The throaty rumble of the M1’s turbine engine pierced the stillness of the morning. The treads crunched over the dewy grass as the beast inched its way forward through the dawn air. In the commander’s hatch Captain Vickers, the company commander of Bravo Company surveyed the scene in front of him. The beautiful German countryside stretched away in front of him. He took a moment to drink in the serenity of the moment and then the radio crackled to life.
“REAPER SIX ACTUAL THIS IS FOXTROT ZERO ALPHA. MESSAGE. OVER”
Vickers depressed the press to talk button and responded “FOXTROT ZERO ALPHA THIS IS REAPER SIX ACTUAL. SEND. OVER.”
“REAPER SIX ACTUAL STAND BY FOR ORDERS”. There was a brief pause, just long enough for Vickers to pull out his notebook and pen. “REAPER SIX ACTUAL YOU ARE TO PROCEED TO PHASE LINE SMASH AND CLEAR ENEMY FORCES IN BOUNDARIES. INTELLIGENCE INDICATES THAT THERE ARE REMNANTS OF A GUARDS TANK COMPANY IN THE AREA OF GRID 908640. ACKNOWLEDGE. OVER.”
“FOXTROL ZERO ALPHA. OK. OUT.”
Vickers caught the eye of his Company Second in Command in the Abrams across from him and gave him the thumbs up. It was time to go to work.
I finally managed to get a game of Team Yankee in against my good friend Simon (BHGS National Flames of War Champion no less!) not only would this be my first ever game of Team Yankee but it would be the first run out for my US Tank Company – Call Sign Reaper Six.
My force was 80pts of the best that the US, or more precisely – my paint brush, could muster. In short I was fielding a Company Commander and 2 i/c in M1 Abrams. Two M1 Abrams Tank Platoons of two tanks each. A platoon of two M901 ITVs and a platoon of two M163 VADS. In support would be a flight of two AH-1 Cobras and a flight of four A-10 Warthogs.
I would be facing a similar pointed force of a Red Banner Tank Division. Simon was putting in front of me a Battalion Commander in a T-72. a Tank Company of 6 T-72s. A BMP Motorifle Company. A 2S1 Carnation Sp Howitzer Battery. A platoon of two ZSU-23 Shilkas. In support are two flights of two MI-24 Hind Assault Helicopters and a flight of two SU-25 Frogfoot.
We rolled for the mission and came up with Hasty Attack. I won the dice off to attack so Simon chose to defend the table edge with the tree line in it for cover.
With the objectives placed Simon deployed his force. On the table he placed his T72 Company, a flight of two Hinds and his Shilkas. Everything else would be held in delayed and scattered reserves. With a company of T72s deployed in front of one of my objectives it was natural choice as to which objective I removed.
I had to place at least half my force in Reserve so I chose to have on table the Cobras, the ITVs and a platoon of Abrams.
With the pleasantries out of the way it was time for the metal to meet the meat!
A T72 Company covering a treeline. A tough force to shift
I rolled for my reserves, getting one on the first try. I chose to bring on my A-10 Warthogs but I’d have to wait another turn before I could roll to see if they were available as Strike Aircraft. The Abrams on the right flank gunned their engines and, along with the Company Commander, moved forwards; using the cover of a hill to mask their advance. On the left flank the Cobras’ thundered forwards to take up position behind the treeline to engage the T-72s.
The ITVs were the first unit to fire the shots in this engagement. Sat in the wheat field their ‘hammer head’ turrets acquired the T-72s in the treeline opposite. A moment later and the air was filled with the woosh of rocket motors from two TOW missiles. I rolled to hit and scored a double six! Simon failed both armour saves and this meant that the Company Commander and a luckless Communist lackey were facing almost certain oblivion. Unfortunately I whiffed one of the firepower tests, which meant that the Company Commander was merely bailed. The lackey was not so lucky; the turret, sent spinning into the air nearly took out one of the Cobras.
The Cobras jinked their way through the unit aircraft fire and attempted a Rocket salvo but failed to score any hits.
Simon’s turn and he managed to remount his Company Commander. Sensing that the main battle would be on the right flank he moved his T-72 Company at maximum speed across the board. His Shilkas met them halfway in order to provide anti aircraft cover for their advance.
The Hinds moved in on the M1 Abrams gunning towards the objective. As they swooped over the hill the Abrams commanders cried out with alarm and unleashed a hail of lead towards the fierce looking helicopters. The armour of the Hinds shrugged off the .50 cal shots, but a stray 7.62mm round pierced the canopy and hit the pilot full in the face. The Hind spun out of control and exploded in a spectacular fireball on the hill. Spurred on by the loss of his comrade the other Hind gunner loosed off an AT-6 Spiral missile. Unfortunately it failed to hit anything.
