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Monday, July 18, 2016

Lists we Play - British Armored Cars

When I first began to play this game five years ago, I was faced with the same choice many of us were. Which nationality to choose?  I signed up with the Brits.  No one else in the club had done it yet and they looked like quirky underdogs, so I began to amass the basic models. Shermans, Cromwells, an Infantry box. Then one day,  while leafing through "Hell's Highway" (The old paperback before it became part of the "Market Garden" Compilation) I came across an armored car company.  The 2nd Household Cavalry or the 2HHC for short. They looked adorable....

I mean look at them?!

 Of course a wise gamer from the club looked at it with me, and quickly dismissed them as not worth playing

"Those things can't win." he said, "I don't think there is any way to make it work."

He took a long pause before adding, "a game against my German heavy tanks and those toys would be over in 20 minutes."

Which of course led to this image in my head

That dismissive comment started me down the road of collecting British recce units, hordes of Daimler I, Staghounds and dingos in particular. My gaming companion would come to regret his inspiring me to collect these things. When my apartment burned down several years ago, he remarked "I'm glad Tom's ok....but I hope those armored cars burned." Nope! they made it out! They must have disengaged when they saw this kind of trouble.

While there are a few armored car company options in LW for the British and Canadians, mine are modeled after the 2nd Household Cavalry.

Some Household Cavalry Men in Action:

 (More Photos from the Official website and PDF located here:

Where can I find these lists?
-Overlord -(June/July 1944)  All the Canadian and British Recon that landed with the troops at Gold, Juno, and Sword beaches.  Bottled up outside of Caen for weeks, there was little initial use for them, but following Cobra and the US breakout, the British lines started moving, and these guys were in the lead. Note, the 2nd HHC is represented, but they are only trained, not veteran. These books are good if you want cheap trained support, and a LOT of customizable options for your back up.

-Market Garden (September 1944)- the 2nd HHC and the Inns of the Court - this book covers their daring reconnaissance ahead of the columns for XXX Corps and their Irish and Welsh Guards Tank Divisions and the 11th Armored Division.  All are Veterans at this point in the game, and there are a multitude of interesting special rules in addition to the standard British National ones.

-Road to Rome -(Broad span of time) Covers the 78th recon element, 27th Lancers (Humber Scout cars with many options) the 1st HHC (Daimlers and Dingos) and the New Zealand Div Cav Squadron (Staghounds) and their charge up the deadly boot in support of the infantry trying to cut their way across the Various defensive lines established by the Germans.  Expensive support options (as most are veteran) but a lot of choices here given the time period represented.

-Nachtjager Digital -(LLW - 1945 to the end) An Armored Car Company in companion with Comets...if you so desire, to simulate some of the recon elements that worked with the Hussars and other units participating in Operations to Cross the Rhine.

Selected Armored Car Special Rules:

Recon - if you wind up taking a list with lots of armored cars in it...everything you have is recon. so....
-No Ambushes within 8 inches...of nearly everything
-No Infiltration against you either
-Recon moves with most of your force. (with enough terrain to cover your advance you can be on an objective by turn 1)
-Lifting Gone to Ground for any heavy hitters in your list.
-Disengaging from a fight when being shot at (assuming you did not shoot in the previous step.)

Inns of the Court
The Devil's Own - They may re-roll the skill test to disengage if they fail the first one.

Very useful for getting out of the way, particularly with the little dingos that are mostly for scouting and being generally annoying.

2nd Household Cavalry
Sangfroid (cold blooded) - you may disengage EVEN IF you took shots in the previous step

Unflappable - as guards units in the British army, they re-roll morale tests when they fall below half

They are also British, so they re-roll motivation in assaults as well....but if you are taking these cars into an assault....something has gone terribly wrong.

(note the dingo hiding behind the house)

Fielding an Armored Car Company

Some of the mainstays of the army include the following models:

The Staghound:
Front: 3
Side: 1
Top: 0
Main Gun - AT 7 ROF 2 FP 4+
CoAx MG + Hull MG

The Best armored Recon option the British have (IMHO). Impervious to small arms fire with front 3.  It boasts 2 MGs, and the potential for an AA MG to bring the dice total to 5 if you're mowing down infantry.  Its main gun is decent against half-tracks and small armored vehicles. But it won't stand long against tanks.

The Daimler I:
Front: 1
Side: 0
Top: 0
Main Gun - AT 7 ROF 2 FP 4+ (If you add a little john adapter it goes to AT 9 FP5+)
Coax MG

Its only benefits are its speed and cost - it has only 1 MG, and if you upgrade its gun, it won't make a firepower roll for the rest of the game. At 120 pts in the 2HHC list for 2 of these and a dingo? get as many platoons as you like, just don't expect them all to make it out alive. These shouldn't be the main hitting power of your force anyhow.

