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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Army Spotlight: Soviet Forward Detachment

I'm a big fan of the Soviet Forward Detachment in Red Bear.  I always like being the attacker in Flames of War, and I like that this list minimizes the difficulty of getting the most out of your combat platoons.  Plus, the list is so flexible, you can make a boat load of combinations that all play totally differently!

With that in mind, I am going to approach this article a little differently- rather than build one list, I am going to build three and talk about the pros and cons of each.  Because this list is so flexible, this is highly opinion-based!  So sound off in the comments and let us know what Forward Detachment has worked for you, or what you'd like to give a shot!

All images of the army lists are generated from Easy Army.  If you haven't tried it yet- change that RIGHT NOW!  We'll still be here when you get back... in a few hours.


This list is meant to strike hard and fast.  21 tanks with an infiltration-capable recon unit, auto attack.  I've loaded up with 11 T-34/85s to deal with enemy armor, and 10 cheapo T-34s for exploitation/infantry assaults.  This list would be strong in any half-on engagement since the two beefy tank units would allow you to front load 1300 points or so.  Versus enemy armor, all of your eggs are in one basket.  Lose those 11 T-34/85s and you are in for a world of hurt!  The idea is you overwhelm your enemy fast, and push them off an objective early.  Buying tank riders for your standard T-34 company would be a solid buy as well- you'd need to drop all of the cupola upgrades, both HMGs in the motorstrelk, and both Komissars.

This iteration of the list is far more plodding.  This would be more of an ideal choice for assaulting a fortified company.  The assault guns can clear bunkers and buildings, your infantry can clear fortifications and your tanks can breakthrough when the opportunity presents itself!  I ran a very similar list to this in an almost ideal situation.  I had no idea I'd be facing fortifications, but we rolled off and got "The Big Push".  The list performed well.

Where this list lacks in speed compared to the first one, it makes up in firepower.  Decoy Panthers have yet to truly impress me, but their price is right and I've seen them used to great effect.

This is probably my least favorite of the lists, but it is flexible.  As usual, when you make a Jack of all trades list you are a master of none.  This is a bit light on the anti tank, but against an infantry heavy force I think it could really shine.  But it does a good job of illustrating just how drastically you can change the nature of the force.

Emchas- I've been sold on the usefulness of the Emchas 76s recently, and think a Forward Detachment is a great fit for them.  Unfortunately, I don't have any Soviet shermans yet so I can't speak to them personally.  For +5 points/tank to gain protected ammo, you effectively ignore 1/3 of all incoming shots from Panthers and Tigers when you're fearless with re-rolls to remount!  I'll have to give them a shot.

I really like the Forward Detachment for its flexibility.  I've used it quite a bit and plan to revisit it in our Firestorm Campaign game once we fire up Turn 2.

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