The new releases for the Soviets in World War III: Team Yankee offer so many cool new options. When the new kits like the T-80, BMP-3, TOS-1, and Tunguska started appearing in the studio, I started noodling lists to try and include all of them.
Soviet armies get stereotyped as large hordes of questionable quality units, relying on sheer numbers to overwhelm the enemy. This is often true, but with modern equipment, and the new T-80 Shock Tank Company, I saw an opportunity here to find a middle ground between quantity and quality.
Here is the first list a came up with:
This is the type of list I normally gravitate to; max out on expensive tanks, and fill the rest with something cool. Unfortunately on the table it doesn’t have a combined arms approach and is easily countered, so I evolved it to this:
Now here I feel like I’ve got a little bit of everything, and most of it is in formation. I dropped a T-80 company which made room for Carnations and an OP, Gaskins, more recon, and some missiles. The two platoons of BMP-3’s are maybe a little redundant, but the end goal is to have 8 painted so I can run 3 as recon, and 5 to carry infantry as you’ll see below…
A few of us in the studio have been talking about playing some larger 150 point games, focusing on more modern equipment, so I wanted to see if I could easily make the army work at both 100 and 150 points with minimal extra painting. Here is how the above list grows:
I put the third company of T-80’s back in, and upgraded the formation to the Shock Company. The biggest addition is the Motor Rifle Company, but I think these improve the list greatly, and will be a fun painting project later down the line.
I’m excited to have two lists to throw down whether it’s at a 100 point tournament, or a friendly game with one of the Big Four at 150 points, without a huge change in model count. It’s mostly thanks to the new Shock Tank Company offering the option to have Soviets hit on 4+ for a bit more points, and I’m eager to try out both.
With the new World War III: Soviet book out I have an opportunity to try a few things out with my Soviet forces. At the moment I have a bunch of T-72 tanks, a large BMP-2 Motor Rifle Company and a mix of supporting elements painted up. At 100 points I’ve been running my T-72s in to companies of 6 or 7 tanks with a BMP-2 Motor Rifle Company, a pair of SA-13 Gophers, two Shilkas, some more BMP-2 scouts and a battery of three 2S1 Carnations. I been playing with some sort of combination of these since Team Yankee first came out, so I thought it was time to change it up.
I plan to put together a force based around the new T-80s. These are better protected than the T-72s, more mobile with their Advanced Stabiliser, and can also fire the AT-11 Sniper gun launched anti-tank guided missile. The AT-11 is particularly impressive with a range out 120cm as well as being able to fire on the move, as long as to keep your tactical speed under 10”/25cm.
The other new things I’m tempted by are the new 2S6 Tunguska AA Tank, BM-27 Hurricane rocket launcher, and the BMP-3. With the BMP I just gabbed three to get me started, which I can either mount some of my already painted infantry in, or use them as a scout unit. As a scout unit they also make quite good tank destroyers with their AT-10 Stabber ATGMs.
This is my initial 100 point force.
The Big Four Of Late War have also been discussing playing some large point games, with the idea of focusing of the more expensive tanks and playing with a decent number of them. With this in mind I also made this 150 point force.
With the T-80s being quite meaty and expensive it won’t take me long to paint the 11 I need altogether. I’ve so far painted six and have another five sitting on my painting desk at home. I also already have my BMP-3s assembled. I just need to grab the BM-27 Hurricanes and the 2S6 Tunguskas.
I’ve done my T-80s in a camouflage scheme, which is probably post-cold war Russian rather than Soviet, but I wanted them to be completely different to my T-72s.
With the release of WWIII: Soviet, not only has there been a new tank, the T-80, a new AA vehicle – the excellent Tunguska, and the frankly massive TOS-1 – Thermobaric Rocket Launcher, there has also been a new vehicle added to the mechanised infantry company, the BMP-3.
Now given its designation, you would think this is just an upgrade or continuation of the BMP-1 and BMP-2 line, much like the BMP-2 was. But the BMP-3 (Object 688M) was actually originally a prototype for a light amphibious tank (Object 685), to replace the PT-76 light tank. This was ultimately not successful, but they did use the chassis and a new engine as a base for the successor to the BMP-2 to continue their line of infantry fighting vehicles.
