In my head I’ve always liked the idea that I could field and axis and an allies army in every period, and ideally form different theatres of the war. For LW I’ve got Germans (always suitable for every front) and my Brits and Finns, likewise all of those work well for MW too. EW though has been where I’ve been lacking – whilst my Finn’s cover the Axis and Eastern front, I really wanted something to cover the Allies and Western Front/Desert. Concurrently I’ve really wanted to get away from Veteran Infantry armies this year, they’ve pretty much been my exclusive area of playing over the last 12 months (again the Finns are to blame for this) so I really felt like some Mech/Tank’s ideally ones which were trained. This had been floating round my head fro some time, but with the invitation to the ETC I realised I needed a Mech force for this – and having reviewed the options for Trained Mech lists, one really grabbed me – French Armoured Cars. Now I’ve played against this list before and thought it was great, lots of mobility, some high AT and a nice variety of units available to play with. As things stand though I’m now playing the Finn’s at the ETC, but with all the models in my grasp, I think this is a lovely small little project I can be getting on with! (and yes I realise the idea of me and a small project don’t really go…)
One thing I have learnt from playing EW is that there are a few lists with fortifications – including of course barbed wire, this limits the effectiveness (to me at least) of the pure ‘Panhoard’ so the other option which I think could be useful is the Hotchkiss as a recon unit, being a tank it’s able to move over the wire, whilst also adding some punch in shooting – yes three of them as recon limits their use in assault, but for extra firepower vs infantry and another quick moving unit I think they are valuable. At the same time though I want an armoured platoon to be able to assault enemy infantry and engage armour as well. The biggest difficulty here is the ‘one man-turret’ rule, so I’ve chatted and observed a couple of the more experience French players I know, they seem to use bigger platoons and keep a couple stationary, move the others then swap over – for this to work though you need a bigish sized platoon. I’d love the Somua, but the points are a little too much so I’m going with another Hotchkiss platoon, this time though 5 strong.
Now, I think I have Anti Tank covered, with a mixture of AT 4-9 shots I’m hoping even against a soviet hoard I could do some damage. The big question now is dealing with infantry. I have 14 vehicles which have No HE, so what can I do to help dig out those dug in infantry? The obvious option is the Fusiliers-Voltigeurs (colonial), they’re Fearless trained, but hit hard in assaults. But (and I admit this sounds strange) whilst they look the best option for this on paper, I don't think they fit my idea of how to play the army - I want a mobile 'in your face fast' army. I've got the 5 strong hotchkiss platoon as assault unit number one, so I'm going to go for the slightly odd Renault AMR-35 platoon. They're 5 strong so can assault (as recce 5 hits though) but also with two 'light' 50 cals they can not be ignored by gun teams and infantry.
Well this is the army, I hope it's relatively competitive. It's going to struggle in mobile battles I fear, and dug in infantry will be at the mercy of MG's and hotchkiss tanks - but for mobility it looks great.
Hope to bring you some WIP and AAR's soon.