Saturday, October 5, 2013

Luke writes II

Luke has sent me some notes on his list writing thoughts. As he tends to know what hes talking about, I'm posting them unedited. Again ,all views in this post should not be construed as being the views of the blog owner, unless they are also the views held by the blog owner. As you were...

So let's now tackle the main list.  With 850 points to play with, we will have enough points to take essentially two regiments (i.e. MSH brigades) worth of gear.  This is a "good thing", because3 regiments, or to be more exact, two RHQs, allows us more opportunities to make order change attempts.  As a WarPac 2 player, you will be looking at need to roll a 6 to get an order change through a lot of the time, so being able to make 2 attempts per turn, rather than 1, is quite an improvement. (If you are willing to skimp on the size of your battalions, you can even get more units on the ground, and bring along a Divisional HQ, but that tends to be counter-productive in terms of VPs, because having more units means the enemy will earn VPs much more easily under Keith's system.)

Under MSH, recon elements are much more useful than in WW2, because they get bonuses in attempting to call in artillery.  Since WarPac2 artillery isn't the easiest of things to request successfully, every little advantage helps.  Thus the Divisional recon battalion should be high on the list of priorities in an attack list.  This also introduces flexibility, since it can be broken down into its component companies, and attached out, if desired.  All nice and good.  So let's take a look at it:

1 x HQ (OT-65) @ 3 x 0.8 = 2.4
1 x Light Engineers in OT-62A @ 7 x 0.8 = 5.6
2 x OT-65 @ 3 x 0.8 = 4.8
6 x BVP-1 @ 11 x 0.8 =52.8

65.6 points all-told (but be aware that not all the points totals here have been validated yet by Keith, so there may be some minor adjustments required in the future).  Note that these recon BVPs are not combat teams; they can't dismount.  They are thus really weak anti-tank elements in terms of combat capabilities.  The engineer element could be dropped, as it doesn't add anything in terms of morale, but does make the unit, when kept together, "normal" sized under Keith's system (which can be both a problem as well as a blessing).

Now what about the fighting battalions? We'll take two regiments - one Regular and one Green.  An alternative would be to take a mix of different-morale battalions within each regiment, but this doesn't support the philosophy of the list I am trying to create here, as I will hope to demonstrate.  I'll start with an OT-64-based regiment: the 4th Motor Rifle Regiment. This regiment will be the one with Regular morale.  The reason for this is that the individual battalions in an OT regiment are bigger, and will be correspondingly harder to break; they will be used in the front line. 

The BVP regiment, the 5th, will be the Green one, and will be used as the reserve force.  Because they are fully tracked, they are less impeded by terrain, and thus tend to move around faster; an important consideration when committing reserves.  Because they are most likely to face enemy that have already been weakened by the first line, and will likely engage enemy already engaging our front line, they should take less casualties, and thus are more suitable for being rated Green.

WarPac 2 forces can have up to half their battalions as reserves - and they must make use of this allowance to overcome their otherwise shocking 3C "capabilities".  You might consider keep two of your BVP battalions as on-table reserves, and the third as an off-table reserve, to keep the enemy guessing as to whether it is flank marching or not, or even if it exists - most opponents you haven't faced before will likely be astonished at the size of your on-table forces as it is!

I like to buy my rifle battalions with their tank companies already attached, as allowed under Keith's system.  This has the advantage of not requiring you to pay for a battalion HQ that you won't be using anyway.  Their job is simply to stop the enemy picking off your infantry vehicles by sacrificing themselves until the infantry are close enough to assault. If the tanks actually kill anything, that is just a bonus.

