Lou The Rat Dust Platoons Overview – Part 1

Sieg Thaler, here is your Lou The Rat! Many beginners (but not only) look for a main motive, spirit or feeling for their force. Here the platoons come, special selection of units, that when used together in one army will benefit you in some way.  Which ones are dedicated to so called “fluff” players, and which one will contribute greatly to your win/lose ratio? You will find out in our broad series of guides! 

I described all platoons in following way:

  • Required units that we must is in our platoon,
  • special abilities that we get,
  • minimal cost of deployment – that’s the army point cost for certain platoon, if we use the cheapest units,
  • Short analysis of advantages selected platoon brings,
  • And even shorter analysis of it’s disadvantages 😉
  • My private score, based on this clear system:

A: no-brainer, that is a start for 99% of army lists;
B good, but with certain drawbacks, or some crucial problems ;

C: only for the guys that want to play a certain army, tell a story than focus on winning the game;

D: WTF….

IMPORTANT: Remember that abilities of certain platoon not only affects the required units – any unit or hero can be joined. Also many players forget that ONE required unit can be changed by a mercenary unit of the same type (infantry/walker) with the same or higher armor value than the replaced unit. Sometimes it helps by removing one of the weaker units, taking something certainly better and still retaining the platoon bonus.

First blood will be drawn from Axis block Wehrmacht units and the infamous Neue Deutsche Afrika Korps (NDAK). No time to waste, let’s go!

AXIS KAMPFGRUPPE PLATOON

Command unit: LUDWIG or PRINZLUTHER with STURMGRENADIER COMMAND SQUAD on board

Combat unit 1: LUTHER or LUDWIG or  JAGDLUTHER or LOTHAR

Combat unit 2:LUTHER or LUDWIG or  JAGDLUTHER or STURMLUTHER with STURMGRENADIER RECON SQUAD on board

Minimal cost of deployment: 34 pt

Ability: All medium walkers being part of the platoon(like LUDWIG or JAGDLUTHER), large transport/support walkers (like  STURMLUTHER, PRINZLUTHER or STUMMEL) and STURMGRENADIER RECON SQUADs might roll a die before activation. On faction score they gain Move And Fire ability.

Advantages: Move And Fire is a very strong ability, that only a few units in Dust universe posses. Ability to March and then Attack, or Move and Sustain Fire often changes the outcome of a whole battle. 33% success rate on one die is not mach, but remember EACH unit being part of platoon gains this advantage. And no one can stop you from attaching four more recon squads to the platoon…

Disadvantages: Well, how I say it.. ekhm – block Wehrmacht units are not the kind of forces that immediately makes enemy surrender. More often you can hear series of laughter from opposite trenches. Focus your picks on recon grenadiers, a Jagdluther or two, and remember that Prinzluther is not only a command vehicle – it’s also quite good at harassing enemy foot soldiers. Also the underestimated Stummel can be a bad surprise for the enemy.

Score: B

AXIS STURMGRENADIER PLATOON

Command unit: MANFRED or STEFAN or STURMGRENADIER COMMAND SQUAD

Combat unit 1: STURMGRENADIER ASSAULT SQUAD or STURMGRENADIER TANK HUNTER SQUAD or STURMGRENADIER RECON SQUAD

Combat unit 2: same as combat unit 1

Combat unit 3: same as combat unit 1

Minimal cost of deployment: 33 pt

Ability: During its activation command unit may – as third action – try to reactivate a unit of Sturmgrenadiers that is part of the platoon.

Advantages: Stefan (Flamethrower Expert, Lucky), and especially Manfred (Fighting Spirit, Move And Fire, unlimited panzerfaust) can hurt both infantry and enemy armor, especially if joined to recon grenadiers or pioniers (STURMGRENADIER ASSAULT ENGINEERING SQUAD). It’s worth remembering that Block mortars can also benefit from this platoon ability – and it’s never a mistake to shoot again with your artillery.

Disadvantages: Sadly when faced with massed amounts of enemy infantry with armor 1 Wehrmacht grenadiers pack their toys and go home in 95% of cases. So until you are a „fluff” player or have imposing amounts of these guys – leave this for others – 33% chance for additional activation is not worth fighting for.

Score: C

AXIS HEAVY GRENADIER PLATOON

Command unit: HEAVY GRENADIER COMMAND SQUAD

Combat unit 1: HEAVY GRENADIER ASSAULT SQUAD or HEAVY GRENADIER ANTI-AIRCRAFT SQUAD

Combat unit 2: same as combat unit 1

Minimal cost of deployment: 39 pt

Ability: Heavy grenadier command squad succeeds on reactivation both on faction and on crosshair score.

