So this is one of those articles which I write to try and really think about how I develop a list and use it effectively. I'll start by saying that every theory I have when it meets an enemy list fails horribly, and I normally have quite an iterative process to how I develop a list, try a tweak here and there my Jagdpanther list is an example of this. Today though I look at my Canadians and how I progress from my pre Oxford ideas to where I am now.
|Sunrise over the shermans|
· FFA vs german infantry (I attacked)
· Surrounded vs FJ (I attacked)
· Encounter vs KG piper (defended)
· Encounter vs 150th Panzer (attacked – only deployed gun teams to start)
· Surrounded vs Finish tanks (attacked small loss)
· Hold the line vs KG piper (defended)
· Counterattack vs PttM (defended)
· Dust up vs 21st panzer (was on the defensive from the start)
In the games where I could take the fight to the enemy things went well, in the ones where I was defending they didn’t – and that’s the problem with my list, I had one plan which I could execute relatively well, but could not react to other plans.
The other fundamental which I need to reconsider is the number of platoons, I always try to get to an even number, but for a tournament list, to get the ‘big points’ you need bit wins, and the 2 ways I see that happening are either by durable platoons or bu hitting 9 platoons, and I think this makes a real difference.
(especially as Always attack mech/tank stopped me night attacking effectively! – though I am considering now how when faced with lots of enemy pumas and pz4’s would the loss of mobility – only moving 8inches max be worth giving them concealment?)
Next the units – now this is subjective, from my own experiences of playing the army.
Firstly Star players
- RAM Kangaroos – great in offense with extra protection, mobility and MG’s also not bad in defence vs infantry.
- Sherman’s – I found the platoon when it was available (often hiding in reserve!) was a decent unit, which could take a hit or 2 and be effective still. The 50 cals also helped a lot!
- Mortars – direct and indirect smoke – did as needed
- Universal carriers – lifted GtG and a few extra MG shots here and there
- Wasps – when used well were devastating, but I need to learn to deploy/move them better
- M10 3’’ – sadly just not effective enough vs enemy tanks at range – which is where they need to be to stay alive!
- Land Mattress – I know some people love them, but I really did not find them consistent or effective enough to suit my play style.
So where do we go from here then? Well let us start with the compulsory choices, HQ, 2 platoons of 3 sections and I’m going to keep the Ram’s and I think due to the assaulting nature of these guys, one will have SMG’s. Next is recon, I still feel these are essential, even though they were not great, and were often an easy victory point.
Next I need a template, something that will move people apart, and I think also offer smoke. Whilst I liked the mortars a lot I want something which will do some damage when needed too. Heavy mortars are one option, as are 25pdrs. It’s AT3 4+ vs AT 4 5+ and then you need to consider direct fire vs ability to hide in plain site! In the end my feeling is that the 25pdr wins on two reasons, the first is that the damage output is higher in bombardment (against tanks at least), and the second is the ‘all guns repeat’ rerolling saves (even with a FP 5+) and being able to hit the same site repeatedly. I would love to have a double wide damage template – but medium artillery (even 2 guns is expensive) and trained does have a decent points break. But the big problem with both of these is that in half on half off missions this is 2 platoons – and in an 8 platoon army that’s half the force dictated to me.
Next I want some tanks, the shermans served me well. They have in my head 2 uses. Very importantly is direct fire smoke – when I was playing against KG peiper in the 3rd round, I knew that to get my shermans safely from A to B meant using smoke – sadly the dice again deserted me – but I need that direct fire smoke. This is where some advice from other players and the internet have helped me to form an idea. That idea is breaching groups. For three shermans (admittedly non assaulting shermans with one less MG). 6 tanks comes in at cheaper than 2 shermans and a firefly. You also have the option to add in the AVRE section to help bump up the platoon count for a cheap 50 points. I’m liking these as an idea, you have mobile smoke, and when you are attacking those pioneer carts and fortifications are a little less troublesome.
Now I realise I also need to be able to deal with high front armour – I think I’d discounted this before but even front amour 7 at long range – AT 12 just didn't cut it at all. So lets go for the full fat M10; with 4 17 pdrs big cats will be more cautious, and more importantly, when I get that hit on a panzer 4 or StuG it should stay down.
This is leaving me 7 platoons. I think I need to cover my one big glaring weakness – defending in mobile battles (or defending in other match ups). Mobile battles are pretty much my big weakness I realised. I lose the infantry’s vehicles (and those extra MG’s are great vs assaulting infantry!) and the only other static unit is a platoon of 25pdrs. So lets take some 6 Pdrs – 4 should do the job. I do though wish I had a full platoon of shermans to move them up for assaults!
I think I’m going to keep the faith with the Wasps – I have no evidence as to why I have this faith, but let’s trust my gut. They help the infantry assault (especially at night or against vehicles if used well) So they’re back on the list.
So here I am 9 platoons, 50 points left. I think I’m going to abuse my breaching group for an AVRE section – hate to say it but it can be an extra platoon when defending (so 5 get deployed) or on attack an extra Sherman – whilst keeping me on 9 platoons.
So how do envisage this list working. Well I want to attack with this list. Doesn't matter whether it’s vs infantry or tanks. And I’ll be coming at night. I think there are a couple of situations which I’m going to struggle on. Attacking vast numbers of dug in Infantry will always be tough, and this time I have only 2 assault units, but there should be enough pinning/smoke to keep them safe I hope. The other difficulty will be defending against auto attack inf/tank. If it’s half on half off I’ll have to deploy the 2 infantry, 6pdrs, 25pdrs and M10’s – should help hold the line. Mobile battle though – wow that’s tough, maybe 2 infantry, and the above, but wouldn't those infantry be better mounted up to go grab the objective – but maybe loose the M10’s then. Either way this is the next iteration of the Canadians – let’s see how they do.