Options for Change – Iron Maiden List Ponderings


Due to baby’s, job changes and Her majesty’s service; It’s a quiet week at Breakthrough Assault – so here’s a second rambling article from Lee Parnell on his plan’s for Iron Maiden to tide us over till someone else gets a chance to write something. 

Don’t forget that our sponsors “Battlefield Hobbies” are hosting one of the Iron Maiden launch day events.

Introduction

Apologies in advance to Beaves for no-doubt messing a lot of the terminology up…

In this article I am going to lay out my plans for my British battlegroup to hopefully give you some food for thought ahead of the launch events this weekend.  I’ll also touch upon the organisation of the British Army in the 1980’s and cover the background on one of the other army divisions; the 4th Armoured Division – as related in the Team Yankee universe and in real life.

When I reviewed Iron Maiden, the new Team Yankee book covering the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR), I had mentioned it covered the “wrong” division.  Instead of the Donkey Wallopers of the Lancers in 3rd Armoured Division, Battlefront should have been looking at the seriously professional/professionally serious chaps of 3rd Royal Tank Regiment over in 4th Armoured Division, 11th Armoured Brigade!

image_1669

The Cap Badge is  better.  Less Totenkopf-ee

I decided in advance that any army I created would be based on the equipment that was available to a battlegroup drawn from the 11th Armoured Brigade.  This placed a couple limitations on equipment but, for the most part, I could use the Iron Maiden book “as is”.  The only real end result of this is that some of the units are named slightly different and that will need some explanation.

Background

The British Army of the Rhine was formed to group the British forces occupying the British Zone of what would become West Germany (The Berlin Brigade – in West Berlin – sat outside of BAOR for most the Cold War).  By the early 1980’s it consisted of four divisions and two infantry based “Field Forces” and underwent some reorganisation with 2nd Infantry Division and 4th Armoured’s HQ and Infantry brigade – one of the former field forces, being sent back to the UK in peacetime.  1st and 3rd, along with the remaining “heavy” elements of 4th Armoured remained in West Germany.

It’s probably worth briefly touching upon British organisation.  Squads, Platoons and Companies are all largely common to the rest of NATO (although we sometimes change the names, i.e. Troops and Squadrons).  The company, along with 3 others, then feeds into a battalion.  Now, in most NATO forces that would then feed into a regiment, all with a shared identity (i.e. 506th Parachute Regiment) and this regiment would then form part of a division.

In the British System, the ‘regiment’ is purely an administration asset.  There may be multiple battalions of, say, the  Green Jackets; but they were unlikely to serve together in the division.  Instead the British Army groups battalions from different regiments into Brigades.

For example, 4th Armoured Division had two Brigades; 11th Armoured and 20th Armoured.

11th Armoured Brigade has three battalions:

  • 3rd Royal Tank Regiment (very rarely you’ll see it called 3rd Battalion, the RTR. This is strictly wrong).
  • 2nd Battalion, the Royal Green Jackets
  • 1st Battalion, the Royal Fusiliers

4th Armoured didn’t have any pure armoured brigades.  20th was effectively a “heavy” brigade with two armoured regiments and an Infantry battalion whereas 11th reversed this as a “light” brigade as shown above, with two Infantry battalion and a single Armoured Regiment.   Certainly some non-UK sources class 11th Armoured as a mechanized brigade which may be a more accurate term.

We can assume that the build-up allows enough time for 4th Armoured Division to be full returned to strength before the first shots are fired.  Iron Maiden mentions 4th Armoured bearing the brunt of the initial attack and 11th Armoured Brigade comes close to being enveloped until the air mobile elements slow the Soviet forces down, allowing it to fall back.  The last mention of 4th Armoured Division is that it forms part of the NATO counter-attack that will form the next “phase” of Team Yankee

The List

I wrote this list fairly on (some of you may have seen it on the Facebook and forum), with some expectation that I would change it, either due to the release schedule/cost reality  or just due to rethinking what I need.  In reality, its stayed pretty much static.  I have yet to think of anything better!  Given the family connection, I’d like to have more Chieftains but its hard to add more without having them dominate the army.

peteparnell

I imagine the Old Man would say that that is only right.

The force reflects a battlegroup formed around a company of the Royal Green Jackets (chosen simply because Dad could recall working with the Green Jackets more frequently), reinforced by a half Squadron (drawn from B Sqdn) of 3RTR’s Chieftains.  The force will generally choose to “defend” but has sufficient mobility to attack in the event of a mobile battle.

Formation 1 – 2nd Battalion, Royal Green Jackets (36pts)

  • 1 HQ + 3 Platoons, all full strength with attached Milan
  • 1 MILAN Troop with four posts
  • 1 Mortar Troop with 4 Mortars
  • 1 Recce Troop patrol (2 Scimitar)

This provides a fairly strong defensive force;  one Infantry Platoon with attached MILAN and suitably supported, should be able to hold onto an objective in the face of an infantry or armoured assault (got to love the Charlie G).  Assuming two objectives, this leaves the third platoon to act as a mobile reserve/counter attack force.  The Mortars can help break up an infantry assault or drop smoke to complicate any attempt by T-72 or Carnations to sit back and pound away with “Brutal” 125mm shells.

