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S2 Briefing: 1943-1945 Armor Units
J.R. "Careos" Sharp

During the closing years of WWII, the balance of power shifted dramatically towards the Allied side.

In June, 1944 the Allies finally invaded France at Normandy. The German army was now facing war from all angles. The Soviets were pushing towards Berlin from the east with the U.S. and Great Britain pushing from the west. In addition to their ground efforts, the Allies also used 24-hour bombing raids to cripple the Germans on the production front.

While effective, the Germans were still at work creating new heavier tanks, but their days were numbered. At this time, they were able to produce tanks that were still very tough against their Allied enemies, but failed to produce them in any amount to make a difference.

Meanwhile, the Allies continued to develop their own new tanks. While many did not have the dramatic one-shot ability of the German armor, they were produced in much larger numbers and were able to be refitted to suit many combat roles. Tanks such as the Sherman “Rhino” and Churchill “Crocodile” are just two examples of these adaptations.

The tanks of this time period that are represented in AAM are all very versatile and able to be independent of most other units. However, the Allies still are able to field more units due to their lower costs. The Germans on the other hand, are able to provide massive amounts of offense and defense yet have higher costs, limiting the number of units that can be fielded.

M-18 Hellcat

Combat Role:
Light Assault Tank; Infantry Support

Weakness:
Low armor values. Can be easily defeated via a flank attack.

Threat to Enemy:
M18 Hellcat’s specialize in highly mobile fire. The main combat role of the M18 is essentially “shoot and scoot”. The M18’s threat to the enemy is its ability to quickly move on and flank an enemy unit. It gains an extra die when attacking a unit’s rear armor. In addition to high gear, it is able to close on the enemy at an unexpected rate and potentially disable a target and retreat before itself is attacked.

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

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: M4 Sherman Class
Anti-Vehicle Support: M4 Sherman Class, T-34 Class, IS-2, M-18 Hellcat

Effects from Loss:
Moderate.

Deployment Strategy:
The M18 Hellcat is a fragile mix of speed and power. The M18 should be deployed in a manner to harass and outflank your opponent. Do not position this tank out in the open as it will quickly fall prey to nearly any armor. Allow the game to develop for the first round or two, then move the M18 into a position to swing around and make a quick, powerful assault. Although the M18 does have a powerful weapon, it should be utilized in a harassment role rather than a head to head conflict.


M4A3E8 Sherman “Easy Eight”

Combat Role:
Heavy Assault Tank; Infantry Assault

Weakness:
As with many units in this time period, the M4A3E8 does not exhibit any apparent weaknesses.

Threat to Enemy:
The M4A3E8 is one of the most unique units represented in AAM. It is a very robust unit capable of a great deal of destruction. The E8 has the ability of bringing infantry to the front via transport as well as crossing hill hexes without movement penalty. As with many of the units of this time, its superior armor provides it a greater defense against bombardment. Additionally, you are able to destroy a unit one per game after essentially scoring 2 hits. This ability can prove useful when combating heavy armor such as the King Tiger and SS-Panther D.

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

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: M4 Sherman Class
Anti-Vehicle Support: M4 Sherman Class, T-34 Class, IS-2, M-18 Hellcat

Effects from Loss:
Severe.

Deployment Strategy:
The Easy Eight is a very intriguing unit. It has enough armor to go toe to toe with most Axis armor, as well as having several tricks up its sleeve. You can essentially deploy the M4A3E8 at your will, making sure it will not fall into a conflict that will present it with a superior number of opponents. If possible, do not use the armor piercing ability until you have a chance to change the tide of the game, such as a high-probability shot on a Tiger, etc. All in all, the M4A3E8 is the most robust vehicle in the Allied arsenal and can be used in a number of ways.


Archer

Combat Role:
Light Assault Tank

Weakness:
Weak against infantry, can only fire main weapon to its rear as well as fielding low armor values. The Archer may also have a problem with withdrawing from a conflict, given its speed of 2.

Threat to Enemy:
The Archer is best suited for hit an run operations. Its extended range 10 coupled with a strike and fade ability provides it some protection in staying out of range or giving it the ability to jump behind cover only to reemerge in a more favorable position.

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

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: M4 Sherman Class
Anti-Vehicle Support: M4 Sherman Class, T-34 Class, IS-2, M-18 Hellcat

Effects from Loss:
Moderate.

Deployment Strategy:
The Archer should be used in the same manner as the M18 Hellcat. Do not deploy this unit in a manner that will prematurely put it in harm’s way. The Archer, while powerful, is a slow, soft target that will fall quickly to most opponents. With its slow speed, the Archer will have to begin its move early to ensure its use in the conflict, make sure that you can use the remainder of your forces to push the enemy into its firing arc. Once you are able to take a shot, use Strike and Fade to move it to another location.


