Late War American Tank Destroyers
I loved using the M18 platoon to support my late war US Paratroopers, so I was keen to see how they
Tank Destroyers. Now the two parts of the TD platoon are treated as separate platoon! The Security Section (the M20s) and the Tank Destroyers themselves have their own rules now, but they work very well together. This is a good move and is in keeping with keeping the newer rules simpler than V3.
The Security Section now operates as a recon unit with Spearhead (advanced deployment) and Scout (Gone to Ground if moving while Concealed). This means the Security Section can deploy in advance of the normal area, then the Tack Destroyer section can then deploy in that new bubble around the Security Section.
The Tank Destroyer Section uses the new Seek, Strike and Destroy rule plus the Scout rule.
Seek, Strike and Destroy. The M18s now move the 12" tactical move, but with SS&D if they have already passed a Movement Order already, they can attempt the Shoot and Scoot movement order. They act now like the German TDs but Blitzing, shooting, then Scooting.
Something that does not appear in the new V4 rulebook (the Mid War one) is flamethrower teams. This is presumably because neither of the new army books (for the Afrika Korps or Desert Rats) have them in the lists. They do appear in the EW/LW conversion book so I thought I'd look at these (purely academically of course! I don't really want to field my Crocodiles or Wasps....)
Ok first up; Flamethrowers can fire in Defensive Fire now.
There is no restriction for FT teams to fire in DF anymore (which makes a lot of sense). Instead, there is this rather tricky interaction. In the Flamethrower rules on page 42, Infantry, Gun and Unarmoured Tank Teams are automatically pinned when hit by a flamethrower. At first I read this as that one hit in DF from a flamethrower team will stop and assault going in. OVERPOWERED! I cried, drawing concerned stares from my family. I dug further into the rules. In the Assault Rules for defensive fire 'Forcing The Assault To Fall Back' the text states that 'a unit taking at least five hits from Defensive Fire becomes pinned down' and the assault ends.
Well, that brings it back to an even keel. Reading these rules it means if you got a hit with your FT team, and the target assaulting platoon was pinned down, the assault would still happen as it had not taken five hits! That sounds a bit weird though, so I followed the litmus test: Am I a Dick if I enforce that interpretation of that rule? In this case, I don't think I am being a dick. It seems pretty even for me, even though there is the odd (when comparing to the old V3 rules) scenario of a pinned platoon assaulting.
Flamethrower teams cannot assault and must break off if assaulted. Cool, I'm ok with that. If I was the dude carrying the tank of fuel I'd be reluctant to get anywhere near someone pissed off that I had just sploodged my hot load all over his friends.
Flamethrower teams do not get removed for the table once they have shot their load. They can just keep spraying like some young [analogy deleted].
That's all interesting and I cant wait to try them out (maybe at Panzershreck or maybe not... nudge, nudge, wink, wink)...
Turntables and 360o facings
One rule from V3 that did not make the transition over to V4 in the same format is the Turntable rule. Previously my 25pdrs and 2pdrs that supported my New Zealand Divisional Cavalry were able to spin in place and fire at full rate of fire like some antipodean dalek.
Now in the Mid War V4 there is no specific rule for Turntable. Queue the "WHAT THE ACTUAL?" moment. Then I remembered the assault rule and thought "hmmm, perhaps I am missing something here, or more likely applying my V3 brain to the V4 rules?"
Reading through the V4 shooting step we are presented with the steps for shooting.
1. Check Range
2. Check Line of Sight
Here you measure the LoS from the Weapon mounting of the gun team. It is measured to any part of the target team. There is no requirement here to measure forward of the base or in a particular arc.
3. Check for Concealment
4. Declare Targets
In this step there is a sub heading "Limited Fields of Fire". It specifically states that some weapons (gun teams and tank teams) have a field of fire - which means that they can only fire forward of their base. Obviously, in V3 having a turntable would negate this issue as the standard was that all gun teams had limited fields of fire and 'turntable' was the exception.
5. Rotate to Face
Here is the cool part of this process and the answer to the question of where is the Turntable rule. In this step the shooting team rotates to point at the declared target team. There is no exceptions apart from the aforementioned Limited Fields of Fire rule. Seeing there is no other exception, one can only assume that all gun teams, by default, have the turntable rule (without the actual rule). While Turntable still exists in the EW/LW conversion books, it only applies to the MW book list. It'll mean sneaking up on gun teams from behind will be more difficult unless you can kill them straight away.
But how does it affect Defensive Fire?
Flicking on through to the Opponent's Defensive Fire step it says that any Defending team shoots as if it was their Shooting Step. Holy effing moly! No more charging gun teams from the back to stop defensive fire. I guess the only thing to check is which teams in the new books have the limited fields of fire (Forward Firing is the actual rule).
Just checking the Afrika Korps book:
5cm PaK38 - Forward Firing
8.8cm AA - no Forward Firing
10.5cm howitzer - Forward Firing
So, it looks like the exception is not the rule and we can all calm down (well just me!). It looks as though the guns that had turntables, such as the 88, dont get the Forward Firing rule while those that did not have a turntable, do have the rule. Cool, but something to watch out for!