Guest article by Mark Eudes Teoh

Clash of Steel - The “Alternate” History?


Have you ever consider a “What if” scenario or “Alternate” history with the start of new war just right after  the end World War 2? Then, Clash of Steel by Gale Force Nine would be a great game for you. 


Based on an Alternative History where the war in Europe nishes in the year of 1944 with the surrender of  Germany. However, the war started again 4 years later after the end of World War 2 due to the Soviet’s  aggression in 1948. 

This 2-player game allow players to play with their favourite battle tanks on their selected nations with its  Dynamic Mission Based Game Play to ensure that every game battle is unique and cinematic. It also comes  with their own Missions, Setups, Objectives and Tactic Cards for the game to roll. 

In this article, let me bring you an overview on each and every nations with the chosen battle tanks which I  personally think would be a great asset to the players.

American Forces 

Let us kickstart with the American Forces as our rst pick up topic for Clash of Steel! After the Japanese  surrendered, followed by the end of the American inter-war period in 1946, the American leadership had  grown distrust with the Soviets and was alarmed by their pressure on both Iran and Poland. Because of  this conict of interest, the Soviet Union had become the enemy. 

The chart shown the list of the American Tanks that will be available in the current Clash of Steel American  Nation. It seems that the Americans have decided to bring out their “big boys” especially the mighty T-30  (something that must not be mess with or taken lightly of). They also have other good tanks such as the  T-28, T-29, T26E5 Assault Pershing and so on. The heavy tanks will be the main ones guarding and  advancing in the frontline whereas smaller tank units such as Easy Eight, Jumbo, Jackson and Hellcat will  be staying behind or create a diversion by supporting the “big boys” in the frontline, very direct way to  approach play against the opponent. 

This is a good start for players who chooses the American nation to play with if they are looking for a good  decent option, straight forward to play kind of style.

Before we move onto T-30, let me give a brief introduction on the T26E5 Assault Pershing Battle Tank  which was an assault tank based on the M26 Pershing heavy tank. It was developed from the same  premise as the M4A3E3 Sherman “Jumbo” assault tank, to increase the armour of an existing tank for the  role of breaking through the enemy defence lines! 

A very decent battle tank that comes with Front Armour of 16, good enough to withstand any Anti-Tank  starting from 17 and above, although the side armour could be a bit bad news, so best to watch out  enemy tanks that is trying to ank on the Side Armour. It also has good Battleeld Mobility which allows it  to cross on a 2+ on dicult terrains which is good as it enables player to quickly move their tanks into a  potential high terrain just to get the benet of cover. The Anti-Tank of 14 is somewhat average I would say,  good enough to penetrate units that has low armour, however, it would be bad news if it were to go face  to face with a Tiger II or a Maus. 

Here comes the T-30 heavy tank I will be talking about which was developed in parallel to the T-29,  mounting a dierent engine and a 155mm main gun. Unlike the T26E5 Assault Pershing, T-30 moves at a  tactical speed of 10” instead of 8”, same Front Armour 14 but it has Anti-Tank of 19 which is like by far the  best Anti-Tank given to the American players with Firepower of AUTO instead of rolling if opponent were  to failed their Armour save rolls. The downside of the T-30 would be the SLOW FIRING penalty rule which  you are required to +1 to HIT if you are moving.  

Overall, everything is decent enough such as 4+ on all Motivation, Skill and Is Hit On. I would say that it is a  very beginner friendly nations to play with, just need to make sure that to keep them alive and away from  opponent units that has a very high Anti-Tank power.

British Forces 

Next, I will be talking about the British Forces! Since the Yanks are bringing in the Big Guns, well, the Brits  will be bringing in exibility and of course with some of the heaviest tanks in the game combining with a  good range of medium tanks that can put the hurt exactly where you want it. They comes with the same  Skills as the fellow Americans and similar numbers across the boards. However, they do generally comes in  

a little cheaper compared to the Americans. 

