Hey, I am back with another article dedicated to players new to the game. This time, inspired by some Facebook conversations, I decided to share my thoughts around starting a Soviet Tank force.
To be honest, normally I would not recommend a newbie to start their FoW adventures playing a tank company. The reason for this is that going on the offensive (which is typical for tanks) does not let you watch and learn so much. You will have to be active most of the game and the issue I always had with a new system - I was not so sure what to do :) This means that playing a Soviet Tankovy will be burdened with a lot of harsh lessons at the beginning but if after reading this intro, someone still loves the idea of fielding the Soviet armored fist, I can at least help with some difficult choices every Tankista has to make :)
1. What is the period I should concentrate on first?
As per usual, my answer is: Late War. This period has the biggest number of books and digital briefings to choose from and is probably the most frequently played one. Unfortunately, this also means that some iconinc Early War monsters, like the T-35 or the KV-2 will not be available but at least you will be able to use the IS tank series :)
2. Which Books/Digital briefings should I use?
There are 3 books and a digital briefing that allow the player to field Soviet tank lists in Late War. The good thing about them is that almost all of them are feasible choices but the bad thing is that a lot of them are based around completely different types of tanks. The outcome is that almost anything you choose will be playable but to switch between the lists, you will need to buy new models.
In any case, here is my personal rating of LW books, containing Soviet tank lists in terms of diversity/playability.
- Red Bear (revised) - this book has it all when it comes to LW Soviet armor
- Desperate Measures - this one does not have the heavy tank lists but has access to some decent Late Late War equipment, like the 160mm mortars
- Berlin Digital - still some good lists here
- Berlin Book - only heavy tank lists (unlike Desperate Measures)
This is the typical dillema of a Soviet tank commander. Hen & Chicks is a rule that makes hitting your targets more difficult when your tanks move and to make it even more annoying, if one of the tanks in the platoon moves, all have to move :(
Keeping this in mind, you can either go for companies that have majority of their platoons subject to this rule or go in the opposite direction and play either a heavy tank lists or a hero list which does not use it.
In my opinion, if you are new to the game, forget playing tanks that have the H&C rule. Start with something simple. This will also allow you to build a smaller force as these types of companies normally require a smaller number of models to work.
4. What models should I buy?
Like I mentioned before, there are quite a few feasible lists out there but the models to be used are sometimes completely different. Because of this, I will give you a hint on what you will need to play a Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy from Red Bear as well as Hero Tankovy from Desperate Measures.
Gvardeyskiy Tyazhelyy Tankovy from Red Bear (around 1500 points)
- 7x KV 85 or IS 85 tanks (do not get IS-2, they are worthless pieces of junk, trust me)
- 5x teams of foot scouts + possibly a BA64 car
- 4x 122mm howitzers
- 4x 152mm howitzers
- 4x Zis-2 or 85mm guns or 4x 37mm anti-aircraft to fend off the bombers
Hero Tankovy from Desperate Measures (around 1500 points)
- 9x T-34/85
- 4x T-34/76
- 4x BA64
- 6x 120mm mortars
- 6x 160mm mortars
Both these lists will be solid choices in my opinion and since they are pretty straightforward to run, helpful in learning quite a few rules and will bring you closer to understanding how to run H&C lists :)
P.S. I hope to do a test of the Hero Tankovy list pretty soon. Will share the experience.