Saturday, December 18, 2010

Woah-manians!

So let's chat about Romanians in Flames Of War.

Many refer to Romania as a minor Axis power during WWII, but what they don't realize is just how huge of a contribution it made to the war effort. Their army size was the largest in the Axis powers aside from Germany. In fact over 1.2 million Romanians were under arms and fighting the Soviet Union by 1944, more than all other Axis powers, save Germany, combined.

Then in August 1944, the Soviets showed up and beat the living crap out of Romania and they were forced to surrender. The Soviets coerced them into joining the Allied side and soon Romania was at war with their former allies. They fought alongside the Soviets until the end of the war.


For a much better history of their contribution, check out Wayne's sweet book: Stalin's Europe. It's got all sorts of great info including a history of the siege of Budapest. I happen to think it's an awesome book with lots of great maps and exciting forces to play, which brings me to this post's purpose: Romanians in Flames of War.

When I got my copy of Stalin's Europe, I was eager to field something new that I've never done before, both on the game table and on the painting table. So looking through I became interested in the Romanians.

My brother (pictured right selling holy candles) has always been a fan of playing Romanians ever since the first minor Axis PDFs were published by Battlefront. He has put together several forces and I can't help but always marvel at what he can manage to field in his armies. Having a personal tendancy toward special elite forces, I usually can rely on having maybe a half-dozen platoons on the table. Andrew, on the other hand, tends to throw down twice that much and then some. His secret? Cheap nasty platoons. Turns out Romanian platoons have variable training and motivation ratings, meaning, you'll never know what sort of quality you'll get until you start the game. As such you get them at discounted rates, which is why they will have a lot more on the table than you might expect.

In Stalin's Europe you have the option to field a Batalion Puscasi, or Rifle Battalion. Unlike most other FoW forces out there, which you field as company-sized units, you field Romanians as battalions. So the basic combat formation is quite large (25x Rifle/MG teams before add-ons) and they have their own machine-guns and 60mm mortars.

So at this point I'll start building my list. I'm not a fan of painting a lot of infantry all at once, so I'm not terribly keen on fielding a full battalion. However the list is masterfully flexible, allowing you to field single platoons rather than full or partial companies. So effectively I'll be running a company-sized force, rather than a battalion by taking three minimum-strength combat companies.

Mike's Batalion (Company) Puscasi 

Battalion HQ (2x Command Rifle teams)
25 points
Notes: Nothing brilliant here, just a pair of command teams. I opted to leave the Panzerfausts behind. There are so many anti-tank guns in this force that if my CiC or 2iC get into a position where a faust would be nice, something has gone terribly wrong and two fausts won't fix that.

Puscasi Company
(1x Puscasi Platoon, 9x Rifle/MG teams)
     add Command Panzerfaut upgrade: +10 points
     add 3x 60mm Mortars: +60 points
215 points
Notes: If you haven't used a 60mm mortar in FoW, you simply haven't experienced the game to its fullest. Its quite possibly the best gun team in the game with its 24"range and 3+ firepower. I'll take three please! (I'd take 3 in each company if I were fielding a battalion, but I'm not, so I won't). The addition of the mortars make this my ideal assault platoon. The other two will be on objective guard duty.


Puscasi Company 
(1x Puscasi Platoon, 9x Rifle/MG teams)
     add Command Panzerfaut upgrade: +10 points
155 points
Notes: Standard infantry platoon.

Puscasi Company 
(1x Puscasi Platoon, 9x Rifle/MG teams)
     add Command Panzerfaut upgrade: +10 points
155 points

Notes: Standard infantry platoon.

Puscasi Machine-gun Platoon 
(4x ZB53 HMGs)
110 points

Notes: Initially I purchased 4x HMGs in the 2nd and 3rd platoons, but I realised that I would probably be better served points-wise using the HMG weapons platoon and attaching a pair of HMGs to each platoon. Plus, I don't have to combat attach them if I need another platoon or to ambush infantry.  


