When Chris and I were first talking about playing a big game I had the thought of taking a Tiger company to take on Chris’s Soviet T-34 horde, but thought that it probably wouldn’t be a fair match-up.
(I’m still planning on painting this army at some point as I love the Tiger and new Panzer III models)
Instead, I decided to brush off my Das Reich T-34s and give Chris a rematch from a version 2 game we had, where my T-34 tanks were overwhelmed by the sheer number of T-34s that Chris was fielding.
My Army is based off the Captured T-34 Command Card. I won’t go into too much detail about the command cards here as Victor is going to write an article about this later.
I have 10 T-34s painted, so I decided to split these into 2x platoons of 3 tanks and a platoon of 4 tanks. These are led by a Panzer IV and a Panzer III. I’m just going to use my Grey Panzer III & IV tanks for the moment, until I get a chance to paint some new ones.
To back up the T-34s I’ve added a single Tiger, again mainly because I love the model.
I figure the Tiger will anchor one flank and my T-34s will deploy en-mass, strength in numbers.
or: Using an Iron Cross formation with Ghost Panzers Support Units with Mike Haught
All four of the mid-war Eastern Front books were designed together. There was a lot of crossover between units in both books, so we wanted to make that cross support possible between books. For instance, in the German case, we wanted to make sure that you can take your Grenadier infantry forces from Iron Cross and back them up with Ferdinand and Brummbär heavy tanks from Ghost Panzers, just like what happened in Model’s 9th Army attack on the northern front of the operation. Of course the reverse is also true. You can field a Ghost Panzer formation with Iron Cross support, such as an Armoured Panzergrenadier Formation with your early panzers and StuGs to represent the half-track mounted troops involved in the 1942 summer offensive.
Let’s take my Grenadier company from Iron Cross as an example. Here’s the 100pt Grenadier Company I’ve been using:
Grenadier Formation 2pts Grenadier Company HQ 16pts Grenadier Platoon, 9x teams +2x MG34 HMGs 16pts Grenadier Platoon, 9x teams +2x MG34 HMGs 14pts Assault Pioneer Platoon
Support Units 14pts 10.5cm Artillery Battery (4x Guns) 2pts Panzer II OP 27pts StuG (early) Assault Gun Platoon (3x StuG long 7.5cm) 9pt Ju 87 Stuka Dive-bomber Flight
I originally modelled this force as an assault unit involved in the 1942 summer blitzkrieg attacks. It’s got some defensive power, but has an offensive footing with flame-throwers, submachine-guns, and Stukas.
I’m excited about the upcoming release of the Ferdinand, so I’m going to convert this force into a Citadel-themed one so that I can include them. However, I also want to retain as much of the tactical flexibility from Iron Cross as possible, such as artillery. I can achieve this by using my Iron Cross Formations with Ghost Panzer support units. I have to choose which book to draw support from, I can’t do both, so I need to drop my StuG assault guns because these early versions are not available as a Ghost Panzer support unit. On the other hand, my artillery and Stukas are both available in Ghost Panzers, which means I can bring them across.
Dropping the StuGs earns me back 27 points which goes a long way towards getting me a pair of Ferdinands. However, I still need to find another 7 points, which I can get from reducing my Grenadier platoons to 7 teams each and taking out an HMG somewhere. So in the end, my 99pt Citadel Grenadiers will look like this:
Grenadier Formation 2pts Grenadier Company HQ 13pts Grenadier Platoon, 7x teams +2x MG34 HMGs 11pts Grenadier Platoon, 7x teams +1x MG34 HMG 14pts Assault Pioneer Platoon
Support Units 14pts 10.5cm Artillery Battery (4x Guns) 2pts Panzer II OP 34pts Ferdinand Tank-hunter Platoon (2x Ferdinand) 9pt Ju 87 Stuka Dive-bomber Flight
So with just a few small modifications to my army I can field my tried and true Grenadier force in Operation Citadel battles using a pair of mighty Ferdinands.
A few years ago I painted up a T-34 Battalion for Late War, putting myself under a bit of pressure to knock out the 21 models over 28 day. You can find out more about the army here…
As a deadline painter, having a definite finish date helped me to focus and actually get the job done on time.
Five years later with the release of Red Banner I thought it might be fun to dust off the army and challenge Casey (my office nemesis) to a big game where I got to put the entire battalion, plus a few Mid War models borrowed from the work collection, on the table for a big tank smash.
Since we wanted to keep it “all about the tanks” I chose not to add any infantry or “pad out” the Force with any Formation Support options. I did however have a look through the Command Cards and found a few fun ones to add in.
Guards Tank Battalion (1 point) – this increases my chances of remounting to a 3+. Seemed like a great way to spend a point, especially since I need all the vehicles moving or firing.
Desperate Heroism (1 point) – I really don’t have a plan for this. I figured it was 1 point and it might be situationally useful to be able to guarantee that I passed a Follow Me Movement Order.
Ram Attack (2 points) – Once again, I don’t have a plan in mind here as the chances of pulling off a successful ram attack vs a Tiger is pretty darn low
T-34 Passing a Skill Test
Tiger Failing to Avoid
Chance of Winning the Dice Off*
Kill Chance (failure means a Bail Out)
*to win the Dice off I need to roll a 5 or 6 and the Tiger needs to roll a 1 (or a 2, if I roll a 6)
However, an almost 1% chance of killing or bailing a Tiger in the front is significantly more likely than the 0% chance of killing (or bailing) it through the front with the T-34’s 76mm gun. Seemed like an implausible but amusing way to spend 2 points.
The real question is, how am I going to use the army to beat Casey? I know he is bringing Tigers and Panzer III escort tanks so that means I’ll have a couple of different types of targets to destroy. Luckily for me the disparity in their armour means whilst I am closing to flank (and kill) the Tigers, I can shoot up the Panzer III tanks.
I suspect the match up will come down to terrain as much as anything else because Casey will be using it to protect the flanks of his Tigers, whilst trying to stop me from advancing up behind it and avoiding his fire.