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 composition and even personality. We thought we’d review both individually and then offer our opinions from a tactical standpoint. This is the second tactical review of the Anzio Battle which will cover the manga version along with some comparisons to the anime version.
Oarai’s team is comprised a mixture of the tanks they had during the Saunders match and some that were only present during the Pravda match:
- Panzer IV Ausf D with gun upgraded to KwK 40 L/43
- Type 89
- StuG III (Flag Tank) Caesar commanding
- M3 Lee
- Panzer 38(t)
- Renault Char B1Bis
- Erwin – Loader and Radio Operator (normally StuG III commander)
- Aya Oono – Driver and 75mm Gunner (normally M3 Lee gunner)
- Yukari – Commander, 47mm gunner and loader (normally Panzer IV loader)
There are three significant changes from the anime:
- The Panzer IV’s main gun is upgraded to the KwK 40 L/43. As you can see from the table below, this is a very significant upgrade for the Panzer IV. Compared to the Ausf. D’s 75mm KwK 37 L/24 gun, the 75mm KwK 40 L/43 has almost twice the muzzle velocity and over twice the penetration out to 500 meters and over that out to 2000 meters for the same type of AT AP(armor piercing) round.
|Gun Type||Ammunition Type||Muzzle
|7.5cm KwK 37 L/24||K.Gr.rot Pz||385||41||39||35||33||30|
|7.5cm KwK 40 L/43||Pzgr 39||740||99||91||82||72||63|
|7.5cm KwK 40 L/48||Pzgr 39||790||106||96||85||74||64|
*Penetration in mm for homogeneous armor plate inclined at 30° from vertical
- The Renault B1Bis debuts which doesn’t occur in the anime until the semi-final Pravda match. The B1Bis is similar to the M3 Lee in that it has two guns: a 75mm short barreled howitzer mounted in the hull (primarily for use as an anti-infantry weapon) firing HE shells, and a 47mm AT (anti-tank) gun mounted in the turret.
It’s a heavier tank than the M3 Lee (31 tons vs 28 tons) with normal crew size of 4 rather than 5 for the M3. The B1’s driver also acts as the 75mm gunner so each crewmember has to do more tasks than compared to M3. It also has better (thicker) armor than the M3 with 60mm of armor in the front and 55mm of armor covering the sides and rear vs. 50mm and 38mm respectively in the M3.
- The addition of another tank without correspondingly adding additional Senshado team members means 3 Oarai tanks are shorthanded which certainly doesn’t help. Another corresponding potential problem is that some Oarai team members are assigned unfamiliar roles with limited practice time. Note, that this applies to others tanks in addition to the B1Bis crew. For example, Caesar, normally the StuG III’s loader, takes over as the TD’s commander.
Anzio’s team is comprised of ten Italian tanks, tank destroyers and tankettes.*
- Carro Amato P26/40
- 4x Fiat-Ansaldo M13/40 (1 acting as Flag tank)*
- 2 x Semovente da 75/18
- 3 x Carro Veloce “33” (CV33)
The Fiat-Ansaldo M13/40 medium tank was the most widely used tank by the Italians during WWII. First produced in 1940 and weighing 14 tonnes (metric), it featured 30mm of riveted armor in the front and 25mm on the sides and rear. Its main gun was a 47mm L /32 cannon. Armor penetration for 30° sloped armor with “standard” AP rounds (i.e. NOT HEAT or APCR) was approximately 45mm at 500m and 32mm at 1000m. While this 4-man crew tank was a definite improvement over the M11/39 it replaced and effective against lighter armored British cruiser tanks during the early stages of the North African campaign, it was not without some significant shortcomings and by 1942 effectively obsolete.
*Note: there is some inconsistency in terms of Anzio’s lineup. The image below shows three, not for four, M13/40 tanks while the manga dialog indicates that four M13/40s are present in the match.
Anzio Team Personality
There is a major difference between the Anchovy we see in the anime and the manga’s version. “Anime Anchovy” is a proud, but friendly and honorable competitor. She wants to win, but also respects her opponents and is gracious in defeat – even inviting Oarai to their after match party.
