Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Support Platoons - 'cause everyone needs some Amici



When one is not fielding a force of supertanks, it is essential that support platoons are at hand to help with the main effort.  Thus the key for a Carri commander is to use his many platoons wisely.  Below are just a few of the options, all the ones I have ready and painted for the desert.

These guys became my light AA on trucks, acting as either the portee or just towing and unloading for when I didn't have Italian trucks.  So these have seen a bunch of uses and service.  Light AA is one of my favorite "must-have" items in FoW.  With its high RoF it is dangerous to infantry, and with FP5+ is can be dangerous to light armor, and of course it is also AA!  Plus it's usually pretty easy to move around.  Don't leave base without some!

My Autoblinde platoon.  Three are Old Glory and the command vehicle is BF.  The standing observer is a common pic for all forces in N. Africa.  Since the desert is so flat standing upon a vehicle - sometimes with a ladder acting as a tower - just makes sense.  First to observe often wins.  These vehicles are wheeled which makes them fast in the desert, and their guns and MG are adequate.  They also have a strange rear-shooting MG.  The BF one is nicest, but it cost almost as much as the bag of the other three!  The sand trays and portage are BF, the observer is OG.  The antennae was scratch-build 5-arm job, again taken from a pic.  It was German in origin, I think.  Unfortunately, the other prongs fell off from handling and I haven't fixed them yet.

Semovente platoon and command vehicle.  Again, the OG ones are the three in back and the command vehicle.  The front right is BF.  I prefer the BF model overall, as it was a cleaner casting with nice details.  Remember that all OG Command Decision come in packs of 3 vehicles or 50 figures, so you will save lots of money but always have some extras.  A second command vehicle is knocked-out in the objectives post.  It came out quite well I think.  The last is awaiting suitable inspiration, but it'll probably end up in grey-green continental scheme as a command post for an armored unit.

AAMGs are Bredas from BF accessories as is the portage.  The sighting sticks are piano wire and add some color to the vehicles, as does the red flag.  Since they all have radios, the commander doesn't _need_ to use flags, but perhaps he is trying to maintain radio silence?  He's OG and the crew are all Peter Pig.  Antennae are bristles from a dusting brush, they work very well and never break off or stab anyone.  

This platoon is very important b/c for the power of the gun, the thin armor and lack of turret make it still a cheap platoon.   While they cannot take on Shermans toe-to-toe, they can scare them a bit and cost half as much.  Their 3+ FP makes them a menace to infantry, but they are vulnerable to infantry attack since they've only an AA MG, just like StuG IV's.  However they don't have that FA7.  At FA4 they are vulnerable to even light ATGs, something to keep in mind.  They really need to be held back to attack from the longest range possible, preferably from a hull-down position.  If Veterans and hull down at Long Range they are tough to hit, which helps a lot.

Two German Opel Blitz trucks and two British, all "acquired" by the Italians.  All have some Italian markings upon them.  They are all the solid resin BF ones, and as you can see paint up just fine. They've provided the mobility for the Bersaglieri platoon my Carri Co usually has, and if fielding Bersaglieri are still useful to have a mounted platoon.  While trucks are useless to close with the enemy, if kept out of LoS they are fine for movement except when airplanes are around.  And even then, as long as they don't bunch up it's not too bad.

As usual, the Italian platoons here are a lot of fun to research, paint up and play.  They usually win for me mainly because people underestimate them or have problems with the numbers.  While their performance can be erratic, in a points game they are a force to be reckoned with.  With their unusual equipment and a lot of weak-performing gear they are an underdog.  However, they are a real menace to certain forces, especially infantry and light armor.  When played properly, they provide even experienced players with some problems.  My worst losses are to FoW veterans who show up with a nicely balanced infantry company with some medium tank support.

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