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Best mix of AT guns?


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Mostly, AT guns die really soon after opening fire so IMO it's best to have a mix of different guns in the defense. For every target the attacker offers, you should have the right caliber. Of course, bigger is better but it's embarrassing to kill a 50-point BT-5 with a 70-point 75mm Pak only to see the gun getting killed by mortar fire the next turn. Better to kill the BT with something cheaper. But what?

In a 2000 pts QB, you are defending open terrain as the German player. Let's say you have set aside about 400 points for guns. Rarity is off.

What would you buy?

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I rather like the 37mm, as the Stielgranate rounds give you the ability to scrag heavy stuff. The rest of the time its job is to mess up the lights. ATRs are also fun to play with a light recon screen, leaving a couple of 75mms in good cover covering a killing ground.

Every gun gets a trench. Locate in open ground (no treebursts) they're really hard to get rid of.

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Depends on the period, of course but lets say later war with Shermans and T-34/85s.

I would usually have very few high-quality AT guns, they are just too expensive and in mixed terrain can't cover enough frontage to ensure they are put to good use in the end.

Small cheap guns make generally more sense since they can damage good tanks, take out bad tanks and have almost the same psychological effect as big guns. Plus it is often more important to fire at the enemy infantry to good effect, late in the game it is easier to deal with tanks not supported by infantry than the other way round.

The 105mm howitzers are also worth a look for the mentioned reason (infantry), plus they shoot effective smoke, can knock down buildings and are generally useful utilities.

For actual AT shooters in the defense on med hills/med woods CM maps you want something mobile, ideally a Panzer IV/70 or similar, but none of that thin crap.

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Originally posted by Redwolf:

Depends on the period, of course but lets say later war with Shermans and T-34/85s.

I would usually have very few high-quality AT guns, they are just too expensive and in mixed terrain can't cover enough frontage to ensure they are put to good use in the end.

Small cheap guns make generally more sense since they can damage good tanks, take out bad tanks and have almost the same psychological effect as big guns. Plus it is often more important to fire at the enemy infantry to good effect, late in the game it is easier to deal with tanks not supported by infantry than the other way round.

The 105mm howitzers are also worth a look for the mentioned reason (infantry), plus they shoot effective smoke, can knock down buildings and are generally useful utilities.

For actual AT shooters in the defense on med hills/med woods CM maps you want something mobile, ideally a Panzer IV/70 or similar, but none of that thin crap.

I luv the 105mm howitzer. It can be an effective tank killer/neutralizer.
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Depends on the time period really. Early war against thin skin armor the 37mm fires fast and can take out opponets pretty quick. I'd might take a mix of 37mm AT, 75mm IG, and maybe a 50mm AT. Later war I'd ditch the 37mm and 75mm IG unless close terrain. The 50mm AT gun can take out T34s & Shermans fairly effectivly in the flanks through-out the war. So, late war Id switch to 50mm AT and 75mm AT. Also remember that mid-late war German infantry usually has a few panzerfausts for close in work. That will be a big bonus to any AT defence....if you can get the enemy tanks in range. Can be a bit hard to do in open terrain.

[ August 27, 2004, 09:07 AM: Message edited by: Vixen ]

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Back in the CMBO days the standard OOB on tournamenthouse was two 50mm AT guns, two 75mm infantry guns, a Panzer IV/70, one Schreck and plain platoons.

In a 1500 points game you upgrade to a Jagdpanther (more useful against infantry), get two 20mm FlaK and more platoons.

[ August 29, 2004, 04:39 PM: Message edited by: Redwolf ]

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Half heavy, half light, by number. Meaning most of the points spent on things that can actually hurt stuff, not the popguns. Don't take the German 37mms, they suck. (HC doesn't change this in the 1.5 km size open maps you are talking about).

3 75mm PAK 40. These are your main tank killers. Place them in back positions with crossing fields of fire, not whole-map wide. They want to kill a tank or two apiece.

