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S2 Briefing: 1939-41 Armor Unit Reviews Part I
J.R. "Careos" Sharp

During the opening years of WWII, tanks were primarily considered nothing more than armored combat vehicles used for infantry support. However, it was not long before tank vs. tank battles seemed to be the order of the day. The early tanks such as the M3 Stuart and Panzer II's quickly became obsolete in an ever-evolving form of combat.

The tank's of this era were not designed with armor to armor combat intended as their primary role. Given this, the tanks of the time were often low on armor or did not have the proper armament to combat each other.

The analysis of these tanks is based upon Pre-1942 combat. A fair share of these tanks would quickly fall victim to the power of the revolutionary tanks of 1942 and beyond. Although they are not intended to combat these larger tanks, there are a few comparisons listed to the minority that can do so with relative success.


T-34/76

Combat Role:
Medium Assault Tank / Infantry Assault Tank.

Weakness:
Although in early scenarios, there are no apparent weaknesses of this tank. When met with the later war German armor such as the Tiger, Panther, etc, it can fall victim to disruption very easily.

Threat to Enemy:
Over 75% chance for disruption and damage against all pre-1942 Axis units at all ranges.

Favored Target:
Light armor at all ranges, medium armor at short and medium ranges. Heavy armor at short range. Infantry at short and medium ranges

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: M3 Stuart, 7TPdw
Anti-Vehicle Support: T-34/76, M3 Stuart

Effects from Loss:
Moderate. By losing this unit, you lose the abiltiy to control the field. However, given its reasonable cost, you are able to field several at a time.

Deployment Strategy:
Deploy at will, tank would make an excellent front for any assault given its speed and superior armor. Coupled with another tank, it is very able to hold out against an assault while flanking with the other tank. With 5 defense + superior armor, it would require 7 successes to damage this tank. With that said, many of the pre-1942 tanks are not able to do this at all, with some only able to do it a very low percentage of the time.

If using the T-34/76 in later war battles, try to utilize cover and LOS more than you would in earlier scenarios. With larger attacks, tanks such as the Tiger, Panther, Jagdpanther, Nashorn and King Tiger can deal with this unit easily.


M3 Stuart

Combat Role:
Medium Support Tank / Infantry Assault Tank

Weakness:
Slightly under gunned even in early war contests by the Panzer III and Carro Armato.

Threat to Enemy:
Fastest Allied unit as far as base speed. It can easily slip inside its enemies comfort zone and engage at short and medium range. Once done with its standard attacks, it can then make an additional attack vs infantry.

Favored Target:
Light armor at all ranges. Medium armor at short and medium ranges. Infantry at short and medium ranges.

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: 7TPdw
Anti-Vehicle Support: T-34/76, T-26 Series 1933

Effects from Loss:
Moderate. By losing the M3 Stuart, you no longer have the fast-strike ability that it provided. Given its very low cost, however, you should be able to field multiples.

Deployment Strategy:
The Stuart can be just as effective in a swarm environment as an M4A1. Although it only has a 9% chance at best of hitting a Tiger, it does lend itself nicely to jump ahead of the assault and draw fire, giving the player an extra turn to bear down on the Tiger. I would deploy this unit at the front of any advance, if not for anything but its ability to jump out front.

For 1942 scenarios and beyond, the Stuart lends itself to be a very stout tank. Although its numbers are not as impressive as the T34/76, it's speed can help the Stuart on fast-flanking maneuvers against Tigers and Panthers.


T-26 Series 1933

Combat Role:
Light Support Tank / Infantry Assault Tank

Weakness:
Low armor values, disruption counters are not removed.

Threat to Enemy:
The T-26 has more than a 50% chance of disrupting medium armor at short and medium ranges as well as more than a 75% chance against light armor at all ranges.

Favored Target:
Light armor at all ranges. Medium armor at short range. Infantry at short and medium ranges.

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: M3 Stuart, 7TPdw
Anti-Vehicle Support: T-34/76, M3 Stuart, Anti-Tank Artillery

Effects from Loss:
Minor. This unit, while having reasonable attacks, should not be depended upon during squad construction due to it's very weak armor values.

Deployment Strategy:
Utilizing LOS and cover is essential when using the T-26. It's low armor values prevent it from being used in any sort of direct frontal assault. In turn, this delegates the T-26 to supporting the rest of your chosen force. If it is left in the open, enemy tanks such has the Panzer III and Carro Armato should not have trouble in neutralizing it.


