Since getting the Nordic Forces book I’ve been pondering potential lists to pick up and put on the table., scribbling up three possibilities; one each for Finland, Sweden and Norway. Eddie helped out with an idea for the Danes too.
Probably the lead contender for being taken to a full force, the Finns have a lot going for them; a family connection, a bunch of unpainted BMP and T-72M on the shelf, plus a very strong force, on paper at least. The strength of the Finns lays in the infantry and I *really* like the BTR formation, especially with the APILAS. The rest of the formation is also decidedly flighty with mortars, anti-tank and anti-air all on tap.
To start with I opted for two full BTR platoons, both with APILAS. Each platoon has 7 MG teams, 2 APILAS teams and 4 BTR-60, providing plenty of anti-infantry and light armour fire and even some, admittedly short ranged, hard hitting anti-tank fire.
Another auto-include is the 95 S 58-61 AT Platoon. Sporting 3 guns, 3 BTR-60 and up to two APILAS missile teams, this platoon is a great ambush unit, especially against tanks without modern anti-HEAT armour. The BTR also provide some cover vs helicopters and infantry with their heavy machine guns.
They bet backed up by both 81mm and 120mm mortar sections and an anti-aircraft section. I also added a T-72FM2 platoon to give some high end firepower. This gives us:
To my mind that’s a pretty strong core formation to build on! We have artillery, armour, infantry and even some anti-air coverage, all with plenty of points left to spend.
Next I opt for a T-55 formation. The Finnish T-55M have been tricked out with modern optics, fire control systems and revised ammo, giving them a surprisingly length punch.
With hit on 4s they can use their 40″ range and concealment to dual with other tanks, though anything built after the late 70s will still be tricky. Thankfully they are cheap so we can bulk out on them, the lone HQ tank is joined by three platoons of three.
The formation can also take infantry, artillery and anti-air. The BMP mounted infantry would provide some mobile assault infantry with their own fire support so I take a full platoon of BMP mounted infantry, albeit without APILAS or AT-4 missiles.
The Carnations are handy but expensive and probably a little redundant with the mortars in the force. If playing greater than 100pts I’d likely add them but we leave them for now.
The final addition is the ZSU-57 AA Platoon. Three of these antique pieces provides some useful anti-helicopter fire support though they will only supplement the infantry’s MANPADS at best. The 57mm round is also handy versus enemy light armour.
This leaves the second formation looking like:
That leaves 11 points to spend. At this point my mind turns to reserves and its starting to look like most my tanks will need to be off to keep under 60pts on-table. I reckon two platoons of T-55, the T-72s and the BMP will need to be in reserve. Not great as that only leaves five T55, the recoilless rifles and some APILAS missiles as my only on-table anti-tank, Thankfully my last two choices can supplement my anti-tank.
Firstly I choose the PSTOHJ platoon. This gives me four TOW missiles with their AT21 punch and thermal imaging. Even better they ride around in a pair of BMP2 providing two more missile shots, plus some bonus anti-helicopter fire.
Of course, what’s better than two BMP-2? Three BMP-2 with Scout and Spearhead! The BMP-2 scout troop is a little pricey but it can serve a dual purpose in the force, spearheading an attack forward or contributing to a defence’s fire.
That leaves our final force as:
I think this forces works well on the defence or the attack. My only real concern with it is that it has more than two units in reserve which inevitably means someone doesn’t show up until its too late.
Oh, and its so many BTR-60 to buy and paint…
I’m probably going to catch some flak here but I’ve never been a big fan of the S-Tank. Tanks have turrets! The fact that it stands alone as the only post-war turret-less “tank” would tend to back me up. That said, it does have it’s uses in a Team Yankee force.
No, I’m going to focus on the tried and trusted Centurion. The tank formations for the Swedes are interesting in that they can take a three-strong tank HQ and have two platoons of infantry. Given most of the interesting toys from an infantry formation can be taken in support, I decided to focus on a single formation force.
There is little cunning with this list, basically every single box is taken, giving 12 Centurion, two infantry platoons, and a recce platoon. The Infantry have have had their disposable rockets upgraded to the original Swedish version of what became the AT4, but the Carl Gustavs are retained as I see the BILL as something of a trap; a single missile is seldom worth losing “gone to ground”.
This leaves a formation of:
I briefly considered adding a Finnish formation in support, but decided to keep this a purely Swedish affair and headed to support.
A battery of Bandkanons is a mandatory add. Auto firing 155mm artillery? Yes please! They would be an auto-include even ignoring that they are the only artillery (other than allied Carnations) the Swedes get.
As mentioned, the force diagram lets you get most the support platoons an allied formation would sport so I invest in a IKV tracked AT platoon and a wheeled RBS AT platoon with BILL missiles.
The IKV91 is showing its age as a tank destroyer but that 90mm is still more than viable as an anti-BMP weapon. A 36″ range and a laser range finder can ensure a good rate of ranged kills as the enemy close up.