The MILAN platoon provides a concentrated overwatch force which I envisage being placed in a suitably central position to cover both objectives.

Formation 2 – Detachment from B SQDN 3RTR (50pts)

  • 1 HQ + 2 Troop of Chieftain Mk.9 (i.e. no Stillbrew)
  • 1 Swingfire Troop with 3 Launchers
  • 1 Recce Troop patrol (2 Scorpions)

from-andyf14

Stillbrew is for wussies
Alive wussies admittedly…

No Stillbrew in 1985 for 3RTR so my Chieftains reflect that in the older Mk.9 standard, saving  few points – which is slightly un-nerving given the T-72 can pop me at range quite comfortably.  It’s all going to come down to being out of sight, blitzing to the firing line and letting 14 120mm fin rounds down range as smoothly as possible.

The Swingfire assists the Milan section in long range fire, especially in “deep reserves” missions.

Force Support

  • FAO
  • 43rd AD battery RA (4 x Tracked Rapier)
  • Airmobile Platoon, 1 BN Gordon Highlanders – attached from 6th Airmobile

Total – 100pts

Rapier provides Hind protection with sufficient range to cover the battlefield and sufficient hitting power to down a Hind quite comfortably.  They’ll be on the back line, behind cover.

The Air Mobile Infantry is something of an experiment.  In some missions as Attacker (as rare as that should be), getting an Infantry platoon on objective quickly (breakthrough, counter attack) could be very handy.  On defence, having a unit that could land behind lines and put shots into the rear of the enemy could also be fun.  But I have concerns about survivability given the presence of SA-13/Shilka and even MANPAD.

The OP is the last element and that’s just to make sure the mortars come in when needed.

The Force Support is still somewhat subject to change.  In place of the Rapier and Air Mobile Infantry, Blowpipe Spartans may drop in, along with Lynx HELARM.  The Lynx gives two extra anti-tank shots but anti-air features a lot in the local game so will get closed down quickly.  Harriers got rejected for the same reason – although I may pick some up for the larger games.  The Blowpipes are not as powerful as the Rapier but 6 of them put out the same amount of fore and the loss of a tank drops the RoF less making it a bit more survivable.  They are also far more suitable as a reflection of the real 4th Armoured as its support organic to the division.  Tracked Rapier would be a corps asset.

The Abbots and the M109 struggle to find a place in the force.  I’m still not convinced artillery is bringing enough to the party to counter the Soviets.  Similarly, whilst I could have grouped the CVR)T) under its own separate Recce Squadron formation, all it really does is draw strength from the other two formations and gains me… two Spartan APC command vehicles – not entirely convincing!

On the other hand…

Another force I am looking at fully embraces the 3RTR.  It has only one formation (Armoured Squadron) but still has some similar assets:

Formation 1 – B SQDN, 3RTR

  • 1 HQ Chieftain
  • 1 Chieftain Troop (3 tanks)
  • 1 Chieftain Troop (3 tanks)
  • 1 Chieftain Troop (3 tanks)
  • (all non-Stillbrew Mk.9s)
  • 1 Swingfire Troop (3 launchers)
  • 1 Recce Troop (2 Scorpions)
  • 1 Mechanised Platoon, full strength with Milan Detachment

4th Armoured Division Support

  • 1 SAM Platoon – 4 Tracked Rapier
  • 1 TOW Lynx Flight – 2 Lynx
  • 1 Mechanised Platoon, full strength with Milan Detachment
  • 1 Recce Troop (2 Scorpions)    (technically, this is yet another 2 tank patrol drawn from the HQ recce troop rather than divisional support)

Total – 100pts

The extra troop of Chieftain effectively replaces the third Infantry platoon, Milan Platoon and Mortars of the Infantry formation of the other force.   Without smoke its armour may be a liability on the attack or defence so I think the first list is the way to go.

Conclusion

So, that’s my thought on a force for the BAOR.  The shopping list is quite bruising to the wallet:

  • 2 x Charlie’s Chieftain start sets
  • 2 x Mechanised Company Infantry boxes
  • 1 x Milan Group
  • 5(!) x FV322 boxes (that’s £130 of the cost of the army!)
  • 1 x Rapier box or Spartan box (depending which way I go on anti-air)
  • 1 x CVRT box

Think it was about £350 all up.

Still, should be fun!

References and Further Reading

I like a good cited source, and you should too!  One of the issues I had was that Wiki seems to stop caring about the constituent part of divisions and brigades after WWII.

Photos came from the 3RTR association page: The Green Flash

Organisational information largely came from: The British Army in Germany: An Organizational History 1947-2004″, Graham Watson

However, this PDF, “British Orders of Battle & TO&Es 1980-1989 v3.9” by R Mark Davies came in handy as it placed a lot of that in a graphical format.

Category: BritishFlames of WarIron MaidenList DiscussionTeam Yankee

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Article by: Lee

Wargaming since Rogue Trader in 1990; I made the move to Flames in 2006 and have been with it ever since! I play at the Brighton Warlords most weeks.