Iron Maiden established the British as having some of the list building components in NATO and ensuring the most clubs will have a fair number of British forces present. The arrival of “WWIII: TY – British” is therefore probably less about bringing new forces to the table, but more how existing Iron Maiden force can make use of the new kit.
The first thing we need to consider is the change to the force organisation chart. Iron Maiden made life very easy for British forces as it put all the “black box” unit choices from its formations in the force chart, with boxes for Chieftains, FV432 and Airborne Infantry, plus CVR(T). As the Chieftain and Fv432 formations already had an infantry or armour box respectively, plus CVRT, this allowed British forces to put a lot of support in without needing multiple formations. For example, a British Infantry force could easily bring two troops of Chieftains along, one in the formation and one in support, without needing to bring a Chieftain formation.
The new force diagram standardises on the new method of allowing “black box” units to be taken in support, but only if not already present in the force. That prevents some of the old list building advantages from being used anymore.
Now, we could just put our heads in the sand and carry on regardless as Iron Maiden still exists, but that deprives us of lots of new goodies, so let’s see how we can turn the frown upside down.
So, let’s assume you are a Chieftain player and previously bought a pair of FV432 infantry platoons along for the ride, each with attached MILAN section for a massive 18 points. Now, knocked down to a single infantry slot you could just go back to a single Fv432 platoon, saving yourself 9pts for something else, or you could find the 1pt for an FV432 HQ and have a very weak infantry formation *or* you could use the same amount of points for a full Warrior platoon, with MILAN section.
The trade-off is that you halved the number of MILAN and infantry teams, but the Warrior itself is a darn sight more useful than the FV432 sporting better armour, a better MG (thanks chaingun!) along with an anti-helicopter autocannon able to beat up BMPs which might be threatening the flanks of our MBT.
We can also use the Warrior to keep out 1-2 punch of infantry support. We keep one FV432 platoon in formation, with MILAN, unchanged. We then take an understrength Warrior platoon as a “black box” support choice. Even under strength, it still brings a trio of Warriors and six infantry teams to the fight, all for one more point than a second FV432 platoon with Milan. We lose the AT punch of Milan but keep our flanks anchored with infantry and gain some firepower versus light AFV and enemy Hinds.
Now let’s consider the flip side and consider you’re an infantry player who had a pair of Chieftain troops lending a helping hand. Six Mk.9s required 36pts whilst the Stillbrew Mk.10 required 42pts.
Again our options are to either ignore the support option and double down on just three Challengers in formation, or to combine the Chieftain and Challenger together to keep one in black box support.
Personally, exchanging six Stillbrew Chieftains for a trio of ROMOR does not seem a bad shout, it saves three points and buys a tank that is nigh-invulnerable to the enemy ground fire (so use the three points for more AA?). Sure, you can’t beat the alpha strike of 12 120mm shots as all six Chieftain open up, but that fire will quickly slacken as return fire finds its mark. By comparison, the six 120mm shots a ROMOR puts out will remain constant as the enemy fire just bounces off. Over six turns, I’d wager that the average shots per turn over the game stay the same!
The non-up-armoured Challenger is also worth considering as its still able to bounce most threats frontally, still benefits from having its weaker flanks shielded by a screen of infantry (if fielded well) and saves a bunch more points over 6 Mk.10; enough for more Milans!
The use of a Chieftain/Challenger partnership to maintain a 1-2 Tank punch is still viable, I’d partner 3 Mk.9s with 3 non-ROMOR Challenger. The challenger, being the hardier unit, would go into formation. The Chieftains would be sighted in the best ling range sniping position whilst the Challenger would go in a less ideal forward position, trusting its armour to save it whilst the Chieftain puts range, cover and its 4+ to hit with being the lesser threat to save it. The Challenger (ideally with the infantry HQ nearby to help remount) would aim to tank the majority of enemy fire whilst the Chieftain snipe away.
this gives the infantry a large tank force but we do need to find some points to pay for it; its nine points more than six Mk.10 chieftains.
