01 May 2011

Know your support options - UK

Last nation of this little series of guides to Secret of the Third Reich support options are the British. And they have some pretty cool stuff – especially after the Doomsday book release where you can find a split between the special forces that are “righteous” or try to defeat the enemy “by all means”. The split between MI-13 and the Temple makes the British unique as it is the only faction in this game that has two sub factions that allow you to theme your army around either good or “evil” if you want.

Starting with the core game support options:

British Steel, reliable heavy infantry. They were the first “heavy dudes” on the block to sport Packed LMG throughout the unit as standard equipment. The German Drop Troops may have the Drop ability but the British Steel have more bullets flying per soldier than the other heavy infantry in the core rulebook. At 6RP the cost is affordable looking at what you get. You can customize the unit with one Anti Mech rifle and  flamethrowers for all 5 for free.

If you want some blast templates you can upgrade them with Piat-D Light AT/Very Light HE weapons for 1RP for the entire unit. I play mine as pure long range support thus my unit comes with 4 Packed LMG and 1 anti mech rifle. They have Nerves of Steel which allows you to reroll failed cool checks caused by enemy fire – taking into account that these boys are Elite you get a high probability that they will stay in the fight unflinching if you take casualties.

Para Snipers, these guys have two drawbacks. The cost of 6RP is 2RP above regular sniper teams.  And you can’t field them at all if you already have included a regular sniper team in your platoon. Looking at the cost and what they bring along for those points, a couple of things stand out. They have the Deep Insertion rule meaning you can deploy them anywhere on the table outside of the enemy deployment zone, and they have those Very Light AT “Webley Sabot” pistols and radio equipment. The common use of snipers calls for camping in some tall building at the far back of your table with good line of sight. I can’t really think why I would like to put an expensive unit like this close to the enemy without supporting units to cover my ass – the use of Deep Insertion may be very situational in that sense. I can’t really recommend them as regular snipers are expensive enough.  Besides, the British have a whole slew of more cost effective support options that you might be interested in.

Battlemaster APC/Battlemaster Recon, is actually the only non combat vehicle in the entire game. And also the only transport with something that resembles vehicle armor – as it comes with Light Armor to the front making it durable enough to withstand both Light and Heavy Infantry class hits.

The Battlemaster and Recon variant both cost 3RP, as such they are quite affordable if you want to transport a unit of infantry or two into the thick of it quickly. I usually go for the Recon variant, it has 10 seats instead of 15, but that is enough to transport a full Rifle Squad and all other support option infantry. The Recon is also Speed Class IV instead of III which allows you to haul ass over the table if the terrain allows you to do so. The Battlemaster is a glorified transport, but it can serve its purpose well – better than regular transports that can be picked apart by regular Light Infantry weapons. The major drawback of this transport is that it’s “Medium” chassis which makes you unable to field them in squadrons of 1-3 / support slot. Spending more than one support option on these transports is not advice. Better use them for a specific unit to rush forward or act as mobile reserve. 


MI-13 and Temple characters and units

The core rulebook contains 3 “MI-13” characters, while the Doomsday book expands upon their organization with MI-13 commandos. The Doomsday book introduces a couple of “Temple” units. Important to know is that you can’t mix units and characters from these two organizations in one platoon.

Dr Lazarus
At 6RP Dr Lazarus should be considered on the expensive side as characters go, but he has one very good skill – “laying hands” which mean that all Down models within 4” of Lazarus stand up recovered at the start of next turn instead of having to roll a die.  A platoon joined by Lazarus also become Monster Hunters meaning that everything with Uncanny Resilience is treated as “Unarmored man” instead – severely punishing German players that did not equip their werewolf platoon with Light Personnel Armor.

He is also very difficult to kill with Light Infantry strength weapons and he ignores all Down results. Lazarus isn’t the most offense inclined character, his combat skills are not that great and he should be used to max out on his “Laying hands” ability at all time – keep him near something expensive and keep that unit alive.

Maxwell

The pet vampire of Dr Lazarus, which can be bought for 5RP if you include Lazarus in your platoon.  Maxwell is a regular vampire – with the exception of not being able to use his Deep Insertion and does not cause any Horror. He also has to stay within 12” of Dr Lazarus. Getting a Vampire for 5RP is a bargain – though it becomes a bit expensive as you have to invest 11RP into this character duo. It pretty much depends on what your platoon looks like. It’s a fun character duo, and adds a lot of character – and if you look at it from the other way around (from a Germans POV) you get a Vampire and Lazarus for 11RP instead of only a Vampire for 8RP AND you don’t have to use up any support option slots.

Ash
One huge advantage and one main weakness of this lady is that she can set terrain within 24” on fire but comes with no armor. While having the ability to get Heavy Personnel armor through one of her abilities you cannot use that protective ability and her fire attack in the same turn. She really needs to stay in cover behind friendly infantry to minimize the possibility to be shot at with Light Infantry class weapons. One hit and she’s dead. Snipers are her bane, she does not have “Thick Skull” a regular 4+ to wound will drop her dead.  At 8RP she is very expensive considering how frail she is. The setting things on fire ability is very useful against pesky Soviets in camo using Ranger special rule while standing in a forest. But if you can hit them with your fire, you are also in range of their massive SMG firepower!

Black Jack
The British equivalent to the US Sentinels – with the difference of actually having the extra armor in his profile making him harder to kill. Though he does not inspire friendly units with his presence the way US sentinels do. At 8RP it really comes down to adding “flavor” to your platoon. You don’t really need this character – but it can be cool to have one around. Both the original Cyborg looking model and the one people substitute with the most (Hellboy) are very cool to have on the table. 

