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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Building the Goums

My Goumiers from a previous AAR.

For Ron’s latest Fort Lee tournament, I’m bringing my Goumiers. It’s a doubles tourney, pairing two 1000 point forces. The theme is Cassino and the race for Rome. I’m writing this post before the tourney, as I plan and assemble my list. After the tourney I’ll tell you how they performed.  Editor's note: The tournament was yesterday, so hopefully Tom can get us a quick follow up!

Goumiers have a lot of character. French Morroccan tribal auxiliaries, they fought tenaciously (perhaps viciously would be a better word) in the mountains around Cassino. Despite their important role in battle, they are perhaps unjustly most famous for raping Italian civilians after the breakthrough. (Sofia Loren made a movie about it.) More recently, some of them appeared in the French war movie, Indigines. A few years ago, I made some figures to go with the old FEC PDF, basing them on Resistant Roosters US greatcoats and using some putty and head swaps for extra character. When the Cassino book was released, with its new Nissei/Goum briefing, I decided to dust them off.

The Goums were a light infantry force, and were last in line for equipment, so they don’t make a very good all-around tournament army -- too little anti-tank. But this is an Italy-themed tournament, and focused more on flavor than power-gaming. If it’s like the previous years, then there will be lots of terrain, some weird Ron rules, and lots of punishing terrain. How could I not run the Goums?

My partner, Roger, is running American Rifles. I know he will be bringing mortars and artillery in his list. So I knew I needed to use my points to make a strong core force and to provide some anti-tank assets.

First off, I decided to take two full platoons of F/T Goumiers. I would take three, if I had the points, but this is a 1,000 point force. I almost always try to maximize my army’s Combat platoons. After all, they are the reason I picked the army. If you’re in love with the tank support, take a damn Tank Company. I also like big platoons, and Goumiers are pretty beefy, since
they are organized like Yanks, with 10 stands. Unlike Yanks, though, they cannot take bazookas.

Ordinarily, I’d prefer regular US Italy Rifles, at Confident Veteran, to anything that’s Fearless Trained, especially in an infantry fight where defensive fire and pinning are so critical, but what the hey, it takes a real man to kill you in WWII with a knife while wearing a stripy bathrobe.

The Goums have some special Rules: Assault Troops, which lets them re-roll from being pinned; Colonial Troops, which lets them hit in assault on a 3+, Mountaineers, and Cautious Movement. They lack some American special rules, though; most importantly, they lack Automatic Rifles. So they will be well-motivated and good at sneaking around and assaulting. If they charge across the open and charge, though, they will still only be Trained.

Next, I knew I needed some anti-tank assets. Roger isn’t bringing any, I know, and my guys have no Bazookas, even. I decided to buy four Tank Destroyers. I preferred them to the possible Shermans or Stuarts, for a couple of reasons. If the tourney is as terrain-heavy as I expect, I will have plenty of cover, and armor will be restricted in movement. If I must make a stand-off fight against German panzers, then I would like the AT 12 gun more than the armor. At C/V, the Destroyers should hold out for a few turns at long range. Plus, if there’s going to be a lot of terrain, the carbine teams can move about dismounted and poof into vehicles at the best possible moment.

On the other hand, I will not have full tanks to lead an assault or to counter-attack with their vehicle MGs. I’ll just have to hope this won’t matter. I console myself that the advantages of a real tank will probably be negated anyway. Speed, closed top, and vehicle MGs don’t do you much good if you get hung up on a pile of rubble.

I am a badass in pajamas and will kill you with my knife.
At this point, I have enough points left for one more platoon. I figure it should be the Goum Weapons Platoon, which they get this instead of a regular HMG platoon. It has two HMGS, two LMGS and a light mortar. (I breifly considered mortars instead, but I know Roger is bringing them.) They must Combat attach these weapons. I guess it’s supposed to reflect the limited hodge-podge of weapons the Goums were able to scrape up. I’ve fought a fair number of infantry games recently, and I have come to the conclusion that MGs are indespensible in Infantry vs Infantry battles. The extra dice they can throw, even when pinned, are necessary to stop assaults by German veterans. The Goum’s basic Rifles sure aren’t going to do it. I will probably attach them all to one platoon and maneuver with the other.

So, that is my force. Two combat platoons, some attached MGs, and the Tank Destroyers. It’s only three platoons, which I can only hope will not bite me in defensive scenarios. (Only one platoon on the board!) On the advance, I intend to use the platoon with the MGs to cover the one without, and use Cautious movmeent on the approach, hopefully covered by Roger’s arty and mortars and supported by his Veteran Rifles. On the defense, I will place the big reinforced platoon, and use the smaller one for counter-attacks. The Tank Destroyers will try to reveal their ambush at range and under cover and snipe at any German vehicles. Roger’s platoons will hopefully have Bazookas to screen us from a tank assault. If not, my Goums will just have to jump up and down on tanks, not die, and hope they roll a 1.

Editor's Note: We're glad to welcome Tom to the WWPD team.  He (specifically his infamous crotch shots) and his forces have graced the pages of WWPD battle reports for a very long time!  Tom is an accomplished author having numerous gaming supplements posted in White Wolf's World of Darkness World, as well as several additions to the vast Call of Cthulhu RPG System.  We're glad to have Tom aboard!  -Steven

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