level significantly.
  6. Moronic Example 1: Tank Shock (lol): Tanks can ram other tanks, people can assault tanks, but tanks can 'tank shock' units.  Give me a break.  A Landraider runs through a mass of gaunts ... I want gaunt goo oozing in the mud.  Don't you?  I want to use my Leman Russ's (and heaven forefend my super heavy tanks) to crush Terminators like popsicles (or bury them so deep in solid rock that it's not funny.  Why not?  Ork Battlewagons can do it, why not other vehicles (instead of the faintly ridiculous shuffle bottom move).
  7. Moronic Example 2: Defensive fire: In infinity every action has a reaction (but thats time consuming), but in Flames of War, the defending unit can open fire at full Rate of Fire at the assaulters.  Which makes sense.  As such, charging a group of genestealers into a 60 man guard unit armed with rapid fire and assault weapons then becomes near impossible.  In flames, this is achieved through 'pinning' the unit - reducing or eliminating the ability of the unit to wipe you out on the way in.  This would be easy to fix.

Now some of the above would break the game (can't see assault-worthy tanks reducing the number of boxes sold, or the meta), but the current game system ain't working ... there's my brain splurge that took 20 minutes to write.

Pull your finger out GW - you lost the initiative at 4th edition and now everyone knows you are the old bullying crabby old man on the block and needs a royal kicking. 

Thursday, 8 December 2011

A Wonderful Surprise, and 40k Hangovers

Visit Hyperwar
Last night I arranged to visit my local store/club and "join in" on a 1500pt mid-war flames of war kick off between the Germans and the Brits.

Dustin was facing off against Coops and Dustin (very kindly) offered to crow bar me in a company or two to take part.

I arrived at the club with my 10-ish tanks, and boy was I in for a surprise (and a learning curve!).

Coops had double booked himself, arranging a game against Dustin in Mid-WW2, and a game against Anton (of the Anarchy) in Vietnam based Tropic Thunder US v VietCong!

As a true gentleman he is (and delighted FoW player of 6 years with a vast collection) ... Coops had brought me along an entire Soviet mid war army of 1500pts, written me an army list and even brought me his special soviet dice and markers for the different units!

Wow, this was special treatment!

The Army Lists

Russian Mid War - 1500 pts.  

Description: This is a lot of tanks supported by a single stand of infantry and some awesome Katyusha artillery support.   The tanks and infantry are so numerous because they are all consripted, meaning that they are easy to hit AND have poor abilities when these are called upon.

Command Tank T34/76
Tankovy Company #1: 3xT-34/76 and 3xT-34/57

Tankovy Company #2: 3xT-34/76 and 3xT-34/57
Tank Rider Company: 14 Infantry, 1 Officer, 1 Maksim Heavy Machine Gun and Commissar.
5 Katyusha Rocket Launchers with Staff Officer and Spotters

The Katyusha are Trained/Fearless, all the others are Conscript/Fearless.

British Mid-War - 8th Army Indian Irregulars

Infantry Company, Rifles and Light machine guns, piat recoiless antitank guns and mortars.
Indian Heavy Bombards - antitank weapons x 2
Two British "Sideways Firing" Bofors Mobile Antitank Armoured Trucks
Heavy Mortar Platoon (4 x Fearless Veteran Squads) - best of the best with 2 spotters.
3 x Matilda Tanks
3 x Sherman Tanks
Lots of other infantry.

Deployment - Aggressive tanks versus defensive Infantry

Unlike 40k, FoW has more balanced encounters than 'equal' ones.  This means that while the deployment of the attacker and the defender are totally alien to eachother, the special rules of the defender (who are usually dug in and camoflagued, with multiple 'ambush' units), gets significant advantages over the attacking tanks.  This helps to negate the alpha strike as a tactical 'game-winner', because outside Nagasaki and Hiroshima, and 40k - "Alpha Strike" isn't actually in reality.

So while I got first turn and ALL my troops on the table.  Dustin could beploy his units in and around the objective and make his 'anti-tank' units invisible.  The turn he 'declared their attack' they would hit at full rate of fire (in some circumstances they would get both full RoF and hit against side armour ... that's ambuscade).

The downside for dustin is that half his army is in reserve - meaning that he would be in a positive position, but with only half his troops.

Turn 1 - the rush.

Dropping my Katyusha spotter inside the command T-34/76, I rushed forwards on the left AND the right.  The heavy mortars were camped around the objetcive to my right flank, and the commander and other made a bee line for that.  The other group of 6 tanks moved towards the dug-in infantry on the left flank.  Moving over 6" in a russian tank means losing your ability to fire, although the 24" movement more than made up for this.  The conscripts in the middle moved forward under the reproachful eye of their Commissar.

In return, Dustin 'uncovered' two camoflagued unit in the open on the right flank.

Notes on Ambush in Flames of War: Unlike 40k and Infinity, there's no requirement to 'write down' where the camoflagued unit in located, the player can simply 'deep strike' them without a roll.  This represents a good reflection on the lack of 'micromanagement' of Flames, as its assumed the unit NCO or officer is perfectly capable of setting up in a good position.  The downside is that ambushers cannot set up within 16" of an enemy is plain sight or 4" of an enemy within cover (or 8" of a recce patrol), this means that any wood can become the hidey hole for a platoon of 6 pound artillery or tank hunters ... rushing forward and securing this ambush spot will stop the ambush happening (or force it out early!), but equally you cannot 'clear' the spot - only occupy it!  This represents well th ability of artillery and tank hunters to lie dormant, biting their nerve and then fire a massed volley into the sides and rears of the enemy!

The Bofors gun and dug in bombards opened up on the T-34's on the right flank at full rate of fire.  Destroying one tank and bailing out a further two.  My tanks are manned by conscripts, they get hit on a 2+, eeeeeeek!  The mortars on the right flank pinged my command tank squad, but to no avail.

Turn 2 - Dithering and Blathering

This left me in a panic ... umm, what to do?  Well, first of all I reacted just like that crap commander at Easy Company's attack on Foy - I panicked and had the tanks hunker down in some cover and try shooting it out with the enemy.  Suddenly I discovered that firing on dug-in infantry in cover at more than 16" was a recipe for disaster.  My shooting required a 5+, followed by a 3+ cover save for them and then a 3+ firepower check for me ... I killed nothing.  Rethink required.  Likewise, the tanks on the right flank awaited the move up by the Conscripts and tried to land another Katyusha attack on the mortars - to no avail!

Dustin pressed to exploit his hesitant idiot opponents mistake on the left flank and shot up the tanks, evacuating another 2 (although no more explosions, mid-war british anti-tank is shocking!).  In addition, 3 Mathilda's trundled on to the board (and we discovered they have shocking guns with useless range AND shocking armour - who knew?)

The mortars pinged the tanks on the right flank and managed to evac one.

Turn 3

Dustin kindly pointed out that charging the tanks into the heavily defended RPG and antitank regiment on the left flank wasn't bright and maybe I should just move left.  It's useful when your opponent helps you.  Taking his advice I moved right with everything I has (that wasn't bailed out) and worked out that he had some weak spots in his lines.

One of the bailed out tanks on the left and the bailee on the right pulled it together and joined in.  Moving the tanks to the right flank and centre I asked about tank assaults.

