The manga and anime versions of the Anzio match differ in some significant respects. Not only are there differences in terrain but also in team compositions. We thought we’d review both individually and then offer our opinions from a tactical standpoint. In order to keep posts to a reasonable length, we decided to split the tactical reviews into separate posts, starting with the anime OVA.
- Panzer IV Ausf D (Anglerfish team)
- StuG III (Hippo team)
- Type 89 (Duck team)
- M3 Lee (Rabbit team)
- Panzer 38(t) (Turtle team) (Flag Tank)
- Carro Amato P40 75/34 (Commanded by Anchovy) (Flag Tank)
- Semovente M41 da 75/18 (3)
- Carri Veloce 33 (6) (Pepperoni commanding group).
Note: Greater detail and in-depth analysis for both school’s lineups can be found in our Girls und Panzer Anzio OVA Primer.
Forested hill area with flatter stretch of terrain near the top. There is a switchback that Oarai needs to climb to engage Anzio. Anzio is on more level terrain and closer to a crossroads area which is to the left of the switchback.
The Panzer IV takes the lead up the switchback followed by the StuG, M3 Lee, and Panzer 38(t) while the Type 89 has been sent ahead to scout the crossroads area. The Type 89 (on Oarai’s right flank) sees three CV33s and two Semoventes on the north side of the crossroads. Upon Momo’s and Anzu’s encouragement, Miho decides to move forward and attack, but Oarai’s main force will stick to the route while the M3 Lee is ordered to scout for the P40 on the left flank. The Type 89 (or The Duck Team) reports that they don’t see any movement from the Anzio tanks under observation nor do they hear any engine sounds. The M3 team (on Oarai’s left flank) reports that there are four CV33s and two Semoventes at the south side. (See Map 1 below)
Adding the both scouting reports together gives 11 Anzio vehicles not including the P40! Since the second round limit is 10 tanks, Miho realizes something is wrong and orders both the M3 Lee (or Rabbit Team) and Type 89 (or Duck Team) to attack. The result is that the decoys are destroyed and Miho realizes Anzio’s plan (See Map 2 below).
Anzio sends the six CV33’s lead by Pepperoni ahead to start Operation Macaroni which is to set up wooden tank decoys at two different points to confuse Oarai and lead them into trap in which Anzio will encircle Oarai. (See Map 2 below).
Anzio’s CV33s are proceeding to attack Oarai from the rear when they are spotted by the Type 89 returning from reconnaissance. They proceed to pick up speed to outrun them and reach the Oarai main force. As this is happening, the M3 spots two Semoventes but the gunner, Aya, thinks they’re just decoys and fires on them with the Semoventes returning fire. A running firefight ensues with two Semoventes chasing the M3 and the Type 89 chasing five CV33s. The CV33s then surround the Type 89 and harass it with ineffective MG fire while the Type 89 returns fire with both the main gun and MGs (machine guns). The Type 89 manages to hit three of the CV33s, but even though they’re knocked over, they’re not taken out. The M3 starts returning fire using its 37mm gun in the turret while still trying to get away from the two Semoventes.
Meanwhile, Anchovy is waiting in the P40 with the third Semovente and sixth CV33. Pepperoni tells Anchovy that they are under attack from the Type 89. When Pepperoni tells Anchovy they put out all the decoys, Anchovy realizes Pepperoni screwed up and Oarai discovered Anzio’s trap. Anchovey orders the P40 and two escort vehicles to move out since Oarai is probably headed right for them. Anchovy is almost immediately proven to be correct as she runs straight into the Panzer IV, StuG III and 38(t).
As the two teams cross paths, Carparrico recognizes the Hippo on the StuG as Caesar’s logo and tells the others that her Semovente will take on the Stug. The P40 goes off the road and down a slope to get away from the rest of Miho’s group. A running battle ensues with the Panzer IV and 38(t) running parallel to the P40 and the CV33 with both sides firing at each other as the StuG and the Semovente crash battle it out at very short range, practically jousting and even crashing into each other at times. As this is going on, the Type 89 is still being chased by the CV33s who still keep coming despite taking direct hits.
After consulting with Miho, the Type 89 begins to target the CV33s’ “weak points” with the result that the four of the pesky tankettes are finally down for good (white flag). As Anchovy gets the news about the eliminated CV33s, the CV33 that providing cover for her is taken out. She now aborts her encirclement plan and orders all of the remaining units back to cover the P40 flag tank (Operation Protractor). The remaining CV33 breaks off contact with the Type 89 and the two Semoventes chasing the M3 also break off to regroup with the P40.
The Status Display shows the Panzer 38(t) running parallel to the P40 down a slope exchanging fire with them (See above picture). The CV33 being chased down the road by the Type 89. The two Semoventes also heading towards them at the crossroads while the StuG and other Semovente are still fighting it out. Anchovy figures out that that the Panzer IV isn’t with the Panzer 38(t). The M3 crew is now chasing the two Semoventes, eventually taking out one of them. Anchovy shakes off her concerns about where the Panzer IV’s location, and decides to concentrate on the Panzer 38(t) flag tank and win the match rather than wait for Anzio’s remaining vehicles to regroup with the P40. Her decision plays right into Miho’s plan which uses Oarai’s 38(t) flag tank as bait to lead the P40 (Anzio’s flag tank) into an ambush by the Panzer IV.
Eventually, the 38(t) is cornered against a small cliff, but manages to dodge fire from the P40. The Panzer 38(t) returns fire, but Momo isn’t getting any better and continues to miss wildly, The remaining Semovente arrives but goes over the edge of a cliff crashing next to the P40 and is immediately shot by the M3 and eliminated. Pepperoni in her CV33 comes rushing to Anchovy’s aid, but is hit by the Type 89, crashing into a Semovente as the P40’s shot on the Panzer IV is wide. The Panzer IV returns fire, disabling the P40 and winning the match.
Analysis and Comments
One of the fun things about the OVA is that we get to see all of the Oarai teams get a chance to mix it up and get some “kills” in. The numerous tankettes provide good targets for the Type 89 for example. Frankly, other than that, there are just too many of them since taking out a tank with an MG is somewhat ridiculous. MG’s were often used to spray adjacent tanks to keep infantry off of them for example. Maybe a fifty cal firing on a thin skinned tank might do some damage but I doubt an 8mm would. Now if they had at least some of the tankettes as L3/35 cc ( “cc” stood for “contro carro” Antitank version which had a 20mm Solothurn AT rifle) they would have had at least some chance against the weaker armored Oarai tanks but otherwise they’re just good for scouting and harassment.
Now Operation Macaroni doesn’t seem like a bad plan in a general sense and assuming Pepperoni hadn’t screwed up. Stationing actual tanks with the decoys might have been a better approach though. That way the Oarai scouts would have heard engine noises and attempting to attack they might have been ambushed by one of the Semoventes that could have stayed hidden. Even one of the CV33’s might have been useful in that regard since they are better scouts than anything else. Not using the CV33’s as scouts was a major failure on Anchovy’s part. Miho used the M3 and Type 89 effectively to gain operational awareness instead of blindly running into Anchovy’s trap. Even when she abandoned Operation Macaroni Anchovy wound up being surprised by running into Miho’s column (of course Miho did too, but her scouts were rather busy at the time). Having the CV33 scout ahead would have been a better approach. Situational awareness isn’t the only thing in battle, but it’s damn important.
Now a better variation IMO would have been to place the decoys with at least one CV33 on one side of the crossroads, and one or two of the Semoventes on the other hidden hull down. That’s what they’re good at especially with their low profiles. Use the P40 for the encirclement if that’s your plan. That’s your best offensive weapon. Spread your CV33’s out to keep track of the Oarai tanks and harass them if necessary to keep them confused. That allows your P40 to avoid contact with the Oarai team until you have closed your trap. I also would have not made the P40 the flag tank. That’s your best weapon and if you use it effectively you risk your flag. Better to have one of the Semoventes or even a CV33 as the flag tank and keep it protected.
I can’t find too much to complain about with Miho’s approach. Risking the flag tank at the end seemed like took much of a gamble however. One lucky shot and it’s over. Instead of pulling out and setting up the trap, why not just stop and let Anchovy get ahead? Miho essentially could have used her own advice to the Stug team: Stop and then shoot. Hana should have had an easy shot at the rear or side of the P40 at that point. Maybe even a couple before Anchovy figured out what had happened and managed to stop her rush down the hill. Of course the director had to contrive a situation that allowed the tanks to arrive at the positions they were in the episode from the regular series, so somehow the Panzer IV had to be above the P40 at the end. Putting the flag tank in jeopardy to draw the P40 in wasn’t the best move. Of course we see the Pravda team use the same tactic in the next match of having the flag tank draw fire to lure Oarai into a trap.
I do question whether using one of the weaker tanks (the Panzer 38(t) as the flag tank is a good idea. Neither using the weakest nor the best tank would seem to be the best tactical decision. The weakest is also the most vulnerable and the strongest makes it dangerous to fully utilize it in battle. Anchovy using the P40 was not the best choice either. I would have swapped the 38(t) with the M3 Lee. Use the 38(t) as the scout and keep the M3 with the main force and made it the flag tank. I also would have swapped the march order and put the StuG in front and the Panzer IV in the rear of the column. The StuG can only fire forward since it lacks a turret. Putting it in the rear of the column prevents it from returning fire since it is blocked by the other tanks and cannot fire to the rear. The Panzer IV can at least rotate its turret and return fire if they are ambushed.
There’s a famous quote by Sun Tzu that “All warfare is based on deception.” True enough and Anzio takes that to heart with “Operation Macaroni”. However, wooden cut out fake tanks may fool some opponents – well, as long as they approach from the right direction, but long enough to make a lengthy encirclement? Then there’s the problem of encirclement itself. Only four of ten Anzio vehicles have any viable offensive capability, and IMO it’s hard to accomplish an effective encirclement with just four tanks/TDS.
