Monday, February 7, 2011

"Alfred von Schleiffen" List

I recently ran across an interesting set of articles for my military history class on the creation and military ideas about the infamous Schleiffen Plan of WWI. During this period in history, field armies consisted of massive hoards of troops. As a rough figure, the German army consisted of slightly less than one million men, and this was on the smallish side. To the German Field Marshall prior to WWI, Alfred von Schleiffen, a frontal assault simply didn't cut it, because it allowed the enemy to fall back (allowing for inconclusive battles), and the casualties that resulted in an all out frontal assault were simply unacceptable. The German military doctrine of the time stresses outflanking and encirclement of the enemy in order to achieve a decisive battle in which the enemy is completely annihilated. Now, this isn't all that earth shattering.

The part where this method of attack sets itself apart is in the way it goes about its flanking maneuver. The forces deployed against the enemy's front were to be incredibly weakened to the point where it could only just mount an effective frontal attack. The rest of the army goes around the sides of the enemy in hugely concentrated and powerful masses. Finally, the German high command was willing to substitute, say, a river as an encircling "front."

Now, how does this relate to 40k? Nobody plays a million man army, not even 'nid players throwing down an army composed of only gaunts in an Apoc game. Very simple: you throw down a hard hitting unit that can't easily be gotten rid of. (I'm thinking termies with FNP...) Then you send the rest of the army in a flanking maneuver (deploy and move up the side; it gives you a guarantee that your troops are on the board). Use your fast vehicles, and remember: rhinos are your friends!

Dante: 225 pts
Librarian w/Termy armr and SS: 145 pts

x10 man Terminator Assault Squad with TH/SS: 450 pts
Furioso Dread w/ Blood Talons: 125 pts
x2 Sanguinary Priest w/ x1 power fist, x1 Termy armr and PW: 160 pts

Sanguinary Guard w/ chapter banner: 230 pts
x10 man Assault Squad w/ x2 meltaguns, PF, DROP JP's, Rhino (w/ dozer blade): 255 pts
x10 man Assault Squad w/ x2 meltaguns, PF, DROP JP's, Rhino (w/ dozer blade): 255 pts

All the termies go together (Assault squad, Priest, and libby), and simply march toward the enemy, running forward. (What else are ya gonna do in the shooting phase?)
The rest of the army blitzes forward, with the rhinos popping smoke, turbo boosting, running into cover (yay dozer blades!) and doing everything possible to not get blown away. The dread is gonna (try) and keep up, and run. However, since he is so slow, I think he might peel off fairly quickly and box in units trying to run from the termies. I'm thinking I might deepstrike Dante and his boys to smack something irritating like devistators on top of an objective in the back field.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

On Shooting

Those of you who read my earlier article on the assault phase may be wondering how I view the shooting phase. Clearly, no army will succeed without attempting to claim the maximum benefit from each phase; therefore, I am introducing my combat doctrine as it associates with the shooting phase.

To me, the shooting phase has a lot to do with supplemental attacks, a support for the assault phase. In my opinion, there are three main uses of shooting: 1) A way to crack open vehicles (and get at the units inside!), 2) A way to sufficiently weaken assaulty units to a point where you can safely assault them, 3) Templates, because who doesn't like dropping pie plates all over the place?

1) A way to crack open vehicles, especially transports
I'm fairly sure everybody here understands the concept of melta. I'm a big fan of getting within that cozy zone of 2D6 on the penetration roll; it makes cracking raiders SO much more feasible. In any event, this just makes sense for an army of my operational outlook. Being a primarily assaulty army, we can pack an enormous punch against other armies, given that we can get into the assault with their troops. As a side bonus, when I get close enough to roll 2D6 on the pen roll, it gives me a good chance for my Blood Lance to actually travel far enough to hit its target.

2) Weakening assaulty units
We've all run across them. Units that can absolutely break face in close combat, such as lightning claw or TH/SS termies, TW Cav, Sanguinary Guard, genestealers (due to their high initiative and rending claws), and other units you don't want to throw your dedicated assault units into because of guaranteed high losses or total unit destruction. The answer: dakka. Force any unit to make enough saves, and they will eventually fail one (or hopefully more!). So, volume of fire is important here, but it is important not to get carried away and cut yourself out of an assault phase. With the enemy weakened, you may now go about total wreckage quite happily.

3) Templates, because killing one at a time just isn't cool enough
Orks, nids, and whatever happens to be in front of your vindicator suffers from blast templates. Orks and nids are very vulnerable, for the most part, due to large numbers of troops (ie. even with scatter, your gonna hit SOMETHING), and with their generally poor saves you can kill off large quantities of the ones you hit. Not that space marines can't get hurt from this too; in fact, one of my favorite things to do is flame my opponent's marines after he disembarks from a vehicle.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, concludes my thoughts on shooting in 40k.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Total DOA List

My latest BA list, enjoy.

