Saturday, July 28, 2012

US light armoured divison 1944 III

Just as an additional post, here are some pictures of the various stands. All the models are Heroics and Ros.

A collection of M4's. From left to right we have US06 late model (with added armour plates on the sides), US07 M4A3 with 76mm, US04A M4/105mm how and US08 M4E3A2 'Jumbo'.

US21 M18 Hellcat with crews from US34 Gun crew standing.

The AA supports. US49 M15 SPAA and US 33 M16 SPAA. Again with crews from the same artillery crew strips.

US25 M7 priest. Crews from.....

The HQ stands. Tank battalion and infantry battalion at the front and the brigade HQ at the back. the jeeps and trucks came from a grab bag of bits so I'm not quite sure what they are but would pick US13 White scout car, US38 jeeps, and US40 for the truck (I've no idea on this one though)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

US light armoured divison 1944 II

Well, this has been a bit of time coming. Works been rather busy of late.

Anyway, on to the options and some suggestion on how to play the army.

I've only done one option A and one option B as the army has pretty much everything that you need on the table already.
Option A AGC 10
3 P47/ Bombs 36

Not much explanation needed here. something to knock out those really big German tanks or shift some veteran infantry stands. Its my favoured choice which I normally take.

Option B Armoured infantry battalion. Basically because I realise that there is not enough infantry for some. I'd never use this myself, but it is an option.

Hq 1 rifle stand/HT 7
9 rifle stands/HT 63
1 HMG/ HT 7
2 AAMG/HT 10
1 M4/ 81mm mortar 6
1 recon jeep 0.50 HMG 4

Now how to play this. First up I would use the 155mm for counter battery, to put the crimp on enemy artillery. There are a stack of 'soft' targets running round the table that need some protection from indirect fire.
Next to tricking out the on table TOE. Swap 3 infantry stands/HT for 1 M4 jumbo, 1 M4/76 and 1 M4 (one company as allowed by the rules). This gives both battalions 'enough' infantry.

On the attack, choose one side of the table where there are 2 objectives (one in the near 1/2 and one in the far 1/2 (try to avoid any in towns). You want to lead the attack with the infantry battalion down this side of the table. the aim is to establish a 'bridgehead about 24-30" onto the table, but geared to stop counter attacks from the center 3rd of the board. The tank battalion would be timetabled to come on in turn 4-5 (possibly 5).

The tank battalion is then pushed through the infantry battalion on that same side of the board, and exits off the other edge (oh, make sure there are enough roads for this).
Points wise you should be aiming to get 4 for the objectives, 2 for killing a defending battalion (possibly2) and 2 for the tank battalion off the other edge for a total of 10.
This is not overly easy to impliment on the table, so if you want to do your own thing my only advice would be to keep the 2 battalions close together and just overwhelm the defenders one battalion at a time. Try to avoid fighting in towns as there isn't enough infantry to do this.

So, how does that sound?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

US light armoured divison 1944

Rhys writes....

Well, Keith is keen to see this one, so here goes;
Sorry this has taken so long, real life has interviend and I have not had enough energy. however, hitting the publish button when you are editing a post tends to speed the post up a bit!

I was attracted to this list having read some of the various WW2 histories (among them, Pattons 'War as I knew it', This is a good book BTW). I was not overly keen to do a heavy armoured division, and so chose the 4th armoured division (as an aside, this was one of the few/only US divisions without a nickname).

The light armoured divisions operated as 3 combat commands, A, B and Reserve, which could be considered brigades in size. The divisions fighting battalions were divided up between these commands. The support battalions were divided up between the combat commands. Below the combat commands the Americans would form task forces which are very similar to the German kampfgruppe. Here's where the lists intervened, as only the Germans are organised enough to do this at any time during WW2. Time for a plan B. I pondered the idea of having just 2 battalions, but with high levels of support units. This would give 2 large battalions with high break points. Time to get the pencil out. The target is 650 points.

At this point I'd note that I did 'cheat' and used the heavy armoured division list. This means that I get to ditch the M5 company (which is only really useful as 'ablative' armour for teh shermans, which really seems to be a bit of an oxymoron)

Start with the Combat command HQ in a jeep at 6 points

Next up the fighting battalions.

