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Monday, January 16, 2012

List Dissection: US 3rd Armored Division Tanks

As part of a new series of articles, I've decided I would try my hand at explaining my own personal process for making an army list.  I intend to start with a focus on lists I've either done well with or won with in a tournament. The format may change over time, but for now I envision 3 major sections: 1) INCEPTION (BRREEEOOOWWW)- whereby I will talk about the over all attractive qualities about the list and what drew me to it.  2) CONSTRUCTION: Here I will build a list.  I will talk about why I chose what I chose.  3) EXECUTION: Here is where I will reflect on the choices made, how things performed, and how I would change the list in the future.

I like US armor.  I've often heard US armor described as a "knife fighting" list and this appeals to me greatly.  There's a few things I love in Flames of War: mobility, aggression, quantity.  The US list gets me all of those things, and probably does all 3 better than any other list in the game except maybe the BAR in Early War.  Plus, it's full of Detroit's Finest!

So with all that being said, I knew I wanted to do 3rd Armored.  I prefer trained for allied armor as I want quantity, not quality.  Especially with how I play US armor- in your face as fast as possible.  I want to have more for you to choose to shoot at, and I want my return fire to be torrential.  So, with those things in mind, let's take a crack at building the list!  For this, I will build to a typical late war points value of 1750.
76s and flanking Shermans make quick work of stugs

(all points values from Turning Tide)
1750 remaining: No better place to start than the HQ!  The 2 HQ Shermans are 140.  I love recovery vehicles and take them every chance I get.  It can make a huge difference when forced to cross a linear obstacle or push through some woods.  Let's go with the M32 so we get the .50 cal.  That costs us another 15.

1595 remaining: Now we need to build out our combat platoons.  I tend to max out on combat platoons in any list I run.  That's an easy proposition with Shermans since they're so cheap.  I also prefer to run my tank platoons in 4s.  So let's go with 2 platoons of 4 Shermans, and 1 platoon of 4 76s.  This is the real backbone of our list.

690 remaining: Now we're at 3 platoons.  It's always worth it trying to get to an even number of platoons, and looking at our remaining points it's clear that 6 is going to be our target.  So first thing's first: We want some Armored Rifles!  They're damn reliable thanks to their large size, and ample integral AT.  Equally at home holding an objective, assaulting a position, or just keeping pace with our tanks to consolidate our gains. So let's go with a full strength ARP for 225.

465 remaining: Wow, we still have a lot of points left to get 2 platoons!  Next up, I consider Smoke an absolute necessity with this list.  At this point, I would ordinarily consider mortars, but thanks to the slight point breaks in Turning Tide, we can probably afford to get a 3 gun priest battery and an AOP.  That gives us a bit more flexibility with our artillery support.

250 remaining:  This is what I love about trained US armor.  We now have a very robust force and we still have 250 points left!  You know what it's time for?  Stuarts!  5 Stuarts are 235.  That leaves us 15 points, so let's just give our Stuarts and 2 Sherman platoons some hedgerow cutters just in case we get stuck in some bocage.

Army List Courtesy of
Variants: While I like this core list a lot, there are a few tweaks we can enact.  We could drop the AOP and Priests to buy ourselves quite a few points.  With that we could buy a 5th 76mm and even upgrade it to Poole.  We could also cut the Stuarts and AOP to get some Tank Destroyers if you're worried about facing a lot of tanks.
An earlier version of the list- pre price breaks from Turning Tide
This list is all about aggression!  Go Go Go!  Use the Spearhead wisely.  In mobile battles, your Stuarts can get a turn 1 assault in if your opponent doesn't deploy very carefully.  When it comes time to Spearhead, Stuarts and Armored rifles are my top priority.  Armored Rifles can spearhead while mounted. allowing them to go in ahead of the tanks and secure certain terrain.  Stuarts are a bit crazier to send in, but can put your opponent immediately on his back foot if you get a quick assault off.

I've been very successful with these guys.  The trick really is to just give your opponent so many targets that they freeze up.  You can be in their deployment zone on turn 2, and with well placed smoke, return fire can be mitigated fairly easily.  Enemy armor can be an issue if you allow it to be.  Remember- you're the attacker!  In a lot of cases that means you've got more on the board.  Swarm and focus fire.  Use those stabilizers!  Against stubborn infantry and guns, smoke, pin, and let your armored blitzdoughs do the dirty work!

edit: To Stabilize or not?  ALWAYS!  I almost always use Stabilizers.  1 shot at 5+ or 2 shots at 6 are very comparable, percentage wise.  But with 2 at six you have that chance of rolling boxcars and getting 2 hits!

Make sure to check out our Battle Reports to see the 3rd AD in action!

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