The Missing Mechanized Unit: Assault Guns


  • With the addition of Mech Infantry in the 1940 versions, and after playing a fair amount, I feel there is a final land unit needed to round out the mechanized units:

    Assault Guns, or Self-Propelled Artillery.

    Cost 5 IPCs, act exactly as Artillery, Move 2.

    Historically, it doesn’t take much research online to find all the historical precedent you want - especially for Germany and Russia, the former of which built more Assault Guns than Tanks in WWII. If people are interested, I can post some stats to justify their existence in this game.

    The unit would be a great complement to Mech Infantry, and can race to catch up with regular Infantry and give them some punch on the front. At 5 IPCs, they’re expensive enough for people to not exploit them, but not so pricey you’d lose too much sleep losing them on the front.

    Any thoughts?


  • Thanks wheatbeer - I appreciate the analysis. I’ve relied more on the concept than the math, but the math reveals that it isn’t terribly unbalancing.

    I don’t believe anyone would be buying them in mass numbers - after all, they cost 5 - but if they did, it would be at the sacrifice of other units, like any other unit choice in A&A.

    I believe a friend and I will be playtesting the unit soon, and I’ll report back.

  • '17 '16 '15 Organizer '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    Cost 5 IPCs, act exactly as Artillery, Move 2. Attack at 3 in the first round if enemy tanks present.

    a 2-2-2-5 unit is basically a boosted Mech, the unit needs unique flavor.

    Would you not want a 3-3-2-6 unit for 1 IPC more getting 2 points?

    So you got to split the difference and model tank destroyers and SPA which basically hunted tanks.

  • Customizer

    @Imperious:

    Cost 5 IPCs, act exactly as Artillery, Move 2. Attack at 3 in the first round if enemy tanks present.

    Either that or have them specifically target enemy tanks.


  • @Imperious:

    Cost 5 IPCs, act exactly as Artillery, Move 2. Attack at 3 in the first round if enemy tanks present.

    a 2-2-2-5 unit is basically a boosted Mech, the unit needs unique flavor.

    Plain artillery is basically a boosted infantry. And it works great.
    Mechanical artillery should have the exact same relationship to Mechanical Infantry as regular artillery has to regular infantry.


  • The pieces could be cool too - USA & UK could have a halftrack with a gun on it, Russia could have a truck with katyusha rockets, germany could have sturmgesutz…


  • I use SPG (self Propelled guns) but not quite like artillery……more of a separate entity of a tank. (Production of German Stugs soon outdid productions of tanks)

    my SPG rules
    I have 2 different SPG’s…Light and heavy…or early war / late war (think Stug w/ short barrel vs Stug w/ long barrel 75mm)

    Light SPG cost 4, att-2, def-2. Special ability can target enemy vehicles first when defending
    Heavy SPG cost 5, att-2, def-3. Special ability is target enemy vehicles first when defending

    (thank you to Imperious Leader for introducing me to GHQ website for this one)

  • Sponsor '17 '13 '11 '10

    All my supplement set will have SP Artillery.

    Minor Axis - Hummel
    US Set - Priest

  • Customizer

    I was wondering if anyone knows what models of SPGs are possible for some of the countries.  I am aware of some models for USA, Germany and Russia.  I think I’ve seen some for Japan and Italy.

    How about UK, ANZAC or France?  Has anyone seen SPGs for them?  I mean units from those countries, not US made equipment.


  • This topic hasn’t seen the first page in quite awhile, but I think it is more productive to post it here, than make a new topic, thus, here is my post.

    I like the idea of the mechanized artillery, and as others have stated, there is a historical precedent for them. However, I think Larry tried to settle the attack@2-move@2 ratio when they are coupled with tanks (the tech for mech infantry in the Global 1940). However, trying to get that tech would be an investment better yet spent on units, and once gotten, would reduce the mechanized artillery to almost null appreciation.

    I agree with Imperious Leader, the unit does need flair, something unique, and since SPA and SPG had similar roles, indirect fire in support of infantry and tanks.

    How about this then?

    Cost: 5
    Move: 2
    Attack: 2
    Defense 1

    Support: When paired with an infantry or mechanized infantry, its attack value goes to 2.

