Warsaw Pact Support and You

Warsaw Pact Support and You
With Ryan Jeffares

With the compilation of the Poles, Czechs and East Germans into WW3: Warsaw Pact, their forces have gained a variety of new units to help them find victory on the tabletop. These additions have not just come in the form of new formations, but also a series of changes to the support options available for the Czechs, East Germans and Poles.

SU-17 Fitter
One of the most exciting new units available to all the nations in WW3: Warsaw Pact is the SU-17 Fitter Fighter Bomber. These ground-attack aircraft are a cheaper alternative to the already available SU-25 Frogfoots, costing a measly 3 points per pair compared to 7 points for a pair of Frogfoots. Available in units of up to 6, the SU-17 retains most of the same ratings as the SU-25, though it has a morale of 4+ and an aircraft save of 5+ instead of the 4+ of the Frogfoot. In terms of weaponry, it shares much of its armament with the Frogfoot, mounting the same 30mm cannon and 57mm rocket launcher. The Fitter distinguishes itself with its ability to carry the 240mm S-24 rocket, whose AT 7, Fp 2+ , brutal artillery bombardment will be sure to put the hurt on whatever it hits. These rockets can be also swapped out for the same Kh-25 air-to-ground missile the Frogfoot carries, though this costs +3 points per pair of planes. However, this is still a cheaper option than the SU-25 and grants you access to the powerful AT 27 missile, though on a less survivable aircraft. With either rockets to thin out clustered enemy infantry and vehicles or missiles to make a mockery of the latest NATO tanks, the Fitter is capable of having a big impact on a game, though it is very vulnerable to ground fire, so is best used after most (if not all) of the enemy’s anti-air units are neutralised.

 
Warsaw Pact Support and You  

Gaskins and Gophers
Previously found only in formations, the SA-13 Gopher and SA-9 Gaskin are now both available to the Czechs, East Germans and Poles as a support choice. These anti-aircraft vehicles are relatively cheap and coupled with the fact they can also be taken as part of formations, you can field a large number of AA assets for a relatively low points cost, helping to protect your other units. In the case of the new T-72B formations, the ability to take these as support may prove useful as T-72Bs are the most expensive tank available to the Warsaw Pact nations and thus won’t leave many points left over for other formations or support units.

Warsaw Pact Support and You

Compulsory Unit as a support option
In addition to the explicitly listed options found in the formation support diagrams, each of the nations of the Warsaw Pact has gained the ability to take a compulsory unit from a formation in their force diagram as a support unit. This ability gives you great flexibility in designing your forces, allowing you to mix and match the types of tanks and mechanised infantry in your force as desired. The new T-72Bs are a great candidate for this as they are not available in many of the formations in WW3: Warsaw Pact, and with their high frontal armour and ability to resist most infantry-portable missiles, they will find a home in many lists as a reliable anvil which can effectively assault enemy objectives. Likewise, none of the lists in Warsaw Pact can take T-55s as part of their respective T-72B formations, and a support unit of these cheaper tanks could help supplement the more expensive T-72s with more hulls.

Warsaw Pact Support and You

Czechoslovakia and Poland
Apart from the new options mentioned above, the Czechs and Poles have also gained access to a support unit of 2S1 Carnations, allowing them to field them independently of the units available in formations. While this may seem uninspiring at first glance, this allows you to maximize the numbers of templates available, as you can split a 6-gun battery into two units of 3. Doing so gives your army the ability to bombard multiple enemy units in different parts of the table, enabling you to pin down enemy infantry and start digging them out of their foxholes.

East Germany
East Germans have gained access to the Czech RM-70 Raketenwerfer, a slightly more expensive alternative to the previously available BM-21 Hail. The RM-70 is armoured, with Front and Side armour 1 and a Top armour of 0. Though clearly no tank, this armour value will help keep the vehicle alive as instead of a failed save destroying the vehicle, your opponent will need to pass a firepower test. This will help against massed small arms fire or lighter autocannons, but will more importantly increase your survivability against enemy counterbattery fire. It also has an AA MG for staving off aircraft attacks and it can even assault enemy infantry, though with assault and counterattack values of 6, this is probably best left for absolute emergencies, given that most infantry carry anti-tank missiles.

Warsaw Pact Support and You

Another new option for the East Germans is the 2S3 Acacia, which is available in addition to the other artillery units in the support diagram and in WW3: Warsaw Pact it is only available for East Germany. The Acacia is best compared to the more widely available 2S1 Carnation, as it costs the same number of points and fulfils a similar battlefield role. The main appeal of the Acacia is the fact that its bombardment has a firepower of 2+, allowing it to more efficiently kill dug in infantry than other artillery options in the force. However, there are a few drawbacks as the Acacia’s 152mm gun is inferior to the Carnation when firing directly, with only AT 14, compared to the AT 21 sported by the Carnation, which also has a longer direct fire range. The Acacia is less mobile than its smaller cousin, with a cross value of 4+ and also lacks the amphibious rule, making it less capable of traversing terrain if it needs to move onto the table or contest a crucial objective. Ultimately, this new option trades flexibility for firepower, as I like my artillery to be killing those pesky dug-in Milan teams instead of hunting tanks, I see the Acacia as a very attractive option for a support unit.

Warsaw Pact Support and You

 Previously, the East Germans were unable to take any dedicated Anti-aircraft units as support units, a shortcoming which has been remedied by access to the aforementioned Gaskins and Gophers. However, the East Germans can now also take the SA-9 Gecko Flak Zug as a support choice, which was not available at all anywhere in Volksarmee. The Gecko is a useful tool as its missiles have a range of 72”/180cm and a firepower of 3+, allowing it to supplement the shorter ranged weapons of Shilkas, Gophers and Gaskins. While the Gecko won’t contribute to keeping a formation in good spirits, like the other AA options will, it can stand off and cover a large area, helping to extend your anti-air umbrella. This is particularly useful for Warsaw Pact nations, as your ability to take massed armour in the form of T-55s (and to a lesser degree T-72s) can be countered by the cluster munitions available to NATO aircraft. The powerful missiles of a Gecko can make an opponent think twice before launching an airstrike and if they do, your high firepower has a good chance of shooting down any aircraft which is hit.

Warsaw Pact Support and You

Though not strictly a support option, I couldn’t not talk about the T-55AM2 Raketenpanzer Kompanie, both because of the great name, as well as what it brings to the table. Available as a 0-1 choice as part of the T-55AM2 Panzer Battalion as a black box unit (and even as a support option as mentioned above), these tanks are capable of firing the AT-10 Stabber missile. With an AT of 21, these missiles are far superior to the 100mm guns found on the T-55 and T-55AM2 and are capable of damaging most enemy armour from the front. A unit of Raketenpanzers can serve in a variety of roles, supporting your other troops by targeting enemy armour at range, while remaining equally as capable of assault or manoeuvre as your other T-55s. This flexibility is their biggest asset and I can see them having great utility in supporting T-72B formations, as they can help eliminate enemy armour, while the T-72s move up to engage enemy infantry, relying on their heavier armour to shrug off fire.

To sum it all up the Warsaw Pact book has expanded support options for all the Nations in the book with their own air support option comparable to the SU-25 and the new tank formations give you more options than ever
~Ryan