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Friday, February 3, 2012

List Dissection: Hermann Göring Medium Tanks

INCEPTION
After playing only British for a couple of years, I decided to branch out and build up a German list for Flames of War. I am cheap, so I wanted to assemble an army that could use some of the same models for both Mid War and Late War. After all, the British are my main force and I really didn't want to spend a ton of money or time painting up an army that I could only use occasionally. Thankfully, Joe Krone and Eric Turner pointed me to Grenadiers with Panzer IIIs in support. They both suggested that I check out Dogs and Devils for the Late War List.

It just so happened that Luke found a great deal on some Panzer IIIMs and picked them up for me. This was great! I could build my cheap Mid War/Late War German list and have something to allow Blue on Red play with Steven and Luke. Little did I know that a beast was unleashed! I loved the Panzer IIIM and got enough to make a Panzerkompanie and I have not looked back since!

The Panzer IIIM is an amazing tank in Late War. It features low cost, Sherman-like armor and still gets to take advantage of all the German special rules. The ROF 3 AT9 FP4+ gun is also quite good. Against most tanks, it is sufficient and also allows the gun to be used to dig out infantry. The HG lists get the additional benefit of re-rolling Platoon and Company Morale Checks, which is perfect for the relatively fragile Panzer III in Late War. I decided early on to build this list around the Panzer IIIM.

So, with 1750 being our standard, I proceeded to come up with the following list...

CONSTRUCTION
(all points values from Dogs and Devils)
1750 remaining: Let's jump right in with the 2 Panzer IIIMs in the HQ!  The 2 HQ PZIIIs are 150.  There is nothing really special in the HQ, though I would like to get the recovery vehicle -- no wide tracks on the PzIII. I have my eye on some Air, so let's leave that off for now -- points will be tight!

1600 remaining: On to the mandatory combat platoons.  Let's grab two 4-tank platoons to give us 10 total Panzer IIIMs. At 310 each, these will need to give us good performance. I will need to have some punch for those pesky US Shermans, so I think 2 platoons of the cheap stuff is pretty good. I am not a fan of the particular downgrades (PzIIIN - ROF 2) or the upgrades (1/2 to PzIVs) available -- If we are running PzIIIs, let's run some PZ IIIs!

980 remaining: It is now time to start adding the punch to the list. The ROF3, AT9, FP4+ gun on the PzIIIMs will make good work of Stuarts, Halftracks and dug-in infantry. To handle the Shermans, I think I will need to take some StuGs. So, let's drop in a StuG G platoon of 4. This should allow me to duke it out with the Shermans I am likely to see.


590 remaining: Now we sit at 3 platoons. We need to get 3 more platoons AND add air. I am not feeling like we will be getting back to that recovery vehicle. So, looking around for a cheap platoon, I see the Tiger. This thing really is nice in Late War facing Allies(EDIT: As in, NOT Soviets). The high armor all around, the great gun and the Tiger Ace skills make it a very good buy at 215. Now, this is Allied, so we do not get the re-roll for platoon Morale, but it is just 1 tank, so it is either dead or it isn't -- no problem! I add the Big Cat (Schroedinger's Cat?) in and move on to some other needs.

375 remaining:  I am now at 15 Confident Veteran Tanks with Stormtrooper. This feels pretty darn good, so it is time to move on to Support options. I will want to protect my troops from Allied Ambushes, so let's add in a cheap Recce platoon. I go for the Light Patrol with the Sdkfz 222s and a 223. These guys will get the all important Recce Move; lift Gone-to-Ground; protect me from Ambushes -- especially the PzIIIMs; they have a gun that can shoot up Armored Rifle halftracks -- and all for 120 points. What's not to love? ... well, they are wheeled.  However, in Version 3 they get improved off road performance!


255 remaining:  There is nothing like some smoke -- particularly to protect the Panzer IIIMs from M10s and Shermans who can tear them up. Let's add the picture of efficiency, the Neblewerfers. Looking ahead, I think I am going to be able to afford these and give them a PAK38 for 30 points -- this is a good option with Armored Rilfes halftracks and Stuarts around to harass the Nebs.

105 remaining:  Lastly, let's add in some Air to knock out those Allied AOPs and to give us a little more punch if we need it. We'll take Sporadic Bf 109E or FW 190F -- this gives us the Bombs option, but also the easier-to-hit cannon for hitting Infantry and light armored vehicles. We hit 1750 exactly at 6 platoons with Air!


EXECUTION
This list has got to be very aggressive. With 15 tanks, make sure you give your opponent plenty to shoot at. You want to concentrate your tanks together and use them as an integrated attack force. I have found that on turn 2 or 3 you end up with quite a gun-line shooting the enemy to bits. Use the Recce to keep Ambush troops away and to lift Gone to Ground on enemy Infantry. Having your troops together will also help protect them from being assaulted by huge blobs of stuff with PIATS and Bazookas -- with this list, YOU must choose when to launch the assault to finish off the enemy.

Make sure to use the Nebelwerfers effectively -- pin things that need to be pinned (Armored Rifles that need to be assaulted!) and smoke the things that need to be smoked (M10s and Sherman 76s!). Your air will keep the enemy spread out, so you will likely need to use smoke wisely.

Armor will have to be engaged with the Tiger and the StuGs, for the Panzer IIIMs are really for killing Infantry and light armored vehicles. If you must use the PzIIIMs vs. tanks, be very aggressive with them. Get their attention with the StuGs and Tiger and race the PzIIIMs forward. Make your opponent choose to give either the PzIIIs or the Tiger/StuGs the side shots. You need to use Stormtrooper to get behind most tanks (read: Shermans) to have a good chance to kill them.

Make sure to check out our HG vs 3rd ID to see this army in action!

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