Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Team Yankee Game 2

Our first game went well enough - or rather about as well as the fairly restrictive scenario allowed, so we moved on to the second - the defence of Hill 214. This scenario pits a small US force defending a crossroads against a larger Soviet attack, and importantly this takes place at night. The Soviets have the option of attacking with an infantry heavy force or taking tanks supported by a single Company of Motor Rifles - given I only had enough infantry for the second option, it was an easy choice.

Here is the basic table layout. Victory conditions were simple - the Soviets had to capture the junction at the centre of the table, the US have to break the Soviets. The US were heavily outnumbered - 2:1 or greater, but they did have better kit, a minefield,  and could start one platoon in ambush.

Russian Deployment

Survivors from Scenario 1
In addition to a full T72 Company the Soviets also had the survivors from scenario 1 available, and these deployed on the opposite side of the US positions to the main attack.

Paul deployed his M1s covering two of the approaches to the wood, with his rear protected by a hastily laid minefield and his platoon of Mechanised Infantry in ambush somewhere.

Turn one started rather well for the Russians. They advanced at speed and managed to spot one of the M1 platoons. A ragged salvo of 125mm guns lit the night, and one hit the rear of an M1 which blew up spectacularly

Red "flash" markers indicate which tanks have shot - these are now visible at daylight ranges.
Burning M1
To add insult to injury the remaining M1 in the platoon failed a morale test and the crew promptly abandoned their tank!

On the other flank the two surviving T72s from scenario 1 tried to engage the remaining M1s but failed miserably - then quickly paid the price as both were killed in quick succession.

Back to the main attack. The T72s halted on encountering the minefield but the infantry worked around the edges and started to infiltrate into the woods to secure the objective.

At which point the Mech Platoon opened up with its Dragon ATGMs, instantly killing a T72 and putting quite a lot of hurt on the infantry. Return fire was ineffective mainly as the Yanks were dug in.

Holding the objective
(Paul is using sabot bases for his infantry until we decide if we want to rebase for Team Yankee)

The Soviet infantry try to assault the Mech position, but are beaten off by infantry fire supported by the M113s .50 cals

Meanwhile the remaining M1s swing around the wood to try and engage the T72s which turn to meet them

Again the superiority of the M1s is quickly proven, forcing the Soviet commander to commit more tanks to the flank.

Luckily for the Soviets the infantry battle in the woods swings in their favour - both Dragon missile teams are killled and a well aimed RPG hits and kills one of the M113s. Again the US morale fails, and the infantry start to withdraw, leaving the Soviets in possession of the objective and able to claim a victory

 So an interesting and quite tense game. Up to the US morale failures as the Soviet player I was not keen on my chances of victory, but luck was on my side. The night fighting rules worked well we thought, and on balance we think we're going to take up Team Yankee and expand our forces.

So two training missions down, one to go. This time it will be a Soviet counter attack in the face of both US armour AND air support - I expect it will be brutal :-)

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Team Yankee Training Campaign scenario 1

So last night we played the first two scenarios from Team Yankee - Last Battle of tank 66 and Defence of Hill 214. These are the first two of three scenarios that form a mini campaign and are clearly designed to introduce the rules to two players. All are based on episodes in the book.

So without further ado here's what happened in Scenario 1

Scenario 1 is "The last Battle of Tank 66" and pits a single M1 Abrams against three T72s.

Here it is, commanded by my opponent "Big" Paul. Paul is looking unconvinced. He doesnt like FoW.

Paul had turn 1 and prompt;y showed off the merits of better training and fire control by hitting two T72s, but luckily only one was penetrated and exploded.

The remaining two then demonstrated the merits of good luck, advanced to close the range and hit the M1 twice. One bounced but the other did horrible things - Scenario 1 ended in a Soviet victory.

Not sure what we learned as we only had one turn of play - I suppose we had a grip on how tank fire works.

So one scenario down. Second one to follow........will Paul be convinced?

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Team Yankee - Jury out

As Britney Spears said "oops I did it again". Yup I succumbed to another possible game and for all the right reasons - probably.

I'm talking about Battlefront (the Flames of War people) and their "Team Yankee" rules based around the book of the same name by Harold Coyle,

I always liked the book (Swordpoint is better). Battlefront have re-skinned the Flames of War rules to fit the modern period - or at least the mid 1980s when the book is set. In a moment of weakness I bought the rules, however as I already had some 10/12mm Soviets kicking around in a spares box I decided to just use them rather than the 15mm the rules are written for. More on that later.

I've not played them yet, so this is only an initial assessment based on a readthrough. I will be better placed after we play them tonight. The initial problem is that the rules are, as I said, a re-skinned or ported across version of Flames of War. That's a good thing, and a bad thing, depending on your perception of FoW. By re-skinning I mean the main core of the rules are there, but for some reason they have changed the names around a bit, so "Bunker Buster" now read "Brutal", however the wording is pretty much the same. This is not such a bad thing, as even a dyed in the wool FoW hater (like me) has to admit the main rules work very well as a turn up and play game, even if some of the details grate at my teeth. Whatever else, these are tried and tested systems that really deliver what they are aiming for, even if that objective is something I find unpalatable. Sadly this means a couple of more stupid and annoying rules from WW2 have also been ported across, so artillery is still deployed on table (really!) and vehicle crews possibly bailing out and remounting almost every turn, which is a ludicrous mental image that you can do away with by simply changing the phrase "Bail out" with something like "shocked" or "stunned". Possibly more of a worry is what is not there - ie no vehicle smoke dischargers, but the designers say they assume crews are doing all that so why micromanage - which is a fair point to a degree. I suppose if you like FoW you will like these, and if you don't, well there are others out there.

The rules book themselves are the usual sumptuously laid out photo and diagram laden fare we are used to - hardback as well, and include the now obligatory "how to paint" section, plus army lists for the two protagonists and a short campaign.

One change from FoW is the units are presented as unit cards which should contain all the stats you need - which should be quite useful, and I think the idea is the cards will be packaged in with the units.

There are a couple of problems here. Firstly the forces in the rulebook are very restricted - basically a cut down Soviet Motor Rifle of Tank Battalion vs a US Mech\Armour Combat Team. Battlefront seem to have restricted the organisations quite a bit to coincide with their model release schedule - so no BRDMs get mentioned even though they would be a common sight on the battlefield and appear in the books. In effect the US get only 6 vehicles - M1, M109, M901 , M113 M163 and M106, Sovs fair badly too - T72, BMP1 &2, SAU 122 and BM21. I'm not too keen on this approach, but the online community has already filled most of the gaps so its not too much of a problem, and I would imagine BF will expand with new force briefings as the models become available.

The campaign is a simple 3 scenario affair clearly designed to get players familiar with the rules, which is not a bad thing. As I said I will report back after playing.

So that's about it for now - hopefully next time I will have a better idea of how it plays plus some pics from the game. Cheers