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Tournament Preparations - Wojna Światów part 2

Ok, so today is day 2 of the tournament. As you are reading this message, I am probably being beaten mercilessly by some kid who plays the game for the first time :) There will be reports of the tournament coming in pretty soon and if everything went according to plan, I should have already posted some pictures!

In the mean time, this is the second and last post of this tournament preparation series. For those that are not familiar with the first post, my aim is to shortly discuss the lists submitted by other players and that I found interesting gaming-wise.

We are playing the following missions:

Fighting Withdrawal
The list I am using: Romanian Cavalry

Hungarian Harckocsizo

HQ: 2x Pz38
Platoon 1: 3x Pz38
Platoon 2: 3x Panzer IV F2
Platoon 3: 10x Pioneer Rifle
Platoon 4: 4x Marder II
Platoon 5: 4x Toldi I
Platoon 6: 4x Skoda 100mm guns (trained)

I like this list for the fact that it is all about concentration, agility and hitting hard where it hurts the most. It has a good amount of high-end anti-tank (probably prepared to take on the flood of Mixed Tankovy lists) as well as plenty of high mobility and assault capability (Pz38s or the assault pioneers). There are 2 main weaknesses in this list that seem obvious to me:

1. Not so much staying power. There are only 16 tanks in total and their armor for the most part is not so good. Defense in this list mostly comes from the veteran rating and the tough infantry platoon.

2. There is no smoke to help to mitigate any possible return fire. This is maybe not crucial, but gun-heavy companies in scenarios that do not require them to move might be a tough nut to crack by the Hungarian Tanks.

Overall I feel good playing against this list in Surrounded, Breakthrough and Fighting Withdrawal whereas I am not so positive about Encounter and Counterattack (I can be easily outmaneuvered and shot to pieces unless I can take care about the light tanks early on).

Motor Company (8th Army)

HQ: 2x Rifle w/ sticky bombs + White Scout transports + 2x 3" mortar
Platoon 1: 4x MG + 3x Anti-tank rifle + transports + sticky bombs
Platoon 2: 2x Vickers HMG + transports
Platoon 3: 3x Universal Carrier w/ 0.5"
Platoon 4: 3x Churchill III (trained)
Platoon 5: 3x Grant (trained)
Platoon 6: 4x Deacon
Platoon 7: 3x Marmon Herrington III w/ captured weapon and AA MG
Air: Limited Hurricane (cannon 3+/11/4+)

This is an infantry company, yes :) It is a funny way to put together a mobile force that would defend more often than not. The big advantage of this list is that it has a lot of mobile anti-tank and tons of mobile mgs. It will struggle a bit against the KVs because it mostly has AT10 but should do pretty well against medium tanks. I think its main weakness is the focus on firepower and almost zero capability to assault. The only unit I can see that is able to perform an assault are the Churchills. They will not do so good in the end I guess, since they are only trained. It means that they will get only 1.5 hits per turn, provided the platoon makes it to the enemy lines intact :L Also, it will have a hard time defending in missions with mobile reserves as the only deployment setup I can see working for it is Churchills + one other unit (plus maybe the hmgs if the other unit is the infantry). This means that the enemy can hunt down reserves and not even care about the heavy infantry tanks.

Against this force I should do pretty good in Counterattack and Encounter. Surprisingly, other scenarios might be a bit of a challenge.

Ok, so these were the interesting builds that I wanted to talk about. To summarize the topic, I will mention that in this tournament we are having ~30 players and the distribution of forces that have had their rosters submitted on time is:

Most popular company types:
10 tank
9 Mechanized
7 Infantry (surprise!)

Most popular nations:
12 Germany (everybody complains but still a very popular choice)
5 Soviet
3 US (haha, no confident/veteran option = not so popular)
2 British
2 Romanian (go Romanians, go!!)
1 Hungarian
1 Italian


Will post more details about the tournament soon. Stay tuned!


Tournament Preparations - Wojna Światów part 1

Hello Everyone,

As a part of preparations for the upcoming Wojna Światów tournament, I have performed a check of what lists are going to be used. I normally do this to look for some new composition ideas and prevent myself from being surprised with a completely new build. If I find any of these, the least I can do is to read any special rules, familiarize myself with the Arsenal entries and think about possible tactics that I could use to play against such a company.

I have to tell that if someone would ask me quantify the component parts of a success in a tournament environment (single), I would say that good prep is around 20%. What I am trying to say is that it is always worth to spend an extra hour to probe the meta if you decided to go competitive.

In any case, I have been able to read all the rosters that have been added to the tournament entry before it was switched to hidden mode and there are a few that I found interesting.

P.S. I will go in 2 separate iterations of this analysis, each time covering a few lists that I found interesting.

P.P.S. this is the list that I will be using: Romanian Cavalry


Italian Alpini
Elite (66% to be vet)/ Artillery (83% to be vet)

HQ 2x Rifle
Platoon 1: 10x Rifle with improvised AT3 + anti-tank rifle
Platoon 2: 10x Rifle with improvised AT3
Platoon 3: 10x Rifle with improvised AT3
Platoon 4: 4x 65/17 gun (16", AT8, Rof2, no gun shield, crap bombardment)
Platoon 5: 4x 65/17 gun (16", AT8, Rof2, no gun shield, crap bombardment)
Platoon 6: 4x 75/27 gun (24", AT9, Rof2, crap bombardment)
Platoon 7: 4x Semovente 47/32 (3/1/0, AT7)
Platoon 8: 6x 75/39 gun (24", AT10, Rof2)
Platoon 9: 7x Pioneer Rifle + 2x Brixia mortar
Platoon 10: 2x 75/27 gun (24", AT9, Rof2, crap bombardment)

This is a list similar to what I have in my Romanian Cavalry with slightly different accents. This one mostly has shorter ranges on the guns but has a better ambush platoon in the form of the captured soviet equipment (6x 75/39). It also has a decent mobile semovente unit to go around the enemy flanks. Overall, I like the way this company is built. It has good chances to be veteran (up to fearless vet) and has a lot of hard-hitting units. Its main weaknesses are: little response capability vs omnipresent Mixed Tankovy as well as massive footprint which will be a major hindrance on the offensive (~40 infantry bases is not that easy to move around the board). I think I can beat it in Counterattack/Breakthrough/Surrounded, Encounter will be a 50/50, while I will almost certainly loose in Fighting Withdrawal.


