Today I was able to get to the shop and play my first game of Team Yankee by Battlefront games. The Team Yankee game is a slightly different take on the standard Flames of War rules set in the mid 1980's, and is based on the book of the same name by Harold Coyle. It is a Cold War gone hot narrative as the Soviet Union invades Western Europe.
I have been building a Soviet tank force for the game as a departure from my customary confident veteran armies in the past. I don't like to put unpainted miniatures on the table but necessity required it today, as well as proxying most of the American force.
My Soviet tank battalion as pictured above:
10 - T-72 tanks (HQ tank, 5 tank platoon, 4 tank platoon)
3 - BMP-1 scouts
3 - 2S1 Gvozdika (artillery)
2 - ZSU-23-4 Shilka (anti aircraft)
2 - Mi-24 Hind (helicopters)
4 - Su-25 Frogfoot (aircraft) they are represented by the four bases
1 - BMP-1 Observation tank used a M577
Robert fielded an American tank company with:
7 - M1 Abrams tanks (2 tank HQ, 3 tank platoon, 2 tank platoon) used M48 and Centurion tanks as proxies
4 - M163 VADS (anti aircraft) used ACAV M113's
3 - M106 mortar carriers
2 - A10 Warthogs (aircraft) they are represented by the two bases
Both forces were exactly 75 points. We played a free for all mission on the table below.
After placing objectives, we deployed our forces and I rolled to go first, a roll I would have rather lost as I counted as moving and could not bombard or use air that turn.
The first turn I simply moved everything up a little and set up to make a push if I needed to. I made this Soviet list based on only what miniatures I had, minus the aircraft, and that would prove to be very bad for me.
In Roberts first turn, he received his two A-10's and moved up his Abrams tanks and started shooting... OMG! A range of 40", no penalty for shooting at long range, the ability to see through smoke and no ROF reduction when moving their 14" movement, meant a royal pain for my poor T-72's. He destroyed two T-72's from the right platoon, a Gvozdika and his A-10's were able to knock out one Shilka from outside their defensive AA range. His mortars then smoked my spotter.
Realizing very quickly that a shootout was impossible I tried to move up to take the fight to the Abrams. I received my air support and brought on the four Su-25's to strike at his Abrams, I also moved the Hinds to the opposite side of the board to help the reduced T-72 platoon on the right. I took shots at his AA guns with the tanks but missed with everything, shooting at concealed veterans with rate of fire 1 guns is awful! He then shot down two of the four Frogfoots and peppered the Hinds with fire. The hinds would turn out to be my stars, as they soaked up massive amounts of fire throughout the game. The surviving Su-25's knocked out a Abrams, and the hinds bailed another. My artillery had no line of sight, the spotter was smoked, and all platoon command teams moved.
In Roberts turn his Abrams knocked out two T-72's and bailed a third. He had wisely smoked the T-72's then shot them with the Abrams who can see through the smoke with their thermal sights, but it meant I had to move out to shoot him back.
For my turn three the BMP-1's continued to move up, one thing that I noticed was how much slower the and less maneuverable the Soviets seemed than the Americas. I then pushed up the T-72's and had my last two Su-25's come on another attack run. The T-72's on the left shot at the AA and the Abrams but missed everything... On the right the T-72's killed one Abrams and the Hinds bailed the other, but the platoon stayed on. The M163's then smoked my last Su-25's before I could fire, but the Hinds survived again.
In Robert's turn he failed to remount his bailed Abrams and received no air again. His four Abrams on the left killed all but one T-72 from the 5 tank platoon, but I passed my morale to hang around.
On the fourth turn I realized a few important things-- My Soviet list needs more T-72's and more Mi-24 Hind's! The scouts had been useless and the artillery even worse than useless.
In order to get the BMP's into the fight I swung them around the center wood with the intention of taking out a few AA guns or mortars. I also pushed the last surviving T-72 from the large platoon around behind the Abrams to get a side shot. The three T-72's on the right moved up to go for the AA guns, leaving the bailed Abrams for the Hinds. The BMP's miss all shots as does the last T-72 against the Abrams, but the other three knock out two M163 AA guns and the Hind kills the last Abrams on the right.
But in the America turn cleanup begins on the left side of the board. The remaining two Abrams from the original three tank platoon wipe out the BMP's who failed their shoot and scoot move. The CiC knocks out the last T-72 from the five tank platoon and the 2iC moves out to hunt down the last Shilka, who has been hiding since no US planes had shown up in a while.
The writing was on the wall for the Soviets as the fifth turn started. I had three T-72's facing off against five M1 Abrams. I shifted them to face the center of the board and the approaching Abrams with the Hinds backing them up. I use the CiC to spot for the artillery, and they fire for the first time... and fail to range in... The remaining two T-72's and Hinds fire at the Abrams and they all hit, but the American tanks make all their saves.
In the bottom of turn five the Abrams move up and shoot the last three T-72's up... but wait I make two saves and Robert fails two firepowers, snake eyes! His 2iC Abrams knocks out the last Shilka and his two remaining M163's finally take out a Hind! The T-72's pass their morale to stay for another turn.
The above picture marks the end of the game. I remain stationary and fire the tanks and last Hind at the Abrams, to no avail. They either miss or the Abrams make their saves. The end is nigh!
Robert move to their flanks and the Abrams kill all the remaining T-72's and the 2iC even runs down and knocks out the last two Gvozdika's. At the end of the turn I have just the hind and my spotter remaining. The spotter had been blocked by smoke bombardments every turn of the game, Robert was still smoking him in the end even when my artillery was moving.
I really enjoyed this game! It was a game that was likely lost in list building, but I learned a ton to plan for the future. Robert's US list was a very lean and mean list, none of his points were wasted, even if the A-10's did only come on twice. My artillery did nothing, the BMP's did nothing, the observer BMP did nothing and the Shilka's did nothing. I intend to add more T-72's and Hinds, as well as replacing the BMP-1 scouts with BMP-2 Scouts. I won't write off any platoon after just one game but the Artillery will have a very tough time staying in, since it only ranges in on a 5+. Also the four planes were not worth their cost, very easily shot down, I only took four because I needed to use up some points.
With the Soviets it comes down to having so few shots and it being so hard to hit the American vehicles. These are new problems to me as I have almost always played veteran forces. I think the game has good balance overall, I will just need to play more and see what works.
All in all, I am excited about this new challenge and the painting and modeling that goes along with it. I have already finished painting the second Hind helicopter since getting home from the shop!