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Friday, January 3, 2014

Projekt DAK: Part 3 'List Constructions and Panhard Repurcussions'

by Matt Varnish
Hey guys, Matt Varnish here with Part 3 of my Projekt DAK. Due to my being stuck in a hotel for a month with floor repairs, I am going to be talking potential lists this time around, and briefly talk about some lessons learned from an Early War game against a Panhorde (Hence the title and picture).  

For those who need a refresher, in Part 1 I talked about goals and did a lot of assembly, and in Part 2 I nailed down my infantry color and basing scheme by completing an MG-34 section.

But for now, lets talk about lists!

I need to be real upfront here: I am NOT one of those guys who is constantly messing about with lists. I kinda don't like making new lists, and tend to run the same things a lot. In fact, I typically approach a list with the mantra of "I want to take something that you don't always see" which possibly explains why I own a Free French force, and picked the 'funnies' of the Late War 21. Pzr over your typical German models.  

So with the DAK project in mind, I know that in the end I will want to be able to field a Kradschutzen Kompanie ( I have all the models, still in shrink-wrap) but also want to have a bread-and-butter infantry list, and a typical Panzer Kompanie that saw lots of action in the desert. I knew for my first game I wanted to run Infanterie, and as always, was looking at rarely used models. I saw the diminutive Panzerjager I, and knew I had to have some. Besides they are fun to play in the lower tiers of World of Tanks. Historically, the PzrJgr I solves a problem the Germans had with the mechanized Blitzkrieg outpacing their horse-limbered AT guns by mounting a captured Czech AT gun on an otherwise-obsolete Panzer I chassis!

Oh, another crazy admission: Until very recently I had never used Easy Army before! I had been using the web-based purely because is blocked at my work. I threw together the following list as an Infanterie Kompanie with 2 units of PzrJgr Is. I reckon my first few games, 2 units of them would tell me whether or not I want to drop the $ on them. I feel that normally I would run 5 Pzr IIs in the second Armour slot.

If you think this list is pretty defensive, its on purpose. My eventual Kradschutzen Kompanie will be the antithesis of this list, but I really want to see if the 335 pts TD platoons are worth it to buy. The artillery battery is there since I like the German arty models a lot and see myself spending a lot of time painting them, and in Early War they make excellent AT guns, and they can drop smoke too. My air will not be a Stuka model, but will be a He-111 counts-as, since the Luftwaffe ran a LOT of He-111s in the desert. So this is a nice list to test out a few things. In the future I will likely grab 2 patrols of 8-Rads with the points saved by ditching one unit of PzrJgr Is for the Pzr IIs, and further muck around with all leg with some 88's or something.

As luck would have it, fellow Dice Devil-er Rich, aka ThunderST, was DYING to play some Early War, and obliged me with a game. It was then that I remembered something...

'Zut alors, les Allemands arrivent!'
ThunderST has a Panhorde!! Around here, Early War games are very rare, so I had heard the tales but had never even seen models of them, let alone face Panhards in battle! Lets take a quick peek at ThunderST's list, courtesy of Easyarmy:

Upon seeing this, I couldn't believe that FIVE Panhards were 165 pts!  All those AT 6 guns would slice through my hulls like a hot knife through butter and a baguette or something! Plus he has 5 Somua S-35s, some smoke, a Fearless infantry unit of future Goums for sitting on an Objective and some interceptors, as the Armee de l'Aire Francaise was still going strong in 1940...     

Mortars with Laffly Observer truck.  Whats with the nose wheels?

ThunderST is one of the best painters locally, not only for his skill, but because he can churn out entire armies to this quality in no time, its truly unreal. I am half convinced his kids do the base-coating for him! Tere are some pics of his work and a quick rundown of the action: (Note my Germans were being played using my LW models, since I brought the wrong case!)

Panhards deployed ahead of the AT guns

Panhards, who can Recce, on a road....

Somua S-35s.. I really had no answer to these as I was swarmed by Panhards

You can see I deployed infantry in the small woods, contesting both objectives.   I felt a bit dirty, yes.

After picking off 1 unit of PzrJgr Is and my AA, he rushed one objective and assaulted with everything..

..but he bogged down so many vehicles into the woods, I fell back, and was able to bring him below half-strength with my last unit of PzrJgr's.

At first, the 21 Panhard's looked crazy strong for the 700 or so points, but their being armored cars (able to be stopped by 5 defensive fire hits in Assaults) cost ThunderST a game where he should have won.  His initial rush smashed one of my units immediately, but putting my artillery in a fenced in area and stormtrooper moves gave me enough left over to lay into him, forcing him to assault on my weak flank with his mobility advantage. Had the Somua's not got themselves Bogged going in for the kill, he would have had me.  

I really liked the performance of the PzrJgr's even if I only really used 1 unit of them, as their high AT and veteran 'shielding' and stormtrooper are a good deal at 335 pts. I didn't get a single air roll, so he couldn't use the Dewoitine 420 model I picked up for him at Historicon this summer at the Marketplace!

Since this battle, I have indeed bought 4 PanzerJager I's, and since they come 2 to a blister, they were decently priced for 4. My floors are also finished, so now I need to rebuild my hobby area and get cracking on the painting and list-making though I hear Historicon MAY be Mid-War now and not Early War.... Rettemeier-based Pzr III's might be the next list I try , who knows! Who am I kidding, it'll be the Mid War version of the Kradschutzen / Aufklarungs....

Matt Varnish, plays Flames of War up in Canada with the lads from  Surprisingly, I don't even have a Canadian army............ yet!    The upcoming Italy books may 'fix' that problem though...

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