1. The moving story of her participation in World War II
2. FoW rules that represent her on the miniature battlefield
The story of Mariya
So for anyone who does not know this, Mariya Oktyabrskaya was a tank driver in the Red Army between 1943 and 1944 (she died as a result of wounds sustained in battle). For her outstanding service, she was posthumously awarded the title of the Hero of the Soviet Union.
What was so interesting about her participation in war was that she volunteered for the tank corps as a way of exacting her revenge on the Germans for killing her husband. After she learned of his death, she sold all her possessions and donated a T-34 tank to the Red Army. There was only one condition related to this donation: she is allowed to drive the tank into battle. The Soviets, realizing the propaganda opportunity, granted her wish. She was sent to a 5 month training and she named her tank the "Fighting Girlfriend". After the training, Mariya was sent to the frontline where she served showing extraordinary heroism until her death following the battle of Vitebsk.
Mariya in FoW
In Flames of War, Mariya is represented as a warrior team (retaining the rating of the company/battalion she is a part of) that can be fielded as a part of a Medium Tankovy company or a Battalion Commander driving a T-34 tank. What is so cool about her when she is a part of a company is that the tank that she will drive can be of any type (T-34, T-34/57 or uparmoured T-34). The sad part is that if you select her as a Battalion Commander, you can only use a regular T-34 :(
Her rules changed a bit since they were published in Forces of War and with the current wording they mean:
- she passes skill tests on a 2+
- she passes all morale checks on a 2+. This extends to Company Morale checks if she is your HQ and Platoon Morale checks if she is the command team (in the previous version I believe it was only for her tank).
- she can move and shoot with full rof, obeying the H&C rules
So far, I can see at least 3 decent options of fielding her:
1. Battalion commander - assault monster:
This build incorporates Mariya in a T-34 with an upgrade of Tank Escorts. It means you will have a lone wolf tank that can skirt the enemy flanks and assault units with weak a-t capability using her two 2+ attacks per combat round. Also, her 2+ re-rollable motivation check to counterattack means that she will fight until every enemy team is destroyed or she dies a glorious death.
2. Company (platoon) commander - assault monster:
This is a build similar to the first one but has slightly different advantages. First of all, in Tankovy Batalon lists it releases your HQ slot to be filled in with a different type of tank when necessary. Secondly, it boosts the morale of the platoon from 3+ to 2+ for the purposes of platoon morale checks. And finally, she is still the assault monster herself! :) This can be coupled with a unit of uparmoured T-34s that can be a real pain to get rid of. Downside is that if you want to use Tank Escorts, you need to upgrade the entire unit :(
3. Company (platoon) commander - anti-tank role:
With this build you let Mariya drive a T-34/57 tank and utilize her ability to move and shoot with full rof. This option however, is not possible in a Mixed Tankovy list. Such a pity....not :P
Ok, so this is it regarding the female tank hero Mariya Oktyabrskaya - I will be testing a Tankovy list with Mariya soon enough and will let you know what the outcome was! :)