US Armored Recon

HQ: 2x Carbine + transports
Platoon 1: 2x M3A1 + mortar jeep + mg jeep
Platoon 2: 2x M3A1 + mortar jeep + mg jeep
Platoon 3: 4x M10
Platoon 4: 4x Sherman
Platoon 5: Full AR platoon + 3 bazookas
Platoon 6: 3x Priest

A pretty standard, solid Armored Car list. It is very well balanced with plenty of options for both anti-tank and anti-infantry. It will be very good on the offensive as well as in Fair Fights because of the amazing mix of firepower and mobility. It has its cons too though :) It is all Confident Trained which means that it will melt pretty quick to concentrated fire. Also, defending against tank forces in mobile reserves battles will be a pain in the butt with only 2 platoons on the table. I feel pretty confident to beat it in Counterattack/Breakthrough/Surrounded. Fighting Withdrawal depends on the attack/defense roll (It should be very easy if I am the defender and pretty difficult if I am the attacker). Encounter - again, 50/50.


Rota Razvedki

HQ: 2x Motorcycle Rifle + Motorcycle Komissar (my favourite :P )
Platoon 1: 7x Rifle/MG + 4x Captured Sd Kfz 251
Platoon 2: 7x Rifle/MG + 4x Captured Sd Kfz 251
Platoon 3: 10x T34 (including Mariya Oktyabrskaya) (conscript)
Platoon 4: 6x BA64
Platoon 5: 4x SU122 (conscript)
Platoon 6: 6x120mm mortar (conscript)
Platoon 7: 2x Katyusha + extra crew

This list is maybe not perfect, but still quite interesting. Again, it is a mechanized force designed to be the attacker. It will be a very good force against infantry companies and possibly gun-heavy rosters like the one I am fielding (or the Alpini that I already mentioned). It has tons of decent anti-infantry or anti-gun assets: T34s, SU122s, Razvedki platoons, Heavy mortars. What makes is different from other mech forces is that it can put down at least some units in missions with mobile reserves and hope to survive the initial turns of the battle. The bad part of this setup is that I honestly do not know what is the plan against able tank companies. This Razvedki has next to zero of reliable anti-tank. Also, odd number of platoons needs to be mentioned :)

If I go against this company, I could have a hard time defending in most of the missions with the exception of Fighting Withdrawal. If I am the attacker, I should be doing fine in Counterattack (just kill off the reserves and force a morale check) and Surrounded. The rest is 50/50.

Ok, I still can't wait to test my Romanians against these fine opponents. There will be a full tournament report coming in soon (as the tournament is scheduled for this weekend). Also, it will be followed by..... another tournament next week - which makes me extra happy! :) So stay tuned, as there is a lot of gaming-related posts coming in soon! :)


Peasant Army vol 4 - the story of Vanatori Motorizata!

Hey, another episode of Peasant Army is here :)

This time, it was triggered by one of the readers and a fellow Romanian army general! The request was to give some army building advice concentrated on Vanatori Motorizata companies across all FoW periods. Of course, can do! :)

First of all, I need to mention, that in my opinion, Romanian army in general is a very good choice if you want variety in your lists. The great thing about it is that it has access to the main types of companies: infantry, mechanized and tank across all periods. What is more, in each period a different company type is strong. If I was to assign point values (between 1-3, where 3 is the strongest) for how strong a given Romanian briefing is in each period compared to other Romanian lists, it would go like this:

Early War

Regular Infantry (1), Elite Infantry (2), Cavalry (2), Tank (2), Motorized Infantry (3)

Mid War

Mountain Infantry (1), Regular Infantry (1), Motorized Infantry (2), Tank (3), Cavalry (3)

Late War

Cavalry (1), Mountain Infantry (1), Czech Tank (1), Motorized Infantry (2), Medium Tank Axis & Soviet (2), Allied Regular Infantry (2), Axis Regular Infantry (3)

What you can see in my list is that Motorized infantry gets a bit worse as time passes but is still quite strong compared to other lists. So overall, aiming for Motorizata sounds like a good plan.

But going back to the real focus of this article, here are my thoughts on Vanatori Motorizata:


Vanatori Motorizata in Early War is the big thing. This list really shines among all other Romanian briefings and can easily go toe to toe with most competitve companies based on other nations. The skill/morale table is very good for EW (1-3 is C/T, 4-5 F/T, 6 C/V) - no rolls get you the crappy Reluctant Trained and you get a single chance of C/V. Basic infantry is cheap, since it is rifle, there are tons of options to get high AT (6-8) guns, you can have smoke, pioneers, very good recon. Basically, the list has it all. There is only one exception: there are no infantry anti-tank upgrades (no sticky bombs, Vanator de Care, panzerknackers, nothing). You can try and compensate for it with artillery, but I would simply ignore this and go for more direct a-t in the artillery slots. In the end, if you cannot kill the big tanks, just delay them and go for the supporting platoons.

Also, a thing to note is the armored transports option for the anti-tank. It really can be a game changer and only costs 5 points per platoon on top of the normal 5 points for the trucks. This is a must-have.

My core to build the list around is then:

2 platoons of infantry
2 platoons of 47mm schneider a-t guns + armored transports
recce platoon (my favourite is the BA10x3)

Everything else depends on the player.


Mid War Motorizata is still strong in Mid War. It has a much better rating table than the EW version (66% to get veteran, but 16% to be Reluctant/Trained). But what is the most notable thing about this list is that it can have tons of anti-tank in the 11-12 range. This is mostly, because it can use German Pak40 guns along with a separate Romanian platoon equipped with the same gun, coming in a different support slot. This option can be coupled with a platoon of 3 Romanian Panzer IVs to form a really good barrier against tanks (even KVs need to think twice before they can charge this company head on).

