Quality of Quantity in 1985

Hello all, Stuart, the resident American on staff back with a new look at the East Germans out of Volksarmee.

After playing a handful of games with Soviets, and then a few more with their East German pals, I noticed one glaring fact. They are simply outgunned. Plainly put, their NATO opponents can chew through platoons of your tanks with relative ease. Typically surpassing your armour without a roll, having two shots per vehicle (often while on the move) and then 2+ FP to boot, NATO tanks crush Warsaw tanks with impunity.

Well, less impunity.  More like 120mm APDSFS…

So, what is one to do?

There are two courses of action that I have seen thus far:

  1. Take a massive army of tanks in large platoons built to absorb the initial impact of the NATO players shooting.
  2. Go infantry. Warsaw infantry platoons are enormous and come with the option for a variety of transports with missiles, whom are also in large numbers. Swarm the field with little gribblies and your opponents tanks can’t handle the masses.

However, I propose a third course of action: MSU. For those not familiar, MSU is shorthand for “Multiple Small Units”. Typically a tactic seen in other games, (Space Elves and Orks) it’s used for a variety of reasons; the ability to grab multiple objectives at the same time, spam a certain powerful unit or weapon, fill compulsory slots in a list or (and the reason that will be the focus here) TARGET SATURATION. *Disclaimer: You will bleed VP.

Of course, there’s multiple and there’s *multiple*

Target Saturation, while a dangerous game, is an extremely viable tactic for any armies sporting models that are relatively easy to kill. Why? You can’t as easily focus them down because instead of 3 large units, there are 10 small ones. Yes, the platoons themselves will be that much easier to get rid of, naturally, as they will take casualties at much of the same rate as before while starting the countdown to breaking at a lower number. But War is Hell, things die.

Pictured – things dying…

Team Yankee only exposes that further with its high AT ratings and failure proof 2+ FP across the board. Things are going to get killed, because the dice said so. By embracing this fact and using it, I think we can take an army that is just outclassed and make it a viable option, not just against tanks, but as a list that can compete across the board for wins (but not the 6-1 variety, unless you’re just that much better than I am).

As I am focusing mainly on East Germans, they will be the center point of this article, although I will dabble with the Soviets as well with the impending arrival of Red Thunder and the accompanying T-64 in a later article. As we already know that you can run hordes o’ infantry, this will also be an example of tank heavy forces. As with anything, flavor to taste.

List 1: T-72 base.

The T-72M, as good as it gets for the Volksarmee

Volksarmee (100 points)

Formation 1:

  • HQ: T-72 3pts
  • 5x T-72 15pts
  • 5x T-72 15pts
  • 4x T-72 11pts
  • Medium BMP-2 Infantry w/ Gremlin 20pts
  • 4x Shilka 4pts
  • 3x BM-21 5pts
  • BMP-1 OP 1pt

Subtotal: 74pts

Formation 2:

  • HQ: T-55 1pt
  • 5x T-55 6pts
  • 5x T-55 6pts
  • 5x T-55 6 pts
  • Subtotal: 19pts (93pts)
  • Divisional Support:
  • 2x Frogfoots 7 pts

Total 100pts

This is the first list that came to mind, with some tweaking because I, like so many others, wanted to make use of all of those T-72 models we’ve owned since the beginning of the game. Additionally the T-72, at the time was the only thing with even a remote chance of penetrating the front of NATO tanks. 6 platoons of tanks, a still decent sized infantry force accompanied by 9x BMP-2 with AT21 guns, and Frogfoots are more than enough to handle most NATO tank lists. Being split up in this way, ideally, you should get something to the flanks and start causing some damage. Against infantry heavy lists, should you see them, you can attack a number of way. Use your big guns against their light vehicles, and your multiple MG’s against any infantry that is de-horsed. Deep reserves does kinda hurt this list, because your tank heavy but have no fear, your infantry platoon, artillery and Shilkas should be able to hold down the fort for a turn or two.

