When you first hit the battlefield both commander take a minute unpacking their travel columns and deploying forces to the field of battle. They are also committing some platoons to active duty and some to the rear to support where needed, however we will talk about reserves another time.
What I want to focus on here is a couple of does and don’ts for deploying your forces on the board. I am going to specifically look at a couple of key things:
- Objective Sentry Duty
- Large Guns & AA Guns
- Mechanized Platoons
Objective Sentry Duty:
The very first thing you want to be thinking about when deploying is how are you planning on defending your objectives. This is going to largely rely on your list and your opponents. If you are significantly more mobile than your opponent it might be best to not defend your objectives but rather to surge forward forcing your opponent to constantly react to you and to make sure that you will defend your objectives by advancing across the line which leaves no way for your opponent to get behind your lines and reach the objectives. This is particularly effective if you are mechanized or Armoured and playing an Infantry or Fortified list that does not have any mechanized portion of its force. It is a successful tactic but also a more difficult one to implement successfully.
More likely you will be deploying a platoon, or more, around each objective in order to hold it down against enemy forces. Personally I have found that only one platoon type can really do this effectively, infantry. Often I see people putting other support type of platoons near their objectives and the truth is that this is typically not want you want to be doing. Infantry can form a wall that is difficult for nearly any advancing enemy (Armoured, Mechanized or Infantry) to remove. This doesn’t mean that you should not support them with extra HMG or AT weaponry however. These used in conjunction with an Infantry platoon can create a strong point that is onerous to remove.
By placing a support platoon (specifically I am thinking artillery or AA) near an objective you have created a hot zone that your opponent wants to oust and capture for more than one reason now. Not only will securing the objective win them the game but it will remove your artillery / AA from the game, making it easier for them to attack. By placing your artillery in a different location not located near or en route to your objectives you have effectively created a new “tactical objective” for the opponent. They want to win, but they may feel they need to remove the threat or effectiveness of your artillery first. This means you will force them to make a choice, which will create not only an enhanced game experience for both players but also tactical opportunities that wouldn’t have existed had you put all your eggs in one basket burrowed around an objective.
Large Guns and AA:
I felt it was important to mention that care need be taken when deploying your large / immobile and AA guns. These are effective pieces that can halt an enemy advance as well as keep your own push surging forward. However, there are a few key things to think about when deploying them that I thought worth mentioning. These guns are not going to benefit from concealment if they are not concealed by terrain. This means that they also cannot fully benefit from being gone to ground either (though they will still retain the 3+ save for being gone to ground despite not being harder to hit). So picking your deployment zone can be important if you have a lot of artillery that you are going to want to situate safely on the board.
- Fields are probably the absolute safest option for your guns since they will be concealed without limiting movement or lines of sight.
- Linear obstacles are good as well but they tend to have more of a threshold approach because they will block or conceal you perfectly until the enemy crosses said linear obstacle which will mean that you no longer receive any benefit.
- Woods can also be effective until you are assaulted since you will not be permitted to move your guns without taking a bogging check which can end up resulting in their capture. However it will help protect them against tanks because the tanks will also need the bogging check. 😉
- You are also going to want some areas with clear lines of sight on the approaches to your force so that your observers and maybe even command teams can be over watching the battlefield.
It might seem odd to single out mechanized platoons but it is for good reason. One thing to remember is that mechanized platoons can either start with their transports on the table or off the table. When I desire to be aggressive in a battle with my mechanized platoons I often start the transports off the table. I realize that this likely sounds counter productive but there is a reason to my seeming madness. On turn one we can call the transports onto the table very similarly to an ambush. The biggest difference being that it is not required to be in your deployment zone, however the other placement rules all still come into effect. This means that if you are situated (given terrain on the board) to call the transports onto the table 6 inches in front of your infantry and attached teams that you will get some extra movement out of it. Once the transports are called onto the table you can now mount the transports and then move the transports their full move which gives you and extra turn of movement out of them! I often use this tactic in order to pounce on my enemy all the faster.
It is almost like having a spearhead!
Hopefully this helps you think a little bit about creating “extra” tactical objectives for your opponent as well as keeping platoons safe and moving faster. I have certainly found that this makes the game far more interesting for both myself and my opponent to say the least.
As always please discuss the article below or in our Tactics Forum here!