    Tank Hunter: On defense, this unit may roll before the first round of combat against an attacking tank unit. Ratio of 1:1. On a 1, a tank is removed from the battle immediately. The unit may not fire again the second round of combat, but may be selected as a casualty in the first round.

    With this potential set up, the SPA doesn’t overpower by default, as historically, their rate of fire was quite slow and indirect. But, it does fulfill its roles. The defense value is to represent the light (old tank chassis), aforementioned rate of fire and indirectness of it, and also the crews at times were unprotected.

    @knp7765:

    I was wondering if anyone knows what models of SPGs are possible for some of the countries.  I am aware of some models for USA, Germany and Russia.  I think I’ve seen some for Japan and Italy.

    How about UK, ANZAC or France?  Has anyone seen SPGs for them?  I mean units from those countries, not US made equipment.

    Japan had decent ones of the Type 3 Ho-Ni III and Type 4 Ho-Ro. (<–- A personal favorite by its sheer look)

    I know Italy had the Semovente 75/18.

    The U.K and Commonwealth (including Canada and ANZAC) had the 25pdr SP, tracked, Sexton and Bishop.

    France is a special case, they had no mechanized artillery or SPG in huge numbers during 1940… save for one history know fought a battle, and literally only about three which were prototypes. The name of this weapon was the SAu-40.

    Relevant links below;

    http://ww2drawings.jexiste.fr/Files/1-Vehicles/Allies/4-France/06-SPG/SAu-40/SAu-40.htm

    http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=75388


  • Already added for awhile…
    USSR = SU 85 Cost 5, move 2, attack and defend at 3. First shot attack against enemy tank.
    Germany = Elephant… same rules but cost 6.

  • TripleA '12

    The German Ferdinand or better known ‘Elephant’ was indeed a powerful Tank Destroyer. I like the rule proposed above for Tank Destroyers firing during the opening fire step, at a 1:1 ratio against attacking enemy Tanks. That’s pretty good.

    But what exactly are we trying to achieve in this thread? One type of unit with many different roles? As far as I am aware there were two main kinds of mechanised support units in the tank family: Tank Destroyers and Self-Propelled Artillery. The term ‘Assault Gun’ could possibly be a little ambiguous; however, I have always associated it with the Self-Propelled Artillery unit or ‘SPG’ (Self-Propelled Gun). I guess that in Axis & Allies, it would be called the ‘Mechanised Artillery’ unit, to fall in line with Infantry/Mechanised Infantry.

    So as far as I can see we ought to have 3 classes - Tanks, Tank Destroyers and Self-Propelled/Mechanised Artillery/SPG units, each with their own rules. This would pretty much encompass armoured warfare.

    Therefore I guess we can create rules for the two new types of units (TDs & SPGs) as they are produced by FMG and HBG. When FMG produced their Italy Combat Units, they included the Semovente 75/18, which is a SPG. What they did not produce was a Tank Destroyer unit, but hopefully this will be rectified by either company in the future.

    I would have thought that both TDs and SPGs would have the Blitz rule, for starters. But I think they should otherwise differ in their capabilities.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Stalingradski:

    Assault Guns, or Self-Propelled Artillery.

    Technically, these are two different kinds of weapons – at least in the modern sense.

  • TripleA '12

    You may well be right; like I say, it is a bit ambiguous. My own personal interpretation is that Assault Guns were direct-fire artillery support and that Self-Propelled Artillery were more indirect (both being mechanised). But I am more than happy to be corrected on this.

    However, I would say that Assault Guns and Tank Destroyers were completely different animals with different roles, albeit both often built upon the same chassis and with a fixed main gun (as opposed to a turret).

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    @Lozmoid:

    However, I would say that Assault Guns and Tank Destroyers were completely different animals with different roles, albeit both often built upon the same chassis and with a fixed main gun (as opposed to a turret).

    Yes, tank destroyers are tank-like vehicles which have a fixed, box-like superstructure rather than a rotating turret, and whose primary role is to destroy enemy armoured vehicles with a direct-fire, high-velocity gun.  Assault guns are likewise built on a tank chassis, but they have an artillery role rather than an anti-armour role and their sighting and elevation mechanisms are more suited to that purpose.  Some artillery types do function as direct-fire weapons (guns which fire at less than 45 degrees of elevation), but others (howitzers) shoot at higher elevations (and lower velocities) to produce plunging indirect fire.