The BMP-3 is a significant upgrade on the BMP-2, it not only has thicker armour using a steel/ aluminium alloy and an upgraded turret, it also has a multitude of weapons systems and a laser rangefinder (which was lacking in the BMP-1 and BMP-2). It has a 100mm rifled 2A70 main gun capable of firing both conventional HE shells, or the 9M117 Bastion ATGMs (AT-10 Stabber) which is a laser guided anti tank missile fired from that same 100mm main gun. It also has the 30mm 2A72 Autocannon (which is mounted alongside the 100mm barrel) and 7.62mm PKT machine gun that were both on the BMP-2. With the BMP-3 the Soviets now have an infantry fighting vehicle that can now fight on par with the NATO IFVs and perhaps even surpass some of them.
As an aside, it is actually very cool how the main gun fired anti tank guided missiles work. The AT-10 Stabber is a 100mm round that resembles a normal 100 mm anti-tank round, and is loaded and fired in the same fashion. It uses a reduced explosive charge to launch the projectile out of the barrel of the gun at around 400 to 500 m/s. After leaving the barrel, a small cover falls away from the window on the rear of the missile for the laser guidance. A rocket motor ignites 1.5 seconds after firing the missile, and it burns for 6 seconds, and takes about 12 seconds to travel 4kms, its approximate max range.
So what does this mean in game? Well it means the BMP-3 goes up to FA 5, as compared to FA 2 for the BMP-2, and a side and rear armour of 3, compared to 2 on the BMP-2. This will give it some chance against the rapid fire multi-role AA platforms, like the Gepard, Sgt York and Marksman, especially at range, which would typically rip apart the BMP-2. Additionally it is marginally faster at dash speeds to the BMP-2 and it can also move and fire its AT-10 Stabber ATGM as well as its 100mm 2A70 main gun.
So most importantly, let’s look at the new guns! The AT10 Stabber has an AT of 21, a Firepower of 3+, and a range of 16” to 48” inches, which will allow it to penetrate most NATO tanks frontally, but if it is able to flank the enemy, it will have a very good chance of penetrating any NATO tank. The 100mm 2A70 gun will be excellent for the BMP-3 advancing on dug-in infantry, and should be able to support its attached assaulting infantry in blasting out dug-in NATO infantry. Its 24” range, stationary and moving ROF 1 main gun, is both stabilised and has a 2+ firepower, as well as Brutal. This should be very capable in digging-out enemy infantry, especially if combined with artillery like the new TOS-1 platform.
There are many ways you can field the BMP-3, either as a scout Platoon, as part of a BMP Motor Rifle Company, or as part of any Tank Company except the T-55AM Tank Company. I will add I do see them in the elite T-80 Shock Tank Company, which it the only way to field them with improved stats, eg. 4+ to hit.
If you are thinking of taking them as part of your reconnaissance screen, you can take up to four in the BMP-3 Recon Platoon, or up to three as your recon element in the Shock Tank Company. They are more expensive, but will be a little bit faster (improved dash speeds), and more mobile with their move and shoot AT-10 Stabber missiles for when jousting with armour.
If you want to take them as part of your BMP Motor Rifle Company, you can do so, but they will be very expensive, with three full BMP-3 Company and one HQ BMP-3 (37 BMP-3), costing 93 points, so it will not leaving much left for anything else. I would suggest in this formation to probably take one larger BMP-3 Company as your assaulting force, and one smaller BMP-2 Company to assist and another smaller BMP-1 or BMP -2 Company to defend your objectives. This should allow you a large assaulting force as well as enough of a force to defend the side you are not assaulting through. Remember this will not change the play style of the BMP Motor Rifle Company, which is a mass infantry assault, backed by BMPs, artillery and tanks. You will just have better tools now, but is very much still very similar to how you would use a BMP-2 list.
