Army Building With New Soviet Army Deal

With John Lee

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) $200
1 x WW3-04 World War III: Soviet: A4, Hardback $20
Total $220

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 book spotlight

With Wayne Turner

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.

Check out World War III: Soviet in the online store here…

What is Different?

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.

What’s New?

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).

Old Favourites

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.

So get stuck in and enjoy!


Welcome To The WWIII: Soviet Live Launch

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.

The Battlefront Team

TOW Be or Not TOW-2 Be?

With Garry Wait

I have heard much confusion and discussion about the TOW missile and the new WWIII: American book. One of the most exciting things about the new book is not only the new toys but the options to get more mileage out of existing weapons systems. To my mind, the most fascinating upgrade is to TOW missile systems.

Let’s look briefly at what TOW actually is before discussing how to get the most out of your TOW system in World War III.

Initially produced by Hughes Helicopters and still produced to this day by US Company Raytheon, some fifty years after first produced.  The TOW system (which stands for “Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire Guided or TOW for short) was first produced in 1970, just in time to see trials in the tail end of the Vietnam War. The original BGM71A missile (to use it’s US designation) saw action in 1972 when it was used on 24 April against of all things, a captured US made M41 light tank.  The original use of TOW saw mainly helicopter firings used although a ground mount was also available initially. The armoured solutions you see in World War III came along much later.  This early version had a range of some 3,000 metres and reduced armour penetration.

During the Cold War the Improved TOW BGM71C came out with better range and better AT through a new warhead, with the BGM71B (known as TOW-ER or Extended Range) being identical to BGM7A except for having the improved range of 3,750m.  This Improved TOW BGM71C missile is what was sold to various NATO forces as well as Israel and Iran in the Oil Wars book and represents a hugely successful system. With the base sight being thermal imaging as standard using the AN/TAS-4, as an all-weather weapon it is unsurpassed for production levels (although there is debate about whether this night sight was supplied to Iran).

With AT21 and range 48”/120cm in game, the Improved TOW represents a threat to all but the most advanced tanks on the table and can account for anything up to Front Armour 18 reasonably in my experience.  The first outing for the Improved TOW was in Lebanon in 1982 where IDF General Peled’s TOW jeeps exploited the vulnerabilities of Syrian T72’s in spectacular fashion. This action saw up to nine T72’s destroyed for no tank losses on the Israeli side.

(Read more about Peled and his Special Manoeuvre Force here)

Apart from US forces, the Improved TOW system is also available in game to British (Lynx Helicopter), Canadians (M150 TOW tank destroyers), Netherlands (YPR765 PRAT), Iranians (on AH1 Cobra, M113 and Jeep), Israelis (AH1 Cobra, M113 and Jeep) and West Germans (Jaguar 2).

That makes it a very widespread system indeed. In all cases, apart from the Iranians, it provides a thermal imaging system for the firing post which incrementally improves the weapons performance.

Now, in the new United States World War III book, we see the new BGM71D system, also known colloquially as the TOW-2. This new weapon has the same range but a bigger enlarged warhead that provides significantly better hitting power. The Improved TOW missile warhead was 141 cm long while the newer TOW-2 adds an additional 10cm of length, all of which is heavy explosive filler although both have the same 152mm (6”) diameter warhead. This part is important as it means the TOW-2 is backwardly compatible with older launchers.

The new warhead offers AT23 which is a quantum leap forwards for democracy and freedom loving NATO forces and is introduced as standard on the M2 Bradley IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) and M3 Bradley CFV (Cavalry Fighting Vehicle).  If you take any TOW-2, you must upgrade ALL other TOW launchers at a cost of one point extra per unit. So that means if you run AH-1 Cobras supporting a Bradley equipped Cavalry force, you need to up the cost by an additional one point per flight to accommodate the far more lethal TOW-2. Currently the TOW or TOW-2 system is available to the US Army in M2 and M3 Bradley, M901, HMMWV and AH-1 Cobra systems, while the USMC can use the same options in the HMMWV and the LAV-AT systems.

The only issue with the TOW system was the requirement to keep the seeker sight on the target to guide the weapon onto the unlucky focus of the operator. With a speed of 200 metres per second and two seconds to allow for the gyroscope stabilised warhead rocket to kick in, it is a nerve wracking 20 seconds to get to a target at maximum range, all the while with a heightened level of enemy attention upon the operator!

If you’re facing some serious frontline enemy – or are involved in a NATO training exercise versus Challengers or other US forces – where you will be facing front armour of 19 or more, I’d recommend this as a small price to pay to keep your grunts comfortable in their fox holes. A well-run US force can accommodate the best missile in the game and the TOW-2 is clearly this with excellent range, hitting power and night vision to suit.  Nothing will scare a T-64 commander more than facing TOW-2 missiles which can comfortably outrange their main gun rounds.

