With the advent of Oil War, the venerable T-Series tanks are now spread across seven countries: USSR, DDR, Czech, Poles, Iran, Iraq and Syria. This just goes to show just how prolific these tanks were, and still are, around the globe. On almost any battlefield involving tanks, you are very likely to find a variant of a T series tank, be it the T-72, -62, or -55. As players of these tanks are now spoiled for choice, I will endeavor to do an across the board comparison of each of those T-series variants between the different playable factions in Team Yankee.
NOTE: I have left out the T-64 as it was the exclusive property of the Soviet Union and never exported. I also will not include the Iranians as they’re essentially the same tanks as the Iraqis and only taken in units of three which makes for a poor comparison in this scope
The T72 is one of the most prolific tanks in the history of armored warfare. Entering service in the 1973, the T72 has seen service in nearly every armed conflict involving tanks. The Iran-Iraq War, Soviet-Afghan War, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, The Syrian Civil War, the list goes on and its still fighting today. The tank was designed to be reliable, easy to produce and maintain (also known as “the complete opposite of the T-64 – Lee), and upon introduction was capable of going toe to toe with nearly any tank in the world. Personally, I feel its reputation is maligned due to its performance in Desert Storm against far, far superior tank designs with poor crews and tactics. Overall, the T72 is a solid tank that has lasted far longer than many other designs.
In Team Yankee terms, the T72 is a capable design that can be taken in fairly large quantities, espescially when compared with the top tier IPM1 Abrams, Leopard 2, and T64. However, the subtle differences between the WARPACT nations and Iraq/Syria give just enough difference to see which is the best value for points. I will compare based on three categories: Armor & Armament, Skills, and Points. I will assign what I think is the winner in each category, and then conclude with an overall winner for “Best Value T-72”. Of course, you are the general of your army and this is simply my own personal assessment!
In the first category, the difference is up front between the Soviet T-72A and the export T-72M. The Soviet variant has a gun rated at AT22 while the rest have AT21. Both guns have the “Brutal” rule, as well as stabilisers and laser rangefinders. While it seems trivial, that one point of AT becomes a big factor when dealing with front armor 18 or better (ie, Top Tier NATO tanks). When one gun needs a 3 or 4 to match a hit and the other is 3 or even 2 to match makes a real difference when it means you need to kill that tank. In terms of armor and equipment, the Soviet model rates 16/8/2 with BDD and infra-red while the T72Ms are 15/8/2 with Bazooka Skirts and Infra-Red. The additional front armor and BDD helps to make the more lethal Soviet T-72 more survivable when dealing with infantry light AT and AT Missiles at range.
When it comes to skills, the differences between the different T-72s can come more into focus. As anyone who has ever served in combat will testify to, a tank is only as good as the men crewing it. First and foremost, I will compare the “Skill” rating, as this becomes very important in games when a player wishes to try to gain an edge by maneuver or implement certain tactics to his battle plan. The Soviets and Iraqis have a skill of 5+ while the East Germans, Poles, and Czechs have a skill of 4+ which allows the latter three more ability to implement movement orders. With Morale, the Soviets and DDR are 3+, Iraqi, Czechs, and Poles 4+. The Soviets and DDR have an edge on last stand checks, though 4+ is decent and on par with many NATO forces. Remount is 3+ for Soviets and Poles, while the Iraqis and DDR are 4+ and the Czechs a poor 5+. Assaults are 5+ across the board, and if caught in the assault Poles counterattack on 3+, Iraqi, Soviet, and DDR 4+ with the Czechs once again saddled with a 5+. Last, with Courage, the Poles are sole owners of a 3+, with the Soviets, DDR and Iraqis 4+ and the Czechs 5+. With the best balance of skill and morale in key areas, I feel the Poles take this category.
So, now we come to the preoccupation of every player: points cost. When building that list, espescially for a competition /tournament points can matter as you are looking at getting the most “bang” for your point “buck”. Now, there are many ways of slicing this and qualifying it. You can analyze point per tank, points for the maximum amount, or some other means. What I will do is analyze how many tanks I feel I would be able to put into a balanced ( I DONT LIKE SPAM!!!!! Sorry, I love Monty Python) list at 93 points which is the points for Battlefront Sanctioned Team Yankee Tournaments. This means, roughly, I’d be looking at 50 points in my list going to tanks spread between, at a minimum, HQ and two units. So, as every HQ T72 is 3 points in the lists, I will look at units. The breakdown is for HQ plus two Units is: 12 Soviet T72s for 49 points, 15 East German T72s for 49 points, 16 Iraqi T72s for 47 points, 14 Polish T72s for 47 points and 18 Czech T72s for 47 Points.
So, on the basis of numbers of tanks for points, The Czechs win. However, when one factors in number of SKILLED tanks for points, the East Germans take a slight edge over the Poles.
WINNER: East Germans
AND THE WINNER IS…….
This was very fun to write, and I was surprised there was a different winner in each category. The Soviets have the best tank as far as lethality/survivability, the Poles the best crew stats, and the East Germans had a very narrow lead in point efficiency. However, after analysis of all things I have to give the overall win to the Poles. Before I get blown up in the comments, I will point out that the East Germans only slightly edged the Poles in points efficiency by a margin of one tank and at a cost of 2 points. While the Czechs and Iraqis bring more tanks to the field, their skill ratings are lower on the same tank. The Soviets have the best tank, but bring less for more points. So, enjoy some victory kielbasa and crank up Sabaton’s “Winged Hussars” Polish T-72 Crews!