A Team Yankee After Action Report
With the release of the new World War III; Team Yankee the excuse was already there to get my NATO forces up and running having languished too long in the infamous Hobby Pile of Shame. Putting a game in the diary gave me a deadline to get a small 50pts force ready to play some games – my first opponent was Lee and his wonderfully painted East Germans.
Lee fielded a strong T-55AM2 Panzer Battalion – I was amazed at how much stuff you can get into a 50pts list for the East Germans – 14 x T-55s backed up by 6 x T-72s is no joke.
I chose a Verkennings Eskadron which gives you access to a little bit of everything in formation. The Leopard 2 Pelatons are fragile but, in a very NATO way, it would be interesting to see the more advanced MBT vs. the quantity of Warsaw Pact armour.
Imagining the situation that would likely arise involving these formations Lee chose to Attack and I chose Manoeuvre. I thought that this would reflect the Dutch hurridly deploying to plug a gap in the line with the fast-moving Dutch cavalry leading the way.
The using the matrix we rolled up Counter Attack, which seemed the perfect scenario.
As the defender I had to put 40% of my tiny force in Reserves – so 2 of my 4 Leopard 2s were held up on deployment which was less than ideal. I also had access to an Ambush which I chose not to use – my force was stretched as it was and the only real unit which might benefit from it was the Leopards and I wanted to deploy those as centrally as I could.
The objectives were to my right between a wood and a field – the Tirailleur covered that side making the most of the terrain available. My Leopards and one Pelaton of the M113 C&V started centrally – as far left as I could ready to dash over and hold the, currently, unguarded objective on my left.
The M113 C&V of the company commanded stay in range to influence the Leopard and M113 C&V pelotons in the centre, while the final M113 C&V peloton hid behind the wood occupied by the Trialleurs.
The deployment area also meant that by deploying in Ambush I would be loading my right up with the majority of my forces leaving the left objective dangerously exposed.
Lee deployed his BDRMs as far to his right as he could, and using his Spearhead move, deployed on T-55 company on his left, one on his right with the T-72s occupying the centre-ground. The Spandrels took up positions across the river to his left and the Shilkas went with the T-55s on that side. Finally, the BMP-1s deployed in support of the T-55s on Lee’s right.
With Lee winning the roll for the first turn he spared no time pushing up as far, and as fast as he could.
The T-72s hurried their way up through the town and the T-55s on their right flank pushing up to the river to force a crossing as soon as possible.
On the right, the other T-55 company and Shilkas pushed up to the hedge lines ready to make a move towards the ford on that side and put pressure on the small Trialleur platoon on that side.
A successful Follow Me order on the T-55s on my left and BMP-1s was followed up by a couple of shots zinging across the river from the T-72s towards the Leopard 2s skulking around the treeline on the main road.
I’d got myself stuck in a WW2, Flames of War mindset thinking that I needed to set up with good static fields of fire rather than appreciating that the Advanced Stabilisers rule, combined with a moving Rate of Fire of 2 for the Leopards meant that stating in line of sight was completely unnecessary. Fortunately, for me, the shots zipped wide of their mark and I didn’t suffer any loss for my carelessness.
The most important moment of turn 1 was when I rolled for my delayed Leopards in Reserve and found that they were only very slightly delayed and were turning up this turn. The second most important moment of turn 1 was when we looked back at the scenario and realised that they would be arriving surrounded my BMP-1s and T-55s on my left. This was amazing luck and simultaneously the worse place that they could arrive.
I knew that I had to create some distance between the BMPs and the T-55s and try and protect my flanks, so I deployed as far towards my side of the table as possible and then had to cross back over the river. The excellent cross value of the Leopard 2 did not let me down and I made it back to my side of the watercourse ready to plant some 120mm rounds into the advancing tanks of the East Germans.
My right remained staunchly in place and in the centre, only the M113 C&V peloton moved to within 4″ of the objective but out of the line of sight of the T-72s bearing down on the river crossing.
