Planning an Iranian Army

– with Chris Potter, BF UK Office

Chieftains and T-62s and T-55 with Scorpions and M109 artillery? In a legal force?

Yes please.

And that was the thought process when I looked through Oil War: World War III in the Middle East. Freddie called Israelis and Gareth wanted to build an Iraqi army. That left me with the choice of Syrians, Iranians, or a Soviet T-62M force in conjunction with Red Banner. After reading through the background for the Iranians, specifically that they were sponsored by NATO prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, and then had access to Soviet armour and weapons thereafter, the thought process for a combined arms list that had a bit of everything that Team Yankee offers, took shape.

As I preach to anyone who will listen, success is down to Proper Preparation. Although not grammatically correct, the point is still valid. I sat down and thrashed out a list that had a bit of everything. This original list took me to over 200 points. Probably a few too many to build in a week and then paint in a month…

So I trimmed the core formations and reduced the support choices and managed to drop the list to 109 points.

The list below is probably my final choices… though as ever our first few test games with our forces normally tell us what does and doesn’t work.

Unit Points Running Total
Chieftain Tank Company –

HQ Section x2 Chieftains

X3 Platoons with x3 Chieftains

Mech Group M113s

41 41
T-62 Tank Company –

HQ Section with x2 T-62

X2 Platoons with x3 T-62

X1 Platoon with x3 T-55

Mech Group BMP-1s

19 60
M60 Tank Company –

HQ Section with x2 M60

X3 Platoons with x3 M60

20 80
Scorpion Recce Troop x4 4 84
M109 Battery x6 10 94
M113 OP Observer 1 95
Z SU-23-4 AA Battery x4 4 99
Jeep TOW AT Group x4 4 103
Hail Rocket Battery x6 6 109

Andrew’s Speedy Assaulters

with Andrew Haught

With another launch event I once again get a chance to dust off one of my old favourite armies and give it a bit of TLC and V4 update. This time I am going to dive into my old Rota Razvedki reconnaissance company.  I originally built the list for V3 Late War using the Red Bear book.  With their inclusion in the Red Banner book, I feel that I need to re-tweak the army so that I could run it in both Late and Mid War.

The Images in this article are in progress shots of my old list, I did the math and I think I painted this army originally seven years ago. I am planning to do some plastic updates to my army, over the release I will work on the ZIS-3 guns. After the release, I have further plans. First I am going to update the SU-85s to plastic and then I am going to rebase the infantry as some of the old basing has started to separate from the base.

Full warning: I love Universal Carriers, and will use any excuse to put them on the table. There is just something about their design that clicks with me. Thanks to the Red Banner Command Cards I get to use Carriers in my army, and I am going to get as many as I can.

It’s All About That Speed
When I am running an aggressive list the first thing I think about how long it’s going to take to get my troops to the objective, and how many turns will my opponent get to shot my troops along the way. One of the features of the Reconnaissance Company is that their combat platoons all have Spearhead. This rule is massive, getting a free move before the game means that I can get a full turns worth of movement without risking any enemy fire.    

Deadly Assaulters
Now speed is worth nothing unless you have some sort of payoff. The Infantry units in the Reconnaissance platoons have a massive 2+ to hit in assaults, meaning that if they can get into an assault they will kill almost anything in their way. The formation does have a weakness you need to be prepared for—they are really small—so you do not have the ability to take on heavy losses. So getting the extra movement form Spearhead is critical to your aggressive strategy.

To make my troops more of a threat I added two Command Cards to my Company Commander, the first one, Tenacity gives my HQ and any platoon he is attached to counterassault 2+. The second card I added was Ferocious Valour, this card allows my Company Command team to roll two dice in assaults. These two cards make it worth it to risk my Company Commander in assaults, and on top of that the HQ will add two more deadly assaulters to my assaults.

Universal Carriers Are Just Too Cool Looking
Like I stated above I love Universal Carriers, but apart from looks there is a good reason to run these awesome transports in your list. When using the US or German halftracks you have two stands of infantry in each transports, so each time one is destroyed you may lose 1/3 of your platoon. If you take the extra Carriers when you lose one transport you are only risking one stand of infantry, only 1/6 of you platoon. Also they just look cooler, so yeah why wouldn’t you use them?

