Friday, 30 January 2015

Converting To Armour - Part One

Hey everyone, Matt here!
So here's the situation - I have been playing Flames of War for just over a year now, been to some great events, played some excellent players and was even fortunate enough to have been asked to join this rather fabulous blog (you can remove the gun from my head now fellas!) and so here I am... 2014 was clearly a fantastic year and 2015 has a lot to live up to indeed. I started the new year in the best possible way - A day trip to the tank museum...
Apparently people have better things to do than visit the tank museum on New Year's Day. Losers!

You might have seen already that I set myself a New Years resolution to play 100 games of FOW in 2015! The idea behind this is that I could attempt to catchup somewhat with the more experienced players in the event scene and eventually reduce some of those demoralising 6-1 defeats - that's the plan anyway!

It would probably be wasteful to just stick to my usual 'comfort zone' armies that I have been using already for these 100 games. So far I have stuck to German and Finnish infantry lists and therefore Ive been defending, defending and more defending. Often I have found opponents controlling and dictating the pace of the game, shuffling their knights and bishops around the board, whilst my sad little pawns sit in the corner, waiting to get crushed...
Of course it hasn't always worked out this well for the attacker - my defence has clearly improved over the year, but if I want to take things to the next stage I am going to need to be able to utilise these clunky, metal mammoths of doom and so 2015 for me is the year of the tank. Roll out!

My trip to tank museum was clearly inspirational as almost immediately after arriving home I had plonked my backside on the sofa and began ordering some models for the new army! So what did I go for!? Well in short - Brits! The slightly longer version is; Shermans, Cromwells, Sextons, Stuart's, trucks, 25 pounders, Fireflies and... well you get the picture! I now need to design some lists, get some games in and generally work out how I am going to use these guys...

                          "I think this one would look good in your army Daddy!"

So before I get stuck into some games I think that it would probably be beneficial to remind myself about the British special rules (pg 246 in the rulebook) and to start thinking about how I can use some of these to my advantage. In summary I think the key special rules to note are; Semi indirect fire, Mike target and British bull dog (nation dependant). Here are my thoughts on each rule:

Semi indirect fire - This is a good rule no doubt, but it is so common to see British tankers sitting there at range, picking off a couple of platoons & utilising those tasty re-rolls.. but clearly neglecting the necessity to show ANY true form of aggression and running out of time. It's a good tool to have in the box, but it's important to remember what tank armies are supposed to do... Attack!

Mike Target - I like to take a platoon of self propelled artillery with my tanks, given their flexibility. They can get around the battlefield just as well as the armour, pin down enemy platoons, lay smoke down and also make pretty decent assault guns if you need more barrels in the mix. Mike target allows a re-roll on your first attempt to range in for bombardments and forces the opponent to re-roll any successful saves when they have been hit by a repeat bombardment. Good to know!

British Bulldog - Excellent rule! A re-roll to counter attack in assaults what's not to like?! Using a tank army I am going to need to assault quite a lot (to say the least). Any rules that help with this are going to be useful

Here is my first take on a British armoured list from Road To Rome...
This list has some interesting options. I went for the Canadian take (instead of British, South African or New Zealand) as I really like the idea of using the mission tactics rule for my platoons, (although I would have to lose British Bulldog in order to do so.) Here are some of the key features to my list:

- The Sherman 105mm tanks have breakthrough, ROF 1 guns which will certainly be useful digging out infantry (a general weakness to British armour lists). The 105 tanks can fire bombardments and also benefit from the semi in-direct Fire rule.

- Priests are better than Sextons! Again they all have ROF 1 breakthrough guns and a decent bombardment (AT 4, Firepower 4) They even each have a 50 cal.

- 4 M10s are nice but they are the AT 12 guns and time will tell as to whether I have enough punch in the list to take on Panthers and Tigers. My fear is that the fireflies might be overworked, but at least I've got those decent bombardments to help deal with the kitties!

Right...time to paint! Join me again soon for part two where I will review my army following Corrivalry, talk tactics and lessons learnt as well as design a new panzer army for Art of War!

'Tanks' for stopping by...
Papa Bear rolling out!


  1. Hi.. Great read. I own two copies of open fire and looking to expand my british armoured. I follow you on the tanks options, but i wonder don't you miss infantry support?

  2. Hi Freek Jan Hamming. The reason why I don't use infantry with medium tanks in general is that, infantry are slow.... With tank lists you need to attack before the opponents reinforcements get on the board (assuming you are the attacker) and slow moving infantry will be too far behind to support my tanks. In addition infantry offer a very easy and squishy target when they are on the move like this and can be worn down pretty easily.
    My plan is for the priests to wittle down the defending platoons, with help from the AOP and Mike target, then assault with the shermans by around turn 3 (or before their reserves are definetely coming on)

  3. Nice post. I've followed a similar path to you, getting into armour after cutting my teeth on infantry. It makes you look at the game in a new way, and it will make you a better player overall. Canadians are a great option for armoured lists, not just for mission tactics, but you effectively get Protected Ammo on all your tanks as well. In my humble experience, this is gold, Good luck!