The Road to the Team Yankee GT -SWOTing it up

Today Mark analysis various potential lists for the 1st Team Yankee GT

The story so far

Some of the regular readers may remember a few months ago that I wrote and article about building a better Soviet list.  At the time the meta was seeing the Soviets getting hammered (The Historican results suggest they still are!) and people were still using T72s which frankly is asking for trouble vs the Milan and AT22 meta. With the release of the East Germans and Red Thunder, the Soviets now have more options and I have decided to take them to the 1st UK Team Yankee GT in August.  Now I need to work out what to take!

In order to work out a few list choices I am going to analyse the current META in a SWOT based analysis.  For those not familiar SWOT is Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.  By looking at what’s out there I can in theory build a list to exploit what Soviets are good at and mitigate the issues I will face at the 80pts level.

Such a SWOT

So lets start looking at the META from the prospective of a Warsaw Pact player.  Remember the event is open so I could face blue on blue.

Strengths:

  1. Large infantry platoons which are hard to shift once dug in.  Also large enough to take casualties on the attack.
  2. BMP platoons effectively give 2 platoons for the price of one; with BMPs acting as cheap light tanks while the infantry hold ground.
  3. Ability to saturate the air with aircraft and overwhelm enemy Anti-Aircraft (AA).  No other nation can take as many attack helicopters (12 – using Afghansty!) and ground attack aircraft (6!).
  4. Cheap access to brutal guns (T72Ms) to help dig out infantry.
  5. Lots of AA choices including the BMP2 30mm’s anti-helicopter rule, massed ATGW (sure its a +1 to hit, but when you are chucking out 12 Spandrels…), and all tanks have a FP5+ AA HMG.
  6. Good morale for Soviets with 3+ (2+ with formation commander)
  7. Mass –  The USSR can flood the board and cause the opponent a lot of problems deciding what to target.  You have to be willing to take casualties.
  8. Easy to make lots of platoons to allow front loading when half on/half off.
  9. With large infantry units and AA being in core (plus Hinds with Afghansty), you are very hard to break.

Weaknesses:

  1. Poor armour – When hit by Milans or AT22 you are going to have a bad day.  Even the T64 will fail to save half the time vs a Milan.
  2. Poor fire power on the move.  BMPs can’t fire missiles on the move, T55s have slow firin and no Warsaw Pact tank has a ROF greater than one.  This all means you need to spend a turn getting into position.
  3. Easy to hit means that you will take casualties and large units are hard to hide.
  4. Lack of cheap access to smoke (no cheap mortar units).
  5. Very few ground based weapons that can hurt a NATO MBT from the front.  Even BMP AT21 struggles.
  6. Hard to manoeuvre large forces without blocking each other.
  7. Poor skill for Soviets (East Germans are slightly better at a 50:50 chance) makes:
    1. Ranging in difficult for artillery.
    2. Performing Blitz, Shoot and Scoot and Dig-In orders hard.
    3. Assaulting very hard

Opportunities:

  1. Airpower, if applied in force, can destroy enemy AA and then pick off MBTs almost at leisure.  At 80pts, few armies will have more than one platoon of AA.  The biggest risk is Gepards (with Redeyes lurking around) but they are relatively expensive.
  2. Warsaw Pact forces can weather the storm with enough mass and flank the enemy where they can really hurt side armour.  T55s are perfect for this.
  3. Easy to prevent the enemy winning even if you can’t (i.e. create a mutual loss).  If the battle isn’t going well you can easily sit back and most missions at 16 inches from an objective prevent a ‘proper loss’.  Important in a open tournie environment.
  4. Warsaw Pact forces are cheap enough to make a Swiss army knife list where you have some of everything, whereas NATO needs to be more specialised.  Those NATO capability gaps can be exploited.
  5. Large frontage of infantry combined with minefield makes them perfect for defence.
  6. Easy to front load Warsaw Pact forces when half on/half off.