Also, this is a list where I would go for 10 platoons, instead of 6 or 8. The reason for this are cheap compulsory platoons of 7 Rifle/MG teams (downside is that you need to take 3 of them as your mandatory units) and relatively inexpensive support options.

Talking about support, you can get whatever you need there: smoke, artillery, armored infantry, recon, light anti-tank, you name it. My personal favorite is a unit of cavalry, which can go around the flanks and harass artillery positions/small infantry units.

In the end, this list is VERY flexible. Maybe the infantry is not the strongest in the world, but it has so many support options that you can easily compensate for this. This makes a very balanced force in MW.

My favorite basic setup is:

3 compulsory infantry platoons
2 pak40 platoons (German + Romanian or Romanian + Romanian if you want to go hardcore Transylvanian)
1 platoon of Romanian Panzer IV tanks


In Late War, this briefing cannot compare to what the regular Puscasi Battalion can field. There are no options to put down units of 6, 9 or 12 guns. This does not mean however, that Vanatori Motorizata sucks. Still, the stat table for your guys is very good (again 66% chance to be veteran), the basic infantry is numerous and tough and support has almost everything you need to construct a good list.

This is a company for those that love MG teams, as your 9-base compulsory platoons are made up of MG infantry. Axis HQ also offers a nice way to bring them up to 10 stands per platoon with panzershreck options which make them even more deadly against tanks (as you will surely get panzerfausts on your platoon leaders anyway). I would always use this possibility. Always.

What I also consider a must-have in this list is a platoon of German Pak40s. You can have 4 of them, so I would take the maximum number for a lot of concentrated anti-tank firepower.

Then it is time for smoke in the form of 81mm mortars and some recon. Once you are done with the base of the army, you can play around with options. It depends what you like. My choice would be 2 units of Romanian StuGs but any other choices that bring you up to 8 platoons are ok. Even if you like artillery in your infantry :P (although I would no go for it)

I would form the base of the company using:

2 compulsory infantry platoons (panzerschrecks with axis!)
and now we face the issue of low numbers of anti-tank guns
1 platoon of pak40 if using allies, if not - a platoon of TAC Resita 75mm with their crappy Heavy rating
1 platoon of captured Soviet AT10 guns
1 platoon of Romanian StuG assault guns

So, this is my approach to Vanatori Motorizata. Hope it was helpful.


Team Yankee: pre-release thoughts


It seems that Team Yankee is finally upon us. If everything goes exactly as planned, I should be getting my TY rulebook right on the release day. A lot of players in our community are rather excited about this release so I figured I might as well share some of my own thoughts. One thing to note here is that I do not consider this side dish game in total separation. I always have FoW in the back of my head when I think about it since from what I guess, TY is a test run for FoW v4.

But let us talk details:


I love the theme. I just started to read the book but I fear it will take I while. Still I am very excited to find out the fate of Bannon's Boys :) What is more, I am also a big fan of the Twilight Struggle board game which is a more general look on the whole cold war theme. With Team Yankee out, I will be able to go from strategic down to tactical level of what is going on when I stage a coup - even more fun :)

The only thing that worries me is that in my local meta everyone is crazy about the Soviets. My guess is that 2/3 players will own a Soviet force. In this case, I feel I have to fill in the ranks of capitalist powers which is in contradiction to my normal role in Twilight Struggle!


They are lovely. Well, maybe not the M113 mobile cardboard boxes, but at least most of the US and all of the Soviet units look really great. Mi24 is most probably one of the biggest reasons why the USSR is so popular with the locals :)

The sad thing is that they seem to be a bit more expensive than what we are used to for normal FoW models. I hope this is not the first hint of what BF has in store for us. Also, the variety does not seem so great - hope they will improve this soon. Otherwise, I think players' enthusiasm might be short lived as they will be willing to only play so many games using the same units over and over.


Again, there are some things that I like and some things I do not enjoy so much. Of course, most of my feedback is based on bits and pieces I have collected from various sources without actually being able to read the rulebook itself. This means that still some of my comments might be a bit off, to put it mildly :)

1. Command distance (6" from the platoon leader) is better overall. I am only thinking how would that translate into FoW. Imagine a big Soviet company trying to swarm around its leader. That would be grotesque.

2. Individual movement distances/broken down skill and morale ratings: well, the rules were supposed to be more streamlined. Giving unique movement distances/more stats to units and covering that up with data cards is not streamlining :)

3. Morale. I only hope this one stays exclusive to TY. It might look fun on paper but it almost takes away one of the ways to win the game. It seems that it will be extremely difficult to destroy a platoon. This means that depleted units will be parked behind fresh ones and the only way to break a stubborn defense will be to wipe it out completely... A bit boring and unbalanced (unless there are changes in scenarios to mitigate this) way of handling things.

4. No more driving tanks over tanks. YAY!!! Finally!!! I was hoping to test it in one of the city fight themed Polish tournaments but most of the guys voted against :( I hope this one is going to be included in FoW v4. Think about the tactical possibilities also! :)

5. Platoon commander orders: gaming wise, a good choice. Still takes away from the theme a tiny bit. National rules are the flavor of FoW in my opinion.

6. Sniping commanders is not my favorite rule. The main reason for this is that I think it hits the theme of the game and makes it more abstract. My initial feeling is that this will be a game of 'hunt the company commander'. Company leaders will most probably have to be hiding behind terrain and the job of aircraft and artillery will be to eliminate them. Seems a bit like a Benny Hill movie type of thing.

7. Smoke seems to be more intuitive. Although 6" visibility range might be a bit too harsh. This is sort of like going back to FoW v2 ;)

8. Targeting points on the table with artillery is fun. The only thing I would improve about this is shooting templates at teams out of LOS should impose some kind of penalty (I hope this is somehow included in the current TY rules).

