(Dr. Strangelove, 1964)
Hello there! Are you a nature lover who just can't get enough of Mother Earth's warm embrace? A trooper eager for a trip to Hell with newly made friends? Or you're just a lazy boy who can't be bothered to walk around the gaming table and move your minis about? If so step right up, we've got just the thing for you!
This is a series of articles aimed at guiding players on how to run a defense in Team Yankee; basically anytime you are called upon to play the role of defender in the missions you play. In this part we'll take a look at how to build an army list geared to handle the defense
Hold Until Relieved
In general, a good defense and a list intended to handle such needs to have several elements:
Crayons sold seperately
The thin green line, the PBI, the crunchies. These are the men that hold back the enemy's advance with their lives. Their primary job is to prevent the enemy from moving where you don't want them to, usually meaning onto the objective markers. Consequently, these units usually start parked in front of or have to march quickly to cover the objectives. They also have to be able to withstand the enemy's attempts to uproot them, whether through shooting or through close assault. Naturally this job falls to the rifle platoons, as the sections of the field to be covered are frequently disadvantageous to armour.
- Survivability over everything else, especially in open terrain
- Enough firepower to deter assaults from both infantry and armour
(Tiny Guns, Corridor Digital, 2017)
The second rank, directly supporting the front. While it is the frontliners' lot to have to take a beating, no unit can simply withstand punishment forever. It is the role of the fire support units to grind down the enemy before they can breach your front. No matter whether aircraft, ground vehicle or infantry, they're going to have to kill it. Soft skinned and lightly armoured vehicles like ITVs and SPAA usually fall into this category. Given the diversity of the potential threats you have to deal, this is necessarily quite a large category.
- Firepower against a wide variety of targets
- Range to operate at standoff distances, meaning usually 32" or greater
The cavalry that leads the countercharge. Over the course of the game your front will naturally tend to give way a little, it is their job to iron out that kink and push back the enemy for good. Such units need to be able to effectively fire at long distances on the move, while having the survivability to advance in the open if need be. Naturally, MBTs dominate this category(especially those with Front Armour 19).
- Firepower, primarily anti-tank
- The ability to maintain the abovementioned firepower on the move
- Range to operate at standoff distances
The Right Tool For The Job
The previous section focused on elements needed to absorb and repel a concerted attack, in a broader and more abstract view. In a more narrow perspective however, we still have to assess the types of threats you'll have to deal with. These can be categorised as follows:
- Light vehicles, IFV/APC or equivalent.
- Tier 2 tanks, most commonly the T62M and T72M
- Standard NATO MBTs(FA 17-18)
- The really heavy MBTs with FA 19
It is through combining the considerations outlined in this section as well as the previous that we arrive at a list to use in concrete terms.
Let's take a look at two 85 point lists for comparison
Canadian M113 Mechanized Company
HQ - 1x C1 rifle team
M113 Mechanized Platoon - 3x C2 SAW team with M72 anti-tank, 3x Carl Gustav anti-tank team, 1x C5 GPMG team, 1x M19 60mm mortar team
(2x) M113 Mechanized Platoon - 2x C2 SAW team with M72 anti-tank, 2x Carl Gustav anti-tank team, 1x C5 GPMG team, 1x M19 60mm mortar team
Leopard C1 Armoured Troop - 3x Leopard C1
M125 Mortar Platoon - 4x M125
(2x) M150 TOW Anti-tank Section - 3x M150 TOW
Blowpipe M113 Air Defence Section - 3x M113 Blowpipe
ADATS Air Defence Platoon - 6x ADATS missile launcher
M1 Abrams Tank Platoon (U.S. Allied Unit) - 3x IPM1 Abrams
Now let's break down this list according to the framework of Frontline/Fire Support/Counterattack mentioned earlier
- Frontline: M113 Mechanized Platoons
- Fire Support: M125 Mortars, M150 TOWs, M113 Blowpipe , ADATS
- Counterattack: IPM1s, Leopard C1s
ADATS are a wonderful multirole unit that excel both at clearing the skies and at knocking out enemy tanks. With an AT of 24 they can even spook the really heavy FA19 tanks. However, attempting to use them in both roles at the same time places on them a burden they cannot always bear, hence the inclusion of the Blowpipes.