Advantages: Small, neat platoon that not only looks good on the table, but can also make your enemies bleed. Especially if we add the true terror of Axis to one of the squads – Lara! Together with the assault squad she has move and fire + 60 (!!!) dices against armor 1 infantry on range 6 (!). That is the biggest amount of dices your are able to roll in one attack in Dust 1947. Enemy likes to buzz around you with flyers? Flak boys and Lara have 12/2 + 4/1 with rerolls at effective range of 8. Someone is still moving? Bam! Reactivate. At ease, you can have a smoke now.

Disadvantages: Unfortunately, Lara is the only Infantry armor class 3 Axis hero. And without a leader acting as a bullet sponge, class 3 Infantry are usually falling like ragdolls (especially when Damage Resilient rolls does not succeed). Also, the command squad cost is a hefty 15 points – a lot for a non-combat unit.

Score: B

Score: B

NDAK GRENADIER PLATOON

Command unit: ROMMEL or NDAK COMMAND SQUAD or TINA & HYANE

Combat unit 1: NDAK BATTLE GRENADIER SQUAD or NDAK BATTLE TANK-HUNTER SQUAD

Combat unit 2: same as combat unit 1

Combat unit 3: HEAVY GRENADIER ASSAULT SQUAD or HEAVY GRENADIER ANTI-AIRCRAFT SQUAD or HEAVY GRENADIER ENGINEER SQUAD or HEAVY GRENADIER ANTI-TANK SQUAD

Minimal cost of deployment:  36 pt

Ability:Command squad can have a free third action that re-activates a NDAK grenadier squad or heavy grenadiers from Wehrmacht.

ALERT:There is a mistake in the platoon diagram in rulebook. You shouldn’t take Rommel as a commanding unit. He already has the third action thanks to General ability. And whatever he tries to do he cannot have a fourth action based on the rule “no more than 3 actions per activation. 

Advantages: Each officer action is always worth taking. If you spent a few points more to get a Command Vehicle, that will allow you to re-roll these dices, this platoon can pay it’s cost quite quick. Always remember that this special rule works only on selected infantry units! 

Disadvantages: The worst part of this platoon is fact that it forces you to take a squad of heavy Wehrmacht grenadiers, who are all quite expensive and too easy to kill for me. But if you have to, go for HEAVY GRENADIER ASSAULT SQUAD pr HEAVY GRENADIER ANTI-AIRCRAFT, which are quite good both against enemy infantry and air units. 

Score: B

NDAK PANZERGRENADIER PLATOON

Command unit: PRINZLUTHER  plus ROMMEL or PRINZLUTHER plus NDAK COMMAND SQUAD

Combat unit 1: STUMMEL or STURMLUTHER

Combat unit 2: NDAK BATTLE GRENADIER SQUAD or NDAK BATTLE TANK-HUNTER SQUAD

Combat unit 3: same as combat unit 1

Combat unit 4: same as combat unit 2

Minimal deployment cost: 52 pt

Ability: SchutzenkampfLaufer  type VI included in this platoon (such as STUMMEL, STURMLUTHER or PRINZLUTHER)gain an additional close combat dice  (improvised weapon 1/1) for each passenger aboard,as long as these are NDAK grenadiers or Wehrmacht heavy grenadiers.

Advantages: For sure charging your troops transports into close combat is very attractive visually. But sadly in 9 out of 10 cases it’s also a suicide. IF the enemy has a lot of light anti-air walkers who cannot damage armor 3 vehicles and only counter your CC with one die, you can try using this platoon. Shell shock at it’s finest (with 12 lightly armored passengers you would have 13 dices in close combat!). Also don’t forget that half of passenger models can shoot from side of the vehicle, as long as it only moved in it’s activation. This might mean (just for example) a six Panzerfaust 100 into some enemy armor….

Disadvantages: If the enemy has a lot of serious walkers or infantry with dedicated AT weapons, just let it be, you will probably loose half of your army with no gains. If the enemy destroys a walker transporting infantry before passengers activate not only you risk loosing a lot of models, but also everyone is activated for the reminder of the turn. And that is usually called a duck-hunt for some reason..

Score: C

NDAK KAMPFGRUPPE CHRISTOPH PLATOON

Command unit: CHRISTOPH

Combat unit 1: NDAK SECURITY GRENADIER SQUAD

Combat unit 2: HERMANN (Trop)

Minimal deployment cost: 25 pt

Ability:All NDAK units in your army gain the Scout ability. Additionally, as long as Christoph is alive, all your NDAK also gains Trail Blazer (allowing your units to move trough enemy forces).

Advantages: One of strongest, if not absolutely the best, Axis platoon in the game, changing your NDAK army int true Blitzkrieg Machine. Most of your infantry units can finish march at field 5 and still attack the disoriented, unable to react enemy. On short maps you automatically win 90% of games.

DisadvantagesFriends will stop shaking hands with you.

Score: A

In next episode platoons for Blutkreuzu and Luftwaffe!

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