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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dust Warfare: Unit Review - SSU IS-48 Super-Heavy Tank

Welcome again to a new Dust Warfare: Unit Review.  Today I will be sharing with you the SSU IS-48 super-heavy tank (one of 2 super-heavy tank chassis available to the SSU).  The SSU is the first army to have a tracked tank introduced, but it is likely others will be introduced for the other armies in the future (Tiger 2s were mentioned in the background in in the Operation Hades campaign book).  Like all walkers and vehicles in Dust Warfare, the SSU IS-48 has more then one armament setups you can chose from.

You can either take the "Karl Marx" (pictured above), which is a nightmare for enemy infantry with it's Heavy Tesla Gun and multiple machine guns...

Or the "Lavrentiy Beria" (pictured above), which sports a 152mm ML205 anti-tank gun for taking out enemy walkers, two machine guns, and a front mounted APO-45 flame thrower for dealing with enemy infantry that gets to close.

Composition: The IS-48 tanks can be taken as a support choice for a SSU Defensive Platoon, or as a third section choice by a SSU Red Platoon.  Each tank variant excels in one combat role.  The "Karl Marx" is the most expensive model currently available to the SSU army.  The reason for this is that it is armed with the most advanced and deadly anti-infantry weapon currently in the SSU arsenal, the Heavy Tesla cannon. The Heavy Tesla cannon is a long ranged weapon that allows you to attack two units within six inches of each other simultaneously. When attacking the Heavy Tesla cannon rolls 2 attack dice for each model in the target unit and only one of the two units targeted needs to be in range in order to make the attacks.  Add on it's two turret machine guns and additional front mounted machine gun, and you have a nasty anti infantry weapon.

The "Lavrentiy Beria" on the other hand is a slightly cheaper long range anti tank choice. It features one of longest ranged weapons in the game, the 152mm ML205 anti-tank gun, but really shines while it is with in 24 inches of it's target.  The ML205 has the Tank Killer special rule, which halves the number of armor save dice an enemy unit can roll against the number of successful hits made against them.  The "Lavrentiy Beria" also rolls more dice against tanks then any other SSU model; except for SSU KV-3 walker which has a pair of 152mm ML205 anti-tank guns.

To defend itself against enemy infantry, the "Lavrentiy Beria" has 2 turret mounted machine guns, and a front mounted APO-45 flame thrower.  Flame throwers in Dust are very powerful weapons because they always allow you to roll 1 attack die per model in the enemy unit and come with the Burst special rules.  When attacking an enemy unit, if at least one weapon has the Burst special rule, then the target unit may not use soft or heavy cover to reduce the number of successes rolled against them, during that attack.

Deployment & Tactics: The IS-48 has multiple tactical options at it's disposal.  My favorite tactic with the IS-48 is as a front line screening option for my units.  The IS -48 excels at this with it 7 armor save dice and 8 wounds. I especially like this tactic when using the  "Lavrentiy Beria", as it allows you to move up closer to take advantage of the Tank Killer special rule, while supported by infantry and other units in your army. The draw back to this tactic is that it is a Tracked vehicle, so requires you to roll 1 die when entering, moving through, or exiting any difficult terrain during each action.  If a success is rolled on the die, the movement immediately ends and the tank may not move again this turn. You also need to be careful when facing Allied armies that include Phaser weapons, as Phaser weapons ignore armor saves.

I have also used the "Lavrentiy Beria" to dominate major fire lanes and to cover the advance of my infantry and walkers. This keeps shorter range enemy walkers from attacking my infantry or else risk exposing themselves to the "Lavrentiy Beria main gun.  This also works very well with the "Karl Marx" but in a slightly different way.  Instead of acting as a deterrent for walkers, it acts as a deterrent again enemy infantry and allows you to suppress multiple enemy units.  This stops them from being able to react when you move your infantry up to engage them.

Both variants of the IS-48 super-heavy tank are some of the most resilient and deadly options available to SSU and well worth the AP.

Jay Powell is a long time Hobbiest, Gamer, and occasional Podcaster that has over 20+ years of experience in the hobby. Jay has worked for Games Workshop and Hobbytown USA in the past, and has run many leagues, campaigns, and tournaments over the years as a Privateer Pressganger, GW Outrider, and game clubs member. Jay was the original co-host of The Gamers Lounge Podcast and has appeared on many podcasts as a guest host from around the world.  You can current find Jay, when not writing new articles for the WWPD Network, playing games at Huzzah Hobbies in Ashburn, VA or on his personal blog 24 Hour Gamer Geek.

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