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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Product Review: Trench Mortars, Regimental Support Platoon, and 7.7 FK96 n.A Gun Platoon

By Mitch Reed

In the past few weeks I was able to get my hands on the remaining few Great War blisters that Battlefront has produced for its new Great War Line.  Last week, Battlefront shipped the British Trench Mortar Platoon and the German Regimental Support Platoon which has 2 anti-tank guns and 3 Minenwefer mortars.  I was eager to get the last two items in the collection since they offer great weapons to add to your force list.

The British Trench Mortar Platoon contains four 3" Stokes mortars each with a crew of three.  The mortars themselves look identical to the WWII version which is fine since it was basically the same weapon with very little change in between the two wars.  Like the WWII mortar blisters, each stand has an identical crew, so much for varying your stands.

The Regimental Support Platoon supplies the two 3.7 TaK AT guns or three mortars found under the the Trench Gun box on the German list.  A player will have the choice of taking either the guns or the mortars since the current list will allow you to take both.  When I first opened this blister and cleaned up the figures I noticed that the sculpts in the package I received did not correspond with what was on the website.   You get four of the sculpt that is kneeling holding the firing lanyard which goes to the three mortars which I thought was odd.  The pack also contains a lot of prone figures, which I am not a fan of.  Finally the standing gunner included for the AT guns is the same as the one from the 7.7 Gun and does not easily fit on the seat in the rear of the gun.

 I did a base coat of black on all the figures.

I followed the tips found on Battlefront's website for both platoons to the letter.

German and British all done.  Since the product spotlight has the 3.7 gun with both a three and four man crew, I decided to go with three crew on each to give my stands some difference.

German Platoon done with the two separate sections.  Those Minenwefers have a Firepower of 2+, these are Breakthrough Gun numbers yo!  My 3.7 TaK may never see the table, they are HE Only and at 110 Points per gun they do not do enough to justify their cost.

British Mortars; its just as hard to make these sparse bases look good in the Great War as in WWII. 

The Minenwefers look good and I added some thick thread with some superglue to make the firing lanyard connect to the gun. 

The 3.7 TaK guns, may never see daylight again.

I held out on the readers a few weeks ago and received the blister with the two 7.7cm FK96 N.A. guns. This pack has a command team so you can use them in either the Artillery Detachment or the Artillery Battery which has a command team. 

 Based on my first game when my opponents 18-Pdrs made my life tough I picked up this platoon.  I think its well worth the points for what they can do.

 After I glued the guns together I realized I put the gun shield on backwards, doh!

So to make up for that gaffe, I also placed the ammo cover of the caisson on the top when it should have gone on the bottom.  No wonder I did not write this one up. 

So at this point I have added all the new Great War releases to my collection; both battlegroup boxes, Stoss platoon, the support weapons platoons.  While I do not need to get one of everything to play the game, some items I think will be a must. 

Mortars, which is usually an afterthought or just used to generate a smoke template in WWII are important weapons in the Great War game.  Mortars give you a mobile asset that can take out a defender in bulletproof cover which something you will need to take out those pesky HMG or gun teams. When it comes to this weapon the German have two options; the longer range (32") high FP (2+) Minenwefer or the smaller Granatenwefer Mortar (16", FP 3+) out of the company HQ.  The British 3" Stokes Mortar has a decent range 24" and a good FP rating (3+), but they are only 90 points per tube where the big German mortar is 170 points each.  

When it comes to the large guns that you will need to deal with tanks, the German 7.7 and British 18-Pdr have the same stats and cost the same 170 points and both can kill tanks at range.  The Germans have two extra gun choices that can defeat tanks, the 3.7 TaK and the 7.62 Krupp IG, and cost only 110 and 135 points respectively.  

No matter your view on how to make a list, you will need some guns and mortars to make it effective, and you have some choices (Germans have more choices) on how to go about achieving this efficacy. I plan to play as many games as possible to see what balance works best for the points. 

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