Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Staghound I Tactical Evaluation

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Mechanised Ace Rupert Gile's exploits in Operation Sealion made him a legend in my household.
Ever since looking over lists to see which I would initially play when I jumped into Flames of War years ago, I have loved the British armoured cars. I played the Welsh Guards & 2nd Household Cavalry out of Hell's Highway the most and with the V3 rules, I still enjoy playing them from Market Garden. Throughout my games, I came to like the Staghound the most. Imagine my thrill to discover that I could field even more Staghounds when Road to Rome was released! Some of my most memorable games featured some daring feat from my Staghounds.

I can't extol their virtues enough.They are the true workhorse in any of my mobile forces lists and no turn finds them still: Eyes and Ears to make enemy infantry vulnernable and then mowing them down with tons of machine gun fire, racing for objectives, hunting armoured cars or flanking light tanks with their powerful main gun, distracting the enemy when necessary and disengaging for survivability, and using Cautious Movement to seek out concealed areas to make them a tougher target to hit. 


  • Name: Staghound T17 Armoured car 
  • Type: Reconnaissance armoured vehicle 
  • Armament: M3 75mm gun, Co-ax MG, Hull MG 
  • Maneuverability: Wheeled 
  • Armour: Minimal 3/1/0 
  • Max Speed: 18” 
  • Favoured Terrain: Roads, Cross Country 
  • Nationalities: England, and Commonwealth forces.


A striking symbol of British reconnaissance, the Staghound’s armament and recce capabilities make it one of the most versatile tools in my army. The Staghound is one of my premier attack vehicles. I play typically Confidant Veterans and use Staghounds as a vanguard of my main strike force to reduce primary defenses, distract the bulk of the enemy's firepower, or threaten objectives. With a 4 up to hit, keeping my staghounds in concealed terrain and at long range increases their survivability, giving them a 5 up to hit when concealed and a 6 up to hit at long range. In addition, if they are surprised by something they cannot take on, such as a front facing tank, they can disengage instead of firing. It' s not unheard of for my Staghounds to survive the entire length of a battle and ride off safely into the sunset.

Versus Infantry

Staghounds are able to bring a lot of machine gun fire to bear on infantry in the open. A typical platoon of three Staghounds brings 12 machine gun shots to the party, has enough armour to survive infantry machine gun fire, and is not pinned down by suppressive fire, using Eyes and Ears first to make enemy infantry more vulnerable if necessary.
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Scrapping some German half-tracks and then speeding off into the sunset.

Versus Vehicles

The 75mm main gun is capable of taking out armoured cars and some types of tanks head on, but it really excels in sneaky flanking maneuvers.  The fully mobile turret ensures that the Staghound is covered by 360° armament, reducing enemy flanking abilities. Even Germans with their big cats have to think twice before advancing when Staghounds are on the prowl. A flanked panther can be destroyed on a roll of 1 and bailed on a roll of 2 by the Staghound's main gun.
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Staghounds fearlessly roll up on a couple of Panzer IIIs, planning to veer off to flank the tanks.


If I assault enemy infantry with staghounds, a side armor of 1 means that the Staghounds have some survivability from HMG defensive fire, reducing the chance of breaking the assault since the enemy needs two successful hits to break the assault off. The machine guns also offer great defensive fire for allied infantry being assaulted. 

Taking Objectives

Using the advantage of speed and cover, I can generally get to an objective rather early in a game. This is helpful for two different strategies a) holding the objective with a type of guerrilla warfare by disengaging and harassing any competition b) creating a sense of urgency with the enemy who will scramble to react while I direct another force to a different enemy objective. You can also use the versatility of a staghound to rather safely contest an objective.
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Did I mention my staghounds also bring their own luck?

The main weakness is the light armour, especially if the vehicle cannot disengage. The armour won’t stand up to most enemy tank fire, and it worthless against air support. I try to keep Staghounds close to forests and buildings to force the enemy to roll to range in.

Being wheeled is also a weakness. When encountering slow going terrain, having to drop down to 4 inch movement can be brutal. Many other recce vehicles are jeeps that can move much quicker. So the Staghound trades some speed to get heavier armour. They can use disengage and start of game recce moves to compensate some for the speed deficit.

The worst use of the Staghound is as the vanguard of a frontal assault mission against a fortified enemy position in a flat setting. Staghounds have limited to no value in defensive or garrison assignments as their major advantages can be reproduced with heavy tank fire in a more economical way.

Although these weaknesses are something to be mindful of, they are relatively small faults in my mind as I love the cost to versatility ratio.

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Giles calls in his bagpiper to celebrate his There Can Be Only One triumph over the German Commanding Officer.


The Staghound’s optimum deployment is on a road in an area with plenty of available cover, far from enemy forces and fortifications. Open areas and clear line of sight is a death knell to a Staghound. After initial straightway recce moves and 1st turn movement to get into place, stick to terrains with obstructions and concealment, as Staghounds will be able to fire more safely at targets or disengage as needed. and when that’s not an option, farmer’s fields can keep you concealed from ground forces

A column of Staghounds also work in urban environments since they they are highly maneuverable, they can use eyes and ears against entrenched enemies, and there is plenty of cover. They also present a small, compact target to the enemy and pack enough high explosives to take out infantry within the buildings.
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Staghounds supporting an infantry team breaching emplacements before storming the objective at the top of the hill.


