I started to play FoW two years ago and since then I have been waiting for this book. So, I am truly delighted. I can finally play with EW Soviet forces with all of their nice equipment like T-34s, KVs, Katyushas and mortars. That way, this book fulfilled all my expectations. All lists are interesting in their own way.
Tankovy batalion list is made for people like me. Unfortunately, T-34 tanks are quite expensive in EW so only a few can be taken. I will not argue about the “price” of those or any other tank or unit in the game. They do seem to be expensive since their skill is Conscript, and they have Hen&Chicks and Always attack special rules. German tanks are not as good as Russian tanks in EW, since their gun is weaker, their armour is thicker but they are veterans, and mathematics is protecting them better than additional millimeters of steel. They have higher ROF, protected ammo, stormtroopen and other nice German special rules. They are real threat for Russian light tanks that will definitely be in soviet tankovy list since they are cheap. Threat for soviet T-34 KV tanks are german veteran artillery, 88mm FlaK gun, pioneers and Stuka of course. That is not particularly new. I will have to practice a lot with T-34 and KV tanks since they are very good in EW.
Something new in BF books, considering those tanks, is that I can take only two T-34s in a platoon or single KV tank if I like. That is something that I like very much since now I can hide them and make them concealed. I like available hero, Lieutenant Konstantin Samokhin and sometimes I will play using him definitely. Unlike the „Rising Sun“ book which only had a confident/conscript option a player can now choose between that and a fearless/conscript option that is definitely a plus for me, no matter the price. ,
At this place I would like to say a word about Katyusha rocket launchers in this book. They have some tremendous rules and since they are not expensive they could be something that will treat German artillery, infantry and FlaKs. One can take them as a platoon in any tank list but they could be afforded in infantry list only INSTEAD of tanks. For instance, motostrelkovy can take Katyushas but then can afford only one tank platoon and strelkovy can take Katyushas and no tanks at all! This makes me think that these lists have been tested many times and that they are balanced well.
Inomarochniky tankovy batalon is another very nice list. A player can lead a mix of british Land & Lease Valentine tanks and different soviet tanks. Optionally, player can take british Matilda tanks, which are very good in the EW, at a lower price than in british Infantry tank company from Blitzkrieg! Their skill is conscript, but who cares with such an armour! This list is very nice since so many different tanks can be taken at the same time. Of course, I will definitely play this list one day, I just need some Valentines...
Motostrelkovy list is very competitive and maybe this is the best list for tournaments. The only disadvantage of motostrelkovy is that they are confident/conscript since they do not have fearless option. But what do you have with motostrelkovy? The first thing that surprised me is that this list is an INFANTRY list since in all other books motostrelkovy are considered mechanised. A player must take two platoons of infantry and can take TWO tank platoons. So what else do you want? One AA, some mortars or AT guns and you have 6 veeeery nice platoons. I can still lose a game with this list but more about that in my next article.
Strelkovy infantry company has the greatest choice of skill and morale. Red Army and Militia are rated confident/conscript, guards are fearless/conscript and they all use Wave attack special rule. But a real delight for me is Red banner guards that don’t use Wave attack but are fearless/trained. I can make fearless/trained Siberian rifle division to defend Moscow! And be sure that I will not ask about the price of those units. The plan is simple, two platoons of strelkovy, AA, some mortars and/or 45mm AT guns and one tank platoon of 2 T-34s or 3 Matilda tanks or just one powerful KV tank. They remind me of Dorian’s Fallschirmjaegers with PaKs and a Tiger in MW. But there is another spice in strelkovy list. An ARMOURED TRAIN! Well, probably it is not so useful but it is so beautiful and so Russian, and there is no Hen & Chicks for the train. Hurrah! I have to make one definitely. That could make strelkovy list a bit more mobile. Another platoon that can make strelkovy list a bit more mobile is a self propelled anti tank platoon with ZiS-30 guns. They have a very powerful gun (AT 11 FP 4+) but they are conscripts, have armour 0, awkward layout and cost around 100 each and with Hen&Chicks I will think twice before putting them on the list.
The authors of the book could make some spice in Militia strelkovy option since in this book there is no difference between them and the Red Army except that they have fewer options. The authors could give to Militia (Opolchenya, Partisans) at least some special rule like in Red Bear so they could be a bit different and more enjoyable for playing. Like in the Rising Sun they could make a Kavaleriyskiy polk list. It could be quite the same only with additional tanks, mortars and other new stuff like divisional/corps support.
After all there is only one question. Who wants to play anything else except Russians from Barbarossa?