Going Dutch, Part 2 – From 0-85 in 8 weeks!

Today, Lee looks at building a Dutch army up from scratch.

Compared to the Canadian list article, I thought I would do something a bit differently with the Dutch article and look at lists with a  more “through life” approach.  So we’ll look at a 50pt “small game” force building all the way up to an 85pt full size force.  I want to try and avoid spending more than £250 and the best way of doing that is to make sure everything gets used from phase to phase!

The first place to start with “through-life” list building is to look at the elements we want to include.  That may be driven be raw effectiveness or simply because its something we want to paint.  Most units in the Dutch force tick both boxes!  The highlights for the Dutch are:

  • Cheap(er) Leopard 2
  • YPR-765 IFV and PRAT vehicles
  • PRTL Anti-aircraft artillery
  • M113 C&V

All good looking units with good effectiveness. Any lists I build will aim to get all four-five elements in as soon as possible.
The Leopard 1 with its cast turret is on the “want to paint it list” but the fact that it has no real saving over the superior West German version means its lower on the list.

My assumption here is that this will be taking place alongside an escalation league.  An escalation league is a way of letting new and established players build up a force and get in games doing it. The league is usually split into three or four parts, with the points available to a force going up each time.  Typically a player sticks with the same faction/nation throughout, but may be able to swap lists and exact force type within that faction freely.  In theory, players should be getting the next part painted whilst playing with the existing part so it should also mean that the armies are always painted. Real life can be a harsh mistress so it often doesn’t work out quite like that but its a nice aspiration!

This will be your greatest ally (that or an airbrush)

50pts – Mobilization to Contact

The obvious starting point for an escalation league is small points games at around the 50pt mark.

I want to split this into two parts, week one and week two+.

Week one sees us buy the Free Nation book and a box of Leopard 2 for a total of £45 RRP. I’ll assume the player blags a mini-rulebook and cardboard artillery template off a more established player who no doubt has such things going spare.

The Leopard 2 box gives us five excellent MBT, weighing in at ten points each.  They should easily be done in a week so our 50pt  list for the start of week 2 is simply:

  • one HQ Leopard 2
  • one platoon of two Leopard 2
  • one platoon of two Leopard 2

Simples!  A can of olive drab paint, a quick drybrush and some detailing will get those on the table within a few days of concentrated effort.

What we will find is that the Leopard 2 are going to be hard but a bit brittle in two tank platoons.  If the dice saves go your way you will dominate the field but flanking BMP-2 or helicopters can quickly see the MBT scrapped.  What we need is some staying power.

Enter our next purchase; a box of YPR-765 and a blister of infantry, totalling £49 RRP and bringing our total spend to £94 (but likely less with shop discounts, etc).  Sadly no plastic option on the IFV, hence the bigger hit on the wallet, but it does make for a quicker assemble so some more olive drab spray will get them and the infantry on the table quickly.  I’m going to assume that the hulls can be magnetised to accept both the IFV turret and the, unfortunately named, “PRAT” Hammerhead that also comes in the box.
A full strength platoon is almost as expensive as a single Leopard 2 so it slots in fairly well:

  • one HQ Leopard 2
  • one platoon of three Leopard 2
  • one full strength platoon of infantry with four YPR-765 IFV
    Plus an annoying single point that won’t buy us anything.

That platoon gives us some answers to both BMP (more hulls able to defeat the BMP and thus protect our flank, Dragon missiles can help deal with the target at range) and helicopters (“anti-helicopter” rated autocannons and Dragon missiles as an imperfect solution, but better than just relying on 7.62mm!

64pts – Escalation

An obvious intermediate step that ties in with this year’s tournament points.  This gives us an extra 14 pts (well, 15 given we were one point under) to play with.

Our “week four” entry makes use of the spare Leopard 2 and YPR-765 and combines those with a new purchase, a box of PRTL self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, retailing at £23 for a box of 3.  This brings our total buy to £117.

To fit all this in, we drop the infantry to its low strength option, letting us swap out the now redundant YPR-765 IFV turret for a Hammerhead.  Thus our list is:

  • one HQ Leopard 2
  • one platoon of four Leopard 2
  • one under strength platoon of infantry with three YPR-765 IFV
  • one under strength platoon of two YPR-765 PRAT
  • one understrength platoon of two PRTL

The small platoons bring us back to being brittle, but it gets us going quickly with minimal extra work beyond once again reaching for the olive drab spray.  The strongest element is the big platoon of Leopard 2 which need the other elements to help protect their flanks and the air above their heads.

