Sentinels

Submitted By: Captain Spaff Date: September 15, 2005, 11:39:13 AM Views: 2696
Summary: An Analysis of Sentinel options under the 4th Edition Codex.

Sentinels in essence are baby Dreadnaughts. They don't tote as much raw fire power, and they don't really cause people to shiver when engaged in close combat. They can be cut down by even standard bolter fire. So why use them? Isn't the fact that it is an inexpensive heavy weapons platform that can move-and-fire good enough? >_> <_<

Armament

Sentinels have a lot of choice when it comes to what weapons you want to equip on them. Choices include Multilasers, Heavy Flamers, Autocannons, and Lascannons. (Inclusion of the Multi-Rocket and Missile Launcher Sentinels will possibly be added whenever the rule sets are finished and I own a copy of the Forgeworld article itself).

Multilaser
Generally the favorite choice of many Guard players. Outside of a Chimera you will never field one of these, which is why it is pretty standard armament. It totes an obnoxiously high strength, and has a good success rate at breaking through AVs up to 12 since it can spit out 3 shots per turn. Against side and rear armors of transports this thing can be a real beast, and it performs exceptionally well against poorly armored infantry.
   
Autocannon
Another good choice. The ability to fire multiple shots is what most Guard generals put emphasis on. Our army suffers from a horrid BS skill, and firing multiple times helps negate that. Against light to moderately armored armies this can be a great option to the Multi-laser. Autocannon Sentinels are a mix between the Lascannon and Multilaser trading in a single shot Multi-Las shot for extra range, armor penetration and strength.

My personal opinion is to still go for the Multilaser though, since you can always get a ton of Autocannons via regular infantry, and the extra shot is worth losing out on a single point of Strength.
   
Heavy Flamer
Outside of other vehicle mounted (hull/sponsons on Leman Russ variants, and the Chimera as a Turret/Hull), and the Jungle Fighters doctrine you will not really see this available. Personally, I have very little experience with the Heavy Flamer variant, so I don't want to give it thumbs up, or down to sway opinions. If you're ever going to use of both Infiltrate and the Scout special rule I'd suppose this would be the place though.

Lascannon
Lascannon sentinels can either work magnificently or accomplish nothing. The pro is that you have a slightly survivable (against bolters and lasguns that is) lascannon that can infiltrate, and move around without any penalties. The bad thing is that you have a 50% chance to miss that shot, it costs almost as much as a bare bones Infantry Squad, and most likely won't live long enough to fire another if you infiltrated.

When it comes to deploying them you will want these to lurk back. Keep them near some other high priority targets so that they don't soak up every heavy weapon the enemy has and get destroyed in a single turn


Upgrades

Armoured Crew Compartment, Camo-netting, Extra Armour, Hunter-Killer Missiles, Improved Comms, Rough Terrain  Modification, Searchlight, Smoke Launchers.

Suggested upgrades are few and not really covered much, because you really should try to keep sentinels rather inexpensive. A basic Russ at least has a fair chance to ward off a Lascannon hit, while even the most buffed up Sentinel will still have issues ignoring sporadic heavy bolter fire.

Improved Comms Spaff Rating: 5
I don't use a Drop Troop force myself, but if I did I know that the ability to re-roll a failed reserve save would be crucial in many games. If you're going to Drop probably advisable to sport at least one of these.

Extra Armour
Useful if you decide to deploy Sentinels in groups since you won't be forced to leave a unit behind due to a Crew Stunned roll.

Searchlight
Cheapie, might as well grab it if you have some spare points laying about after configuring your list.


Usage

Deployment
A sentinels best chance of surviving through a Shooting phase has to do with deploying it correctly. You won't always want to make use of their infiltration abilities, and when placing them on the table the first thing you should factor is what weapon you decided to give them. A heavy flamer does little from the rear, while the more expensive Lascannon variant is very prone to being blown up if placed out in the vanguard of your force where every heavy weapon can be trained upon it.

Squadron Size
Most everyone will end up using a single Sentinel per squadron which is a great idea since this will prevent you from taking additional leak over hits from units. This happens when that 10 man Tactical squad fires its lascannon, plasma rifle, and 8 rapid firing bolters into a Sentinel the extra wounds won't be carried over to the other two. I personally feel that this can be a huge waste of the Fast Attack Slot, but due to the way hits are allocated on these fragile vehicle squadrons it can be a near necessity, especially if you linger in range of small arms.

Deploying in bulk can still be effective, but when done so I highly recommend you do not infiltrate/scout. You will have severe issues with finding terrain suitable enough to conceal large groups of Sentinels. You're better served by keeping them with the rest of your armor so that they do not draw all of the attention. Sentinels are in a way a variation of the Heavy Weapon Platoons. You are trading in the extra heavy weapons, in for some added protection and durability, and most importantly maneuverability.

Melee?
While you will never win an assault with a Sentinel if you do manage to get one into close-combat against S3 units you will be able to hold the unit in check indefinitely. This is because they cannot penetrate its armor, and vehicles don't have to take leadership tests.

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