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Pioneers in the assault !


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Played a TCP game against GravesRegistration lately-- Spring 1945, Soviet attack (he took Poles), 800 points.

I concentrated my meagre forces (VG Co, ATG, 20mm AA, mortar, Schreck) in a "hedgehog" in trenches with what I hoped was good cover and good LOS blocks; various OP and blocking elements (including a keyholed StuG) across rest of the map.

GR came on with an assault column-- a whole Bttn of pioneers. If the lead elements came under long range HMG fire, other plts just swarmed forward. If the lead elements came across an "up" force, they formed a base of fire, and other plts deployed right and left into a firing line, at about 150m with concentrated rifle fire; if my men withdrew into wooded cover, pioneers closed in and delivered a rolling carpet of demo charges and rushes. There also was a plt of T-34/85s, and various elements in oerwatch, including mortars.

It worked: steamrolled through my delaying elements, then hooked across the map, to fight the hedgehog, with long lines of riflemen deployed at good range to concentrate fire. That and the survivng tank did the trick.

Dunno if this is a historical way of using pioneers; but it was splendid, concentrated aggression.

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I like them and use them regularly, but usually in more limited numbers. I really like the single company purchase - 3 HQs and 6 demo equipped, high ammo squads for under 200. The company HQ is particularly useful - usually he takes 2 of the squads as a 3rd mini-platoon.

Then I will take 2-3 regular infantry companies - occasionally 1 SMG of them if the terrain is tight. The pioneers give each attack group an ability to clear mines, demos, and a modest bit of rifle support at range, which helps the heavy weapons and fires to maintain pins and the like.

Their weak range window is 40 to 100 meters, where their relative lack of automatics makes them hit only about half as hard as a typical regular squad. Closer they can use demos and grenades, farther the rifles are fine.

Historically they tended to work with attacks in quite small teams folded at that level or below. Plenty of them, but individually small groups interleaved with other infantry types, e.g. SMGs. In woods terrain, SMGs plus pioneers rock.

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I just finished a PBEM Soviet assault across a river in which the Pioneers were critical to my success. I had 4 companies - 2 rifle, 1 SMG, and 1 Pioneer - plus 5 T-34s and some arty - against a German rifle company, 2 88s, 2 StuGs, some 75 mm arty, and a lot of mines.

I split up the pioneers and sent a platoon or so with each assault group and kept one squad in reserve. They cleared daisy chains and used their demo charges to knock out one of the 88s. They would have killed the last StuG too if my opponent hadn't surrendered.

Their ammo seems bottomless and, as JasonC says, the company commander is very useful too. Every Soviet attack/assault of sufficient size would benefit from using at least a company.

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  • 1 month later...

pioneers can clear mines???? why the hell didnt i know that??? do they clear road/tank mines too? how do you do that? do they just do that by being in proximity to them?

love the pioneers, will buy a company of them if i can. i dont usually have much use for the flamethrowers if its not a defense though.

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That's one of their primary functions. It's in the manual. Once any mines are discovered, just move them close to the marker(approximately 10 meters) and they'll lob a demo charge at it within a turn or two. They can remove daisy chain mines without any demolition. Also, I think you can have them area fire at the marker, but this can make them waste all of their demo charges on it.

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I have often reaped the benefits of Pioneers in my OOB, but am sometimes frustrated at how long it seems to take them to clear mines. Perhaps it's just my frustration at wanting to get on with the attack, but it seems to take 3-5 turns before they lob the demo. Like Shmavis said, you can area fire at the mine, but then the squad blows through their ammo like the 4th of July.

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