9. I like changes to airpower. Having these units on the table like any other platoon is a big thing. They are no longer the total random factor. What I do not like about them is the 'simple' 4+ roll to arrive when they are in reserve. This means that sometimes you would pay for your aircraft but they would not arrive at all. Hope I do not have the full set of information about this rule.

10. Limiting assaults is crap. This game is mostly about shooting anyway. In my opinion, it will be so difficult to pull off a successful assault in TY that they might have deleted the whole section altogether. To successfully defend against an assault, you just have to create a front line of single bases, 4" apart and enable the enemy only to kill 1-2 per assault (since you can only kill teams in btb). If you manage to lure him into this, you will make him expose his troops to fire next turn, in which he will loose more guys than you did during the assault. Hope my predictions are not correct.

Next Steps

I am still considering what would be next BF steps. My picture of the TY is that they are the testing ground for a major FoW overhaul. If they decide to go in this direction then I am thinking this would be a starting point for a new book release plan. With the army organization changes and all the subtleties of the rules, I think current FoW books would be useless. If this is the case, we are looking at several years in development. I am just wondering how much BF are involved already.

What are your pre-release thoughts about TY?


Countering German half-tracks

As per the request of one of the readers, I was forced (only joking) to write an article about dealing with those pesky German armored half-tracks. I have to admit that this is a very difficult topic but I accept the challenge :)

The reason I mentioned that this topic is so difficult is that there are not many ways to effectively deal with this type of unit. Part of the problem comes from the fact that in most cases you have to spend valuable resources to get rid of a 10 point guy. But then, the question is - do I really need to get rid of the half-track?

The answer can only be formulated by understanding what is the main purpose of these vehicles. There are several cases that I can see them used in:

1. The most obvious is transports - they are not so dangerous while carrying infantry, since the other guy is probably trying to get them safe to their destination anyway. Easily ignored.

2. Mounted assault - I have played this game for a long time now, and I have never seen anybody actually use this rule. The obvious reason for this is that they are not real tanks, so 5 defensive fire hits still stop them and any portable anti-tank weapons turn them into minced meat.

3. Harassment tool - they will move about the table and try to shoot your infantry in the open or pin/kill your guns. This is probably the most effective use of the German half-tracks. It takes a lot of time for them to do their job, but if you let them shoot you forever, they will kill or pin your guys. The most annoying thing about this tactic is the fact that in V3 of the Flames of War rules, you can still make congo lines of troops. This means that an infantry platoon can be hidden in a safe place, while the half-tracks are all around the table with their 6" (normally) of command distance.

4. Blocking movement - in some rare cases, the opponent can sacrifice some of his half-tracks to limit your infantry's/guns' movement. This is achieved by simply parking 2-3 half-tracks just outside your 2" zone of control. This not only blocks your units but also can force you to assault against a torrent of defensive fire if your shooting cannot get you rid of them.

5. Pushing back ambushes - is especially effective for companies that lack recon support. This tactic is similar to blocking movement routes but is done to cover possible ambush positions as the player needs to place his ambushing teams at least 4" away from any enemy models (even if they went at the double!).

Now with the main purpose of half-tracks highlighted it is a bit easier to make an intelligent decision about what kind of resources need to be used to get rid of them. Are they really hindering my plans or is the enemy just trying to distract me?

If you decide you have had enough of them already, I can see 2 main ways to deal with them:

1. If you have a lot of time - use only limited resources to get at least 1 kill or bail on the vehicles - this will force a morale check on the platoon. If failed, they will need to be sent to the rear and only come back next turn under specific deployment conditions and unable to shoot on the turn they arrive in. In this case, any anti-tank gun or a RPG will do. In most cases, you just need to make sure you can get one hit as the projectile will penetrate automatically which is enough to force the 'dismount under fire' test.

2. If you need to completely get rid of them, you will probably need a lot of shots to complete the task as more often then not the SdKfz vehicles will be hard to hit - normally requiring 4s,5s or 6s to hit. There is nothing that can help you better with this than proper list design. In my opinion, all lists should have at least one unit that can dish out enough low to mid-tier anti-tank shots to fend off hordes of light armored vehicles. These can be any kind of light guns: pak36/pak38 in German lists, US 37mm or 57mm, Soviet Zis-3 or 45mm. Also, light tank units can prove useful - think stuarts, pumas, Soviet medium tanks.

I think that the points above are the key to countering German half-tracks effectively. Target priority and proper planning is the name of the game ;)

But what are your ways to get rid of German half-tracks wondering about the table? Maybe I missed something? :)


Peasant Army part 3 - Romanian Cavalry preparing for the tournament

Since the Poznań Mid War tournament is closing in really fast, I figured I would share my plans on how to play the missions that were announced. But first let me re-introduce the list I am going to use:

Romanian Cavalerie PDF

Elite (66% to get veteran rating)

HQ: 2x Cavalry Rifle/MG + 2x Vanator de Care (AT 4 in hand to hand)

Platoon 1: 13x Rifle/MG + VdC

Platoon 2: 13x Rifle/MG + VdC

Platoon 3: 4x 81mm mortars

Platoon 4: 6x45mm obr 1937 guns + cavalry limbers

Platoon 5: 3x Pz35

Platoon 6: 7x Recon Cavalry Rifle/MG + VdC

Platoon 7: 4x German Pak40s

Platoon 8: 12x 75mm RF guns (rof 2, at 8, worthless template and direct/bombardment smoke) + cavalry limbers


The current scenario order as proposed by the organizer is presented below. As an overall comment I have to mention that my cavalry has some preferences on whether to be attacker or defender in these circumstances - I have marked them next to the scenario names. But let's have a look on what is coming up:

Surrounded - attacker
Counterattack - attacker
Encounter - n/a
Hasty Attack - close to 50/50, but leaning more towards the attacker
Fighting Withdrawal - defender

So it seems that my list is designed to be an offensive force :P

But let us talk details!

