It seems like an age ago, but last Saturday John, Mike, Craig and myself got together to play several games of Team Yankee. We did it as a mini-tournament with 100 point forces each, Craig taking Soviet T-72s and Afgantsy; John running a US armoured company and Marine LAV company; Mike a British Armoured company; and me with my West Germans.
We all met at John's place at around 9am where he had two tables set up. Of course the games didn't manage to kick off for an hour and so I was worried we wouldn't be able to fit all three games in. I needn't have been concerned. We actually finished before the planned time of 5.30. Team Yankee is fun, and quick.
First round was Myself vs. John and Mike vs. Craig. Mike and I both had minor victories.
|First game against John saw half his forces in delayed reserves. He deployed his Abrams HQ far too forward, especially when I used Spearhead to deploy my Leopards up close.|
|First turn saw me brew up his Abrams|
|I shot down a Warthog, but its mate took out one of the Leopards.|
|All the fighting started to converge around the objective marker that I'd placed.|
|By the end of the game it looked like a parking lot was on fire. My Jaguars and infantry in the buildings secured the win.|
|Over on table 2 Mike and Craig battled it out.|
|Mike, get out of the picture!|
Game two saw me fighting on table 2 against Mike in an encounter scenario - everything on the board. Mike basically sat this game out in ambush while I banged my head against him. It didn't help that he was testing morale at 3+, not 4+. One day I'll forgive him...
|Refused right falnk with an exposed objective just trying to lure Mike out of cover where my Jaguars and Leopards could mince him. He didn't fall for it.|
|On the left flank my Leopards were hull down, but some good shooting by all of his at assets wrecked my platoon.|
|Hull down isn't much good against Harriers... Mike is planning to replace this 1/72 model from John's collection with Battlefront ones.|
In the end Mike narrowly won. No pictures of Craig vs John, but let's just say it was the only 5-2 win of the day.
Craig obviously had his blood up for the next game after his great victory. He and I both had delayed reserves in this scenario. In the first couple of turns I had wiped out a T-72 company, killed some infantry and was charging over the hill to secure an objective before reserves could appear. In so doing I exposed my side armour to a Carnation Battery (I didn't think about them moving and firing with direct fire). My attack was torn apart and when my reserves were slow to arrive, there was little more I could do. Thanks to my early efforts this was a 4-3 victory to Craig.
|The valley of death - first for the Soviets and then for the West Germans|
At the end of the day Craig took the most points with 12, Mike had 11, I had 10 and John had 9. So relatively close scores, and I learned a few things about all of the armies.
On Sunday, before Craig returned home I did a deal with him. I exchanged my West German army for the British, German and French Great War armies, not because I didn't enjoy Team Yankee, far from it, but because I wanted to concentrate on Soviets. I'm the only local Red Army player so I figure I'll be fielding these guys most of the time. Saturday night I devised a T-64 list and on Sunday morning Craig and I played another game.
|The initial set-up|
I didn't take photos of the entire battle, as it didn't last long and I spent an inordinate amount of it getting clobbered! I put my BMP recon forward and used spearhead to get a company of T-64s close to the Germans on the right flank. I knew I was attacking and wanted to maximise the first turn. So I charged the T-64s onto the hill. This had the double bonus of bringing the Jaguars inside missile range so they couldn't fire back, and causing Craig a nasty shock as he didn't realise T-64s could go 35cm in a move.
But then I discovered the achilles heel of the Soviets - their skill rating. I had assumed I'd line up o nthe hill and manage to kill both leopards in front of me, but my tanks failed their skill checks and bogged down. I ended up with 4 barrels rather than 6 facing the enemy at point blank range and the best they could manage was a bail result. Needless to say that by the next turn my attack was in pieces. With no air power in my list Craig used his Gepards to come around my flank and kill my BMPs and then my Shilkas. Somehow the HQ Leopard sat in the open and saw off 3 T-64s before succumbing. The bright spot was my Geckos (in black in the above photo), which took out the German helicopters very quickly, and the RPGs that took care of the Pumas. Aside from that, it was a sorry performance. So what did I learn?
1. Choppers are fragile, but air power is important, and preferably in units of 4 so that they don't have to take a morale check in the first turn if they lose a buddy.
2. Poor Soviet skill ratings make artillery useless for indirect fire. Either don't bother, or expect to be making direct fire shots.
3. Stay away from moving through terrain when you can. Again, the skill rating of 5+ will see you get stuck 66% of the time.
4. Keep your BMPs back so that they can survive to get a shot away. To this end, I plan to make them my infantry carriers, instead of recon, and I'll use the 1 point of the BRDM scouts to give me a Spearhead deployment if necessary.
5. A second anti-air option is always useful, especially if it can also fire at infantry and vehicles (which the SAMs can't).
I've ordered 4 Hinds and a couple of Shilkas to supplement the army now, based on my experiences and the lessons learned over the four games.
Despite my decision to concentrate on Soviets, I sold some figures and ordered some more Leopard 2s (love that tank). This time I'm intending to build a Dutch army. I've started it by getting two boxes of the Kampfgruppe Muller box set, so I'll also have 4 choppers, as per note 1 above. I'll be getting Free Nations as soon as it appears, and, I hope, unit cards for the Dutch Army. I'm thinking that Gepards, infantry in YPR IFVs, armoured cars and some Leopard 1s (love these tanks too) will fill out the 100 points.
It was great to have Craig come to stay. In the past couple of years I've painted for him and chatted a couple of times in person, but its the first time we've actually played games together. I'm hopeful that we can do it again later in the year. As for team Yankee - I'm hooked!
And just to finish off, some pics of the British Infantry that I painted for Mike: