Operation Magistral – Breakthrough Assault TY Competition

Mark’s French did at least occasionally roll higher than a 1

The Team Yankee competition scene has been a bit sparse of late in the UK, so as part of Breakthrough Assault and Battlefronts concordat on arranging tournaments in the UK, we decided to badge one of the tri-yearly TY tournaments that I run in Dunfermline at the DWARF club with some generous prize support from Battlefront to see if we couldn’t attract a few new players to come along.

Runners and Riders

Since we switched from Flames of War to TY at Dunfermline we’ve managed an average of six players at the tournaments, so it was great to have nine players (Ten would have been nicer, and a bit easier for the draw !) at the tournament, especially as snow was falling across central Scotland on the day and travel wasn’t exactly at its easiest.
In addition to DWARF stalwarts Terry Brown and Myself, there were five players from Glasgow who form the core of Scotland’s Flames of War tournament set, plus two new players, Alex and Ross, who were playing in their first TY competition. The full list of runners and riders – with armies is below


  1. Terry Brown – British Mech Infantry and Chieftain Company
  2. Craig Melville – West German infantry Company, Australian Tank Company
  3. Alex  – Canadians Mech Infantry with Abrams and Leopard 1s
  4. Michael O Broin – US Marines
  5. Mark Alexander Nisbet – French AMX 10P Infantry Company & AMX30 Company

Warsaw Pact

  1. Richard Hardy – T64 Battalion
  2. Kenneth Alexander – T64 Battalion
  3. Ross nnnnnnnn – Volksarmee BMP Battalion and T55 Battalion
  4. Shaun Hartley – Volksarmee BTR Battalion & T55 Battalion

My Force

My T64 Battalion consisted of:

HQ T64
2 x 4 T64 with Songster
Small BTR Motor Rifle Company with 2 ATGW teams, AAGW team and Grenade launcher
4 ZSA-23-4s
4 Gophers
1 x 4 BRDM

Force Support
1 x 4 BMP2 Recce
1 x 3 Spandrels.

Round One

With Terry volunteering to sit out in the first round so he could re-acquaint himself with the rules the draw was made (Terry sitting out also allowed us to do a Red v Blue draw)

Mark vs Shaun (French AMX10P and AMX30 vs Voksarmee BTR-60 and T55)
Richard vs Craig (Soviet T64 vs West German Infantry and Australian Leopards)
Kenneth vs Alex (Soviet T64 vs Canadian Infantry
Ross vs Michael (Volksarmee BMP and T55 vs USMC)

I’ve played Craig’s beautifully painted German force with Australian allies before.  I went with Attack and Craig went with Manouever so ended up playing Encounter.
With only half on table and having to declare first, and knowing Craig had a Tornado lurking, I left my Tanks, BRDM’s, Spandrels off table and deployed my infantry on one objective supported by ZSU’s and the BMP’s on the other objective with the Gophers providing overwatch.  The AA overload kept Craigs Tornados off the table and he deployed his Lynxes, and Infantry holding the objectives. I was able to snipe off his recce platoons and start to attrite his Marders with my ATGW teams who had deployed on high ground.

I was luckier with both reserve arrival and reserve location than Craig.
My first tanks arrived on Turn 3 on my left flank to bolster the BMP recce, just in time as Craig’s Australian Leopards started to arrive and they all massed against that objective. My other tanks arrived soon after but on the right flank, so I made my move there with my Infantry and tanks against his infantry platoon holding the objective.
A huge tank battle on my left ended with six burning leopards and four burning T64s; those Leopards can move a long way and pulverise your side armour for sure !
But as my tanks, infantry and, by now various wheeled assets, bore down on the objective and the dwindling German infantry Craig shifted his tanks to his left to assist.
I think he should have kept coming at my BMP recce as I would have struggled to hold him off, and the move was too late as a combination of Infantry, T64s, BRDMs, ZSUs and BTRs overran the objective – 5-2 win to me.

In the other games fellow Breakthrough staffer Mark paid the price of rolling lots of 1s with his French, Kenny narrowly beat Alex and Michael and Ross fought out a long bloody draw

Michaels Marine Hueys
Marks French would have appreciated better dice rolling !
Incoming Motor Rifles – about to overun Craig’s German imperialist aggressors

Round Two

Mark kindly offered to sit out the second round, so we again were able to go with a Red on Blue draw

Richard vs Alex  (Soviet T64 vs Canadian Infantry)
Terry vs Shaun (British Mechanised Infantry and Chieftains vs Voksarmee BTR-60 and T55)
Michael vs Kenneth (USMC vs Soviet T64)
Ross vs Craig (Volksarmee BMP and T55 vs West German Infantry and Australian Leopards)

Just off to look for the nearest Tim Hortons eh….and we’ve brought a Zamboni or 4

Alex’s Canadians were a bit of a mystery army for me as I’ve never played against one. It was a nicely balanced force with Infantry, allied Abrams, some Leopard 1s and some ADATs. Wow, are those ADAT things a major pain in the rear! Long range and an awesome AT rating .

We both picked attack and ended up with Encounter again.
This time I went with Spandrels, one tank company, the infantry and the BMP recce on board, with the Spandrels and Recce on one objective and the infantry on the other. The tanks I positioned in the centre to support either flank – that was a major mistake, as I hadn’t realized just how long a range the ADATs have and, due to the terrain, any failed cross test (which I would have needed to make to move) would have left me a burning wreck.

