Operation Sand dune Panzer Tactics

Andy Singleton continues his battle plan to collect a large DAK force in Operation Sand Dune:

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As part of Carl’s, Sam’s and my own on going trip to the desert with Operation Sand dune, I’ve managed to get the core of my force finished at last.

The Plan

So far the force consists of 3 Panzer III Ausf J, all at regular and one of which is upgraded to a command tank. These are supported by 2 Panzer IV Ausf F. All of these are rated as regular. In total, all of these come to just shy of 1000 points. This gives me options to either keep the force at 1000 points with a few tweaks to experience, or I can expand to 1250 points as well easily.

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I see 2 possible options for expansion, firstly, I can add 2 small veteran squads and a truck, as well as a mortar and heavy field car to transport them around. This gives me a tactically flexible force than can have a small infantry element for defensive or objective securing purposes, whilst the tanks do most of the work.
The second option, again taking the force to 1250 point is to split the force into 2 platoons, with the 3 Panzer III in one platoon, and the 2 Panzer IV in the second platoon. The reason for splitting these is to allow for more armoured vehicles to be taken as each platoon can only have 5 vehicles. I’ll add 3 more vehicles in the form of a pair of Sdkfz 222 armoured cars, as well as a 221 light armoured car. These will give the force some light recce elements, and a great flexible area of fire power. For now though, I’ll talk about the Panzer III’s and IV’s, and the roles I envision for them.

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Panzer III Ausf J

At 195 points for a regular tank, with armour 9+ and a medium anti-tank gun and 2 MMG’s, the Panzer III Ausf J is a fantastically flexible unit, and it’s probably the vehicle I’ve gamed with most in Bolt Action because of this.

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Both within this force, and in Bolt action in general, the Panzer III will be used as a bit of a jack of all trades. Its armour is resilient enough to allow it to be at least fairly confident in securing flanks and suppressing enemy forces, as its main armament is perfectly capable of threatening enemy medium armour, and can still harm and pin heavy armour too. With 3 in this force I will probably keep them together, and focus their main guns on the same vehicle until it’s either pinned or dead, whilst using their bow machine guns to harass enemy infantry and weapon teams.

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3 medium anti-tank gun shots should be enough to take out most opposition, and the focus will be on targets that they are more likely to kill, getting 3 shots on a heavy tank might be tempting, but the odds of a kill are far worse than against a medium or light vehicle, and once that’s gone it’s an order dice out the bag and you have an extra level of tactical superiority then too.
The medium anti-tank gun is capable of firing a very weak HE round, so though this shouldn’t be discounted, the coax medium MMG is probably a better option to fire, as between each tanks 2 MMG’s that’s a great way to pin enemy infantry out of the game, especially if you split the fire from each vehicle, as between the three Panzer III you can potentially get 2 pins each on 3 enemy infantry units if no armour presents itself.

Panzer IV Ausf F1

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These two panzers are here to provide some HE capability, and at only 175 points each are something of a bargain (In terms of German armour anyway…). The role of the Panzer IV is far simpler than that of the Panzer III, and mirrors the historical use the Panzer IV was originally intended for.

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Each vehicle again has medium armour, but this time comes armed with an MMG, a coax MMG, and a light howitzer. These two have the job of hunting enemy infantry and soft skins, and will probably again work together to combine their shots to remove enemy teams and squads. In tank wars games infantry are going to be present in less number, so the HE capability will allow me to hunt anti-tank teams, and any soft skins that may be lurking around as well, again to reduce the number of order dice in the bag and keep the force’s control of the order dice phase.

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With this solid tactically flexible core, I now have to decide what to add to finish the force off, but I’m now in a position to throw out some challenges too!

Do you have an article within you? Are you itching to show your collection to the world of Bolt Action? Then drop us a line with a couple of pictures to info@warlordgames.com or share with all over at the Warlord Forum

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