Nordic Giants – An overview of the Nordic Forces book

Nordic Forces is here to finally open the Northern Front so let’s take a look inside and see what the book brings.

After the normal preamble explaining the disposition of forces in central Europe, we get three pages explaining the war in the North.  Basically, the Soviets attack Norway to neutralize a major threat to its naval operations and, to accomplish this, somewhat makes an inexplicable rod for its own back by breaching the neutrality of the non-NATO (at the time) Nordic countries; Sweden and Finland.  Not great for the USSR but great for us as it gives us an excuse to get these bad boys on the battlefield.  The events in Jutland are also explained and we end the background on Week 3 of the war with the USSR considering amphibious landings.


Finland has been long awaited in Team Yankee as players wanted an army with a Warsaw Pact kit but NATO-style ratings and they don’t fail to meet expectations.

We get three tank different tank formations, plus two infantry formations.  These are backed-up gun and rocket artillery, gun and missile anti-aircraft platoons, recce and missile anti-tank plus support from Sweden in the form of Viggens (I was hoping for Finnish Drakens or Hawks) plus one unit each of Swedish tanks, infantry AA and attack helicopters.  Quite handy if you don’t want to commit to a full formation!

Tank Formations

All three Tank Formations have the same layout; a single HQ tank, two compulsory three-tank platoons of the core type (same as HQ), one optional platoon which can be any of the three tank types, plus an infantry platoon (BTR or BMP), Carnation battery and ZSU-57 platoon.  It’s a good combined arms formation, maybe let down a little by the archaic nature of the ZSU-57 but it can still do a satisfactory job vs helicopters and ground targets.

The tanks are one of three types. 

The T-72FM1 is a standard export model T-72 upgraded with western a new engine, Fire Control Systems and better than export standard ammo.  This manifests in a 40” range, Thermal Imaging equipment and an AT22 main round.  The new engine doesn’t do anything to the, already satisfactory, T-72 movement and cross stats.  Armour remains as per other export models, a somewhat dicey FA15, however the good standard of the average Finnish conscript does at least translate to a “Hit on 4+” to provide some passive protection and the skill 3+ should allow reliable use of “Blitz” and “Shoot and Scoot” to jockey the tank.

The T-72FM2 is a further upgrade.  In real life it only existed as a single “Finmod 2” prototype before the Finns bought Leopard 2s but, in the TY universe, the pending war bought plans to fit Kontakt 1 ERA forward.  The tanks benefit from a leap in protection, gaining FA17 and an effective side armour of 16 vs ERA, albeit not to the same levels as the equivalent T-72B.

The final entry is the humble T-55.  The flavour text states that the crews found it superior to the unmodified T-72 which seems like a big claim.  It certainly out-reaches other T-55 with a 40” range but its stock armour means that it better get its hits in early.

All in all, the tanks are… satisfactory.  If facing the likely historical northern forces of the Soviet Union they’d likely give a good account of themselves but T-72B and T-80 will push them.  Ultimately the RoF1 main gun and small platoon size are the biggest limitations.

Infantry Formation

Of course, every Flames of War player knows that the Infantry is where it’s at with Finns and the Team Yankee equivalents are no exception.  There are two versions of the Jääkäri, one mounted in BMP and one in BTR-60. 

The platoons are very different but the formations are largely similar with a single infantry HQ team and transport joined by two to three infantry platoons (all the same type, though the BMP version can mix BMP-1P and BMP2 platoons), a tank platoon (any of the three types), a recoilless anti-tank gun platoon, MANPAD anti-aircraft platoon and both 81 and 120mm mortars.  This makes for a very good combined arms formation!

The Finnish Infantry is Cautious (hit on 4+), Fearless (3+) and Veteran (skill 3+) though their assault and counter-attack value is only 4+.  The majority of their platoon consists of MG teams basing their firepower around the PKM and backing it up with 66mm disposable rockets.  In the BMP units, this is the only team they have, though one stand can be upgraded to an APILAS team to increase its AT to a fearsome 21, though at the expense of anti-infantry capability.  They are backed up by BMP-1P (BMP-1 with optional AT-4 missiles in place of the old AT-3 missile) though one platoon can have the BMP-2.

The BTR platoons are larger, with more MG teams and also two dedicated anti-tank stands equipped with either S55 rockets (similar to the RPG7 in looks) or APILAS.  Whilst you lose the ranged missile fire the BMP bring, you do gain more mass.