My firing from the newly arrived Leopards on my left claimed 3 x T-55s as their armour was little protection against the high-velocity rounds of the Dutch tanks.
In the centre 4 shots, 4 hits and 4 Fire Power rolls later and then crossing in the town was littered with the smoking ruins of 4 x T-72s. A devastating volley that would at least stall Lee’s direct thrust for the centrally placed objective. The Leopards then completed a Shoot and Scoot order to make sure that the remaining T-72s could not retaliate.
Lee responded to the arrival of my reserves by throwing the amphibious BMP-1 company across the river – only one becoming lodged on a difficult section of the river bed and failing their Cross Check.
In the centre, the remaining T-72s pushed on towards the centre objective to try and pin my forces there – forcing me to stay honest around the objective. This allowed the T-55s to their right to remain covered by the woodline and not take any more punishment from the Leopards on that side but also place them ready to move across the river next turn.
On Lee’s left, he continued to forge forward as fast as possible to threaten the infantry on that side with the T-55s and their Shilka support.
The Spandrels continued to loiter in the wheat fields looking for a target of opportunity. In my haste to get away from the T-72s I’d reversed into the line of sight of the Spandrels and their volley hit one of the Leopards in the centre bailing it out.
In the rest of the firing phase, the T-55s peppered the woodland with shots but the Tirailleurs were too well concealed for the shots to find a target and with the M113 C&Vs keeping a low profile and Leopards proving a tough nut to crack it was the Dutch turn to fight back.
At the start of the phase, the bailed Leopard 2 remounted with an inspirational shout from his company commander
In the movement phase, the Leopards on my left redeployed to target the remaining T-72s in the centre bearing down on the hapless M113 C&V platoon near the objective.
On my right, the infantry continued to keep their heads down while the Leopards in the centre deployed to better counter the T-55s on my right and put some shots downrange at them; unfortunately, that left the Leopard on the right exposed to fire from the Spandrels but I couldn’t really odds it without that being the case and I needed to stop those T-55… or at least thin them out!
The M113 C&V near the centre objective snuck out so that they just had a line of sight towards the BMP-1 company and the other M113 C&V platoon repositioned around the rear of the woods by the infantry just so they were in a position to contest the objective should they need to. The M113 C&V commander crept up towards the river to flank the BMP-1s should he need to – quite a gutsy little guy!
In the firing phase, the T-72s met their demise in the centre – the final pair detonating within sight of their objective.
A BMP-1 was destroyed in a hail of 25mm cannon fire, and a second was bailed out. Over on the right, the Leopards brought their weight of fire down on the advancing T-55s but did nothing to the T-55s due to some poor rolling on my part.
The East Germans were under pressure – severe pressure – but now they were in a position to begin to exert some of their own in return. Firstly the bailed out BMP remounted.
Next, in the movement phase, the 2 lead T-55s on right crossed the river and made a beeline towards the infantry in the woodland and Lee’s own infantry dismounted from their BMPs and dived into the wheat fields in front of the Leopards. With no infantry of their own and other threats materialising they were going to be trouble.
The BMPs taking their leave and seeking cover to the flank of the Leopard 2 peloton; a couple into the flanks of the modern monsters. In the centre, the T-55 platoon crossed the river to apply pressure to the objective there and to threaten to get around the sides of the Leopards.
In the firing phase, the Shilkas and T-55s raked the woodland pinning the infantry deployed in that vicinity – they would need to rally to stave off the incoming assault next turn.
The BMP-1s opened up with their main guns and watched their HEAT rounds impact harmlessly against the mighty Chobham armour of the Leopards (neither Lee or I remember this was going to be the case until he opened up – one of us was very much more relieved that this was the case than the other).
The T-55 could see nothing to prey on in the centre, but the Spandrels again managed an armour equalling shot and bailed out the visible Leopard again.
The Dutch infantry, irritatingly, but understandably kept their heads down and remained pinned in the woods. Their supporting Leopards remaining where they were to again pour fire onto the onrushing East German amour.
