Cry Havoc and unleash the articles about wargaming
Recently at Breakthrough HQ, Lee descended from his ivory tower, cracked his whip and demanded more articles. “The website must be fed!”, he screamed at us. Well actually, he put up a post on our Facebook group, but the sentiment is the same.
As part of this he jokingly suggested I write an article about why I thought the T-55AM was the best tank in the Soviet book. We all had a good laugh about this as I stuck another pin in the voodoo doll of him, but it did get me thinking: which tank do I think is the best?
What follows is my thoughts on each of the Soviet tanks. No idea if I will reach any sort of conclusion. We can find out together when we get to the end.
T-55AM – The Grand Daddy
The newest Soviet tank in the army list is actually the oldest Soviet tank in the game, but like Cher and Dolly Parton, this old girl has had some serious work done to it, meaning it can still put up a fight.
The removal of slow firing (from the tank not the singers, although I bet Dolly is fairly quick on the trigger) and rate of fire 1/1 means this tank is now free to move and shoot as much as it likes. Its AT 18 main gun is perfectly fine against AMX-30s or Leopard 1s, but the newer NATO tanks will just laugh at it.
It’s also fairly slow, and with a 4+ cross, going through terrain is a risk. Its armour is middle of the road; better than the AMX-30, (which is made of stale baguettes,) but not great. Any 105mm NATO standard cannon will go straight through.
For a small points upgrade, you also get the ability to fire Anti-Tank missiles with an AT of 21, (again, much like Dolly Parton, or so I’ve been lead to believe,) but you can’t do it on the move.
In true Soviet style, the T-55AM is cheap, and as we know quantity has a quality all of its own. Ultimately, you can just try and drown your enemy in a tide of tanks. For every one that they destroy, two more will appear to take its place.
Final thoughts – the T-55AM is cheap and maybe just good enough to be useful.
T-62M – The Bobba Fett of tanks
Everyone agrees that Bobba Fett is cool, the intergalactic bounty hunter who brings in Han Solo. But when you think about it, he is actually a bit useless. Yes, he brings in Han Solo, but only with the help of Darth Vader and a fair few storm troopers. Then he falls off a sand barge and gets eaten by a giant sand slug.
The T-62M is much the same, it’s cool, but I’m not entirely sure why.
Put simply it’s a T-55AM with a better gun. So nearly all drawbacks of the T-55AM apply, but it does have a main gun that can threaten nearly all the NATO tanks, with the exception the newest M1A1HC and Challenger. Also, the addition on Brutal means it can now do a better job of digging out infantry.
Five of them is only 3 points more than five T-55AMs, which is probably worth it.
Final Thoughts – the T-62M is just a T-55AM with a bigger boom (make your own Dolly Parton Jokes).
T-72 – The blandest thing on the menu
Do you like shepherd’s pie? I do, but I wouldn’t say I crave it. It’s nice enough fuel for your body, but it’s just a bit bland. If you went out for a pub meal, it would be the blandest thing on the menu. The T-72 is much the same; in the menu that is the Team Yankee Soviet book, it’s the blandest thing in there.
It’s a perfectly reasonable tank. It’s the cheapest way to get the 125mm cannon which make most NATO generals slightly nervous. It’s fairly quick, although its tactical move is still 10”. Its armour means you get a save against the NATO 105mm cannons, but the 120mm Cannons will cause problems. At just over 4 points a tank you can get them in reasonable quantity but not vast numbers.
One thing that’s worth noting is that it’s the cheapest tank that gives you access to the better support option like BMP-3s and Tunguska AA.
Final Thoughts – the T-72: it’s a bit meh.
T-64 – Proof that higher numbers don’t make a better tank
Take a T-72 and make it better in every way and you have a T-64. Front armour 17 now means you have a reasonable chance against AT22 at long range. It’s 4” faster, and whilst the main cannon is the same, you can buy missile s which you can move and fire.
So it all comes down to the cost. The difference between five T-72s and five -T-64s is only 3 points difference. For those 3 points you improve every aspect of your 5 tanks.
It’s just a no brainer.
Final thoughts – The T-72 cries itself to sleep every night wishing it was a T-64.
T-80 – All the mod cons
Last but not least we have the T-80, still the same 125mm cannon as the T-72 and T-64, but this time they have decided to give it decent armour.
This tank can now go toe to toe with the best that NATO has to offer and potentially do some damage. All this does come at a cost though, working out at a mighty 8 points per tank. Now that may not sound like much, but it soon adds up. Five T-80s is roughly the same price as 3 M1A1s, but those M1A1s are firing 6 shots a turn and hitting you on 3s, whereas you’ve only got 1 shot each and are hitting them on 4s. In that situation, my money is on the Americans. You could instead get eight T-64s which have the same gun, even if it’s weaker armour, and have 8 shots. The usual Soviet drawbacks of hit on 3s and rate of fire 1/1 is more noticeable the more expensive the tank gets.
Now you can get the elite version of the T-80, but they come in at nearly 10 points a tank, so that just compounds the problem. Also, the missile upgrade on the T-80s is a cost per tank which soon adds up for something that’s fairly situational
Final thoughts – The T-80: nice but expensive.
Some sort of conclusion
So, there we have it, my thoughts on the various Soviet tanks. Or at least my opinionated ranting on the various Soviet tanks.
In the books, Soviet tanks are split into 2 groups, Front line is the T-72, T-64 and T-80. Second line is the T-62M and the T-55AM. I feel that the best Front line tank is the T-64, and the best Second line tank is the T-62M. The 60s were cleary a good decade for Soviet armour.
But if you forced me to rank all the Soviet tanks together it would be:
- T-64 – best all round
- T-62M – best bang for your buck
- T-80 – good but expensive
- T-55AM – a bit too weak
- T-72 – under performs
However, that said, I think the T-64 is hideous, so the T-62M wins overall based on looks. Either way; in your face, Lee.