With nothing else to shoot it was my turn again. I successfully rolled to see if my Warthogs would arrive, however no reserves turned up this turn.
The Warthogs’ flight commander saw the mass of T-72s advancing towards the right flank and vectored in on them. In the meantime the Cobras’ stayed stationary while the M1 Abrams and ITVs moved towards the objective.
The Shilkas heard the whining jet turbines and slewed their turrets round and unleashed a hail of 23mm rounds towards the flying crucifixes. An A-10 suffered catastrophic hit to its engines and ploughed into the ground in a ball of fire.
A loud tearing noise split the air and a hail of 30mm rounds sliced into the Shilkas like a hot knife through butter. They never stood a chance and were destroyed instantly. The remaining two A-10s loosed of a pair Maverick missiles and took out two T-72s; their armour offering little protection. The Cobras fired a pair of TOW missiles and destroyed another T-72. Simon’s tank company was now down to just two hulls.
Simon decided to extract revenge and moved his T-72s up and fired off a volley of shots towards the M1s currently contesting the objectives. Unfortunately a combination of the terrain and the distance meant that the shots missed. The surviving Hind moved in for the kill and fired off a Spiral missile towards the M1 Abrams platoon, claiming one.
I was now faced with problem of such small platoons for the US. I was forced to roll a moral check for the platoon, but luckily I passed.
My third turn came and I rolled for reserves and fortunately got a platoon on table. I decided to bring on my second M1 Abrams platoon and they made a dash straight towards the middle objective.
The A-10 Warthogs arrived again and zeroed in on the remaining T-72s and killed both with a salvo of Maverick missiles.
Reaper Six Actual acquired the Soviet T-72 left in sole contention of the objective, squeezed the trigger and sent a round of 105mm APFDS down range. BOOM! A direct hit which sent the T-72 turret spinning.
With only a sole independent team left on the table Simon automatically failed his Formation Morale test and that was game. A 6-1 win to the US!
We had a quick debrief and Simon said that he should probably have put his T-72s in Ambush to keep me guessing and honest.
Like most people I was surprised by how fast and bloody Team Yankee is. It certainly feels a lot “slicker” than Flames of War. I love the concept of the unit cards as well as they have all of the useful unit stats easily to hand.
I’m certainly hooked and will be looking to round out my US force and jump in with the Brits as soon as they arrive.
“HELLO FOXTROT ZERO ALPHA THIS IS REAPER SIX ACTUAL. MESSAGE. OVER.”
“FOXTROT ZERO ALPHA. SEND. OVER.”
“ALL REAPER SIX CALLSIGNS ARE NOW AT PHASE LINE SMASH. ONE TIMES T72 COMPANY AND SUPPORTING ELEMENTS ENCOUNTERED AND DESTROYED. NOW CONSOLIDATING ON THE OBJECTIVE.”
“FOXTROT ZERO ALPHA. OK. OUT.”
Vickers breathed out a sigh of relief. His first real opportunity to relax since the start of the morning. He surveyed the carnage ahead of him and was shocked by the mess made of the T-72s by the Warthogs. He didn’t relish the thought of facing the formidable SU-25 Frogfoots, the Soviet equivalent. In fact the mere thought sent a shiver down his spine. He glanced over his shoulder and saw the smouldering wreck of REAPER 12. None of the crew made it out alive. Vickers was distracted by what he would write in the letters to their families as the radio crackled to life again.
“HELLO REAPER SIX ACTUAL. THIS IS FOXTROT ZERO ALPHA. STAND BY FOR ORDERS. OVER.”
Post Script – Noob Errors
This being our first real game of Team Yankee it was inevitable that we made a few mistakes.
Simon’s force was strictly speaking illegal as he had only one of the compulsory choices. Strictly speaking he should have had two Tank Companies, however as this was a friendly introductory game we decided to let it slide.
I managed to roll my Reserves on in the first turn and chose to bring on my strike aircraft. However as the order of the Starting Step shows that you roll for availability before you roll for Reserves, we assumed that they would only be available in the next turn. There has been a clarification to this in the errata, as found here on page 7.
We forgot that T-72s have rangefinders which ignore the +1 to hit. This meant that he may have had a slightly better chance to hit my Abrams in Turn 2.
None of this however detracted from a fun game!