On my left, the Leopard 2 peloton, who seemed to now be fire fighting everywhere, moved to my right to deny the T-55s threatening the centre objective and to create some distance to the infantry stalking up through the short terrain in front of them.
The M113 C&V to their right remained stationary to lay down some fire on the concealed East German infantry and provide some cover on that objective.
In the firing phase, the T-55s near the central objective took 3 casualties smashing the company. On my right two more T-55s were destroyed coming across the ford but the East German infantry survived unscathed.
Lee kicked off his turn by failing his Last Stand check on the bold T-55s opposing the Leopard 2s in the centre but then proceeded to, all most en masse, close to within striking distance of the more vulnerable flanks of the Leopards and dug-in infantry.
This was going to be a big turn.
There was little point firing the HEAT rounds from the RPG-7s of the Schutzen company so Lee moved on to hosing down the woodland again successfully killing a stand of riflemen and pinning the platoon. He moved on to the assault phase where the Dutch Trilleurs successfully killing one T-55 on the way in with their Carl Gustavs.
They then survived the assault of the other T-55 before they motivated to counter-attack and chose to fall back towards the objective rather than continue this unfair fight.
The Dutch retaliation was going to have to be measured.
Fortunately, the infantry in the wood rallied and took up new positions opposite the objective that they were guarding, now protected from the worse of the Shilka fire by the wood itself.
The Leopard 2s on the other side swang back to allow the M113 C&V a clear target of the advancing German infantry. There was no clear shot to the remaining T-55 Battalion Commander so they tried to preserve their flanks and keep the infantry at arm’s length.
The firing claimed 2 infantry stands and an RPG stand to leave the Schutzen company decidedly shaky.
The 2 Shilkas fell to the firepower of the Leopard 2s.
Short and sweet it was over to the East Germans to make one, last heroic push to displace the Dutch.
It all came down to the tussle around the centre objective. The T-55 Battalion Commander came out and round the smoking hulls of his formation and planted himself next to the Leopard 2s. While the Schutzen platoon made their Last Stand check.
The East German Schutzen troops were within 4″ of the Leopards so didn’t move ready for the assault. The Spandrels tried to redeploy but the fields proved too difficult to navigate.
The firing phase was a bit of damp squib so Lee moved on to the assault phase. The last 2 infantry leapt from the treeline and missed their targets but the men from the Netherlands still needed to motivate or else be driven from the objective at the 11th hour.
With the resounding roll of a 5, the tankers from Holland redoubled their efforts destroying both stands and maintaining their tentative grip on the objective.
At that point, Lee’s formation had broken and we called the game.
The Leopard 2 is a beast of a tank but the Morale 4+ and 2 tank pelotons in the Verkennings Eskadron mean you never feel comfortable when you are taking fire. I got pretty lucky with the Spandrels – yes they are fishing for 1s but they are such a low priority threat overall that you kind of just have to take it which is a bit unsettling.
Being outnumbered meant that sometimes there are no good choices – either the T-55s or the infantry or the Spandrels will have a flank. Lee was doing a pretty good job of making me have to make choices every turn and sometimes that is all you can do to your opponent – let them make the mistake.
I was lucky with the Leopards in the first turn – giving the T-72s a free potshot was silly. I was even luckier that my other peloton of Leopards wasn’t swamped and destroyed where it ended up coming on. The Counter Attack scenario really allows the attacked to take advantage of Spearhead and Lee did that to the maximum.
The Triallieur infantry was a godsend – giving me a solid unit to anchor my line on but if Lee had managed to get in with more than a single T-55 it could have been very different.
The 6″ x 4″ table gave us plenty of room to manoeuvre in and I would definitely recommend trying 50pts games on this size of table and seeing if it feels less claustrophobic and cramped.
It’s on to the next 25pts now and I’m still debating what and how to evolve this list – there are some PRTL Pantserluchtdoel on the painting table and some YP-765 IFVs so maybe I can use this as the genesis of a Leopard 2 peloton.
Tot de volgende keer