Commander Dante: 225 pts (an absolute MUST have for this list because of his precision strike rule)
Librarian w/ jump pack: 125 pts (Unleash Rage, and Blood Lance/Might of Heroes)

Chaplain w/ jump pack: 125 pts
Sanguinary Priest w/ jump pack, power sword: 90 pts

Sanguinary Guard w/ chapter banner: 230 pts
Assault Squad w/ 10 men, 2 meltaguns, powerfist, infernus pistol: 250 pts

Vanguard Veterans w/ 10 men, 9 lightning claws, sarge lightning claw (free!), jump packs: 450 pts
Vanguard Veterans w/ 5 men, jump packs, x5 storm shields, x3 power fists, sarge power fist (15 pt discount), meltabomb (x1): 355 pts

And thats the army. 34 marines, no transports.

Unit formation: Dante, Chaplain, and Priest go with the Guard. (I WOULD put the priest and/or chaplain with the claw vets, but that takes away heroic intervention) The Libby goes with the Assault Squad.

Here's how it works: Get your reserves in, re-rolling for them if you need to, and place them near your enemy. Place your SS/PF Vets first, placing them directly on top of a vehicle, meaning that if you scatter, you can still assault. Of course, if you get a direct hit, you can always shift your unit two inches as allowed by deep strike rules. This garuntees an assault on the first turn you come in, which is key. Second, place your other Vets group in a similar way. Either place them next to a group of soldiers that MUST die, or wait to kill whatever comes out of the vehicle (if its a transport). Either way, keep them fairly close to your other vets squad. Next, place your assault squad in a position that the libby can blood lance, and the meltas can get down and dirty. (also try and keep this close) Finally, place Dante's unit onto the board. As you may have noticed, this unit carries all the buffs. With your army (hopefully) fairly close together, this means that you will hopefully extend these buffs to most, if not all, of your army.

Comments: This army truly depends on getting a large portion of your reserves into the game at the same time. This is going to be the most dangerous time for your army, as things might not work out as well as you had hoped in this respect. Obviously, you will need to compensate when not all your units come in at the same time, but, take consolation in the knowledge that this is army is a close combat monster. Pop those transports any way you can, and then let the claw Vets multi-assault the juicy units inside. This army really does need to fear the template weapon however, so, make sure you eliminate as many of those as possible when you first come in.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Shooting vs Assault

As a Blood Angels player, you probably have a good idea of my thoughts on shooting and assault. Specifically, that shooting is an auxiliary to the assault. Allow me to explain how I think shooting and assaulting stack up.

First of all, you need LOS for most shooty weapons. So if you are playing something with a LOT of terrain, a clever player can essentially neutralize enemy shooting (and their own in the process). Also, you can't shoot into an assault.

Second, shooting just doesn't get the job done. Assuming you have a group of 10 tactical marines across from some 'zerkers (also a 10 man squad). Your within 12", so you decide to rapidfire with your bolters. Standard 3+ to hit, 4+ to wound with a total of 16 shots (because your sarge and special weapons guys are being excluded from this example). In total, this gives you a 33% chance of wounding a model, and a 22% chance of killing a model. This translates to roughly 3-4 dead 'zerkers (on average). That's gonna be a lot more attacks coming back your way, because they are going to move up, shoot with boltpistols (likely killing a single model), and then assaulting. This gives them 4 attacks each on the charge, bringing the total attacks to either 24 or 28, depending on how many died. The tac squad is responding with a meager 10 attacks in return. Guess who wins that one...

Third, I haven't seen any special rules for shooting, other than markerlights or equivalent. Great, you can increase your ballistics skill. On the other hand, one of your models isn't shooting that turn.

Why does assaulting rule? First, you don't need LOS. You just move up, charge in, and get bloody.

Second, assault guarantees results for either you or your opponent. Eventually, one group of models will die, and the other group will seize the day. Unless you have some of the rare special rules that allow you to leave combat whenever, your models stay in combat until either you or your enemy is dead. Translation: results.

Third, assault has lots of different rules. First, offhand weapons, chapter banners, and assaulting each give a free attack. However, there is no way to increase the number of shots you take. Sweeping advances and fearless wounds also take a huge toll upon the enemy, something shooting isn't able to incorporate.

In conclusion: assaulting is far more dangerous than shooting. Shooting certainly has a place, (softening deathstar units, popping transports, avoiding getting locked in combat with dreads, etc) however, it doesn't have the mass killy capabilities of assaulting.