Puscasi Anti-tank Company 
(9x TAC PaK38 50mm guns)
190 points

Notes: Nine friggin PaK38s! Kids, thats 27 shots of AT 9 coming from a single platoon! It may not drop a Tiger, but it'll put anything lighter to sleep for good! I plan on integrating this platoon with one of my infantry platoons to pretty much secure the crap out an objective. 


Heavy Anti-tank Battery 
(6x TAC 43 Resita 75mm guns)
285 points
Notes: It's this platoon that puts the "WOAH" in the Woah-manians! While it may not have nine guns, six is nothing to sneeze at either, especially since these bad boys have AT13! Like the previous AT gun platoon, this one will be integrated with an infantry platoon to maximize their total objective-securing efficiency.

Heavy Mortar Company 
(6x 120mm Resita mortars)
185 points
Notes: I don't really have the points for a massive artillery park, so I'll use the next best thing: heavy mortars. These are based on the Soviet model, making them AT 3 and Firepower 3+ in bombardment. They'll drop a tank in a pinch, and dig infantry out. Plus, being mortars, it'll be easier to range in and with six tubes, I'll get to re-roll my misses due to the heavy concentration of firepower. Not a bad deal for 185 points!

Soviet Assault Gun Company 
(5x SU-76 assault guns)
     add Tankodesantniki tank-riders to each gun: +75 points
265 points
Notes: I need some sort of mobile support. It doesn't need to be heavy as the anti-tank lines will take care of those pretty easily. I also want to take a little Soviet force to represent the cooperation between the former enemies. So the SU-76 becomes perfect for that role. They are cheap and effective with the Volley-fire special rule they can re-roll misses at targets closer than 16"/40cm away, so they should be able to help reduce the enemy's platoons before sending in the Puscasi.

I also added tank riders to help protect the guns from enemy anti-tank guns. I think few people realize the value of tank riders with their SU76s. They essentially double the size of the platoon allowing you to assault platoons with up to 10 teams! Plus it helps deter enemy infantry from going after the guns as an easy kill. I would personally never run them actually mounted on the assault guns, but rather close by to make sure this team survives to work closely together.  

Army Total: 1585 points

Expansion/Alternate options:

Soviet Shturmovye Group 
(10x SMG teams, 3x 76mm obr 1927 guns, 2x Pioneer SMG teams OR 2x Maksim HMGs)
315 points 
(total plus above, replacing 3rd Puscasi Platoon: 1745 points)
Notes: The Shturmovye Group is the ideal assaulting force, able to change it's composition to suit the needs of the mission. Conceptually I'm not really fielding it as a storm group per se, but rather as a small cross section of a Soviet battalion. It's got some infantry guns for blasting out enemy infantry, some HMGs to deal with infantry and some pioneers to deal with heavy tanks or fortifications as necessary. There's several other options available too, but these are the ones I picked for my group.


Soviet Tankovy Company
(10x T-34/76 obr 1942)
    add Tankodesantniki tank-riders to each tank: +150 points
565 points 
(total plus above, replacing Assault Gun Company & 3rd Puscasi Platoon: 1730 points)
Notes: Nothing helps a general offensive like 10 tanks! They may be crap by most standards, but the old '76 still has what it takes to smash through enemy infantry. I've doubled its size with tank riders using the same theory as the ones in the assault gun company. Its big enough that it can replace one of my Puscasi platoons and lead the assault in its stead.




So thats it! That is currently the plan and I'm excited to give these guys a try, having never played them before. Painting wise, I've slotted them in between my platoons for the Brest or Bust project and I have nearly finished the Puscasi platoons. Once I get a chance to use the camera at work I'll post some pictures of them in progress. I plan on basing them using the autumn technique defined below since the fighting in Stalin's Europe took place from August 1944 to February 1945. 

Right, how's that for a tome? Thanks for reading and I hope you give the Woah-manians a go sometime soon!

Further Reading:


1 comment: