Friday, 30 May 2014

British and Commonwealth Armoured Lists In Late War

Hi everyone, not sure if this post is a rambling or a list discussion, probably a bit of both, but I thought I'd start talking about my thoughts on British armoured lists - please note that this is not British tank lists as I don't have enough experience with churchills to give an opinion.
So what are the options in a British armoured platoon, well you have about 4 separate tanks in a few configurations. 'Bog standard' shermans, Sherman fireflies, Sherman 76mm - Italy and cromwells - desert rats overlord. Whilst some lists you get the Sherman on it's own, you usually get it with 1-2 fireflies. The 76mm can get a firefly, as can the rats - but these present their own problems. 
But what about special rules? Well you get two, 'tow hooks' - allows you to bring along your 6/17pdrs guns... And Semi indirect fire, reroll misses at long range. To be honest this is the bread and butter of these lists, and maximising it is key.
Why is it useful? Well it means you can hit the enemy easier than they can hit you - a frequent theme in FoW. This is where the first support unit for any armoured list comes in, recce. You need this as any sensible opponent who is a vet will just GtG to avoid you shooting them, the recce, or the threat of recce means that you are now able to hit - not much I know but a start! The second thing I like to think about is not being hit back, normally through direct fire smoke, a great example of this is in my welsh list. The M10's pound from long range vs tanks (no SiF I know, but this also works well of not better with firefly platoons from overlords independent armoured brigades) then the other shermans fire smoke, and this is where you really want SiF as it stops them hitting you back at all without moving! Again less shots vs you. The two units where the SiF synergy really helps though are fireflies and the 76mm Sherman. The firefly has a huge AT (14 or 15) and with SiF even an enemy tank adding +1 for long range is going to take some hurt eventually. Likewise the 76mm with the FA7 is pretty survivable, if it is long range and in cover it's only hit on 6's, and with an effective FA of 8 relatively survivable against most medium tanks.

The problems you get are with the lack of synergy when you have cromwells or challengers with SiF, your main bonus is speed, yet your most effective when stationary... Damn you!
With any of these lists, the biggest issue I find is smoke used against me, A) I have to move and B I can't shoot. As most people take a couple of smoke units I find having one template to smoke/pin just to keep the enemies units honest is effective. This comes onto the other unit which synergies well - air.

Air works well as it also needs the 16inches so it can attack, now recently my air dice have been rubbish, but with often limited 17pdrs (e.g overlord lists) a plan can really help vs big cats.
So what's this list comprising so far, well. A couple of tank units for some smoke, some recon, air, and some artillery. The only thing which I feel is missing is an infantry unit, as the British tanks in assault are not great at only 4 strong. The infantry is needed to get in there and dig them out. Sometimes you even get cool rides like kangaroos!
So with all this rambling what do I think a potentially good British tank list is?

This is an overlords 3RTR 
Hq 2 shermans CV
4 shermans CV
4 shermans CV
4 fireflies CV
3 Stuart CV
Heavy mortars CT
Bofors SP CT
Limited air

Now I'm lacking infantry - sadly just not enough points. And the bofors are very much there to make up the numbers - my big worry strangely with this list is defending in a mobile battle due to the one static unit! If I had two static bofors models I'd take them and the heavy mortars with transports to get round that conundrum!
But I like this list, it's got a hard veteran cry core, if you're making the most out of SiF and Air then you are being hit on 6's (you are hugging cover aren't you?) assaulting will never be easy, you're going to struggle, but the FP3+ mortars and the sheer numbers if shermans should help - but the FA6 is your biggest weakness still. I'm not sure it'll win any events, but I think in a 'friendly' situation it may be effective.

Anyway if you have any tactics you want to share about British armoured lists please let me know.

Thanks for reading 



  1. Nice article, gets you thinking about "synergies" :-) I've found with Shermans that if you can get in good firing positions you can blow just about anything off the table. As you say, the low front armour is the obvious weakness, but it also keeps the cost down so you can roll some serious shooting dice. Being hard to hit is always your best defence. If that all goes well, there shouldn't be too much left to assault! Boom or bust with Brit/Commonwealth armour, but something always happens one way or the other.
    Also, I think (would pay to look it up) that if you are defending in a mission with mobile reserves and you are all armoured platoons you get to start with two platoons on table.

  2. I definitely agree with Red Dog on the boom or bust. I find my Shermans pretty fragile and if I lose a few then the platoon totally loses effectiveness. I find that if I try to shoot it out with things then I often lose, despite the Fireflys. I have the most success when I focus on the objectives and keep my Shermans hidden until I need them. The threat of the fireflys is often more effective than their actual damage (though if you get full rate of fire with rerolls at something not concealed you can do a good amount of damage!).

    I think that overlord list is pretty good. Myself, I would drop the air and anti-air in favour of more units that can assault (infantry). I find I want to win quickly with Shermans and so just weather my losses from air in the first few turns. You want to be within 16" pretty quickly.

    Just my 2 cents...