“Manga Anchovy” is very serious and not a nice girl, telling Miho: “Your Panzerkraft (i.e. Senshado) is weak! I saw Kuromorimine High’s match last year and I confirmed it. The person who turned her back from Panzerkraft… We definitely won’t lose to you… (with a sneer on her face) You better prepare yourself!” Furthermore, upon losing the match, she verbally attacks Miho again. Manga Anchovy is a very poor sportsman, all business and no fun.
Overall, the battle during the manga is more serious, and unlike the anime we don’t see any of the Anzio combatants except for Anchovy and her tank crew.
In the manga the playing field is a desert with the teams separated by a ridge with a pass dividing the ridge in the center. (See Map 1 Below) The teams start out on opposite sides of the ridge. The manga mentions “Kasserine Pass” so it is likely that the manga’s battle terrain is intended to simulate that WWII battle field.
Miho promptly determines that the best strategy is to gain control of the pass and names the operation “Fruits Basket” (a version of musical chairs) since you gain the advantage by denying your opponent the pass. She then orders the Type 89 and 38(t) teams forward as scouts. The B1Bis finds itself held up by a balky engine and is left behind to catch up when they can. So Oarai’s main force has the StuG III flag tank in the center with the Panzer IV on its left and M3 Lee on its right. Oarai’s scouts report that Anzio holds the pass, but they don’t see the P40. Miho then orders them to pull back and rejoin the main group.
According to the Oarai scouts, Anzio gains control of the pass first, held by two M13/40s and two Semoventes. (See Map 2 below) The P40, unseen by Oarai, takes a position high on the ridge adjacent to the pass. When the Oarai scouts are spotted, they are attacked by Anzio’s vanguard of three CV33’s and two M13/40’s. The remainder of the Anzio’s forces remain in the pass.
As the B1Bis rejoins Oarai’s main force (taking a position to the right of the M3 Lee), the Type 89 and Panzer 38(t) attempt to retreat from Anzio’s ambush attack. Oarai’s main force now arrives and immediately counterattacks. After taking out the first CV33, Oarai is fired up, and the team starts to chase after Anzio’s now retreating tanks. Miho warns them not to rush ahead too much and ask Yukari to check the surroundings. Oarai’s early success continues as they take out the second and then third and final CV33 while Anzio’s remaining tanks continue to retreat. Miho then realizes that Anzio’s retreat is a feint. She warns the team that Anzio is luring Oarai into an ambush with the CV33s acting as bait – a similar tactic to the one Miho devised against St. Gloriana’s. Miho then begins to tell Yukari her new plan, but the scene ends before Miho’s plan is stated (ch. 08, pg. 10).
Oarai continues to chase after the two remaining vanguard M13/40s when Anzio springs their ambush with two Semovente 75/18s and the other two M13/40s (including Anzio’’s flag tank) joining the two retreating M13/40s. As the battle intensifies, the M3 Lee eliminates one of the M13/40s only to be taken out immediately itself by a right flank shot fired from the P40 located on the high ground on the right side of the pass. Yukari estimates the P40 distance at 700 meters at 3 o’clock. She radios the information to the team while ordering the Type 89 to fall back. Having lost the M3 Lee to the P40, Yukari attack orders the Type 89 to protect the exposed StuG III flag tank. She uses the B1Bis’ thicker armor to shield StuG III, and angles her tank to take glancing shots from Anzio attackers.
At this point (ch. 09 pg. 6), the manga engages in a flashback to the time when Miho begins to tell Yukari her revised plan (ch 08, pg. 10). Now Miho’s plan is revealed to Yukari and the rest of the team. Miho is certain that the “missing” P40 (at the time of the flashback) is located on high ground to the one side of the pass. Therefore, the Panzer IV and Panzer 38(t) will attempt to circle behind the hill on either side of the pass (Panzer IV – right side, and Panzer 38(t) – left side) and ambush the P40 (See Map 3 below). In the meantime, Yukari is left in command of Oarai’s remaining forces who will attempt to hold off Anzio’s attack.
