This entry is a bit of a vanity post of my current favorite army list for Dust Battlefield. However, I will also use it to go over some of my thinking behind my strategy. The first this I need to say is my gaming group likes playing at 125 points which is pretty close to the same amount of units that you could get in Dust Warfare more or less. I find the average falls somewhere around ten units.
Pictured above is my Axis Assault Recon Force along with the Sckakals. The list is largely built around the Scout Skill which most units have or at very least have At The Double or a high March Move. Additionally, I added a couple of aircraft mostly because I like aircraft and think the Axis VTOL jets look cool.
Kommandotrupp (The Old Man) 13pts — Platoon Leader of the Axis Grenadier Squad
Battle Grenadiers (Stormtroopers) 8pts — Axis Grenadier Platoon
Panzer Killers (Tank Killers) 8pts — Axis Grenadier Platoon
Recon Grenadiers (The Ghosts) 9pts — Axis Grenadier Platoon
Hans x2 14pts — Sckakals (My own fluff only platoon with no special rules involved)
Hermann 10pts — Sckalals (My own fluff only platoon with no special rules involved)
Heinrich 8pts — Sckalals (My own fluff only platoon with no special rules involved)
Blitz 25pts (Note: I would drop this unit for a 100 point game)
I like Soldier 2 units probably more than any of the other types. In addition, I have already tried out the Axis Zombies (I didn’t how much they slow down the game), the Gorillas (I really like fielding them because they are pure two-fisted, pulp fun), and the heavy grenadiers (which are nice though a little weak on anti-armor). I am also on a more mundane World War II kick so I didn’t want too much weird in my list.
I already talked about the Axis Grenadier Platoon in a previous article so I won’t into too much detail on that. I like the idea of have a third action with the Kommandotrupp which I expect to be used mostly if my other re-activations fail on non-Wehrmacht Grenadier units. I also only went with one unit that has the Officer skill despite my insistence to usually have two. The big reason was a good chunk of my army are aircraft which don’t benefit from it any way, and I don’t repairs happening with all light vehicles. It also works toward the backstory of this list of largely being a poorly disciplined force.
If you will note, I have an infantry squad for every Vehicle and intend on pairing one of each to each other for classic WWII tactics. My initial intention is to pair the following:
Kommandotrupp with Hermann
Battle Grenadiers with Hans
Panzer Killers with Hienrich
Recon Grenadiers with Hans
Sturmpioniere with Hanomag
Of course the nature of war gaming and no plan lasting first contact I can see this idea going out the window very quickly. However, it does provide the infantry with cover as they advance. I also tried to compliment the squad to vehicle to have a good balance of anti-infantry to anti-armor. Except in the case of the Sturmpioniere and Hanomag which were combined to to each units fast March Move.
The bulk of my vehicles are light walkers which I nicknamed the Sckalals (or Jackals). The Herman is my intended vehicle sniper to put a little bit of damage on distant enemy units until either my infantry, Hans, or Aircraft can finish them off. Realistically, I think my ability to deal with heavy armor is one of the biggest weaknesses of this list. However, I want to see if I can get combined arms to work if I need to bring down a Vehicle 6 or 7. Both Hans walkers are my multipurpose units which I would prefer them working on vehicles but I think will be better suited engaging enemy infantry while my anti-armor infantry can get within range. Like the Allies Blackhawk, I really like these light, short ranged, suicide machines. They usually can get in one good shot before the enemy destroys them. The Heinrich is largely a point saving thing where I would have preferred another Hermann, but having that longer ranged infantry attacking ability might come in handy. I just wish its guns rolled closer to the dice the Allies Wildfire does.
Finally, the Hanomag, which I could use as a transport. However, I took it for the machine guns and the fact I can use it as moving cover or at very least decide where to place a piece of cover after the battled starts which is more likely. I haven’t had it survive to the second round yet.
I’ll be frank here. I don’t think aircraft are any good in Dust Battlefield. They are too expensive for too short of range, can’t be affected by the Officer skill, and fairly fragile. Too many units have good enough anti-air to take them down in a single shot. If I face a player with a Mao Zedong or a Sturmkonig I might be finished as aircraft are nearly a 1/3 of my points. Think a stronger list would take them out for a Wotan and Konigsluther.
That said, I really like Aircraft and I think the Axis have some decently useful ones as they have longer range that the other blocs. I don’t expect much from the Miskito. It will probably provide a couple points of damage but more likely serve as cover for the Blitz as I intend to keep the Miskito between the enemy and my Blitz. The Blitz is the other part of my heavy anti-armor capabilities along with the Hermann. I figure between the two of them they could even bring down a Punisher I needed to.
Since a large portion of the Dust Battlefield scenarios require either Reserves or Delayed Reserves, I find it useful to think about which units I want to place in Reserves so I don’t have to think about it as much when it does happen. I tend to lean toward putting my best units out first as I might not get a chance to get all of them in before the game ends.
With this list, I make sure to always have my Command Squad in the units I will deploy. They offer too many abilities to wait until later to makes use of them. I then wanted most of my light walkers leaving out one of the Hans. Finally, I take the paired infantry (the Battle Grenadiers and Panzer Killers) as I usually expect my opponent to initially deploy their heavier walkers. Additionally, neither of these units have Scout to they will take more time to get across the table anyways.
My Aircraft are placed in reserves so I can see where my opponent places their anti-air and I can either avoid it or with a little luck have it removed by they time they arrive on the table. I have the Sturmpioniere in Reserves for two reasons: one, they can cover 24″ (March Move 16″ At the Double adds another 8″) to quickly reinforce any forward advanced units, and two, with a flamethrower they might be able to seriously hamper any enemy infantry that is threatening to take an objective.
Backstory (the Fluff)
I call this list the Scavengers (or Plunderers to be a little more Germanic) with the Light Walkers being the Sckalals, the aircraft nicknamed the buzzards, and infantry the dogs (which I believe is not a compliment in German culture). This force is made up of some of the few disposable troops the Axis have as they are composed of dissenters, cowards, and failures of more prestigious grenadier platoons. In less desperate times many of these men would be imprisoned or worst. However, the Axis too short of good soldiers to do so, and the Scavengers are still loyal to the cause many times just not fanatics as they know all to well the future of an ununited humanity.
The Sckalals are a despised, even among other axis forces, unit of light walker pilots and their support. The Sckalals require all members of the platoon to be injected with an early form of the Wiederbelebungsserum. It is whispered that is what causes these pilots to be as cruel as they are cunning as their namesake: the jackal. These pilots tend to work in coordination with each other with tactics that seem both cold and calculating but at the same time crazed and foolhardy. They are led by a Hauptmann Schartzenhart. Some say that he has become part of the living dead much like those that serve in the Braineaters, but only the other members of the Sckalals truly know.
The Buzzards are a resourceful lot as they to keep their highly advanced aircraft in good repair. The ingenuity of their mechanics borders on madness. While their aircraft appear uniform with the rest of the Axis flyers, their engines are anything but. They generally perform worst than standard only achieving the same ability by the pilots themselves.
I like the symmetry of this list in addition to the units that compose it. I don’t think is the strongest list the Axis to put together with 125 points, but I don’ think it will be a push over either (unless my opponent has serious anti-air). I like aircraft and light walkers this list has both in spades. I even like to think it is something of a mechanized/motorized infantry with the Hanomag and I like to think the Sturmpioniere have motorcycles to explain how they can move so fast.
I have been rotating through all the blocs and many of the different units in each for a couple months now, but I want to settle down on a couple of units and explore their depth a little more. I think I might be able to do that with the core of this army list.