The Product Guide brochures that go out to the stores have always been a handy source of intelligence for the avid follower of Battlefront’s games, and Battlefront have decided to cut out the middle man and send us a copy to have a look at. Rejoice and feast your eyes!
Stripes – Contents Preview
The brochure gives us a glimpse at the cover (now sporting the tag line “US Forces in WWIII.” Grumpy USMC types can relax) and a brief run down on contents.
We have 72 pages to cover the background of 7th Corps, 1st Armoured (a nice throwback to the “Fighting First” of the WWII game!), 82nd Airborne and 2nd Marine Division, and the following lists:
- M1 Combat Team
- Mech Combat Team
(both of these were the sum total of US lists in “Team Yankee”. I suspect they have changed from that book though)
- M60 Combat Team (presumably M60A3)
- Armoured Cavalry
- Cavalry Troop (presumably the Humvees)
- Infantry Combat Team (presumably linked to the 82nd)
- Marine Tank Company (presumably M60A1 – lacking modern gizmos!)
- Marine Infantry Company
- LAV Company
We also have scenarios and painting guides listed.
It looks like it will be a packed book. Only the M60 Patton formation diagram is present as a “squint check” and it seems to follow the “Team Yankee” format with an extra “double box” with an M113 silhouette, presumably the scout platoons seen in the “Red Thunder: Firestorm” campaign. M60 Patton stats are impossible to determine on the low-res PDF.
It looks like we have two boxsets to look forward to:
Bannons Boys is re-released but in a smaller format with three, rather than five, tanks and two helicopters. The blurb notes that the box can be built as an M1 or an IPM1 Tank Company. That is an interesting development! The IPM1 was an interim standard between the 105mm armed M1 and the 120mm smoothbore armed M1A1 of Gulf war fame. The IPM1 retained the 105mm M68 cannon, but in the larger, more heavily armoured, turret designed for the M1A1 (along with other M1A1 detail changes). I expect the IPM1 to match the M1 on most stats and certainly have a higher front armour, possibly a higher side armour.
The other new box is for the USMC with “Ryan’s Leathernecks”. It contains three M60 tanks and 6(!) Humvee. The Humvee models appear to sport M2 .50, Mk.19 40mm grenade launchers and TOW missiles, suggesting scouts and/or anti-tank platoons. I was hoping for a pair of LAV rather than six HUMVEE but its certainly not without its uses.
This is a mix of the old with the new. The Abrams (with extra units cards for IPM1), M113 APC/Mortar and M113 AT/VADS boxes all return.
In terms of new plastic kit, we have:
- M60 box containing 5 M60 tanks.
The M60 Patton on the cover have the normal large cupola of the M60 family (be interesting to see if the low profile “urban” cupola is in the box for futureproofing), smoke launchers, but no crosswind mast so I’m guessing they are built as USMC M60A1 (or the mast is too spindly to capture in plastic at this scale). We have eight units cards so its covering off multiple list entries and variants. No sign of a “Starship” A2 turret but that would be out of the scope of Team Yankee anyway.
- HMMWV Platoon containing Six plastic Humvees.
In addition to the options noted on the “leathernecks” box, we can also see a “Stinger” MANPAD being pointed out the roof hatch which suggest that the Stinger teams are being represented as a ”mounted” option much like Blowpipe in the “Iron Maiden” British books.
I suspect most US players will find a place for at least one box of the ever-versatile run-around.
- LAV Platoon containing 5 LAV.
The box shows three 25mm Bushmaster armed versions, plus a pair of Hammerhead TOW masts and one with no turret but two men which I guess would be the 81mm mortar version. The box content’s lists “two plastic AT upgrades” plus “1 mortar crew sprue”.
Sounds like a versatile box. I imagine most USMC players were going to have a platoon of LAV for scouting and it’ll be interesting to see how the other two variants fit in.
- UH-1 Huey platoon containing two UH-1.