At a pinch, you can even use it to clear enemy out of bunkers OR engage helicopters although I only recommend this after you’ve cleaned up the enemy’s heavy armour.

If TOW-2 is so good, why wouldn’t you buy it, I hear you ask?

In many cases it will be overkill. Against most Oil Wars forces – apart from our good friends in the IDF – you won’t need the additional expense of the TOW-2. If facing T-72 or earlier model Soviet equipment, it’s a proven fact that the Improved TOW is more than sufficient to deal with 1960’s Soviet technology. Why waste a brand-new missile on an outdated ride?

When facing APC’s, even the much-vaunted British Warrior IFV won’t be any challenge for a US Improved TOW missile after all.

But much like the USSR in the Cold War, you need to balance the budget. TOW-2 is a lovely option to have available but may be a sledgehammer to smash open a walnut shell – capable but likely to leave a mess.


Everything But The Kitchen Sink

With Chris Allen

“Sergeant Ferris!” Lieutenant Armstrong bellowed as he walked up to his platoon for the first time, just having arrived with the reinforcements.


“I know I’m new here but we’ve got to police up these tanks.”


“Sergeant if you look at anyone else’s tanks they’re bare hulls, maybe a little kit in the bustle but our tanks, Sergeant there’s more kit on theses tanks than in the quartermasters shop, look at that one, does that tank have a DShK on it?

Sergeant Ferris blinked, looked up at the sun and looked back down, blinked again, “Sir, we could have left it for the commies to pick back up, but in all honesty it’s kinda a good luck charm. Plus you should have seen how confused they were when we opened up on them with it one time, the Int guys said there was comms chatter for days about friendly fire”

“Fine, but sergeant you can’t tell me we need that many Jerry’s on a tank, I’ve been assured we’ll receive nightly resupply, in my experience on course…”

“Lieutenant, I’m happy you’ve been assured, but in my experience in battle”, he let his word hang “when resup’ doesn’t show for two days because things get hot and we get caught behind the lines, those jerry’s keep us killing Ivan and get us back home.” 

The Lt looked down, and then back at the tanks. “Sergeant, is that a case of beer on the back of that tank?” 

A head popped up from the back of the tank, the young man stared down from the tank “Sir, you ever tasted a beer after killing commies?” 


A wry and knowing smile crossed the sergeant’s lips as the Lt looked back down “You will” 

With some social distancing going on it’s a great time to not only start something new but spend a little extra time making it something special, something of your own. I’ve been playing Soviets since the introduction of the game, but after moving across the country I wanted to start a second force to help introduce the game to new players. There was no more appropriate or iconic force to pit against the Soviet threat than the might of the American military. So picking up a box of Bannons Boys I wanted to make something that really showed the differences in the two forces.

My Soviet force is a monument of simplicity, uniformity and application of conscript forces. So what better way to make the opposition stand out and show the divide of culture and doctrine than to make each vehicle individual. With this as the concept there was only one option, the M1A1 Abrams main battle tank.

With the new Team Yankee Americans book coming out, we all knew that the M1A1 Abrams was about to appear in the game, so what better opportunity to jump in ahead of the release to have built a model we all have access to but isn’t yet on the table!

All you need to do is type in Abrams in google and you’ll find pages upon pages of pictures of Abrams tanks through the years, and every single one looks different. But the pictures give great inspiration for stowage, paintjobs and just getting the models on the table. I tried to find pictures from Operation Reforger and other major exercises but also looked for inspiration in the conflicts in Iraq. While I didn’t want to put on all the really modern pieces like recognition panels and such there were tons of examples of how to stow kit on a high speed tank.

I didn’t have too look far to find what I needed to accomplish this. Battlefront is amazing at providing us with extra pieces of kit to customize our forces and make them not simply markers on the table but our own private armies to command. Looking at most sprues you’ll find extra pieces, boxes, road wheels, guns and such, all ripe for the picking and enabling us to make our toy tanks individual and our own.

For my Abrams I found some of the parts in the following places:

The Abrams sprue itself: Road wheels, jerry cans, tool boxes, even extra machine guns are all there.

The Sherman Sprue out of hit the beach: tarps, jerry cans, oil cans.

TUSO10 US Vehicle Stowage (below): This blister is life. With rucksacks, kit bags, ammo crates, road wheels, tarps and wrapped kit, this has a lot of everything you want. I need to order more to customize up my Americans as I expand the force.

USO212 Half-Track Stowage (above): This is full of wrapped kit and equipment and is pure gold for adding strapped down equipment to vehicles in any era and if you have it for your Mid or Late War Americans, you can use it to give a little love to your Team Yankee Americans.

These made up the mainstay of my bits, but I scrounged weapons like machine guns off of M113 and T-62 Sprues, there are literally great bits on almost every sprue that can work and add to your force being unique and your own.