The Finns build upon the Mortar Group introduced by the VDV lists by featuring man-packed gun teams!  Not only do we have medium and heavy mortars but also recoilless rifles.  The rifles are a neat ambush weapon; the AT18 is even able to defeat ERA and can be backed up by a pair of APILAS teams to really hammer an enemy.

Support Platoons

In terms of support, the stand-out unique units are the T-55 Marksman and the PSTOHJ Anti-Tank Missile Platoon.

The T-55 Marksman marries the obsolescent T-55 chassis with the GEC Marconi Marksman Turret.  We’ve previously seen the turret on the Chieftain Marksman and there is no change in gun performance, just a small drop in mobility to reflect the change in chassis.  Capable of chewing up infantry, light armour and aircraft, the platoon of three Marksman is pretty much a must-have.

The PSTOHJ platoon is another must-include.  The platoon marries four man-packed TOW teams with two BMP-2, giving a decent salvo of AT21 missiles to send down range and bolster the short-range AT of the infantry.  The dismounted TOW teams give some survivability versus direct-fire AT shots compared to a light armour platform, though they can suffer if the enemy lands artillery on them.

I was hoping we’d see MT-LB mounted infantry as an excuse to bring the versatile Soviet platform to plastic (imagine a kit that made the APC, SA-13 SAM and Sturm platforms!).  The Finns used more of them than the BTR!  That said, I really like the BTR-mounted infantry, backed up by Finnish and Swedish armour and aircraft.  Expect to see more thoughts on these on the pages in the near future!


Possibly more eagerly anticipated that the Finns were the Swedes or at least their funky S tank!

A very angry wedge

The Swedes also spent the Cold War maintaining a neutral stance (albeit very Euro-centric) and using a largely home-based industry to support a conscript/professional force to guard the land borders and Baltic coast (including Gotland island).  What that gives us players is a motivated, skilled force backed up by a unique kit.

The force consists of two tank formations and a single infantry formation.  These are backed up by a single artillery battery, two missile SAM platoons, two helicopter platoons, Viggen fighter bombers as well as the recce and AT we see in the infantry formations.

Tank Formations

Both the STRV 103 and 104 formations take a similar form; an HQ platoon of 2-3 tanks, two to three three-tank tank platoons, a recce platoon and up to two infantry platoons.  With no artillery, they aren’t quite combined arms but the presence of two infantry platoons is interesting and may save a need for multiple formations in a force.

The STRV 103C “S Tank” reflects Sweden taking an interesting route to answering the same question that the Merkava and Chieftain attempted to answer; how to optimise the tank for a mobile defence.  If the Chieftain tried to lower the MBT silhouette by reclining the driver then the S-Tank went “hold my Starköl” and took the whole turret off, revising the assault gun.  Advanced suspension allowed the gun to elevate and, whilst unable to fire on the move, crews were able to fire from the halt effectively enough that they could match its contemporaries for effective move and fire.  This was all backed up by a diesel-gas turbine hybrid power unit and a long-barrelled auto-loaded version of the British L7 105mm.

This translates to a punchy medium tank with an interesting twist; it can remain gone to the ground when it fires.  Combined with a “hit on” of 4+ and a skill of 3+, the S-tank can jockey and harass the enemy whilst minimising the exposure to its comparatively low armour.  I was, however, surprised it didn’t get an exception to ‘deep defence’ given it was built for a defensive fight; each tank can create its own tank scrape with a built-in bulldozer blade.  Forced into a mobile fight, it suffers from its RoF 1 and needs to exploit cover whilst having a surprisingly poor 4+ cross-check.  It’s also worth noting that it has no night-fighting capability though I’m not sure if IR didn’t just get missed off.

The STRV104 is the venerable Centurion, dragged from the 1940s into the 1980s with a new FCS, a diesel powerpack and even some Swedish-designed ERA.  It’s the latter that makes it stand out compared to, say, the Leopard or Danish Centurions.  The FA gets bolstered to a, still light for 1980, FA14 but all facings gain an armour of 16 vs HEAT rounds, helping vs the BMP swarm.  Whilst it shares a moving rate of fire of 1 with the S-Tank, it does have a stabiliser so you can get a 14” tactical when you need it.  I think I lean toward the 104 is the better all-rounder tank, though I’m sure Duncan would vehemently disagree.

Infantry Formations

The armoured rifle company provides the only Swedish infantry in the book but is, at least, pretty solid.