  • TripleA '12

    Agree with everything you just said. So basically, we could try and either come up with rules for SPGs and Tank Destroyers, OR, we could try and come up with something for Assault Guns in general which would cater to both anti-armour and artillery roles, like you said. The former would require two different miniature units for both the TD and the SPG, whilst the latter would only require the one miniature.

  • 2021 2020 '19 '18 '17 '16 '15 '14 Customizer '13 '12 '11 '10

    I think treating them differently would be more realistic.  Instead of viewing tank destroyers and assault guns as variants of each other, I think instead that tank destroyers should be seen as variants of tanks, while assault guns should be seen as variants of artillery pieces.  Artillery isn’t a subject I’m as familiar with as tanks, but as far as tanks go I know that Germany produced tank destroyer versions of several of its classic tanks such as the Jagdtiger and the Jagdpanther.  They were produced as units which had the advantage of being cheaper to make (since they lacked a rotating turret) and of being able to carry heavier frontal armour and a more powerful main gun.  The tradeoff was that their non-rotating superstructure had tactical limitations in combat with true tanks.


  • I am typing this from a phone, so I apologize if the formatting is off.

    We shouldn’t forget the basis of this unit, mobile support for infantry. This is the core. However, I still stand by the idea that it should have defensive anti-tank abilities. One, SPG, TD, and SPA were a loose family in the war. Two, many nations gave the weapons both anti-tank and infantry support rolled into one vehicle, not all, but many.

    If however we made a seperate TD unit, what are the values? It certainly can’t be more expensive than the tank.

    I think our best bet is to keep this unit multi-roled. Oh, and as for blitzing? When paired with a unit that can, yes.

  • TripleA '12

    Hmm, okay. If we were to keep the one unit multi-roled then perhaps its functionality would depend on the type of battle being fought! For example, if your SPG unit is involved in a battle with enemy Tanks only then it would automatically assume an anti-armour role (basically it would become a Tank Destroyer), and I see no reason why this would not work in both attack and defence. However, if the battle involves NO enemy Tanks then your SPG unit automatically takes on an anti-personnel role (it becomes an Assault Gun/Self-Propelled Artillery) looking for ‘soft’ targets, i.e. regular Infantry, Artillery, Anti-Aircraft Guns and perhaps Mechanised Infantry as well.

    Or… maybe the SPG’s role could be designated by the owning player’s choice. For example, if your SPG is in a battle with enemy Tanks and other enemy units then you could choose whether your unit(s) becomes a Tank Destroyer OR an Assault Gun. But this choice would have to be uniform for all of your SPGs involved in the battle; you couldn’t split them into both camps (that would over-complicate things too much).

    I personally would prefer to have two different minatures/pieces with two different rules for both Tank Destroyers and Assault Guns but I just don’t think this will work very well on the global/grand strategic level; I think it would work very well on the theatre level downwards, however. Also, the two extra units would really clog up the game board.

    So, I think that it may be better to have the one unit with multi roles. I agree that in no way should this SPG unit be more expensive than the Tank, which currently costs 6 in the 1940 & Global games. In terms of its combat capabilities I think it could possibly act like a Sub in that it gets a ‘first strike’ shot at 1, during the opening fire step, as suggested above. It then wouldn’t fire along with the rest of your units during their fire step. Hits scored by TDs could only be assigned to enemy Tanks. Hits scored by AGs can not be assigned to Tanks but perhaps they could function in some other way?

    What do you all think of this so far? Are we any closer?


  • I personally would prefer to have two different minatures/pieces with two different rules for both Tank Destroyers and Assault Guns but I just don’t think this will work very well on the global/grand strategic level; I think it would work very well on the theatre level downwards, however. Also, the two extra units would really clog up the game board.
    I agree with you.

    So, I think that it may be better to have the one unit with multi roles.
    That’s the best way to save spaces and money for extra pieces but there’s another solution.
    If self propelled gun,long range artillery and anti tank gun are availbale only in weapons development players will buy those news weapons and didn’t used anymore the original one.