Based on the chart above, we may see that the Tortoise indeed is the heavist tank that was brough in by  the Brits this time, followed up with Churchill VII, Centurion 1 & 3 together with Medium tanks like Comet,  Challenger, Cromwell and Archer. Every gun in the British tanks has a Firepower of 3+ and is the only  nation in the game system that does not have a Firepower of 2+ which can be seen a bit challenging as  players might potentially bailed out opponent tank instead of destroying it. 

However, with good strategy and tactics, I believe all things will go smoothly and accordingly if players  knows what they are doing.

As we all know that the Heavist tank of all would be the Tortoise tank in this game, by far I would say that it  has the best Front Armour among the nations which is 21 in Clash of Steel. This thing is a proper brick! It  also comes with a good Anti-Tank of 18, very good tank I would say. The only major weakness of the  Tortoise tank would be it has the Special Rule of Assault Gun which means that it must always target in the  front as it does not have a turret, like your regular Tank Destroyer; need to change their ring arc by 90  degrees each turn. The good news is that if the tank crews were to bailed out, you may remount them back  in on a 3+ due to the Protected Ammo Special Rule for the Tortoise. 

The only way to stop the Tortoise from getting assaulted by a swarm of tiny tanks is by giving it the best  support you can ever have for it in order to sustain long in the battlefield. 

Next, I would like to bring out the Centurion 3 as this tank caught my attention when I rst saw it aside  from its early variant, the Centurion 1. Good news is that Centurion 3 comes with a Stabiliser which allow  players to remain their Rate Of Fire (ROF) on the move, however this comes with a +1 Penalty to shoot if  you are moving. Everything is the same various from the Motivation, Skill, Is Hit On with 10” of Tactical  Movement speed. It also comes with Protected Ammo Special Rules which allows tank crews to remount  back on a 3+. The Front Armour however is at 10 which can be targets to tank unit that comes with a  Anti-Tank power of 17. 

Overall, Centurion 3 may serve as a support to the Tortoise if needed, at least, you are able to distract your  opponent from targeting the Tortoise with it and of course with other potential tanks such as Centurion 1  and Comet.

German Forces 

Now to the Germans! German forces by far has the best Skill in the Clash of Steel. The Germans most  generally have access to consistently high Skill ratings of 3+ in comparison with both the Yanks and the  Brits which is a Skill ratings of 4+. They also comes with competent weapons and unit sizes of up to 5  vehicles. A very good forces to start with if you are into a “very cool” super heavy tanks whils slowly  pushing yourself to teh enemy line.  

First things rst, the moment we notice on the chart shown is none other the super heavy tank called  Maus. A very good start for the new German players if you want to eld in Maus throughout the entire  game, however, the catch is that you might have problems managing against outnumbering enemies in  almost every game. Also, let us not forget the other potential tanks like Tiger II, Tiger I, Panthers as well as  superlight such as the Pumas and Sd Kfz 234/4 which allows them to Scout and Spearhead, allowing you  to push forward in deployment.

The Maus or also known as “Mouse” was conceived as a massive “breakthrough tank”, being capable of  pushing through enemy defence lines, leading a supporting troops while being virtually immune to  enemy re. What can I say about it when it comes with a Front Armour of 20 which is rather good, like the  second best tank in comparison with Tortoise Front Armour which is being 21 but still, almost nothing can  penetrate it unless opponenet aim the Side/Rear of the Maus. The best Skill rating in game so far I have  seem which is a 3+, Motivation and Is Hit On is same as both the Yanks and Brits, a common 4+. 

It also comes with good Anti-Tank rating of 18 with Firepower of 2+, the only downside would be it has the  “Slow Firing” Special Rules which you get a penalty of +1 to Hit on the Moving; so better watch out on  those tanks that is good in concealing themselves within terrains. The Maus also comes with a 2+ Cross  which is also rather good when you are crossing throught dicult terrains. 

Moving on to one of the most well-known and notable German tank to everyone, the Tiger II; the heavy  panzer that was armed with 8.8cm gun (8.8cm KwK43) that could destroy most Allied armoured ghting  vehicles at a range far outside the eective range of the enemy vehicles’ armament. It was theorised that  

the Front Armour of the Tiger II could be penetrated by the British 17 pdr gun however, it was never  penetrated by the British 17 pdr gun during the war. 