1. Surrounded.

Attacker - I can easily see myself splitting the force into 2 separate detachments and placing them on the opposite sides of the table. Detachment one would have a company of infantry, captured 45mm guns, Pak40s and mortars, while the rest would go to the other one. There could be some minor variations to this in case the enemy would have a strong tank force, which could make me move my main a-t to the other flank. After deployment, things should be easy - shoot support to death and remove infantry from objectives. Hopefully I will not even need an assault to do this.

Defender - dig in one infantry company on each objective and leave one of the gun units in immediate ambush. In most cases these would be either Pak40s in case of medium/heavy tanks or 75mm against light tanks or armored cars.

2. Counterattack.

Attacker - it all depends on the enemy reserves. If there is a lot of them, then the choice is pretty simple: force a morale check by killing whatever is coming onto the table away from the main force. If they are not numerous, however, then I think an attack on both objectives at the same time is needed. This is mainly because of the enormous footprint of my army. If I do not start moving around early on, I will have a hard time against any template weapons. Recon horsemen will help a lot to secure the remote objective early with their recce deployment move and quick overall pace (I need 2-3 turns to get there relatively untouched because of cautious movement rule). If necessary and possible, I can also mount some of my infantry on tanks and race them across the board to support the cavalry. This is a risky option though and needs to be performed with caution :)

Defender - it will be hard to capture the remote objective since my army is not that mobile. I can go for an early grab with the cavalry and hope it can last until reinforcements arrive. In the meantime I will have to push with all my units to force the enemy into a corner situation around the far objective and then kill him off with my guns.

3. Encounter.

I do not intend to camp the base in this one. I will try to go for both enemy objectives at the same time, while supporting my infantry with direct fire of the guns. This might be tricky against some tank companies, so in these cases, I will have to go for the glass cannons first and limit the enemy's ability to respond early on. I hope that Pak40s and the big artillery battalion can help with this.

4. Hasty Attack.

Attacker - I will most probably start with a mobile force on the table: cavalry scouts & tanks supported by either the 75mm or Pak40. Then it is up to what the enemy has in store - I can either go for an infantry company or maybe another gun unit. I hope I will keep the opponent busy so that he cannot push my own objective and perform a quick assault on one of his positions.

Defender - this will not be so hard I think. I can simply camp the objectives with infantry companies, each one supported by a gun unit and wait until reinforcements arrive. Scattered reserves should not hurt me so much since I will have 2 highly mobile units to arrive to the scene early on :) Still I think I can do better attacking.

5. Fighting Withdrawal.

Attacker - this will be a nightmare :) I really need to push several objectives at once, since there is no way I can squeeze my whole battalion into assault positions around just one. I have already tried this scenario as the attacker and it is doable but very hard. Bad part is that I will not have a lot of time to remove stubborn defenders with my guns because of the turn limit :(

Defender - defending should be easy. All I have to remember about is that depending on what kind of force is attacking my positions, I will need to ambush either Pak40s (against tanks) or 45mm guns (against light armored units and/or infantry). Other than that, I just need to sit tight and buy as much time as possible with my infantry.


So, this is my rough plan. What do you guys think - is it any good? :) Do you also plan your tournament games in advance (and try to execute the plan later on :P )?


Polish Independence Day - tribute to the heroes

November the 11th marks the Polish Independence Day. This holiday was instituted in 1937 to commemorate Poland regaining its independence in 1918 after 123 years of occupation by three major forces: Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary.
The big reason for this major event in the history of Europe was the victory of western powers in what became known as the Great War. With Great Britain, France and USA able to dictate the terms of peace, the final deal was based on Wilson's 14 points.
Point 13 of this proposal enabled creation of an independent Polish state, based on existence of ethnic Polish majorities, completely sovereign and enojying guarantees of territorial integrity by international conventions.
But in any case, it was the First World War that opened the way for Poland to appear on the map once again.

With this information in mind, myself and my wife selected the destination of our early afternoon trip: a First World War German military cemetery, located in woods near Łódź. The cemetery is a resting place for over 600 German and approximately 100 Russian soldiers that died during the battle of Łódź in 1914. This battle was one of the greatest clashes on the Eastern front. It was also one of the few major mobile battles of the Great War where key parts were played by bodies of troops moving around using trains for transportation. It was also here that the Russians used armored cars for the first time.

It was almost a miracle that we managed to find the place as it lies in a secluded part of the forest. Fortunately, guided by some locals, we managed to find what was a cemetery maybe 50-60 years ago and now is just a shadow of it former self, deformed and overgrown with vegetation. In any case, as a tribute to the soldiers of both sides (many of them of Polish nationality) I decided to take some photos so that they do not become completely forgotten.


Beyond the completely obvious part 2 - Mid War mechanized lists analysis (ETC-wise)

Ok, now that we have tanks covered, I will jump into the not-so-obvious mech company choices.
The way I see the overall picture of this type of forces in the ETC is that they will most likely be used to build flexible and balanced lists able to take on all comers. This would naturally make them champions (lists that will be assigned 2 opponents to choose from). There is however, at least one exception from this rule that will be mentioned later on in the article.

Digression: What I also find funny about mechanized companies is that in singles tournaments players do not use them very often. I think that they do not feel so comfortable with having to switch between attacking and defending, depending on the opposing company type. My personal feeling is that playing mech is good practice and it is worth to give it a try for more than just one or two games.
Also, numbers collected over many polish tournaments prove that mechanized forces have the best win ratio of all company types ;) (if I remember correctly, it was also true for at least one ETC tournament)