The missile anti-tank is more of a dilemma. The PVRBV551 was an option with its TOW missiles but I felt I needed some more punch and the jeep mounted BILL suited the bill. I do worry that their softskin saves and shorter range will make me regret it but the vehicles look so Mad Max like!
With 27 points left, I badly needed some AA so purchased a AA platoon with three LVRBV701 and their attendant RBS70 missile. They are not brilliant but its the only AA the Swedes get.
My last points are spent on two units to bolster the anti-tank. The first is a pair of Viggen Attack aircraft. The long reach of the AGM-65 Maverick missiles will allow them to dodge most of the enemy’s AA cover whilst picking off anything that strays out of the SAM umbrella. The 135mm rockets will also allow me to punish anyone who skips AA day.
The last unit is, ironically given the intro, the S-tank. I realised that the majority of the Centurions would need to be in reserve if forced into it by the mission. The S-tank is at its best when in defence, hugging terrain and putting shots down on the advancing enemy with the longest reach of a tank gun in the game (grumbles in 5km Challenger 1 shot).
That leaves us with:
Much like the Finns we end up with a sub-optimal number of reserve units (effectively all the Centurions and either the IKV or the AA depending on what is being faced). But the units on the table are more than capable of holding ground till those reserves arrive.
I covered this on the latest episode of the podcast’s “you and whose army” but let’s revisit my Norwegian force from there.
I started with the M113 Storm Squadron as the Norwegian Leopard squadron is little different from most NATO varieties. The Storm Squadrons have well equipped, well motivated infantry riding around in the best M113 variant in the book, sporting a 20mm cannon in place of the 7.62mm AA machine gun and with the infantry carrying the Eryx anti-tank missile, a short legged but deadly tank killer.
I took two Storm platoons, one with Carl Gustavs and one with Eryx missiles. the lack of assault and pinned fire means it likely doesn’t pay to get too reliant on the Eryx. I left the third platoon for now as I have another idea for infantry…
That said, other than the third infantry platoon, I maxed out the formation with four TOW-2 equipped NM142, four Leopard 1 tanks and four M125 81mm mortars (which are far better value than the other choice the 107mm mortar). This gave the formation a decent anti-tank and anti-infantry punch whilst also bringing some artillery along too, all whilst leaving plenty of points for support.
When considering the rest of the force I had considered adding a Norwegian Leopard 1 formation, with two Leopard 1 troops, M113 infantry and NM142s, and this is certainly viable. However, having beaten my Warsaw Pact forces senseless against Mike’s USMC rifles, I knew it was time to turn to the yanks.
A USMC M60 Platoon and a USMC Rifle platoon provide a healthy boost in firepower and one of the most resilient infantry platoons in the game, being both large, well equipped and well motivated. The M47 Dragon is nothing to wrote home about but it can threaten BMP and T-55/62s and the SMAW is a very handy rocket to have.
The M60 compliments the formations Leopard 1, providing a harder hitting gun and slightly better armour to act as a base of fire whilst the Leopard 1 flank. I opted for five M60 and all but full strength (less 60mm mortar) USMC rifle platoon.
I turn back to the Nordic forces for the rest of the support. Norwegian M109 may lack all the fancy ammo but they are veteran so are more reliable in ranging in. The NM195 is an unspectacular anti-aircraft missile but needs must so I take a full platoon. Felvogn recon Troops riding round in Mercedes 4×4 are a cheap recce and a pair of Viggens act as a suitable proxy for RNAF F-16s.
This leaves the force looking like:
The USMC and Eryx-equipped storm group guard the objectives, ideally with the Eryx positioned so they can support the USMC but, on a long table edge mission, the USMC would be left to hold an objective on their own. The third platoon deploys centrally, mounted up to act as a mobile reserve. These are backed up by the NM142, artillery, AA and recce. The NM142 are the only long range anti-tank till the reserve arrives so need to use their range to best effect.
The two tank platoons go in reserve with the “Viggen” in a tolerable three-platoon reserve.
I had been uninspired by Denmark but, as ever, Eddie’s permanently overflowing font of wargaming optimism came up with an interesting list on our recent episode 96 so I have recreated it here.
Eddie went to the Centurion DK Tank Squadron and basically took the whole meaty formation.
10 Centurions backed up by infantry, 120mm mortars, M109A3 artillery and four TOW is a fairly strong core for the force.
To this he added two Recce troops in their “G wagons” (I suspect drawn by the lure of drive-by LAW shots) and a Redeye MANPAD platoon to provide some anti-air coverage. Finally he turned to his allies to provide three Leopard 2A4s and a four-strong flight of Tornados.
Hopefully that provides some food for thought for working out your own Nordic Forces. I have a heap on my painting table so it may be awhile till I get to the Finns but stay turned to Shoot and Scoot as you will no doubt hear any progress their first!