Are Panzerschrecks too powerful?

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gcoops
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Are Panzerschrecks too powerful?

Post by gcoops »

Hello All

There has been lots of discussion about mortars and how many of us deem them to be too powerful, unbalancing the game, but what about Panzerschrecks? Are they too powerful? For just 2 support points they have a massive 13AP at all ranges out to 48". For sheer tank killing capability they are more effective than anything else up to a PAK43. For just 2 points they are much better value it seems than an Anti-tank gun or a tank.

I know this is mainly an infantry game but they certainly deter me from using armour when playing the Allies.

Interested to hear what people think.

Cheers

Levi the Ox
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Re: Are Panzerschrecks too powerful?

Post by Levi the Ox »

Hmm...I hadn't thought it through this far before, but if you wanted to price them based on their effectiveness like towed guns using the Coculator:
13 = Their primary strike (13 AP)
+1 = half of their secondary strike (2 HE)
14/2 = 7 Support Points

Figure a -1 for no JL, another -1 for a small crew with no gun shield, and maybe even a third -1 for limited ammo still leaves you at 4 Support Points, rather than 2. It would also probably bump the force rating of those platoons with integral panzerschrecks by +1. Rating them this way would be appropriate especially for Late War Russians, who would have access to the occasional captured stock compared to their own ATRs.


Personally, I don't mind their power at the ranges involved in a Chain of Command game, I'm fine with late war infantry being a serious threat to AFVs, but you do raise a good point about their relative value to other support options.

I'd be curious to know how their historical performance stacks up to their game penetration value myself. They are rated *very* highly.

Munin
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Re: Are Panzerschrecks too powerful?

Post by Munin »

Keep in mind that unlike AT guns, man-portable AT weapons are much less accurate. So while you might have that juicy, delicious 13 AP all the way out to 48", you're at -1 to hit with it after 9" and -2 after 24". Also, you have neither a gun shield nor a handful of guys to soak up Shock/casualties. If your shot misses, you'd better pray your opponent doesn't have a squad on overwatch, as the likelihood of pinning or breaking a 2-man team is really high.

Also, this is just a house rule, but we play that if a team is deployed in Ambush and gets pinned before the end of the phase, they can't be removed from the table - which poses an additional risk when using these kinds of weapons.

Eclaireur
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Re: Are Panzerschrecks too powerful?

Post by Eclaireur »

Unfortunately the rules are abstracting a number of properties of anti-tank weapons here. Shaped charge weapons have great penetrative power. If you look at how much armour a panzerschrek or panzerfaust (or indeed a bazooka) can burn through it's very impressive for the size of round.
But the metal bolt that enters the armoured vehicle is actually quite small - on a par with an anti-tank rifle round, much smaller than the mass of a Pak40 or 7pdr penetrator, let alone an 88 !
This is why the lethality of shaped charge weapons is often low, unless it hits stored ammo, and records show some Israeli tanks in 1973 (and indeed US ones in Vietnam) continuing to operate very effectively despite multiple Sagger or RPG hits.
I can understand why the game designers want to keep things simple and not create a separate process for hits with shaped charge rounds, and for that reason would tend to downgrade their AP factors.
EC

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MLB
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Re: Are Panzerschrecks too powerful?

Post by MLB »

They rarely survive for more than one or two phases after deploying. That tends to mean an instant trade off. Panzerschreck team takes out tank (roll for loss of support), Panzerschreck team wiped out (roll for loss of support).

One kill and two shock is enough to put an end to them even if you can’t wipe them out. So if they don’t get to take out the tank on the first shot it won’t take much to see them off.

As Munin points out the chance to hit is harder at range, so even if they ambush, if you have the tank well supported by infantry the chance of the ambush happening at close range diminishes.
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Levi the Ox
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Re: Are Panzerschrecks too powerful?

Post by Levi the Ox »

Hmm, a bit of research has satisfied me that AP11-13 is at least in the ballpark for the strike values of 'fausts and 'schrecks, I hadn't realized how much smaller the bazooka was. (The 'faust may have actually been more devastating once it penetrated than the 'schreck, and that lends itself to a more interesting game dynamic between the two, so I may flip their values in my own games in the future.)

Game-wise, my regular opponent has a tendency to deploy almost all of his platoon early, even when defending, so when we play late war his single panzerschreck tends to be easy to avoid. Panzerfausts, however, have in my experience KO'd or mission killed AFVs worth an average of 6-7 support per game. Not always before the AFV had accomplished its purpose, mind, and it often takes multiple attempts, but since the value of the whole platoon's integral 'schrecks and 'fausts combined adds up to about 1 point of Force Rating, there's definitely a case to say they hit above their weight. The comparison to a mid-sized towed gun seems apt.

I expect a lot of perspectives on this topic are going to depend on whether you prefer to value things by effectiveness or availability.

Edit: I'll also point out that sharing hits through proximity to other troops does a lot for their survivability.
Last edited by Levi the Ox on Sun May 10, 2020 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Eclaireur
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Re: Are Panzerschrecks too powerful?

Post by Eclaireur »

Munin and MLB - your point about range/accuracy is perfectly fair. But if you get a hit with a panzerschrek the destructive effect is like hitting something with an 88. And sorry, that's not right,
EC

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: Are Panzerschrecks too powerful?

Post by Truscott Trotter »

I would flip the values schrecks are 88mm and fausts 150mm (at least the later ones)

Hitting anything moveing or at range with a faust is much more difficult IRL thatn in the game but that said look at videos of the real thing the tank is dead - dunno where you got that info about being the same as AT rifle the pictures I have seen the tank brews up pretty comprehensivly with one schreck hit.

I think 4 or 5 would be a fairer points cost but then LW German lists get em 'free'

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Re: Are Panzerschrecks too powerful?

Post by Seret »

Truscott Trotter wrote:
Sun May 10, 2020 10:44 pm
I think 4 or 5 would be a fairer points cost but then LW German lists get em 'free'
Only the rulebook ones, and those lists have s ton of issues anyway. Platoons shouldn't have their own panzerschrecks, they were a higher level support (up at regiment in many cases!).

I've got to say though, List 2 is very, very cheap for such a dangerous weapon. To be honest, even at List 4 I'd consider them well worth taking.

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Truscott Trotter
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Re: Are Panzerschrecks too powerful?

Post by Truscott Trotter »

Yup I agree - Fausts were the platoon weapon Shrecks at best seem a company one - however we have PIATS and zookas that are in platoon lists too - when a case can be made for them only to be support list choices.
But agree they are not costed appropriately.

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