How to start collecting a US force - hints for newbies :)
Soooo, following up on the last article on how to start Flames of War, today I will say a few words about creating a US force. I figured I will use the basic structure of the previous article, since the points to be considered remain pretty much the same.
So here we go:
1. What period should I start with?
Just like with the Germans, go for Late War. There are two main reasons for this: it has the greatest number of available books that can be used to build your army on and a lot of players flock to this period because of all the shiny toys that come with it, like E8 Shermans, Jumbo tanks, Calliope rocket launchers, etc.
What has to be kept in mind, is that all books of the period have already been released, so I would expect no real novelties in LW apart from some cosmetic changes every now and again (and maybe an Ardennes compilation that might counter what many players view as high overall power level of the US forces in these briefings, so beware :) ). This state of period freeze might be considered both a good and a bad thing at the same time - depending on how you look at it.
In any case, if for some weird reason LW is not for you, my next pick would be Mid War, as there are no US forces available for Early War (historical reasons of course!) :(
2. What company type should I go for?
With a US force I would go for an Armored Rifles company. The reason for this is that the US Armored Rifles are a very flexible and inherently balanced force. What is also a great learning opportunity is that you can get all kinds of support with it: infantry, tanks, tank destroyers, guns, artillery, recon, anti-air, aircraft, you name it, it is bound to be there :)
Playing US Armored Rifles might be a bit more challenging than leading an infantry company at first because you will be attacking more often (you will need to stay active instead of reacting to what your opponent does). Do not be afraid however, as with all the toys and big, tough platoons this force will also forgive more mistakes than some of the more subtle choices.
3. Which book should I use?
Good news is: for Late War, there are so many books available to the US player. Bad news is: oh my god, so many books :) My favourites are described below - top is best all round book (considering Digital content), but please consider that the rating does not focus on infantry companies but rather the nation's forces as a whole:
Blood Guts & Glory - a must have for any tread-head. Includes the dreaded Patton + 7th Armored combo
Devil's Charge - known for the deadly 2nd Infantry Division which can field 2 Tank Destroyer platoons and a ton of artillery
Bridge at Remagen - very good Reluctant Veteran troops (mostly tanks) with the ability to Auto Attack via Sherman Crocodile platoons
Overlord - perfect all-rounder. Has absolutely everything + a fast, hard hitting Task Force A company
Road to Rome - good all-rounder + the option to field your Americans as the Free French (which are arguably even more competitive than the US forces!)
Nuts! - a treat for the parachute infantry enthusiasts
Market Garden - same like in Nuts! but with different Warriors mostly
Nachtjager Digital Exclusive - parachutists again, with a mix of British troops (Churchill tanks most notably! :) )
Gung Ho - latest addition, Marines and their dog friends
4. What models do I need to learn the game and not get beaten all the time?
For your Armored Rifles company (1500-1800 list), I would go for:
- 2 platoons of Armored Rifle infantry
- 1 Tank Destroyer platoon
- 1 Armored Artillery Battery (3 priests, staff team, command + transports)
- 1 Cavalry Recon platoon
- 1 Sherman tank platoon (these can be either M4s or M4A3s with a mix of Jumbo/E8 tanks - you will probably need a mix of several types)
To extend it beyond this point level, I would keep adding more artillery and an Air Observation Post (Grashopper aircraft). Other possibilities are: another recce platoon, air support (P 47 for example), anti-tank gun platoon (57mm).
I can assure you - if you build your company like so, you will not be disappointed! :)