There is another important addition your forces in the WWIII Soviet book, the upgraded RPG7, the RPG7-VR. This is an upgraded RPG7 with a larger warhead, and a tandem charge to defeat ERA on tanks and other vehicles. It works by the first smaller warhead exploding the reactive armour block prematurely, this renders that particular block of ERA useless, and the larger full calibre warhead then explodes and penetrates the weak spot created by the precursor charge.
In game these are a unit upgrade available to all BMP and infantry companies, but be aware, if you take them for one unit, all units in the Formation with RPG-7s, must be upgraded to RPG-7VRs as well. So it can get very expensive, unless you only take one unit in your force with RPG-7s, say a large BMP unit in a Tank Company…
These types of weapons have been used in real combat, for example in Iraq in 2003, Iraqi Insurgents used it on a M1 Abrams, and achieved a mobility kill. It hit the left side hull next to the forward section of the engine compartment. It penetrated a fuel tank, and flooded the compartment with fuel. Several other allied tanks have been taken out with weapons the same or similar to these, including more M1 Abrams, a Challenger 2 tank and Israeli MBTs.
They can also be taken as a very useful addition to a Tank Company, to spearhead your assault on the enemy objective, just make sure to give your opponents options to shoot at. You would be much happier him focusing on your MBTs, instead of your weaker armoured BMP-3s. Try to use cover and concealment to get you as close as possible before your infantry makes its assault. I know as a West German Team Yankee Commander, I found the BMP Motor Rifle Company lists to be one of the hardest lists to play against. Especially the typical force of two large BMP-2 companies, backed up by a few MBTs, and Hinds. I could take on most of the list, but the two large infantry companies of up to 23 stands each, were very hard to stop. Now they are even better.
Out of all of the Formations that can use the BMP-3 I do find the elite T-80 Shock Tank Company to be the most interesting! This formation has been brought together from the best conscripts and officers coming through the training schools. They are constantly drilling and undertaking very realistic exercises, they are also given the best equipment the Soviet Military can muster. Containing mostly T-80, BMP-3s and BMP-2s, also veterans of the fighting in Afghanistan have been briefing them about their experiences, giving them first-hand knowledge of modern conflicts and tactics.
This Formation has given the Soviets a unit on par with the NATO units, as far as to-hit values and overall skill values. These will be very hard opponents for NATO Forces to face, but the trade off is smaller unit sizes, very similar to NATO platoon sizes. For example, the max BMP-3 Shock Recon Platoon size is 3 x BMP-3, and the largest BMP-3 Shock Motor Rifle Company is 6 x BMP-3, as compared to the 12 seen in the normal BMP-3 Motor Rifle Company. Similarly a Shock Company T-80 Platoon has a max unit size of 3x T-80, so if you have always wanted to find out how hard a NATO player has it, try this Tank Company out……
I think this will be a very popular list for many Soviet players, and is something they have been asking for, for a while, and it certainly cuts down on the painting time needed for a Soviet Force. In fact as a long time NATO player, I think this will be one of the lists I really want to try out, as you get all the toys, and some lovely BMP-3s to boot!!
I think the BMP-3 is a very good unit, while not excelling at anything in particular; it is very good at a lot of things, and a more versatile option than the BMP-2 and well as being better than the BMP-2 overall. It is very much a Dzhek (Jack) of all Trades, and something that will give NATO players more headaches! But I do think it is something that the Soviets needed to keep up with NATO, and we shall see how it affects the meta. It will be interesting the new Forces people will create with it!
Like most Soviet players, I have been eagerly waiting for the WW3: Soviet release to usher in the new toys for the Soviet players especially the T-80 and BMP-3 – to take on the NATO heavyweights such as Leopard, Challenger and M1 Abrams.
What is even better, is the release of the T-80 Shock Company in the book – finally a formation that is like most NATO lists – hit on 4+ – music to my ears.
Let us have a look at what comprises the formation:
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
The core fighting units in the formation are “Shock” units (hit on 4+). Smaller more elite units that allow you to play NATO tactics with new Soviet equipment. Let us look at these in more detail.