The Huey appears in Team Yankee! I suspect the Huey is used because it kills multiple stones (especially with ‘Nam on the horizon) rather than having separate UH-60 Blackhawk and CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter kits, for US Army and USMC respectively. An understandable compromise for manufacturing.
The Huey itself seems to have M60 toting door gunners and a passenger cabin interior for true “guns blazing” posing. It’ll be interesting to see if the kit covers the USMC’s UH-1N twin engine and pointed nose recognition features.
After that, its metal/resin boxes.
- Rifle Platoon containing 1 M16 Team (CO), 9 SAW Teams, 2 LMG, 1 60mm mortar, 2 M47 Dragon, 2 SMAW
That’s a big block of infantry! The presence of so many, plus SMAW screams “USMC”. Whilst it has less AT punch than an M113 platoon (such as it is!), it has a lot of anti-infantry capability which may prove useful against the growing number of BTR-60 battalions appearing. Given the absence of a dedicated box, and the high number of unit cards, I presume it also covers the 82nd‘s Airborne Rifle Platoon too.
- AAVP7 containing two AAVP7 APC
It’s the modern equivalent of the LVT-4. A hulking beast that has the mid-eighties upgrade given the presence of the .50 and MK.19 40mm AGL turret. A quick check of modern ORBAT suggests that a Marine Rifle Platoon will be carried in two of these so you’ll want a box per Marine Platoon.
- M48 Chaparral SAM containing four M48 Chaparral
Finally addressing the Team Yankee anti-air shortfall, we have a quartet of Sidewinder wielding tracked vehicles. I’d expect something closer to a Rapier/Gecko than a Gaskin in performance and it should be a popular choice.
- M247 Sergeant York containing four M247 Sergeant York
Rumours of a grandstand terrain piece complete with rapidly vacating generals are not to be trusted…
In seriousness, the Sergeant York has been hinted at a few times, it looks like a good representation of the system pre-cancellation (assuming Ford ever fixed the numerous issues) and I suspect we’ll get a Gepard like performance (lower killing power as the 40mm underperformed compared to the 35mm) for the US Army to shred BMPs. Oh, and aircraft. Presumably. Maybe.
- AV-8 Harrier Flight contacting two AV-8 Harriers
The USMC get their own air-support in the form of a pair of cluster bomb (presumably the CBU-100 Rockeye that USN/USMC aircraft used to good effect in the 1st Gulf War) toting jump-jets. The fact that the nose is a separate part is used to good effect here to give the USMC the correct pointy nose compared to the RAF’s GR3 Marked Target Seeker rounded “snout”. Nice attention to detail.
- M551 Sheridan Platoon containing five M551 Sheridan.
With the 82nd in the book, this shouldn’t be a surprise but its still nice to see. At a glance it looks like a repurposing of the Vietnam kit (with the armoured commander cupola). It should provide some ranged anti-tank capability for an 82nd Airborne force.
We also have the M109 and A-10 boxes. The Mechanized Infantry blister isn’t mentioned but is presumably still present.
The product guide shows some new terrain off. We can expect two new pieces.
The Overpass had been spotted in some of the Battlefront “Red Thunder” campaign battle reports. We also have a “Department Store” to liven up any town on the battlefield.
Finally, the product guide has the release schedule for the above.
- December will see the army boxsets, Hueys and AAA released. January sees the USMC content released, including the plastic LAV and HMMWV, plus the Rifle Platoon and Sheridans.
So, no M2/M3 Bradleys or MLRS, but it looks like we can expect an interesting mix of heavy and light forces for the US in stripes. The USMC look to provide an Infantry force backed up with cheap light and medium armour. The 82nd will provide a US equivalent of the UK’s airmobile formation whilst the existing US forces get some love and attention too with some badly needed scout and anti-air support.
Breakthrough Assault will be taking a look at the Stripes book and its contents in the run-up to release so stay tuned and follow our facebook page to stay informed.