List 2: T-55 base

Volksarmee (100 points)

Formation 1:

  • HQ: 1x T-55 1pt
  • 6x T-55 8pts
  • 6x T-55 8pts
  • 6x T-55 8pts
  • Medium BMP-1 infantry platoon 14pts
  • 4x Shilka 4pts
  • 3x Carnation Battery 6pts
  • BMP-1 OP 1pt
  • Subtotal: 50 points

Formation 2:

  • HQ:1x T-55 1pt
  • 6x T-55 8pts
  • 6x T-55 8pts
  • 6x T-55 8pts
  • Subtotal: 25 points (75 points)

Formation 3:

  • HQ: 1x T-55 1pt
  • 6x T-55 8pts
  • 6x T-55 8pts
  • 6x T-55 8pts

Total: 100 points

My favorite rendition of the list. So many targets, you can’t possibly kill them all at once, nor can you afford to shoot at too many because at 6 tanks per platoon, you’re forced to focus them down to get them checking morale or you’ll still have platoons of tanks everywhere. Tactic: BLITZKREIG!! Dash these boys forward in mass, using cover as best you can, then get as many as you can on flanks and try and pop those pesky Westerners. You still have decent AA coverage with the Shilkas, can hold objectives with the BMP boys, and even some artillery to spice up your opponents static backfield. **Here’s that disclaimer again: You WILL bleed VP’s!

There was some thought to dropping 4 points somewhere for additional Shilkas to help with AA and Anti-infantry, but I like having at least one template in the list. Aside from the cost of the models, the T-55 list feels superior to me in that, while it doesn’t kill quite as well as the T-72, the numbers alone make it difficult to clear them away. I’ve also seen the T-55 run in big blocks of 10 but again, I think the trick to making this work is finding that sweet spot of too many platoons to focus down, but platoons just big enough you have to still focus to get them to run. 6-7 tanks feels like that sweet spot to me.

As always, mix it up and try what you like, but MSU has many advantages that, to me, give it the edge as the way forward with Soviet/East German tank lists (And aren’t tanks the big draw to TY anyways?). Be on the lookout for a similar article on Red Thunder based Soviets and even an Afgansty list perhaps! Until next time..

 

 

Category: BattlefrontEast GermansFlames of WarTeam YankeeVolksarmee

10 comments

  1. I have theorized a list with more MSU…more East German Marks…more shuffleboard sticks…

    In essence this mimics two Category C battalions coming over the hill…

    T-55 Tank Battalion: 25 Pts, 13 units over 3 formations.
    (31 tanks, 3 spandrels)

    1st formation: HQ 1, 1st, 2nd, 3rd Platoons (with 3 T55s) 2 each
    2nd Formation: HQ 1, 1st, 2nd, 3rd Platoon (with 3 T55s) 2 each
    3rd Formation: HQ 1, 1st, 2nd Platoon (with 3 T55s) 2 each, 3rd Platoon (with 4 T55s) 4 pts. Total of 23 points for 31 T55s (I like the idea of the 31st tank so I actually have a TO&E Battalion on the table)
    Plus Divisional Spandrel Platoon 2,

    BTR Battalion: 75 Pts, 18 units over 3 formations
    (45 BTRs, 6 Spigot teams, 36 Assault Rifle Teams, 27 RPG teams, 3 PKM, 9 Spandrels, 12 Gaskins, 6 BRDMs)

    1st Formation: HQ 1, Medium Company 10, Small Company w/2 AT-4 teams 9, Gaskins 2, Spandrel 2, BRDM (half) 1, (25 pts)
    2nd Formation: HQ 1, Medium Company 10, Small Company w/2 AT-4 teams 9, Gaskins 2, Spandrel 2, BRDM (half) 1, (25 pts)
    3rd Formation: HQ 1, Medium Company 10, Small Company w/2 AT-4 teams 9, Gaskins 2, Spandrel 2, BRDM (half) 1, (25 pts)

  2. Agree BMP2 only available in bmp battalion. Think the idea is right about MSU thou, seems best way forward for warpac. From what I’ve seen most are going BMPs and BTRs. Normally also restricted to 2 formations. Hopefully gets Warpac players thinking.

