It is late, and rather than focus on the fact that I am three weeks late lets focus on the fact that I have already written next months article as well and so we will get 2 tactics articles in the short span of roughly 10 days. 🙂
Without further hesitation lets dive into article 3!
I thought that this was a fitting article to do considering how many different nations in both MW and LW have mixed platoons of either guns or tanks. The three in particular that I am thinking of are MW German mixed panzer platoons, US LW tank platoons and British Sherman / Firefly platoons. Now the same will be true for gun platoons (Of which Germans and US are the worst offenders through combat attachments) however the rules for Guns are far less intricate so I want to just discuss tanks.
The most obvious place to start is with the targeting rules as there is a long list of things that must be done in order in order for us to better understand how to target the vehicles we want and not waste our precious shots.
Hit Allocation (pg. 295 / Quick Reference or throughout the shooting section:
- Only Valid Targets
- Roll 5+ to pick out Gun Tanks
- Allocate hits evenly
- Priority targets first
- Best Firepower to Priority
- Others before Gone to Ground
- Operational before Bogged down or Bailed out
- Within 16″ first
- Unarmoured before armoured
- Lowest Armour first
- Best Anti-Tank to Armoured
- Lower armour gets lower Anti-Tank
- Bunkers Busters to Buildings
- Unprotected before in Bulletproof Cover
- Best Firepower to Bulletproof Cover
Now that we have re-read that mound of conditions lets take them apart one at a time in order to better understand some advanced targeting concepts.
Only Valid Targets (pg. 93)
This one seems silly to spend time on and is often overlooked but I find it is your best tool when applying advanced targeting techniques. There are a couple ways that we can use it:
- If you cannot see the team you cannot target it. This is the most obvious and the way that I see most people attempt to use this. Move in such a way that you can only see the target you want to hit and that way any and all hits must be on that specific target.
- This is the one that people seem to forget a lot! You CANNOT shoot through FRIENDLY teams. This means that if one of your vehicles (say the one firing smoke, but more on that later, or at different platoon) gets between your AT shots and the target you do NOT want to hit then it is no longer a valid target and must be ignored. This means that if you really want to hit the M4A3E8 (Easy Eight) and not the M4A3E2 (Jumbo) then put one of your own teams in the way to block targeting of the Jumbo with your AT shots. This means that the other, non-Jumbo tanks are the only “Valid Targets”
- Combined with Smoke, again more on this later
Roll 5+ to pick out Gun Tanks (pg. 96)
This one is really strange, while being number 2 on the list it is the worst of our options when it comes to targeting and should only be used as a last resort because there is no way to guarantee that our shots hit home. This doesn’t mean you should not use it, you should ALWAYS use it, but hopefully it is less important because of the other options we are discussing.
Priority Targets First (pg. 94)
This one doesn’t really effect tank platoons but can certainly be used effectively when fighting mixed type platoons. The only time it ever comes up in tank armies is if you happen to have an independent transport team that is in the platoon and you want to not hit it first.
Others Before Gone to Ground (pg. 93)
This one is huge as well. Unless you are Soviet and then I am sorry but you cannot use this one to your advantage very often. For everyone else there is SMOKE! Smoke does two important things. First of all it limits the range of teams looking through smoke to 16″ and secondly it makes teams seen through smoke to be concealed and gone to ground regardless of whether they moved or shot last turn.
- Using smoke to limit shots to 16″. This one is key because if you are firing long range then this now means that you are able to only target the teams that you did NOT smoke which is perfect when combined with rule #1 Only Valid Targets.
- Creating teams that are now concealed and gone to ground. Remember that you must target teams that are either concealed or in the open first and so even if all tanks are at the same range then you must hit teams that are not GtG. So use your smoke offensively, not just defensively.
Within 16″ First (pg. 93)
This works particularly well if you have a limited number of shots, say from a warrior team. If you make sure that the target you want to hit, say that Panzer IVF1 with that massive AT11 in MW, then put that tank within 16″ and leave the other weaker Panzer III and Panzer IVs with weaker guns at over 16″ which means that you must hit your primary target!
I only include this one for US recon platoons which have a strange habit of mixing armoured cars with jeeps. Remember that firing those hail of MGs MUST target the Unarmoured teams first.
Lowest Armour First; Lower Armour get lower AT (pg. 95)
This is great when you are firing mixed AT at a platoon. This is particularly effective when used against US armoured platoons with some M4A2 (Front armour 6) mixed in with M4A3E8 and M4A3E2. It can force the US player to make some tough choices about whether to count the Jumbo as the lowest or end up getting hit with higher AT on the M4A2s. It is also very useful in MW against the Germans where the have several tanks with AT 9 and Front Armour 6 while the AT11 Panzer IVF1 has front armour 5.
This rule is useful but tricky, you are better to use smoke and close / long range to your advantage.
Shooting at Isolated Groups (pg. 74)
While this is not a targeting rule it is equally important. Especially against British who sometimes leave Fireflies in over-watch while the rest of the platoon moves off. Remember that if the team is no longer in command then you can now target the isolated portion of the platoon, (Either the in-command or out-of-command portion) as if it was its own platoon.
Many of the other rules are usable only in key situations when combined with other rules. (For instance operational before in-operational etc)
What is most important about these rules is that they are put in order for a reason. Anything higher up the list TRUMPS all rules below it. This is why the “Only Valid Targets” is the most effective to take advantage of and why the Gun Tank rule works so well even if it is random.
Another important note is that when you fire direct fire smoke the shooting player can place it on ANY valid target. All normal targeting rules are ignored. Direct Fire smoke also must be first in the platoon but can be fired after other platoons have shot. This is a crucial difference and tactical edge to direct fire smoke over bombarding smoke.
Hopefully this helps you all fight those pesky MW Germans and LW British and US armoured forces out there.
As always please discuss the article in our Tactics Forum here!