More dangerous than a Wayne Gretzky slapshot

The game was very cat and mouse, Alex tried to clear me away from the left objective with his Abrams, whilst sniping off any visible vehicles he could see with the ADATs.  I had to pull my vehicles back and, when the Canadian Leopards arrived on Alex’s right flank, I did start to worry.

However, like many players, Alex forgot about my two ground mounted ATGWs and made one error with his Abrams, exposing the side armour to six AT 19 shots and paid the price of a pair of burning Abrams and a failed test.
On his left, my other T64s had arrived on the extreme flank and, using cover to protect them from the ADATs, they were able to flank the infantry platoon defending the objective, my Infantry then surged forward with their BTRs and the BRDM recce to provide assistance. 

hiding from the the ADATs

‘Brutal’ gunfire was effective in blasting Alex’s infantry off the objective and a final combined arms assault finished of the Canadians. A very cagey, close game, which could easily have gone the other way – 6-1 to me.

Ross’ Volksarmee overwhelm Craig’s West German defenders in the power station

Elsewhere, Terry’s British were able to overcome Shauns Volksarmee, and Kenny’s T64s were able to defeat Michaels Marines.

Round Three

Craig very kindly offered to sit out the last round, so once again a Blue on red draw was possible

Richard vs Terry (Soviet T64 vs British Mechanised Infantry and Chieftains)
Shaun vs Michael (Voksarmee BTR-60 and T55 vs USMC) 
Ross vs Alex (Volksarmee BMP and T55 vs  Canadian Infantry)
Mark vs Kenneth (French AMX10P and AMX30 vs Soviet T64)

So a match up against longstanding opponent Terry with his mixed British mech and tank force. I’ve always found the British to be the toughest of NATO armies to fight, The Chieftain is a highly survivable beast and British Infantry when dug in and supported by their FV432’s can put an enormous amount of fire down range which makes closing with them very hard. It was no surprise then that Terry went with defend against my attack stance, and I got to attack him down the long table axis in No Retreat.

Brits and their battle buses

Terry deployed his infantry covering both objectives, supported from the rear by a unit of Chieftains and with a Milan platoon deployed in support.
I decided that I would need to attrite down his infantry on one objective to have any chance of launching an assault, whilst keeping his Chieftains and other Infantry pre-occupied with enough opposition to stop them reinforcing the threatened sector.
Just short of the Objective there was a ruined railway station and this seemed to be a good place to create an infantry fire base, backed up with longer range fire from the ATGMs of the infantry, spandrels and BMP recce to snipe out as many Milans and Charlie G’s as possible. I also sent forward my BTRs and BRDM recce to soften up the infantry with heavy machine gun fire.

I got lucky in the early exchange of fire with Terrys Chieftains; the T64s using their stand off capability were able to destroy the first of Chieftain troops thanks to Terry rolling a succession of 1s for his armour save.  The ATGWs deployed on a ridge just in front of my deployment area were able to take down all the FV432s and their pesky machine guns.

playing hide and seek with Milans and Chieftains

Eventually Terry’s infantry holding the objective succumbed to a combination of HMG’s, ATGWS and the odd grenade and RPG7 from the infantry.  There were, however, a considerable number of burning BTR60s as a result of return fire.

In order to try and keep Terry’s other units honest I also had to threaten the other objective.  Assaulting Milan teams in woods with ZSU’s wasn’t something I’d seen often but the AA guys did sterling work and, from their position on my right, could ensure any attempt by Terry to move over open ground to reinforce his battered infantry would be met by a barrage of 23mm rounds. 

The T64s continued their duel with Terry’s Chieftains as they arrived from reserve, keeping them safely away from the objective.
Finally with the clock running down I sent in my Infantry and BRDMS to kill off the last two Brits, which gave me some worries as I kept swinging and missing, but eventually the objective was mine and the game finished 6-1 to me.

Elsewhere, I am afraid to report that Mark’s French kept up their dismal run of luck during the day and succumbed to Kenny’s T64’s, which he claims he will now retire after they claimed their highest finish!

Kenny’s T64’s bullying French armoured cars

Shaun defeated Michaels Marines and Ross’ Volksarmee and Alex’s Canadians played out a draw.

There was some excellent prize support from Battlefront and, in keeping with other Breakthrough Assault sponsored competitions, we divided this up by drawing lots based on performance to ensure that it was spread out as much as possible.

Excellent prize support from Battlefront

Final scores on the doors were:

  1. Richard – T64 Battalion
  2. Kenneth – T64 Battalion
  3. Shaun – Volksarmee BTR Battalion & T55 Battalion
  4. Terry * – British Mech Infantry and Chieftain Company
  5. Ross – Volksarmee BMP Battalion and T55 Battalion
  6. Mark * – French AMX 10P Infantry Company & AMX30 Company
  7. Craig * – West German infantry Company, Australian Tank Company
  8. Alex – Canadians Mech Infantry with Abrams and Leopard 1s
  9. Michael – US Marines

(* denotes a NATO player who took a bye)

The Winners

Kenny and Craig picked up the certificates for best painted armies, and obviously as a Warsaw Pact player it was great to see the top three places all being filled by the Progressive Nations, with T64 armies taking 1st and 2nd.