The flashback ends as we return to the battle in progress. Anzio’s attack intensifies with the B1Bis in particular taking heavy fire. By this point, Yukari has relayed the P40’s location to Miho, and Oarai’s main force tries to hold out long enough to give Miho’s plan time to work. (See “Battle Overview” below) However, one of the shots jams the turret ring on the B1Bis’ 47mm AT gun. Anzio continues to press their attack, forcing the Type 89 to step in and save Oarai’s flag tank at the cost of eliminating the Type 89. At this point in the match, Yukari says that Oarai is down to only two tanks (not including the Panzer IV and Panzer 38(t)) while Erwin remarks that Anzio still has five tanks left.
Next, the B1Bis right tread is blown off from a right flank shot from the P40. The B1Bis is now rendered immobile and can’t turn the turret, but for some reason is not deemed “disabled” (i.e. no white flag). As Anzio moves in to take out the StuG III, a shell explodes near the Anzio flag tank. It’s from the Panzer 38(t). Momo misses, but the shot disrupts the Anzio team as Miho positions the Panzer IV to the side and rear of the P40. Hana then knocks out the P40 with a shot to the left side. Yukari realizes that Anzio’s flag tank still remains and Oarai takes action. Momo in the Panzer 38(t) takes a shot, and misses… again. Miho orders Hana to target the flag tank, and Hana’s right on target again, knocking out Anzio’s M13/40 flag tank for the victory.
The manga is somewhat inconsistent in terms of Anzio’s lineup. As noted above, as best we can tell there Anzio fields 10 tanks/TDs/tankettes total: Four M13/40s (including the flag tank), three CV33s, two Semovente 75/18 TDs and one P40. However, in the double page layout, barring a terrible scan (of both the tankōbon and magazine releases), only three M13/40s are shown. The flashback scene adds to the confusion, but once deciphered, the remainder of the manga’s images and dialog (including Oarai’s scouts stating that the P40 is not among the four tanks/TDs holding the pass) are consistent with Anzio having 10 tanks.
Readers should be careful to note that unless a character comments about “taking out” a tank/TD/tankette or a white flag is shown, tank hits do not necessarily mean those tanks are disabled as the B1Bis clearly proves. Lastly, it should also be noted that the English translated manga scans list the Carro Veloce model as the “CV33” though manga tankōbon raws clearly show the designation to be “CV35”. We don’t know the reason for this discrepancy.
The tactical analysis which follows will be based on the assumption that there are ten Anzio tanks/TDs/tankettes.
Analysis and Comments
Miho using the Type 89 and the Panzer 38(t) for scouting is a sound move. They are not only smaller targets, but since they don’t have the firepower of her other tanks, are more expendable in that role. She’s up against a stronger array of tanks than she is in the anime version. Losing one of her heavier tanks early in the match would put Oarai at a major disadvantage.
As often happens with Miho, after taking out the CV33s her troops become too excited and attack without considering their lack of situational awareness of the other Anzio units. Fortunately, Miho stops them from being totally ambushed and uses the situation to set a counter to Anchovy’s attempted trap. Miho managed to deduce that Anchovy would gain the pass first and that, since the P40 couldn’t be found initially, that it was proably going to snipe from one of the ridges. She also guessed correctly Anchovy was trying to draw them in and uses that to lead her to assume that her trap had worked.
Miho’s plan is her usual high risk. If Anzio had posted a rear guard Miho’s gambit might have been a disaster. Also by leaving the flag tank with only minimal support a coordinated attack by Anzio’s tanks would have allowed them to gain exposure to the StuG’s side and ended the match. The area they are fighting in appears wide so there is ample room for maneuver. Miho states that she’s leaving Yukari to defend with 4 tanks against 7 Anzio tanks. Given the situation, a retreat by the B1, StuG and Type 89 might have been in order with the loss of the M3, assuming they had previously identified good defensive positions. The one problem with the retreat concept is that given the final situation with the Panzer IV on the ridge the Panzer IV would have had a much longer shot to take out the flag tank (see Battle Overview).
