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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!


Vertrucio said...

Should also mention that the Stabilizers ability, in most cases, results in the same chance to hit an enemy, but with the rare chance of getting more hits than 1. So you should be almost always using it.

Neal Smith said...

Love the format!

indierockclimber said...

Thanks Ven- edited that in!

Chris said...

I look forward to seeing more in this series

SinSynn said...

I play against this all the time...
I hate it.

So that must mean it's good.

jmezz382 said...

2 thumbs up from the NOOB, love it friend.

WEBGriffin said...

Now for the $64,000 question - what does the list look like at 1,575??

indierockclimber said...

Drop the priests, drop the AOP, replace with an armored mortar battery. Might need to trim some of the other fat like the hedge cutters as well- but that's ballpark!

indierockclimber said...

Might need to nix a Stuart as well. I'll play with Easy Army later :)

WEBGriffin said...

I have a build at 1575 that keeps the AOP, but drops all arty except 2 armored mortars. The AOP used as ambush prevention is a good tactic. What about a small recon patrol? With V3 guns getting infantry saves if GtG, recon might be a necessity.

WEBGriffin said...

Should have included my list:

HQ - 2 Shermans
#1 - 5 76mm, with Pool
#2 - 5 75mm Shermans
#3 - Armored mortars - 2 tubes
#4 - 4 Stuarts
#5 - Recon Platoon w/ bazooka
#6 - ARP (full)

1,575 on the nose.

Max M. said...

+10 on the format.

Nice paint job on the minis bro. Let me guess, I-95 (E.L.) buildings?

nathanfagan said...

Really like your analysis of this, looking forward to maybe some Axis orientated ones.

indierockclimber said...

Was thinking of doing Panzer Lehr next. That work for you?

Chevalier de la Terre said...

Excellent article Steven, very cool force and yours looks great!

Loving the podcast and WWPD in general: keep it up guys!


indierockclimber said...

Thank you sir! Your painted minis continue to inspire me- you're among the very best!

Tyler said...

Awesome. Panzer Lehr would be excellent as well.

Uriah said...

Nicely done. This will be a neat direction for the blog/podcast to take.

Vertrucio said...

Weird, doesn't the AOP only work for artillery with a staff team? Or did I just have a brain fart?

Chevalier de la Terre said...

@ Vertrucio: yes, staff team required to spot for an artillery battery, but the US AOP also has the "Column Security" rule, i.e. the enemy cannot deploy ambushes within 8" of the AOP...very useful.


Justin said...

Excellent article, very insightful.

jmilesr said...

Well done article - I look forward to the Panzer Lehr version as I have that formation also

Very good work here!

Eric said...

I heard a rumor they nerfed the AOP in V3 to only spot 16". Flak bait. True or False???

Uriah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
indierockclimber said...

Uriah- are you using Internet Explorer? I am working on our cross-browser functionality. Looks like IE has had some issues in various versions.

As an Apple fanboy, I know there's a Microsoft joke in here somewhere...

Uriah said...

Yep, using IE at work.

Private Snafu said...

New V3 list 3rd armor trained, I'll call it my Super Fast Wednesday night FLGS casual matchup list.

HQ + dozer + 105 + M31 TRV $275
5 76mm $445
4 75mm $275
5 Stuarts $235
Full TD's $320

Total $1500

Baraccas said...

Sooooooooo, any changes you would make to it now that V3 is out?

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