1 150mm sIG. Wait for the last 10-15 minutes before showing this. It may have HC making it a tank killer, but it needs short range - 500m or less - to reliably hit. More important is the HE - 10 minutes worth of the nastiest kind of direct HE pain there is in CM. Place in a central back location with LOS to the flags and cover just ahead of them. Unhide only when the attacking armor and guns are thinned out. Will smash the infantry left if he can't kill it with what he has left.

3 28mm sPzB. These are your light armor killers. They are stealthy enough to fire at anything beyond 200m without being spotted, indefinitely. They can kill T-34s with best roll hits on the turret front, close enough, or flat enough sides. But mostly they will KO light armor for you. Place them somewhat forward and well spread. You want cross fires from 2 at 90-120 crossing angles over wide areas of the map. Wide LOS, since they will only be sound contacts to the enemy, anyway. Cover near approachs to them with MGs, to avoid their discovery by infantry getting too close. If enemy get within 200m, hide the close one and keep firing with the others.

1 20mm Quad flak. Your Sturmovik insurance. Won't kill armor beyond the halftrack and armored car variety, but can do those. Also does infantry (4 blast from the standard 20mm Flak isn't enough to really hurt, but 14 each rapid fire from this puppy, is). Won't be easily spotted even after it opens up. (37mm has more armor penetration but can be spotted to twice the range - 800m rather than 400m). Place in a central, back location. Not under the same barrage footprint at the 150mm.

Pin enemy infantry in the open with MGs rather than your guns. The 20mm Quad can keep infantry from running over the sIG too early. The 28mms you just write off if they get overrun. The 28mms should force him to use real armor and button that, the 75s then kill as much of it as possible (working with your own armor). sIG wipes out infantry in the visible areas of cover.

In less open terrain you can use more panzerschrecks and fewer long range stealthy shooters for the low end. But they don't have the range for this big a map i.e. this number of points and open ground.

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**First post**

Hi all

Been playing CM since CMBO, from my experience i would choose the following,

3 maybe 4 75mm PAK 40s, if the force mix is set to armored it will be 4. lay them out as jason says, also the crossing fire of each gun must cover other guns and infantry not just each other.

If i want big i will go for a single 150mm sIG but i would rather have 3 75mm IGs or 2 105mm howitzers because you can cover more of your line. but the positioning would be still in the rear area and opened up late on in the game as the infantry closes in. HC is just a nice added bonus if any tanks are still around to try and spoil the day.I would never buy any of the IGs or howitzers for AT duty.(execpt the 25pdr).

3 28mm sPzB. jason I take it you are refering to the 28mm heavy ATR ?? :confused:

Never considered these to take on light armor,I normally use a 37mm Flak plus 2 single 20mm, anything out side the penatration of these guns will fall to the 75mm Pak/40s, plus the 20mm and the 37mm can also be used as AA guns. I am going to test the ATRs for this role. The Russian AT rifles do well.

Quad 20mm Flak. i forgot about this baby not used it since CMBO. might try replacing the two single 20mms for 2 quads.

Every platoon gets a Panzerschreck and maybe a flamethrower.just for the fact that if something goes wrong and tanks are about to roll over yor infantry they have got something to fight back with.

for my armor i like a mix of AP tanks and AT tanks Ie 2 stug IIIG (for AT) and 2 Stug 42H (for AP), because tanks come into there own on the attack i like to use Tank Destroyers on the defence including all the thin crap, which isn`t all that crap. (they have better optics than normal tanks) and can be used quite efficiently with a bit of practice.

Phil T

[ September 01, 2004, 02:55 AM: Message edited by: Blackjack ]

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What about the marder as a tank hunter?? I find these rarly miss a shot if vet`s. I always like a mobile defence if possible. 105`s arty spotters make mince of trenches and i see then airburst even when no trees`!!!!!! and guns dont last long at all. Ok if you have many guns but if you loose the bigger stuff!!

