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Join Jason, and the Robs as they chat about the upcoming D-Day Anniversary.

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Battlegroup: Tactics for Fighting Tanks.

Most of us know the issue with Allied armor, they need to compensate for the lack of heavy armor and guns when facing the Germans Panthers and Tigers. There are several ways to defeat the Germans using tactics and the rules in Battlegroup. These are maneuver, fire, concealment, supporting assets, numbers and orders.  Using a combination of these tactics your prospects of winning against heavier armor should increase.

When facing Panthers, Tigers and other heavy tanks the first thing to do is keep is to maneuvering. Generally allied tanks are going to be a little faster than Germans; these is going to be helpful when it comes to moving around the flanks and taking objectives. While you are working the flanks try and close the distance because the likelihood of hitting increase as does armor penetration. In Battlegroup hitting a moving target is always a little harder.

Take advantages of the terrain; this come in two forms. The first is make sure you put enough out in either in the form of hills or foliage. The other is make sure your tanks are moving in cover or out of line of site. This is going to give you a advantage when it comes to spotting and when combined with the movement penalty make you harder to hit.  Obscured vehicles are a 2+ to spot when firing and 3+ when not firing.  The spotting roll combined with a movement penalty and the cover modifier will keep your vehicles alive.  

Deciding whether to fire or not, is important consideration too, if the German player needs a 6 to hit, then so does the allied player. Save ammunition, firing also makes the tank easier to spot. Consider not engaging the German tanks, but peeling off the enemy infantry and other supporting elements as you are working the flanks.  Keep the Germans firing; one of my favorite tactics to defeat German armor is to run them out of ammo. This is why it’s critical to track ammunition, the big cats typically have smaller round counts then allied tanks.  

Use supporting assets like artillery and infantry to keep the Germans pinned and off balance. Pinned tanks are like margarine , not as good as butter but better than nothing. The allies have the best artillery in the game and the American have radios that allow players to re-roll failed communication test. Allied infantry are dangerous too, bazookas and piats are very dangerous to unsupported tanks. Also, don’t forget the unsupported tank rule in the moral section.

IS-152 in whitewash

When facing big cats use any numerical advantages one might have to use it to swarm the German. The lighter guns of the allied tanks struggle for kills but hits can still force moral checks and pinned tanks don’t fire back.

The two reaction orders are also going to help the allied player to tackle German Armor. Reaction orders allow a unit to store its action and use it in your opponent’s turn. The first is ambush and the other is reserve move; ambush we use all the time and allows the inactive player to fire in the active players turn. The other, less used but equally critical is reserve move.  Reserve move allows the inactive player to interrupt the enemy turn to take the Top Speed order, allowing it to immediately make a full move. This allows players to move tanks, tank destroyers and anti-tank guns into firing position for next turn. If you are looking to employ seek strike and destroy, this is your tool. One can place a unit in your turn on reserve, at the end of the enemies movement phase move everyone into firing position and in your turn fire away. If you are feeling cautious, you can use the fire and maneuver order to get back into cover.     

Hungarian soldiers man a Pak 40

Don’t forget about your anti-tank guns, they can be flexible and useful assets. If you are on the defensive, set them in positions with interlocking fields of fire, supported by infantry and close support mortars.  Also, don’t forget about defensive position, add in a bunker for them or other defensive measures. On the offense add transport; adding trucks or a halftracks improves their mobility and they can move, disembark and fire.  This is the ‘crash action’ move, where you issue a disembark order to the transport, which moves and dismounts the gun and then the gun can be issued orders. For instance, using a truck which is moving on road could move up to 24 inches, with the four inch dismount that’s 28 inch move.  Use this type of tactic to take objectives, set up kill zones, and funnel enemy movement.    

The above suggestions on tactics points to what makes Battlegroup a great game because these tactics aren’t gamey; they are real world tactics and using them in a coordinated manner should help to make your games more successful.  Things like building an anti-tank gun screens, developing the perimeter with infantry, moving armor around the flanks and having artillery support really works. Is it perfect simulation, no, but those core concepts of modern warfare work and present the player with a lot of unique situations and choice they have to make on the battlefield.

Volksstrum

We play a lot of Late War here at History to Wargames Podcast and we have pretty close to everything we need for great games. But we are constantly working to upgrade our troops and tables. We are also always looking to add few flavor items and troops. For instance I ordered some tram cars and I am on the lookout for 15mm wagons to use as terrain. For troops I have Volkssturum and Hitler Youth troops on deck.

Volkssturum and Hitler Youth troops are specialist troops that capture the Late War flavor. They are only available in Fall of The Reich; Volksstrum as a platoon option and the HJ as support option. You can still use Wehrmacht troops, their uniform works for just about any period of the war but the Volksstrum and HJ troops wore clothing different from the regular army. Volkssturm were in mix of civilian clothing and the HJ wore dark blue uniforms.

For these guys I decided to base the entire squad on one base instead of on pennies and then fitting them into sabot movement trays. We have been playing with the idea of is it better to have individually based troops with slower movement or all the squad on one base with faster movement but more book keeping. With the size of games that we have been playing it’s importing to keep the pace up so we can get the game done.

Basing was done with a mix of crushed slate, some ballast and sand with some match sticks dropped on. I used the Vallejo Ruins & Rubble paint set.

More to come with these guys.