Despite its strengths, the Staghound’s armour is a physical limitation that make it a challenging weapon to use in certain situations. To countermand this, disengaging is a particularly helpful tool for saving these fragile vehicles and removing them from constricted situations where an enemy contingent could potentially ambush my typically unaccompanied Staghound platoon. Given the small cost associated with Staghounds, it’s easy to realize maximum value from their weapons and their CYA recce moves limit the risk of major losses. I have actually used my Staghounds as a a psychological weapon against infantry with a sheer machine gun power pinning and breaking an enemy infantry column.In areas where fortifications are not present, Staghounds can provide a mobile punch that can be used to harass enemy advances and objectives, but this is very much dependent on the circumstance and do not reflect the main role of the vehicle.

Staghound Love Transcends the Table Top

Just for kicks, here are a couple of photos of me visiting a Staghound in person at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa in 2013 and 2014 (I'm a repeat offender). 

2013: Love at first sight.
2014: I'm going to hug him and squeeze him and keep him for my verrrry own.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Italy Campaign by WWPD Mission #5

Two Armored forces collide in this show down outside Frosinone.

The German force consisting of 1250 points from the 26th PzKo.  Supported by Alwin Steinhauser and his fearless FJs.

The Allied force from the 1st Armored supported by Indian rifles and Brit 25pdrs.  (1250)

The mission is Pincer.  The Allies start as much as possible across the river obstacle. 

The Germans wait in the hedges with panzer IVs and FJs dug in the town between both objectives.

Immediately the superior technology of the Allies tanks shows.  Easy 8s with Smooth ride light up the German 2IC.

Indians charge to the hill and attempt to climb.  Most have difficulty getting up the steep slope even as mountainers.

The Alled CO and 2IC  use their Detroits finest to get right into the town and behind the german Co Commander.

German counter fire is pretty much ineffective only bailing one sherman.

The Allies again strike home.  The German CO bites the bullet.

Its then time for some payback.  The 2nd Panzer IV platoon which is in ambush decided to shoot!  Getting some revenge by taking out the Allies CO and 2IC!

Nearby Indians can only watch in horror....

As the Pz IVs decide they will take on them next.  Machine gun fire splatters almost half the platoon.

Meanwhile the fight for the objective on the North side is heating up.  The Allies use their high mobility to get in close and personal. 
Panzer IVs are popping like balloons filled with gas. 

Too late to help, German reserves arrive in the form of Recce 8 Rads.  All they can do is try to get on the objective and score some lucky side shots.  Remarkably they nail a Sherman!

At the same time 2 Flakpanzer 38ts arrive.  With the Same goal.  Get to the objective!

Major Alwin Steinhauser and his FJs charge from the houses.   They are the only hope for the Germans now.

The smoke from the tank battle is filling the sky.  Kills on both side.

Alwin decides its too risky to assault right now and has his men hold in the hedges. 

Artillery fire from the Brits starts to rain in on the FJs.  Several are killed in the open.

German Nebs arrive.  Too late to be of much use.

Alwin watches as the battle goes to hell.  
The 3 Panzer IVs on the south side have chased off the entire Indian platoon.  And now turn to reinforce the massive carnage at the objective.

They arrive and are immediately outgunned by waiting Easy 8s who make short work of them.

Alwin charges with the remnants of the FJs but its a charge too far.  And HQ calls for a retreat.  The Major reluctantly pulls back and concedes the field to the Allies.  (Having dropped below half strength and being unable to roll company morale without a CO or 2IC alive)

This scarp metal heap goes to the Allies!  4-3

Monday, 9 June 2014

Italy Campaign by WWPD Mission #4

Highway 7 Outside Cisterna. 
The British 78th Division travels along the road racing to cut off German forces falling back from the Hitler Line.
Mission:  Road Block
Attackers:  78th Div (Road to Rome) 2000 points
Defenders:  HG PzDiv.  (Fortress Italy)  2000 points
Churchills move through a sleepy Italian village.  They pass within feet of a platoon of StuGs hiding in the rubble of a ruined church.
The Rifle platoon in their Defrocked priests are not so lucky!  The StuGs let loose and nearly gut the platoon.  The survivors dismount under fire.

Witness to the devastating ambush a platoon of Crocodiles move in.

The Germans begin shelling the survivors of the Rifle platoon but fail to score any kills.

More Brit Armor shows up!

And they are supported by the RAF.   Rockets hit the German Company Commander and a nearby Pz III M.  But only manage to bail both.

Navy bombardments from the coast scores a hit on a wespe as German Pz III M and N reinforcements watch in horror.

The Luftwaffe is on hand but cannot dent the armor of the Churchills.  StuGs in the background manage to get hits on another Rifle platoon racing to dig in on the Objective.

Which they manage to do.  The survivors finding cover amidst the swirling smoking wreckage of their transports.

Crocs move up steadily pushing the Germans back as shells bounce off their front armor harmlessly.

The RAF continues to hound the Germans.  But this time somehow the AA fire manages to reduce the flight to 1 plane.  And a stroke of luck sees 1 Wespe only bailed.

Panzers are playing cat and mouse with the big heavy Brit tanks. 

Fallschirmjaeger lead by Major Alwin Steinhauser watch on from the safety a wood.  They are never able to find an opening to exploit.

The battle drags on with neither side coming out on top.  Both Commanders decide to pull back and resupply for another day.   Victory points are calculated and due to the Allies losing 1 platoon it is called a 4-3 for the Germans.