Anchovy’s initial approach is good though I do take issue with a couple of things. One is that she is attacking with her flag tank. While I disagreed with her making the P40 the flag tank in the anime, here it is appropriate since it is in a relatively protected position. One good shot from the StuG and the match is over. The flag tank is also one of the M13/40’s which has a much higher profile than the Semovente making it an easier target. Her second mistake is lack of situational awareness. During the final chase in the anime she is aware that she’s lost contact with the Panzer IV, but here two of Oarai’s tanks disappear and she doesn’t seem to realize that. Secondly, she expends her CV33s to draw in Oarai to her trap where she could have used at least one to act as a rear guard to warn her if she was being attacked from the rear. Using the CV33 in that role wouldn’t have reduced her useful firepower and might have saved her flag. Thirdly, while she is at a longer range than her other units, why isn’t her tank firing? She’s got the best angle on the Oarai tanks and has already taken out one of them at that range. Another argument I could make is that she should have used the P40 in the attack. It’s much faster than the M13/40 (40km/h vs. 32km/h) which means it could close faster on the Oarai units and maneuver for a flank shot at the flag tank. In summary the flaws were exposing her flag tank, lack of situation awareness, not using her major asset as well as she could.
Manga vs. Anime
The two versions of the battle have little in common given that the composition of the teams and the character of Anchovy is very different. The manga version doesn’t even attempt to be consistent with the OVA version except for possibly Anchovy’s character design and some of the tanks used. It does, however, have a more realistic battle where the OVA version is more of fun ride. Both depend on Miho using risky maneuvers to win, though given Oarai’s underdog status that is part of the story. Anchovy’s personality in the manga is also nowhere near as much fun as her OVA persona and doesn’t align with the attitude of most of the Oarai opponents in the anime.
Which is better? Depends. The anime was enjoyable and made me smile quite a bit. I loved the fact that we got to see more of the other tank crews and enjoyed Caesar’s story. The Anzio girls (who we don’t see in the manga for the most part) were also fun to watch. The manga, except for some inconsistencies that were rather annoying, was more to my liking from my military interest side in that it was closer to an actual battle. If I had to choose, I say the OVA since it fit with both the storyline and atmosphere of the anime.
Overall, Miho does a fairly good job. As usual, she was insightful in terms of her opponent’s tactics and adjusted her own tactics in a timely manner. She also didn’t underestimate her opponent which is the downfall of many commanders. Points as well for scouting ahead and choosing the Panzer 38(t) and Type 89 to do so. In addition, unlike the anime’s Pravda match, Miho was able to maintain team discipline and prevent some of Oarai’s teams from rushing too far ahead. Still, I have a couple complaints.
As in the OVA (and other matches), Miho takes great risks with her flag tank. I agree with choosing the StuG III as Oarai’s flag tank, however, like the OVA the TD is not used in its intended role of ambushing and sniping. Instead, it’s charging forth into the middle of the battlefield! By the end of the match, the StuG III was all alone and whoever got the first hit on a flag tank won. This time it was Oarai, the next time… An alternative option is to simply have the StuG III pair up with the Panzer IV. This gets Oarai’s flag tank away from the main battlefield and potentially sets up a sniping opportunity for the StuG III as well.
While the P40 is Anzio’s best tank and greatest threat, it is NOT Anzio’s flag tank here. Certainly a danger, but you win the match by eliminating the opponent’s flag tank! I think it’s questionable whether disabling the P40 is actually a prerequisite for eliminating Anzio’s M13/40 flag tank. IMO, Yukari did a great job and deserves special mention. She stayed cool under fire, understood changes on the battlefield, reacted promptly to said changes, gave clear and decisive orders, and successfully executed the ones given to her. She gets my vote as the MVP for the manga Anzio match.
