I will start by apologizing for my week delay on this one. I had an article almost done and then just found I didn’t like it at all and so scraped it. Then I seemed to be stuck on what to do next. Final excuse is the season. But alas, here is an article on mounted assaults and assaults with tank riders. Obviously the mounted assault part will be geared more towards the Germans since most other nation lists cannot utilize this rule. However, when it comes to how to conduct a mounted assault if we broaden mounted assault to mean using mechanized infantry then we can include all nations still.
We will talk about the following sub categories:
- Armoured Transport Positioning
- Covering Fire
- Free Movement
- When to Mounted Assault
- Assaulting into Very Difficult Going
Armoured Transport Positioning:
I want to begin with talking about positioning of armoured transports in order to help funnel the enemy counterattacks. If you are planning on assaulting with a mechanized force you are often smaller than the enemy you are assaulting. One way to help mitigate being outnumbered is placement of your Armoured Transports (APC) that are giving covering fire. By placing the APC on one or both flanks they are now treated as non-assaulting teams. The reason that this is helpful is that the enemy will be required to attack them (even though they are assaulting teams) when they counterattack. This can give you an armour save from those hits and also stops the enemy from moving over or through the transport team. (Do remember that you must break off with the transport when you counter attack so this only funnels teams for one turn) This can allow you to create a funnel or at least a hard edge flank that the enemy cannot swarm around. This can be exceptionally useful when you are outnumbered. However, be careful as it can also hurt your own forces if you end up being the one who is doing the outnumbering! I find this works well for some of the British or German forces (the ones that want to dismount to assault) who have smaller mechanized platoons. It is especially helpful against the US and Soviet forces that tend to horde infantry. It is risky though as it does create a lot of hits being put onto your transport team (that has infantry inside unless you are German)
This is a bit of a no brainer but I wanted to include it for those that haven’t played or played against Mechanized forces and are considering it now. Remember transports without anyone in them must be sent to the rear, unless you are German. Therefore if you can spare to leave a guy in the APC so it can stick around to shoot while the rest of the platoon moves in on foot to fight in assaults it gives you two advantages.
- You will have some firepower to help pin your enemy while on the move since vehicle MGs take no penalty to ROF while moving.
- You have teams that will cause tank terror if the enemy wants to try to assault you first or after a bad assault on your part. This means that they will need to roll a motivation to get up and assault you in the first place.
- Please remember this will not be the case for counterattacking if you assaulted the enemy as your transports are non-assaulting teams
This is something fairly simply as well but sometimes gets overlooked when you are going to need to get moving in your next turn. Particularly if you were assaulted by the enemy while you were out of your APC, or even if you weren’t. When the assault is over you get to move 4″ if you won the assault and a full movement if you break off.
- To get your transports out of terrain or onto a road for increased movement in your next turn and to leave the enemy out of position after your feint on their defensive line.
- It can also be used to dismount if there are direct threats to your APCs that you want to avoid.
- Special note that you need to remember that you CANNOT remount your transports as this can only be done in your own movement step.
When to Mounted Assault:
This is a question that I get asked a lot by players who are either just starting or wanting to improve their Mechanized play. The truth, I find, is rarely. Most of the time it is not a good idea to charge inside your half tracks. It can be safer in EW and MW but in LW the large presence of infantry held AT weaponry makes the half tracks top armour of 0 fail resulting in all passengers immediately dying. However, there are times when it is worth while and I will outline a few below:
- Assaulting guns without turn tables (even AT guns) behind the front arc as this means that they will have to fight as a rifle team rather than a gun team firing at your side armour.
- When you outnumber the opponent greatly
- When you have a narrow lane of assault and so want to get two attacks out of a narrow half track rather than trying to stack infantry into a narrow passage.
- Attacking infantry with assault AT ratings of 2, with no heavy hitters (Bazookas, Piats, Schreks etc)
The biggest advantage that the assault has is to attack teams that are 16″ or 22″ away by using the half tracked movements on cross country or roads and the assaulting.
The second advantage is if you can pull off a relatively safe assault that allows you to move way up the board and then assault and using the break off or consolidation to get out of your half tracks and into a more defensible position. (fields, woods, buildings etc)
Assaulting into Very Difficult Going:
This one only applies to Germans and Soviets as I cannot think of any other nations that get the mounted assault or tank rider rules. However it works for any troops with these rules. In order for it to work for the mounted assault you must have two teams in the APC so as to count as having tank riders.
There are two rules that are often forgotten for tanks and tank riders. The first is that if the tank team is attacking a team that is in difficult or very difficult going they must do either a bog or skill check for the terrain for every counterattack, even if they are not in the terrain themselves but want to assault teams that are in the terrain feature. The second rule that is forgotten is specific to tank riders, tanks with tank riders may elect to stop short of the terrain and send in just the tank riders so long as they are within 2″ of the enemy teams. If they do this then they are NOT required to make the bog or skill check for difficult or very difficult terrain. This can certainly help them to root out teams in any very difficult terrain (buildings in particular) This is obviously more effective with tank riders than APCs with tank riders as the infantry in an APC can just dismount, however if the enemy teams lack much in the way of AT then you can elect to stay in your APC to assault those infantry and keep your armour save. Just be careful as a failed armour save (not bailed, but actual fail) will kill ALL teams in the APC immediately with no save allowed.
I find I am still learning about how and when to best utilize my mounted assaults and tank escorts so I by no means claim to be an expert. However, hopefully this will get you thinking about a few tips and tricks you can use in order to better utilize them in your own games.
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