But back to the main topic:
Italian Esplorante

I really love the list. If it was not for my Romanians, I would definately go for this one. Its main strength are combat platoons of tiny tanks that can harass the hell out of everybody and some very good support options. Their platoons are also fairly cheap compared to what Elite rating brings to the table (50% chance to be confident veteran, 16% fearless veteran).
When I think about this list, I mainly see it in an anti-infantry role. L6/40 is a perfect tool for dealing with any supporting troops that an infantry company fields and then launching a few concentrated assaults (unless the enemy breaks first). A platoon of these little bastards can easily hide behind a medium-sized barn and then jump out to pump out several 0.5" and MG shots at the nearest gun team and then assault and gang-rape it in the flank if the shooting fails. What you have to remember though is that they are NOT a recon platoon and not a real tank platoon :)
Also other support options, like the cheap AT 7 semoventes or carri help to deal with infantry. The Esplorante however, is not helpless against tanks. It can still field your favourite 4x Pak40 or a Panzer IV platoon and back it up with a big pioneer (demolisher) unit.
All in all, it is a balanced force that can be used to effect both on offense and on defense.
My sample list would contain:
Italian Esplorante Mechanised Company, from North Africa, page 98

HQ: 2x L6/40
Platoon 1: 4x L6/40
Platoon 2: 4x L6/40
Platoon 3: 4x AB41
Platoon 4: 1x Command Semovente 47/32 + 3x Semovente 47/32
Platoon 5: 1x Command Carro + 4x Semovente 75/18
Platoon 6: 7x Pioneer Rifle + 2x 45mm Brixia mortar
Platoon 7: 4x Captured 25pdr
Platoon 8: 4x German Pak40

US Armored Rifles
This list does not have to be advertised in any way I think. It is a very solid choice in Late War and my personal opinion is that it remains a decent option in Mid. The only thing you have to consider when selecting it is that you will always have to go Confident Trained :)
Even though I mentioned in the preamble of the article that mech lists are designed to take on all comers, my perception of the Armored Rifles is that it is leaning more towards the anti-tank role than its Italian cousin. The main reasons for this are:
- Tank Destroyers, which will be a real pain in the bottom for Mixed Tankovy lists. This is not really because they have enough AT to punch through the armor of a KV. I understand their role as one of the best options to shoot Mixed Tankovy support platoons. Combine them with a tank unit and some arty and you will kill off any medium/ligh tanks that the Soviets field and either condemn the KVs to unsupported assaults or force a morale check on their company.
- Bazookas in the Armored Rifle platoons. They are enough to stop any tank assault and sometimes can even wonder off on their own a bit and shoot some lone wolf vehicles.
- Time on target arty. I think in Mid War artillery will be a bit more valuable, since there are more non-veteran armies around. This will make ranging in easier and for US troops ToT more frequent.
What is great about the list is that anti-tank units also shine in an assault support role. Tanks have direct smoke and have so many mgs that you should be able to pin the enemy easily. Tank destroyers will go around harassing unarmored teams until they unload their deadly cargo. Finally, artillery will either smoke whatever you need shrouded or kill of a couple of infantry stands before the attack goes in.
All the above considered, I would expect to see at least several Armored Rifle companies at the ETC.
My favourite list is this:
US Armored Rifle Mechanised Company, from North Africa, page 238
HQ: 2x Carbine + transports
Platoon 1: 6x Rifle + 1x M3 37mm gun + 2x M1919 LMG + M2 60mm mortar + 4x Bazooka + transports
Platoon 2: 4x Rifle + 1x M3 37mm gun + 2x M1919 LMG + M2 60mm mortar + 2x Bazooka + transports
Platoon 3: 1x Carbine + 2x Rifle + 1x Bazooka + transports
Platoon 4: 4x Tank Destroyers (M10)
Platoon 5: 5x M3 Lee (long guns)
Platoon 6: 4x 105mm howitzer
Soviet Kazachiy Polk
This company is the exception that I mentioned in the intro. My opinion is that this list is purely an infantry killer. The big reason for this is that it Always Attacks in defensive battles (although with the current BF FAQ I believe it should just say: Always Attack). Attacking tanks on horses (or on foot) in broad daylight while being trained and deprived of any smoke screen is pure suicide in my book. This is why I would use it only vs infantry or foot mechanized (like Armored Rifles for example).
The big hitter in this list is the compulsory cavalry platoon of death. It can be loaded with a mixture of regular rifle/mg infantry, light mortars and ptrd a-t rifles. Addidionally, you can top it off with some mounted pioneers and a komissar from the HQ. This unit, infiltrated by cossack scouts, can easily launch a massed assault on turn 1, still having the advantage of quality of quantity rule (extending your assault bubble to 12" and increasing the number of hits needed to stop you in defensive fire to 10).
Even if you are forced to delay your offensive, your support can help you a lot to achieve fire superiority and suppress the enemy until your cossacks reach their positions. All you need is some guns from regimental gun companies, an artillery battalion and/or tank destruction company and maybe a medium tank unit. If you still feel light on anti-infantry firepower, you can field a 12 tube medium mortar platoon for only 150 points. When in position, it can lob so many rounds per turn that you will not even have to worry about getting an assault in.
With proper pairing choices Kazachiy will hit infantry and will hit it hard.
This is how I would field the anti-infantry Kazachiy:
Soviet Kazachiy Polk (Regular Support) Mechanised Company, from Eastern Front, page 208
HQ: 2x Cavalry Rifle + Cavalry Komissar + 4x Cavalry Pioneer Rifle
Platoon 1: 13x Cavalry Rifle/MG + 2x Cavalry light mortar
Platoon 2: 5x Rifle/MG + 1x light mortar
Platoon 3: 3x SMG scouts (Fearless Veteran)
Platoon 4: 8x Zis-4 guns + transport
Platoon 5: 6x T-34 obr 1941 or 1942
Platoon 6: 4x Zis-2 + 1x ptrd + komissar + transport
So what are your guesses as to which mech briefings would be used during ETC most often and why?


Peasant army part 2 – Romanian Cavalry Battalion (Mid War)

Ok, so in the first post of the series I mentioned my love for Romanian army. This feeling actually extends to all periods so Mid War Romanian Cavalry is not an exception. What can be more charming than an angry mob of mounted peasants charging at the enemy, waving their sabers?!? J 

Anyway, enough with the bullshit. Let us talk analysis. I have already built my favorite list and signed up for a 1650 Mid War tournament  (you should be able to see the details here: Wojna Światów tournament) . Why did I choose this list in the first place? Why not one of the other Romanian briefings available in Eastern Front?

