Lost Kangaroos – ANZACs in Free Nations

To wrap up our list coverage for Free Nations, Mark N has a look at the ANZAC forces, and strokes his ego… just a little

The Aussies (and Kiwis) arrive in Europe

Free Nations has been hotly anticipated for a while now. From the teasers last year hinting at the French Forces, Canadians, Dutch and even Aussies, there was a lot of hype floating around about this book. The inclusion of the ANZAC forces has caused a bit of a split in opinion, but why complain about more content?

Moving on from that, let’s have a little look at the state of the Australian Army in the 1980s;

The Australian Army in the 1980s was a strange amalgamation of older Vietnam era kit, and newer, more ‘modern’ kit, all clumped together into a usable force. Most of the APCs (M113 models) were in service when the ANZAC forces withdrew from Vietnam, and were kept in decent condition for use.

An improvement over my own humble attempt

Last year, Battlefront launched the highly successful online campaign ‘Firestorm: Red Thunder’. Many of you probably took part yourself and are familiar with the way it ran. It was map-based, and launched with the Soviet-bloc’s highly ambitious invasion of West Germany in 1985 (in the same way it occurred in the novel). Reports and results were posted, shaping the layout of the map, and not entirely following the story of the book either. It was fun, frantic, and an all round good time. Why bring this up? Well, towards the end of the campaign there were story elements dropped in by Battlefront to add some drama (and in the case of NATO, a sliver of hope). This was in the form of reinforcements for all sides. The US got a boost in Hof Corridor, West Germany got some troops in Niederbayern, and the Brits got II Corps. I was humbled to be asked to write up the II Corps pdf for players to use, and was given a rough outline to work on. The main body of it was Territorial Army troops (Brits with lesser ratings, and slightly different organisation). The padding at the back though, was the ‘adaptive’ lists for the ANZAC, and Canadian forces.
You can find my attempt here: British II Corps

With only the basic kit, and my own attempt at pulling from the West Germans to reflect the Leopard I armoured company it wasn’t a bad attempt. I even managed to squeeze in the MRV, since it was easy to plop a Scorpion Turret on an M113.
I’ll always be grateful to Battlefront for running with my officially-unofficial lists for a year, until Free Nations hit the shelves. And now, as I’ll show below, we have the proper lists, models and history for the ANZACs.

ANZACs in Free Nations

The ANZACs in Free Nations are primarily Australian, and the two main formations come from Australian Regiments; 5th/7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment are the mechanised infantry, kitted out in a similar way to British Infantry: 66mm LAW anti-tank weapons, Karl Gustav Missiles, and Milans (though only in a dedicated section. You can hear the only mild relief from Soviet players from here), but instead of the ‘not as useful’ battle taxi: FV432, the Aussies ride into battle mounted in the old M113s with the T-50 turret, with a .50cal and co-axial 7.62 to really pour out the fire.
The other Formation is from the 1st Armoured Regiment, entirely armed with Leopard AS1s, the export version of the Leo I, though identical enough for game purposes… except for their Brutal guns. Lightly armoured, and not as fearsome as MBTs of other nations, the AS1 can certainly put a bit of hurt on infantry and unarmoured vehicles.

Aussie Leos give painters a break from NATO standard camo

But where’s the NZ part of the ANZAC? Well, you’ll find the two recce sections from Queen Alexandra’s Squadron supporting in their Scorpions.

Tired of painting green camo? Kiwi Scorpions are just the ticket.

What did I miss?

In the pdf I gave a very bare-bones list for Aussies, based on the British Mechanised Infantry Formation from Iron Maiden. This meant that the support was 100% British; but in Free Nations, the ANZACs bring a few of their own special bits and pieces to the table. We’ll by-pass the British Support that they can take and move onto the new stuff.

Red Eye Section gives the ANZACs a ‘Blowpipe style’ troop, equipped with the older Red Eye Anti-Air missiles, and mounted in M113s, these troops cannot engage ground targets like Blowpipes can, but they are a nice little gap-filler when you have a couple of points going spare.

 Anti-tank Land Rover Section was first teased last year when Battlefront hinted that the Aussies were coming, and they were bringing Land Rovers. These ‘beauties’, to quote Steve Irwin, boast a heavy 105mm Recoilless Rifle mounted on a Land Rover. Equipped with Brutal HEAT ammo, these will put the fear into lighter Soviet Tanks and armoured tracks.

Cavalry Troop; while I didn’t entirely leave these out, I got them wrong enough for their inclusion to be noted here. Much like their fathers in ‘Nam, the Aussie Cav’ ride around in M74 turret armed M113s, with a 76mm HESH firing track in support. The scouting nature of these make them very viable, especially against Soviet Mechanised and Airlanding Infantry formations.

Putting it all together

In the same theme as the other Free Nations articles that came before (you did read them, right?), I’ve put together a little list that should deal with all-comers in an 85pts game:

Infantry are normally my go-to, but I really like the Leopard AS1

Formation: Leopard AS1 Armoured Squadron

  • HQ – 2x Leopard AS1
  • Compulsary Unit – Leopard AS1 Armoured Troop: 4x Leopard AS1
  • Compulsary Unit – Leopard AS1 Armoured Troop: 4x Leopard AS1
  • Formation Unit – Leopard AS1 Armoured Troop: 4x Leopard AS1
  • Formation Unit – M113 Cavalry Troop: 4x M113 LRV, 1x M113 MRV
  • Formation Unit – M113 Cavalry Troop: 4x M113 LRV, 1x M113 MRV
  • Formation Unit – M113 Mechanised Platoon: 4x M60 team
    with LAW anti-tank, 3x Carl Gustav anti-tank team, 4x M113 (T50 turret)
  • Support Unit – Land Rover Anti-tank Section: 4x Anti-tank Land Rover
  • Support Unit – Scorpion Armoured Troop – 4x Scorpion
  • British Support – M109 Field Battery: 4x M109 (The Aussies didn’t bring their own)
  • British Support – FV432 FOO: 1x FV432 FOO
  • British Support – Tracked Rapier SAM Section: 2x Tracked Rapier

No doubt many of you could sit and think almost immediately of a list that could tear this one apart. But let’s have a look at things:
The Leopard AS1 Formation is entirely full strength, with every available choice taken, and full strength Troops, giving them more survivability than the lesser 3-strong platoons. Their armour can’t take anything better than a BMP-1 cannon, but using them to pop out and hopefully take out the more threatening things while still sticking to cover is the key here. Their guns might suffer a little against T-64s (a common theme in this army, without Milans), but there’s always that chance.
Infantry will suffer, with the M109s pounding any dug-in positions, while the tanks roll forward blasting them out of their foxholes with their dreaded Brutal ammunition, while the Cavalry troop deals with any light vehicles or infantry brave (or stupid) enough to leave the safety of cover.

And of course, just to add a little worry to WarPac commanders, the Land Rovers

All that’s left to do now is wait for the Leopards to find the table, and the rest of the awesome new ANZAC kit of be released, and this ‘minor’ nation is ready to make waves with the big boys (Along with a little help from their British cousins)

One thought on “Lost Kangaroos – ANZACs in Free Nations

  1. “The inclusion of the ANZAC forces has caused a bit of a split in opinion, but why complain about more content?”

    You have a point but I would have preferred to see that content space used for a force that was actually in the theatre–and highlighted in the TY books–such as the Danes.

    Thanks for the review!

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