The Coming (desert) Storm – Team Yankee in 2019

Today Lee hits the “Alt-Prt Scrn” shortcut and takes apart the Battlefront 2018 video and what it means for Team Yankee.

Much like a wargaming version of The Queen, Battlefront has posted this year’s “Christmas message” and, whilst very much focused on the arrival of Late War for Flames of War (as Mark discusses here), there is still much to take away from it for Team Yankee.  Some of it just needs us to zoom in/slow down the video like a conspiracy junkie looking over the Superbowl halftime show for Illuminati symbols.

Easily the most exciting thing, by dint that we got some sneak peaks of actual models, was “Oil Wars”. 

The heady heights of 420P resolution

Announced back at the 2018 open day, we’ve known for a while that this was going the expand the Team Yankee war into the Gulf, bring NATO and the Warsaw Pact into the Iran-Iraq war.  Israel also jumps into the war, presumably much to the surprise of all parties.

To be fair, there’s a decent road link…

Israel

On the basis that the cool new toy always gets the front cover, the Israeli Merkava gets centre stage, whilst AH-1 Cobra in sand camouflage fly overhead.  It sets the scene, although the logo (“Oil Wars” over an elongated Star of David) does look like something from an Infowars segment…

The Merkava is a pretty neat bit of kit in real life, taking Israeli experience from their brief dalliance with Chieftain’s development, throwing in a healthy amount of experience from both the Six Day War and Yom Kippur, topped off by their own need to prioritise crew survivability.  As such we get a tank that is laid out more like a SP Howitzer, with engine up front and turret at centre-back.  This puts a large bulk (the engine) between the crew and the enemy at front, plus allows a lot of space for ammo stowage so that the crews can deal with being outnumbered.  Stick on a  low slung, highly swept, mantel-less turret (see also “Chieftain”) combined with the best gun they had available to them at the time (the M68 licence copy of the excellent Royal Ordnance L7) and the Israelis had easily the best tank in the region for the war they planned to fight.

The Merkava appears to come in the two 1980’s versions:

The original Mk.1 with an external 60mm mortar for smoke and HE projection.

Mk.1 Merkava with external 60mm mortar

The later Mk.2 that took lessons from the Lebanon campaign to fix shot traps by adding “chain” armour around the rear bustle overhang as standard, and place the 60mm under armour.  I’ve got to say that the “chain” armour appears really nicely realised.

Merkava Mk.2 with additional armour, chain armour on rear bustle and 60mm mortar relocated inside

Both versions also feature multiple machine guns with loader and commander AAMG joined by an over barrel, solenoid fired, 0.50 for engaging soft targets without wasting HESH rounds.

Whilst showing us this new plastic kit, Pete also mentions that they “finally” have a plastic M109 coming out. I always wondered why such a widely used SPG wasn’t in plastic and I wonder if the emphasis on “finally” points to an issue that prevented it appearing sooner.  With revisions to artillery on the horizon, it may prove a well-timed addition to the range!

We then get a very brief look at one of the catalogue page for the Israelis.

Again, BF have been canny and used a resolution that prevents a satisfactoryscreen shot

We can see that the Israeli will be getting the Magach 6 as an option (sadly no Blazer ERA in view), as well as a sizeable infantry platoon and M113 to carry them.  But wait. What’s that in the bottom right?  Computer. Zoom and enhance!

CSI has given me unrealistic expectations of how effective zooming actually is…

Its not a great image but its a fairly distinctive bit of kit, the Pereh missile carrier. 

Pereh circa 2008 Gaza

This was developed alongside the Israeli Spike NLOS (non-Line of sight) missile in the late seventies, entering service in 1981, but was kept top secret until being revealed in 2011!  Taking the chassis of obsolete M48’s, a new turret was crafted that contained a pop-up launcher for 12 missiles, disguised within an elongated turret bustle.  A fake gun barrel was fitted to make it blend in as a gun tank.  Given they kept it under wraps for nearly thirty years, it was a surprisingly effective disguise!

The Spike NLOS is a development of the Spike ATGW, being larger to allow more range, and a radio-datalink. This allows the missile to be lobbed in the general direction of a target (up to 25km away) before the firer acquires the target via the missiles optics in the terminal dive.  This allows the firing platform to be entirely out of sight, as well as allowing the gunner to adjust the target all the way to impact.  It will be interesting to see how this target mode and range will be modelled.  “Hammerhead/Swingfire” doesn’t really encapsulate the engagement model – its more like a copperhead attack that doesn’t need an OP!  We will wait and see.

Iraq

Its fair to say Iraq was everyone’s best buddy during the Iran-Iraq war, and this makes for an interesting collection of equipment as they combine Soviet supplied T-72M, T-62 and T-55, with French hardware such as the Roland, Crotale and HOT missiles and the AMX based 155mm SP Gun.

Extreme weathering!