The T-80 tank has FA20 SA10 TA2, ERA (side 16 against HEAT), tactical 14” move, 32” range AT22 gun with advanced stabiliser, optional AT22 tandem warhead missile with range out to 48” that can be fired on the move! Did I mention also hit on 4+?
The gun – AT22 with advanced stabiliser means moving up to 14” and able to fire its main gun on the move with no penalty. So effectively its range is up to 46” if you move and fire. Brutal – hit dug in infantry with it and that infantry team is re-rolling its saves! Laser rangefinder – No +1 to hit targets over 16”.
The missile – AT22 that can be fired on the move with 16” – 48” range increases with tactical move of 14” to 62” range! Guided – no +1 to hit over 16”. HEAT – no +1 to armour save for over 16” range. Tandem Warhead – if target has ERA, it is ignored so use the normal armour rating! For those missions where you have scattered reserves and they turn up at the other end of the table – no problem anymore with coming on at tactical and firing your missile giving you 62” range.
The armour – 4+ to hit FA20 SA10 TA2. Finally, frontal armour on par with the NATO MBTs such as Challenger and M1A1. SA10 with ERA (effective against majority of HEAT weapons by increasing to SA16). Your tanks will be almost impervious to most infantry AT – assault at will!
The speed – 14” tactical speed means you will keep moving suffering no penalties for moving and firing. 2+ cross check which means you will pass them 83% of the time. 18” terrain dash and 28” cross country dash if you need it.
The stats – Skill 3+ so blitzing and shooting and scooting are useful orders. Remount is also 3+ so easier to get back in. Morale 3+ to stay in the battle. Assault and counterattack on 4+ – so get those assaults in and get them won! HQ has better stats of course, so you want the HQ close by for the assaults.
The Company HQ comprises one tank for 10pts and can add an optional missile for +1pt.
The Tank Platoon comprises either two tanks for 19pts or 29pts for three. You can add an optional missile for 1pt per tank. You can also fit a Mine Plough to one tank in the platoon for +1pt.
To me it is a no brainer to take an HQ tank plus two platoons of three tanks for 68pts as a minimum (unless playing smaller sided games where you take two platoons of two).
The Shock Motor Rifle Infantry:
This is the most exciting unit for the T-80 Shock Tank Company. 4+ to hit infantry! Very hard to dig out and you have options to take a medium or small sized unit and choose to carry them in either BMP-2s or BMP-3s. This is a hard-hitting unit that will be difficult to dislodge or conversely stop during an assault – especially if combined with your Shock T-80s.
The weapons – stock standard AK-74s with 8” range ROF 3, RPG-18 with 8” range AT14 slow firing. The new RPG7VR infantry team with 8” range AT19 FP2+ slow firing, HEAT and Tandem Warhead – watchout NATO tanks! PKM LMG with range 16” ROF 7 to halt any infantry attacks or suppress infantry prior to assault. Optional AGS-17 range 16” ROF 9 to add to PKM LMGs firepower. Optional SA-14 range 48” ROF 3 AA SAM as intrinsic AA defence.
You can take either the medium size company for 24pts comprising of:
6 x AK-74 with RPG-18 anti-tank team
5 x RPG-7VR anti-tank team
1 x PKM LMG team
6 x Shock BMP-3
Or the small sized company for 15pts comprising of:
4 x AK-74 with RPG-18 anti-tank team
3 x RPG-7VR anti-tank team
4 x Shock BMP-3
Options for either are:
1 x AGS-17 grenade launcher team with BMP-3 for +3pts
1 x SA-14 Gremlin AA missile team with BMP-3 for +3pts
Downgrade all BMP-3s to BMP-2s for -3pts for the company
This multi-purpose, multi-weapon platform gives you a lot of versatility – whether carrying your shock troops into battle or in the recon role with spearhead to get you assault force into a better launch position to get amongst it.
