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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

List Dissection: Panzer Lehr Panzergrenadiers

Before the price break, I never considered armored Panzergrenadiers all that great.  7 Stands, expensive, and mechanized?  That means you have to try to attack infantry forces with small units.  It also means your MG teams are next to useless on the attack!  But then, in their wisdom, Battlefront reduced the price of MG teams, making their inclusion a possibility.  That, combined with Panzer Lehr's large platoons and integral AT, meant that this list immediately spoke to me.

With expensive combat platoons, I've decided to only go with 2 core combat platoons to be the brunt of my fighting strength.  That's 22 (including the HQ + 2iC) CV teams bristling with MG and AT fire, excellent assault capabilities, and 10 halftracks for mobility/Machine gunnery.  I'll take it!

I give my 2iC a panzerfaust (I decide to save the 10 points from my CO.. for now) and 2 full combat units with a panzerfaust upgrade.  That's 75+290+290 = 655.

Here- I chose to Panther.
1095 Remaining.
In my mind, the next big question is "To Panther?  Or Not to Panther".  I rarely take those big cats.  I'm a knife fighter by nature- I'd rather be in your deployment zone making you sweat than worrying about protecting my weak side armor.  So, for this build, I am going to leave the Panthers at home.  I know this is a big decision point, and I may have lost many of you.  Suffice it to say, I think Panthers are an okay option for Lehr, but I'm a Panzer IV Man.

In fact, I love Panzer IVs so much, I'm going to go with 8 of the beasts in 2 platoons of 4.  Let me say this, however.  If I knew I was going to an open late war tournament where I may run into lots of KV-85s, IS-2s, heavy assault guns or the like, I would probably think long and hard about those Panthers.  But, as I am a huge proponent of themed tournaments, for the rest of this write up I am going to assume that we're facing Western allies.

335 Remaining.
Alright so we're at 4 platoons, and getting into slim pickings now.  At this point, knowing we may have to attack dug in infantry, I'm going to opt for some recon.  3 Pumas, you say?  Absolutely.  Those things are reliably awesome, and cheap to boot.  With a decent gun if they get into a scrape, good mobility, and killer looks I just can't pass them up.  That leaves us with 185.  My first reaction is to grab some Panzerwerfers, but looking back over the list I notice that not a single platoon of ours is "immobile".  If we're forced to defend in Breakthrough or Breakout, we're going to have to leave a lot of stuff off the table.

So, I opt for the cheaper Nebelwerfer option (3 15cm tubes), and beef up my HQ a bit more by adding in the CO panzerfaust, and a tank hunter section with 2 panzerschreck teams.

That brings us to 1745.  We have 6 tank hunter teams, 2 panzerschreck teams, 4 panzerfausts, 11 half tracks, 8 Panzer IVs, nebelwerfers, and Pumas.  Bring it on!

You have to love Easy Army.  Seriously, you have to.

Those big infantry platoons have some real staying power!
I have never played this exact list in a tournament, but I've played similar builds.  In general, an enemy armored company doesn't scare me all that much.  We have enough integral AT with big platoons to hold the line until we can form a nice counter punch.  In No Retreat I'd probably start with both Lehr platoons on the board with Panzer IVs in ambush.  In a mobile battle vs infantry I've had great success driving boldly forward in the halftracks, overwhelming my opponents.  2 big infantry platoons + 8 Panzer IVs + Pumas is a lot to throw at someone, and it's easy to overload them with targets.  Lay down some smoke with werfers to cover you're advance, and now you're really cooking!

I usually keep my halftracks around for a long time (and come V3- I'll keep them even longer!), as the ability to summon 11 halftracks worth of MG fire is enough to discourage infantry units from making counter attacks- or really from doing anything at all besides hiding in their foxholes.  Keep them in concealment, and enemy tanks will rarely go after them- especially if it means ignoring those Panzer IVs (German Sherman baby!)  Don't be afraid to stay in your halftracks!  That extra movement and mobility is huge- you'd be surprised at how survivable they can be when you have other things (like 8 panzer IVs) backing them up!  Being impervious to small arms fire is a big deal for infantry platoons.

I've included SS Tigers and 3 Panzer Lehr Panzergrenadier platoons in variant lists- I was happy with the list in both cases.  SS Tigers add some back bone over a 2nd platoon of Panzer IVs.  The 3rd infantry platoon has been slightly less impressive, since it comes at the cost of some much needed support options.

So, in closing- Lehr is a really great and flexible list that really plays more like US Armored Rifles than any other German list.  It's aggressive, capable, and highly mobile.  Again, all things that appeal to me.

Make sure to check out some Panzer Lehr Battle Reports!

How have you guys run Panzer Lehr?  What has worked for you?  To Panther or not to Panther?

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