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For anti-tank guns I really like the British 6 pounder, since it can take out just about anything. For the Germans, I find that having 75mm Pak40 is well worth it depending on the type of battle. If you are facing 10 or more T-34s, its of little use, but the 50mm AT-Gun is of little use against any late war tanks other than early Shermans.

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the marder can be very good as a tank hunter, but only if employed right. i place them hiding in scattred trees, or other good cover and when they open up use a 10 second pause and reverse command whilst targeting, the marders will reverse back through the trees into cover shootin and killing as they go. as soon as they are in cover, they can be redeployed using a move and hide order. The further back you are in the scattered trees the better, less distance to go to get out of danger. and try and open up when they are on even terms, ie 4 on 4.

The other way is to have them sat in lots of cover, covering very narrow LOS, with a narrow cover arc, this can be used to set up an ambush aimed at getting a flank shot on heavy armor.

Phil T

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One item to consider is the 77mm Italian AA gun. It has decent penetration and good anti-personnel characteristics. It might be a bit ahistorical in certain situations, though.

In my admittedly strange experience, I get about the same "bang for the buck" on most weapons - I usually don't tend to kill lots more tanks with the good AT weapons and tend to get lucky on the smaller ones, although for me the 50mm is very small and the 75mm IG maybe in some circumstances.

I wouldn't count on the 'fausts. I don't get much mileage out of them in most circumstances unless the terrain is very good for the defender. Tend to get pinned quickly and are maddeningly resistant to use them (what are they holding them for - the afterlife smile.gif )

I do get more results from the tank hunters than the native fausts. The tank hunters can be pretty effective weapons if the enemy comes up close.

Shrecks are also very effective in close range situations. Don't put them in buildings. Get veteran guys and they will shoot faster and pin less.

Don't forget flame throwers. In close range they can spring a nasty surprise.

In a "gamey" phase I was buying the "wall of guns" strategy with 20mm AA guns at like 20 points each - you can buy 20 of the things! They would get all kinds of "gun hits" and usually terrorize the enemy AFV off the board. Plus with so many guns opening up the tac AI on the attack gets confused and does the ol' "pivot in place" at various defenders routine rather than picking one and smashing it to bits, which buys you even more time.

I have no luck with marders - that is a separate thread. If the terrain is close their lack of turret makes them meat if they have to swivel and MG fire is a serious threat and if the terrain is open and long the enemy usually has arty and onboard mortars which make the marder's life hell, plus, they can't take a hit. The hetzer is a totally different package - low profile, much better armor, and a big favorite when they are around.

Against the americans and british most of the german weapons are pretty effective against most models, unless you open up long range on a jumbo, and the churchill can be hard to kill.

Against the soviets w/JS II tanks most of your weapons are junk - at that point you need a shreck, a puppchen (look at my name smile.gif ), or a big 88mm gun or flak. The 75mm AT gun and the IG guns are going to be smashed to bits by 122mm direct HE. Bizarrely, the wall of guns is not a bad defense at all, if you can stomach it.

Just my experience. Hope it helps a bit. If playing a human, mix it up, don't get too predictable.

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Yes the 28mm means the heavy ATRs. They aren't really ATRs, they are small PAK, in all but name (very slow speed, emplaced, etc). As for their rariety, it often isn't that bad early, and besides the scenario specifically said rariety off, so it isn't a factor. With rariety off, these are very cheap - the cost of a heavy machinegun or of a Panzerschreck.

They don't just penetrate halftracks and BA-64s like 20mm FLAK. On the contrary, they can kill a T-34 with a flat enough side hit or close enough "sticky" front turret hit (when "round" turns out to be quite low). Against early model T-34s they reliably kill through the turret front.

The penetration is *twice* that of a 37mm PAK. Every round is tungsten, that is why. They are also so stealthy you can fire off the whole ammo load between 600m and around 200m and only give a sound contact. The only real downside is limited behind armor effect, due to a small pure AP round. But all the light armor killers have that issue.

