With the launch of the WW3 Soviet, I thought I would take a look at how could a new player or someone on a budget, could get a force on the table that would be competitive or at least hold its own with such iconic equipment as the T-80, BMP-3, Hind helicopter and Frogfoots. For the new player, it opens the door to playing WW3 without needing to buy, assemble or paint too much and get into playing the game quicker.
So, if we look at what we get in the excellent value starter set, that might help decide what formation to run. The starter set contains the following:
Complete A5 Rulebook
Soviet “Start Here” booklet
5 x T-80 Tanks
2 x BMP-3
5 x BRDM-2 family vehicles (makes BRMD-2, Spandrel and Gaskin)
2 x Mi-24 Hind Helicopters with rare earth magnets and flight stands
2 x SU-25 Frogfoot aircraft with rare earth magnets and flight stands
5 x Decal Sheets
10 x Unit Cards
The bonus here is that the rulebook is included in the box – so the new player makes a saving right away. Now if we look at what formations are in the WW3: Soviet book, we can see what we can maximize from what we get in the starter box. The best formations to maximize this straight out of the box is the T-80 Shock Tank Company and T-80 Tank Battalion. Let us look at what units comprise the T-80 Shock Tank Company formation first:
1 T-80 Shock Tank Company HQ
2-3 T-80 Shock Tank Platoon
0-1 BMP Shock Motor Rifle Company
0-1 BMP-3 Shock Recon Platoon
0-1 ZSU-23-4 Shilka AA Platoon or 2S6 Tunguska AA Platoon
0-1 SA-9 Gaskin SAM Platoon or SA-13 Gopher SAM Platoon
0-1 2S1 Carnation SP Howitzer Battery
Now the best thing with this list is that everything that has “Shock” in the title are hit on 4+ – that’s right 4+! Looking at what is in the formation and what you get in the starter box, I would recommend you get two of the starters set plus a few other boxes to flesh this out. Let us look at how to build this list at 120pts and then 100pts.
This formation is relatively strong with six units in the formation. You have cautious T-80s with FA20, AT22 and ERA making them almost impervious to infantry. The Shock Recon BMP-3s are useful all-round vehicles that can take on tanks, infantry, and helicopters plus provide spearhead for those missions that allow it. Hinds provide flexibility with their AT23 missiles and guns. This formation maximises your starter box investment using everything in the two boxes except for 1 BMP-3, 2 BRDM family, 4 Frogfoot sprues. As an alternative, you could swap out the support option SA-9 Gaskins for Spandrels instead for the same points.
To buy this army you need only to purchase the following for $220:
2 x TSUAB04 Soviet Starter Force: T-80 Shock Tank Company (Plastic)
1 x WW3-04 World War III: Soviet: A4, Hardback
Looking at what we can do with 100pts now, we remove the third Shock Tank Platoon for 29 points and look at a few options to fill in the remaining 9 points. Option 1 could be:
There are five units for the formation, add a pair of Frogfoots and upgrade the Hinds to have AT24 – so still achieving the goal of utilising most of the two starter boxes. Again, you can swap out the support SA-9 Gaskins with Spandrels for the same cost.
Option 2 for a full complement of aircraft could look like this:
Only four units in the formation now but we have two units of aircraft and using all 10 of our BRDM family sprues!
The above lists you can play around with and add in other units such as infantry and artillery. For me, the value of the Shock Infantry is huge for the soviet player, so I explore that further in another article around the T-80 Shock Tank Company.