  • So, I think that it may be better to have the one unit with multi roles. I agree that in no way should this SPG unit be more expensive than the Tank, which currently costs 6 in the 1940 & Global games. In terms of its combat capabilities I think it could possibly act like a Sub in that it gets a ‘first strike’ shot at 1, during the opening fire step, as suggested above. It then wouldn’t fire along with the rest of your units during their fire step. Hits scored by TDs could only be assigned to enemy Tanks. Hits scored by AGs can not be assigned to Tanks but perhaps they could function in some other way?

    This would be our best option.

    Since the “one-shot” ability would only take place during defensive step (though, some work can be done for the offensive step, possibly) at only the roll of 1, it wouldn’t overwhelm tanks per say, but it could add a chance to remove one from play, which is good.

    As for the leftover hits? You could consider them just what happens when you overwhelm any enemy in normal, technically, let em’ go. There are no more applicable units to select in such a case.

    Or, you could do a ratio basis. For example, if the attacking player has two tanks, and the defending player four assault guns, they may one select two to sally forth against the tanks.

  • TripleA '12

    Okay, first of all let’s talk about the ‘Tank Destroyer’ role of this new SPG unit. I think that both attacking and defending TDs should each get a Surprise Strike die roll (during step 2 of the conduct combat phase), before all other land units fire (during steps 3 & 4).

    Question: Should the attacker fire with their TDs first, just like Subs in naval combat? Or should the defender fire first? Or should both sides fire simultaneously? Think about the element of surprise during land combat.

    Question: Should either side have a slight advantage over the other? This normally lies with the defender; however, attacking Subs have the advantage during naval combat in that they fire at 2 whilst defending Subs fire at 1. One could argue that the same be said of Tank Destroyers whose job was to seek out or hunt enemy Tanks. What do you think?

    Any hits scored by TDs are assigned to the opposing side’s Tanks.

    Question: Should these Tanks then be removed immediately from the battle? You may say that killing the Tanks outright is perhaps too harsh, and I suppose that’s fair enough. Alternatively, should there be some way in which they could be ‘saved’ from dying before getting to return fire? i.e. any Tanks that are hit by TD fire are instead moved behind the casualty strip and now get to fire a parting shot (in steps 3 & 4). So should the Tank casualties be destroyed immediately or just critically damaged before returning fire? I prefer the second option.

    This process will be repeated for each round of combat, providing that there are any remaining TDs on either side.

    And that’ll do her for the moment. What are your thoughts?

  • Liaison TripleA '11 '10

    It shouldn’t be like a submarine suprise strike.

    But the advantage COULD be, that when rolling your TD’s on defense @2, hits are DIRECTLY allocated to enemy mechanized units, OR tanks, BEFORE infantry.

    IE, whoever has suffered hits from a tank destroyer, must select his tanks as casualties first.

    Cost 5, attack 2, defense 2, move 2, opponent must select tanks/mech/td units as first casualties from hits suffered

  • TripleA '12

    Thanks for the input, Gargantua,  🙂

    It shouldn’t be like a submarine suprise strike.

    Why not? I think this would be an interesting combat dynamic. Do you think that TDs should fire in steps 3 & 4 like all other land units then?

    But the advantage COULD be, that when rolling your TD’s on defense @2, hits are DIRECTLY allocated to enemy mechanized units, OR tanks, BEFORE infantry.

    Are you saying that defending TDs should fire at 2 and that attacking TDs should fire at 1? That gives the advantage to the defender, and I for one am happy with that. But I would say that whilst hits must be assigned to Tanks as a priority, they could also be assigned to Mechanised Infantry if there are no Tanks left to hit. Remember, that the Tank Destroyer’s main objective is to kill enemy Tanks (and I suspect they would have treated Mech Infantry of secondary importance).

    However, I would say that hits scored by TDs should not be assigned to Infantry, Artillery or AA Guns, as their shells are anti-armour and are used only for peircing the armour of enemy vehicles. And in some way that I haven’t worked out yet, this will be what the ‘Assault Gun’ capability of the SPG unit will be for…

    IE, whoever has suffered hits from a tank destroyer, must select his tanks as casualties first.

    Yep. Then Mech Infantry (if there are any).


  • Cost 5, attack 2, defense 2, move 2, opponent must select tanks/mech/td units as first casualties from hits suffered
    My rules is att:3, def 3, move 2, first shott attack against enemy tank/or armoured vh.

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