The formation has a single-stand HQ plus APC, two-three armoured rifle platoons, a tank platoon, two gun-based tank destroyers (one armoured, one soft skin), one missile-based tank platoon (which can be either armoured or soft skin) and recce platoon.  There is no mortar or other artillery in formation which limits the combined arms nature of the formation, as well as the artillery capability of the whole force given that limits it a three-gun Bandkanon battery!  That said, the formation still provides a load of anti-tank firepower.

The platoons themselves are cautious (“hit on” 4+), confident (morale 4+) and veteran (skill 3+) but, like the Finns, drop off in the assault with a 4+ assault and counter-attack.  They pack a lot of firepower with three MG teams (also able to fire as 74mm rocket teams), three Carl Gustav (Grg m/48) and three 20mm armed APC.  Additionally, the MG teams can upgrade their 74mm rockets to 84mm disposables (the AT-4 as it would be known by the US and the rest of NATO), matching the Charlie G for range and AT, albeit only FP5+.  One Carl Gustav can also be upgraded to an RBS-56 BILL team, a wire-guided missile with a downward firing warhead, granting it AT22.

As noted earlier, the formation isn’t hurting for options.  The IKV provides a low-end AT capability that likely finds a niche versus BMP in lieu of a gun-based AA gun like the Gepard or Marksman.  Whilst called a tank destroyer, its 90mm is feeling decidedly dated at AT17 HEAT vs any MBT worth it’s salt.  The formation can also field some Volvo C303 soft skins with 90mm recoilless guns.  These have a similar AT but a shorter range but are sneaky enough to gain Scout.

The guided anti-tank is provided by either (lightly) armoured PVRBV 551 with TOW missiles or the Volvo C303-based PVPJTGB with either TOW or BILL.  The PVRBV is cheaper for 3 but lacks scout.  On the other hand, the Volvo C303 is a soft skin and I know how quickly my Israeli TOW jeeps die…  BILL has a shorter range than the TOW (40” vs 48”) but a higher AT (22 vs 21).  The extra pip of AT does make a case for risking the “soft option”.

Finally, the formation has its own recce in the form of the PBV302 in a scout role.  The formation support assets also appear in the force diagram so you can load up on 90mm guns or ATGW should you need it!

Support Platoons

Looking to support, three Bandkanin form our sole artillery for the Swedes.  Thankfully the auto-loading 155mm hits hard with the “autoloader” role ensuring whatever it lands on gets hit.  Still, you can’t help but feel that it’s going to be overworked by all the demands on it.

Anti-aircraft is provided by up to two platoons of Lvrbv 701.  These each have three vehicles sporting an RBS70 missile.  The range is a little short at 56” but FP4+ and a ROF of 2 should ensure it lands some hits.

The Swedes use a licence-built version of the Bo-105 that replaces its HOT missiles for iTOW.  Whilst the iTOW can struggle versus top-end Soviet kit, it can still be a useful asset.

Finally, the Swedish Air Force rocks up with the Viggen.  Sporting a 30mm cannon and 135mm rockets, it would be a fairly nasty threat already but it also comes with Maverick missiles.  Sadly these aren’t optional so it makes for a pricey air strike which is often overkill against all but the heaviest armour.  Shame as the 135 rocket pods pack a punch (but are one-shot).

All in all, the Swedes have some interesting toys but I do wonder if they risk getting overwhelmed with the lack of artillery.  High-end armour is also a threat with no Swedish tank able to shrug off a 125mm hit (not even the export model!)  From a player perspective, all those resin APCs is also a pricey proposition.


Next on our Scandinavian mystery tour are the NATO boys, led by the Norwegians.  I was looking forward to the Norwegians (and the Danes ) for two reasons, neither of which are in the book!  Doh. 

I can’t rule out the F-16 not being included because the Kiwis are still hurt they didn’t buy it…

I can see why the F-16 may not make the cut (aircraft models appear to be a pain to produce.  Maybe the Dutch/Belgians as the other half of EPAF will get luckier), but the lack of a Super Chaffee came as a disappointing surprise.

Still, Norwegians need not despair as I think they still have something going for them.

We get one armoured formation with Leopards and one with M113 mounted infantry.  So far, so generic, I hear you cry.  Even the artillery option of the M109, everyone’s favourite 155mm artillery piece, does little to change that impression.  But check out those Recon and Anti-tank options.  That’s right, we get to drive the Merc!

