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Mobile infantry tactics
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Old 09 Jun 2009, 12:59   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Mobile infantry tactics

Looking at the new Imperial Guard codex, I've been thinking a bit about the viability of infantry-heavy army lists. In fourth edition, the common opinion was that such armies were quite competitive - they sat back and pummelled the enemy at range, although they tended to suffer from a lack of fast objective-claimers (with the exception of the novelty drop-troop list). In the new codex, several of the rules make me think that a more aggressive style of infantry play is possible, centred around a suitably-equipped infantry platoon.

Below are my thoughts on how to outfit and employ such a unit. I'm posting here rather than in the army lists sub-board mainly because this is about a single troops choice rather than an entire army - although, for the Guard, this is perhaps not much of a distinction.

INFANTRY PLATOON

Platoon Command Squad: vox-caster

Infantry Squads (up to 5): flamers; one has commissar and vox-caster

Special Weapons Squads (up to 2): meltaguns

Total cost: up to 480

Tactics:
The infantry squads deploy as far forward as possible, as a single combined squad. The platoon command and special weapons squads deploy immediately behind it. From the start of the game, against most opponents, they advance forward, running during the shooting phase. The enemy has the choice of firing at the infantry squad - who are cheap, and at a stubborn Ld 9 with a re-roll, won't be running anytime soon - or firing past them at the other squads, who get a cover save from the infantry in front.

When the platoon nears the enemy, the command squad issues its orders: "First rank, fire!". With the vox-casters, this is almost certain to succeed, and the enemy will be subjected to enough massed lasgun firepower to break the back of a tactical squad. The combined infantry squad will usually get the chance to fire once more at rapid-fire range, with flamer templates added to the mix. After that, it is likely to be assaulted - which allows it to tarpit the assault unit, possibly for the remainder of the game.

The special weapons squads are there to dart through the lines of the combined infantry squad at the last minute, to pop transports so that the troops inside can be finished off with lasguns, or to add their firepower against hard targets.

The command squad is there solely to issue orders, including "Move!" commands to maintain the speed of the advance. Equipping them with special weapons would just make them a more tempting target. The special weapons of the other squads can of course be altered, but I recommend keeping them as a mix of short-ranged assault weapons. It may also be worthwhile equipping one of the infantry squads with krak grenades, a cheap upgrade which gives them some ability to harm vehicles.

This sort of force can be combined with a more traditional heavy-weapon Imperial Guard infantry force. Heavy weapon squads are a little more vulnerable than they used to be, due to changes in their rules, but in this case they benefit from a cover save thanks to the screening force of infantry out in front. If taken, these should preferably be positioned close to a company command squad, with a regimental standard to keep them in place.

So, what do you think? I'm still not sure that I've convinced myself about the viability of this approach, but I definitely like the idea of a Guard army that runs screaming across the table to get to grips with the enemy.
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Old 09 Jun 2009, 13:16   #2 (permalink)
Zen
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Default Re: Mobile infantry tactics

This isn't Mobile Infantry. It's Foot-slogging Infantry. Mobile Infantry Mobile Infantry is just another word for Mechanized Infantry e.g. Armored Fist Squad (Infantry Squads in Chimeras) or Air Cavalry (Valkyries/Vendettas).

One of the problem of this tactic is that; you're still T3 and have a 5+ Armor Save. Easy pickings for Eldar and Space Marines especially when you're out in the open. Orks and Tyranids will just eat you up because you're just running up to them and Imperial Guardsmen aren't fame for being the best in CC specially when they're not equipped nor have the stats for it. If you're going for Human Wave Tactics, get Commander Chenkov and Conscripts and let them run across the table a half a dozen times while the rest of your army sits back and shoot at any potential targets and/or sit on an objective.
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Old 10 Jun 2009, 06:47   #3 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Mobile infantry tactics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenai
Mobile Infantry is just another word for Mechanized Infantry e.g. Armored Fist Squad (Infantry Squads in Chimeras) or Air Cavalry (Valkyries/Vendettas).
I haven't seen the term used that way before. In my experience, you've got mechanized infantry (what you're talking about), static infantry (which just stand and shoot), and mobile infantry (who walk across the table). In Tau lists, for example, mobile infantry is a playstyle centred around move-and-shoot broadsides and fire warrior squads. It seems to be less well-defined for the Guard, but I can find a few examples, which are also based on non-mechanised infantry which is intended to move.

As for the effectiveness of this approach - rather than thinking of it as a Guard army, think of it as a horde like a brood of Tyranid spinegaunts. The infantry in the combined squad cost about 20% more per model than spinegaunts, for which they get similar close combat performance and about twice as much short-range S3 firepower. If you throw these troops against an equal-cost force of gaunts, the guardsmen will devastate them in one turn of short-range shooting, then mop the remainder up in melee.