Renault R-35

Combat Role:
Medium Support Tank / Infantry Support Tank

Weakness:
Moderately weak against infantry. Slow movement speed.

Threat to Enemy:
Ability to cross streams. This can create problems for opponents not expecting such a tactic.

Favored Target:
Light armor at all ranges. Medium armor at short and medium range.

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: M3 Stuart, 7TPdw
Anti-Vehicle Support: T-34/76, M3 Stuart, Anti-Tank Artillery

Effects from Loss:
Moderate. One of the stronger allied tanks of the time period, the R-35's low cost and decent attacks makes it an excellent support tank. By losing this tank, it could put more of a workload on your heavier assault tanks.

Deployment Strategy:
With it's 2 speed, it really only has a fair chance on a road. However, if you chose to play this unit off the road, it could possibly be a late comer to combat at a time where fresh reinforcements are a welcome sight. The R-35 itself is a reasonably stout tank against any early Axis armor.


7TPdw

Combat Role:
Light Reserve Tank / Infantry Assault Tank

Weakness:
Low armor values. Does not have a high chance to hit vs. vehicles.

Threat to Enemy:
A reasonable threat against enemy infantry at short / medium range.

Favored Target:
Infantry at short and medium ranges.

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: M3 Stuart
Anti-Vehicle Support: T-34/76, M3 Stuart, T-26 Series 1933, Anti-Tank Artillery

Effects from Loss:
Minor. This unit is nothing more than a filler to help combat infantry. Given its loss, you should still have enough armor and infantry fighting abilities to move on.

Deployment Strategy:
Keep this unit out of LOS if at all possible. With a fragile 2 armor, it can easily be disrupted and destroyed by Axis units. It is best to hold this tank into reserve until your heavier tanks begin to engage the enemy. Once this is done, you should move the 7TPdw forward to deal with enemy infantry or score additional hits on larger tanks. This in turn allows your heavier units to deal with the armored threats in the area. Once you make an attack, you are able to make another one on an enemy soldier... essentially giving this unit 2 attacks per round.


Valentine II

Combat Role:
Medium Support Tank

Weakness:
Very low attacks vs. infantry.

Threat to Enemy:
The Valentine II is a defensive juggernaut. With 5 armor and a reasonably low cost. It can stand up front and take a pounding from the Axis armor of the time.

Favored Target:
Light armor at all ranges, medium armor at short and medium ranges.

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: M3 Stuart, 7TPdw
Anti-Vehicle Support: T-34/76, M3 Stuart, T-26 Series 1933

Effects from Loss:
Moderate. While not a superior offensive piece, its 5 armor can withstand attacks from several units at once. Loss of this unit would put more of a defensive burden on your other units.

Deployment Strategy:
Place this unit as close to the objective as possible. If you are able to get the Valentine on the objective without suffering any damage / disruption, the skirmish may have already been decided. Once this unit is in a defensive role, it will be hard to defeat, with most Axis tanks having less than a 50% chance of scoring a hit at medium range. Once on the objective, fan out your existing units to provide overlapped fire. This should delay any assault by the enemy.


Crusader II

Combat Role:
Medium Support Tank

Weakness:
Once damaged, the Crusader is no longer able to move. This essentially turns the Crusader into a fixed gun emplacement.

Threat to Enemy:
With its total mobility being 9 hexes per round, the Crusader has a very strong chance of reaching a neutral objective first.

Favored Target:
Light armor at all ranges, medium armor at short ranges.

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: M3 Stuart, 7TPdw
Anti-Vehicle Support: Crusader II, T-34/76, M3 Stuart, T-26 Series 1933

Effects from Loss:
Minor – Moderate: Depending on the turn number, the loss of this tank can vary. If you have the objective in your possession, the loss would be minor. However if it is early in the game, this units loss could hurt you in your ability to secure the objective.

Deployment Strategy:
Deploy this tank at the maximum 5 hexes from the edge. After initiative is decided, move it another 4 before the turns begin. By using this strategy, you are already 9 hexes into a map before the movement phase. However as previously stated, tread lightly against heavier tanks on your opponent's side. By placing this unit in cover near the objective seems to be the best bet, as you have more of a chance of survival.










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