World War III: Soviet, May Day Parade

Andy brings us an overview of all the goodies rolling through the Red Square as we take a look at the new Soviet book for World War III: Team Yankee.

Its certainly an action packed cover

A Day Worth Celebrating

Comrades! What a glorious day it is today!

I hold, in my metaphorical hands, a copy of the new World War 3 Team Yankee: Soviet book (I miss the days of snappy titles). Because you have been good workers and exceeded all your quotas, General Secretary Pete at party headquarters (also known as Battlefront HQ) has allowed me to tell you all about it.
cue inspirational music

So, what’s New?

Eeny meany miney mo

In the new book, the Soviets get nine formations:
T-80 Tank Battalion
T-80 Shock Tank Company. Yes, you read that right a Tank COMPANY!!!
T-64 Tank Battalion
T-72 Tank Battalion
T-62M Tank Battalion
T-55AM Tank Battalion
BMP Motor Rifle Battalion
BTR-60 Motor Rifle Battalion
Air Assault Battalion

Some of these formations are the same as previous books, but others are new, and most of the old ones have a few extra options, which I’ll give an overview of shortly.

We also get a fair few new support options or upgrades to old ones:
Tunguska AA Platoon
BMP-3s for the Rifle Battalions and recon units
Upgraded RPG-7s
Upgraded Spiral missiles for the Storm and Hind
BM-27 Hurricane Rocket Launcher
And last but very certainly not least, the TOS-1 Thermobaric Rocket Launcher

Let’s take a look in a bit more detail.

T-80 Tank Battalion

As the starter set has been out for a while, quite a lot is already known about the T-80, but here it is in all its glory.

The best soviet tank?

This tank is the reason they added the TOW-2 upgrade to the American book. Its Front Armour 20 means it still gets a 3+ save against the best NATO tanks at long range. The side armour is only 10, but you do have the new ERA rule, which means that it bumps up to armour 16 vs HEAT. Its main gun, however, is still the same one found on the T-64, and will not penetrate the M1A1HC. You can purchase the option to fire AT22 missile out of the main gun, and unlike most other missiles in the game, these ones can move and fire. The missiles have Tandem warhead, which means they negate ERA, but seeing as this is the only tank in the game at the moment with the ERA rule, its mostly just there for fluff reasons and future proofing.

This tank is expensive by Soviet standards: three of these can buy you five T-72, but expensive is relative when compared to the NATO tanks; three of these are still a lot cheaper than the same number of M1A1!
The Formation gets options for lots of the new Soviet toys, like BMP-3s and Tunguska, which I will come to shortly.

T-80 Shock Tank Company

Sick and tired of outnumbering NATO? wish you could field a small elite army? Well good news, now you can.

The T-80 Shock Tank company is the best of the best. These are Soviets that are hit on 4+ and with a skill of 3+.

The best tank but better

The T-80s come in units of two or three. The Recon has to be BMP-3s and also in units of two or three. The infantry are described as a company but can only be small or medium sized. They come with BMP-3s as standard, but can downgrade to BMP-2s if you want to save a few points.

Which you may need to do as a HQ, two units of three tanks, a unit of minimum infantry and a small Recon platoon is tickling 100pts. However, the monetary cost of getting started with the Soviets just dropped through the floor.

It is worth noting that only the units mentioned above get the improved stats. The in-formation AA and artillery are your regular hit on 3+ with a 5+ skill.

Lee will be taking an indepth look at the two T-80 formations over the next few weeks.

T-64 and T-72 Tank Battalions

The only change here is the option to take BMP-3 for your infantry or recon units and the Tunguska AA platoon instead of Shilkas for your AA.

Speaking of the Tunguska, I’ll cover that now, as the ONLY way to field this is in a T-80, T-64, T-72 or BMP Motor Rifle formation. I know a T-62 battalion player who is very upset by this.

Tunguska AA Platoon

It looks so amazingly Sci-Fi

The big brother of the Shilka, its twin 30mm guns will make short work of helicopters, whilst its AA missiles can take down any fixed wing aircraft. Once the skies are clear of the enemy, you can turn the guns on ground targets and let the ROF7/5 AT10 chew through any enemy transport or recon. Just be careful though, as with armour 1 all-round, it won’t stand up to much enemy fire. As for cost, its twice the points of the Shilka and comes in units of two or four.

T-62M Tank Battalion

Nothing to see here, no new options. Please move along (sorry Neil).

This lake was formed by the tears of T-62 Battalion players

T-55AM Tank Battalion

Do you hear that sound? It’s the sound of thousands of other Warsaw Pact players screaming at their computers. The Soviets now do T-55 spam better than anyone. This is no T-55AM2-this is a T-55AM, which is better- I’ve still not quite figured out the soviet naming system

Old is new

The T-55AM is the most modern version of the venerable T-55 and it’s had some work done. Gone is the slow firing rule, so you can now move and fire without penalty. The AT of the main gun has been bumped up a notch to AT18, and you now have the option of adding the same gun fired missile as the T-62M.

They will still die in droves, but for the price of a pair of M1A1HC you can have two full companies of these and still have some points left over. I said that with the T-80 Shock tank company the Soviet entry price had done through the floor, this is the other end of the spectrum.

In formation, support options are a bit more limited. Your infantry can only be mounted in BMP-1s, and the best recon you can have is BMP-2s.  These are very much reserve forces!

Oh, and if you take this to a tournament, people might call you rude names.

BMP Motor Rifle Battalion

There’s a couple of big changes here. First your infantry and recon now have the option for BMP-3s.