If you can get past the suspension of disbelief required to accept 1980’s Marconi making a working radar, then the Marksman provides an effective dual use AA system to the UK armed forces. Whilst a lot slower than a Geppard, it still packs the same BMP/Hind shredding 35mm, and pairs it up with a slightly higher front armour that gives a better chance of bouncing any return 30mm fire that may come its way.
The easiest way to slot it in the force is to replace an existing air defence option, especially as its cost mirrors that of 4 Rapier or Blowpipes. Now, I wouldn’t replace a Rapier battery, especially if it’s the only AA in the force; ultimately the Rapier is far more effective at its (only) job of shooting down aircraft, being harder hitting and longer-ranged than the gun system.
But, if you relied on Blowpipe, or bought both Blowpipe and Rapier to the anti-Leafblower party then I may be inclined to swap that out for Marksman. The gun-based system is only beaten on the range and raw AT in direct fore by Blowpipe. Marksman puts more shots, of equal firepower, downrange and is only marginally lower in AT when used vs ground targets. Its also not a HEAT weapon so bazooka skirts do nothing to stop a bunch of tungsten 35mm rounds peppering the flanks.
The Fox Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Wheeled) is an odd one as I can’t quite work out what niche it’s trying to fill. As a combat system, it lacks the Scimitar CVR(T) top armour, mobility (on all but roads), morale or skill. As a “cheap, disposable, spearhead”, it’s beaten by taking just two CVR(T). As a cheap formation to act as a Challenger delivery system it lacks the Striker that makes CVR(T) a slightly pricier but better option. Massed autocannons are nice, and certainly that seems to be the focus of most the attention they are getting, but sooner or later you need to kill something expensive!
It’s a very nice-looking model, but so far the only situation I can see it winning over four Scimitars is if I need one point to squeeze minelets onto the MLRS. Speaking of which…
Whilst the British Army doesn’t hurt for artillery, more never hurts. The MLRS provides a broad area suppression weapon that could be of use when on the defensive as its “pie plate” salvo template can easily get a whole Soviet infantry company under it.
Whilst relatively low powered at AT3 and FP5+, having each MLRS count as two for weapons firing ensures a hit, making it perfect to force the enemy to keep unpinning. Its also still got enough punch to be a threat to light armour such as enemy SAMS or artillery, whilst still being able to harass heavy armour. The inclusion of minelets makes it even better as a three-gun battery will count as six for shooting, giving two tokens to drop amidst advancing armour and IFV. The only real downer is understandaby, no smoke bombardment.
It works well as a drop-in replacement for a four-gun M109 battery, trading raw killing power and smoke for area coverage. It’s harder to replace the cheap Abbot and 81mm mortar batteries but works well if you already planned a two gun approach, pairing the precision fire of the cheap artillery with the suppression of the MLRS.
Salvo weapons can be tricky to use on the attack due to the 6” keep out zone so, if you are planning to go on the offensive with near invulnerable ROMOR Challengers, you may want to keep with traditional tube artillery, though pairing an 81mm with MLRS on the same ranged in marker so the MLRS can pound away till the threat zone is breached, then use the 81mm for one more “pre-assault” barrage may be worth considering.
So there you have it. I haven’t really considered integrating the new stuff with the Gordon’s or a medium recce squadron but the guidance should still work when considering what to pair up with these more specialist forces. Certainly, I plan to add some MLRS to my 3RTR force and maybe 2RTR may lend a helping hand to the Green Jackets…
As ever share your thoughts below.
*Options for Change was the post-Cold War defence paper that basically led a massive drawdown of the British military and to many famed cap badges disappearing in a swath of amalgamations, 3RTR included.
Back in the day, I wrote an Iron Maiden article called “Options for Change” but it seemed a good title for v2 so I used it again!