Monday, 2 June 2014

Red Army Tankovy Conscript T34 Army Tactics

Today we have a guest post from Robin Spence. Robin has been playing Soviet tanks for almost a decade and he's forgotten more about playing Soviet tanks than I will ever know! So Robin take it away.

Hi All

Having used these chaps for a number of years I thought I would write down my thoughts on their use. Hopefully it may help somebody who is thinking of running them.

The conscript Red Army Mid War T34 army from Eastern Front, my favourite army of the war. Totally unsubtle. Lots of Rusting hulks grinding the Axis scum under their tracks LOL Gaming the army under Flames of War is great fun.

My armies always consist of the core 21 T34s. I always have two platoons of ten tanks. 7 of which would be T34/76 with anti tank 9 , firepower 3. I always upgrade 3 tanks in each platoon to the T34/57 which gives me anti tank 11 but firepower 4. This extra anti tank is invaluable especially if you attempt to go toe to toe with a Tiger tank. Not something I would recommend under most circs but if you can arrange to have 6 T34/57 shooting stationary that’s 12 AT 11 shots !!!. Now you are hoping the Tiger throws a couple of 1s or 2s depending on range, but even if you only bail it you can force a moral test. And we all know that’s a 50/50 chance of the Tiger crew running off. Just depends on the dice Gods. 

I always try and keep the CinC between both units so it can effect morale. Very important if you have the odd bailed tank. It gives you that second roll of 3+ if the dice gods are unkind and you roll a 1 or a 2. 

 The T34s are the main stay of the army. You will either win or lose the game because of how you use them. I have won many games with just one or two surviving tanks. Always keep the platoon commander near the middle of the platoon and preferably in cover, this is so you have other tanks for him to jump into if bailed etc. You need to have both platoons working in close support. 

ALWAYS try and ensure that you get all 21 T34s firing each go. Do not bunch up behind thus screening your targets. 

Always try and eliminate your opponents anti tank assets immediately. If facing guns advance max distance and use up to 84 M.G. shots to destroy the Pak40s/38s or any other anti tank guns. Although you will no doubt need 6s (5s if the recon are doing their job) on the first attempt you will get a few hits and your opponent is bound to have a few 1s in him. Worst case scenario he is pinned which means you can remain stationary the following go and hopefully blast them out of their holes with your main guns. The anti tank guns then have a choice the following go. Do they fire and lose gone to ground thus opening themselves up to certain destruction in the next phase or do they hunker down and try and survive.

If your facing tanks then your action depends on your opponent's front armour. If Panthers, Churchiills or Tigers etc then use your speed and numbers to go down the flank. You could send one platoon down the flank or both. One trick is to flank with one platoon whilst keeping the second platoon stationary. Either way when the Panther or similar fires, one of your platoons will get side shots on the turret. Against most other tanks with lower front armor use the same principle as opponents anti tank guns. If your anti tank is greater than its front armor then use the multitudes of stationary shots to either penetrate it or force it to bail and fail morale tests for being multiple bailed.

You have wide tracks so remember that charging tanks into woods etc is not such a problem as it is for normal tanks.

 I always try and soften my opponent up before charging in, remove anti tank assets within 8’ etc. Conscript tanks require 5s to destroy opponents. Not always easy which is why you need so many hulls. Sometimes you can get lucky and throw several 5s and 6s in a row but on the other hand sometimes its 1s and 2s, just like banging your head against a brick wall. Don’t get swamped by pioneers. If it starts to look sticky simply withdraw from the fight and use your guns again. T34s are too valuable to risk throwing a 1 in defense against some half trained rookie with a pen knife! If in doubt back up and shoot.

 T34s are fast tanks so in rare circs when your opponents deployment and the terrain allows you can double 32’. If you are likely to end up in front of an ambush or opposing anti tank then don’t do it.

The Escorts. In my opinion are great but to expensive in a normal game. You need the points elsewhere. I have modelled them on my T34s as they look good !!

The Recon. BA-64s are a must. I use between 3 & 5 depending on points. They are jeeps so get 16’ moves. The more you have the more chances of removing gone to ground in those first rounds when your T34s are trying to dig out anti tank guns etc. Look after them as they can help the T34s win the game. Use the recon wisely. Try and get them in a position so that they can remove gone to ground immediately. Also use them to push opposing ambushes away. Its a very small unit so if you are crafty you can keep it hidden behind terrain and use it to zip onto an uncontested objective. I always upgrade two of them to anti tank rifles for free. This has won me more than one game. Anti tank 5 into recon etc is not to be sniffed at.

So depending on points being played assuming 1750 if I have 21 x T34s with the upgrades and 4 x BA-64s. This gives me 305 points left.

 I recommend using:- 

The Stuarts. Use 10 Stuarts. Low front amour (3) but rate of fire 2 with Anti tank 7 and fire power 4. Again as per the T34s that’s 40 MG shots against opposing anti tank assets or dug in infantry. The Stuart can take care of opposing Anti tank guns whilst big brother T34 takes out something bigger. Assault wise they don’t have wide tracks so need to be used more cautiously but I wouldn’t hesitate to use them in an assault in the open instead of the more valuable T34. Being a fast tank they can double 32’. Again you need to be cautious and not get jumped by double diced anti tank guns etc. But with anti tank 7 stick 10 of them on a Panthers flank and the Panther will be sweating. Close range that’s a bail/penetration on defensive rolls of 1s and 2s.

The T60: At 1650 points the Stuart is too expensive. I recommend the T60. It has a rate of fire of 2 as opposed to a T70 which is rate of fire 1. It doesn’t have wide tracks as does the T70 but is a great massed MG platform and can do the same as a Stuart or T34 in open ground assaults. Ideal for pinning anti tank/artillery or light armoured vehicles. It also enables you to get an extra BA-64.

Rota Razvedki: I have used these chaps on numerous occasions. You can slot them into the army but only at the expense of the Stuarts or T60s. Having used them many times I have to say that they can be very useful. Flame thrower with 4 dice. Jeeps (16" moves) with 0.5 AA . However I find them a little vulnerable. Your opponent only needs 5 hits to pin. The amount of times that has happened to me I have lost count. It’s a matter of choice. 10 tanks with 40 MG shots and a little more survivability or 9 Rota that can run around in woods and buildings. In my experience it’s the Rota that end up being destroyed. 

Universal Carrier option: You can have at no extra cost UC's. These are Transports. If mounted that's 27 MG shots. Trouble is as transport teams they are vulnerable to small arms fire with armor of 0. If bailed or penetrated that's a moral test to stay on table. If destroyed that's a passenger test as well.

Aircraft. Some people are great fans of aircraft whilst others find them frustrating. Personally I find them frustrating. I always call them an 'if and when' weapon. If they turn up, if they range in, if they hit, when they get hit by AA, when the opponent saves, when they get intercepted etc etc In my opinion unfortunately there is little room in The Red Army Tankovy list for them. You cant reduce the numbers of T34s so the only way you can slot them in is to reduce the numbers of light tanks ie change the Stuarts to T60s and use Sporadic Air. Not something I would recommend. This army is an up front and personal army. You need to get into your opponents face asap. You can’t be hanging around waiting for opposing aircraft to pick you off, hang around under artillery templates or wait for opponent's reserves to turn up. Basically if you are doing it correctly your aircraft would be too close.

Grant Lee: Lend lease tank. shipped into Russia in large numbers during the war. I have 10. I have seen them used instead of the T34/76. Its cheaper. has a lower front armor, 2 x main guns, anti tank of 10. However it can not be upgraded to anti tank 11, does not have wide tracks, has a lower front armor and is not a fast tank like the T34.

Im not a fan as you will probably have spotted of any of the other support options which are selectable for the army. In my opinion they are all too expensive or simply going to be a Victory point loss for you.

If you wish to build the Red Army Tankovy using Battlefront models then you have two options. You can buy the T34 box set SUAB04 this gives you the 21 T34s that you need. However I have designed my Conscript army around all the variant earlier T34/76s. I wanted to have a true conscript, grubby, rusting mixed bag of T34s so I went for a mix of the following SU052, SUO53, SUO55, SUO58, SUO60, SUo61 or a box set SBX01 (Contains 5). All my tanks have the tank riders mounted on the back. This is for look only. I like the modeling and painting side of the hobby as much as the gaming side. I have enclosed a couple of photos and will add a couple more after the weekend. A couple of my recommended lists are below. More can be found on my Flames of war Blog. Address at the bottom. Hopefully this will have been of interest to some players. It really is a great fun army that if used aggressively will win more than it loses.

1750 point army
HQ T34/76 75 points
T34/76 x 7 T34/57 x 3 635 points
T34/76 x 7 T34/57 x 3 635 points
Stuarts x 10 305 points
BA-64 x 2 MG & x 2 Anti Tank Rifles 100 points

1650 point army
HQ T34/76 75 points
T34/76 x 7 T34/57 x 3 635 points
T34/76 x 7 T34/57 x 3 635 points
T60 x 10 180 points
BA-64 x 3 MG & x 2 Anti Tank Rifles 125 points

At 1625 and 1600 simply drop a BA-64. Once you get lower than 1600 points things get sticky. Maybe a couple less T60s and or a couple less T34s however when and rarely if I play at this lower points level I would look at the Matilda option or possibly The Lee option, The Mixed Tankovy are an ideal army at 1500 points


You can see more of Robins stuff on his website


  1. Nice article, I hate them :-)

    (Need to remove last '/' from weblink, causes issues on Chrome)

  2. Nice one Robin, Stuarts are light tanks though, not fast!
    BTW Robins choice of support could be down to his dice throwing. Rota are very good and well worth a look.


    That should connect