As for Marders, the problem is they aren't stealthy. Also, they take armor points not support points - in all but an "armored" force type that is a big deal. You want to spend you limited armor point budget on better stuff.

In Russia, the Marder IIIs (not late) with 50mm front are OK. They can be killed by 76mm guns but are immune to MGs and light stuff, and to 45mm ATGs and the light tanks that carry them. As long as you keep front facing, that is. This makes them reasonably useful. They also give you a long 75mm AFV earlier than the Pz IVs.

However, most people take gamey StuGs with 80mm front instead, because those are proof against 76mm guns from the front, as well. Plus overhead cover and better side armor against ATRs and HMGs. Since even early (when historically, the Marders were the real source of mobile long 75s) the rariety for these best StuGs is quite low, the gamey optimum is StuGs not Marders. (Late war in the west, you can get sloped front armor too by using a Hetzer, as people have said. Or a Jagdpanzer).

As for how to use Marders, hiding them in trees isn't a good idea. It makes them slow and hard to turn. You do want to be able to break LOS with a short movement, but you don't need to be in scattered trees to get that effect. You can get it by using a short "shoot and scoot" order from behind a house or out of a small depression or over a ridge. Reversing back out of LOS after shooting, and waiting to pop out until you have a target (preferably one otherwise engaged, or facing the wrong way). Then relocate to new cover before doing it again.

The question was about the gun budget, though. And all AFVs lack the stealth of guns. Use right on defense, they are much more likely to get shots and especially to get side shots, because the attacker doesn't know to avoid or face them, not knowing where they are. (This difference is especially marked with humans. The AI doesn't know how to avoid AFVs that just "ducked", but people do).

As for the sIG and other HE options, you really have to try the 150mm direct HE. It does unbelievable things compared to all lesser guns. Even compared to big HE from off board, because that doesn't place the rounds nearly as well. The gun will fire only a couple times a minute, but those couple will annihilate whole platoons.

105mm howitzers are not as good at this. They actually cost more, from one thing - 68 vs 53 points with rariety off. They hit much less hard in HE terms. They also lack a gun shield, which makes them pin easily whenever an MG shoots back at them. All the big guns have a huge firing signature and are spotted the instant they fire. If they then draw MG fire and pin, the result is they get off only one shot. After they pin the shooters can sometimes lose them it is true. And so you get another shot after you rally. But you've given up the ROF edge of the smaller gun that way, and you are just waiting for him to bring up a mortar, get people out of LOS, etc.

The 105mm does have one thing going for it. It can kill T-34s a bit better, because each shell is more accurate and 105mm HEAT is sufficient. The muzzle velocity is higher than the sIG, which matters especially for medium range shots, like 500m to 1000m (beyond that the velocity is fairly low even for the 105). But this is a marginal difference. And 150mm HEAT kills anything, even the heaviest types, when it does hit. Even 150mm HE can immobilize tanks with a miss, if that miss is close enough.

The real alternative to a sIG for HE is to take more 75mm leIGs, which are cheap. But frankly much less effective. Then pin the target they shoot at and can break a point target in a minute or two of fire if they aren't interfered with themselves. And they have a gunshield. But they are only going to hurt the fully IDed target they are directly aiming at. They work on the attack, to take out 1 MG or something. They don't clear an entire forest of whatever infantry has accumulate there inside of 2 minutes, like a sIG does.

Overall, 53 points for direct fire 150mm, up to 10 minutes of it, is a steal. If the sIG gets off only 2 shots it will probably break half a platoon and pay for itself. If it lives to deliver the bulk of its ammo it can wreck entire companies without loss. It offers one of the largest potential upsides for the expense of any unit in CM.

The only things close, frankly, are (1) underpriced thick fronted armor (like 80mm "uberStuGs" in Russia). (2) Weapons capable of killing light armor or pinning infantry without being spotted. And (3) very cheap weapons that can kill very strong tanks with reasonable probability (panzerschrecks, AT minefields).

