With John Lee
With the release of Bagration: Axis Allies, each nation gets one infantry formation in the book. Now you must be thinking what about the rest of them. Well, they are in the command cards. The premise is that you take the core infantry formation and then apply the command cards to create the formation you want to play. For the Finns, there are three infantry formations in total you can take. So, let us explore the core infantry formation first then look at the two command card options – Pioneer and Light Infantry.
The formation is comprised of the following:
The Finnish infantry are rated Confident Careful Veteran and have the special rule “Hunter”. This rule is “Infantry Teams treat Snow, Woods or Forests as Cross-country Dash instead of Terrain Dash.” So, in your games with lots of cover, you can move 12” instead of 8”. If you also use a Follow Me order, you could move up to 16” in a single turn! Use that to your advantage. So, lets dig into the formation platoon by platoon.
The HQ platoon comprises of two SMG teams for 2pts. No panzerfausts, but there is a command card called “Close Defence”. You can use it for a turn for any infantry or gun teams in the unit to give them AT3 FP1+ against Top Armour for 2pts. Oh, and the other thing is that the HQ unit assaults on 2+!
With the infantry platoons, you have several options to optimise how you want the makeup of these platoons to look. Seven M26 MG and M39 rifle teams for 7pts or nine teams for 9pts. You can add Panzerfausts for +2pts to the platoon and is a no brainer for me here regardless of team type or size. You can also beef up the platoons by adding a Maxim HMG team for +2pt and either a Lahti anti-tank rifle team for +1pt or a Panzerschreck team for +2pt. I like to take the HMG team if I have the points. If the platoon gets pinned, then you need that extra dice defending in assaults.
I like to take the Panzerschreck, in my mind totally worth it if you have the points. Adds a second AT option for defending assaults or jumping out and having a go at a tank that wanders too close. Makes most tanks think twice about assaulting, facing two AT11/12 teams. Throw in the Close Defence card as well, and your infantry is looking scary defensively.
The SMG platoon is configured the same as the infantry platoon except all teams are armed with SMGs instead of rifles and MGs. Difference is 8pts for seven teams and 10pts for nine teams. The Panzerfaust, HMG, Lahti and Panzershreck options are the same here also.
Depending on what your preference is, you could take two or three infantry platoons – take the third if you have the points. If you are offensive minded, you would take the SMG platoon as the third platoon to assault whilst the other two platoons defend the objectives.
The next platoon to look at is the Maxim Machine-Gun platoon where you can have four of these teams for 5pts. Something to consider taking, especially if you do not take them in the infantry platoons. Adds another platoon for the formation count. I do not always take these but can be useful to bolster defending an objective. You can also take the Machine-Gun Nests command card for 2pts. This will allow you to place you HMGs across the table in your deployment zone as independent nests. No longer counts toward your formation anymore but that depends on your playstyle and how you want to use them.
Up next are the mortar platoons, starting with the 81mm Mortar Platoon – I think one of the best buys in the formation with three for 3pts. This is an absolute no brainer – range of 48” and can fire a smoke bombardment. This is one of my core units for this formation.
The 120mm Mortar Platoon is also a great option – two for 4pts or three for 6pts. Another no brainer for me with a range of 56”, AT2 and FP3+ and can also fire a smoke bombardment! Another core one for me.
The next unit is an auto-include for me. The Panzerfaust Close Defence Platoon is a five-team platoon of riflemen equipped with a panzerfaust per team. That is right – per team! No limited 1 rule here. You do not want to be assaulting this platoon with tanks! A scary option for your opponents for 8pts!
If you cannot afford the points for the Panzerfaust Close Defence Platoon, then we can look at the other two options in this slot. The 37mm Anti-tank platoon is made up of two 37mm guns that can fire Stielgranate as well as its normal ammunition and is included for 4pts. With normal ammunition, they have 24” range with AT6 FP4+. Stielgranate has a range of 10” with AT12 FP5+. The 45mm Anti-tank platoon is made up of two 45mm guns. Short 45mm has a range of 20” with AT7 FP4+ for 4pts. Long 45mm has a range of 24” with AT8 FP4+ for 5pts.
The last unit to make up the formation is the Scout Platoon. This platoon is rated Fearless rather than Confident and has Scout and Spearhead attributes. You can take seven M39 rifle teams for 11pts or nine for 15pts. Add another 2pts to include panzerfausts. Adding a Close Defence command card here for 2pts, means you have a platoon that can spearhead into enemy territory, using your cross-country speed through the woods gone to ground with Scout to start assaulting the enemy on turn 2 potentially. Having the Panzerfaust Close Defence Platoon in the spearhead bubble means your opponent will be feeling very nervous with those units potentially attacking on turn 2.
