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Armored and Dangerous Part One:
Fielding The US Armored Rifle Company
with Steven MacLauchlan

I’m going to let you in on a not-so-well-kept secret; the US Armoured Rifle Company are the single best company in Flames Of War. I’m sure many of you reading are thinking “No way! My <insert company you hold dear> list is the best!”, but I’m sorry to say you’re incorrect.

Read Armored and Dangerous Part Two here...

Check out the new plastic Armored Rifle Platoon here...
Stick around and I will both tell you why I think the Armored Rifle Company are the best in part one, and detail my personal favourite lists featuring the flexible Blitzdoughs in part two. In Flames Of War, there are two types of lists: the Armoured Rifle Company and their Defeated Opponents.

So why is the Armoured Rifle Company so amazing? Let’s take a look at the core Combat Platoon (often referred to in shorthand as ARP). The ARP is a fourteen stand platoon with five integral halftracks.While this may be treading ground you all are already familiar with, I’m going to detail the composition.  First you have an HQ section with one Command Rifle team, plus another Rifle team, and a Bazooka team. Next you have two operating squads each with two Rifle teams, and a Bazooka team. After that you have your Mortar section with the excellent 60mm mortar and a Bazooka team. Finally, you have the bulk of your small arms fire in the Machine-gun section sporting two LMGs (or Light Machine-guns) and a Bazooka team. In total, that’s six Rifle teams, five Bazooka teams, a Light Mortar, and two LMGs.

Armored and Dangerous Part One
Now, let’s start to explore why the ARP composition fits in the sweet spot of Flames Of War, starting with the Rifle teams. Firstly, Rifle teams are cheap. They’re cheap, because they’re bare bones. Much like the German Nebelwerfer (which is, as an aside, my favourite artillery piece in Flames Of War), you don’t pay for anything extra, yet you perform as well as most other teams in a variety of situations. Thanks to the US Automatic Rifles special rule, you shoot as well as Rifle/MG teams on the move and when pinned. While you don’t chuck as much fire as a Rifle/MG team when stationary, your pair of LMGs more than make up for it. When you look at them taken as a whole, your six Rifles and two LMGs throw sixteen dice; the same as the equivalent eight Rifle/MG teams with the added bonus of your rifles not being penalised for moving.  That means your LMGs can lay down a base of fire while your Rifles move up and prepare for an assault without suffering any ROF (or Rate of Fire) penalties.
Armored and Dangerous Part One
Having five bazookas is wonderful for a variety of reasons that probably don’t require spelling out, but just in case here we go. First, against tanks; their benefits are self-explanatory. They stop tanks dead in their tracks who might like to assault your Armored Rifle Company. They can move up and swarm medium tanks. Five Tank Assault 4 teams will easily overwhelm heavy tanks as well. But their benefits don’t end there! Because they’re small stands, they are also great for assaulting infantry.  Being able to crab in more teams means more swings, and killing more of the Bad Guys means more of the Good Guys live on! Finally, if there aren’t enemy tanks swanning about, your Bazookas can man the half-tracks. More on the half-tracks in just a bit.
Armored and Dangerous Part One
The US M2 60mm mortar are by far the best light mortar in the game, the 60mm packs a hell of a punch. The big thing to remember for the 60mm is that it’s ROF 2, unlike most light mortars. You can keep it in the back of your ARP (which is nice since the ARP have quite a large footprint), lobbing firepower 3+ shots over your Blitzdoughs’ heads. You know what that firepower makes them good at? Killing enemy guns and nests. With the ability to pick out man-packed gun teams, the light mortar gives your Armoured Rifle Platoon a native capability of dealing with machine-guns, which most infantry platoons do not possess. Of course, being gun teams is a drawback for your LMGs and 60mm mortar, so care should be taken in terms of placement on the table. But they’re like the rhythm section of the ARP orchestra - they lay down the beat, while the rest of the platoon sings some sweet tunes.
Armored and Dangerous Part One
The M3 half-track isn’t quite as good as the German counterpart, the Sd Kfz 251/1. Needing to keep a team inside to fire the gun can be a bit of a drag, although it does help reduce the footprint of the platoon when advancing. But they have something those Hanomags don’t; .50 cals. Two .50 cals blazing away can be surprisingly effective at killing enemy gun teams, and scaring enemy light armour (like those darn pesky Hanomags!). Finally, against infantry, using your Bazookas to man the half-track MGs, you can lay down a ridiculous amount of fire. Six shots from your Rifle teams; ten from your LMGs, and fifteen from your half-tracks equals thirty one dice of MG goodness! Twenty five dice on the move! Dakka dakka dakka!
Armored and Dangerous Part One
Now that we’ve talked about the individual functions of the Armoured Rifle Platoon, and why the parts that make it up are so awesome in Flames Of War, let’s take a look at a higher level. Flames Of War, by the very nature of the missions, places a high importance on mobility. Being able to cram fourteen teams into five zippy little half-tracks is a huge benefit. Being mechanised means you’re attacking static infantry, and that infantry is going to want to stay static because if they get out of their hidey holes, you’re MGs are ripping them to pieces. Even when dismounted, your Blitzdoughs don’t suffer much on the move, and since they’re the Swiss army knife of platoons, they can usually manage to do everything on their own, rather than relying on support. They have enough dice to pin infantry, enough Bazookas to terrorise tanks, and enough teams to take casualties.
In fact, fourteen stands really put them at a sweet spot in terms of both footprint and morale. Fourteen is just big enough to cover much of the table, without being unwieldy. Fourteen teams also means you have to take eight casualties before you’re even checking morale!  You have to lose more teams than an entire Panzergrenadier platoon before even seeing if you run away! That means these guys are tough as nails, and can just take an absolute beating. Armored and Dangerous Part One
Alright, now I’ve detailed exactly why I think the Armoured Rifle Platoon is the single best platoon in all of Flames Of War, next week I’ll talk about a few list builds, and what I like to add to my Armoured Rifle Companies to really make them shine, and bolster their already considerable capabilities.

~ Steven.

Last Updated On Thursday, April 17, 2014 by Blake at Battlefront