Tank Formations

Anyway, I also think it’s worth digging a little deeper.  Let’s take a look at the Leopard 1 Tank Squadron.

On the face of it, its fairly standard by Euro-Leopard standards.  HQ of 1-2 Leopards, two-three troops of Leopards.  No HESH so no brutal and no Thermals, only IR.  The rest of the formation gets a bit more interesting.  I’ll explain the Storm Group in a minute, but let’s take a gander at the NM142.

That’s right, it has a TOW-2 option.  Even better, it comes in a platoon of four such vehicles so no running off like the M901 normally does!  This brings a healthy dollop of firepower to support the nippy Leopards as they flank the enemy.

Infantry Formations

The Storm Group are the only Norwegian infantry present and is organised much like an American Mech unit, with an HQ and three MG squads, each with an anti-tank team, albeit a Carl Gustav rather than a Dragon.  Some may argue that’s better as at least the Carl Gustav can be used in defensive fire… 
At any rate, you can upgrade all the Carl Gustavs to be Eryx anti-tank missile team.  The Eryx is a French missile that basically amounts to a cut-down, more portable, Milan, being fireable without the need for a tripod.  The missile sports a Tandem Warhead making it great against T-80s, T-72B and well, anything else because AT24 is going through most things!  The cost of this portability and power is range; it tops out at 16” but it does have no minimum range making it useful in defensive fire.  However, the team has “no assault” which presumably means it can’t swing in assault and must break-off (though the book has no explanation of this rule).

Each squad has an M113, half armed with a 7.62mm AA MG and half configured with an NM135 turret that sports the same MG plus an anti-helicopter 2cm autocannon!  You can also upgrade all M113 to NM135 and it’s hard not to justify that as it’s a great leap in firepower for little cost.

The formation allows an HQ in an M113 or an NM135, plus two-three Storm Groups, a Leopard troop, an anti-tank troop and a self-propelled mortar troop (81mm or 107mm).  No recce or AA but still a tidy formation.  With all the options taken, it maxes out at about fifty-five points, giving plenty of options to spend the rest of a 100pt budget.

Looking to support, the M109 is pretty standard fare with both short and long-barrel options but no special munitions.  We can have a full six-gun battery though!

The 240GD Mercedes Benz is a great little model based on the preview pics.  It can be fielded as a cheap but cheerless two-truck AT platoon that lacks a TOW2 upgrade and you get back to relying on “scout” to make up for having only a 4+ save.

The 240G also appears as a recce unit with three 7.62mm armed cars, plus two .50 cal armed ones.  This gives a cheap Spearhead unit to help position the other assets.

The Norwegians can also have up two SAM units, both equipped with NM195.  This is very similar to the Swedish version, just with the RBS-70 being mounted on M113s rather than the Swedish APC.

Much like how the Swedes or Finns can take certain units from each other’s army without needing an allied formation, the Norwegians can adopt USMC units to help fill in some of its blanks, namely AV-8B Harriers, AH-1 and AH-64 (a bit lost) helicopters, plus USMC tanks, artillery, infantry and Stinger teams.  Sadly no Dutch or UK Royal Marines to lend a hand.  Clearly, we need an amphibious warfare book to cover them plus Soviet and Polish Naval Infantry!  Just saying.

So, despite the lack of lawn darts and Super Chaffee, the Norwegians surprised me with how much I liked them.  One to explore in the future (mmm… white washed Leos…)


The Danes bring up the end of the book but that shouldn’t be held against them. 

On the face of it, they follow a fairly standard NATO pattern with Leopard and M113-mounted infantry though it does have one twist in the form of the Centurion.

Tank Formations

The two tank formations follow the same layout, an HQ tank, two to three platoons of whatever tank type your HQ is, an infantry platoon, a TOW platoon then artillery in the form of both a mortar platoon and an M109 platoon. Again, save the lack of recce, the Danish formation covers most options.

The Danes themselves are Cautious (Hit On 4+), Trained (Skill 4+) and Confident (Courage 4+). The Skill 4+ makes them stand out compared to all the veteran 3+ nations in the rest of the book!

The Leopards were bought to replace the Centurions on the Jutland peninsula, standardising logistics with their German allies and giving the Danes a faster tank than the elderly Centurion.  The Centurion was retained for the defence of the Danish archipelago.  The Danes had dragged the tank kicking and screaming into the 80’s with a 105mm main gun and a laser range finder but it still retained the overworked Meteor petrol engine.  That said, it’s more than adequate to deal with anything likely to roll off a Warsaw Pact landing craft or under a ‘chute.

