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Well I have made some good progress on updating and re-creating the scource document of the manual of war. This is the second of the new chapters. Hoope you can get something out of it.
Almost every army within the 40K universe has access to infiltrating units – units that have the ability to sneak forward and set up in advance positions on the battlefield. Infiltrators take many different forms, from assassins to snipers to special characters like Shrike. The way these infiltrators are used can vary greatly depending on their equipment and abilities - understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each infiltrating unit is critical to ensuring you get the most out of your infiltrators. It is also important to have their use integrated into your main forces battle plan, because few infiltrators in the game have the strength and resilience to operate without any form of support.
I like to think that infiltrators should be given a mission or an objective as part of your overall mission. The equipment you give your infiltrators or their inherent characteristics will play a large part in determining their role, Stealth suits for example are anti-infantry not anti tank, Assassins are close combat not objective holders. In saying this though remember the “principle of war – flexibility” when assigning missions to your infiltrators. You will need to consider the mission that is being played, the enemy and terrain prior to assigning an objective to your infiltrators.
The placement of infiltrators is critical, you need to consider this when you are placing the remainder of your force. If you don’t think about it until the time comes, you may find that the enemy is able to restrict your options, due to either LOS or forcing you 18” away denying you a good position. Also you may find that you place them somewhere you want to move through in subsequent turns, thus you may have to move them instead of firing them. Infiltrators don’t always have to be placed outside your deployment zone; some units like snipers are better off being further back, so you may wish to leave this option open as well. Finally you need to consider what the enemy can do to them once they are on the deployed, if you lose first turn can he kill them easily? Can they be assaulted, in essence allowing the enemy to get closer to your main lines and preventing you from shooting them (critical consideration for armies like Tau). This is probably the critical thing with infiltrators poor deployment can really hamper there ability to assist your forces and act as a force multiplier.
Recently I have been shown two examples of poor deployment of infiltrators both times it was in Omega level games where I started with nothing on the table. In both cases I was able to come on the board and assault units. The first saw me assault Eldar guardians and rangers, the second Kroot. Both times I was able to amass enough combat power to totally destroy the forward elements of their forces and take very little damage in return. In the Kroot case the units was very cheap under 100 points, but it enabled me to move units and extra 6” for the charge and additional D6” for the massacre, virtually saving me at least one turn of movement and more importantly one turn of being shot at!
So what are some of the roles that you can give to your infiltrators? Basically I see that there are the following options:
• Fire Support – Split into Anti – Infantry and or Anti – Tank
• Objective holders
• Distraction / Harassment
Fire Support – These units will generally fit into or of two categories Anti Infantry or Anti Tank. Anti infantry fire support has mid to high strength weapons (S3-5) with a high rate of fire (heavy or assault). These units should be deployed so that they will cover the avenues that the enemies’ infantry will cross so that they can gain maximum use of their weapons and protect from the enemy. Ideally these units will be placed in a defilade position (described earlier) or if armed with assault weapons behind cover, moving into it to strike the enemy as he advances. Units like Space Marine scouts with sniper rifles or a heavy bolter, Tau Stealth suits and Eldar rangers are useful in this role.
Anti Tank fire support is a little harder to manage due to the fact that it has to be positioned very carefully to be effective, but in doing so will be exposed to enemy fire in return. One of the key factors to take into account when using Anti-Tank infiltrators is when you need to start employing them. If the enemy has a large number of vehicles then you are likely to need these weapons from the start of the game, if they have few tanks then you may be able to be more cunning with your placement of these assets to not only protect them but to also deny area to the enemy. In order to achieve this you place the infiltrators in a position where a tank will be forced to expose its more vulnerable side armour to them as it advances on the battlefield. To make this even more effective you position the remainder of your forces so that the tank is useless or of limited use to your opponent unless he moves it into this exposed position. The diagram below illustrates this point further.
