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Mother Russia shed a tear…

by on May 7, 2012

“Glorious comrade Volkov fought bravely by leading the Red Army into the maw of the wolf. Stalin will not forget their sacrifice. The cowardly fascists held onto the Italian hamlet this time. ”

-Kommissar Pushkin

Off to a rough start with my 500 point Strelkovy kompanie. My ace Volkov was able to lead a hoard of brave socialist soldiers to the objective, but failed to hold once the German reserve arrived on turn 6. A new shipment of soldiers has just arrived from the Ukraine to help make another assault on the Italian hamlet. Volkov will have to answer to the Kommissar if he fails again.

The list I used was simple:

  • Company Commander w/2iC and company kommissar
  • Strelkovy Platoon (2) units w/ rifles and kommissars
  • Strelkovy Platoon (2) units w/ rifles

Since the German mortars decimated most of my force I will have to alter this list for the next battle.

  1. Excellent write up and pics… you should post your army list though so ppl can see what you’re playing with if they’re curious. -Walter

  2. Yea having some mortars in any of these small infantry battles makes a HUGE difference. I only have 1 small mortar supporting each of my platoons, but those two mortars made a big difference in the battles I’ve played. I am already working on a medium 80mm mortar platoon to add to my army for turn 2 in 700 points.

  3. What book is your list out of?(I am looking at fortress europe) You can always drop the Komissar and add an HMG(to a rilfe platoon) or change one of the Companys to 1 rifle platoon if you feel like you need heavier weapons. I don’t know what board you guys were playing on(or what type of force you played) but I think spacing(which would be 6″ for trained troops) and terrain use should help with some of that. Obviously your strength is the size of your company, I wouldn’t want to water it down too much just for some mortars(or mgs) that won’t give you back much- Germans are going to be tough to face at a range no matter what pretty much. Right now everyone is pretty restricted in the 500 points, 700 will open a lot more doors! Then you can buy artillery or mg/mortar companies.

  4. I believe he used my Fortress Europe book, which is 2nd ed.

  5. Also, Michael, I believe that 6 inches is the command distance for veteran infantry, 4 inches, and 2 inches for conscripts. Tanks and vehicles have the higher command distance (8 inches for veterans, 6 for trained, and 4 for conscripts). I don’t have my rulebook in front of me so I cannot confirm it for sure, but I am 90% sure thats how it works.

  6. derkommissar permalink

    My infantry were trained so my spacing was 4″. There was too much terrain for my liking which made it difficult to advance. I’m torn on whether to remove or keep my kommissars since they did prove very useful in the game, but I don’t think the list I had will work if I am the attacker again.

  7. Is there any way Jeremy, that you can fit in a small platoon of mortars? Even two mortars with the ability to use smoke bombardment would help a LOT. Then if your command leading the main infantry advances have SMG’s that will also help with getting enough shots off right before you assault in order to pin your opponent. So basically, smoke bombard them if you can, then get close enough to shoot them with a lot of shots and hopefully pin them before assaulting. If you can’t get enough shots off, then you’ll have to try to pin with the mortars I mentioned and then try to assault from a flank or a side that doesn’t have heavy machine guns pointed right at you (although after you pin those, they’ll at least be ROF 2 instead of 6). One thing that can help is actually NOT assaulting with every team in the platoon – only assault with the teams that are least likely to take a bunch of defensive fire. Remember you’re only going to get hit with defensive fire once in an assault… plus since you’re soviets, I believe you can take 10 hits instead of 5 before having to break off the assault. Anyway, smoke bombardments really help for getting your infantry in there and not shot to pieces because they make it so when your opponent defensive fires at you, he is shooting at you with a +1 for concealment and another +1 for counting as concealed and gone to ground (that only works when charging through smoke).

    • derkommissar permalink

      I am considering shrinking down one of my Strelkovy platoons in order to take some mortars. I think there is also room for improvement for the tactical decisions I made in that last battle (for example I will perform assaults away from supporting units).

  8. Russians cannot take anything that gives them smoke Walter– Its one of thier downsides(or at least mortars as far as I know) and you are correct about command distance- The 6″ still really helps if mortars are killing guys. Also you do not get gone to ground when there is defensive fire(smoke only gives concealment- its because you are so close to them when you are dashing in the assault). The other thing is MG42’s don’t go to ROF 2 when pinned, they are ROF 3(which isn’t a huge difference). That actually changed from FE to the newer books.
    There is nothing wrong with 2nd edition books in 3rd edition(except if you plan on using tanks, hens and chicks invalidated all Russian lists in late war except Red Bear for tournament play due to points being too low) Some of the points are different, but it balances out pretty well(my support are less expensive but my base units are more expensive).
    I think it can be helpful to play the list a couple of times before making changes just to see if it was the dice rolling, terrain or your own tactics that made it more ineffective. If your army was the above then you could always drop one Komissar team and put your battalion Komissar in with the group that doesnt have one. That should give you enough points to put 1 Maksim HMG in right? Mortars will only help so much and as I said before, you are going to be fielding far more stands then anybody else which gives you the numerical edge to get in there and put the hurt on(and like Walter said, you can take double the amount of hits before falling back from an assault!)
    Next time maybe we can get a couple games in with different people and that will give you some variety in the basic list you will face which may help a lot as well.

  9. Michael – yea I was just going off what I thought I remembered for smoke bombardment (which was wrong), since I loaned my book to Steve for the time being and I don’t have it here at work with me. I also didn’t bother to look at the mortars to see if they can smoke bombard. Mortars would still be useful in pinnning however and then combining the needing 10 hits to push off an assault, and trying to get the assault on a flank or somewhere that wasn’t directly at a whole bunch of heavy MG’s would also help. Personally, I am not so sure that fielding a heavy mg team for jeremy is going to solve any problems with assaulting – its going to be much better at defending. From what it sounds like the best thing to do like Michael said is play more games against other people, try to pin the unit prior to assaulting (and that IS something your mortars could do if you get them), and then try to assault from a flank or non-direct approach and overwhelm with numbers since you can take 9 hits and not have your assault pushed back from defensive fire. Mortars also btw can now direct fire, so it is possible to use them to directly shoot at stuff that is causing problems for you (ie- heavy mg teams)… also most mortar teams have a pretty decent firepower for direct fire, so they’re decent at rooting out dug in infantry and heavy mg teams. As you can tell, I am pro-mortar… I love them.

    • Yeah mortars are very good at the pinning part, I just don’t want him to cut his numbers so drastically. If he is moving with 12+ stands and shoots at someone he has a good chance of pinning someone(unless gtg and concealed). Its always important to remember that unlike 40k, you can’t shoot over your own guys with most things(gun teams can over immobile infantry) and neither can who you are assualting.
      If you are defending it makes it easy to cover 2 objectives with that many guys, when attacking you swarm one objective with overwhelming force.
      In 700 points I would add the mortars but I wouldn’t before then, this will help force you to work with what you have and learn tactics that work and what doesn’t as well. If you were another force that could add them without sacrificing so much I would advocate the mortars more(in my force more infantry cost 80 points which put me 5 points over vs 3 mortars at 75 points– which I can take as part of an hq choice).
      Next time we play you could try both lists which is the easy solution, then you can see what you like better. I think its effectiveness will probably depend largely on who you are playing, what mission it is and what the terrain is! Which is all pretty obvious I suppose. 500 point lists are always going to feel like they are missing something-

      • Yea they will feel like they’re missing stuff for sure. I REALLY want my mortar platoon for smoke bombardments (because I like to move in and assault). Having my single small mortar for each of my normal platoons really really helped in the last game I played – at one point I pinned Joe’s entire army. It should be noted, Jeremy, that what did lose me the game against Joe, was actually being completely outnumbered 2 to 1 by Joe’s infantry. Since he has fearless/trained as compared with my fearless/veteran troops, his guys are a LOT cheaper than mine, and he won by attrition. I beat him in a a couple of times during the game in assaults, but he kept whittling me away and by the end, I couldn’t stand up to his final assault – I just didnt have hardly any teams left to hold the line. So Michael’s right, numbers in a small game, when used right, can win. Also Jeremy, you might think about remaking your list with the basic book that comes with the rulebook you ordered when it gets to you in the mail. The points are probably cheaper than what you paid for in Fortress Europe. Eventually you definately should get Red Bear, since that book is full of a ton of variations on soviet lists, and you probably could easily find one you enjoy playing.

  10. I checked out the books (FE and forces book)- FE is cheaper for the basic infantry units but 5-10 points more for the mortars. So its pretty similar- I’m not sure what Red Bear is like but I’m sure its closer to what Forces is-

  11. John sent me an email with some tips for Jeremy and his army. I am going to post a whole new blog entry for it since this has turned into a topic of its own anyway.

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