Try crunching the numbers - you might be surprised.
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Old 10 Jun 2009, 12:27   #4 (permalink)
Zen
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Default Re: Mobile infantry tactics

Quote:
I haven't seen the term used that way before. In my experience, you've got mechanized infantry (what you're talking about), static infantry (which just stand and shoot), and mobile infantry (who walk across the table). In Tau lists, for example, mobile infantry is a playstyle centred around move-and-shoot broadsides and fire warrior squads. It seems to be less well-defined for the Guard, but I can find a few examples, which are also based on non-mechanised infantry which is intended to move.
You're comparing apples and bananas. The sad truth about the Guard is that we can't fire our Heavy Weapons on the move and best we got is our short-to-mid range Special Weapons. We don't have any TEQ units that can carry a friggin' Strength 10 AP 1 weapon which can move-and-fire. Mobile means we can go anywhere fast and leggin' it isn't what I consider mobile.

Quote:
As for the effectiveness of this approach - rather than thinking of it as a Guard army, think of it as a horde like a brood of Tyranid spinegaunts. The infantry in the combined squad cost about 20% more per model than spinegaunts, for which they get similar close combat performance and about twice as much short-range S3 firepower. If you throw these troops against an equal-cost force of gaunts, the guardsmen will devastate them in one turn of short-range shooting, then mop the remainder up in melee.
Once again, you're comparing oranges and tomatoes. Mathhammer results doesn't ever show itself in real life. Luck is a fickle thing. So, that point is moot.
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Old 11 Jun 2009, 00:32   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mobile infantry tactics

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenai
You're comparing apples and bananas. The sad truth about the Guard is that we can't fire our Heavy Weapons on the move and best we got is our short-to-mid range Special Weapons.
I don't think that's actually relevant here. Saying "This isn't an effective army type." is not the same thing as saying "This army type doesn't deserve to have a name.". But I'll ignore the Tau examples for the moment, and see where it leaves us...

I used the term 'mobile infantry'. You stated that it meant something different. I searched the Imperial Guard board on this site to see which definition was correct, and the two examples I found both supported my use of the term. Just to check, I've had a quick look at Warseer too, and examples there also agree with me.

Do you mind if I ask where you initially heard that a mechanised army should be referred to as mobile infantry?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenai
Mobile means we can go anywhere fast and leggin' it isn't what I consider mobile.
Legging it is surprisingly fast in 5th edition. Thanks to the Run rule, basic infantry models can move at 6+d6" per turn. With the "Move!" order, the Guard can move slightly faster than that. A mechanised army in chimeras can move 12" per turn, which is only slightly better - and usually they'll want to move at 6" so that they can shoot as well, which makes the mobile infantry army actually faster. (Air cavalry are faster still, of course.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zenai
Mathhammer results doesn't ever show itself in real life. Luck is a fickle thing. So, that point is moot.
If you feel this way, there's little point in me discussing this with you. For the benefit of anyone who is interested, though, here's a comparison of the combined infantry squad in my example above with an equal points-value of basic spinegaunts.

The Units (315 points each)
Guard Infantry: Fifty guardsmen, plus commissar. Five flamers, and vox-caster.
Tyranids: 63 spinegaunts. (This is enough to need two separate units.)

Support required: The guardsmen require a command squad nearby, or they lose the firepower bonus they can get from orders. The gaunts require a Tyranid synapse creature nearby, or they become mostly useless. The guardsmen are better here, but only just.

Morale: While in synapse range, the gaunts are fearless. The guardsmen, thanks to the commissar, always test morale on leadership 9, and get a re-roll, so they'll fail morale only [sup]1[/sup]/[sub]36[/sub] of the time (although they will lose a model [sup]1[/sup]/[sub]6[/sub] of the time due to the Execution rule). The gaunts are better in this respect, but only narrowly - the guardsmen are hardly ever going to run, either.

Durability against shooting: The guardsmen have a slightly better armour save (5+ versus 6+), and the gaunts have slightly more bodies. Against most shooting, the gaunts will be better off.

Close combat ability: The gaunts have better initiative, and the guardsmen have frag grenades and slightly better armour. But the biggest difference is that the guardsmen, not being Fearless, are not subject to the No Retreat rule. Since any competent assault unit is going to win combat against either of these units, the No Retreat rule is going to let it chew through the gaunts almost twice as fast as through the guardsmen. So the guardsmen make a slightly better tarpit, despite the gaunts' superior numbers.

All of the above are minor differences - slight advantages that one of these units has over the other. The next factor is the only major difference, and it skews the balance dramatically in favour of the guardsmen:

Shooting ability: The gaunts have a single twin-linked S3 shot out to 12". The guardsmen, with the aid of orders, have three S3 shots out to 12", or two out to 24" when stationary. If the guardsmen advance and rapid-fire on the gaunts, each lasgunner will kill (3 shots)*([sup]1[/sup]/[sub]2[/sub] hit)*([sup]1[/sup]/[sub]2[/sub] wound)*([sup]5[/sup]/[sub]6[/sub] penetrate) = [sup]5[/sup]/[sub]8[/sub] gaunts. And that's not allowing for the flamers! If the two units above fought each other, and the guardsmen got to shoot first, the gaunts would be down to about a third of their number in a single turn - not nearly enough to defeat the guardsmen in combat, even with the charge.