In this example a chaos predator (the red rectangle) is attempting to engage a squad of space marines bunkered down in a building shown in grey. However as you can see by the line from the predator it does not have line of sight and will be forced to move in order to take the shot. Moving (shown with the dots rectangle) the predator, however, will reveal it to the small squad of space marine scouts armed with a missile launcher. In addition to being exposed to the scouts, the shot will be against the side armour increasing the chance of the scouts to damage the tank (a 3+ will glance instead of a 5+ against the front armour).
Units that are good in this role include Space Marine Scouts with a Missile Launcher, Chaos Space Marine infiltrating Havocs and Necron Flayed Ones with Disruption fields.
Objective Holders – Infiltrators can make excellent objective holders especially in alpha level missions. In gamma and omega level missions they can still hold objectives but their low points cost generally means that they will not contribute many bonus VPs to your cause. Infiltrators can be used to achieve objectives for all basic missions apart from Seek and Destroy. When using infiltrators in this role it is important to remember that you don’t necessarily need to hold an objective from the first turn, if you are able to hold off going for the objective for a turn or two you may be able to distract your opponent for long enough to be sneak them into a position to hold an objective at the end of the game without the enemy realising what is occurring.
In order to be used in this sort of role the infiltrators need to be both resilient and capable in close combat against all threats. Primarily due to that fact that the enemy is likely to try to dislodge the infiltrators off the objective with either firepower or assault. You should always try to position yourself to be in a position to strike first as it will deny the enemy the advantage that he may have with numbers and of course charging into combat generally gives you the edge with the extra attacks (unless you can force him to assault you in cover).
Finally it is important to be able to support your infiltrators when they are being used to secure objectives especially if the enemy is likely to try to assault you. With objective based missions the enemy is generally force to advance towards certain points on the battlefield, points where your infiltrators are positioned. Once you give this role to your infiltrators it is inevitable that they will be forced to engage the enemy, reinforcements at the critical point in the battle will ensure their survival and your ability to hold that objective.
Units that can be used to hold objectives in this manner include: Broodlord and Genestealers, Space Marine Scouts armed for Close combat with Vet Sgt and Striking Scorpions with Stealth.
Bait – Infiltrators can be used to bait a dangerous part of the enemy unit into a position where it will not be able to affect the rest of the game or preferably to a position where you will be able to neutralise it. Using units in this way is dangerous and needs to be carefully managed to ensure you don’t just throw away your unit, even it is cheap you don’t want to just lose troops without gaining some advantage from it. The Chapter on MAD describes how you can do this effectively and watch to watch for.
One thing that you want to ensure is that you have the next turn after your bait unit is destroyed to ensure that you are able to prosecute your plan to eliminate the isolated enemy unit. Also make sure that the enemy is not able to consolidate (or massacre move) back into combat or behind cover and out of LOS. If either of these are unavoidable make sure you are able to gain some sort of advantage to gain from them being in that position, for example massacre moving to contact Genestealers or a similar squad.
Distraction/Harassment - Some infiltrators have special abilities which will enable them to be harassing units or they are extremely resilient. These units need to be placed where you can make the most of their abilities and this comes down to understanding how these units work. Some examples of units that I think can be classified as harassing units; Eldar Rangers due to their pinning weapons and the Culexus assassin with its soulless rule. These units have the ability to disrupt the enemy battle plans.
Distracting units are ones that the enemy thinks are more dangerous than what they are they in a sense distract his attention from the rest of your army. Any infiltrating unit can be a distraction purely based on where they are placed on the battlefield. One nasty trick that can be used to execute this sort of use of infiltrators is to place them into the enemy deployment zone, this can work well especially in quarter missions against assault based armies. Doing this can force the opponent to waste valuable time in the game going back to secure their deployment zone especially important in Cleanse Gamma.
In conclusion infiltrators can be used to great effect in the game, I see that they can have one of four different roles in a game, which will be dependent on the mission, the abilities and equipment, the enemy and finally the terrain on the board. But the most important factor in using infiltrators is to ensure that they are supported by the rest of your force.
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