Risks:

  1. The GT will use a dice off to decide attacker in pre-decided missions.  This means I could end up not being able to stop myself defending in a game with deep reserves.
  2. British infantry is the current ‘sexy META’ with massive platoons (by NATO standards) and bags of Milan ATGW.  Due to the ROF2 when pinned, and the fact that its impossible in real terms to get Quality of Quantity in an assault, means that they are neigh on impregnable to assault until reduced to a few stands.  This means they need to be dug out by other means.
  3. In a BLUE on BLUE I could be facing a lot of Soviet Infantry so ability to shift large blobs is also  important.
  4. When facing a BLUE on BLUE air spam I need to have enough AA to hold my own.

The Lists

So I have 3 lists in mind based on exploiting my strengths and opportunities while mitigating my weaknesses and risks (I hope!).

Soviet Air and Inf spam.

What I like to call the Soviet Leaf Blower list (80 version)

BMP Motor Rifle Battalion

  • HQ BMP1
  • Medium BMP1 Pltn
  • Medium BMP2 Pltn
  • 4 SA13 Gophers
  • 4 BRDMs

Then from the Force support options

  • Medium BTR60 Pltn
  • 6 Hinds
  • 4 SU25s
  • 3 Sturm

So we have approx 35 vehicles, masses of infantry, a nice mix of missiles (AT19, 21 and, courtesy of Hinds and Storm 23 plus 4 AT27b from the SU25), plus a 10 aircraft strong air wing, meaning I have lots of options to punch through any MBT with ease.  The risk is that you need to wait for the SU25 to arrive to have the air mass to defeat the enemy AA, thus opening the door to engage the MBTs.  However, remember that its hard to hide MBTs from air as even low cover doesn’t conceal you from air.  The list will be handy if facing an Afgansty as the aircraft and BMP (all with an “anti-helicopter” weapon), combined with Gophers will really hurt their Hinds.

The list does lack Brutal guns which creates a risk vs dug-in infantry when attacking.  However, this is mitigated by the mass of firepower the BMPs, infantry and BTRs can apply.  Air can also engage reserve infantry as they arrive with canons and rocket salvos.

The list exploits the formation rules meaning that its very hard to break with only the Hinds, SU25s and BTRs in support.

Also the list doesn’t need to worry about being flanked in missions like dust up or counter-attack as there are no expensive side armour tanks to protect.  In essence I am punishing the enemy for spending points on AT19-22 weapons (Leopard 2 especially, but even all those 2pt Milan attachments in British infantry add up).

The list will struggle vs another BMP spam list ,where I predict a draw, but will happily deal with Soviet T72s and T64s which lack the ROF to dig this army out before the airpower defeats them.

East German armour and infantry.

T-55 Battalion Formation

  • Hq T55
  • 9 T55
  • 9 T55
  • 8 T55
  • 2 x BRDM

Plus a BMP Motor-Schutzen Battalion

  • Hq BMP1
  • Medium BMP1
  • Medium BMP2
  • 2 x BRDM
  • 4 x Gopher

Similar effect to the Soviet list above,with lots of infantry, but this time the enemy faces close to 50 vehicles!  I don’t care how many Milan you have, that’s a lot!

27 T55s provide a solid weight of fire to dig out infantry with their high firepower guns (sadly not Brutal) and statistically more effective ROF 3 FP5+ MGs, however they are next to useless against MBTs.  They have to flank and, along with their poor cross value, I wonder if 27 is enough to get them around the enemy if they focus fire on them and ignore the BMPs.  The list would need to be played aggressively, grabbing the enemy in the delicate parts and then un-subtlety hitting them until either you or they are expended.  There is little finesse to be had.   If you go slowly you will be taken apart piece by piece.

Tornado and Harriers are a concern but this is mitigated by 28 FP5+ shots and 8 FP4+ from the Gophers.  Even so I would expect a single pass to succeed and that could really hurt, especially with the number of vehicles creating a real parking lot.

The size of the force is something to consider.  It might be very hard to actually shoot as friendly vehicles block LOS.  I would have to be very careful.