I have been digesting the rules over the last weeks, and I had registered in the back on my mind that tanks couldn't assault tanks, but COULD ASSAULT INFANTRY.  Well this is a novel idea and an alien one to 40k players.  My tanks could fight with infantry, not shoot them.  But what I didn't understand is that when infantry are in dug in positions, assaulting them with tanks (ie driving over them/driving them off) is the best approach and FAR MORE EFFECTIVE THAN SHOOTING AT THEM.

So what's 40k thinking: I mean tank-shock, Tank shock?  Tank Shock?  Where's tank squish, or tank supressing your ass and ramming your dug out and scattering your unit to the four winds?  Tank shock? Boo!  It's like the Scooby Doo version of warfare!  Which beggars the question, why can't trucks just run people over in 40k?  Why can't landraiders run over Terminators and pop them like little spider eggs?  Why is the infantry/tank relationship in 40k so weird?  

So four tanks assaulted one spotter unit and 3 tanks assaulted the other, still requiring a 5+ to hit him (Assaults are tested against ability rather than opponents ability, the reverse of shooting, which makes sense to me.)  Any hits automatically kill, there's no saving throw and no cover save.  Your fox hole is full of grenades and you buddies full of bayonets.  Or the tank equivilent - you are ketchup.

NB: On Shooting and Fighting.  If I'm shooting at you, it matters more how incompetent you are than how 'good' I am.  A crack shot is a crack shot, but over a company of men it'll even out.  A bunch of conscripts won't have the awareness, ability and experience to anticipate/locate/avoid/circumvent/zigzag around enemy fire, veterans will.  Whereas in assault, if I'm a highly trained Spetsnaz unit, I'm gonna kick your ass.  The assault unit ROLLS FIRST, but the defending units (and every friendly within 4") gets to fire everything they've got at the attackers, either wiping them out, or scoring 5 or more hits and pinning them (and stopping the assault).  Likewise the assaulters CAN FIRE at the assaulted, giving them a good chance of 'pinning' the assaulted and avoiding that defensive fire... which is kind of, well, realistic really.  Hits in combat kill - immediately, once it's into the trenches - there's no quarter.

SO, I assault the spotters and I assault the far end of the trench line.  I massacre the spotters (4 tanks on one and 3 on another and also kill 3 units in the centre.  Running over men with tanks is really effective, I mean, who knew?  (Hint: Not GW.)

At this point the Mathilda's arrive and prove their uselessness, some Shermans arrive as well and after exchanging some shots (that the Russians win), we've wasted enough time already and call it a night.


A good game in the learning curve, although understanding tanks in Flames of War is a learning curve over 40k.  If I had moved up 32" in turn one, swung right 32" decisively in turn two, I could have surpressed and charge the mortars (massacring them as they only had antitank 3 - useless against my side armour in defensive fire.)  I could then have mopped up half the infantry and sent my infantry in under a barrage of denfensive fire on the bombards and blown the Antitank jokes to bits by turn 3-4.  On turn four, I would have been facing 3 Mathilda's and 3 Shermans with 13 T-34 - no contest.  And had Katyusha's and tank assault to throw at the legion of standard infantry slogging towards my position.

The game was mine for the dithering ... and I dithered.  But that's the learning curve!

But this game is cool.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Flames of War 15mm Soviet Purchasing Guide

The Soviets are an interesting army to fight in flames of war as they change dramatically throughout the war, and have access to the widest variety of technology throughout the war.

As the Russians you can field American and British (lend lease) vehicles, Russian made vehicles and captured German vehicle.  While your troops will rarely equal the quality of the German equivilents, they are cheap and plentiful ("Quantity is it's own Quality") and come with some very effective weapons like SMG, Maksim HMG and flamethrowers by the later war (there's a fairly obvious troops numbers to technology pay off, as man power becomes shorter in the later war years).

Your tanks are fast, and the equal of the Americans, while your T-34/85's are cheap and very effective.  Later war monsters like the ISU122/152 and the IS-2 tanks offer you the ability to face down the German behemoths (which are 'surprisingly' common on the tabletop due to popularity) but you are always tempering your numbers against the individual effectiveness (and cost) of German units.

The Russians are famous for their artillery and their 'God Of War' approach to battering the enemy.  However, until the end of the war, many of the artillery and antitank lack anymore bite than a T34/85 (which is still good) for taking on Panthers and Tigers, and lack the punch for delivering the kill on the larger monsters (Elephant/Ferdinand/King Tiger).

Purchasing 15mm Russians is an interesting experience, let me share my research with you:

Plastic Soldier Company

Represents great value for money for bulk buys, although it's worth remembering that the infantry will require proper FoW bases.

Best Russian Buy: T34 tank, this comes with both the 76mm and 85mm turrets at Plastic Soldier Company.  meaning you can run mid-war and late war variants with little change AND mixed units from Hammer and Sickle.  £16.50 for 5, that's 53% off normal FoW prices (with both variants).

Next Best Buy: Summer Infantry represents a fantastic core force, with 130 models at £18.50.  The models are mixed submachinegun, rifle, light machine gun and officer models - either building variable infantry stands - or separated out to build SMG tank riders or Spetnatz, Rifle Armed Sappers and Rifle/MG Razvedki recon units.  Remember you need to buy FoW stands though.


Zvezda offer brilliant value at 'per unit' prices, which is unusual in this market.  They are a Russian company, so their soviet units are particularly strong.  All their vehicles are £2.75, making purchasing like candy (or under the radar purchases) easy.  The models are hardened grey plastic, well molded with intricate details.  Their range includes everything from the ubiquitous german half-track (ideal for Razvedki or Spetnatz units), the mid war KV1 monsters, T-34's (although these are age related), Zis 5 trucks (and German Opel Blitz trucks) and Ktyusha Rocket trucks.  They're single 'best buy' has to be the IL-2 Shturmovik, 3 for £7.50 gives you one the best return on investment of any unit!

Best Russian Buy: 3 x IL-2 Shturmovik at Plastic Soldiers for £7.50 for 3. That's a 77% discount on Flames of War.

Next Best:  Take your pick - cheap trucks and half tracks are probably quite high on the list!

Forged in Battle

The Russian Vehicles really aren't worth looking at, but the infantry units are.  Although the standard infantry packs are behind the Plastic Soldiers in per unit price, they win in detail and character.  These models are very pretty.

Where the brand really deserves mention is in it's specialist units.  The mortars and Maksim units are nice 'fillers' for the plastic soldier units, and the 40 man sub-machine gun platoon is worth mention too.

Best Buy: 120mm Mortars (4) @ £9.75 (30% discount, but no observers)
Second Best Buy: Maksim HMG (4) @ £5.75 (18% discount)

Old Glory Miniatures

If there ever was an example of a dreadful website underselling some great kit - it's Old Glory Miniatures.  They have one of the best selections built up over many years.  The detail and quality isn't quite Flames of War, but its at a better price and they handle pretty much everything.

My particular favourites are their Artillery and antitank guns and their super heavy tanks.

Best Buys: 6 x 57mm Zis2 guns at £11.  3 x ISU122's at £19.  Beware that the artillery don't include crew, but they sell crew separate at 50 pieces for £11.  Confusing and weird website and layout - but you cannot argue with those prices!

After years buying 40k - it's a refreshing release!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Red Bear Release

Red Bears are made in Oxford, unless they are books written in New Zealand
Red Bear's are made in Oxford (unless they are Kiwi books about the Soviet Eastern Front)
I've just been informed that further to 14 days from now, new rules for the Russian Front in Flames of War will be released.  Red Bear will include all the regiments on the late war eastern front and new rules to boot.

After reviewing the online forums for Soviet tactics, I'm readdressing my ideas.  It appears that soviet list require 'a lot' of everything to work.  5 tank T-34 squads are bad, 9-10 tanks in a squad are good.

This means I'm going to be buying a lot more T-34's in the future.  The Tankovy Batalon (Tank Company) in the Hammer and Sickle rules allows you to take both T-34's and T-85's in the same list.  A Company of each (9 T34-85's and 10 T34's) seems the way to go as the core of a force.

Example list - Tank Company:

Command T-34-85 Tank, with Anti aircraft trucks @ 125pts
9 x T-34-85 @ 540 pts
10 x T-34/76 @ 415pts

3 Tank Rider Platoons (19 bases) @ 310pts
Kommissar Team @ 15pts
4 Kaksim HEavy Machine Guns @ 100pts

1505 pts

This means rolling with 20 tanks at 1500pts... the lightweight T-34's are very quick and can get up close and personal with the enemy.  They can move 32" in a turn, allowing them to exploit flanks and isolate units.  Their guns are 'meh' at Antitank 9 (they can't actually damage a Tiger tank, only force a bailout check), but the combination of their speed and carrying 24 bases of Maksim and SMG toting Tank Riders is a potent thought.

At 6"+, the tanks may as well steam it like crazy, interestingly at 6" move or less, the tanks can shoot AND the tank riders can shoot their SMG's.  So that's 19x3 = lots of machine gun fire (at 4", but who's counting).  So they could be very dangerous for infantry/guns and charging into the enemy.  But it seems a bit of a cul-de-sac tactically.

The T-34-85's are a more measured (and better armed) variant.  The new 'hens and chicks' rule being released with RED BEAR indicates that the tanks will be capable of firing if they move over 6", but with a +1 modifier to hit (that makes it harder, not easier, people.), and at a standard RoF of 1.

This allows for some more tactical flexibility, but means that you'll be rolling a 5+ to hit, unless you moved less than 6".

Real Armour penetration problems

Looking through the Soviet Arsenal, they lack any weapon with greater antitank than 15, meanwhile the Germans have plenty of armour 9 or 10 options (Tiger and Panther) and even Elephants, Ferdinands and King Tigers (armour 14-15), all of which carry weapons that can make mincemeat of my armour.  So my options are to attack the side armour ... or maybe go the classic Russian route and target the top of these tanks:

The best 'top armour' for these vehicles is 2.  This means that artillery, rockets and aircraft are probably the best route to downing these monsters.

The cheapest (in coinage) to obtain are purchase 3 IL-2 Shturmoviks for £7.50.  Even the basic Shturmovik can deliver rocket attacks at strength 6 against that top armour, or strength 12 against side armour ... the problem is their accuracy and dependability.  You have to roll to see if they arrive or are intercepted.  They then need to range the target and place the artillery template and then roll to hit the tanks.  Even then, you only have a 50% chance of cracking them, and a 2/3rd chance of blowing them up.... them's quite long odds.

Plus, if the Tiger is close - the aircraft won't risk firing.  Now T34-85 CAN duke it out with Tigers and Panthers, but they will need side armour shots to really hurt them.  Likewise Panther tanks only have side armour 5, so a bum-rush of T-34/76's could swarm them ... but T34's don't have the best armour and they'd need to get away with some serious luck to survive until the next turn to jump the Panthers (would could just drive off 24" and start again rather than fight).

Mortars and Hammer and Sickle Era Artillery bring antitank 3, so unless they roll a 1, they are sound.  Not good.  Rockets are only antitank 2, so even worse.

The only weapon in the Russian arsenal which seems purpose built for monster antitank is the flamethrower.  I've heard great reviews.  This weapon is rate of fire (RoF) 4, and hits via an ability check (4+ for Russians), followed by a firepower check to destroy a tank, oh wait - that's a 6.  It does however force a bailout on any other roll.  You need to be 4" away to use it as well... so that's a 1/3 chance of a kill (or auto bailout).


The other option is sappers.  They need to pass a leadership test (4+) to assault a tank, but once in combat they have the antitank of 4.  A platoon (if it arrives intact) rolls a 4+ to hit with every team, the enemy only has to roll a 1 or 2 to be destroyed, or a 3 to be bailed out (in this case cowering inside as bits are ripped off the tank)... the advantage of this over flamethrowers is that a 'bailout' tank that is isolated in close combat automatically counts as captured.  Which is a nice result. 

Other Russian Considerations:

In Red Bear you can get access to the 122 and 152 artillery piece's, which have marginal direct fire, but artillery potential with antiank 4 and 5 against the top armour. 

The only hardcore options are the Russian heavy tanks, both the IS-2 (Iofef Stalin tank) and the ISU-122 carry a big ass antitank 15 monster gun.  This still doesn't challenge the KingTiger - but it could hurt the side armour.

The Best Options?

Gamers aren't restricted like in real war-time ... so the inclusion of an Elephant, Ferdinand or KingTiger seems pretty inevitable.  While very very dangerous to any vehicle, they are less of a threat to infantry.  This makes engineers and flamers essential for attacking tanks, (and the 40k flamer rule seem all the more silly) and they should certainly be included.

The ISU-122 seems to be the way forward in providing heavy antitank at antitank 15 and 2+ bunker destroying options.  In addition, the 'volley fire' rule means that if the target is within 16" it gets a re-roll to hit (which is useful with a single shot gun!).

Finally (and for the money), investing in three IL-2 Shturmovik's seems like a no-brainer.  £7.50 for the potential to rain cannon, rocket and bomb death every turn!  Yes please!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

I need more trucks ... Flames of War army list,

Check out Wikipedia for the full Soviet Armoured breakdown
Insomnia hit last night ... awake until 5am.  Groan!  Anyhow, I use the time constructively and built myself my first 'wishlist' for Flames of War Soviet forces.

I'm running with the standard "Motor Rifle Batalion" from the "Hammer and Sickle" book (yes in FoW, not only do you get different periods, with totally different tank, armour, transports, planes and guns, batalions and companys are represented, so you can choose Motorised companies or tank companies or scouting companies.  All historically fairly accurate (with balance) and only able to access certain weapons/units.

Red Army Mechanised Company

HQ: Rifle Company command, 2iC (2nd in command) and Kommissar team (reroll motivation tests) - 30pts
DshK AA Machine Gun Platoon (3) - 55pts

Motor Rifle Platoon #1 (1) - including 2 Maksim HMG  - 170pts
Motor Rifle Platoon #2 (1) - including 2 Maksim HMG  - 170pts

Sapper Platoon (1) - 105pts

Tank Company (5) - T34 (76mm) with tank riders - 340pts
Tank Company (5) - T34 (upgraded to 85mm) - 340pts

2 Heavy Mortar Platoons, command team and 4 mortar teams, and truck - 135pts

Rocket Mortar Platoon with command team and truck, 6 Rocket Trucks - 135pts

Spetsnaz Platoon, 2 captured german armoured half tracks, a command squad and 2 teams - 110pts

IL-2 Shturmovik Air Support - Limited Support @ 200pts

Now this list is probably totally rubbish, but its a balancing act between the sort of army I want to run, the sort of army I can run (due to list restrictions) and units which are effective but 1/3 of the price of Flames of War stock online.

The Spetsnaz, Motor Rifle Platoons and tank riders on the T34-76's are all armed with effective, but short range sub-machine guns.  These weapons are ideal for pinning troops during an assault, or defending from assault, but not much else really.

Hence why both the motor rifle platoons get some addition HMG support.  Which kinds makes up for the range deficiencies and allows them maximum firepower during charges (the HMG can hang back and offering covering fire).  7 SMG's plus 2 Maksim's offering up 33 dice firing at 4" on the charge ... which is enough to put the willies up most opponents.

The tank riders don't need HMG support (and can't have it), they are, after all, riding on a T34 tank.

The Pioneer sappers are there as they are supposed (?!?) to work well in conjunction with the Motor Rifles, and have the added advantage of better range (although not as good as the Maksims) and Antitank 4 in close combat.  This should allow us to deter any german tank coming near as they can pile on a lot of hits.

The two tank companies are nicely interchangeable (just like the turrets ... funny that), with the T34-85's offering steady, good strength anti-tank support while the T-34-76's base rush for flanking moves on isolated units.  Combined with the Spetsnaz' ability to pull a single unit forward a normal movement (12") and disguise them, this could work well, in putting the T34-85's in a commanding position turn 1 and then having them cover the 76's (32" in a turn is a hell of a bum rush!)  As I mentioned earlier, the tank riders on the 76's are able to assault, defend from assaults, add they firepower (at 3 dice a tank) to the already impressive firepower ... and get a 3+ saving throw.  Overall they turn this tank from a quick and nasty eploitation force into a really reallyhorrible one.

The Heavy Mortars are due to nice set done in 'forged in war' range.  The ability to hit foxholed troops at 56" and kill them on a 3+ (when normally you need a six!), they can fire over friendly troops (naturally) and hit everything on a 4+.  It's nice!  Plus artillery strikes have the advantage of getting nasty with the pinning hits.  All adding to my assaulting, charging morass of blokes!

The Rocket Mortars bring more of the same ... offering devastating firepower across the board at a minimal price, while the Shturmovik's offer great anti-tank fire with rockets!

Finally the Spetnatz can drag a unit forward, spot the enemy and hag about looking cool in their german armourd half-tracks - pure win!

To do all this I'll need to buy:

5 Trucks (Zis) @ £12
6 Rocket Mortars (5+1) @ £14.75
3 Shturmoviks @ £7.50
5 more t34's @ £16.50
4 Maksim Teams @ £5.75
4 Heavy Mortar Teams @ £9.75

£66.25 - nice!

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Flames of War - first intro game

Check out All Miniatures Great and Small
Played my first intro game of Flames of War last night and was delighted!  After years at the 40k grindstone the play style, movement and interactions of FoW are a real boon.  Our list were as follows, I thought Dustino had given me a overpowered force, until I looked at the armylists!

No pictures I'm afraid, as I was concentrating too hard!

USSR (Late War period) - all troops are confident, trained (ie run of the mill).

5 x T34/76 tanks (with 2xMachine guns, fast tank, wide tracks, limited vision @ 265pts.
3 x Emcha (M4 Shermans with 2 x Machine guns) @ 180pts.
Rifle/Machinegun Infantry platoon @ 120 pts

German (Late War period) - all troops are fearless, veteran (ie hardcore!).

2 x 2 STuG III Assault Guns (with single machine gun) @ 380pts
Rifle/Machinegun Infantry platoon @ 195pts

Battle Report

Turn 1: We start out of range of each other, and he moves his troops forward into a series of hedges and shelters his guns behind some bunkers, I move my American Emcha tanks forward on the left flank in line with the troops that storm up the hill.  My T34's move back out of range of the STuG's and shoot at the German infantry - proving that Russians can't hit the side of a barn door at range, killing no one.

NB: Shooting in Fow: Unlike 40k, your roll to hit is predicated on the competence of the unit you are shooting at rather than your own abilities.  This strikes me as more realistic, as conscripts can be hit on a 2+ by trained or veteran troops (they are equally inept at using cover).  This is further modified by range (+1 over 16"), and cover (+1 for any cover for infantry, 50% for tanks).  As such, by T-34's needed 6's to hit the german infantry. 4+, +1, +1.  Russians at range suck!  In addition, a unit that stays still gets it's full Rate of Fire (RoF), whereas a vehicle or unit that moves is RoF 1.  Some weapons avoid this reduction, like vehicle mounted machine guns, Sub machineguns (always RoF 3) and Flamethrowers ... for obvious reasons.

Turn 2: The German infantry shoot up my Russian infantry and kill a single base (all infantry gains a 3+ cover save, even when in the open), The STuG's on the left flank shoot forward behind the objective bunker and shoot up my Emcha's, one Emcha is destroyed, another is bailed out - from 2 shots between the STuGs ... not good.  The bailed out crew hid behind the tank and then I passed the 'motivation test' (5+ for conscripts, 4+ for trained, 3+ for veterans) at the start of my turn and my boys piled back into the tanks.  The Emcha's returned fire, the undamaged tank firing twice, the bailed one just the once (see below), they manage a couple of hits but the german armour proves too much for them, although one StuG crew bailed out.  The T34's decide to use their machine guns on the German infantry.  Advancing to 16", they unlease hell on the Germans, managing 12 hits!  The Germans are reduced from 8 stands to just two.  The Infantry follow suit and manage to kill the closest stand - the officer!  The final german unit (despite only needing a 3+) passes his pinning test, but loses his nerve as last man and retreats.

NB: Bailing out.  Unlike 40k, shaken or stunned rolls don't exist.  A tank which is borderline penetrated (ie you have armour 7, they have antitank 10, you roll a 3 on D6) or is penetrated and fails to explode (Firepower test, usually 4+ or 3+ depending on gun) result in the crew panicking and bugging out of the tank.  The tank isn't dead, but cannot do anything without the crew.  The crew then take a motivation test to reboard their vehicle, they can then shoot - but they count as moving - meaning they are Rate of Fire (RoF) 1.

Turn 3:  The STuG's on the left stay where they are and shoot up the Emcha's, using their 4 shots to kill and bail the remaining two tanks.  The StuG's on the right flank advance from the rear and shoot down a single T-34 with their two shots.  The Emcha on the left flank fails his bailout roll, but passes his last-man check - the Infantry Platoon - seizing their chance race down the hill to the objective bunker (with the STuG on the other side).

