The Allies Take to the Skies
Guest Writer Levi Hill Previews Campaign Book: Icarus for Dust Warfare
With the approaching release of Campaign Book: Icarus, the next supplement for Dust Warfare, we’re pleased to offer a preview by guest writer Levi Hill. In addition to having written content for Campaign Book: Icarus, Levi helps to run Dust-War.com, a Dust Warfare fan site. Thanks, Levi!
The skies above Zverograd are teeming with aircraft – from the SSU’s Helicopters to the latest addition, the Axis Horton. Now, though, it is time for the Allies to assert themselves in the air and that victory will rest on the speed and firepower of the P-48 Pelican.
Both variants of this new aircraft should please Allied players looking for a fast, deadly support unit. Let’s take a look at just what these machines can do, and then we will look at what they bring to the table.
Into the Wild Blue Yonder
First up, we have the “Diving Dotty,” the Allied fighter/bomber extraordinaire. Able to soar across the table with a movement of 12”, it can bring its two 500kg bombs to bear with deadly quickness. Each one can cause serious pain to infantry and armor units, while dropping both on the same target will almost always kill its target. Being able to move 36” across the table and toss these massive bombs into the rear armor of a Walker should make enemies sweat.
In the nose are a double dose of triple .50 Cal MGs in a single mount, giving it potent dogfighting abilities as well as the ability to strafe ground targets. It has comparable anti-infantry firepower to the Quad DShK 12.7mm guns of the SSU Helicopters, while having more dice against other aircraft. This is made even more pronounced in air-to-air combat with the addition of the new rule “Air Superiority,” making all of its attacks against opposing aircraft a Sustained Attack!
Serving as a dedicated ground-attack aircraft, the “Bellowing Bertie” comes with the same potent machine gun mount, but instead of those deadly 500kg bombs, it instead has Ground Rockets. They don’t pack much of a wallop against infantry, but are simply brutal against armor; they’re similar in damage dice to SSU Rocket Pods, but with a higher damage output. The only drawback here is the need to Reload, but being able to unleash these onto enemy armor at least three times in an average game can be devastating.
As if all of that wasn’t already outstanding, Campaign Book: Icarus comes with two Platoon Upgrades that are excellent force multipliers for these aircraft.
The first of these upgrades is Close Air Support, which doubles Suppression on any target of the aircraft provided that enemy unit is within 16” of a friendly soldier unit. Imagine the potential with two or three of these aircraft zipping around and tossing out loads of Suppression, freeing up your ground forces to act with impunity.
Air Supremacy allows the Allies to continue their trend of bringing more of the good stuff to the battlefield. Already able to bring more Heroes and more snipers than anyone else, now with this upgrade, the Allies will be able to put four of these menacing aircraft on the table at once. By allowing a single platoon in a force to add an extra Aircraft 2 (that it must pay the AP for, of course) allows Allied players to really rule the skies.
Now, as always, there are drawbacks. Since the Pelican is an aircraft, it would be prudent to avoid enemy anti-air assets. The Mao Zedong, Sturmkonig, and Rattler can all cause issues for your Pelicans, provided you don’t take them out in a hurry. Some soldier units, such as Heavy Flak Grenadiers and Grim Reapers, will be a problem, as will some enemy aircraft, namely the SSU Striker with its two 5/1 attacks against Aircraft 2.
The Sky’s the Limit
Let’s take a look at a list that fields four of these fighters into the air:Assault Platoon Upgrade: Air Supremacy Command Section: Johnny One-Eye 1st Section: "BBQ Squad" Assault Ranger Squad + Sock and Tar 3rd Section: "The Gunners" Combat Ranger Squad + Rat Fighters 4th Section: "Crack Shots" Sniper Team Support: P-48C Pelican "Diving Dotty" Support: P-48X Pelican "Bellowing Bertie" Support: P-48X Pelican "Bellowing Bertie" Combat Platoon Command Section: Bazooka Joe 1st Section: "BBQ Squad" Assault Ranger Squad + Sock and Tar Support: P-48C Pelican "Diving Dotty"
Here you have a slim but brutal ground force lighting up the enemy with flamethrowers and shotguns, while four Pelicans take to the skies. With so few boots on the ground, though, it will be a list built on finesse and pushing those Pelicans to their limits. Each unit led by a Hero tries to close on the enemy as fast as possible, soaking up wounds and shaking suppression on Blanks the whole way. The Gunners hold down the fort, while the Snipers try to suppress choice units from afar. Not a complicated strategy, but certainly an all-or-nothing type list that could do big things, or simply crash and burn.
For those of you less interested in a dedicated air force, here is a more well-rounded list that still takes advantage of the swift, deadly Pelican.Assault Platoon Upgrade: Improved Command Command Section: "Hell Boys" Ranger Attack Squad + Sock and Tar 1st Section: "BBQ Squad" Assault Ranger Squad + Sock and Tar 3rd Section: "The Gunners" Combat Ranger Squad + Rat Fighters 4th Section: "Crack Shots" Sniper Team Support: "Crack Shots" Sniper Team Support: "Crack Shots" Sniper Team Support: P-48C Pelican "Diving Dotty" Assault Platoon Upgrade: Improved Command Command Section: "Hell Boys" Ranger Attack Squad + Sock and Tar 1st Section: "BBQ Squad" Assault Ranger Squad + Sock and Tar 3rd Section: "The Gunners" Combat Ranger Squad + Rat Fighters 4th Section: "Crack Shots" Sniper Team Support: "Crack Shots" Sniper Team Support: P-48C Pelican "Diving Dotty"
Here, we have four teams of Snipers putting down suppressive fire on the enemy while whittling down those pesky Soldier 3 units at long-range. The two Pelicans in the list serve as anti-armor, while tearing into infantry that happen to get in their sights. Under that covering fire, the groundpounders trudge up the battlefield, using Demolition Charges (with Penetrator!) to take out armor and shotguns to shred infantry, with flamethrowers doing double duty. Each Hell Boys squad has a radioman attached to allow orders to be issued from afar, allowing the Snipers to be used in both the Command Phase and Unit Phase, maximizing their damage output. The Gunners are meant to hold down objectives or add their bazookas and UGLs to the mix, depending on the needs.
With its tremendous speed and firepower, it is clear that the Allies are here to take the fight to the skies and the Pelican can certainly deliver.
Thanks, Levi! Look for the Pelican and Campaign Book: Icarus on store shelves in just a few more weeks.