So let's look at our OT-64 battalions:

1x HQ team in OT-64 @ 7 x 0.8 = 5.6
1 x PLDvK vz 53 twin 30 mm AA with towing truck @ 4 x 0.8 = 3.2
2 x OT-810 At half-track @ 8 x 0.8 = 12.8
2 x vz 52 82 mm M in truck @ 4 x 0.8 = 6.4
1 x AGL team in OT-64 @ 6 x 0.8 = 4.8
6 x Infantry teams in OT-64 @ 7 x 0.8 = 33.6
3 x T-55A @ 19 x 0.8 = 45.6

A total of 112 points per battalion, so 3 of them will cost 336 points, for a running total of 401.6 points.  Now let's round out the rest of the regiment.

1 x Regimental HQ team in OT-64 or OT-810 @ 7 x 0.8 = 5.6
2 x Regimental NBC recon BRDM-2rch @ 3 x 0.8 = 4.8
2 x consolidated Regimental vz. 53 130 mm MRL (off-table) @ 12 x 0.6 = 14.4
1 x Regimental Recon Company OT-65 @ 3 x 0.8 = 2.4
2 x Regimental Recon Company BVP-1 @ 11 x 0.8 = 17.6
1 x Regimental Artillery FAO @ 10 x 0.8 = 8
4 x Regimental Artillery 122 mm H vz. 38 with tow (off-table) @ 8? x 0.6 = 19.2
1 x Regimental Light Engineer team in OT-64 @ 6 x 0.8 = 4.8

This brings our running total to 478.4 points.  I haven't brought along the regimental AA company, since it isn't all that effective, nor the AT company, since it is almost useless in an attack game (it not being vehicle mounted, it needs time to set up).  The recon BVPs could be fielded as cheaper OT-65s, but make reasonable mobile AT-elements in an outfit otherwise sorely lacking them.

Now let's turn to the 5th (BVP) Motor Rifle regiment, which will be Green (except for off-table stuff, which must be graded Regular, since we are not fielding a force from an entirely Veteran or Green Division).  Each battalion looks like this:

1x HQ team in BVP-1 @ 10 x 0.6 = 6
1 x PLDvK vz 53 twin 30 mm AA with towing truck @ 4 x 0.6 = 2.4
2 x vz 52 82 mm M in truck @ 4 x 0.6 = 4.8
6 x Infantry teams in BVP-1 @ 10 x 0.6 = 36
3 x T-55A @ 19 x 0.6 = 34.2

Each comes to just 83.4 points, bringing our running total to 728.6 points.  At just 11 elements strong, they will need boosting with regimental-level attachments to give them some beef; but being Green, will need 3 elements attached for every extra break-point. So let's round out the regiment:

1 x Regimental HQ team in BVP @ 10 x 0.6 = 6
2 x Regimental NBC recon BRDM-2rch @ 3 x 0.6 = 3.6
2 x consolidated Regimental vz. 53 130 mm MRL (off-table) @ 12 x 0.6 = 14.4
3 x Regimental Recon Company OT-65 @ 3 x 0.6 = 5.4
1 x Regimental Artillery FAO @ 10 x 0.8 = 8
4 x Regimental Artillery 122 mm H vz. 38 with tow (off-table) @ 8? x 0.6 = 19.2
1 x Regimental Light Engineer team in OT-62A @ 7 x 0.6 = 4.2

This brings our running total to 788.6 points.  I've missed out the AT company, which is better than that of the 4th regiment, but not all that relevant to a force that will sit in reserve a lot; likewise the AA company is missing.  Note those NBC recon elements.  These are an aspect that are overlooked in the simple lists published in the main rules, because the rules tend to focus on NATO concepts.  Each Czechoslovakian regiment had its own NBC company, including a recon platoon; each Division had its own NBC battalion (also including a further recon platoon); in comparison, the US 3rd Infantry division, for example, didn't gain a single NBC recon platoon until 1980, which counts in MSH as a single stand of trucks!   I take them because they are cheap filler that can boost a battalion's break-point; being recon elements in a bonus, of course (the rest of the unit, like the various decontamination vehicles, can fill no in-game function and are are not represented). 
In my next post, I'll complete our force.

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