  3. Used the following in the UK GT – did ok

    Points 80
    Bmp Mot-schutzen Bataillon
    BMP Mot-schutzen Bataillon HQ (p.16)
    1x BMP-1, 1x MPi KM
    1
    BMP-1 Mot-schutzen Kompanie (p.17)
    4x MPi KM with RPG-18, 3x RPG-7, 4x BMP-1
    6
    BMP-2 Mot-schutzen Kompanie (p.18)
    7x MPi KM with RPG-18, 6x RPG-7, 2x PKM LMG, 9x BMP-2
    18
    T-55AM2 Panzer Kompanie (p.13)
    3x T-55AM2
    2
    BMP-1 Aufklarungs Zug (p.19)
    2x BMP-1
    2
    ZSU-23-4 Shilka Flak Zug (p.22)
    2x ZSU-23-4 Shilka
    2
    SA-13 Gopher Flak Zug (p.23)
    4x SA-13 Gopher
    4
    Spandrel Panzerabwehr Zug (p.25)
    3x Spandrel
    2
    Btr-60 Mot-schutzen Bataillon
    BTR-60 Mot-schutzen Bataillon HQ (p.20)
    1x BTR-60, 1x MPi KM
    1
    BTR-60 Mot-schutzen Kompanie (p.21)
    7x MPi KM with RPG-18, 6x RPG-7, 1x PKM LMG, 8x BTR-60
    10
    – Additional AT-4 Spigot
    2x AT-4 Spigot, 2x BTR-60
    4
    BTR-60 Mot-schutzen Kompanie (p.21)
    4x MPi KM with RPG-18, 3x RPG-7, 4x BTR-60
    5
    – Additional AT-4 Spigot
    2x AT-4 Spigot, 2x BTR-60
    4
    T-55AM2 Panzer Kompanie (p.13)
    3x T-55AM2
    2
    BRDM-2 Aufklarungs Zug (p.19)
    2x BRDM-2
    1
    SA-9 Gaskin Flak Zug (p.23)
    4x SA-9 Gaskin
    2
    Spandrel Panzerabwehr Zug (p.25)
    3x Spandrel
    2
    Support
    MI-24 Hind Assault Helicopter Company (p.26)
    4x MI-24 Hind
    12

  4. Thanks for pointing that out. I actually have a revised version of the list that I’ll put out later that follows the correct Forge Organization.

  5. Great analysis of VA! Again and again, tournament organizers and sadly some NATO players are intentionally handicapping Pact players with limitations on the numbers of formations. The TY designers put no such limitations into the game and yet others are constantly demanding this severe and artificial restriction which immensely impacts many Soviet and VA players. The game designers envisioned the Pact as horde armies and the frequent need for large numbers of formations. The T-55 you provided adeptly shows the potential of the VA which is unfortunately and very sportingly disallowed in most tournament and even club games.

  6. I play a list with 4 Formations. I have 25 T72M, 9 T55, 9 BMP2 and 4 Gophers+2 Shilkas for AA. Further a small BMP1 unit with Spandrel.
    When i receive my last order, then i drop two T72M and add 3 Hails, 2 Spandrels and 1 T55.
    You receive such a big mass with real MSU units. This is a point to adress by Phil. In a meta where most games becomes draws or 4:3 wins you play for the win, not for the VP.

    Regards

  7. As I read the beginning of the article I hoped for some REAL MSU. 3 formations with 3×3 T-72M or T-55 and dann added some infantry. Why would someone voluntary pay 2 pts for a T-55?

    1. I believe the thinking is that a single Leo2/M1/Chieftain can take out a 3 tank platoon (hit and kill two, third runs off). For an extra 2pts, the enemy is forced to put more effort into killing platoons.

      It’s not a bad theory, although I’m not sure how much I’d trust my Leo 2 to take on three platoons of T-55 at once given my dice…

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Article by: Mark Goddard