The answer is: cheap infantry, mounted scouts & tons upon tons of firepower. 

Since Romanian Cavalry has no strong mobile elements (not counting mounted infantry), I decided to go for an infantry-like approach to list building. First of all, I upgraded all my battalion commanders with Vanator de Care – I will definitely need that extra anti-tank capability if I go hand to hand with tanks. Then I picked 2 strong infantry units – 13 teams each (dismounted, since It was not realistic to paint all these cavalry stands before the tournament). Considering that Elite rating gives me 66% chance to be veteran, my assumption is that at least one of them will actually be vet in every game. Of course, the commanders were upgraded to carry the Romanian version of the Panzerknacker. 

My next step was to go for some ranged anti-tank. This is where things get interesting. The briefing allows the Romanian player to field tons of guns. So I decided to … take all of them! J I got myself a nice German platoon of 4x Pak40s accompanied by two Romanian companies: 6x captured 45mm obr 1937 + 12x KF 75mm cannons (which are really a dual purpose artillery). In total, the battalion includes 22 anti-tank gun teams! What is more, 18 of them (45mm and 75mm) are horse artillery, which in the right circumstances (and provided I manage to paint all my carts) can increase their mobility.
Moving on, I had to add some offensive capacity to my force. My first choice to do this was to include a recon element. Since I still had quite a few points left, I managed to get a full cavalry scout platoon of 7 bases, including a Vanator de Care upgrade.
Two other platoons that would boost my ability to attack were: a Pz35 unit of three tanks and a 4 tube mortar  platoon for smoke.

In the end, my final list was:

Romanian Cavalry PDF
Elite (except for C/V Pak40s)

HQ 2x Cavalry Rifle/MG + 2x VdC
Platoon 1: 13x Rifle/MG + VdC
Platoon 2: 13x Rifle/MG + VdC
Platoon 3: 4x 81mm mortar
Platoon 4: 6x 45mm obr 1937 + cavalry limbers
Platoon 5: 3x T-35 (Pz35)
Platoon 6: 7x Cavalry Rifle/MG scouts + VdC
Platoon 7: 4x German Pak40
Platoon 8: 12x KF 75mm + cavalry limbers 

Up until now, I only had the chance to test it twice in Fighting Withdrawal against an American Rifle company and British Paras. I intentionally wanted to try this mission as it is a pain in the bottom for such a slow moving force that also has a huge footprint. The result of this practice was more or less satisfactory. This was mostly based on the fact that I am able to attack 2 objectives at the same time – so the enemy does not know exactly where the main effort will be. I won both games but there were cases where I would really get frustrated with my platoons getting pinned and just sitting there for 2 turns in a row (even though they were confident veterans with a commander re-roll). Also, guns did not have the time to do their job properly. I am not really looking forward to be the attacker in this mission but now I am also a bit more positive about it if I am forced to be one.
One overall problem with the list is that it lacks mobility. This is in fact an infantry battalion that is Always Attack vs other infantry and gets a roll-off against other mech forces. I will still stick with the original intention, but my fear is that I will have to upgrade at least one infantry company to the mounted version (and paint some more Romanians - YAY!).

Anyways, since this is a list that I intend to visit 2016 ETC with, you will soon have more chances to read about my ups and downs with Romanian Cavalry. Hope you will enjoy it! J


Soviet Infantry thoughts

Hello everybody. I have been asked to share my thoughts on how to make Soviet infantry (Strelkovy) work across all periods. This is not easy since I do not feel I am an expert in this area but will do what I can to at least suggest what can be tried out.

As per usual, I will start with a general comment: my feeling towards Soviet infantry is somehow mixed. On paper, the lists seem to be very strong. Tons of infantry supported by what seem to be useful special rules and upgrades, decent guns and cheap tanks. Real data (source: however, shows that this type of list looses around 60% of games.

My understanding (although unsupported by any facts) of the reason for this unfavourable win ratio, is the lack of a meaningful mobile anti-tank option in Soviet briefings. For sure, their tank/tank destroyer companies do not cost as much as they do for other nationalities but Hen & Chicks is almost guaranteed to get you killed against other armored units (especially veteran). There are, of course, options that do not come with H&C, but in most cases they are heavy tank units that cost a lot of points and are mainly an anti-infantry choice. Overall, this poor choice of mobile anti-tank, combined with a trained skill rating means that in most games, Strelkovy will have to hand the initiative over to the other guy completely. Any competent opponent will know that if he focuses the trained support and ignores the infantry, he will render the Reds ompletely impotent.

Also, I do not think that Soviets do so well in attack. Conscript or trained options, along with a massive footprint of their companies means that more often than not they will take a lot of casaulties while making their way towards an objective. The good part is that they have some really nice support from their guns that can help to alleviate the issue by targetting artillery, hmgs, light vehicles, etc.
In fact, building the list around these strong supporting units is, in my opinion, the key to make Soviet infantry work.

Ok, onto the details!

EW Strelkovy

I really love the Konsomolyets support options in a regular Confident Conscript Red Army briefing.
Also, unarmed HQ sappers as well as anti-tank rifles can boost the performance of your clumsy infantry blobs.

This is why the list I would try would contain:

Barbarossa ~1550 pts, Confident Conscript
HQ Rifle command + 8x unarmed sappers + ptrd a-t rifles
Platoon 1: 19x rifle
Platoon 2: 19x rifle
Platoon 3: 6x 45mm obr 1937 gun + 6x T-20 Konsomolyets
Platoon 4: 4x 76mm regimental gun + 4x T-20 Konsomolyets
Platoon 5: 10x T-26 obr 1933 or 1939
Platoon 6: 2x Zis-2 57mm gun (Fearless Conscript)

The list has a big weakness of conscript rating on the guns that one should be aware of though.
MW Strelkovy

For this period I can really only see the Fearless Trained option work. Fearless conscript might seem fun, but I think it will only be fun for the opponent...
Advantages that are rather easy to exploit are tough infantry platoons, heavy tank/tank killer support options (including the KV) and high AT guns.