Now if we look at the T-80 Tank Battalion formation next, here is what it is made up of:
1 T-80 Tank Battalion HQ
2-3 T-80 Tank Company
0-1 BMP-3 Motor Rifle Company or BMP-2 Motor Rifle Company or BMP-1 Motor Rifle Company or BTR-60 Motor Rifle Company
0-1 BMP-3 Recon Platoon or BMP-2 Recon Platoon or BMP-1 Recon Platoon or BRDM-2 Recon Platoon
0-1 ZSU-23-4 Shilka AA Platoon or 2S6 Tunguska AA Platoon
0-1 SA-9 Gaskin SAM Platoon or SA-13 Gopher SAM Platoon
0-1 2S1 Carnation SP Howitzer Battery
So still using the idea of using two starter boxes to maximize the value we get, let us look at the 120pt list first and 100pt list second:
As you can see, we have used all our sprues in our two starter boxes to build this list! I have included a small motor rifle platoon for this one to anchor the formation. We have six units for the formation and lots of firepower. Adding the small motor company brings your total outlay to $229!
For 100pts, there are a couple of options on how we can optimize the two starter boxes:
Dropping the Frogfoots, downgrading the Hinds, removing one T-80, keeping the infantry allows us to add an artillery component to our list for an additional small outlay brings our spend to $270.50.
Adding the artillery allows us to have a template to drop on infantry teams and light vehicles plus has AT21 allowing them to act as a stop gap anti-tank unit if we get desperate. Adding in this unit brings the number of units in the formation to six.
This starter set is great value and a couple of these plus maybe a couple of additional boxes will get you well on your way to playing Soviets!
For those existing players who already have Soviet armies, this is still a great addition to upgrade your armies. If you just need T-80s and BMP-3s and maybe an additional BRDM family unit then I recommend getting one of these starter boxes plus an additional T-80 or BMP-3 box.
World War III: Soviet is our third updated book for World War III: Team Yankee. It features all the great options and units that were in Red Thunder, but with the addition of lots more Formations and Units. World War III: Soviet expands and enhances the forces available in Red Thunder for the Soviet Army.
There is more choice. More tank options with the introduction of the T-80, T-62M, T-55AM, and more Motor Rifle options with the BMP-3. These add more Formations to choose from with the addition of the T-80 Tank Battalion, T-62M Tank Battalion, and T-55AM Tank Battalion, as well as the elite veteran T-80 Shock Tank Company
There are a bunch more new formation and support Units and vehicles as well. The 2S6 Tunguska AA Platoon, the BMP-3 Recon Platoon, BMP-3 Motor Rifle Company, BMP-3 Shock Recon Platoon, BMP Shock Motor Rifle Company, BM-27 Hurricane Rocket Launcher Battery, and TOS-1 Thermobaric Rocket Launcher Battery.
Don’t worry, all your old favourites are still available. In fact these can also gain access to the new anti-tank, anti-aircraft, motor rifle, and recon options. You can still take a T-64 or T-72 Tank Battalion, or a BMP Motor Rifle Battalion, or an Afgantsy Air Assault Battalion.
As mentioned above World War III: Soviet introduces a bunch of new Soviet vehicles. The two stars of this line-up are the T-80 tank and BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicle, both brand new plastic models. The T-80 takes the next step beyond the T-64 and T-72. The T-80 introduced in World War III: Soviet is the T-80U with its explosive reactive armour (ERA) giving it a distinct look that sets it apart from the other Soviet tanks. This ERA armour is more that cosmetic, it also enhances its protection against HEAT weapons as well as improving its armour against kinetic energy penetrator like those fired from other tanks. This gives it Front armour 20 and side 10, while the ERA gives it 16 versus HEAT weapon on the side. No pesky LAW or Panzerfaust is going to bother this tank. It is armed with the same powerful 125mm 2A46 smooth-bore gun as the T-64 and T-72, and like the T-64 it fire an excellent anti-tank missile for extended range. The T-80’s AT-11 Sniper missile can hit targets out to 48”/120cm with anti-tank 22. The gun is fully stabilised and allows the gun and missile to be fired on the move. It also has a Tandem Warhead which means it ignores ERA armour.
