British Cruiser Tank Tactics
by Nick Garden

The armoured regiments of the British Armoured divisions were made up of 2 pdr armed cruiser tanks and lightly armed Vickers Mk VI tanks. Each gun served a purpose, on the table top the balance between the Cruisers and Light tanks is the key to victory. Too many 2 pdr gun tanks and the Armoured Regiment will lack the firepower to kill the dangerous Anti-tank guns and artillery while not enough 2 pdr guns leaves the regiment at the mercy of the German Panzers.

Let’s take a look at the British tanks available to an Armoured Regiment and how to use them best on a Flames Of War gaming table.

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Cruiser Tanks

A9 Cruiser Mk I

Found only as an option in the Regimental HQ. The A9 is an early Cruiser tank design; it packs a punch with the excellent OQF 2 pdr gun and has the most MGs (Machine-guns) of any tank available to the Regiment. Its short comings are like many of the British designs; poor armour when compared to its French and German counterparts. With Front 1, Side 0 and Top 1 means you need to watch out for small arms fire.  As an independent team, the 2iC is best used to take command of any platoons who have lost their leader during the course of the battle.

Right: The A9 Cruiser Mk I with OQF 2 pdr.
A9 Cruiser Mk I with OQF 2 pdr
 The A9 Cruiser Mk I CS with OQF 3.7" mortar A9 Cruiser Mk I CS
The close support version of the A9 Cruiser replaces the OQF 2pdr gun with a OQF 3.7” mortar. It is only equipped with smoke rounds and can only direct fire smoke or in pairs fire a smoke bombardment. It retains the A9 turret MGs which makes it effective against infantry when not providing cover for the Regiment. Ideally use it to smoke enemy Anti-tank weapons as this is the only smoke option available to the Regiment.

Left: The
A9 Cruiser Mk I CS with OQF 3.7" mortar.
A10 Cruiser Mk II
Only available to the Company Commander himself, and armed with an OQF 2 pdr gun and a coaxial MG. The A10 trades the A9’s turret MGs for extra armour. Front 2, Side 2 and Top 1 is the best armour values available to the Armoured Regiment. This armour has a downside, as the A10 is a slow tank which makes it hard to use the Company Commander’s ability to re-roll morale tests. It is best used to motivate the tanks which been bailed out and left behind the main thrust.

Right: The A10 Cruiser Mk II with OQF 2 pdr gun.
The A10 Cruiser Mk II with OQF 2 pdr gun
A13 Cruiser Mk III / A13 Mk II Cruiser Mk IV
The A13 series of Cruiser tanks are your main Anti-tank units. With the excellent OQF 2 pdr gun rated at Anti-tank 7 and Firepower 4+, it will dominate the battlefield versus other tanks. The A13 features Front 1, Side 0 and Top 1 making it vulnerable to small arms fire. The A13 Mk II Cruiser IV has an extra point of armour on the front and side. They best used to quickly engage enemy tanks with its 2 pdr gun but with No HE or High Explosive (see page 80 of the main rulebook for an explanation of the No HE rule) its best to avoid Anti-tank guns and artillery teams.
Below: The A13 Cruiser Mk III with OQF 2 pdr gun.
Below: The A13 Mk II Cruiser Mk IV with OQF 2 pdr gun.
The A13 Cruiser Mk III with OQF 2 pdr gun The A13 Mk II Cruiser Mk IV with OQF 2 pdr gun
Light Tanks

Light Tank VI B/ Light Tank VI C
The Vickers Light tanks mount either a 0.5” MG or a 15mm gun with a coaxial MG. Armour values are consistent with Front 1, Side 1 and Top 1. With Half-tracked movement they do poorly in rough terrain but excel on roads. These tanks either fire full ROF due to the main gun being an MG or by using the Tally Ho! rule as it applys to the 15mm gun of the Light Tank VI C. The Firepower of 5+ on their main guns makes these tanks the best option available to the Regiment for engaging gun teams. It’s recommended that you include a good mix of these tanks with the Cruisers, as the Cruisers will struggle against Anti-tank guns.

Below: The Light Tank VI B with Vickers 0.5" MG.
Below: The Light Tank VI C with BESA 15mm gun.
The Light Tank VI B with Vickers 0.5" MG The Light Tank VI C with BESA 15mm gun
Special Rules

Tally Ho! (See page 135 of Blitzkrieg for a full explaination of the Tally Ho! rule)
With the Tally Ho! rule, British Cruiser and Vickers Mk VI C tanks fire full ROF (Rate of Fire) at targets within 16”/40cm with their 2 pdr, 3.7” and 15mm guns. This doubles the amount of shots on the move that an armoured platoon can dish out compared to any other nations tank platoons. With the 2 pdr gun rated at Anti-tank 7, the Cruisers do not need to seek out the side armour of enemy tanks to be effective. What the Tally Ho! rule allows you to do is keep the pressure on your opponent by always moving towards the objective while eliminating any opposition you meet. On the defence or against tanks which you cannot destroy with a single volley, manoeuvre to the flanks so that members of the enemy tank platoon block each other’s line of sight, forcing any surviving tanks to move thus reducing their overall ROF.

Cruisers making the most of the Tally Ho! rule
Broadside (See page 135 of Blitzkrieg for a full explaination of the Tally Ho! rule)
The Broadside rule allows you to keep your best armour facing towards the enemy based on the position of the turret, the position of the hull is irrelevant. Your Cruisers generally have an extra 1 point of frontal armour than side armour, this might not seem like much but with the average Anti-tank rating being 6 this can mean the difference between a penetrating hit and a successful armour save.

Hull position is irrelevant with the Broadside rule
Deployment Tactics

An Armoured Company deploys all of its platoons at same time as if they were a single platoon. Each Armoured Company also counts as a single platoon when calculating the number of platoons being held in Ambush or Reserves. Therefore, always try to include a couple of smaller support platoons in your army to allow your Armoured Companies to start the game on the table. Recon Carriers are a good choice as they help to minimise any ambushes and a Rifle platoon will help you greatly against enemy gun teams and infantry.
Infantry support help the make up platoon numbers
Assault Tactics
Due to the lack of HE ammunition with the 2 pdr gun, you may be tempted to assault infantry and gun teams to archive some quick kills. The low side armour on your A9 and A13 tanks makes them vulnerable to being bailed out by defensive fire, therefore reducing the number of attacks and risking a loss of a bailed out tank if you were to fail a morale test during the assault phase. Instead, try to assault with your Light tanks or A13 Mk II tanks to minimise the chance of being bailed out by defensive fire. Even the lightest of gun teams can cause you problems in defensive fire so use the A9 CS to smoke the gun teams while you pin them with MG fire before launching the assault.

Light tanks launch an assault
Charge! (See page 119 in Blitzkrieg for a full explaination of the Charge! rule)
The Armoured Regiment in Blitzkrieg has a new special rule that allows them to ignore the first platoon loss for victory point purpose. This allows you to go all out in attack and not to be worried about platoon losses with Charge of the Light Brigade vigour.

~ Nick.
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Last Updated On Thursday, January 27, 2011 by Blake at Battlefront