East German combined arms

T-55 Battalion

  • T55 x 1
  • 9 T55
  • 9 T55
  • 9 T55
  • Medium BTR infantry
  • 4 Gopher
  • 2 BRDM

Then from the force support options

  • 6 SU25
  • 2 BRDM

Very similar to above but brings true combined arms with the support of an air wing.  The air wing is the answer to killing MBTs if the flank can’t be achieved.  While SU25s are expensive and only turn up half the time they do have a long range and can smash any tank even from the front.  6 of them can also take casualties and still push on.

The issue is that to do this I lose a platoon of infantry and downgrade the remaining platoon to BTRs, thus my ground footprint and firepower is massively reduced.  Also I will struggle in deep reserves with only a platoon of junk tanks and BTR infantry, recce and AA on the table.  Not good!  However, when attacking, 28 tanks is still a lot especially backed up by some SU25s.  However I fear the army is too based on the lucky roll of those SU25s.  If only the East Germans could have Hinds in platoons of 6!

Conclusion

So, I can discount list 3, which leaves the option of list 1 or 2.  I lean towards list 1 as more rounded however the tank mass of list 2 is appealing.

As a final attack I could just go 50 T55s, AA and double recce.  That’s a lot of guns, and I do have to remember the ‘Bomber will always get through’ mentality when it comes to flanking enemy tanks… I would be screwed in deep reserves though!

I’d love to hear all your thoughts.  What do you fear on the table when facing Soviets and what would you bring?  Drop me a line below or on our facebook page.

Bye for now, as I have loads of tanks to paint!

 

 

Category: East GermansList DiscussionRamblingRed ThunderSovietsTacticsTeam Yankee

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4 comments

  1. Not being a tournament player, I don’t really know much about the GT regulations, but will multi-formation lists be allowed at it? I find it interesting that you seem to be going for single-formation lists with larger units, when most discussion I’ve seen suggests that MSU is currently in vogue for Warsaw Pact lists, using multiple formations containing small or minimum sized units to take maximum advantage of the healthy points break smaller Warsaw Pact units get (especially NVA ones).

    I also wonder if you’re wanting to focus down on Soviet infantry and air-power whether or not it would be better to cut out the middle-man and just run an Afgantsy force. Sure you’d loose out on the BMPs, but in exchange you’d be able to much better capitalise on the strengths you’re looking at, with extra Mi-24s to ensure an effective SEAD attack and harder, tougher infantry to hold ground – plus the extra stat boosts make movement orders a more viable option and help level the playing field in assaults if one is so inclined.

    Personally, I’m not too concerned about what the ‘meta’ says. Like I said I’m not really a tournament player, or even much of a competitive player, so I mostly base armies around aesthetics and what I think would be cool – hence my main two lists shaping up to be an Afgantsy force with maximum infantry and aviation, because I’ve wanted to run a Soviet helicopter-mounted air-mobile force since the start, and a tank battalion build around a few T-64s and as much high-end support options as I can squeeze in around them, because I want an army of the biggest, flashiest most high-tech Soviet stuff I can get and the models are ace. Will they win lots of games? Maybe, maybe not, but at least they’ll look awesome on the tabletop.

  2. If you are worried about British infantry, HAILs and Carnations are the answer, combined with your massive amount of firepower from BMPs and BTRs, you should be able to handle them. I’d go with your first list, but drop down your infantry to get artillery. Perhaps take the first list as East Germans as well to take advantage of the better skill for the artillery.

  3. Reading no. 3 of opportunities is so unsportsmanlike.

    “Easy to prevent the enemy winning even if you can’t (i.e. create a mutual loss).  If the battle isn’t going well you can easily sit back and most missions at 16 inches from an objective prevent a ‘proper loss’.  Important in a open tournie environment.”

    Sorry with that attitude nobody should ever win a single game or even tournament. And I always thought british are sportsman to the bone.
    And it´s one thing really breaks TY and even V4 FoW really and needs to fixed.

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Article by: Mark Goddard