Whilst the Finns do not have high end AT (14 or greater) in their force, they can take German allies to help with that. I feel though that with the infantry formation, you may not even need it. Let us look at two lists – one with allies and one without. Lists will be based on 105pts.
There are eight platoons for the formation break. Two artillery templates that are part of the formation. Four infantry platoons that will allow you to have two defending objectives and the Scouts with the Panzerfaust Close Defence platoon to attack with support from the Sturmi and ISU-152. HMG nests to help break up any infantry attacks. BA-10s and T-26s to screen against any light armour, infantry, or go and create diversions or even tie up the enemy on the other flank. Looking at taking German allies now:
Removing the Maxim HMG platoon and adding a team to the Infantry platoons along with the Sturmi, T-26s, and ISU-152. This list would suit those who prefer to have the heavy tanks do the heavy tank lifting. Still has seven platoons for the formation break.
Now onto the two command card formations. First up is the Pioneer Company and is comprised of the following:
- 1 Infantry Company HQ
- 2-3 Pioneer Platoon
The platoons have the same characteristics as the core Infantry Formation. The difference is that you pay an additional 1pt for the formation. The HQ platoon and Pioneer platoons can dig in on a 2+ and cross minefields on a 2+. You also pay an extra 1pt for each Pioneer Platoon. The Pioneer platoons can also replace up to two teams per platoon with Flame-throwers for 1pt each. There are no other units in the formation, so if you take it, you will probably want to take three platoons and maybe take some allied German heavy armour.
You have a maxed-out formation and can leave two platoons defending objectives if required. The Tigers for heavy AT work, BT-42s provide an artillery template, T-26s to provide a screen and BA-10s for spearhead.
The second command card formation is the Light Infantry. These are meant to be Finland’s finest troops. They have a slightly different composition to the standard infantry formation. It comprises the following:
- 1 Light Infantry HQ
- 1-2 Light Infantry Platoon
- 0-1 Light Infantry Platoon or Light Infantry SMG Platoon or Scout Platoon
- 0-2 Maxim Machine-Gun Platoon
- 0-1 81mm Mortar Platoon or 50mm Mortar Platoon
- 0-1 Light Infantry Panzerfaust Close Defence Platoon
- 0-2 50mm Heavy Anti-tank Platoon or 75mm Heavy Anti-tank Platoon
The formation costs 2pts and includes two SMG teams for the HQ. The Light Infantry platoons have no panzershrecks or integral HMGs, but they are Fearless instead of Confident. Seven M39 rifle teams are 9pts and nine teams are 12pts. Adding Panzerfausts costs 2pts. The Light Infantry SMG platoon are Fearless but have no Panzerfausts. Seven SMG teams are 10pts, nine are 13pts. The Light Infantry Panzerfaust Close Defence Platoon is also rated Fearless and costs an additional 2pts making it 10pts. You can take the 81mm Mortar Platoon or now take the 50mm Mortar Platoon instead. It costs an additional 1pt as they also become Fearless and no longer an artillery unit. They have a 16” range, ROF 1 with overhead fire instead of an artillery template.
The other new additions to the formation are the 50mm and 75mm Heavy Anti-tank Platoons. The 50mm Anti-tank Gun Platoon has two guns for 5pts. Range of 28” AT9 FP4+. The 75mm Anti-tank Gun Platoon has two guns for 7pts. Range of 32” AT12 FP3+. Whilst they are fragile with only two guns, you would consider taking the 75mm option for 7pts per platoon. Especially as you can add a Warrior to one of the platoons for 4pts which could be useful and adds some flavour. Toivo Ilomaki allows the unit to automatically pass all rally tests and the unit leader can reroll all misses.
Eight platoons for the formation break. Lots of Fearless infantry plus one template. Warrior with the 75mm Anti-tank guns for ambush or to bolster the defence on an objective. The Sturmi and T-26s give you some mobile support for your Fearless assault infantry.
Finally, you can choose one of two warriors with your infantry formation. The famous Lauri Torni and Adolph Ehrnrooth – remember only ONE warrior per force!
Lauri Torni Command Card: Allows the unit in the formation to pass Blitz tests on 2+ and pass Last Stand checks if within 6” and in line of sight of the Formation Commander. All for 2pts!
Adolph Ehrnrooth Command Card: Allows the unit in the formation to pass Blitz tests on 2+ and pass Last Stand checks if within 8” and in line of sight of the Formation Commander. All for 2pts!
So, there you have it – three infantry formation options to choose from. Finnish Infantry have some uniqueness about them with Fearless Scouts and Panzerfaust Close Defence Platoons that you can exploit in your games. I hope this has been of some help. Happy List Building!