Today, Duncan looks at his take on the 82nd Airborne Division from the new Team Yankee Stripes book.
Hi Duncan here and today I’m going to look at the All American Division from the new Team Yankee Stripes book.
The 82nd Airborne has, since its creation in 1917 as the 82nd Division, been dubbed the All American Division to reflect its unique composition —it had soldiers from all 48 states (cue Abe Simpson’s “It’ll be a cold day in hell before I recognise Missouri”) . I’ve always had a soft spot for the 82nd Airborne; much less flashy that it’s compatriots from the 101st, it still fought – and fought hard – in some of the most ferocious battles in the West during WW2.
During the Post-War years, the 82nd was deployed in the Dominican Republic, Vietnam and South Korea and finally was the nucleus that the newly created Rapid Deployment Forces were formed around. In the Team Yankee timeline the 82nd Airborne was assigned to the VII Corps to take part in the offensive into East Germany as a Light Infantry Division but still retained its air assets making for a powerful, if lightly equipped, mobile force.
So enough about the background; for me this force is all about the Double A and their UH-1 Huey Platoons. The Huey is an iconic vehicle thanks to its incredible service, popularised in a vast array of Vietnam War films, and fortunately to get the best bang for your buck in this force I think you need to go all out on the Rifle Platoons.
*I’m going to be building my list to the UK standard(ish) parameters of 85pts and no more than 2 combat formations. There is definitely something there for multiple 82nd platoons combined with other assets due to the basic platoons and support being quite cheap.*
The basic force composition for an 82nd Airborne Combat Team:
Fitted out, we create the basic company:
This little lot comes to 51pts and 6 Platoons and gives you some real options.
The 82nd Rifle Company gives you three Platoons of 10 stands including 6 x M47 Dragon AT 18 missiles, 21 x LAW AT12 missiles, as well as 4 x HUMMWV with Improved TOWs at AT21 and 8 x M551 Sheridan’s with either 4 x AT21 gun shots or 4 x AT22 Shillelagh missiles. In a world of BMP hordes I’m content that this puts out a high volume, low cost decent range AT wall. The Rifle platoon also have morale 3+ so they are going to be hard to break, giving the formation some real staying power.
The Sheridan’s may seem lightweight but the Shillelagh missile and 152mm guns gives you some hitting power to support the bulk of your infantry.
The Sheridan’s offer some mobility in the list, and to a lesser extent so do the TOW platoon and there is always the option to go air-mobile with a platoon in the Hueys. Unfortunately I don’t see you using the UH-1 on the table often as they will suffer tremendously in the face of any concerted AA and are essentially unarmed so they may just be eye candy on the side of the table which is very sad.
The second formation that I opted for was to double down on cheap AT and so I plumped for a HUMMWV Troop from the Light Division Recon Squadron, taking a HQ and all three mandatory Scout Sections at full strength.
If the worst comes to the worst this small command can always go hide somewhere and just try and stay alive so that my main force from the 82nd doesn’t have to worry excessively about casualties. I think that this little formation is a bargain.
Finally we have the Army Support Options to round out the force and here is the controversy:
The M109s Field Artillery Battery… with bomblets. NICE.
Artillery gets a bad rep sometimes in Team Yankee – I’m not going to defend the points cost of the M109s here as they are the most expensive platoon in the force; I think they could be critical though. In the current, perceived, meta of Soviet spam be that BMPs or T55 or other jank, I think that the ability to place a SALVO template (10” by 10”) out on the table and add one to the hit roll will – force is too strong a word – but make the Warsaw Pact player think twice about car parking his lightly armed vehicles with their infantry disembarked.
You are going to be lucky to kill anything outright with AT 3 and FP 6 but I think it makes the Warsaw Pact player think. They can’t just roll up, dismount and try and ATGW off your high value assets (mainly because you haven’t really got any) and if they don’t safely disembark their infantry then your Dragons and TOWs should be able to kill the transports with their infantry still inside. It is probably not optimal but it is a toss-up between the M109s and Cobra helicopters and I think that the M109s just offer a bit more.
My AA comes in the form of 4 x Stingers and 2 x Chaparrals (plus a few Humvee and Sheridan mounted .50) which is simply not enough to deal with the Soviet Leafblower list with Frogfoot aircraft and HINDs coming out of the wazzoo – there has been much debate about this at the Breakthrough Bunker and we are split on how much AA you should/need to include. For me what swings it in this list is that there isn’t anything too tasty for the Frogfoots to go after – with the exception of the M109s and they have no effect on force morale. You could target the Sheridans but then you have between 14-21pts of Frogfoot going after about half that of Sheridan.
As a Soviet player I guess that is fine but it feels like a waste. And that is my point rather than spending 25% of my force on AA to safeguard the rest I’m going to make everything expendable – including my AA – so that whilst there is no bad option to go for there is no obvious gold plated target either. The other thing that is often overlooked with Air Support is that it only turns up half the time – sometimes you will get lucky and other times you won’t and then you’ve got 25% of your force not influencing the game. This is not a stratagem without risk; if the Frogfoot and HINDs can target my AA in the same turn then it’s likely that my air cover will be gone in that turn for the loss of 2-3 Frogfoot, and I then have to weather the air assault from that point onwards.
So that’s my 82nd Airborne – a hard core of infantry with some mobile AT. If you preferred more AA then you could look at upping the Chaparrals to a full platoon or even adding the Sgt York platoon but for me I’m looking at the feet on the street to win me the game not the eyes on the sky.