Infantry Formations

The Infantry are a fairly familiar form with three MG/LAW teams backed up by three Carl Gustav teams, all carried in 0.5 armed M113 transports.  These are backed up by a tank platoon, M113 mounted TOW launchers, mortars (both 82mm and 120mm) plus a howitzer platoon with M109s.

Support Platoons

Looking at the support assets, we get the ever-present M109 in short and long barrel versions.  They provide a powerful bombardment and screening but lack the more specialised munitions other users have.  The Centurion also reappears with Reservists with older model Centurions that have not been upgraded and so still sport 20pdr and ranging guns.  Whilst unlikely to threaten even a T-55AM, the old Mk.V tanks are still useful for dealing with light-medium armour.

The Danes also have MANPAD teams to provide local air defence but lack any guns or medium-range SAM.  The final local support is the Mercedes-mounted recce units.  These use the same model as the Norwegians but complement their MG with M72 LAW, should you fancy trying to kill some light armour with a drive-by shooting!  These are the only recce in the list.; sadly the M41 Walker Bulldog, a type the Danes spent a fair amount of effort and money on upgrading with modern electronics, doesn’t make the list.

Honestly, at this point, I just assume Battlefront hate souped-up light tanks.

In much the same way as the Norwegians get USMC support, the Danes in Jutland get support from the West Germans with Infantry, Tank Air and Helicopter support.  A trio of Leo 2 can certainly give the Danes some bite!

The AV-8 is also available for air support which acts as a nice surrogate for Danish F-16.


Finally, we get three new scenarios. Each one pits the Soviets against the Finns, then the Swedes, then the Norwegians and links together into a campaign. The Finnish scenario is especially worth a mention as it adds hidden deployment mechanics that I think may be worth experimenting with, as it’s something I’ve often tried adding to the game.

The book also has the usual catalogue and painting pages and these tend to appear after each nation’s section rather than a large one at the back.


Any time we get new forces added to WW3:Team Yankee it always brings some surprises and a small rush of excitement, tinged by a small disappointment when some unit doesn’t make the cut. Honestly, the love the Centurion gets, even if it still very much shows its age, is great to see and I can’t wait to see the kit in person.

The Finns, Swedes and Norwegians seem like strong choices, though both are going to require some skill to use their armour elements or emphasise their infantry strength. In some ways I think the book is sorted by order of wargaming appeal; the Finns look fantastic on paper, the Swedes look very strong but the dearth of artillery worries me, and the Norwegians have a very strong infantry unit but may need allies to help them.
The Danes probably come off the worse in the book. It’s not really their fault; they just feel very generic about NATO compared to the other three.

All said it’s a solid book! Now, let’s see that Centurion sprue please Battlefront!

8 thoughts on “Nordic Giants – An overview of the Nordic Forces book

  1. Danes with Mercedes and Centurions are pretty neat nonetheless.

    Those Norwegian Leopards have 18″ Terrain move – that’s a new record for the Leo 1 isn’t it?

  2. As the M41 is in the NAM range , it would only need some extra parts in metal to do the M41 DK-1 .

    1. Yeah, whole new turret would do it. Tho I guess the change in engine likely screws up reusing the hull easily.

    2. Alas the Danish M41 or M41A3DK? looks more like a Leopard I which has shrunk in the wash. It does however look pretty cool

  3. “I was hoping for Finnish Drakens or Hawks”

    I had bought and built mig21 s…. I even managed to get one in 1/100.

    I guess they can sub but . I have f16’s pretending to be harriers for usa

  4. I think after reading this im looming forward to this book more than I expected.
    Yes, white washed Finnish t72s might just be in the offing.

  5. Loved the stream and the article which followed!

    Quick question; which Vallejo colors do they suggest to pain the finnish tanks? Wondering if they have fixed the names from the old lines.

    1. As far as I can tell all the books Trademarked WWWIII, Team Yankee have correct colour names. Also my Oil War and British book do. The only book that l have that doesn’t is Free Nations (but that’s what paintRack is for) which I think is up for a reprint (DeClerc anyone ) although a much needed morale boost for French troops would not go amiss ( some VAB infantry particularly in the desert must be La Légion Étrangère or RCIM and I don’t see them running on a 5+) it probably won’t happen.

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