Ok, so I tested my Romanians (Romanian Cavalry) a few times so far in relation to the ETC setup. The tests were not so promising to be honest. There are some glaring weaknesses about this list that can only be avoided with a good pairing. With the ETC pairing mechanism however, you can not really guarantee that you are able to avoid your obvious counters. The lists need to be a bit more balanced and built so that they can handle all-comers with a slight tendence to either: anti-tank, anti-infantry or utility.
This is the reason why I took up another challenge: to build up and test a Soviet Tankovy Batalon. But why not go the obvious way and play Mixed Tankovy? Well, there are two main factors:
1. It is too obvious for me.
2. The list is vulnerable to bad pairings.
With the second factor, I figured that any pairings against anything that has 2+ panthers in the list plus maybe another anti-tank platoon (like the Pz IIIs or Marders) is pretty much the end of the line for Mixed Tankovy. Its biggest advantage is in how it handles infantry lists - and in this area it really shines. The issue is that with ETC pairings nobody will ever let their infantry be attacked by the Mixed Tankovy. This is why I decided to build a more balanced list. I did check the possibilities with Mixed Tankovy - don't get me wrong. But my personal feeling is that there is not enough decent anti-tank in that list to be able to build a nice all-rounder.
So how did I manage to switch the balance towards utility with Tankovy? The main mechanism was to give the anti-infantry role to big, cheap tank units while the heavies work as the primary source of anti-tank. The really good thing about Tankovy Batalon (Red Army support) is that you can get Medium Tankovy companies equipped with up to 3 T-34/57 tanks (AT 11, Rof 3, FP 4+) in your combat platoons, which is not possible with the Mixed Tankovy briefing. Also, the Guards Heavy Tank companies, although substantially more costly than the Heavy Tank companies of the Mixed Tankovy, give the possibility of using KV 85 tanks (AT 12, Rof 2, FP 3+) that are not subject to Hen & Chicks rule. This is a massive change in the role of the tank. What is normally percieved as an infantry mincing machine now becomes a mobile Pak 40 pillbox. And personally, I can't wait to see how the tests turn out.
Also, like mentioned before, the primary source of anti-infantry power comes from big units of light armour. This is why I used a full company of 10x T-60 tanks, which costs less than 200 points and 10x BA-10 which are probably the best recon element you can get in a Mid War list. So as far as assaulting goes, I still have the power of 10 cheap throw-away tanks, 10 armoured cars, 7 T-34s or as a last resort - 3 KVs.
In the end, the list I am going to test looks like this:
CP: 3x T-34, 3x T-34/57 (balanced unit)
CP: 10x T-60 (anti-infantry unit)
SP: 10x BA-10 (balanced unit)
SP: 3x KV 85 (anti-tank unit)