In terms of a force organisation that gives us:

an eye test…

All of the formations appear to be based on Soviet kit with the expected T-72M, T-62 and T-55.  We also have what appears to be BMP and BTR mounted infantry, again consistent with expectations.  It’s the force support where it gets really interesting:

This shot was a major pain to get!

As mentioned, the Iraqi’s enjoyed some considerable material support from the French and we can see that here with the Soviet 152mm Acadia being supported by 155mm AMX Auf F1, Spandrels being supported by the six-wheel version of the Mephisto HOT platform, and SA-9 and SA-13 being bolstered by Roland SAM.

On the other page:

It was a very good time for French sales…

Can’t decide between Hinds and Gazelles?  Iraq has you covered!  We also see the first clue of how Iraq fits into the Team Yankee universe as the receive US Air Support and a NATO formation box.  In the Team Yankee intro its the Iranians taking pot shots at Tankers that leads to a brief Soviet vs US naval engagement that kicks off the war.  Presumably, now the US are fully engaged in WWIII it’s time to settle that flash point up.

Stranger things have happened…

We don’t see much of the formations; Iraq’s T-62 formation is briefly seen but the resolution means we can’t determine skill or cost, yet.  It’s not too dissimilar to Warsaw Pact forces in having integral infantry and anti-air assets, though not quite as much as the average Eastern European force.

Iran

Well, it wouldn’t be Iran-Iraq without the other nation that starts with “I”!  If Iraq is a mix of Soviet and French hardware then Iran is even more eccentric as it combines British, US and Soviet kit!  This is borne out of the rather “lively” history of post War Persia/Iran; US/UK interests saw the Shah placed in absolute power after the Persian Prime Minister nationalised the oil industry, the Shah then repaid the US/UK by buying large quantities of advanced military hardware (F-14 Tomcats having their only export success!) but also oppressed his own people, leading to revolution.  Needless to say the Iranian revolution was decidedly “unkeen” on the UK and US (the Great Satan).  It wasn’t especially fond of the Soviet Union either (Lesser Satan) and thus saw itself largely isolated during the Iran-Iraq War.

What this does mean is that we have a mix of high-end western kit such as Chieftains, M47/48/60 Patton tanks, Scorpion recce tanks, AH-1 Cobras and TOW missiles combined with later acquired Soviet kit such as the T-62.  

So, lots of cool military kit. All good, right?

Well, the problem with revolutions, especially brutal religious ones over throwing equally brutal secular dictatorships, is you can’t trust the staff.  Iran military was crippled as those officers not executed fled the country. I suspect Iranian skill will not be high.  However, they can count on a somewhat fanatical edge to maybe, I suspect, maybe give them a better morale/rally/courage.

There’s one interesting formation to note, not only do we have an M113 mounted mechanised infantry option but we also see an infantry formation with no transport. Team Yankee’s first foot sloggers?  

Finally, the Iranians get the option of Soviet support in the form of SAM and SU-25 support, plus an allied formation.  Whilst there was, to say the least, little love lost between the USSR and Iranians (the latter agitating and supporting Muslim populations in the Soviet border regions and Afghanistan), WWIII apparently makes for strange bedfellows.

Team Yankee V2 and its first book

Finally, Peter notes the upcoming v2 to align TY with FoW, with artillery and morale being mentioned.  The case for a plastic M109 is made!  Peter also reveals the first book for v2 is… a new British book.  This will introduce the Challenger 1 and Warrior (no doubt both in plastic?) to the game.

Hmm… Iraqis, Challengers, Warriors.  This all feels very familiar…

Conclusion

So, there you have it.  It’s not only the WW2 chaps that get to be excited.  Team Yankee players have just as much to anticipate.  As always, we should get review copies of the new books to share with you all so stay tuned to the blog or our facebook page.

Hmm… having already sworn not to start any new armies, I can already see my FoaN army being used to sidestep this self-imposed restriction…

Category: Flames of WarIsraelTeam Yankee

8 comments

  1. “Greenfor” bring an interesting approach to army building to the table. The actual formations are very barebones and they’re expected to stock up on divisional support. I was previously upset with how much they got in comparison to NVA/LWP/CSLA but it seems the first appearances of the army chart was very deceiving.

    However as a Warsaw Pact player this teaser was a disappointment. There’s nothing for me to be excited about. Even some USSR-only models would have sufficed.

  2. No Syrian Army? There were several clashes between Israel & Syria in Lebanon in 1983. In a WWIII context this was a potential conflict

    1. No, but I think the Iraq list should allow a decent proxy, albeit sticking to the Soviet kit, no?

      That’s my plan, anyway (one of many, along with Israelis and some home brew Kuwaitis)

  3. If the Iranians have M48s formations, can we hope for plastic ones ? Well, I can’t see if it’s M48s or M60s on the screen.

    1. I think the Iranians had M47, 48 and 60s so the latter two may certainly be options.

      Sadly I suspect no M48 kit (although this is an in-house release so maybe more new model support than the Osprey books?) but I’d love to be wrong on that.

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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.