Guards T-34/85

Combat Role:
Heavy Assault Tank; Infantry Assault

Weakness:
As with many units in this time period, the T-34/85 does not exhibit any apparent weaknesses.

Threat to Enemy:
The T-34/85 is a balanced tank with a reasonable cost. This allows it to be deployed in numbers, giving it a greater advantage against superior armor. With its Guard Crew, the T-34/85 is able to to reroll a single result of 1 on attack dice, potentially giving the single success to make a difference in a close contest.

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

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: M4 Sherman Class
Anti-Vehicle Support: M4 Sherman Class, T-34 Class, IS-2, M-18 Hellcat

Effects from Loss:
Moderate.

Deployment Strategy:
As with many of the Allied units, the T-34/85 is an excellent unit, but must rely on its squad mates to defeat many of the heavy units. Use the T-34/85 as one of the core units of your assault as it can take some punishment with its superior armor. You should be able to advance it without worry towards the objective. When met with the enemy’s forces, use your lighter units to fan out and fire on the enemy from all angles. With the higher cost of the Axis units, there will normally be a numerical imbalance favoring the Allies. As with any Allied build, you should utilize this to take down the heavy targets many German builds present.


IS-2 Model 1944

Combat Role:
Heavy Assault Tank; Infantry Assault

Weakness:
Extremely high cost, slow movement speed.

Threat to Enemy:
The IS-2 is intended for brutal, high-powered slugfests. Its threat to the enemy lies in its heavy attack values, ability to take severe punishment as well as superior armor. In order to damage this, an enemy would have to roll 9 successes in a single attack.

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

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: M4 Sherman Class
Anti-Vehicle Support: M4 Sherman Class, T-34 Class, IS-2, M-18 Hellcat

Effects from Loss:
Severe.

Deployment Strategy:
The strongest all-out Allied unit, the IS-2 has one major disadvantage: its cost. Given this, you will not be able to field as many other units as typical. When fielding this unit, be ready for a slugfest. You cannot use a lot of finesse with the IS-2 as you need all of its power to ensure victory. The best strategy to use is to run the IS-2 straight for the objective, relying on its brute force and any other units you may field to combine hits against your enemy.


Cromwell IV

Combat Role:
Medium Assault Tank; Infantry Assault

Weakness:
Able to move at a speed of 4 before the first turn. This gives the Cromwell a jump towards the objective. In comparison to the Crusader, the Cromwell will fare better at holding the objective before reinforcements arrive.

Threat to Enemy:
The Cromwell’s largest threat to the enemy is, amazingly, its cost. At only the cost of 22, it has the exact same armor and speed as the M4A1 Sherman, albeit with lower attack values against soldiers. The Cromwell, however has a slightly more powerful attack against vehicles and the Vanguard ability. When considering all of the above, the Cromwell is again one of the finest units the Allied forces have to offer.

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

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: M4 Sherman Class
Anti-Vehicle Support: M4 Sherman Class, T-34 Class, IS-2, M-18 Hellcat

Effects from Loss:
Moderate.

Deployment Strategy:
The Cromwell is an outstanding unit for rushing the objective and securing before the enemy can get close. With its decent defensive values, it should be able to hold out against the initial enemy assault. Coupled with another Cromwell, you can really take it to the enemy early by either a fix and flank or a direct assault. The Cromwell shines as one of the better additions to the Allied forces from Set II.

Churchill “Crocodile”

Combat Role:
Heavy Support Tank; Infantry Support

Weakness:
Very slow movement.

Threat to Enemy:
Able to destroy vastly superior vehicles at close range with its flamethrower. Superior armor extends the Crocodile’s durability on the battlefield. The Crocodile is also exceptionally proficient at dealing with infantry.

Favored Target:
Light and medium armor at all ranges, heavy armor at short range; Infantry at close range.

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: M4 Sherman Class
Anti-Vehicle Support: M4 Sherman Class, T-34 Class, IS-2, M-18 Hellcat

Effects from Loss:
Moderate.

Deployment Strategy:
At one time this was one of the more controversial units of AAM, the Crocodile was a feared miracle unit capable of destroying the strongest units with a roll of three 6’s. However, given its slow speed, it is highly unlikely that it will close with the enemy enough to utilize the ability against vehicles. The best strategy for this unit's deployment would be to support the advance of your infantry and attack and eliminate enemy infantry at close range. If the Crocodile does find its way into armor vs. armor combat, it should be able to hold its own, given you do not attempt to advance it forward to use the flamethrower ability.