If you get him, use him with his standard equipment (Webley Sabot). Better to hit one target hard than maybe hitting a few but doing no damage. His main purpose is close combat anyway as you won’t get your RP worth shooting any of his weapons. (And yes, I count myself amongst those that don't care if Hellboy would have been 3 years old in 1949).

Paddy Mayne
MI-13 commando character Paddy Mayne comes at 7RP and can only ever be included in your platoon if you have a unit of MI-13 commandos as well. That restriction makes him a bit harder and more rare to field. He has a few nice rules though. Instead of having monster hunters rule he instead inflicts damage easier against all models with “Horror” in their profile – this means he is more useful overall against “weird” support options than his regular “monster hunting” friends of the British intelligence service. Any unit he joins becomes Utterly fearless, and if you attach him to the MI-13 commandos you might use his “Operating behind enemy lines” special rule which allows them to enter the table from ANY edge you wish upon their activation! Drawback is as I said that you have to include the MI-13 commandos to be able to field him, and those two eat up a lot of points. But if could definitely be worth it if you intend to raid the back of the enemy table. Just make sure you don’t throw them away on some suicide mission.

MI-13 commandos
A very good support option. Though only Veteran, at 6RP they come with Deep Insertion, Ranger, Monster Hunters and Nerves of Steel. Explosives, assault rifles , Light Personnel armor, IR-tech and may be upgraded with a Piat-D which can fire 5” flamethrower blasts at the enemy! You can also swap some assault rifles for Corrigan Gut Guns, which are improved Shotguns that are RoF2, Heavy Infantry class strength and have an improved short range of 8” making it easier to hit anyone standing inside that range. At 6RP, 7RP with the Piat-D upgrade they are one of the best support options you can get in the British arsenal.

Mr Smythe
Evil counterpart to Dr Lazarus, and head of the “Temple”.  At 4RP Mr Smythe is affordable, he does not have that many skills that would make him useful against the enemy BUT he is mainly there to unlock the “good stuff” – Flesh Golems and Templar Assault Squads.  See him as a evil mastermind that brings his own retinue to the battlefield more than someone that goes on a killing spree on his own.  Unlocking the Temple support options so that they can be taken outside of the support option slot is quite valuable on its own.

Flesh Golem
With Smythe in your platoon you can include up to 2 of these without  having to spend any support option slots. They are only Light Personnel armor, but the Hard to Kill makes up for that to some extent. At 5RP they are neither cheap nor expensive, and with their Super Strength (Medium AT) attacks they are able to beat some sense into pretty much everything. However, the drawback of these lumbering piles of flesh is that they suffer from the same mindlessness as zombies.

You need either Mr Smythe or a Templar Assault Squad officer within command range from these beasts at the start of their activation or you won’t be able to activate them as normal – instead they will just move towards the nearest enemy model.

Templar Assault Squad
At 5RP, 6RP with a packed LMG these are strong contenders with the MI-13 commandos and as such are best compared with that particular unit.  Considering that Mr Smythe allows you to field as many Templar Assault squads as you can afford within your platoon organization limits they can really give you an elite platoon. The unit is Elite instead of Veteran and slightly cheaper than the MI-13 commandos.

They pretty much have the exact same equipment as the commandos – but instead of the Piat-D and meat decoys for zombies the Temple Assault Squad have “Choke grenades”. This is a once per game ability that is similar to grenade attacks but instead of killing the target unit lose its next activation and receive -2 penalties to close combat attacks – regardless of how many members of the target unit were under the template. They can also sneak further according to their ”living shadows” rule.  I like them a lot and the MI-13 and Templar Assault squad take turns to serve in my UK platoon.

Battle Chaplain, this is a upgrade for your command squad medic. For just 1 RP you get +1 Cool and monster hunters to the unit he joins. Against zombies and anything with Uncanny resilience you also get the Combat Monster rule. Not much more to say about this upgrade, it is worth it. You still retain the Medic ability but with improved cool and a few nice abilities to go along with this kit.


Major Clive Goddard, never used him and sadly I probably never will. The RP cost is just way out there to be honest. 8RP for 1 single British steel trooper with combat monster.  Sorry….

WASP, now this is a unique mecha due to its Vertical Takeoff and landing “VTOL” special rule. While other units and mechas may drop onto the battlefield only the US Jet Rangers and the British WASP mecha can use their jetpacks after deployment. The WASP can either walk around on the ground or hover above ground and fire from above, you can choose which mode the mecha will use at the start of each turn but be aware that it will stay in that mode for the remainder of the turn. If you hover above ground you will be a clearly visible target. Using the WASP will need great timing and ability to be easily baited into crazy situations by enemy movement. The mecha is Very Light armor, meaning even Light Infantry strength hits can destroy it.

As for historical vehicles, the most popular seem to be the Bren carrier armed with a flamethrower to be used as a throw-away one hit wonder. Among the tanks the Cromwell and Centaur seem to be popular choices and I have a duo of Cromwells myself. Your standard mid range tank, with Medium AT gun, LMG and Medium armor to the front it is more similar to the Sherman and the Soviet T-34/76 than the T-34/85 and German PzIV. Affordable and good enough if you like to include something historical in your platoon.

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This concludes the support option guides for the four major nations of Secrets of the Third Reich. Next week I will write a final segment completely focused on mechas and the vehicle design rules (VDR).

2 comments:

  1. I've really enjoyed these guides.
    They give a taste of Secrets of the Third Reich, but best of all they showcase the miniatures you use.
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks :-)
    Yes Secrets of the Third Reich is pretty much made up of the support options available as the core platoon is made up of regular troops and could be played as a regular WW2 game if you like.

    ReplyDelete

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