The IPM1s are the prime example of the "cavalry", being one of the two tanks that currently have Front Armour 19. They are a great shield with which to parry an enemy thrust. AT20 might not cut it against other NATO MBTs, but it's more than sufficient to deal with the Tier 2 tanks. With Chobham they can even move up front and drive off infantry assaults if need be. They're supported by the Leo 1s who unfortunately can't lead the way due to lack of protection
While ADATS are great and all, this list tends to create an overreliance on them. They are the obvious candidate for an ambush unit should you get to use that rule, but an unlucky opening salvo often creates an uphill struggle thereafter. Should you need to deal with heavy armour and air at the same time, the decision on how best to use them also becomes tricky. The lack of any spearhead units can also be a hindrance.
Israeli M113 Mech Infantry Company
HQ - 1x Galil assault rifle team
M113 Mech Infantry Platoon - 4x Galil assault rifle team with M72 LAW anti-tank
3x FN MAG team with M72 LAW anti-tank, 3x RPG-7 anti-tank team ,1x M47 Dragon missile team, 1x 52mm mortar team
M113 Mech Infantry Platoon - 3x Galil assault rifle team with M72 LAW anti-tank
2x FN MAG team with M72 LAW anti-tank, 2x RPG-7 anti-tank team ,1x M47 Dragon missile team, 1x 52mm mortar team
Merkava 2 Tank Platoon - 3x Merkava 2
M150 Anti-tank Platoon - 2x M150
West German M113 Panzergrenadier Kompanie (Allied Formation)
HQ - 1x G3 rifle team
(2x) M113 Panzergrenadier Zug - 3x MG3 team with Panzerfaust 44 anti-tank rocket, 3x Milan missile team
Gepard Flakpanzer Batterie - 4x Gepard
(2x) Luchs Späh Trupp - 2x Luchs
M106 120mm Mortar Battery - 3x M106 (120mm)
Pereh Anti-tank Platoon - 3x Pereh
Redeye SAM Platoon - 4x Redeye team
As per before, breaking it down:
- Frontline: Israeli Mech Infantry Platoons
- Fire Support: West German Panzergrenadier Zug, M150 TOWs, Pereh, Gepard, Luchs, M106s, Redeye
- Counterattack: Merkava 2
West Germans are the ideal partner to ally in for an Israeli force. Their 2 most glaring weaknesses, lack of access to AT21+ and mediocre inhouse SPAA options are solved by Milan-toting Panzergrenadiers and Gepards respectively.
Compared to List 1, this list has a more resilient infantry core. The 2 Israeli platoons sport more bodies to soak up any damage, have better motivation stats and are backed up by their integrated Zeldas which spit out more lead than their Canadian counterparts. List 2 also has hardier support elements; not just the Panzergrenadiers but the Perehs which can cover anti-tank blind spots without ever showing their face
The Panzergrenadiers being classed as Fire Support bears some explanation. In my experience, they are simply too fragile to really operate as line units. When placed in the support role however they excel with their 3 Milans and a good Rally to keep those missiles flying down range. As infantry they are also significantly more difficult to uproot than their ITV equivalents.
However, List 2 does lose out in the maneuver department. The Merkavas function as a budget version of the IPM1, but losing Tactical 14" and a point of AT is quite a blow when dealing with hordes of tier 2 tanks. BDD instead of Chobham requires increased caution when approaching close quarters. Without additional maneuver elements this list hinges more on the infantry getting up and about on the counteroffensive. Lack of ADATS also means this list has trouble against FA19 tanks
As you can see, both lists involve tradeoffs that give them different strengths and weaknesses; it is on players to either adapt on the fly or simply take it on the chin. Stay tuned for the next part, where we'll go over how to put these thoughts into practice on the gaming table