T-80 Shock Rifle Company represents an elite unit with a higher focus on training. They are Hit On 4+, have a Skill of 3+, while maintaining the excellent Courage, Morale and Remount/Rally of other Soviet troops. They are organised in platoons of three T-80 tanks to represent there better tactical flexibility. They also have their own BMP-3 Shock Scout Platoon with equally good ratings as well as the BMP-3 Shock Motor Rifle Company that can be mounted in either the new BMP-3 or the BMP-2.
As well as the above unit the BMP-3 introduces another options for Scout Platoons and Motor Rifle Battalions and Companies. The BMP-3 is more armoured than the BMP-1 or 2, with Front 5, Side 3, and Top 1. It also maintains the good mobility of its predecessors. It can carry two passengers, is Amphibious and it fitted with Infra-red vision equipment. It is armed with low pressure 100mm gun that doubles as a missile launcher. It fires the AT-10 Stabber missile out to 48”/120cm and can be fired on the move. It has an AT of 21 and FP 3+. The 100mm also fires high-explosive rounds out to 24”/60cm with ROF 1/1, AT 5, FP 2+, Brutal, Laser Range Finder, and Stabiliser. For additional firepower against light vehicles it has a co-ax 30mm gun (Range 20”/50cm, ROF 3/2, AT 10, FP 5+).
All the motor rifle companies, whether mounted in a BMP-3, BMP-2, BMP-1, or BTR-60, also gain optional access to the RPG-7VR to replace their RPG-7s. The RPG-7VR has a shorter range by packs a more powerful punch (Range 8”/20cm, ROF 1/1, AT 19, FP 2+, Assault 6, HEAT, Slow Firing, Tandem Warhead).
As a replacement for the aging ZSU-23-4 Shilka the Soviets designed the 2S6 Tunguska. It is armed with heavier twin 30mm guns giving better range and rate-of-fire (36”/90cm range against aircraft, ROF 7/5). Additionally it is also armed with SA-19 Grendel AA missiles integrated into the same system, giving it an accurate long range option (range 64”/160cm, ROF 2/-, FP 3+)
The second line or reserve tank units in the Soviet Army were armed with older tanks like the T-62M. However, a modernisation program had brought a number of improvement to these old tanks. Improved ammunition give the 115mm 2A20 gun an anti-tank of 21. It also has a Laser Rangefinder some does not suffer a long range penalty To Hit. They can also fire the same AT-10 Stabber Missile as they BMP-3. Thought not quite as tough as the T-72, its armour of Front 14, Side 9, and Top 2 makes it tough opposition for the likes of Leopard 1s, AMX-30s, or M60s.
For those reservists not lucky enough to get a T-62M, there was also the T-55AM. Like the T-55s used by their Warsaw Pact allies, these had been upgraded with improved armour (Front 14, Side 9, Top 2) as well as a Laser Rangefinder and AT-10 Stabber missile for its main gun. The 100mm gun was also had some level of stabilisation (no Slow Firing penalty for moving ROF) and improved ammunition (AT 18).
World War III: Soviet has some new support units. The first of these is the BM-27 Hurricane Rocket Launcher Battery. These have better range, anti-tank, and firepower than the old BM-21 Hail.
The TOS-1 Thermobaric Rocket Launcher is a different beat altogether with its pod of 24 220mm thermobaric rockets mounted on a T-72 tank hull. These rockets’ fiery blast devastates a large area in one volley. It is short ranged for a rocket launcher (48”/120cm), but packs a mighty punch hitting with a big Salvo template with its AUTO firepower and Brutal rating (re-roll Infantry Saves).
The T-72 is the Soviet Union’s everyman’s tank. Cheaper and less complicated than the T-80 or T-64, it is armed with powerful 125mm gun that packs an excellent anti-tank 22. With Front Armour 16 and BDD (13 against HEAT) it does alright against western tanks, and can dominate the lighter armoured varieties.
If you are not looking for a fancy ride like the BMP-3 with all its bells and whistles you still can’t go passed the trust BMP-2 with its excellent 30mm gun with ROF 3/2, and anti-tank 10. It is also a pretty good ride for your motor riflemen with good protect and excellent mobility. It can also fire the AT-5 Spandrel missile (AT 21, FP 3+).
For something a bit cheaper, but just as mobile and protected there is the BMP-1. This infantry fighting vehicle is armed with a 73mm gun and an AT-3 Sagger missile (AT 19, FP 3+). Both BMPs can carry two passengers.
The BTR-60 is an 8-wheeled armoured personnel carrier mounting 14.5mm and 7.62mm machine-guns in its small turret. Each BTR-60 can carrier two teams as passengers, who are protected from small arms fire by its Front 1, Side 0, and Top 0 armour. The Motor Rifle units mounted in the BTR-60 also have AT-4 Spigot missile teams because, unlike the BMPs, the BTR-60 doesn’t mount an anti-tank missile team. The AT-4 team has a range 8”/20cm – 40”/100cm, ROF 3, AT 19 and FP 3+ and is HEAT and Guided.
The Storm anti-tank missile carrier mounts an AT-6 Spiral guided anti-tank missile on the MT-LB armoured tractor (the same vehicle that the SA-13 Gopher is based on). The launcher is fitted with one tube, but can be lowered into the hull for reloading. The chassis provides the crew with protection from small arms fire with Front 1, Side 1, and Top 1, so don’t expose the Storm too much. However, the AT-6 is very long range (8”/20cm – 56”/140cm) and powerful (with ROF 1, Anti-tank 23, FP 3+ using the HEAT and Guided rules). The units come in two or three Storms and is available as a support. The Storm now also has options to upgrade to the improved Storm-2 armed with the AT-9 Spiral-2 missile with longer 64”/160cm range, AT 24, and a Tandem Warhead.
A quick mention should be made of the SA-13 Gopher as it is still an excellent anti-aircraft option with its 56”/140cm range, ROF 2/- and FP 4+. As a Guided AA weapon it doesn’t have to worry about being a long range.
Another divisional support anti-aircraft option is the SA-8 Gecko SAM launcher. This big 6-wheeled vehicle is an all-in-one design that mounts the missiles and radar together to allow it to detect, track, and engage target aircraft independently. The SA-8 Gecko AA missile has a massive range of 72”/180cm, giving it coverage of most table tops. It has a Halted ROF 3, a FP 3+ and uses the Guided AA rule which gives it not penalty to hit at over 16”/40cm.
For heavy artillery support World War III: Soviet has the 2S3 Acacia 152mm self-propelled howitzer. The 2S3 Acacia has Front 2, Side 1 and Top 1 armour. It can fire its 152mm howitzer as Artillery (Range: 88”/220cm, AT 4, FP 2+ with Smoke Bombardment), or in direct fire (Range: 16”/40cm, ROF 1, AT 14, FP 1+, and uses the Brutal, HEAT, Slow Firing, and Smoke rules). It also has a third option, firing laser-guided Krasnopol Projectiles (Range: 88”/220cm, Halted ROF 1, AT 4, FP 1+ and uses the Brutal, and Krasnopol Projectiles rules). This works a little differently to the American laser-guided projectiles found in the rulebook.
Krasnopol Projectiles are designed for taking out small ground targets rather than tanks. An Observer Team requests Krasnopol Projectiles rather than a bombardment. Then each weapon in the artillery unit fires a Krasnopol Projectile using the normal shooting rules, except using the Observer Team to determine the Line Of Sight. The unit does not suffer +1 to hit for range over 16”/40cm, Armoured Vehicles use Top Armour for saves, and the target team’s armour is not increased by +1 for being over 16”/40cm away.
There still all the tried and tested units like the ZSU-23-4 Shilka AA Platoon, 2S1 Carnation SP Howitzer Battery, the BM-21 Hail Rocket Launcher Battery, SU-25 Frogfoot Aviation Company, and Mi-24 Hind Assault Helicopter Company.
New But Old Models
Red Thunder introduced the BDRM-2 and its variants to World War III: Team Yankee, but World War III: Soviet introduces these three vehicles as plastic kits!
The first of these is the BRDM-2 scout car. These can be taken in the BRDM-2 Recon Platoon in a unit of two or four either as part of a Formation or as support. Like the BTR-60, the BRDM-2 mounts 14.5mm and 7.62mm machines in a small armoured turret. The vehicle itself is protected from small arms fire with Front 1, Side 0, and Top 0 armour. The vehicle is amphibious and fitted with IR (Infra-red) equipment for night fighting, while the unit uses the Spearhead rule.
The second variant of the BRDM-2 is the Spandrel which mounts an AT-5 Spandrel guided anti-tank missile launcher system instead of the turret. The AT5 Spandrel is a powerful anti-tank missile with a range 8”/20cm – 48”/120cm, ROF 1, AT 21, FP 3+ with the Guided and HEAT special rules. These are available in units of two or three either as part of a Formation or as support.
Supplementing the powerful SA-13 Gopher SAM Platoon, is the lighter and cheaper SA-9 Gaskin SAM. This vehicle is based on the BRDM-2 scout car, but mounts a SA-9 anti-aircraft guided missile launcher system on top. It has a 360 degree arc of fire and can shoot aircraft out to 48”/120cm away without penalty for long range. These can either be got as pairs or in fours and are available as part.
What About My Old Force?
If you are happy running your Soviet force as it is, it is still a perfectly valid force, no units or options have been invalidated. However, there are plenty of great new options that many of you will find very tempting.
If you’ve been thinking about getting some Soviets, but haven’t dived in, this is the perfect time, there has never been so many different options for fielding the Soviet Army in World War III.
Lots Of Extras
World War III: Soviet is also packed full of other stuff. We also have three Scenarios that can either be played as one off games or as part of a three game campaign. The book also covers the exploits of the 2nd Guards Tank Army, 94th Guards Motor Rifle Division, 7th Guards Tank Division, Major Yuri Volkov’s Tank Battalion, and 18th Guards Motor Rifle Division during World War III, plus lots of other background and technical information. It contains a Soviet painting guide and a product catalogue listing all the models available to field a Soviet force in World War III: Team Yankee, making World War III: Soviet a one stop shop for planning the collection of your force.
WWIII: Soviet is live on Forces, and on the Digital app so you can finally deploy the legendary T-80 and BMP-3 to the tabletop, and bring freedom from capitalist oppression for the peoples of Western Europe!
Check out everything you need to know about Digital right here…
Following on from the Flames Of War launch of the Bagration Soviet book a couple of months ago we are keeping with the Red Army juggernaut, this time though the year is 1985 (more or less) and the T-34 and IS-2 has been replaced by the fearsome T-80.
Inside the WWIII: Soviet book you will find:
• Background on the Group of Soviet Forces in Germany, 2nd Guards Tank Army, 94th Guards Motor Rifle Division, 7th Guards Tank Division, 18th Guards Motor Rifle Division, and Yuri Volkov’s Tank Battalion.
• Instructions on how to build a T-80 Tank Battalion, 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, Afgantsy Air Assault Battalion, or a T-80 Shock Tank Company.
• Three Scenarios to test your skills with your Soviet force.
Over the course of the next 12 hours you can expect to see the exciting LIVE conclusion to Wayne and Chris’ battle report, a Big Four Of Late War live chat about the book, various articles, list builds, videos, hobby guides and plenty more, so by all means jump in and check it out.
We are putting the LIVE back in live launch! Join the Big Four of Late War Sunday 15th November 7:00 AM PST as we launch our new WWIII Team Yankee Soviet range. We will be updating the Live Launch website and we will streaming from the Battlefront Studio in NZ on our Twitch channel! Be sure to join us there and to follow us so you’ll know the moment we go live!