Support
My troops are good at one thing: assaulting and shooting infantry. This leaves a big gap in the form of Anti-Tank (AT), so I really need to add some AT assets. I could also use an artillery battery to help get my assaults to go in. Luckily, the Soviets have a unit that can multitask as artillery and anti-tank: the 76mm Artillery Battery. The flexibility of the 76mm Artillery Battery makes it ideal for my list. But I don’t think  that will be enough AT, I think I want to add some mobile AT. First off I want to add the cheap and efficient SU-76s to my list, they have a great gun and are cheap enough to allow me to take the more expensive SU-85 option as well. SU-85s are a bit pricey but worth their points, they have a higher to hit stat as well as a massive Anti-Tank 12 gun, giving me the ability to threaten both Tigers and Panthers.

Andrew’s Speedy Assaulters
3 pts Reconnaissance Company HQ
1pt Tenacity Command Card
-Ferocious Valour (3 Point)

Armoured Reconnaissance Platoon(9 points)
– Universal Carriers 6x Universal Carriers (3 points)

Armoured Reconnaissance Platoon (9 points)
– Universal Carriers 6x Universal Carriers (3 points)

Armoured Reconnaissance Platoon (9 points)
– Universal Carriers 6x Universal Carriers (3 points)

Support
76mm Artillery Battery (8 points)
-4x 76mm guns

SU-76 Light SP Battery (13 points)
-4x SU-76

SU-85 Tank-Killer Battery (36 points)
-3x SU-85

Tactics
This is not an army that wants to sit back and defend objectives, it’s all about forward movement, a win fast or die fast kinda army. I plan on always choosing Maneuver or Attack when using More Missions to make sure I am never fully on the defence.

In games I plan to blitz my infantry towards the objectives, while having my SU tanks provide covering fire. The 76mm Artillery Battery role will be determined by my opponents forces, if they have a lot of infantry and gun teams I will be bombarding them as much as possible, if they have a massive tank army then I will use my spearhead to get them into a good position and use them to help thin out the opposing tanks.

Final Thoughts
I love the new life that V4 is giving my old armies, with the V4 formations I feel like I have more freedom to create the exact army I want. I am a really big fan of Build Command Cards, they let me as a designer add more interesting options that did not fit in the book while at the same time I get all the weird and wonderful things that I want. It’s a simple card pack but it adds so much to the game.

What eastern front armies interest you? How would you build a Soviet Reconnaissance Company? Why not tell us and join in the global discussions on our Facebook Flames of War group.

~Andrew

Gareth’s Ghost Panzers

with Gareth Richards

With the release of the upcoming books Ghost Panzers and Red Banner myself and Chris sat down and planned our next armies. Chris being the resident Soviet player grabbed the Red Banner book, meaning that I would be taking a German list: the first in a long time.

Taking the book over the weekend and having a read through (and also watching the great series on tanks on Netflix) my choices were narrowed down to a couple of the lists. As much as I loved the idea of a small but hard hitting Tiger or Panther force, I wanted a few more models on the table. So I jumped at the Mixed Panzer Company.

Using the upcoming Bӓke’s Fire Brigade as the core of my force my list was starting to take shape. I knew I wanted a couple of the big tanks—Panthers and one of my favourite tanks of the war, the mighty Ferdinand. So with a mix of Panzer III’s and IVs I feel that I have a good basic core to my force. Looking to the future I am planning on  Armoured Panzergrenadier Company.

Mixed Panzer Company
HQ
21 pts 1x Panzer IV, 1x Panzer III

Troops
27pts Panzer IV Platoon, 2 x Panzer IV 
25pts Panzer III Platoon, 3 x Panzer III
36 pts Panther Tank Platoon, 2x Panther 

Support
17pts Ferdinand Tank-Hunter Platoon, 1x Ferdinand 

Total 126 points

Chris’ Red Banner List

with Chris Potter

You may have seen some of my articles on the last live launch about how I chose my army for Enemy at the Gates and some of my ‘rationale’ behind why I took what I took.