Personally I think the BMP-2 still wins based off looks

With front armour 5 and side armour 3 these are well armoured for troop transports and with a cross country dash of 28”/72cm they are fairly nippy as well. They also have a weapon for every occasion; want to deal with dug in infantry? You have a 2+ firepower brutal main gun. Want to destroy tanks? You have a AT 21 missile that can move and fire. Want to shoot up support vehicles? You have a Rof2/3 AT10 30mm cannon that even still comes with the 7.62mm machine gun. It’s not even that much more expensive than the BMP-2.

The Recon version is the same but sneakier.

The other new thing that the BMP battalion gets is the option to upgrade the infantry’s RPG-7 team to RPG-7VR.

Infantry – now with better Whoosh Kaboom

This drops the range by 4 inches/10cm, but increases them to AT19 and Firepower 2+. It also gives them the tandem warhead rule, just in case you really want to shoot your own T-80s (Chechnya, anyone? – Lee) . However, you cannot mix and match RPG-7 and RPG-7VR in the same army; all of them must be one type or the other.

You can now take a T-80 tank company in formation support, but you can’t take a T-55 tank company or a T-80 shock tank platoon.

BTR-60 Motor Rifle Battalion

Not much change in the BTR-60 rifle Battalion, though they do get the option to upgrade to RPG-7VR and also take all tanks, except for the T-80 shock tank platoon as in formation support.

Air Assault Battalion

The last formation in the book is the Air Assault Battalion (could whoever is humming Ride of the Valkyries please stop).

Again, you have the option to upgrade your RPG-7 teams to RPG-7AV , and Hinds now also have the option to increase their missile to be AT24, which also grants them the tandem warhead rule. Which is a little over kill, seeing as AT24 would go straight through armour 16 anyway.

That covers the changes to formations; now onto support

Support that’s changed

The first thing to mention is actually something that’s missing from the support options. The option to take an extra unit of Shilkas is no longer there, so the only gun AA options are the ones that are in your formations. I have no idea why Battlefront have chosen to do this. I suspect many people may now have a spare unit of Shilkas that they can’t do anything with

The Storm AT platoon and Hind Assault Helicopter Company both have the option of upgrading to AT24 missile, which will come in handy for dealing with the M1A1HC and Challenger tanks. This isn’t like the RPG-7AV-you can freely mix and match the two types between units.  This is handy as the Hind doesn’t really benefit from the extra range and anti-tank as much as the Storm does.

Support that’s new

BM-27 Hurricane Rocket Launcher

Rock you like a Hurricane

The BM-27 is just a BM-21 Hail cranked up to 11. It’s got more range, scatterable mines as default, more AT, better fire power and even more wheels. Sadly, the one thing it doesn’t have more of is armour or skill. It’s still just got a 5+ tank save, so is just asking to be machine gunned to death, and has a skill of 5+, so attempting to range in will be problematic. They are not quite double the points cost of the Hail, but it’s not far off, and to be honest I’m not sure t’s quite worth it.  Minelets are a nice touch, but as they are one shot only, the fragile nature of the vehicle and the poor skill rating, might make it difficult to pull off. You’ll definitely need to bring an observer.

So, there we have it. That’s all the shiny new stuff in the book with the exception of the TOS, but I’m guessing you’re not too bothered about that. What, you are? Well since you insist

TOS-1 Thermobaric Rocket Launcher Battery

When you absolutely, positively need to remove dug in infantry, accept no substitutes.

Battlefront are going to sell a lot of these

This thing is nuts.

It fires a range 48”/120cm salvo template with a firepower of Auto and the Brutal rule. Like Ivan Drago, what ever it hits, it kills. Yes, it may only be AT2, but if you’re firing this at armoured vehicles, you’re doing it wrong. It’s on a T-72 hull, so its speed is acceptable, and its armour is enough to withstand small arms and most IFVs or recon. The biggest down side is that its skill 5+ and doesn’t unlock an observer, so you’ll have to bring some more artillery for that.

Other things of note

The book does include three scenarios, but they are exactly the same as the ones in Red Thunder which is a bit disappointing but consistent with the other v2 books.  The painting guide is likewise unchanged save the switch to Vallejo numbers and names.

The catalogue page rounds out the book and I’ve not yet mentioned the new plastic BRDM-2 kit, which makes the BRDM-2, Spandrel and Gaskin units. This is a welcome addition to replace the three old metal and resin kits.

Plastic Fantastic

Final words

Most of the book is just more of the same for the Soviets, with massed tanks getting more, well, massed. The only really different thing is the inclusion of the T-80 Shock Tank Company, which turns the tables on the Soviet player and may see them heavily outnumbered by weaker Leopard 1 or M60 tank formations.

I personally would have quite liked the option of a Recon formation similar to what some of the NATO nations can take. I also know that many people were hoping for the addition of Soviet Naval infantry or a fully fleshed out VDV and may be disappointed by their absence.

But overall, this book does add lots of new options for Soviet players, and means they can field everything from small elite T-80 companies to massive T-55AM hordes and everything in-between.  The new equipment is generally impressive in capability, if pricier than a Soviet player would normally expect.

Now Comrades, onwards to the River Rhine!

10 thoughts on “World War III: Soviet, May Day Parade

  1. The Soviet T-55AM and the Czechoslovak built T-55AM2(B) (also used by East Germany) are the same (the Polish one is slightly different). I am not complaining because the original stat-line was artificially gimped, but I will be complaining if NSWP doesn’t get the same buff when their book eventually comes.

  2. Totally new to this but what options do the Soviets have for Observer vehicles? If an observer can be a BRDM-2? Asking because if I use the BRDM-2 sprues in the T-80 box to to build 4 Gaskins (with a view to adding to the box later) could I use the last of the 5 to make an observer for units that unlock them?

    1. The only OP option the Soviets have is BMP. I suspect most opponents wouldn’t be opposed to a BRDM stand in.

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