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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Bolt Action - Review: T34 Calliope Rocket attachment from Warlord Games

  The T34 Calliope system was developed for the US Army in 1943 to provide devastating firepower by mounting rocket tubes to the top of the M4 Medium tank. There were 60 tubes, each capable of firing a single 4.5 inch rocket to a maximum range of 4000 meters. The 4.5 inch rocket was designated as the M8 and by the end of the war 2.5 million rockets had been made. The rocket was considered as a barrage weapon due to the inaccuracy but when you can fire 60 of them who needs accuracy right?

  The general theory was that the T34 Calliope mounting could be discarded after the rocket salvo and the M4 could then continue on in the role of a medium tank. From what I can see in my research the actual effectiveness of these weapons was limited but the phycological value of being subject to a barrage was unimaginably devastating.

  Warlord Games have these available in their webstore for 10 pounds each, as an attachment to the M4 Medium Tank. They can be found in either the armoury section or the US section and come in 5 parts, being an upper and lower tube assembly, two arms and a barrel attachment. Unfortunately the one I was sent to review came with two left hand arms however I was able to soldier on without it being a big issue.  If it happens to you, the lads at Warlord Games always do their best to fix up any of those types of issues, so send them a line.

  The parts required a small amount of clean up and were easy enough to assemble however the docking with the turret can be tricky (at least for me). I would recommend measuring the right spot and scouring the surface to allow for the glue to have somewhere to bond with. For the M4 I used a plastic kit from Warlord Games, these really are fantastic kits that are easy to put together and paint, highly recommend these!

No opponent can ignore this.

In game the M4 with T34 Calliope has the following stats (page 41 Armies of the US):

Cost: 200pts (Inexperienced), 250 pts (Regular), 310 pts (Veteran).
Weapons: 1 gyro stabilised turret-munted medium anti-tank gun with co-axial MMG, 1 turret-mounted multiple launcher, 1 forward facing hull MMG.
Damage Value: 9+ (medium tank).
Special Rules:
  • HE: instead of causing D2 HE hits, a HE shell causes D6 hits (75mm gun tanks);
  • Multiple Launcher; and
  • Busy Turret: you can either fire the turret's main gun (or co-axial MMG), or the multiple launcher, but not both in the same turn.
What is a multiple launcher? well on page 54 of the Bolt Action Rulebook is explains as follows:

This rule describes multi-barreled rocket boring weapons such as the German Nebelwefer and Wurfrahamen, the Russian Katyusha and US Calliope. A multiple launcher counts as a heavy mortar, but its chance of hitting never gets any better than a 6. However, because of the extensive blast area all units (friend or foe) within 6" of the nominated target and not entirely within the weapons minim range can also be hit in this way - although the target unit itself must be within range. 

If we look at the heavy mortar on the weapons chart (page 214 of the Bolt Action Rulebook) we see that range is 18" to 72", is indirect and hits for 2D6 damage at +3 penetration.

Warlord Games T35 Calliope on a plastic M4 with another plastic M4 next to it in more traditional dress.

  On paper the Calliope gives you options.  Very scary options if your the opposition, in that it can aggressively move and shoot a barrage of rockets to a 12+" area. If this fails and you get too close this unit can switch to a medium AT gun that hits for D6 against infantry as well as two MMG to fall back on for close defence. This unit is versatile and will make your opponent watch his groupings as well as try and come up with devious ways of destroying it.  Lets face it, if one of those barrages hits well then an entire portion of their force will simply disappear.

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