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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Bolt Action - Building A Better DAK Army OR How Old Man Morin Built A New Army For MOAB

Well, it is that special “beginning of the tournament season” time of year again.  Last year I attended my first BA tournament at MOAB and had a blast.  I met regulars Patchimus Prime, Anfernee “The Rocket Man” and Betty’s daddy Bryan Cook and, for the first time, truly exposed myself to the larger Australian BA scene.  I took my Warsaw Uprising Partisans… This year I will be taking the DAK.

Like in last year’s event I tried to build a generalist list that would synergize well enough to deal with and hopefully best my opponents on the table.  Unlike last year, I have picked a variety of units for specific purposes within my army.  Every generic BA army list requires an LT and two infantry squads.  I decided that I would build an anvil so to speak. I used these requisite units to build a static firebase to work from.  I chose a regular 2nd LT with two pals with SMG’s, I have been playing Germans for a very long time now and I love the three man hit squad.  Sure they don’t usually do tons but when I need em, these guys are great.  I like hiding these bros out of line of sight and/or in heavy cover near my other anvil squads. They are great for assaulting units that might otherwise wreck my lines. They probably will not win combat but with six attacking dice there is a good chance they will put enough hurt upon an enemy unit that it will not be hitting my other units with the strength necessary to wipe them out.

Now, I hear some of you yelling in the back “Why not assault rifles?!?” The answer is easy. The Afrikakorps did not use them.  I built my list using the DAK selectors in the book (as a guide) and I also used the FOW DAK list to guide my choices in a more historic direction. The DAK are so iconic that I wanted to stay true to what they might have used in the desert war. 

The bulk of my “anvil” is made up two, 8 man regular squads of Germans. The NCO in both squads has an SMG and both squads have an LMG.  I know that LMG’s are not point efficient and are not popular choices in a lot of tournament lists. I chose them for two reasons. 1) Early War Germans should probably have some MG 34’s somewhere in the list. 2) I wanted these squads to be able to dig into buildings or into heavy cover near objectives and reach out to put pins and hits on opponents units. LMG’s have a longer range than rifles and with the Hitler’s Buzzsaw special rule…  well they are better than every other LMG in the game.

I rounded the anvil out with a regular medium mortar, a PAK 36 Light AT gun and a regular MMG.  I believe very strongly that you need to include the right tools in your list to put pressure on your opponent.  As I have written in the past, I usually try to take an ATR, a sniper team and a mortar.  Well, snipers did not really fit the theme of my list so they were out. Looking at the infantry LMG squads that I already had, I figured the MMG would give me additional pinning and hitting power at a distance (again, Hitler’s Buzzsaw makes MMG’s less terrible). I look at the MMG as a static additional squad. Basic army lists are limited to 5 infantry squads and I decided early on that I did not want to pay the 50-70 point tax (LT and pals) to gain a 2ndplatoon and I already knew what I wanted my other 3 squads to be.  So I took the MMG squad as a cheeky way to get another cheap unit into my list. Three static infantry units and three mobile infantry units.

I love a regular medium mortar. At 50 points it is fairly resilient (if you deploy it in cover) and is great for forcing sniper/artillery pieces to move if it does not range in on the first couple of shots.  If it does range in… Even better. As I have written about mortars repeatedly is the past I will move on.  Now the DAK DID use anti-tank rifles in the desert and I had an ATR painted up and ready to go. I decided to leave it at home and took a Light AT gun instead. The old ATR is +2 to penetrate armour which makes it pretty good at throwing pins out on tanks and messing up soft skin vehicles.  Well, the Light AT gun fills the same role, only better. For 20 points more you get a gun shield, 12 inches of additional range (part of an anvil), an additional crewman and +4 armour penetration. Even if a veteran medium tank rolls around a corner at long range, I can still at least pin it (-1 pen at long range) using the newest vehicle rules. Also, that +4 pen will be even better when ambushing outflanking trucks and field cars.  As I continue to experiment with ambushing units, I figured this would be a good next step.

Though not static, I have included a 40 point regular MMG motorcycle in the anvil as well. My army has 14 dice and my anvil will be my start-on-the-board units in most missions. The motorcycle is small enough to hide behind terrain in the first couple of turns and is annoying and fast enough to get in my opponent’s way if they try to out maneuver my units (with cav or infantry).  I have never used one of these. Should be fun.

Now for the Hammer, I originally built this list as a “dark” LRDG type list. Maneuverable, vehicle heavy and hitty. The list evolved but these units did not. My army is based on a DAK pioneer company so I have three units of 6 veteran pioneers. 2 of the squads have 5 SMG’s and ride in Horch field cars. The other has 3 SMG’s, a man packed flamethrower and also rides in a Horch field car.  These guys are held in reserve and get used to swoop in (hopefully as a group) to apply pressure and generally ruin people’s day. Hopefully with three Horches I will be presenting too many targets for people to fully deal with at once allowing me to get at least one unit into the thick of the action unscathed.

The last unit I have is the big gun. A Grille. The DAK used two separate types of Grilles in the desert war. I have painted both BUT will only be using one in this event. Sure it is an open topped tank, (it is super not great when rifles can pin you) but hopefully combined with the pile of Horches, I will be presenting too many threats for my opponent’s to properly deal with. If they focus on the Horches, the Grille with be free to blast threats with a heavy howitzer. If they focus on the grille, the Pioneer units will be free to wreck face (I hope). Sure this relies on more than one unit coming on in a turn and sure this is Bolt Action and anything can happen.  

Here is the list all in one place:

I am gambling big and hoping for big returns.  

We will have to see how it plays out for me.

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