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.