Monday, 1 June 2015

Expanding Grimball's Beasts (USAB05)

Hello all, Fez here.

I've been given the task of writing up how to expand the fantastic Grimball's Beasts US starter Tank army from Battelfront, as I had all the models in the box already!
Out of the three starter boxes, this is probably the hardest to write such an article, for one reason - the Pershing!
Bovingdons M26 Pershing
Unlike the German or the Soviet boxes, currently the Pershing only appears in one list - the Tank Company in Bridge at Remagen. This can be either the Confident Vet 9th, or my personal favorite the Reluctant Vet 3rd 'Spearhead' Armoured Division. I find that the points break for reluctant means I can round my platoons out to give me the tools I need for the job, and if I play it right, I won't need to motivate much anyway. Add the fact the 1ic is rolling up with the normal shermans anyway, a 5+ with a re-roll is still pretty good.

Some of the 3rd Armoured Division's earlier work on a Panzer Iv/70
The Pershing platoon 'Heavy Tank Platoon' is only available once, with it sharing a compulsory box with a standard tank Platoon. Regardless of if its taken with the 9th or 3th AD, Pershings are always Confident Vet, so the following applies to either list.

Like I've said, the Pershing really makes this a hard article to write, as you have to make a very tricky decision about your list before you've even built your models. The problem looks like this:
The Super Pershing!
Pershings are so American you can even take them Super-Sized! Well, one of them anyway. Due to the historical fact that only one up gunned Super Pershing was ever sent to Europe, they only come as a platoon of one. As you only get three Pershings models in the box, you'll need to decide if you want to run three normal Pershings, or have the option to swap between two normals and a Super.

The normal 3 x Pershing platoon will set you back 595 pts, where as the Super Pershing is 275. If you're starting off, then having more points for your money is nice, however I've found that once I've added some more regular Shermas/Easy 8's/ Jumbos, I like the hole the Super Pershing fills for less points. Of course, you can always go the Fez Route, and pick up a second box of Pershings to enable to you have a full platoon of 5, or a Super Pershing!
The Reason you have to attach the treads to the side of the Pershing model - the real one has standard mounts for them!
To start with, I'll assume we're going with a platoon of three standard Pershings to bulk out points, and build the rest of the Shermans as m4a3 Lates. We've got the Pershings for our high AT assets, and at range with vet they should be able to trade blows with most tanks. In essence they are American Panthers, although not having Stormtrooper leaves them dis-advantaged in a straight up fight.

The box also gives us the best Swiss Army Knife platoon, the Armoured Rifle Platoon - the only Platoon in the game that has an answer to everything. Got tanks? We've got Bazookas. Got hordes of infantry? We've got MG's. Dug in? We've got our own pinning Mortar!
Starting from there, we'll be using the M4's to push forward and use their weight of numbers to MG/Assault infantry, or swamp other smaller light tank platoons. To give these some more survivability, we'll add a Jumbo (USO56) to the 2ic - that way, if he does die, it won't mater for the platoon Morale.

To make the most of the American Special rules, you need to add some Artillery - Time on Target means that if you range in on the first attempt, the opponent needs to re-roll successful saves. This means you can really start killing things with your guns! Add an AOP, and no-where on the table is safe from your reach.
I've added a platoon of priests, using USBX12 - Armoured Artillery Battery. In order to make the most of missions with mobile reserves, I've also added two half tracks for the platoon command and staff team, using the new open fire box OFBX06. This means all your platoons have transports, so you can choose which two platoons to deploy in mobile reserve missions. The last addition is the US950 - L4 Grasshopper AOP.

The great thing about US tanks is that when I found I had 15 pts spare, I could go back and add some extra MG's to the M4 platoon, meaning nothing is wasted.

This gives us a 4 platoon list, which is solid but not great - to be honest, there are other options out there, but the key additions I've added (Jumbo and Priests) will all be usable in other US lists you go on to build. This list is missing Recon, however as the platoons are often 3/4 blister packs, these represent a large outlay of cash for something that takes finesse to get to work. Having a platoon of Pershings to snipe with, M4's to roll up and threaten objectives, artillery to try smoke/pinning with, and the all round ARP platoon to either defend or push with the M4's gives you flexibility to learn how Flames of War works.
I met a Movie Star!
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, please comment below.



  1. Thanks for the post, Pershings are too expensive IMHO, they don't even have stabs? With only three tanks, veteran command range and no mission tactics, there could be problems. ;)

    1. Indeed, although I would always be wary of looking at a unit in isolation - tank telephone turns any adjacent infantry into recce, allowing you to lift GTG - front armour 10 is no laughing matter if you neutralise the opponents threat to it. Rather than seeing them as the 'poor mans panther' I see them as a great way for a beginner to get a starting army on the board with less models (and therefore cost!).

      Plus I think they look damn cool!

    2. TA2 is not poor mans panther. And FA10 is good, no issues, BUT, Panther is too expensive as it is and Su-100/JT's/KT's/FF's you know the lot, eat FA10 tanks for breakfast.

      Very cool looks, agreed 100%, and mine comment is from tourney player view, not from what is fun or historical. ;)