The guns – wow, two guns – a rapid fire 30mm cannon and a low powered 100mm gun for digging out infantry. The 30mm cannon has a range of 20” ROF 3 AT10 with stabiliser, laser rangefinder and anti-helicopter! Ideal for light vehicles, sneaky side shots into tanks and anti-infantry and helicopters. The 100mm gun has a range of 24” ROF 1 AT5 with brutal, laser rangefinder and stabiliser. Ideal for digging out infantry from their foxholes.
The missile – AT21 with a range of 16” – 48”. 58” actually as it can be fired on the move too with a 10” tactical move!
The armour – 4+ to hit – some say the best armour in the game. FA5 SA3 TA1. Better than its predecessor of FA2.
The speed – 10” tactical speed means you will keep on the move, suffering no penalties for moving and firing. With stabiliser on both guns, this means you can increase your tactical speed to 14” with a +1 to hit over 10”. 3+ cross check which means you will pass them 67% of the time. 18” terrain dash and 28” cross country dash if you need it.
So, the BMP-3 can be used to transport your Shock Motor Rifle Company or in the recon role performed by the Shock Recon Platoon. You can get three for 9pts or two for 7pts. Recon platoon gives you spearhead in certain missions to get your troops into a better position to launch your attack.
Now the next part of the article is building lists based on the T-80 Shock Company for three different points levels (75, 100 and 120) to get some idea of core formation options plus what else you can add for flavour or to suit you play style. With version 2 of the rules, we have black box units for formation support now – so that provides us some interesting options for list building. On the flipside for this formation, we can now have a T-80 Shock Tank Platoon supporting other formations.
First option I look at is having a secondary formation for the extra 14pts. It gives me a cheap spearhead option for my primary attack force to get into a better position for those missions that allow it. I get two small infantry platoons to guard each of my objectives thus allowing my big Shock Motor Rifle Company to go on the offensive right away with my Shock T-80s. I have AA coverage with the new dual weapon system 2S6 Tunguska and SA-9 Gaskin. I have one artillery template (with backstop anti-tank if required with AT21 gun) with an observer to help range in better. If you wanted a second artillery template, you could downgrade the 2S6 Tunguskas to ZSU-23-4 Shilkas and use the 4pts saved for a battery of three BM-21 Hail Rocket Launchers to complement your 2S1 Carnations.
Another option is adding black box formation support units to your force instead of a secondary or allied formation. I like to run balanced forces and a second infantry option would be useful – Afgantsy Air Assault Company fits the bill nicely. Outside of the Shock Infantry, it is the best Soviet infantry available with 4+ skill and assault and 3+ everything else.
To fit in a medium Air Assault Company, and still allow the recon element, we downgraded the 2S6 Tunguskas to ZSU-23-4 Shilkas.
A third option where I do not want or need a cheap infantry formation or a second infantry company, but more surgical high-end firepower could be:
Adding in the BM-27 Hurricanes gives me access to minelets, which can ruin your opponent’s day plus with the salvo AT4 FP3+ makes it easier to shred their AA assets before you bring on your Hinds to kill their high end tanks with AT24 missiles, whilst your Shock T-80s and Motor Rifles mop up the rest and/or defend your own objectives. Want a full complement of six MI-24 Hinds with AT24 missiles instead of four, downgrade Shock BMP-3s to BMP-2s for -3pts and downgrade the BM-27s to BM-21 Hails for -3pts to get those 2 extra helicopters.
Feel like adding some more tanks to the force? We could add another new unit to supplement the T-80s – the new T-55AM. A unit you can use to bum rush from reserves or use to try and flank opponents or with the optional missile hang back and have massed missile fire from range. How could this look:
Tweaking the list by going with the small Shock Motor Rifle Company to add nine T-55AM with AT18 main gun (no slow firing rule!) and AT21 missile, gives you flexibility depending on the mission to outflank or hold back fire a missile barrage.