With the best Skill Ratings of 3+, they basically can do anything in the battleeld. Decent Front Armour of  16 and Saide/Rear Armour of 8 which is not so good if you were being shot by an Anti-Tank rating of 17  and above on the Side/Rear Armour. No penalty to shoot as well but they do come with Anti-Tank of 17  which can pack a punch on any units that has low Front Armour; to make a 3+ Crossing on dicult terrains  still a doable situation. Tiger II can be used to serve as a support unit to the German Super Heavy, Maus.

Soviet Forces 

Last but not least, the Soviets are the one to fear not in their Firepower or anything but in terms of their  numbering as each units are allowed to carry at least 10 battle tanks in a single platoon, kinda nasty if you  were to ask me; you may even make a swarm list out of it. And they are also very cheap to lled in terms of  their point cost which made them the only horde army within the Clash of Steel. The biggest drawback  here is that you will be an easy target for your opponent to score their VP for each of your units they  destory, so do watch out for that! 

As we all have known is that the Soviet Union is most notably for their IS series battle tanks. The term “IS”  comes from the short form name of Joseph Stalin, who was a Soviet revolutionary and politician who was  the longest-serving leader of the Soviet Union from 1924 until his death in 1953. I could see that they are  bringing in the IS-3 tanks together with IS-2 as which also includes the T-44, T-54-1 and T-34-85. They also  have Tank Destroyers such as the ISU-130, ISU-122, ISU-152 and SU-100 in Clash of Steel. 

Aside from the numbers, the Soviet Forces do comes with the highest Motivation of all the nations with  the rating of 3+ in comparison with the American, British and German Forces with a Motivation rating of  4+. However, among all nations, they comes with the lowest Skill rating of a 5+ in the game. So, in order to  play Soviet, I would suggest players to just force in breaking through enemy defence lines by flanking  them.

The IS-3 began its life on the drawing boards in 1944 and it was improved on many of the concepts seen in  the earlier IS-2. A bit unfortunate for them when it comes with the lowest Skill rating of 5+ including being  an easy target in getting To Hit On a 3+ but they have a very good Motivation rating of 3+. A very decent  unit to play that comes with an Anti-Tank power of 14 but a Firepower of 2+. 

Remember, they are not meant to defend in the frontline but as a matter of fact, they are meant to force  themselves into the enemy defence lines by anking them, especially towards the enemy tank’s Side/Rear  Armour. The downside would be the Slow Firing special rules which forces them to get a +1 penalty to Hit  for moving. Since both their Rate of Fire is 1 regardless of Moving or Halted, it would be wise to just dash  yourselves forward into the enemy lines instead of holding back. 

The next Soviet tanks that caught my attention was none other than the T-54-1 tank. It is considered a  Global Tank as the series would be used in conicts throughout the world. Mechanically reliable, robust,  simple to operate and maintain with good mobility. It has the same rating as most of its other Soviet tanks. 

Again, as I have mentioned earlier that most Soviet tanks are required to force their way into the enemy  frontlines aside from the Tank Destroyers which serves as a Supporting units. The T-54-1 would be a good  tank which I personally thinks could be used to ght side by side with the IS-3. It comes with an Anti-Tank  of 15 with Firepower of 2+, Front Armour 12 which is decent enough. But, they required a 4+ to cross on a  dicult terrains which can be a pain if they got stuck during in game.

The Conclusion

In conclusion, I personally thinks that Clash of Steel would be a good game for players who enjoyed Tank  Battles. The rules somehow almost similar to both Flames of War and Team Yankee and it is also a good  kickstart for players who shown interest in historical wargaming. 

Each nations has its pros and cons but end of the day, it is the players that decides how they want to play  their army with battle plan, strategy or tactics and of course with some luck in dice rolling. Hopefully, I am  able to see some of the cool battle tanks such as T-30, Maus, Tortoise or even the IS-3 were to be appeared  in the future release of Flames of War if there is an opportunity given. 

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