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Beyond the completely obvious part 2 - Mid War mechanized lists analysis (ETC-wise)

Ok, now that we have tanks covered, I will jump into the not-so-obvious mech company choices.
The way I see the overall picture of this type of forces in the ETC is that they will most likely be used to build flexible and balanced lists able to take on all comers. This would naturally make them champions (lists that will be assigned 2 opponents to choose from). There is however, at least one exception from this rule that will be mentioned later on in the article.

Digression: What I also find funny about mechanized companies is that in singles tournaments players do not use them very often. I think that they do not feel so comfortable with having to switch between attacking and defending, depending on the opposing company type. My personal feeling is that playing mech is good practice and it is worth to give it a try for more than just one or two games.
Also, numbers collected over many polish tournaments prove that mechanized forces have the best win ratio of all company types ;) (if I remember correctly, it was also true for at least one ETC tournament)

But back to the main topic:
Italian Esplorante

I really love the list. If it was not for my Romanians, I would definately go for this one. Its main strength are combat platoons of tiny tanks that can harass the hell out of everybody and some very good support options. Their platoons are also fairly cheap compared to what Elite rating brings to the table (50% chance to be confident veteran, 16% fearless veteran).
When I think about this list, I mainly see it in an anti-infantry role. L6/40 is a perfect tool for dealing with any supporting troops that an infantry company fields and then launching a few concentrated assaults (unless the enemy breaks first). A platoon of these little bastards can easily hide behind a medium-sized barn and then jump out to pump out several 0.5" and MG shots at the nearest gun team and then assault and gang-rape it in the flank if the shooting fails. What you have to remember though is that they are NOT a recon platoon and not a real tank platoon :)
Also other support options, like the cheap AT 7 semoventes or carri help to deal with infantry. The Esplorante however, is not helpless against tanks. It can still field your favourite 4x Pak40 or a Panzer IV platoon and back it up with a big pioneer (demolisher) unit.
All in all, it is a balanced force that can be used to effect both on offense and on defense.
My sample list would contain:
Italian Esplorante Mechanised Company, from North Africa, page 98

HQ: 2x L6/40
Platoon 1: 4x L6/40
Platoon 2: 4x L6/40
Platoon 3: 4x AB41
Platoon 4: 1x Command Semovente 47/32 + 3x Semovente 47/32
Platoon 5: 1x Command Carro + 4x Semovente 75/18
Platoon 6: 7x Pioneer Rifle + 2x 45mm Brixia mortar
Platoon 7: 4x Captured 25pdr
Platoon 8: 4x German Pak40

US Armored Rifles
This list does not have to be advertised in any way I think. It is a very solid choice in Late War and my personal opinion is that it remains a decent option in Mid. The only thing you have to consider when selecting it is that you will always have to go Confident Trained :)
Even though I mentioned in the preamble of the article that mech lists are designed to take on all comers, my perception of the Armored Rifles is that it is leaning more towards the anti-tank role than its Italian cousin. The main reasons for this are:
- Tank Destroyers, which will be a real pain in the bottom for Mixed Tankovy lists. This is not really because they have enough AT to punch through the armor of a KV. I understand their role as one of the best options to shoot Mixed Tankovy support platoons. Combine them with a tank unit and some arty and you will kill off any medium/ligh tanks that the Soviets field and either condemn the KVs to unsupported assaults or force a morale check on their company.
- Bazookas in the Armored Rifle platoons. They are enough to stop any tank assault and sometimes can even wonder off on their own a bit and shoot some lone wolf vehicles.
- Time on target arty. I think in Mid War artillery will be a bit more valuable, since there are more non-veteran armies around. This will make ranging in easier and for US troops ToT more frequent.
What is great about the list is that anti-tank units also shine in an assault support role. Tanks have direct smoke and have so many mgs that you should be able to pin the enemy easily. Tank destroyers will go around harassing unarmored teams until they unload their deadly cargo. Finally, artillery will either smoke whatever you need shrouded or kill of a couple of infantry stands before the attack goes in.
All the above considered, I would expect to see at least several Armored Rifle companies at the ETC.
My favourite list is this:
US Armored Rifle Mechanised Company, from North Africa, page 238
HQ: 2x Carbine + transports
Platoon 1: 6x Rifle + 1x M3 37mm gun + 2x M1919 LMG + M2 60mm mortar + 4x Bazooka + transports
Platoon 2: 4x Rifle + 1x M3 37mm gun + 2x M1919 LMG + M2 60mm mortar + 2x Bazooka + transports
Platoon 3: 1x Carbine + 2x Rifle + 1x Bazooka + transports
Platoon 4: 4x Tank Destroyers (M10)
Platoon 5: 5x M3 Lee (long guns)
Platoon 6: 4x 105mm howitzer
Soviet Kazachiy Polk
This company is the exception that I mentioned in the intro. My opinion is that this list is purely an infantry killer. The big reason for this is that it Always Attacks in defensive battles (although with the current BF FAQ I believe it should just say: Always Attack). Attacking tanks on horses (or on foot) in broad daylight while being trained and deprived of any smoke screen is pure suicide in my book. This is why I would use it only vs infantry or foot mechanized (like Armored Rifles for example).
The big hitter in this list is the compulsory cavalry platoon of death. It can be loaded with a mixture of regular rifle/mg infantry, light mortars and ptrd a-t rifles. Addidionally, you can top it off with some mounted pioneers and a komissar from the HQ. This unit, infiltrated by cossack scouts, can easily launch a massed assault on turn 1, still having the advantage of quality of quantity rule (extending your assault bubble to 12" and increasing the number of hits needed to stop you in defensive fire to 10).
Even if you are forced to delay your offensive, your support can help you a lot to achieve fire superiority and suppress the enemy until your cossacks reach their positions. All you need is some guns from regimental gun companies, an artillery battalion and/or tank destruction company and maybe a medium tank unit. If you still feel light on anti-infantry firepower, you can field a 12 tube medium mortar platoon for only 150 points. When in position, it can lob so many rounds per turn that you will not even have to worry about getting an assault in.
With proper pairing choices Kazachiy will hit infantry and will hit it hard.
This is how I would field the anti-infantry Kazachiy:
Soviet Kazachiy Polk (Regular Support) Mechanised Company, from Eastern Front, page 208
HQ: 2x Cavalry Rifle + Cavalry Komissar + 4x Cavalry Pioneer Rifle
Platoon 1: 13x Cavalry Rifle/MG + 2x Cavalry light mortar
Platoon 2: 5x Rifle/MG + 1x light mortar
Platoon 3: 3x SMG scouts (Fearless Veteran)
Platoon 4: 8x Zis-4 guns + transport
Platoon 5: 6x T-34 obr 1941 or 1942
Platoon 6: 4x Zis-2 + 1x ptrd + komissar + transport
So what are your guesses as to which mech briefings would be used during ETC most often and why?


  1. I think you are likely to also see British armoured cars (some great options there) German panzer grenadiers and perhaps I think some Hungarian cav too

  2. I agree with the British and German lists (although I personally feel that PzGrens are a bit crap - my own opinion). I am not so sure about Hungarian cav. The obstacle here might be the availability of the models (although the list is pretty neat) :P
    In any case, I think mechanized is the area where you would see most diversity, since there are so many decent options to choose from!

  3. Eastern Front - Panzerspah, can load up on support plts .

  4. Soo true. This was my first choice (mentioned in one of the previous articles). With this writeup I am focusing on the less obvious choices. But I am still happy, that we have an agreement on what is a pretty sound choice :)