Following on from his Team Yankee State of the Union article, today Mark looks at how to build a better Soviet list.
Mourn the T72
A few weeks ago I took stock of the TY meta in the State of the Union article. Having run a couple of Tournaments and listened to feedback from regular players it’s obvious that Soviets are having issues. However, I think this is only in particular builds. Long story short, its T72 tank companies.
Now don’t get me wrong, I really like the T72 and wish it had more of a place. The issue is that you are paying quite a few points for FA16 that in a world of AT22 (I’m looking at you Chieftains and Leopard 2s), they might as well have no armour (well almost). Rather than bravely advancing, soaking up kills, but getting onto an objective what you tend to see is a load of burning wrecks.
Realistically you can look at about 15 T72s in a tank list assuming you want 6 platoons, some infantry and good AA too protect against those pesky harriers.
A reasonable tank list could look like
Medium BMP-1 platoon with Gremlin
4 BMP2 recce
4 BMP2 recce (over some arty)
Now on paper that is quite respectable; but from what I am seeing, it struggles. The ROF1 and 3+ to hit means that as they attack they will get chewed up by Milans and tank fire, while their AT22 gun is facing FA18/17.
Long story short vs a optimized NATO list (well certainly Brits and Germans), you are really up against it. So lets look at what can be done better.
Cheer the infantry
When TY first came out I remember some gnashing of teeth about infantry. The outcry was that they couldn’t kill MBTs in assault due to their TA2 and good side armour. While this is still true for Abrams and Leo2s, they can massacre the Chieftain and Leopard 1. Also every one of their teams has a RPG18 which will kill light stuff like Marders and Scorpions. That’s a lot of RPGs! Top that off with heavy machine guns and SA-14s and its a swiss army knife. The icing on the cake is the BMP, with the BMP2 being a real star with ROF3 (2 on the move) plus an AT21 missile which, in enough numbers, will kill those expensive MBTs. The final and massive plus for this combo is that all that inf and all the BMPs counts as a single choice for deployment and can deploy in 2 different locations.
An obviously non posed picture..
So working on the assumption that infantry is the way to go, and BMP2s if you can afford it, lets look any how else you can smash the NATO scum.
Well, first off lets look at arty. Ask yourself why arty. I mean, really think. What is it doing?
“Pinning!” you shout. Okay I’ll give you that, but there are other options with masses of machine guns and auto cannons to do that.
“What about smoke?” I hear you cry. Now you are talking, smoke is amazing as you advance. However its one use only and with your skill rating can’t be relied on [pre-planned markers can mitigate, if tipping your hand, somewhat – Lee]. A few wrong dice and your army is in the open, getting ripped apart. Although to be fair you can use a pre-planned ranged in marker to mitigate this.
Personally if I am going to spend the points its going to be BM-21 Hails. They can hide easily (there is no fire in the sky rule), have a massive template, smoke and a receivable firepower. I don’t need the AT as arty is not there to kill vehicles. Also if you are going to do it take an OP that 5+ to range in is a killer, 6 hails also helps you to hit the targets which is always nice!
So where should the other points go? Look no further;
Air Power, kicking butt since WW1
The Soviets can pump out a scary amount of aircraft, even without going with the Afghan list. 6 x Mi-24 Hinds and 6 x Su-25 Frogfoots can be devastating; however target priority is key.
Repeat after me…
“The air power must kill the enemy AA first”.
Those Hinds are there to primarily take out the Rapiers, Gepard’s, Vulcans and other nastiness. Most people hide there AA in woods, or behind buildings where their squishy shells cant be hurt. The upside of this is that you can normally place yourself to get concealment as well due to the tall terrain in the way. That +1 to hits really makes the difference to survivability.
Lets take Rapier, worst case. You in the open and him concealed. He shoots first, 8 hits, 4 saves and lets be generous and say 3 kills (actually its 2.64). So you come back with 9 shoots, 3 hit and results in a kill and a bail. That’s a morale check right there. Time it with your SU-25s and you now kill the rest of the platoon.
Not quite sure if its crop spraying or if its a evil Communist Chemical weapon dispenser?
Its about the long game. Kill the AA and even if you have a few planes left you will still whittle down the enemy MBTs. I say MBTs because those BMPs and infantry can rip pretty much everything else apart.
Yes you could try this tactic with just 6 Hinds but you need the redundancy and 6 SU-25s is definitely a redundancy!
So with 2 x BMP2 platoons, a HQ (BMP1 as I need to save points), 6 Hinds and 6 SU-25 you are at 77pts
Padding it out
At 100 pts you now have 23 pts left to uses up. Given that you have already bought the expensive stuff, you can still really go to town.
First of you have to shut down the enemy air. Harriers and Tornadoes will ruin your day and you can field 2 platoons of AA for less than the cost of 4 of them. Therefore I go with 4 Shilka and 4 Gopher. Shilkas are also nice late game for hunting light vehicles and digging out infantry.
BMP2 recce is a treat as well, so 4 will go in. They are another steal at 6pts.
Finally with the spare points I have decided on 8 Hails and an OP. While I am not the biggest fan of arty a massive template, can really stop enemy infantry moving around and pin those pesky Milans (looking at your 8 strong British air mobile platoon).
So at 100 pts we have the following:
Or forgot the fancy support and go for 30 BMP2! It still has enough AA to nobble those Harriers. The only drawback is it’s only 6 platoons, so tougher to manage in defence. However you can soak up punishment long enough for the air support to arrive and save the day.
Finally a balance with 8 platoons (great for ‘Dust Up’ and defence). It means even when half on, without deep reserves, you can put down 20 BMPs, 2 massive infantry platoons with integrated AA, and double air. If the enemy has aircraft or its deep reserves you get the Gophers and the Hinds/SU25s. What’s not to love?
Well there you have it, what is, in my humble opinion a few list options to strike fear into the NATO players. Forget the T72. Just stop feeding fragile tanks at AT22 guns. Let them waste that AT on BMPs while your airforce rips them apart.
NATO players go buy more Gepards and Rapiers. US players, sorry, that’s all I can say!