Talking Tactics: The T-34's have a tricky choice, due to 'hen and chicks' rule for soviet tanks, they can only shoot if they move a maximum of 6".  With only antitank 9 against the Stug's forward armour of 7, they have a very slim chance of challenging them.  The alternative (classic russian tactics), is to use their 'fast tank' move to race 32" behind the German lines and behind the germans deployment bunkers - forcing the German Tanks to engage them at close range - where their 6" move and fire can get into those tanks side/rear armour of 3.

This is what they do, forcing the STuG's to come to them.

Turn 4: The STuG's are now forced to split their fire.  The "anti-Emcha (M4)" unit leave one STuG behind as the other STuG supports the two STuG's from the other unit to shoot up the T-34's at point blank range (Most tanks, unlike Russians, can move 12" and fire once, it's all about the training and radios).  The remaining STuG shoots the disembarked Emcha, forcing another motivation test - which the crew wisely fail and leg it.  Meanwhile the 3 assault tanks have an awful time - only 1 of the 3 shots hits and despite penetration side armour fails to destory the vehicle and I pass my bail out test.

The Infantry meanwhile assault to lone STuG with molitovs and hand grenade and Boris' headbutt of doom.  By flanking the hull mounted machine gun around the bunker, the STuG has no chance of surpressing them with machinegun fire.  All 6 remaining stand get an attack each, hitting on a 4+, garnering a statistically acceptable 3 hits.  The Stug want to avoid rolling a 1, which it fails.  The crew bails out - not the smartest idea in the face of Boris' mighty forehead (and some USSR stamped bayonets).  The crew die badly.

Ignoring the remaining STuG on the left flank, the T-34's bum rush the Stug teams on the right, surrounding them at point blank range and punching shots through their weaker side and rear armour.  While I fail spectacularly to kill either tank, both tank crews bail out (at this point we realise we don't know the rules for bailing at point blank range and that the crew should really be machine gunned to death as they evacuate - but that's the learning curve ... answers on a postcard please!).

Answer: The crew counts as 'bailed', even though they are cowering in the bottom of the tank.  However, if only destroyed, bogged down or bailed out units  are within 4" of the assault at the end of the turn ... the vehicle and it's crew is captured automatically - win!

NB: Assault and Machineguns.  Unlike 40k, charging into the enemy guns in a dangerous thing (as it is in real life!)  A machine gun platoon will roll 21 dice with 3+ to hit against a charging unit, and any unit recieving 5 or more hits is automatically pinned and fails the assault.  The preferred tactics are either to pin the defenders (this is where SMGs with their ROF 3 become essential), or split squads to pin and charge separately, or ideally flank their firepower altogether.  The co-axial mount of a Sherman or T34 has 360 degrees of fire, as does standard infantry and man-packed guns.  Heavy guns and hull mounted weapons (like the hull mounted machine gun) only have a 180 degree field of fire drawn across the front of the unit.  As such, they can be circumvented.

Assaults are risky and need coordination, but are well worth it against dug in troops (see later) as any hits that are successful result in immediate removal of a stand of troops, with no cover or bullet-proof cover saves.

Turn 5

The last STuG fails his morale check (last man standing) as the russian troops storm the objective bunker AND the T-34's blow up one STuG and bail out the other.

A decisive Russian victory.

NB: Bulletproof cover and digging in.  Something infantry can do to great effect is to use bullet-proof cover and dig in.  Not only do they gain a standard 3+ cover save, but in addition they gain a further save based upon the 'firepower rating' of the weapon fired.  This means that after rolling to hit AND failing a save, most man packed weapons require a 6 to kill an infantry base.  This makes bunkers especially effective.

To add insult to injury (well actually this is pretty realistic), any infantry unit that hasn't moved in it's turn can use it 'movement' to 'dig in', this requires a successful motivation test (4+ for trained, 3+ to vet germans), they then gain bulletproof cover, as they have dug in, in foxholes.  Obviously their shooting is effected, going to ROF 1 for that turn, but even so!

A word of warning though, just alike to tanks, the firepower rating determine the 'destructability' of said cover.  So a Stug firing on that cover will kill on a 3+ (he still has to get through the 3+ to hit and 3+ cover save) and a mortar team will be particularly effective.

As soon as a unit moves, it loses its foxhole.

Conclusions and thoughts on Flames of War

This game is very exciting and a joy to play.  There's very few parts of this game that doesn't make sense to me, and the designers have worked hard to try for realism across the board and the early stage synergy between infantry and tanks is much more mature than 40k.  The use of manpacked or light guns (which cannot be singled out by enemy fire) compared to antitank medium and heavy guns (which can) is cleverly postulated to make you build interesting regiments.

The 'all-army' rules give a useful flavour to the Russians or Germans, while certain countries use technology to compensate for play styles.

As a tank and WW2 buff, I'm totally sold on this game.  The only thing I'm slightly weary of its the toughness of the Sherman tank in this game.  The panzer 4 is paltry in comparison, and from my knowledge - I think the 'tommy boiler' is over-spec'd in armour penetration and frontal armour.

But this is a small criticism for a very enjoyable game.  Considering everything that's going on, we completed this small game in just over an hour.  An equivilent 40k game would have been double that time.

Great fun!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Suneokun's gone all Soviet!

Genius Picture ... could apply to the world now (with all those bankers at the table)!
Being chewing through the Flames of War rules and books and have chosen my preference of army.

Soviet ... USSR ... Ruskies - gotta be!

It's also the only army where I can use both the Sherman's (as Lend-lease Emcha's) and the Stugs (as crafty decoy spetnaz platoons!) from my open fire starter kit.

So what approach should I take.  Should I flood the field with T34's, using the wickedly fast and still challenging T34-76's in conjunction with the T34-85 boom gun?  Backed up by IS2's, Stug decoys and some Sherman tanks?

But there's a whole other issue - which is the infantry?  Infantry get a lot of benefits to compensate for their lack of straight up armour.  For example, infantry get a 3+ save most of the time.  This means that killing 'blokes' is actually a lot harder then expected and fairly realistic.  In bullet proof cover, most weapons only hit on a 6... making the paltry 3+ a bunker gives in 40k look as unrealistic as it is.

It's my first battle tonight, and I'm sure I've digested half the rules backwards ... but I'm very excited about this game ... it kinda makes sense, is exciting becuase it has 'real' tanks, arty, tank hunters, and proper tactical stuff.

I'm sure they'll be a glaring flaw somewhere along the road ... but I'm loving it.

As a sideline, both my kids are also loving the 'little tanks' as well.  The plastics are easy enough that both my kids have been building them with me.  Very exciting!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Tanker Tim the Troll
Further to the previous post, I got tired of the constant negative comments from our lovely 'Tim'.  He may be a ex-tanker, he may be correct about the 88 on a tiger not being the same as the 88 on a panther (does anyone else really care?), but he got it wrong about multiple stuff, slagged off a whole article and then went into a stupid pitch about how he's the grown up and I'm not ... hmmm.

I think he needs to work out how to behave on the internet.  This is what he really meant to write:

I love this article, the pictures are great and Bovington looks amazing, kudos for taking your family there!  I'm a tank veteran and worked in Scorpions in the 80's and I've got some corrections for the article (pedantic I know, but forgive me).  I think you meant to say that the Panther took it's inspiration from the T34, not the T34/85.  The Tiger has a different 88mm to the Panther (although their performance was still very similar) and the Scorpion Tank was originally designed for recon, although I'm sure its role is changing.  Apologies for the criticism, but it's all in the detail.

