Unit Analysis: The British 6 Pounder

The six pounder anti-tank gun is arguably one of the most under-rated and under-appreciated weapons in the British arsenal or even Flames of War.  This little gun however, is capable of hitting far beyond its apparent weight and is an important part of any British rifle company in either mid or late war.  This article will analyze the basic characteristics of the unit along with how its moderate stat line can be put to the maximum potential on the table.
The strengths of the 6 pdr elude many players  in late war as a result of its modest stat line; anti tank 10, 4+ FP check and a 24 inch range.  This “modest” stat line however is backed up by two powerful attributes that give this gun deadly potential.  The first major characteristic is that the 6 pounder can be taken in platoons of six guns.  Such a large amount of guns allows this unit to block entire areas with its size alone.  Along with this fact is that four bases must be lost before the platoon has to take its first motivation check.  The large platoon size also goes hand in hand with the gun’s most important attribute; a rate of fire of three.  When wielding all six guns, this platoon can unleash a devastating 18 shots into an opposing target.  There are few, if any anti-tank assets in the game that can fire such a salvo.  Another important element of the six pounder that gives it great diversity is its ability to fire high explosive rounds (HE).  With six of these weapons on the table, the platoon can function as an ad hoc heavy machine gun unit with the benefit of gun shields.
The strengths of the six pounder can only be realized however, if the unit is given a fighting chance on the table.  First and foremost,  it must be recognized that this weapon has no ability to hurt heavy armor in a straight on fight.  Tigers and Panthers will simply sit back and blow these guns away if they are put into such a position.  The six pounder must be handled with tactical sense and will often require a great deal of craftiness to use properly.  One circumstance that the six pounder does excel in is deterring armored assaults.  If properly concealed or covered by friendly units, a platoon of these weapons will force even heavy armor to waste time in an attempt to destroy the platoon.  With its ROF 3 gun, even two of these weapons can cause a great deal of pain to an armored assault, as six AT 10 shells (if unpinned) could hit the vulnerable side armor of your opponent.  For this reason, the six pounder can be an excellent blocking or delaying unit that can open possibilities for other units on the table.
Although the six pounder is quite inept at dealing with high frontal armor, it is more that capable of dealing with all sorts of medium armor or assault guns.  Even StuGs (with their 7 frontal armor) will be reluctant to enter the field of fire of a 6 pounder platoon.  I have withered down entire StuG platoons over time by the sheer number of shots being poured into them every turn.  The six pounder will also give any mechanized player a huge headache, as they will be unwilling to move any of their half-tracks or light vehicles within range of even one unpinned gun.
When wielding Six pounders, it is also essential to position your platoons so that they may get side shots on enemy armor or be put into concealing terrain.  The British have two cost effective ways of keeping their six pounders mobile.  The first is a 5 point upgrade for the entire platoon that gives every gun a Loyd armored transport.  This extremely cheap option gives your guns great mobility if the situation calls for it.  The second option is the uniquely British rule of “tow hooks”, which allows a variety of armored vehicles such as Shermans and Churchills to tow six pounders like a transport team.  The ability to keep a six pounder platoon mobile is often overlooked or outright ignored by British players, much to their detriment.  In any game that may require your six pounders to be left off the table, the platoon may become near useless as it struggles to move two inches a turn to get into position.  I can vouch from personal experience that mobile six pounders have greatly contributed to my victories as a result of them being moved into positions to provide covering fire for my infantry and armor.
The last and arguably the most effective manner to use six pounders is in the role of an ambushing unit in a defensive mission. Whether the platoon is shooting 18 high explosive shots into an unsuspecting infantry platoon or surprising Panzer IVs, the intensity of a full volley of six pounders makes them an excellent choice for ambushing.  The mere potential of the six pounder in ambush can force your opponent to constantly consider where the unit might be deployed and thus affect their game.
Even with all the great acclaim I have heaped on this little gun, its low point cost (roughly 155 for a full platoon of six) means that even if it destroys very few enemy teams it has not burnt a hole in your wallet.  On a whole, the six pounder is a cheap, effective gun that fills the important role in a British or commonwealth list for a medium, high ROF anti tank gun.  As a Canadian/British player I take a platoon of these guns every time I play with a rifle company.  The six pounder can do great things for a British player if deployed and handled correctly, but do not anticipate the gun to perform miracles as it will let you down if expected to do so.

About aquarius1715

29 year who has a love of history and political science (my areas of study at school), PC and table top Gaming as well as having good conversations with friends and family.
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