My thoughts are similar to Bear’s in terms of what Anzio should have done (in addition to carrying only nine decoys). Use the decoys in conjunction with setting up an ambush. Have a Semovente hidden in hull down position (with an escape route), and place a CV33 among the decoys or close by for added realism and to act as additional spotter. Anzio might very well have taken out the Type 89 and M3 Lee early in the match, leaving Oarai with only two viable offensive tanks/TDs vs. four for Anzio.
Anchovy makes another mistake when not immediately regrouping once she realizes her trap has been discovered. Waiting until four CV33s are eliminated is too late and pointless. Leave a couple CV33s to occupy the Type 89, and use the rest as scouts/shields. Same goes for two Semoventes against the M3 Lee. Anzio’s lineup doesn’t allow for such luxury. Leave one Semovente to occupy the M3 Lee and recall the other one. A single CV33 is simply insufficient protection for Anzio’s flag tank. So if/when one Semovente goes off to battle the StuG III, another one is readily available to act as flag tank guard. That extra Semovente means Anchovy has a viable tank/TD to shadow, harass, and potentially disable the Panzer IV when it breaks off from the 38(t). Now the P40 can focus on the weaker 38(t) flag tank with substantially less risk!
As it was, Anchovy realized and accepted the risk she took and I won’t criticize her for doing so. It was a gamble, but also the ideal match up for Anzio with a moment of opportunity to win the match while the Panzer IV was away. However, Anchovy took a greater risk than necessary for the reasons noted above. As for the choice of flag tank, I’m not entirely sure I agree with Bear that the P40 is absolutely the wrong choice given Anzio’s line up. I definitely would not choose a CV33. I’d probably pick a Semovente as the flag tank but not without some reservation. Bear makes a valid point about freeing up your best tank, but on the other hand, what are Anzio’s chances of winning once the P40 is eliminated? Not very good IMO so I won’t hold it against Anchovy for choosing the P40 as the flag tank and freeing up her Semoventes to attack instead.
Overall, I think Anzio did a fairly good job. After all, they were one on-target shot by the P40 away from winning. Still, IMO Anchovy didn’t measure up to Miho in terms of tactics. Unlike Miho, she stuck to her initial plan too long and failed to adjust her tactics in timely manner.
Overall Oarai does a pretty good, if not spectacular, job. Miho sends out scouts on her flanks to recon the important cross roads. Good, though I thought the scouts were a little too far ahead of the main group. As usual, Miho displays her strengths as team commander by quickly determining her opponent’s strategy and promptly adjusting her own tactics accordingly. To Miho’s credit, Oarai manages to avoid Anzio’s trap. She also makes a reasonable decision to attack Anzio’s flag tank while Anzio’s forces are still spread out rather than regroup first. However, I agree with Bear that Oarai’s formation here is bad. Miho got it in reverse order. The StuG III should lead followed by the flag tank 38(t) and lastly the Panzer IV.
Another complaint I have is that Oarai fails to use the StuG III for ambushing and sniping. Granted the Hippo Team’s gunnery isn’t the most accurate, but given the terrain they might be lucky to have a firing lane of 500m let alone 1500m so I don’t think that’s much of an issue. Like Anzio, Oarai is not using these low silhouette TDs properly, and Miho had a good opportunity to do just that early in the match. She figured out Anzio’s plan, so why not use it against them? Pretend to take the bait and set up an ambush trap of your own using the StuG III and perhaps even the Panzer IV. Oarai might have won the match right there!
Once the match breaks into its four separate engagements, there is not much in terms of tactics other than the Panzer IV and 38(t) flag tank vs. P40 (flag) and CV33. Here, the problem I have is Miho’s decision to use the flag tank alone as bait for an ambush. A thinly armored AND under-gunned flag tank. One hit from the P40 should equal instant elimination and an Anzio victory, while conversely, the 38(t)’s weak 37mm AT gun is unable to penetrate the P40’s frontal armor (excluding the possibility Oarai has APCR rounds for the 38(t) but let’s not go there). Besides, it’s not like Momo will hit her target. XD
Miho’s plan is RISKY, especially since the Panzer IV didn’t need to go all the way to the cliff. Break off momentarily then take out the P40 from behind. Of course things worked out in the OVA, but IMO taking such risks repeatedly will backfire on Miho one day (excluding deus ex author of course). So while I like the ambush idea in theory, Miho’s plan was too risky IMO, and I have to mark off for that. Finally, I agree with Bear that the 38(t) is not a good choice for Oarai’s flag tank though I would pick the StuG III over the M3 Lee. It’s much easier to hide/presents a smaller target than the 10 ft. tall M3, can snipe long range, and has better mobility if it needs to escape.
Thanks for reading Part II of our Girls und Panzer Anzio Battle coverage. Please feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section below. Also, you may want to read Parts I and III – Girls und Panzer: Kore ga Hontou no Anzio-sen Desu! OVA – Review and Tactical Review of the Girls und Panzer Anzio Battle: Manga respectively.