I've given the guardsmen first shot in the above scenario, but I think that's realistic. If the gaunts are threateningly close, but too far away for the guardsmen to move up and rapid-fire, they can each fire two shots from 24" away, killing [sup]5[/sup]/[sub]12[/sub] gaunts each. The remaining gaunts would then get one turn of shooting, killing (1 shot)*([sup]3[/sup]/[sub]4[/sub] hit)*([sup]1[/sup]/[sub]2[/sub] wound) = [sup]3[/sup]/[sub]8[/sub] guardsmen each, before being completely wiped out in the next turn by flamer and las-fire.

Conclusion
Guard infantry of the sort described here are very similar to Tyranid gaunts, in terms of statistics and playstyle, except for their significant advantage in short-range shooting. If gaunts are a viable unit in the current metagame environment, then these mobile infantry squads should be, too.
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Old 11 Jun 2009, 01:08   #6 (permalink)
Zen
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Default Re: Mobile infantry tactics

Quote:
Support required: The guardsmen require a command squad nearby, or they lose the firepower bonus they can get from orders. The gaunts require a Tyranid synapse creature nearby, or they become mostly useless. The guardsmen are better here, but only just.
Tyranid's Synapse Creature is a friggin' Tyrant. It can, by itself, kill a Command Squad and maybe slash the rest of the Guardsmen.

Quote:
Durability against shooting: The guardsmen have a slightly better armour save (5+ versus 6+), and the gaunts have slightly more bodies. Against most shooting, the gaunts will be better off.
Most weaponry has an AP of 5 or lower i.e. Bolters, Shuriken Catapults, Spinefists, Fleshborers, Pulse Rifles, Gauss Flayers and so on and so forth. And this is just the various army's basic weapon.
Quote:
Shooting ability: The gaunts have a single twin-linked S3 shot out to 12". The guardsmen, with the aid of orders, have three S3 shots out to 12", or two out to 24" when stationary. If the guardsmen advance and rapid-fire on the gaunts, each lasgunner will kill (3 shots)*(1/2 hit)*(1/2 wound)*(5/6 penetrate) = 5/8 gaunts. And that's not allowing for the flamers! If the two units above fought each other, and the guardsmen got to shoot first, the gaunts would be down to about a third of their number in a single turn - not nearly enough to defeat the guardsmen in combat, even with the charge.

I've given the guardsmen first shot in the above scenario, but I think that's realistic. If the gaunts are threateningly close, but too far away for the guardsmen to move up and rapid-fire, they can each fire two shots from 24" away, killing 5/12 gaunts each. The remaining gaunts would then get one turn of shooting, killing (1 shot)*(3/4 hit)*(1/2 wound) = 3/8 guardsmen each, before being completely wiped out in the next turn by flamer and las-fire.
Like I said, Mathhammer can only prove so much.

[hr]

Believe me. I tried this kind of thing before. First thing you should need to know is that you leave yourself expose out in the open thus any basic Infantry weapon can kill your Guardsmen outright. Second thing is out stretch yourself so your opponent can pick off your units one-by-one. Third thing is you forgot is they're Infantry Squads and are relatively more expensive and valuable than Conscripts and you got nothing else to depend on except numbers and their Flak Armor so that's a mighty big investment to throw them out. Fourth thing where's the Tanks? If you're going to expose them out in the open, give them a vehicle so they can gain Cover Saves e.g. Rhino Wall Tactic. Fifth thing don't try the Mathhammer shit on me, I already said Luck is a fickle thing and she is very, very fickled. Sometimes I get the best of rolls. Sometimes I get the worse of rolls. Only rarely I get "average" rolls.
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Old 11 Jun 2009, 01:16   #7 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Mobile infantry tactics

seems like having all those Imperial Guard models gathered together is just asking for a Barbed Strangler to be dropped on you... Anything AP5 with a blast or ordnance template would make your tactic suicide.
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Old 11 Jun 2009, 01:57   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mobile infantry tactics

True luck is a fickle thing zenai, but I've notice the higher the number of rolls you have to make the closer you get to mathhammer results.
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Old 11 Jun 2009, 02:03   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mobile infantry tactics

Mobile infantry doesn't mean foot slogging. People running around does not constitute mobility. Guardsmen should not be compared to spinegaunts, those are what conscripts are for. Rushing a gigantic mob of conscripts across the table is a valid tactic, doing the same with guardsmen is not.

The reason the swarm tactic works so well with the nids is that they have immensely powerful creatures to back them up. Gigantic things like fexes and tyrants that can't be killed by a single weapon they way tanks can.

Swarm tactics with the guard need an even higher number of useless models because you don't have any single unit that can even come close to the MC's of the nids.

Knock it off with this Mathhammer crap. 40k is played on a per game basis, not a lifetime basis. Mathhammer will work if you look at every game you've played in your entire life, but it will never ever ever ever work for a single game.
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Old 11 Jun 2009, 02:14   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Mobile infantry tactics

Lol, mobile infantry is dropping your troops out of valkyries, and dropping sentinels and xv8's down on your opponets bugs..... Please tell me someone gets this reference... cause seeing an air cav guard list go up against a tyrannid army would just about kill me from laughter.
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