The Dingo:
Front: 0
Side: 0
Top: 0

An adorable anachronism. Boasting only an AA MG, this is a scout car, plain and simple.  It does get jeep movement, so get him on a road and watch out.  Also, you can allocate hits to him instead of the vehicles in his platoon with "real guns" (and I do use that term loosely here)

AEC III or I (Heavy Armored Cars):
Front: 1
Side: 0
Top: 0
Main gun  -(75mm) AT 10 ROF 2 FP 3+ (Semi-indirect Fire, Smoke)
Wheeled, slow, overloaded

A Slow Sherman with terrible armor. Also is the only armored car on this list of vehicles that does NOT GET RECON RULES. Do not forget this if you are playing with it. Often good if popped from ambush, they can surprise people with the AT 10 gun and semi-indirect fire. It is overloaded, and only moves 6 inches. Probably because putting a Sherman Turret on a Ford Focus tends to cause engine problems.  Hide them in some woods at long range, and their veteran status may help them survive. At 150pts for 2 and a dingo, you could do worse.

What these cars are good at:

Mowing down infantry in open.

 (you sure you want to wade across that river, Ivan?)

I know you're thinking, "a lot of things are good at that..." but are they as fast? Can they possibly disengage before trouble reaches them? Can they race 18" down a road and open up on unsuspecting men? These guys can. And they're cheaper than most veteran stuarts in some cases.

Quickly being in places really inconvenient to the enemy:

( did he get behind those 88s?)

There are many missions where you will benefit from winning the war of movement.  You will have a lot of options to dictate where the battle will take place.  Your recon move puts you 12 inches closer in a board with reasonable cover, and if you're attacking with the first turn, you're on the objectives immediately.  Even if you're not, you have fast, mobile units that can harass and keep expensive assets tied down.  If their King Tiger needs to stay near an've tied up a 300 pt model with 120 pts worth of garbage.

Being cheap as *&$%

If I look at the Market Garden 2nd HHC list, and took every single combat platoon offered. I would wind up with 7 platoons, I would have 23 hulls, and will only have spent 960 pts.

Are they good? No. In LW, these guys might as well be driving around in a Mini-cooper and carrying some fireworks, but its a heck of a lot of fun moving them around the table.  Opponents don't often get to see these and many won't quite know what to do with it all. Against a Mech list or an infantry list, you may do pretty well.

What these cars are NOT good at?

Making armor saves

On the bright side, you don't need to roll as many dice....on the sad side, nothing your armor has will stop any shell.  It can be strangely liberating to know that there is nothing you can do about the incoming AT 11 shot.  I would also point out that in many cases, your opponent payed a premium for high AT guns...and in your case, those points were wasted.

Do not think your AT 9 shot on a Tiger will help you...this will most likely be the result...

Assaulting Infantry

Open Topped Vehicles, particularly Recon ones....are pinned down from 5 shots in defensive fire. In addition to being stopped by 2 effective hits. And since you are side 0 on most of these, hoping to survive the Panzerfaust shot is a bad bet. Charging MG's is equally stupid.  Assaults are only a last resort, and then only into a weakened unit.  These guys aren't supposed to be doing this anyway. Just say no to recon assaults.

Driving through the woods....

Wheeled vehicles move at 4" in the do Jeeps.  Stay away from the woods, or accept it will take you a turn to get out of there.  These guys are fast on the roads, and in the open, hiding them on the edge of woods can be a useful tactic, but never expect to move through them quickly.  This can surprise or frustrate a novice player, so I thought it worth mentioning.

List Construction

Here people can please feel free to chime in regarding their experiences if they have played with or against a list like this, but the real strength is in the support.

Cromwells and Challengers are both expensive, but fast, and pack a punch your cars will be lacking. Or you could go the Sherman and Firefly route, which is less expensive, and you can fit two fireflys in a platoon which is a nice set of AT 15 guns to add to the mix

(without enough AT...facing this Panther list is going to be a horror show.)

You need something to clean out those pesky dug in troops, infantry can do the job, presuming you soften up the target first.  Also, in games you defend as a mech list, these come in handy holding objectives. They suffer from a lack of integrated AT like any Brit infantry (airborne excepted) but they can be tough in a fight.

With Brit Rules, these can be downright nasty to an opponent trying to stay put, and with recce to lift GTG on targets, they can provide each other with nice synergy.

Why Armored Cars?

They are fast, agile, and surprisingly fun to play.  The list requires some finesse, and is outside the meta of what is a "good tournament" list. But they make for a nice change of pace.  I fell in love with Recon units because of the nature of their mission.  Getting behind enemy lines and back without getting caught is no easy feat of arms.  And getting to simulate that in some way with Flames of War is a treat for me.  I can say without exception that while I may not win every game with a list like this, I CAN say I've had a blast playing it.  And I can usually get my opponent to laugh when they see if for the first time.  That's why I play the game, and why I play armored cars.

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