For 100pt lists we need to dial it back a bit as we lose 20pts so need to look at going with the smaller infantry unit as an option and compare it with the big unit option. Looking at the big unit option first:
Downgrading the transports for Shock Motor Rifle Company, using SA-9 Gaskins and BM-21 Hails, we still fit everything in for 100pts. Still a good list to play. You have your shock elements with AA umbrella plus an artillery salvo unit with OP. Here is an example list with the small infantry option:
By going with a small unit of Shock Motor Rifle infantry, you can add in a second unit of artillery and a high-end anti-tank unit with AT-24 that you can spring an ambush from. Another alternative is to replace one unit of artillery with either a BMP-1 or BMP-2 recon platoon from the support box option. Replace the BM-21 Hails with four recon BMP-1 or the 2S1 Carnations with three recon BMP-2s thus giving your force spearhead.
Having played at NukeCon here in Auckland a number of weeks ago, I thought I would see if I could get a T-80 Shock Company list together that I could have taken, if it was available then (I took an Iraqi T-72M force – was fun to play):
Taking the minimum T-80s you feel like a West German player taking Leopard 2s in platoons of two. In this case it is definitely feasible – I would consider dropping the ZSU-23-4 Shilkas and getting recon BMP-1s to replace them in the support box option. The Storm-2s give you AT24 – great ambush unit!
So, there you have it – this formation gives plenty of options depending on your play style and the points you are playing to. I love all the options you can add from either black box formation support or the support options. Do not forget you can also add allied formations too – Basij Infantry horde anyone?
Soviet Green, for modellers at least, has been one of the hardest colours to quite pin down as to what it is. For Flames Of War gamers it is a bit like trying to determine what is the correct for German Dunklegelb.
Factors such as the specific time period, where the tank was built, whether or not it had been repainted in the field, and the amount of sun, rain and general use it had seen all had an effect on the final colour. Not to mention the human element involved in mixing the paint, to the same chemical formula but not quite the same ratios for each batch, and you end up with some significant variations.
These pictures are a great example of how different the Russian Green can be once time (and weather) has taken its toll.
So with all that in mind what is the correct green? We’ve suggested Vallejo Olive Drab (887) with a drybush of Green Brown (879) as an easy way of replicating this colour.
Personally I’ve used a mixture of colours over the years and, in my opinion, you should feel free to do whatever you think looks good. Just check out this photo that Victor found…
Evan’s Take On Painting Russian Armour
I’ve already got a significant Soviet force for WWIII Team Yankee and the vast majority is plain green in colour. I’ve painted some scout BMPs with a basic sand camouflage pattern just to make them different from the infantry BMPs on the table but, until now, I’ve relied on rubber skirts, lights and some serious dusty weathering to brighten them up.
I like to start with a base primer coat of Vallejo Soviet Green primer and then go from there with some panel modulation and the rest of my painting system. I use this to keep my armour coherent on the tabletop but as we all know there is no real Russian/Soviet green that you must use to be accurate.
When the T-80 and BMP-3 arrived in the game I thought I would depart my tried and true plain green and go for a camouflage scheme to reflect the more modern AFVs in the game. I kept the Vallejo Russian green primer base but shifted to a more Olive Drab leaning green as a modulation colour to go with the sand and black camouflage pattern. The camouflage also extends down over the rubber skirts as well which is another first for my Russians.
I like to paint my armour with the tracks off if at all possible and you can do this with the T-80. After I’ve glued on the skirts I check fit the tracks to make sure they will fit later, to do this you need to insert the rear of the tracks at 90 degrees to the hull and then rotate upwards so the rear mudguard goes over the un-ditching log on the rear. Removing them is the opposite and the tracks will still be free to paint by themselves.
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.
The Late War launch is over for the time being (that is, until D-Day: American hits the shelves in a few weeks), so we’d like very much to thank you for joining us and to let you know that we look forward to the next launch when we will have even more exciting stuff to show off.
Until then, we are going to leave you with some excellent coverage of the Flames Of War Boot Camp, hosted by OnTableTop over the launch weekend.
Everyone here in the Auckland Studio is getting along with their Launch Day projects:
Patch is editing my interview with Phil (and looks none too pleased with the interruption):
Ales is working on his very special secret project:
Chris is readying his German force for a battle against Victor later today:
Aaron is chipping away at those British Shermans he’s tasked himself with finishing:
And Andrew and Wayne are throwing down in the break room: