Time for another Tank Rank, the series of articles where I waffle on about various tanks* in the game and inflate my ego by pretending you actually care what I think. Last time it was the tanks* of German Bagration, but this time we are fast forwarding to the ‘80s to look at the tanks* of the new WWIII: Team Yankee West German Book, and what better way to start than with an old friend /foe.
*Might not actually be a tank.
Leopard 2 – Old Gods
Do you remember back in those early days of Team Yankee, when leopard was the first supplement book that came out? We were all so in awe of the Leopard 2 with its two shots at AT of 22 and its high armour. It was a scary yet expensive beast, with a points cost that went into double figures. Fast forward a few years, (five to be exact – slightly longer then the seven days the Soviets aimed for to get to the Rhine) and, thanks to the expanding timescale of the game, the Leopard 2 is no longer the powerhouse it used to be. But is it still a good tank? Let’s take a look:
Yep, it still looks good to me. AT 22 will wreck any Soviet tank that isn’t the T-80, and even then you can hole one of those if you’re lucky. The armour now has to contend with more high end ATGW, but seeing as the main gun of the T-80 is the same as the T-72, you don’t have any new worries there. Its point cost hasn’t changed, but now we get NATO tanks that cost 17 to 18 points each, and some Soviet tanks that are nearly 10 points each, it seems relatively quite cheap.
There is life in the old girl yet.
Leopard 2A5 – incapable of self-harm
So, if the Leopard 2 is an old god, what does that make the Leopard 2A5?
This tank has an obscene amount of armour; front armour 22 is just unnecessary. Well, not unnecessary as if you’re getting shot at from the front by some Hinds with Spiral -2 missiles it will be extremely handy, but it does seem a bit over the top. As I said in my overview article, the only tank in the game that’s capable of hurting it from the front is the Abrams M1A1. It’s not even capable of penetrating its own armour. You still have to deal with ATGW, but you’ll get a decent save against most of them, and you can even bounce the AT-27 missiles of fixed wing aircraft if you’re lucky.
Side armour, as always, is a bit more of an issue on the newest tanks, but even here you are better than all the others. Its high enough that you can basically ignore IFVs and scout vehicles, (unless they have missiles,) and you’ll get a save against the AT 17-18 of the spam tanks.
So good gun, great armour, high speed and excellent soft stats, what’s not to love? The price. It’s the second most expensive tank in the game, so the big question – is it worth it?
I’m kind of on the fence with this. Yes the front armour is phenomenal, but there’s still plenty in the game that can get through it. The side armour is brilliant compared to everything else, but throw enough basic T-55s at it and they will get through.
Ultimately for the cost of 2 Leopard 2A5s you can have 3 normal Leopard 2s and a point of change. I think I’d probably rather just have more Leopard 2s, as its still got good armour and it’s more shots going down range.
Leopard 1- Cheap(ish) and Cheerful(ish)
Ahhh, the 1960s, back when it was perfectly acceptable to have a main battle tank that was made of paper. The Leopard 1 hails from this period, and it shows.
The main gun is perfectly acceptable for a second-rate tank. It shouldn’t be trying to do a tank duel with anything more modern. Its armour though is fairly terrible;, it’s basically allergic to anything that’s got the word “tank” in the title, and even some scout vehicles will bring it to a fiery end. But it does have one redeeming feature: it’s cheap. As anyone who regularly reads the drivel I vomit onto your screens knows, I’m a big fan of a cheap tank. An expensive tank has to prove its worth, but if a tank is cheap enough that it can be bought in large numbers, it can be forgiven for most things. As the other side says, “Quantity has a Quality all of its own”.
It all comes down to how much your army is reduced when something dies. You can buy a unit of three expensive tanks and, if one dies, your unit has been reduced in effectiveness by 33%. Buy a unit of five cheaper tanks and, if you lose one, you’re still 80% effective. Just my opinion, but that’s how I tend to think when designing an army.
Although there is a limit to this, the Jager Leopard 1s are the cheapest in the book, but for just half a point extra each you can get the regular Leopard 1s which are hit on a 4+ not a 3+ making them much more likely to survive
Anyway, in short – Leopard 1: it’s not bad.
That’s it. There’s only 3 tanks in the book, so that was nice and easy wasn’t it… Although as I said in my German Bagration Tank Rank, it all depends on what you define as a tank, so…
Marder 2 – if we were playing FoW this would be an amazing tank.
The Marder 2 isn’t a tank, it’s an infantry fighting vehicle, but it’s the tankiest IFV in the game, so I’m giving it an honourable mention.
For the cost of one Leopard 2 you can get three of these beauties with the main gun upgrade and even some free infantry to keep them company.
The armour will only keep you safe from heavy machineguns and harsh language; anything else will be going straight through. The only main tank you can hurt from the front is the Leopard 1, but you’ll have a reasonable chance against many of the first generation MBTs from the side, and you will absolutely murder anything else. Artillery, transports, scouts and AA units will all fall before your rapid fire 50mm gun. You do have the Milan missile, (assuming you’re not using the scout version,) to try and take on tanks if you want, but frankly, I wouldn’t bother. Save them for your own proper tanks. The Marder 2 is designed to run amok across the table gunning down anything with armour in single digits.
Kanonenjagdpanzer – The last of the flat panzers
We’ve had one honourable mention so why not another? The Kanonenjagdpanzer is a relic from a by gone age; if it were any older it would have been defending the Westwall against the allies. It’s only available in a formation of Jager, or as force support, but is it any good?
No, it’s absolutely terrible!
It’s armed with a 90mm main gun, which would be great if we were playing Fate of a Nation, but we are not; this is the ‘80s, (or possibly ‘90s, I’m still hazy on the time frame in 2nd edition). AT16 just isn’t going to cut it any more. True, you can focus more on the lighter enemy vehicles, but HEAT means you’ll still struggle against anything with any of the armour special rules. Your rate of fire is 2/1, meaning if you move to get your fixed forward gun into line of sight, you’re losing half your shots. To cap it all off ,you don’t have a laser range finder or even the accurate rule to compensate. Your armour is also equally rubbish, lacking even a bazooka skirt to lend a helping hand. You do get the Forward Defence rule meaning you can still place the unit on the table when using the Deep Reserve rules, but that’s situational at best.
No, I’m not doing the Wiesel
No, I am not going to cover the Wiesel. It’s only available in the Fallschimjager formation and highly specialised, so difficult to pin down. So, I’m not covering it. Even if I were, I’d just say it’s effectively the same as the Kanonenjagdpanzer, terrible armour and weak weaponry, but people will take it because it’s cute.
So how do I rank the tanks (and special guests) of the new West German book?
*please provide your own sound effect*
- Leopard 2 – You can teach an old god new tricks.
- Marder 2 – it rocks, just don’t use it against Main battle tanks.
- Leopard 1 – Old reliable
- Leopard 2A5 – probably not worth it
- The Wiesel-would go here if I was going to discuss it, which I’m not.
- Kanonenjagdpanzer – hopelessly obsolete.
I know lots of people will use Wiesels and Kanonenjagdpanzer purely because they look cool and make sense in the formations that get them, but I think Leopard 2s backed up with Marder 2s will be a great combination. These are of course just my opinions; how do you think the new things compare to the old favourites?
The thing that annoys me most about the Kanonenjagdpanzer isn’t its stats-they do make sense in game terms-it’s the fact they included it over the M48, which was the main tank of the Jager units, and which would have provided a nice counter point to the Leopard 1 and still have been useful. There are also loads of other nations that still used the M48 as well that would benefit from its inclusion in the game. I just feel like it’s a missed opportunity from Battlefront. I guess I’ll just have to wait for Check point Charlie.