If you read this blog regularly you'll know that I winnerDave, collected a Russian army from a list Ben made way back when. I took the list to campaign and will be taking it again to the Welsh open.
It goes something like this...
9 Matilda IIc with Tankodesantniki
1 Sporadic Kobra
The first thing to note with this list, if you are not familiar with it, is there is no designated HQ. You choose a tank before deployment to be your HQ, usually I choose a KV, so that the numbers are even.
A quick overview. Your Fearless conscripts, so everything on the table can hit you, at long range, in cover, gone to ground. It becomes really really annoying, especially when your opponent says "so, hitting on 2s..."
Here comes the pain!
What do we learn from this. The longer you're in the field, the harder your job is. The more turns of fire your opponent has the more dice he's throwing at you, which means you want the game over as soon as possible. There is no hiding, no holding back, you need to be in their face and knocking attributes out.
From the top then, the KV1s are the workhorse of this army, in nearly every mission the focus was (or should have been), where are my KV1s deploying and what am I going to do with them.
As mentioned already, the way to play them is with shear aggression. Sometimes you will play against armies optimized to kill your KV1s, 9 Pak 40s, 3 tigers etc etc. More often than not your opponent has a few assets that can hurt them. You've got 6 (not counting the HQ), you can't be afraid to lose some, holding back will only net you more losses.
The best way to keep them alive and winning games, is to prioritise anything that can hurt them, with your entire army.
I've had opponents throw the towel in simply because I killed their Pak 40s and they had nothing else to hurt my KV1s with.
If facing an infantry company, these things have to assault at some point. The key thing to remember is that you hit on 5s, ouch. Let's say 6 go in for the assault. On average you kill 2 stands, that sucks and it sucks big time. In most cases, I would assault with the KV1s last, but they will go in.
What a pile of crap! T70s suck so bad it's funny and therefore kinda useful. T70s are fast, have 1 machine gun and are ROF1. You get a bucket load of them, which is good, but your armour is thin. They are not going to last long on the battlefield. There's only one thing to do with them...charge!
Well not quite. I've used them as a distraction (don't shoot my KV1s, shoot my T70s instead) Stick them in the open, whilst the KV1s are in cover. It's an easy kill for your opponent. Anything to keep the fire off your KV1s. Now of course that's not always applicable, it s just one way I've used them.
Charge! Yes, there are times, when the best thing to do it charge, again you're going to lose them, take out a few infantry stands as they go down.
As cover. Done this as well. Lined them up in a line from a wood to an objective. Opponent killed them. Suddenly I had a line of cover ripe for my cautiously moving recon assets, nice...
Ah, the infantry killers, top armour 2, 2 Mgs and mounting Tank riders, fricken brilliant. They are slow though so placement of them is critical. If reserves are in play, these often go in reserve, that way you can react to the game field. If your opponent is largely mechanised, then these just became a point sink. I played a T34 horde once, these came on behind the opponent and I thought great side shoots all round. It was with a horrible sinking feeling, I realised I couldn't hurt them at all :( I lost that game but I needn't have. These proved to be very survivable and if i'd been more aggressive with the KV1s on the other side of the table...well if buts and maybes.
If nothing else, it's a change to not be hit on 2s...these babies are Trained, not Conscript, however they are recon and it's important to treat them as such. Don't get me wrong, the occasional side shot into a PzIII is a beautiful thing, but generally speaking they are there for one thing and that's to remove gone to ground.
Having 5 of them, does make it tempting to open fire, but you need 5 simply for the loses you'll take.
I've played with this list quite a bit recently and I'm up for making a few alterations. Firstly i think swap the T70s for some Stuarts (especially as Ben kindly pointed out PSC are doing them now)
I'm not sure infantry fit in this list, I was tempted by some AT guns for the very odd occasion I'm defending, but really I think the Stuarts will make a welcome change, and that'll do me.
In conclusion I think this is a great list for newbies, it's quite forgiving it has enough special rules that you need to learn them without getting bogged down in them. It really makes you think about assaulting, the use of recon, but you don't have to think about smoke and the entire infantry rules.
It teaches you to play aggressively, but with timing as well and finally even though I've lost games with it, there's not a game that was un-winnable....and I'm winnerDave :D