Beast Wars Part 2, or why Lee is wrong

Behold the power of maths

Recently Lee published an article on Breakthrough Assault comparing the various models of M1, and deciding which he thought was the best, utilising the power of maths to do so. I recommend you give it a read if you haven’t done so already.

WWIII:TY – Americans – Beast Wars! Comparing the M1 variants
Actual picture of Lee doing the maths

I had discussed this with Lee before he wrote the article, and told him that I thought the M60 was the best American tank. In his own article, his maths puts the M60 on top, but still he thinks the IPM1 is the best.

So, I am here today to argue the case for the M60, and tell Lee how wrong he is.

How the internet works

Now Lee has already used maths to prove how superior the M60 is, (although he subsequently ignored it). So, I will instead be using something else to prove my point; the power of theory, conjecture and my own personal opinion. That’s how the internet works.

You’ll never find a greater hive of scum or villainy ….. or pictures of cats

The M60 in Team Yankee

Army left, Marine Right

Whilst there are 4 versions of the M1 in Team Yankee, all with different armour and gun combinations, there are only 2 options for the M60 – Marine and Army. These have only minor differences, so I’ll talk about those later. For now, I am just going to talk about the M60 in general terms using the ‘Iron Triangle’ as Lee did in his article., comparing it to the different M1 models as we go.

Whilst the M1s have the advanced stabiliser rule, the M60s only have regular stabilisers, meaning they can make a tactical move of 10” or 14” and suffer a +1 penalty to hit. This means they can move at the same speed as the M1s if they accept the penalty to hit. This gives you plenty of mobility to get across the table and try and get round the sides of the big enemy tanks.

I won’t lie, if you field the M60s, you will lose tanks. Chances are there will be a string of burning M60 hulls spread out from your deployment zones. You have a front armour of 15, meaning you’ll get a decent save against the AT 17 of export T-55s, but things will get a bit more dicey against the AT 19 of some of the NATO tanks, and once you get up to the AT22 of the more modern Soviet and NATO tanks you won’t get any save at all. This is obviously not a great situation to find yourself in, but look at it this way, those tanks are paying a premium for high end AT to do a job that could be done just as easily by something cheaper, such as a T-62 or Leopard 1.

The side armour situation isn’t actually too bad. The M60s side armour of 8 is the same as the M1- the M60 is just lacking in any of the armour special rules. You don’t have Chobham. You don’t even have bazooka skirts. This means you’ll do just as well versus solid shot as an M1, but try to avoid any HEAT weaponry. I wouldn’t go assaulting any enemy infantry with M60s as you might lose them to defensive fire.

Ultimately, I just assume that anything that hits my M60s is going to kill one, and then it’s a pleasant surprise when you get an armour save.

The M60 is armed with the same 105mm cannon as the M1 and IPM1 which Lee has also covered in his article. In short, you’ll have a good chance against the older NATO tanks and any Soviet tank up to the T-72. You won’t be able to hurt the newer Soviet and NATO tanks.


It all comes down to cost

So far, we have established that the M60 is slower than the M1, unless it takes a penalty to hit, liable to explode as soon as anything with semi decent AT looks at it, and can’t even scratch the paint work on the newer Soviet and NATO tanks. But it does have one very important thing in its favour against the M1: its cheap. For the cost of 1 basic M1 you can have 2 M60s, for the cost of 1 M1A1HC you can get 4 M60s and still have change.

1 M1A1HC or 4 M60s and 2 TOW hummers?

This means that whilst you will have +1 to hit if you move 14”, you will have at least twice as many shots to make up for it. There will be wrecked M60s scattered across the table, but losing an M60 is not a big deal. Assuming you are playing 100pts an M60 is a small fraction of your force; if you lose an M1A1HC that’s nearly 20% of your army.

No amount of M60 shots will penetrate the front armour on a T-80, but as a full army company of M60 is 56pts, that still leaves plenty of points to add in a few units with AT23 TOW-2 or even a full flight of AT25 Apache helicopters and still have points left for other support.

Army or Marine

The army and marine M60s are only slightly different. The Army version have a laser range finder and all its courage stats are 4+. The marine version only has the accurate rule rather than the laser range finder, but they do have a better courage and remount score of 3+.

This means that the marine version suffers a penalty to hit at long range if they move and shoot, but are more likely to remount a bailed tank. You could argue that the improved remount on the marine version is a bit of a waste due to the proliferation of 2+ firepower in the game, (chances are any M60 hit by a main round from a 120-125mm cannon is a dead M60,) but I think that there any enough other things out there shooting at you that the 3+ remount might see use on occasion.

Ultimately, it will most likely come down to which in formation support choices you want. I personally have gone with Marine M60s as I like the big marine infantry platoons and the LAV.

RDF/LT Assault Gun

A “Tank”

There is of course one tank in the book that has not been mentioned yet, although calling it a tank might be a bit of a stretch – the RDF/LT Assault Gun.
So, let’s take a quick look at that.

With a 10” tactical move, no stabilisers and a moving RoF of 1, it’s slower and weaker when moving than both the M60 and the M1. However, it does have a decent cross-country dash speed, so you’re probably better off sacrificing a turn of shooting and moving from cover to cover. Which brings me to the next point…

This thing is made of paper; anything larger than a heavy machine gun can put a hole in the front it, and those heavy machine guns can hurt it from the sides. Any half decent IFV or AA gun will rip these things to shreds. You do have the Hammerhead rule to help, but that’s relying on you not getting hit rather than surviving those hits.

The XM274 isn’t bad, it’s AT19, so in line with some of the older NATO tanks, but you will need to get round the sides of the more modern tanks to do any damage. But given your slow speed and moving RoF of 1 you might struggle to do that.

Overall, the RDF/LT is an M60 dialled up to stupid. The M60 has just enough speed, protection and firepower to be useful, but the RDF/LT falls below this threshold. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure if you took a predominantly RDF/LT army you could have a great time, but you would need a different play style to using M1s and M60s.

If you’re wondering why no one has mentioned the M551 Sheridan, these articles are about using tanks as your main force which is something you cannot do with the M551.

Witty conclusion title here

So, there we go, between myself and Lee we have covered all the main tanks in the American book. I have made my case for the M60 and Lee his for the IPM1. Which do you think is best?

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