What all of these have in common with the sIG is high potential payoff when things go right. Since he faces odds, that is what the defender needs from his units. Defenders can't afford to just trade things one for one, reliably. They need variance, the potential "streak" that might break their way.

[ September 02, 2004, 10:43 AM: Message edited by: JasonC ]

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But what about when defending as the (infantry only) Russians in 43? All the Russian AT guns seem to be useless (aside from 57mm which is 200% rarity and therefore relatively expensive). I'm getting rather peeved with constantly having a NONE kill chance against German 43 armour (as OF COURSE my opponents _ALWAYS_ picks 80mm stuffs)

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As the Russians you can have a LOT of 45mm's, ATR's and Tank hunting squads.

Chuck in a couple of 76.2's and you can handle pretty much anything except tigers if you can hold your nerve and be clever enough with your placements - the demo game of Kursk was the archtype for this, although you also had some KV-1s's there.

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If your opponents always take Stugs, tell them to play with their themselves, but don't play them again.

Insist on rarity off and take 57mm if they ever take thick armor. Take Valentine IXs and SU-152s.

As for infantry AT defenses, the 76mm ZIS-3 is the only decent gun with rarity on. It needs flanks against anything thick but at least can kill when it gets one. 45mm are too weak, with low behind armor effect and needing flat side shots. ATRs are stealthy enough to help at range, but don't damage anything above a halftrack most of the time. A few for harassment, that's it. A sniper can button things and occasionally bag a tank commander. The other useful Russian infantry AT item are the pioneers, whose demo charges can kill tanks at close range - which molotovs won't do.

As for the statement that 30 rounds of 75mm HE can just be absorbed, it isn't remotely true. One minute of fire will make a squad pack it in, and a platoon of StuGs can make a shambles of a whole company - bad enough for infantry to mop the rest up easily. You need to avoid tank HE by breaking LOS, until you can kill the tank. Back sides of buildings, behind ridges, deep in woods -cut LOS completely. Don't think cover alone will be enough, it won't be.

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The unsung hero - the Valentine IX for anti-armour work. Five tanks for the price of three Stugs seems a good bet.

On flat armour a Val will shoot through 88 mm of armour [side armour Tiger I is 80mmm] at 1000 metres. At 500m it will do 78 mm sloped at 30degrees. I have killed a Stug at over 1000 metres with two shots into the side armour -- it is an excellent gun.

I sneer at Stugmeisters : )

With Rariety on you pay in June 75 pts more for the two tanks - some months are cheaper.

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The Val IX is good at AT - but nothing else. The HE sucks (weak and limited amount), it has no MGs, it is slow, the armor isn't enough to stop a 50mm round. Yes one has to take them to deal with gamey German uberStuGs. But T-34s or ZIS-3s without the over and undermodeling would be much more realistic and better at everything else. We don't have that and Germans never take Pz IIIs or IVs, so realism is banned if you play gamey competitive ladder types who never let go of their uberStuG security blanket, and yeah that means you have to use gamey counters like the Val IX. But it stinks as a solution.

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Stinks! A little workaround ...

I always mix T34 or even Stuarts to work the flanks. Obviously much better for all the stuff the Vals cannot do. Speed to dart into threatening side positions and Vals to make them have serious doubts about showing side on or front on to the two types of tank. Some opponents begin to think a MKIV or III with a turret might be a better solution.

Just remember never play on a map without usable flanks --- sufficient room to prevent a line of STugs spaced across the board at an opening range of 1500!

A little mortar smoke to get across ground is also useful ....

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Hmm for scenario's if not for QB's can you give 42/43 T-34's tungsten instead of AP & would this not help them out against 80mm fronts?

Alternatively someone could set up a 42/43 scenario & then change the date to 1944 when 'shell breaks up' results decrease.

Its a damn shame that 42/43 battles are played less often because of this issue.

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