|Lightning, Hail…and Pelicans
Dust Tactics Strategy by Guest Writer Jeremiah Terry
|Dust Tactics | Published 30 May 2013|
Today, we’re pleased to present another Dust Tactics strategy article by guest writer Jeremiah Terry. Webmaster of www.front-toward-enemy.us, Jeremiah has been a vocal fan of Dust Tactics since its first publication. Thanks, Jeremiah!
As the war lingers on, the Allies and the SSU continue to create new weapons to combat their respective enemies. In America, the Allies develop new advanced aircraft to combat the Axis’s latest attempts to regain air-war superiority. Meanwhile in the Sino-Soviet Union, their weaponsmiths focus on meeting the threat of the Axis and the Allies’ latest team-serviced heavy weapons.
A Powerful Storm Approaches…
The SSU has been focusing much of their weapons development efforts on Tesla technology. These powerful weapons fire deadly lightning bolts at the enemy, combining some of the benefits of a laser weapon with the wider coverage of flamethrower. The initial efforts of the SSU required a large VK power source and needed to be mounted in a tank hull because of weight. However, recent efforts have resulted in smaller power sources, creating less powerful, but still effective, Tesla weapons.
The Red Lightning is the first of these smaller weapons, serviced by a three-man team and mounted on a small, wheeled carriage. It’s designed as an anti-infantry weapon, but remains capable against all but the most heavily armored vehicles. Wise commanders should remember, however, that it is not a designated anti-tank weapon, and will fail to take down most tanks with a single shot.
With the Red Lightning providing a big firepower boost to SSU infantry units, SSU forces have seen some gains on the Eastern Front. But the North American stalemate requires a longer-range weapon to combat the Allies’ use of heavy artillery and mortars. In response, the SSU have developed their own mortar. The Hailstorm, a long-range multi-use 120mm mortar, is crewed by a four-man team, and is able to devastate a majority of ground-based targets from almost any range.
Both the Hailstorm and the Red Lightning are cheap and effective ways to increase a company’s firepower. In addition, both are small enough to be transported in the SSU’s infamous transport helicopters, allowing you to bring these heavy weapons to the front quickly. Many commanders will want to bring both new heavy weapons with them into battle.
SSU Airborne Strike Force
|SSU Airborne Transport + Hailstorm + Red Lightning||40+21+18|
|SSU Walker Transport + Nastasia||40+34|
|SSU Airborne Transport + Frontoviki + The Treadikovsky||40+19+7|
In the above army, the majority of the SSU’s force is airborne, allowing them to move quickly across large battlefields. It is a well rounded force capable of taking down all but super-heavy tanks. Admittedly, super-heavy tanks would present a major threat to this army, but due to the narrow streets and alleys of the Russian cities and villages, they aren’t often seen on the battlefields of the Eastern Front. If large heavy ground vehicles are a major concern, Striker can be exchanged for one of its more heavily armed brethren, or for a couple KV-47s. These will be able to provide the anti-armor punch you’re looking for, but they won’t have the same range or speed as an attack helicopter.
An additional thing to take note of is while this army initially deploys in only five activations, once it’s on the ground it will actually have nine. But if that’s not enough for you and out-activating your opponent is a primary goal, then you might to want to focus on a more traditionally oriented ground force, like the one below.
SSU Mechanized Infantry Company
|Fakyeli + The Derzhavin||28+5|
|Frontoviki + The Treadikovsky||19+7|
As you can see, SSU commanders are capable of fielding a wide array of cheap and highly effective infantry and medium armor units, making out-activating many opponents an easy affair. But don’t assume that activations alone will win the day; foolishly sending wave upon wave of cheap infantry to be dashed to bits against heavy armor will quickly result in defeat. Appropriate use of skills, existing cover, and timing is still necessary to a decisive victory.
The Allies have one of the largest air forces in the world, rivaled only by the Japanese naval air force in the Pacific. But in order to maintain their air superiority, the Allies must constantly advance their aircraft technology. When the Axis first began to field jet-powered aircraft, it took Allied pilots by surprise. Their speed and maneuverability was like nothing that had been seen before over the skies of Europe. It was quickly clear that the Allies would need small maneuverable jet fighters of their own.
However, as the Allies’ designers tried to cram more and more power and armament into the new planes it was clear it would not be nearly as small or maneuverable as their Axis counterparts. Ultimately, the P-48 Pelican is a far more heavily armed aircraft than the Fledermaus, but its size greatly affects its ability to maneuver, especially in the tight spaces. Unlike the turn-on-a-dime Fledermaus, the P-48 will dread low flying between the buildings of Zverograd on the Eastern Front. The Pelican makes up for some of its shortcomings by having a top speed equal to the Fledermaus, as well as a vectored thrust system allowing it to land and take off vertically.
There are several variants of the P-48—the X-variant and the C-variant being the most common. The P-48C is outfitted with the same heavy machine guns as all P-48s and is further equipped with two large bombs, allowing it to destroy many heavily armored targets. The only real drawback of this configuration is its need to be right on top of the enemy for the bombs to be effective, making it vulnerable to close-range anti-aircraft fire.
To help compensate for the C-variant’s shortcomings, the P-48X was fitted with large HVAR rockets. These dedicated ground-attack rockets are fired in volleys and can do devastating damage to all but the most heavily armored vehicles. Additionally, they have a longer range, allowing the P-48X to maintain some distance between it and its targets.
When choosing what type of aircraft to add to your Allied forces you’ll have a hard choice. Do you sacrifice some of your firepower for added range, or is it better to save points and gain a slight safety net? Either way, you’re most likely going to want to field multiple P-48s in a close air-support role. Two of these powerful aircraft supporting your ground forces will make quite the challenge for your opponents.
Allied Mechanized Infantry with Air Support
The above Allied force has just about everything: air support, armor support, heavy weapons, heavy infantry, and enough regulars to round out the list. About the only thing it doesn’t have is heroes, but this saves valuable Army Points for some extra infantry. Given the abilities of the Pelicans and the vast variety of ground forces represented here, this force should have little trouble overcoming all but the most powerful enemy forces.
On The Front…
All the units and armies shown here are well suited to the battles in and around the city of Zverograd on the Eastern Front. The Allies’ force is especially well constructed for the fights around the Zverograd Airfield. With their air support they could easily cover the open areas in and around the runways. The SSU forces, on the other hand, represent two opposite methods of thought. The first is small, fast and maneuverable, while the second is a more traditional ground force suited to almost any situation. Furthermore, the second SSU force could be modified for duty in the sewers beneath Zverograd by eliminating the armored vehicles, and replacing them with more infantry or heroes.
The choices are yours: how will you build your army? Will you focus on Allied technology, or the raw numbers of the SSU, who seemingly have an infinite supply of men?
Thanks, Jeremiah! Discuss this article in our forums, then head to your local retailer to grab any of the units described above!
Dust Tactics is a tactical miniatures game of brutal combat for 2-4 players. Based on the popular universe created by artist Paolo Parente, Dust Tactics presents an alternate 1940s reality in which alien technology fuels gigantic machines of war, and the world's superpowers clash over rare mineral deposits that could ultimately decide the outcome of WWII.