We could stick with this till the next escalation, but my inclination is to start looking at offloading effort for the next step and, after a week or two, switch things up with another wave of purchases.  After the next month’s pay day, we visit our local friendly gaming store and purchase a box of M113 C&V, another blister of infantry and two boxes of YPR-765 for a total of £103 (probably going to need some more olive drab spray too…).  This brings our running total to £220.  I reckon that is all paintable in a couple of weeks as we can paint all the vehicles in one go and then do the infantry.

At this point we are going to switch our army to an infantry formation with the following composition, so our “week six” list is:

  • One HQ YPR-765/FAL stand
  • one full strength platoon of infantry with four YPR-765 IFV
  • one full strength platoon of infantry with four YPR-765 IFV
  • one platoon of three Leopard 2
  • one platoon of four YPR-765 PRAT
  • one platoon of two M113 C&V
  • one platoon of three PRTL

and an annoying extra point again!

This force has the advantage of having most platoons at full strength, giving a bit of morale resistance.  The PRAT make up for the loss of the one Leopard 2 and maintains our ability versus tank lists whilst the extra autocannons help out a lot versus BMP.  The force is also entirely in one formation too so everything contributes to keeping the formation in good spirits.

85 Points – Total War!

Our last stage and an extra 21 points (well, 22pts as we again have a point spare)! At this point we have spent £220 (but probably more like £200 assuming a 10% discount) but we have added all the key elements we were after and have only a few purchases to make to get to our target.  This week’s shopping list is:

  • One Stinger blister
  • One M106 mortar platoon
  • One more box of PRTL

For a total of £48.50 RRP and a combined total of £268.50.  With an assumed 10% discount we can stay under our £250 budget!  Again, that should all be doable in two weeks.

Our army list at “week eight” now looks like:

  • One HQ YPR-765/FAL stand
  • one full strength platoon of infantry with four YPR-765 IFV
  • one full strength platoon of infantry with four YPR-765 IFV
  • one platoon of four Leopard 2
  • one platoon of four YPR-765 PRAT
  • one platoon of three M106/120mm mortars
  • one platoon of two M113 C&V
  • one platoon of three PRTL with two stinger teams
  • one platoon of three PRTL as force support

The double PRTL, backed up by a pair of stingers and the inherent anti-helicopter capability in the IFV/PRAT, gives us some decent protection versus the leaf blower lists that may appear.

Massed BMP will have to deal with six 35mm and nine 20mm autocannons, plus long range fire from four 120mm cannons and four PRAT, whilst mortars suppress any infantry that may dismount.

Massed T-64 are going to have to duke it out with the Leopard 2 (and I’ll be choosing my shots carefully to make sure they stay alive against all those 125mm) whilst the PRAT try and pick them off at long range.  The Mortars provide smoke whilst the rest of the force deals with any supporting BMP and other elements.


All in all, we have a well rounded list that, whilst maybe not having the highest individual troop quality/motivation in NATO, is more than adequate and brings a lot of good kit to the table.  Best of all, we end the league on budget (paints aside) and with only one Leopard 2, one stinger team and one YPR-765 surplus to requirements!

6 thoughts on “Going Dutch, Part 2 – From 0-85 in 8 weeks!

  1. Nicely laid out escalation plan on a budget. Well written, too! A Dutch force is tempting.

    There is an alternative to save even more money. Unfortunately, it requires some patience and doesn’t (directly) support BF’s bottom line.

    Instead of buying the latest shiny, new army, buy an army that still has the “new car” smell but is a few months old. As an example, in the past couple weeks I picked up (on a large online auction site) a Stripes USMC force of a full M-60 formation and a full LAV formation, plus a box of Chaparrals and the Stripes book for less than half the list price. All the models were still in shrink wrap.

    In about 6 months, I’ll be looking for my Dutch force at a similar savings!

    1. Thanks!

      Better to use models than having them sit on shelves, unloved, certainly.

      But ultimately its important to support the LFGS so I try to buy new from them.

      1. Agree completely on the importance of supporting our local game stores. I submit that this online purchase will ultimately help my local store. How’s that? Well, I never would have purchased (or even contemplated) a USMC force at the store price, anyway, and now the store will get some extra business as the unit is completed. After already buying full US Army and East German forces locally, my conscience is clear. And, don’t forget, the original purchaser’s purchase also benefitted a local game store (most likely) and BF. Win-Win in my book!

  2. I want to thank you a lot for this article! I never know how to start and this looks like a nice all-round army to field. As a Dutch guy I have been waiting for this and all I knew is that I wanted to field Leopard 2’s. Thank you for sharing this stuff!

  3. Escalation leagues are generally run by shops who won’t be too happy if you go online to buy your models.

    Only thing more annoying is that leftover point as it mocks you throughout the entire game!

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