BristolScale7's ETC Army Showcase

The European Team Championship is just two weeks away and Team Ireland Flames of War is putting the finishing preparations on immunizations, liver function tests, and painting and modeling.

 The list I'm bringing to the ETC is a Peredovoye Otryad ("Forward Detachment").

It's a mechanized force with the "always attacks" directive.  This means it attacks armored companies which lack the same directive in addition to attacking mechanized and infantry companies.   Armored lists are not the best on defense so my list has the potential to throw them off their game plan.  The list defends against armored companies with "always attacks" and I'll roll-off against another mechanized "always attacks."  I did well with a version of this list in May at a single day tournament in Birmingham.  The pairing system for Flames of War makes it damn near impossible to guarantee an ideal match-up so most lists are well rounded.  Mine is capable of aggresive attacking and should be able to defend well against an armored force.

My army is painted and ready to go.  I wanted to try to recreate the look of rasputitsa--"the time without roads."  Every year the spring thaw and rains turn unpaved roads into quagmires.  It's been a notorious feature of warfare in Russia since Napoleon's invasion.

Below is the command group of the list.  The Commander-in-Chief has a T-34/85.  The 2iC is relagated to a lend-lease jeep, as is the battalion kommissar.

Eight T-34/85s form the core of the list. These are very good tanks which are handi-capped by the Soviet "Hen and Chicks" special rule.  This requires all tanks to either move or remain stationary.  If the tanks move they add +1 to-hit in addition to dropping from 2 to 1 shot each.  If you can get them into position and let them blaze away they mete out serious pain.

I'm happy with the way this unit turned out, but some of the decals need to be replaced.  

Below are the elite spetsnatz.  They are both an infiltration and a reconnaissance unit.  As you can see, they drive around in captured German half-tracks.  Crucially, if I'm the attacker and "prepared positions" is in the mission the spetsnatz give the unit of T34/85s a 16" infiltration move before the game starts.  As a recon unit they also protect against enemy ambushes and can reveal cowering troops to the rest of my force.

The list is mechanized and this is because one of the core choices must be an infantry platoon.  I've got a small (by Soviet standards) squad of tank riders armed with SMGs and two heavy machineguns.  In defense they'll dig in and try to hold ground.  On the attack they'll hitch a ride on tanks.  Alternatively, the spetsnatz can infiltrate these guys 16" rather than the T-34/85s.  This could be a good option if I'm attacking into the teeth of ambushing tank killers.

Here we have a unit of lend-lease ZSU-M17 anti-aircraft half-tracks.  These are great models from Battlefront and I'm very happy with their look.  Each vehicle has a quad .50 mount.  This makes them great at taking out enemy planes but they also shred infantry and lightly armored targets.  Air power is improved in V3 and we were all wondering how many lists would bring air.   Now that the lists are published it seems that each team has one or two lists with air power. 

Because I may be attacking infantry lists I need some punch to deal with soft targets.  These SU-122s are one of the most optimal units in Red Bear, the late-war Soviet compendium.  Although they also suffer from the "Hen and Chicks" rule they have two potent characteristics.  First, they can use the Soviet "volley fire" special rule.  If the SU-122s remain stationary this rule allows them to re-roll to hit against any target within 16".  Each SU-122 gets two shots so this is very nice indeed.  Second, the guns are obr.1938 122mm howitzers.  These are classified as breaktrhough guns which means that unarmored targets receive no saving throw.  I'm a  big fan of this unit, and evidently Team England is as well because one of their lists has sixteen SU-122s!

Finally we come to the heavies: three IS-2s.  Some will say that these are not optimal, that they have a low rate of fire and are too slow.  The points would be better spent on more T-34s they would argue.  Perhaps, but I have a sentimental attachment to these guys.  The key is avoiding nasty German tanks (Panthers, King Tigers) and tank-killers (Jagdpanthers, Hornisses).  The ETC allows "Blue-on-Blue" games which means there is a chance I'll play against allied lists.  The British, Canadians, and Americans struggle mightly with IS-2s.  If they do make it to the enemy lines they can be devastating in assaults.

Thus concludes the overview of my mechanized list.  It has six platoons, three of which are fully armored. In missions with reserves where I'm defending I'll be able to start with my IS-2s, T-34/85s, and either the tank riders, spetsnatz, or ZSU-M17s on the table.  The models turned out well.  There's no best painted prize in their future but I've taken a workman-like approach to them and they look good on the table.

Stay tuned for a review of another Team Ireland Flames of War list next week.

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