Veteran M4 Sherman “Rhino”

Combat Role:
Medium Support Tank; Infantry Assault

Weakness:
Easily destroyed by heavier tanks.

Threat to Enemy:
Able to enter forests without an entry roll, causing it the ability to disappear when threatened. Also gives it the ability to re-emerge with a greater advantage over the enemy. Its veteran crew prevents the M4 from being pinned while disrupted.

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

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: M4 Sherman Class
Anti-Vehicle Support: M4 Sherman Class, T-34 Class, IS-2, M-18 Hellcat

Effects from Loss:
Moderate.

Deployment Strategy:
The Rhino is one of the many improvements of the M4 Sherman chassis. You should be able to add it seamlessly into any swarm type attack without any issue. Using the Rhino rather than the basic M4 does add you the ability to cut through the woods without having an entry roll. The veteran crew also assists the swarm tactic in preventing it from suffering many of the disruption penalties. Ideally, you should use 1 Rhino for every 2 M4 Sherman units if you are planning a swarm.


M-24 Chaffee

Combat Role:
Medium Assault Tank; Infantry Assault

Weakness:
Weak armor for this time period only moderately successful head to head against heavy armor.

Threat to Enemy:
Able to close and assault quickly. Even though it only has 4 armor, its superior armor ability does help its resiliency in combat.

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

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: M4 Sherman Class
Anti-Vehicle Support: M4 Sherman Class, T-34 Class, IS-2, M-18 Hellcat

Effects from Loss:
Moderate.

Deployment Strategy:
The M24 is another unit added in Set II that is very intriguing. It is essentially a statistical hybrid of several Allied vehicles. When using this unit, it is important to not expose it too early as it is still outgunned. However, its speed does yield it an advantage if you decide to add it to a swarm assault for a flanking unit. If used in this manner, it should be kept in cover if at all possible.


Nashorn

Combat Role:
Tank Destroyer

Weakness:
Low armor values, can only fire forward, fails all cover rolls due to its tall silhouette.

Threat to Enemy:
Very high probability to hit any vehicle at any range. Able to look past one hex of blocking terrain with superior optics. 20 hex long range.

Favored Target:
All vehicles at any range.

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: Infantry, R-2 LT-35, Carro Armato M13/40
Anti-Vehicle Support: Panzer IV Series, Carro Armato M13/40

Effects from Loss:
Moderate – Severe. Possibly (yet unlikely) the only vehicle for the Axis on the field. Even though it has very fragile armor, loss of this unit would have a dramatic effect due to its extremely high attack values.

Deployment Strategy:
Due to its fragile nature, the Nashorn should only be deployed in a support role. By using its extended range, you should be able to deploy this unit out of harms way. Keep in mind that you do have the ability to look through one hex of LOS blocking terrain, meaning you can kill your target before it can even see you. In my opinion, these attributes make the Nashorn the largest threat on the field. By using the Nashorn to regulate your opponents advance, you will be able to impose your will upon them.


Jagdpanther

Combat Role:
Tank Destroyer

Weakness:
Low rear armor value, can only fire forward.

Threat to Enemy:
Very high probability to hit any vehicle at any range. Very resilient due to superior armor. 12 hex long range.

Favored Target:
All vehicles at any range.

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: Infantry, R-2 LT-35, Carro Armato M13/40
Anti-Vehicle Support: Panzer IV Series, Carro Armato M13/40

Effects from Loss:
Moderate. Much like other heavier units, its loss will definitely open up the field to the enemy. However, its cost leaves enough open for other units that you can field in conjunction with the Jagdpanther.

Deployment Strategy:
The Jagdpanther does have the option to be deployed along with the main assault force. However, it would be wiser to position it so that the rear of the tank is not vulnerable to a flank maneuver and has a good view of the field. Once the enemy is weakened, then advance the Jagdpanther forward to support the objective.


King Tiger

Combat Role:
Heavy Assault Tank

Weakness:
High cost, yet no weakness.

Threat to Enemy:
Very strong attack and armor values, able to take considerable damage. The King Tiger must be attacked by multiple units to be defeated.

Favored Target:
All targets at all ranges.

Supporting Units:
Anti-Infantry Support: Infantry, R-2 LT-35, Carro Armato M13/40
Anti-Vehicle Support: Carro Armato M13/40

Effects from Loss:
Severe. Due to its cost, no real armor can be fielded to support this unit. If lost, you will be forced to rely on weak vehicles and infantry to achieve victory.

Deployment Strategy:
Deploy in a position that is able to control the battlefield, but is also able to defend its lower armored rear. Even though the rear of the tank is not extremely weak or vulnerable, it is possible for several units to disable this tank using a coordinated attack. Attempt to find the best position available to use the King Tiger’s extended range.










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