The tank battalion has an M4 HQ and a M4/105 for fire support. there are then 9 M4's and 3M5s allowed. I did not max out the M4 numbers .Further to this I chose a mix of M4's. I upgraded 3 M4's to M4/76's for the better AT capacity. It's only a marginal improvement, but the added 6" range over the normal M4 is worth it. I also upgraded 2 M4's to 'Jumbos' with extra armour. Now, I have played against armies which were almost completely composed of 'Jumbos'. This is completely unhistorical, as they tended to be issued in small numbers to each division (there were only 232 made). I have stretched things a wee bit by having 2 platoons. The extra armour is very useful when facing the lesser German tanks. Anything with an 75L48 (PzIV, Stug IIG or PAK 40) is shooting at a -1. These get put out front to attract fire while the rest of the M4's shoot back at better odds.
So after all that bollocks, the final battalion list is

Tank Battalion Hq 1 M4 20

1 M4/105mm 17

1 M4/81mm HT 6

1 0.50 jeep recon 4

2 M4 Jumbo (75mm) 44

3 M4 75mm 60

3 M4/76mm 72

Points value 223. running points total 229
(when writing a list I always keep a running points total, so that you have an idea of how many points you have spent, and where you can cut back to afford a more useful element).

The motorised infantry battalion is a bit easier to do.

Armoured Infantry Battalion

Hq 1 rifle stand in HT 7

9 rifle stand in HT 63

1 HMG in HT 7

1 M4/81mm mortar/ HT 6

1 reccon jeep 0.50 HMG 4

Points value 87, running points total 316.

So, we now have just over 330 points to spend on the divisional support companies.

Now, one of my major thoughts for any allied list is 'How does one kill German heavy tanks?' now there are some people out there who like to play German lists with Pz IV's or Stug III's but I never seem to play them. its facing the tigers and panthers that stretch things out. Thus we take 2 anti tank companies (one for each battalion; a pattern will form here)

The historical option here would be the M18 Hellcat. however its;
1) Only armed with a 76mm gun, and we have those on Sherman's already.
2) Its speed is only 9", which is a bit on the nose considering it was the fastest fully tracked AFV to serve in WW2 (and faster than the modern M1A1). This speed makes it no better than an M10, with worse armour.

So, the more useful option is the M36, with a nice big 90mm gun to chase off German tanks.

2 x M36 Jackson

points value 46. double this to get 92. Running points total 408

The next major question that an allied commander should ask is 'how does one kill German infantry?' An extension of this is, 'how does one kill dug in German infantry?' the answer is lots of support weapons with high AI actors. Looking through the divisional troops we come across the anti aircraft units. Now, the late war Germans don't have a lot of aircraft flying round, there's plenty of other things to shoot at on the ground. They are also dirt cheap.

2 x M16 AA
2 x M15 AA
Points value 28. Double this to get 56. Running points total 464.

Next up, and another departure from the norm, is artillery support. As the only option available to the light armoured divisions is the M7, why not put them on table? They can either fire indirect, or over open sights spotting for themselves (with no dice throw). The minus is that if any stand in the battalion fires, it counts as a fire mission.

1 x AOP
3 x M7
Points value 58. Double this is 116. Running points total 580.
Don't forget that this doesn't count towards the 3 divisional support units.

So, we have 70 points left, what to buy.
The list is quite light on infantry, so time to find some more from the divisional engineering battalion.

3 x engineer stands/ truck
points value 24. Running points total 604.

also add the SMG/HT stand to the AA unit attached to the armoured battalion.
points value 7, Running points total 611

Lets add some more artillery. A 155mm battalion is usefull, either as counterbattery or just on table support. don't discount the utility of removing your opponents artillery from the game equation. The Christchurch lads don't seem to like it.

3 155mm guns (x 0.8 for being off table).
Total is 39 points, Final points total 650

So, what does that make the army list look like? Swapping a company between the battalions to balance stuff out...

CCA Hq infantry stand in truck.

Infantry battalion BHQ infantry stand in jeep.
1 x recon jeep
6 x infantry stands/M3 half track.
1 x HMG/ M3 half track.
1 x M4HT/81mmM
1 x M4
1 x M4/76
1 x M4A3E2 'Jumbo'

support companies;
AT company
2 x M36

AA company
2 x M16 SPAA
2 x M15 SPAA

Artillery battalion
1 x AOP
3 x M7 105mm

Number of stands 21/ break point 11

Tank battalion BHQ in M4
1 x M4/105
1 x recon jeep
1 x M4HT/81mmM
1 x M4E3A2 Jumbo
2 x M4
3 x M4/76
3 x infantry stand/ M3 half track

Support companies
Engineering company
3 x engineering stand/truck

AT company
2 x M36

AA company
1 x SMg stand/ M3 half track
2 x M16 SPAA
2 x M15 SPAA

Artillery battalion
1 x AOP
3 x M7 105mm

Number of stands 26/ break point 13.

Artillery battalion
3 x 155mm

Well, that was a long post, but I hope it clarifies some for the reasons for doing things the way I do (or maybe not).

Next post will be looking at A and B options and thoughts on how to actually play the army on the table top.