Hi Duncan here, back with more tank related puns along with a look at the basic British forces that you can bring to the table in the GF9 WW2 Skirmish Game Tanks!
Hopefully you will have read my introduction to the small world of the Tanks game… if not – why not?! Go and read it immediately here. In that post I mention the 4 forces that are currently available and today we’re going to Tally Ho, Pip pip and look at the good old Brits so make a brew and then read on.
The first thing to mention is that every nation has its own unique special rule and this can dramatically affect how you compile you list prior to a game. The British special rule is Semi-Indirect Fire.
Semi-Indirect Fire modifies the Tanks rule which allows you to reroll your shooting attacks when stationary, usually this is all dice. Semi-Indirect Fire allows you to keep one die result before rerolling the rest of your dice. In my opinion this is one of the better special rules abilities as holding on to that critical hit 6 and then rerolling the rest of your shots significantly increases the hitting power of your tanks.
However that being said in order to take advantage of this rule you have to remain stationary making you tanks easier to hit and their positioning much more predictable.
In this overview I’m only going to look at the tanks whose cards are available in the Panzer vs. Sherman starter box; the Cromwell, the Comet, the Sherman V and the Sherman Firefly.
We’ll begin with the most produced vehicle in WW2 the trusty workhorse of the Sherman V. The first thing you notice is that the Sherman V is cheap in a standard 100pts game you can have 6 of these little fellas and still have points left over for upgrades!
As you’d expect for such a bargain price the Sherman has very middling statistics with an attack of 4, defence of 1 and 4 damage points. That being said though and initiative of 5 is the same as the comparable Panzer IV H giving you the chance if attacking of moving, or not as the case may be, after the German player which is a big deal.
4 attack dice is not amazing. Again if we compare it to the Panzer IV – a natural enemy - which has a defence of 1 and 5 damage points you are going to be extremely unlikely to do enough damage to destroy it without taking at least 2 turns of fire back. However the Semi-Indirect Fire rule does compensate for this slightly and makes your 4 attack dice feel more threatening than it would appear on paper.
The big, bad brother of the Sherman V is the Sherman Firefly historically was developed to give the British a weapon suitable to deal with the German Big Cats and the Sherman Firefly doesn’t disappoint.
With, as you would expect, similar stats to the Sherman V the Firefly brings an extra die of attack and an extra point of damage. The 5 dice attack is very nice and again combined with the Semi-Indirect Fire rule give you the capability to really put damage out consistently and is where the Firefly excels.
Getting 4 of these pocket rockets for 100pts makes for a very interesting list vs. the Germans and still having some tinker room for upgrades is defiantly a strong list and combining it with the cheaper Sherman V to get some extra mobile hulls could be very problematic for an elite German opponent.
The Cromwell was one of the last in the long and proud traditions of Cruiser tanks. In game terms the Cromwell has some very interesting applications with the Fast rule. In Tanks getting more dice on a roll is tricky, with defence there are really only 2 ways to get more defence dice; cover and moving.
Gaining an extra defensive for each move you conduct and having the ability to move up to 3 times means you suddenly have an extremely mobile tank with good survivability. Its initiative of 8 is also the highest available to the British and means you are shooting first and moving last with this zippy little guy.
If you are playing some of the objective driven scenarios then the Cromwell is worth considering over the Sherman even considering the additional points.
The Comet is to the Cromwell what the Firefly is to the Sherman and brings the same hitting power to the mobile Cromwell chassis. With 6 damage points and the Fast rule you can be a swine to get rid of but this is contrary to using your hitting power and remaining stationary in order to take advantage of Semi-Indirect Fire.
The Comet suffers from being expensive, at 29pts it’s the same as 2 Sherman Vs, where you are paying for rules and advantages that you cannot benefit from simultaneously. This leaves it as, on paper, the strongest of all the available British assets but I feel on the table top it does too many things well that you won’t get the maximum out of it to justify the points.
Well that is our whistle stop tour through the basic British Tanks assets available straight out of the core box set, hopefully that give you some insight into how the British play.
Until next time you can catch me on the Flames of War or Tanks Facebook Groups.