That's how you write a comment on someone's blog.  It's got content, context and manners.

Anyway, I got so bored by his continued comments - I put him in the bin. I don't have the time to waste on someone who thinks differing between 2 forms of 88mm gun is really important.  And five long comments later - he really was a time waster.

If you're reading this Tim.  Learn.  You seem like you could be a really interesting guy, you may be an ex-tanker, and 'all due respect', you're also a wanker.

PS: No disrespect meant, but sounding off about being a veteran tanker would sound kinda cooler is you weren't Canadian.  I mean, they must do lots of drills and international competitions and well ... maybe Tankfest.  I'm sure they're really hardcore and stuff, but I'm also not aware of any North American land wars recently?!?

The most soul destroying comment I've ever received....

Out with the Wife, daughter and mother-in-law ... clearly in need of an academic remonstration of my inaccuracies.
Ok, I'm not on BoLS or something else where you'd expect nasty comments, but I received the following comment on my Article about the Bovington Tank Museum:

From Tim:

"Great pics, thanks, but with great respect, much of your commentary and identification of vehicles or their armament and purpose is inaccurate or completely wrong.  Again, sorry to be so negative, your pictures are lovely and a pleasure to look at." 

I've replied to it, but come on ... that's got to be the least constructive and undermining statement ever.  That's the kind of essential statement required for an academic work or published novel.

But on a wargaming blog written about a family trip to a European tank museum.  It seems a little extreme.

All I can wonder is if this guy is really jealous because I get to go to Europe's biggest tank museum and he's in Canada... so far from so many tanks.  Maybe because my family went with me ... and his are imaginary, no that can't be true. 

The worst part about it is that he doesn't even seem like an evil person.  He's got a wife and kids and lives in Canada.  Ok, so his website was started in 1995 in html and he's never got around to updating it ... maybe that's the source?

To add insult to injury, I checked the article and 90% of the information is directly garnered from the Bovington Info Panels (which I photographed as well, after all I was chasing a 2 year old all day ... I can't stand around) ... so I don't even have a clue what he's actually talking about, which parts are wildly inaccurate or wrong.

Apart from being a pedantic, internet Killjoy.  His motive fails me.

Anyway, this is Tim's Website (calling it a blog would be stretching it) ... check it out and maybe leave a comment ... no wait- you can't.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Tabletop antics

Long time no post, bah humbug - I've been busy!

Cromwell on a bridge
After spending far too much time off the tabletop I've decided on taking another tactic back into wargaming...

News about the Tau and Chaos Legions releases are the first to get me excited since the Imperial Guard release (Tyranids was a real let down for me... and part of the reason that I put down 40k).  Infinity is still one of the coolest game systems around, but I lack someone at 'my level' to practice against and keep getting mullered over rudimentary mistakes.

Infinity is not 'noob' friendly.

The other problem (you may have noticed), is the World of Tanks has been taking a hefty chunk out of my spending and time and is a joy to play.  It's renewed my love of WW2 Tanks (Planes being a close second) and I love it.  It does however bite in heavily on the 'modelling time', hence why the WIP Terminator Blackheart and Abbaddon are still sitting on the shelf.

Gracing my local gaming store after a six month gap, I learnt that they are starting into Flames of War.  Now I don't know about you, but the only way a boy could get his hands on cool looking tanks and halftracks as a boy was to either build them out of LEGO or build them out of sprue based airfix kits.  As such, I've always had a adoring eye for the WW2 tanks and vehicles and Flames of War seems to neatly segway between my WoT life and my Wargaming Life.  A starter set (with 2 Stugs and 3 Shermans) and a cheapo box of 5 T-34/85's later and I'm good to go.

I've devoured the rules and am now looking for a game to get me started.  Plus the tanks take like 2 minutes to build (even with the 'help' of my enthusiastic 2 year old son).

Pure win.  Until Codex Tau steals my heart, and my wallet!

Monday, 31 October 2011

Getting under the skin ... what's the appeal of World of Tanks

Many, many people play Multiplayer games.  I've never been a big fan, and I put this mainly down to my age.  PC games for me involved story and plot and stupid AI's and other such things.  I am a child of computer games PRE INTERNET, when the game was completely and utterly captivating.

Saying that, Fallout 3 and Bioshock 2 are two of the best games I've ever played, so I'm not alone in the desire for this type of game.

That's where (for me) most MMO action games don't appeal.  Even with modified and upgradable avatars, I'm still facing off against a 12 year old with a M16 machine gun, and at 33, that's only gonna roll one way - and I'm at the bottom of that hill.

MMORGHY-thingys like World of Warcraft don't have a appeal either ... well they DO have an appeal, but I have a job and work to do (occasionally) and my wife won't ever find that amusing.  Addictive personality steer clear.  That said, character upgrades and boosted units and X attacks Y attacks P attacks W, that's the basis of the best tabletop formats, and also the case of the best RTS and other games.

World of Tanks

So World of Tanks was a refreshing change.  Out go generic 'types' (engineer, sniper, scout, shotgunner, bazooka dude) and in come WW2 derived playable tanks.  There's hundreds of them, they all have different stats and playability.  They all have different guns and armours and speeds and profiles and jobs and (geeking out here...) treads!

But that's just part of the appeal, upgrading the tank is also just part of the appeal, training a crew is also just a bit of it.... so what's the appeal?  Well, I'd been struggling to formulate it until I watched a natural history program at the weekend, and something went 'lightbulb!'

Origin of the Species

You know that bit in say, Planet Dinosaur, when the medium sized Tyrannosaur (Rex is one of a whole host of them), is hunting Albertosaurus (I shit you not!)  but then gets taken out by some enormous uber-Crocodile the size of T-Rex.  THAT's what I'm talking about!

The joy of WoT's is that you're thrown pell-mell into a stinking jungle of tank warfare where your ability to know your adversary and pick your fights wisely is essential.  Learning the game mechanics is one things, but different types of tanks will play completely differently and need to fight different opponents very differently as well.  Nothing gets the old adrenaline going as being a T-28 (level 4, good gun, laughable armour) and taking on a Tiger II.  The odds are just stacked in his favour.  In the same way, ambush tanks and artillery tanks mean that heavies are often more vulnerable than mediums, as mediums can just 'walk away' from a fight they can't win and support another flank.

Nothing gets the fight or flight juices rolling like a blazing dogfight at point blank range, escaping from a storm of heavies and then skipping across half the battlefield to challenge the enemy on your home turf.  Brilliant.


So a touch of RPG, a nice MMO and full scale Darwinism... now that's a heady mix!

Retraction .... ouch!

And finally, a quick retraction.  The VK2801 is not the best scout tank in the game, after playing against and then finally buying a Russian T-50, I can say that this tank totally rocks and totally rules.  Here's why...

  • THIS IS A KINKY TANK! It's like the Luchs scout tank used to be +1.  It has some armour and a decent gun.  It can cause havoc in smaller games and havoc in bigger games - its kinda like that.  The key is its 'weaviness', it can turn on a sixpence.  Although it doesn't quite have the straight line speed of the VK2801, it compensate by having bouncy armour and being almost impossible to hit at range, thanks to its kinkiness.
  • IT GETS GOOD MATCH UPS!  It can cause terror, panic and mayhem in pretty much any game and completely outclasses the other scouts.  Any isolated tank should fear the T-50, because in the right hands it can weave around your turret traverses like a mother-flipper flipping burgers in your face.  In comparison the VK is often without a target or a clear role.  Its a good tank, stats-wise it wins hands down ... but:
  • IT ACTUALLY MAKES MONEY!  It costs about $4,000 to completely rebuild it if destroyed, but it makes between $6,000 and $15,000 credits a game.  The VK2801 costs $9-10,000 credits to repair and replace ... and so 50% of the time - it loses money.
  • IT'S BIBLICAL FUN!  It doesn't slow for hills, it weaves and bobs like a fly weight, it can outmanoeuvre pretty much any tank in the game.  It's waspish gun can leave a mark on most enemies and its an adrenaline thrill ride from game start to burning wreck!
And the T50-2 is probably better ... that said, it depends on the match ups.  A Tier 5 scout tank will play a lot of TOP TOP tier games the T-50 avoids.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Thoughts on (the speculated) new Tau codex

Hoedr at DeviantArt

This is the first bit of news to get me excited about 40k in ages.  The second is that my much loved Chaos Marines will also get a new codex has me quite cheerful about 40k in 2012.

I'm not alone in being disenfranchised from 40k.  Infinity has stolen my heart from a tabletop POV, while World of Tanks has stolen my time away from modelling.  Despite having some beautiful 40k (Abbaddon Finecast and Forgeworld Blackheart) to paint and some exquisite Infinity models ... I haven't picked up a paintbrush or played a game since BLOGWARS I (30th May 2011).

I've just lost heart with 40k and can't find anyone to play Infinity with.  All in all, less than satisfactory.

The models are all packed up and safe (despite the insurgencies of my 2 year old boy - resulting in some 'reorganised' Leman Russes) and I'm waiting for the 'frisson' to happen again.  It'll come - no worries.

The first spark came with rumours of the new Tau codex maybe bumping up in Q1 2012   The 40k codici have been a bit hit and miss lately (generally HIT for the Imperium - Guards, Smurfs, Wolves, Angels, Grey Knights and MISS for the others (Orks and Nids).  The Dark Eldar was the fly in the ointment, offering functional but fluffy units which could challenge the might of the STC Marines...

Realisation may have struck after the Nids codex release that getting it wrong could really really cost.  Maybe they went the other way - but that'll sell a lot of Tau!  Check out the model leaks for Necron and there's some real badass looking monkeys in there (with swords and shields) ... looks like Necrons are getting hardcore.  Which is good ... because Spezz Merins have been dominating 40k too long.

The only Imperial army I run is guard, and even then I run a fairly fluffy build using stuff other people wouldn't.  The introduction of a Tau army with real firepower would be a wonderful thing, the top five wish list though?  Hmm lets see:
  1. Close Combat punch: What HAVE those water caste been doing with their time?  Where's the close combat monsters ... even Dawn of War made hounds double hard, Krootox well a bit pointless and had the the T-Rex as backup.  Where are the close combat holding unit.  Plus I want a bonus for being a fecking carnivore, where's my legendary speed and feel no pain bonus eh?
  2. Anti-Terminator:  The plethora of Terminator wings must be making the Dark Angels feel old hat now.  Fighting 2+, 5++ (or even 3++) is boring unless you have the right tools for the job.  Outside of Tau, only the Guard could field that kind of firepower (oh and other Termie armies of course, hence DraigoWing becoming the tournament Gorgonzola of choice.  Like the Earth caste wouldn't mass produce Plasma Rifles like candy?!?
  3. Ordinance:  It's not pretty, but it is effective.  Earth Caste Siege Mortar, Kroot Catapult - I don't care.  Tau are all about direct fire, but with the cover rules as they are Ordinance rules (either fix 40k cover rules, or the other).
  4. Fix the SkyRay, make it cooler.
  5. Oh, and don't try to fix markerlights - just make the weapons that hang off them more varied and interesting.  For example - markerlight guided missile ordinance weaponry - now that's what I'm talking about.  Oh and pathfinders are either overpriced, or need Infiltrate.  One or the other.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Best Blog Article I've EVER Read....

Sorry Admiral Drax, but the winner is...

The FRONTLINE GAMER with their biblical explosion on the demise of the Games Workshop beast and the remarkable similarity between the failing Imperium in their fluff and GW sad decline.

Best new idea: Sandwyrm and Eriochrome are instrumental in Devising the M42 Project.  This is a rewriting of the 40k ruleset with one eye on making a cooler game system for your plastic men.  What's nice is their open ideas programme and the way they encourage outside interaction and input.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Most Fun Tanks in World of tanks

VK2801 - a monster of a scout tank, here sporting the wrong gun!
Here's a quick breakdown of my favourite tanks in world of tanks.  I'm slightly biased, as I'm not a big fan of heavy tanks and have therefore focused on the Light, medium, tank hunters and Self propelled guns of all three nations.  I've been quite busy!

Best Scout tank - German VK2801

Without a doubt the best scout tank in the game is the VK2801.  This is an updated and just released version of the Leopard tank (the previous super scout).  Many argue that the T50 and T50-2 russian tanks are the finest scout tanks in the game as what they lack a little in speed they more than compensate for in jinking and maneurvability.  However, for fun factor its got to be the 2801, here's why.

Most of the best scout tanks, like the Luchs, Leopard, M5 Stuart, M24 Chaffee, A20, T50 and T50-2 all share similar traits.  The germans are generally a bit tougher, the yanks have kick ass acceleration and the russians have no armour but a weaviness (is this a word) to die for.  They all have speed, going 60-72kph.  To put this in context most tanks can do 30-45kph, so they are fast!  Their job is straightforward, to spot the enemy heavies and arty and survive long enough to let the arty and tank hunter in range rip them to pieces.  Some have more hitpoints, are harder to track etc etc ... but the VK2801 has one BIG benefit.

It has a shotgun.

Effectively, the VK2801 has comparable armour to many medium tanks of tier 5, and can drive twice as fast and can carry a gun which can one-shot all artillery pieces and most tank hunters below of tier 6 and below.  This makes it a singularly very very dangerous tank on the battlefield as it isn't limited to just spotting, it can go in and clear out the whole nest as well.

Direct comparison, the best gun on a Russian T50-2 does 112 penetration, but just 85 damage.  This is great, especially at 20-30 rounds a minute, but you have to stick around for that time (the Premier American Chaffee does 137 penetration and 115 damage, so better but still a chipper, not a stopper.)  The VK2801 weilds the terrifying 10.5cm KwK 42 L/28 which does only 64 penetration, but 350 damage.  It fires every 6 seconds, but kills an artillery piece per shot at point blank range and at high speed.

As your target is mostly Self propelled guns with sub-50 armour and the sides and rear of tank hunters with sub-60 armour - this gun is the perfect accompaniment to the blistering 72kph speed and toughness of this tank.  At high tier games you're starting off in anti-scout mode, tracking and tagging the enemy scouts and "booming them up" (as my 2-year-old puts it), after the enemy engage, you're looking for a break in the enemy lines to charge those Arty, in low tier games you are a very tough customer and can penetrate most enemy armour with direct or indirect shots and one-shot the majority of them.

Downside, well you are really dangerous and everyone will try to shoot you down as soon as see you, but you are fast, very tough with bouncy armour and good hitpoints.  And your upgrade path is fairly long.  If you have a Leopard already - get one of these and sell the Lep - it's totally redundant.  The VK2801 starts with the same engine and gun as the upgraded Lep, but with 30% more hit points and better armour.  Most fun Light-Scout Tank.

Best Medium Tanks review

The Medium tanks I have the most experience is with is the American ones.  the American medium tanks are unusual in their build and operation, but certain tanks can be devastating.  To understand how a tank in a lower tier can be more fun than a tank in a higher, it's important to get your head around the tiering system.  Effectively a tier three tank, like the M2 Medium below is unlikely to meet anything above the lethality of a KV (tier five).heavy tank.  While the KV can one-shot a M2 with it's tier 7 gun easily, one will only ever meet one or at worst two in the opposing side.  There will be plenty of other targets to punch at and the KV won't be worried about you.

Compare that to the M4, you're only Tier 5, but you will refrequently meet tier 6-8 tanks that you just cannot hurt and that can really hurt you.  Your options for damaging and killing opponent are seriously curtailed by your lack of comparative armour and hitpoints.  No dice.

Tier 3 - American M2 Medium Tank

M2MT - The M2 Medium Tank is all about its gun.  In a similar fashion to the VK2801, this tank rolls with a shotgun like cannon capable of causing annoying and crew injuring damage to larger tanks as well as crippling one-shot kills to tier 2-3 tanks.  I've notched up my most games and kills in this tank and I've kept it longer than any other.  Big, cumbersome, nippy and lethal.

Tier 4 - Russian T-28

I got this tank on the way to trying out the KV (yawnorama by the way) and went back to it after selling the KV.  Its a Tier 4 tank with laughable armour (20-30 armour is worse than the M2MT and means even the lowliest gun can pound you), its tall and as long as a KV with a third of its armour.  It's also a big platform with little armour, making you the enemy Self Propelled Guns (SPGs) best target.

Big as a barn and twice as soft?  How come you see so many about then?

But it has several positives.  Firstly it's quick off the mark and has a healthy top speed, it's weight to power ratio also means it barely slows for hills.  This combined with a 'high-top' mean that ducking and turning around hills are your natural territory.  In this arena it excels.  Secondly, you have one of the best guns in the game.  It's a Tier 6 gun on a tier 4 chassis, at 120 penetration and 160 damage you can reposition quickly and then blow holes in much larger tanks, or bully your way across the board with the smaller ones.  Even in Tier 6-7 games you have the option to snipe, making this tank very very usable and useful.  You never feel redundant.

Tier 5 - German PzKpfw 4

The Panzer 4 is a lush tank due to its solid german built armour, respectable stats for speed and movement and most of all the 7.5cm KWK 42, which gives you fantastic penetration and solid damage.  This tank CAN brawl on the frontline against lowert tier tanks, but has the speed to avoid the KVs and the gun to hurt them.  At this tier the 'money-making' balance starts to tip as the repair of the tank starts to lose more money than you make in a (bad) game.  The Panzer 4 is a game making sniper tank, tipping the balance towards your team by chipping away at the enemy from long range many thanks to the Germans key ability - accuracy

Tier 6-7 - German DB and Panther Variants

From playing against and alongside (in a team) with these tanks - they come with the best balance.  The American tanks at this level are low armoured and poorly armed, the VK's can put the hurt on most things and the Panther can mount the same guns as the Tiger Tank.  Enough said really.

Tier 8 - The M26 Pershing

You have to play it differently, but anyone who's owned a Sherman will know how to run this tank.  Great speed and superb movement, this tank has a solid gun and a can use its profile and speed to mess up heavies and mediums alike.  This is a pack hunter that runs best in a mixed group, adding its firepower and then relocating or exploiting an empty flank.  Well worth the learning curve, although arguably the Panther II has a better gun, better sloping - but lacks the movement of the Pershing.

Heavy Tank - The B2

Ever the misnamed tank, this is actually a french B1 - the B2 is a premium tank and the only one I own, it's also the only heavy tank I own which shows my contempt.  It's only Tier 4, and at Tier 4 heavies are very very rare.  As such, it's stock gun (although Tier 2) is enough to worry at most enemies and helps to ensure that 90% of the time the B2 is top of the game it's in.  This means that game for game, the B2 is always handy.  It's very slow, but surprisingly manuervable, meaning that street fighting is a natural habitat.

Frequently it can simply ignore everything beyond the M3 Lee, Tank hunters and SPGs in the game and gobble up those light tanks like butter.  It's nemesis is one of two, the Hetzer or the Leopard.  The more time spent fighting you is less time killing your SPGs or hurting your lower tiered buddies.  Play style wise, play this tank tactically and use it to block scouts after your arty ... your three chevron map icon will attract all the firepower, but unlike the KV (which is sooooo easy to hit with Arty), the B2 is painfully difficult to hit with Artillery and painfully difficult to stop.

For my money, the IS range are the best "heavy heavy" tanks in the upper tiers.

Tank Hunter - the Stug III

I've played mostly Russian tank hunters, but game for game I reckon the Tier 5 Stug is about the best tank for the XP going.  A great money earner and a solid opponent in every tier.  The American Wolverine and Slugger are interesting, but lack the stugs speed and low profile.  The Russian SU85 Boomgun tank hunters can do crazy damage, but lack the accuracy - and then you're too close and getting killed, and that's what the stugs all about.  I've been killed by sniping stugs more than any other tank - a real nemesis.

Self Propelled Guns - SU26

It's tier three, but here's the snag, you'll be shooting at tier 7-8 tanks as often as tier 4.  This has a tier reach which far exceeds its actual battlefield range.  This little tinpot tank looks like a toy, but the addition of a turret to an SPG means that it can hit any target within range in 6-7 seconds.  because it doesn't have to move it's hull, it can hide in a hedge brilliantly and ambush those cheeky scout tanks and the turret even allows you to win street fights.

I've got maybe three dozen close-combat kills with the SU26.  I don't seek them, but unlike the other artillery the SU26 is actually pretty handy in this arena.  It's turret means you can 'track' an enemy without being spotted and you don't have to face them either allowing you hilarious run and gun tactics in this tin-pot tank.  You get into fights because unlike most arty you haven't the range of the whole board and MUST move forward.  This makes the SU26 popular with other tanks as it's frequently acting as a very effective 'mortar team' just behind them. 

Close combat kills: Stug III, Panzer 3/4, Panzer 4, M2MT, Chaffee, Leopard, Luch, Tiger, SU85.

Most of all, it's rate of fire is great and you don't 'lose your focus' as you realign the gun because you don't have to move your chassis to do so.  That's why you see so many on the field.  Paint scratcher of the first degree!


I hope you've enjoyed my feedback on the tanks above, most of these tanks are good money earners (remember everything Tier7+ isn't anyhow, or the VK2801!) and have fantastic repeat play longevity.