Anchovy does a pretty good job here in my opinion. Those CV33s are worthless offensively whether they have one 6.5mm MGs, twin 8mm MGs or ten of either. This is tank vs. tank combat = you need a good AT gun. So they can’t do much other than (A) scout, (B) act as a onetime disposable shield, or (C) act as bait. Anchovy took option “C” and that’s fine with me. After all, it did work. Bear makes a valid point about retaining one CV33 with the P40 as a lookout though perhaps keeping that third CV33 was necessary to successfully bait Oarai. Hard to say.
Anchovy also scores points with me by taking the important pass first and positioning her best tank on the high ground in a sniper position. However, like Miho, I thought Anchovy made some mistakes. First, the M13/40 isn’t the best choice as flag tank though I think you could make good argument for either the P40 or a Semovente as Anzio’s flag tank. Also, the P40 didn’t use any cover and/or fire from a hull down position, and/or plan some sort of movement after firing briefly from one position. Anchovy was overconfident and thus caught by surprise, both by the Panzer 38(t) and the Panzer IV. That cost her.
My biggest complaint is that, inexplicably, the P40 kept targeting the B1Bis. Frankly I question the BiBis taking so many direct hits and not being disabled. Anyway, again, you win the match by eliminating the opponent’s flag tank. If you can’t get a shot on the StuG III flag tank then MOVE! You’re in a good position so take advantage of that and concentrate on Oarai’s flag tank! Anchovy also makes the same mistake as Miho by letting Anzio’s flag tank get caught up in the main scuffle. Keeping the M13/40 flag tank with the P40 as a lookout might have foiled Miho’s ambush plans.
In the end, Anchovy underestimated Oarai and that was her undoing. That being said, the match was close – much closer than the anime version. Anzio almost won, at the end and perhaps earlier when the volleyball team in the Type 89 made a very well timed “block”. I think Anchovy had the right idea in general. She and Anzio just didn’t execute well.
Manga vs. Anime
The two versions of the Anzio match really are quite different. To me the, OVA was very light-hearted/not serious while the manga goes the other direction being completely serious in nature. “Anime Anchovy” is a good sport and friendly person while “Manga Anchovy” is bitter, antagonistic and rude. IMO, neither the OVA nor the manga replicate the anime’s fine balance of light-hearted fun and more serious atmosphere during battles.
So on to the big question – which version did I prefer? It’s pretty much a tossup, but if I’m forced to pick one or the other “as is”, then I pick the OVA. While unquestionably I prefer the more serious and realistic (IMO) nature of the manga’s battle itself (key), the manga’s presentation is sub-par to put it kindly. The flashback insertion is awkward and confusing not to mention IMO entirely unnecessary. Even with the flashback sorted out, the manga is still arguably inconsistent in terms of the number of Anzio’s vehicles (9 or 10). I also prefer the OVA’s inclusion of other fun, entertaining “non-battle” moments. The manga is more one dimensional in that regard. It’s pretty much all battle. I certainly prefer “anime Anchovy” over “manga Anchovy”.
That being said, for me the inescapable fact remains that while the OVA was a lot of fun to watch (I laughed a lot) and does fit a bit better with the anime in terms of overall atmosphere, the OVA’s battle itself wasn’t completely satisfying to watch. To me it lacked the appropriate amount of overall tension and excitement, and I thought it was a little light on the tactical side given what I’ve come to expect from the series. I found the manga’s battle more competitive, exciting and realistic with better overall tactics while the OVA’s version was, dare I say, downright “silly” at times. In truth, my actual preference is for some combination of the two. To be clear, I do not think you could just insert the manga version of the battle itself “as is” into the anime. You would need to change some things for better integration (e.g. adding Carpaccio and Pepperoni along with NO awkward flashback or tank lineup inconsistencies).
We hope readers enjoyed our tactical analysis of the Girls und Panzer manga’s version of the Anzio Match along with our Girls und Panzer: Kore ga Hontou no Anzio-sen Desu! OVA – Review and Tactical Review of the Girls und Panzer Anzio Battle: OVA posts. As usual, we look forward to reading your comments.