For those who didn’t it went like this:
I wanted a tank army, but realised that Stalingrad wasn’t the place to deploy hordes of T-34’s. So after painting 100pts of T-34, KV-1 and Valentines, I switched and painted up 100pts of pure infantry (ok with a little support from Valentines and 76mm guns)

For Red Banner, I clearly didn’t learn from my mistakes, and like a kid in a sweet shop, took all over the best looking units and then thought about how well they would work.

Someone likes painting lots of tanks and infantry!

In a brief respite from the madness, some clarity resumed and I decided to use some of my Enemy at the Gates minis that were already painted. At least this meant my painting queue was considerably shorter!

Thankfully with the amount of models I already had completed, for me my list did include things I was really excited about.

I had to take my main formation as T-34’s. I had fallen in love with these plucky little medium tanks – and what better way to honour this love than by upgrading them to Hero status?

Better skill rating (+4 instead of +5) and also a better hit on rating (+3 instead of +2) meant a much hardier and survivable unit.

So I took a T-34 Hero Tank Battalion consisting of:

8pts T-34 Hero Tank Battalion HQ, 1x T-34
24pts T-34 Hero Tank Company, 3x T-34
10pts Valentine Hero Tank Company, x2 Valentine 2pdr & x1 Valentine 6pdr
10pts Valentine Hero Tank Company, x2 Valentine 2pdr & x1 Valentine 6pdr

Total 56pts

This was a great start to the army. Me being me, despite my clarity of the previous day, took the plunge and decided to paint up my new tanks individually, as befits their Hero status. Each T-34 and Valentine would receive distinct details, damage and even specific decals.

The infantry…

I had to take a Storm Group. These were invaluable in my games amongst the ruins of Stalingrad. Their 4+ hit on score meant that they were a lot more survivable than your average Soviet soldier. Combined with the ability to add flamethrowers  and PTRD AT rifle teams for a moderate score meant they became an all round unit, that could assault (Fearless 3+) and hold objectives.

Plus, with them being a compulsory (black box formation) from Enemy at the Gates meant I could take them with my Red Banner force as a support formation. Urrah!

Support:
19pts Storm Group, x7 PPSh teams, x2 Maksim HMG, x1 PTRD AT rifle & x1 50mm mortar
6pts x1 PTRD AT rifle 2pts & x2 Flamethrower (optional).

Total 27pts

At this point I have two solid choices that can, crucially, support each other (and one of them is even fully painted…)

Now to flesh out the remaining 17pts…

Easy!

After looking through the Red Banner book the old me popped up and wouldn’t relent until I took another support – this time artillery. SU-76 at just 10pts for x3 meant I was able to add some direct fire (AT9) and some artillery template that is survivable.

My remaining 7pts were spent on:
IL-2 Shturmovik Company x2 for 7pts

That’s a 100pts dead on.

Now to paint them up and play a game, work out my weaknesses and re-evaluate my choices!

New Mid War Unit Cards

Over the course of Version 4, the Flames of War community has been very enthusiastic about particular units that did not make the cut for the new books. Units with significant fan clubs have found their fans sending us unit cards to allow those units to be fielded in your V4 forces.

During the launch, and in the future, we will share some of these cards with you. The launch day cards will be available on the Flames of War Website next week for download here…

These cards are neither ‘official’ nor ‘unofficial’, but have been researched and tested, so it’s up to you, your opponent, or your TO as to whether or not you can field them.

We know you’ll enjoy seeing some of these old friends on the battlefield again.

Das Reich, Forward

with Casey Davies

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.

T-34 Company HQ card I whipped up for my game against Chris.
and a Captured T-34 card for Das Reich.

Iron Crossover

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.

Victor Consolidates and Paints Panzers

with Victor Pesch

The first Flames Of War models I ever painted were Panzer III’s and Tigers from the 1942 list in Ostfront. They were very much a beginner painters army, so Iron Cross presented the perfect opportunity to revisit Midwar Panzer Grey.

I wanted to pick a composition of tanks that would work for both FOW and TANKS!. I settled on 5x Panzer III’s and 1x Tiger, with the aim to work on some Assault Pioneers at a later date to create a Flames Of War force.