Eastern Front ~1550, Fearless Trained
HQ: Rifle command + 9x pioneers
Platoon 1: 10x Rifle + komissar + 3x light mortar
Platoon 2: 10x Rifle + komissar
Platoon 3: 6x 45mm obr 1942 guns + komissar
Platoon 4: 3x SMG scouts (Fearless Veteran)
Platoon 5: 4x Zis-2 + komissar + ptrd
Platoon 6: 4x SU-85

With this list you really have to be careful about low numbers of support - it can be easily shot to death so do not take unnecessary risks.

LW Strelkovy

I think that LW Soviet infantry has by far better choices than its EW and MW cousins. First of all, It is fairly cheap but still not conscript with most of its platoons. Furthermore, it can still sport excellent support options. What is most important however, is that Berlin Digital has brought in what was most needed in those big infantry blobs - panzerfausts! I think that with their introduction, this briefing has now been made whole :)
Berlin Digital ~1550, Confident Trained
HQ: Rifle command + komissar + 5x pioneers
Platoon 1: 13x Rifle/MG + komissar + 2x panzerfaust
Platoon 2: 7x Rifle/MG + komissar + 1x panzerfaust
Platoon 3: 3x SMG scouts + panzerfaust
Platoon 4: 4x Zis-2 + 1x ptrd
Platoon 5: 5x SU-76M
Platoon 6: 4x Zis-2 + 1x ptrd
Platoon 7: Full GOW (4x 122mm howitzer + 8x 76mm Zis-3)
Platoon 8: 6x 160mm heavy mortar

This list is a special case of a briefing in which I would field artillery. The main reason for this is that it is insanely cheap compared to other template weapons! A double 4/2+ template for 175 is a real bargain and 250 for the GOW battery is also nothing to complain about (especially, that it also brings decent anti-tank or anti-gun capability to the table).

Ok, so these are my thoughts on Strelkovy lists. What are yours?

08/06/16 Update

I have run some lists with KV 85s included and I think they are pretty good tanks. The issue is: In Early War - you will not get any. In Mid War, they cost a lot and in Late War they are no longer available in Berlin.

My current favourite Late War build would be Red Bear Strelkovy then:

HQ: 2x Rifle, Komissar + 5x Pioneers
CP: 1x Command Rifle/MG + 21 Rifle/MG + Komissar + HMG
CP: 1x Command Rifle/MG + 7 Rifle/MG
WP: 3x Scouts
WP: 6x 120mm mortars + Observer
SP: 4x IS 85
SP: 4x Zis-2


Peasant army part 1 - Late War Romanian Infantry

Ok, so it might seem that this is pure sarcasm, but believe me, this is currently my favorite army in Late War. I started this project when one of my gaming pals mentioned that Romanians have access to a 12 gun artillery battery. And mind you, this was back in the days when I believed artillery could actually work in infantry companies (please refer to my other articles to learn why I no longer think this is true). This particular event had a profound impact on me - I HAD to somehow become an owner of a Puscasi Battalion from Red Bear.

It was a game within a game to collect all the needed models (shame on you Battlefront!). It was a real pain in the ass to find a Battalion box, the cavalry, mortars and almost everything else apart from the guns. I spent countless hours searching for the minis online, bought some True North miniatures (even though they look crap), until I finally e-bayed most of it. Fortunately, now that I have almost everything that I need, the models look lovely (hugs and kisses Battlefront!).

With a strong base to build around, I started composing and testing some lists. First, I checked out the special rules of the army and found them to be really good. The ones that really stand out are: "Defend the Homeland" which means British bulldog for all Romanian platoons and "French Doctrine" that lets all Romanian gun and infantry platoons to dig in on a 3+, regardless of their skill rating. The one outstanding rule that provokes mixed feelings is "Peasant Army" - it makes all Romanian platoons to roll before each game to determine their skill and morale ratings (anything from Reluctant/Trained to Confident/Veteran).

As a second step, I verified the support options. They were amazing! 6 gun platoons of Pak40s or 9 gun platoons of smaller guns seemed to be a real game changer. Also, this briefing lets you field cavalry scouts - hands down the best recon in the game!

With so many these goodies available to me, all I needed was to top it off with my dream unit: an artillery battalion of Skoda 100mm guns (poor direct AT, 4/4+ bombardment, but no smoke or smoke bombardment!).

Then I started my tests. I went to several tournaments and did ok, but not brilliant. I was still unsure what was the reason for it until I finally decided to let go of the 12 gun fun factor and focus on something that is actually useful. I shuffled the units around a bit and came up with my final combination for a 1550 points army:

Axis Battalion Puscasi
Regular (33% chance to be veteran)
HQ: 2x Rifle + 2x Panzerschreck
Platoon 1: Panzerfaust SMG + 8x Rifle/MG
Platoon 2: Panzerfaust SMG + 8x Rifle/MG
Platoon 3: 4x 81mm mortars
Platoon 4: 5x German Panzer IV
Platoon 5: 9x 47mm Schneider
Platoon 6: 6x Romanian Pak40
Platoon 7: 4x 120mm mortars
Platoon 8: 4x Rifle/MG Cavalry Scouts
This army immediately clicked with my preferences. It has everything that I really need: tough infantry platoons, tons of anti-tank that can also be used to dig out stubborn guns or infantry, a strong, flexible and mobile unit in the form of Panzer IVs, smoke, a heavy mortar template that forces the enemy to spread out a bit and insane scouts.

If it was not for the random skill ratings, I would say that this is probably the best infantry force in the game. But rolls can unfortunately go against you and force you to re-assess your battle plan right after you deployed all of your units, which can be a bit harsh sometimes :(
In any case, I love my Romanians with all their pros and cons and for the upcoming Mid War tournament I intend to build and test a Romanian Cavalry list. More on that later - stay tuned :)

Have you ever had any good experience with Romanians (no matter on which part of the proverbial stick you ended up)? Feel free to share in the comments below! :)