TANKS!
Tiger I (early) – 29 points
Panzer III (long) – 14 points
Panzer III (long) – 14 points
Panzer III (long) – 14 points
Panzer III (long) – 14 points
Panzer III (long) – 14 points
Total – 99 points
(this leaves me with 1 point spare to pick an upgrade later)

Flames Of War
Grenadier Company
HQ – 2 points
Assault Pioneer Platoon – 14 points
Assault Pioneer Platoon – 14 points
Panzer III (uparmoured) Tank Platoon – 40 points
Tiger Heavy Tank Platoon – 29 points Total – 99 points

Time to get to work!

—DAY 1—

Assembly went fairly quickly, and more time was probably spent deciding how much extra stowage to add. In the end I decided to keep it pretty minimal as I already have an Afrika Korps force festooned with stowage. However I did modify some mudguards to be missing to add variety.      After lunch I tested out some colours and decided to start with a fairly dark blue-ash grey, and work it up by adding white. I did about three stages with the airbrush. I purposefully went brighter than I usually would, knowing that it would likely get quite dark again with washes/weathering. This brought me to the end of day one. I was happy to get to this point and pleased with the results so far.

—DAY 2—

The next step was to add some definition to the details. I did this with a dry brush and selective highlight with a pale grey blue.

To start to tone everything down and blend in my highlights, I coated everything with a very thin Panzer grey filter.

To cap off the day I applied some chipping using a fine brush and sponge. I used a red brown to simulate red oxide primer.

I feel like I’ve good headway with these, and can hopefully get them finished in the not too distant future. After painting in the details and decals, all that will be left is some weathering.

Then it’ll be time to plan the Pioneer platoons…~Victor

Tanks at the Door (Part 2)

with Phil Yates

Picking a Force
My basic force will be a 100-point Mixed Tank Battalion:
KV-1 Tank Company – 5x KV-1 tanks (40 points)
T-34 (early) Tank Company – 10x T-34 (early) tanks (52 points)
T-60 Tank Company – 9x T-60 tanks (8 points)
With fifteen 76mm guns, and twenty-four tanks in total, this force has a lot of firepower, as well as a lot of armour. It’s more suited to attacking than defending, appealing to my more aggressive side.

If I have to keep some reserves, they will be the KV-1s. That puts two big units on table at the start of the game, and hopefully, the KVs will arrive where and when they are needed (although historically, their slow speed and tendency to break bridges with their immense bulk made that a dubious proposition!).

This force doesn’t have any HQ, but I’m not too fussed about that. My tanks all have a reasonable Remount rating and a good Last Stand rating, so even if the enemy does smash through my thick armour, my tanks will fight to the end anyway. If I need to launch an assault to clear infantry off an objective, the big KVs are both motivated and equipped (with their turret-rear MGs) for the job.

Going a Bit Lighter
If I feel like something a bit speedier (well not that much speedier, the Valentine’s still pretty slow!), I can also field a T-34 Tank Battalion:
T-34 (early) Tank Battalion HQ – 1x T-34 (early) tank (5 points)
T-34 (early) Tank Company – 10x T-34 (early) tanks (52 points)
Valentine Tank Company – 10x Valentine II tanks (24 points)
T-60 Tank Company – 10x T-60 tanks (9 points)

That’s only 90 points, so there’s room for a bit extra. Some of the things that appeal are:

  • An SMG company – get rid of one T-34 and I get 16 teams of close-combat infantry.
  • A 76mm anti-tank company – four 76mm guns for fire support fit perfectly.
  • A Katyusha rocket battery – the new model is awesome, and a bit of artillery would be good, especially with a Salvo template.
  • A Shturmovik assault company – armoured aircraft dropping anti-tank bomblets, what’s not to like.

I’ll work out which of these (or perhaps go for all of them!) once I’ve finished the tanks.

What I like about this force is that it has a whole 31 tanks, most of them heavily armoured, to simply roll over the enemy. Having faced it in playtesting, it’s a scary lot of tanks to see coming at you. What I need to watch out for though, is a disciplined opponent who avoids letting me pick on part of their force, and focuses their fire on knocking out one of my units with focused fire before moving on to the next. Once I lose the T-34s, things get a lot more tricky as they have all of my big guns.

Preparing For Battle
My progress from concept to the battlefield is still progressing as I write this, but here’s a quick photo survey of my progress so far.

Stay tuned for a complete army photos on the Flames Of War website (once everything is done).

~Phil