The one bit I wanted but couldn’t get was spare tracks. There is spare track on the Leopard-2 sprue but it’s not quite right for the Abrams. So what’s a guy to do? Improvise, adapt, overcome.

To be honest I didn’t know if this was going to work, but it did.

I laid down a thick bead of hot glue onto my cutting mat and let it cool down to where it was starting to get that white colour back and I pushed the Abrams track down into it and let it fully cool. I carefully pulled the Abrams off of it and voila a push mold for an Abrams track.

I mixed up some GF9 green stuff and poured some water into the push mold  (poor mans release agent) and in a few minutes I had more track than I knew what to do with. If I was to do it again (Which I did) I’d of put the hot glue on a large Popsicle stick so I could reuse it and move it easily.

This is the mindset a modeler needs, everything can be a bit, or become one. I cut up and shaped sprues and squared them to become boxes of rations, and a case of beer.

Now came the fun part, adding it all together.

If you’re a Sergeants Major or First Sergeant, skip ahead a paragraph, you won’t care to follow where I’m about to lead you. Uniformity only goes so far. Every armoured vehicle I’ve ever lived out of was different. There were some key things in some key places, stretchers, admin boxes, tools. After that it was up to the vehicle commander, and each had their likes, wants and needs. This for an army on the table means variety but commonality and can make a cohesive army of individuals.

I started my Abrams platoon by picking what my key essential kit would be. For my vehicles it was an ammo box made into an admin box, two jerry cans, a road wheel and the vital sleeping tarp. I picked where these were going to go by test fitting with blue tac and glued them down on the four tanks. This gave me a base to work from and individualize further.

With that I was open to do what I like but I ensured to keep the blow out doors of the protected ammunition and the antenna mounting points free and clear of stowage. It’s a safety thing. And knowing is half the battle.

I wanted these tanks to be really lived in and so I made sure that each crew member would have not only a ruck but a kit bag, a bit much sure but the tanks doing all the lifting so who cares, might as well bring everything you might need.

I tested and moved around stowage to make each vehicle individual, but the common items and open space of the blowout panels made the platoon cohesive. They looked not uniform, but common.

Things really started to come together and each story started to tell its own story of the crew manning it. In the field I’ve seen no end to crazy things strapped to tanks by the crew so the machine guns, boxes of MREs or even a case of beer started to come together.

One thing I will note is that if you plan on putting this much stuff on your Abrams I suggest magnetizing the turrets. I didn’t. And then once I had more than doubled the weight of the model, all on the rear of the turret, I had to dig out the pins and insert magnets. They work amazingly well and I have no issue with the turrets tipping now. Learn from my pain.

In the end I’m really happy with how the platoon turned out. It’s my first American unit for Team Yankee and I think it’s going to set a trend for my force.

Now I just need to figure out if I’m adding camouflage nets and find a paint scheme I like. I’m thinking NATO 3 Colour so they can blend in with the allies.

The new Team Yankee American book is going to add a lot of fun and flavour to the game and I for one can’t wait to see the iconic M1A1s hitting the table. Some people love the look of stock tanks, stripped down to the essentials, ready to fight light and fast, I know I do with my Soviets. For my Americans I want a lived in tank that nobody is going to confuse as anyones but mine, and the M1A1 has the stowage capacity and cool factor to help make this happen.

Happy hobbying.


Fire In The Skies – The M109 vs M270

With Chris Allen

With World War III: American being released there are a ton of new and exciting options available for players. From new Formations, to new variants and weapons players are spoiled for options and this definitely extends to the support options commanders can choose from. Few things are as connected to victory on the modern battlefield as artillery and so we’ll take a quick look at the new kid on the block the M270 MLRS and compare it to the workhorse of fire support the M109.

American players have had the supporting fire of M109s since the beginning of the game. It’s a tried and tested unit that provides a lot of flexibility for commanders. Its 155mm shells provide AT 4 artillery fire with a 2+ Firepower, it’s solid. It’s got pretty solid armour for a self-propelled artillery system, has smoke and the option for specialist rounds like DPICM, Minelets and copperhead rounds. Fully kitted out this unit is a high end swiss army knife, it can do it all, or be taken without upgrades to provide good old direct fire support to your combat teams.

The M270 MLRS is the new big fire support option for U.S. forces. While it came out with Team Yankee British, the MLRS is going to be available for the British, American and German forces. This new artillery system provides a few things for the American forces in World War Three, not the least of which is a really sweet model. I’m a big fan of the look of MLRS systems and with the armoured cabin and huge rocket bank I was in from the moment it was released.

Looking at the M270 MLRS’ stats there’s nothing huge to immediately write home about. Lightly armoured it’s just beyond unarmoured with 0/0/1, it can take Minelets for 1 point and has a AT of 3 with a 5+ FP on it’s Salvo. This is where a lot of people write off this vehicle, but there is a lot more under the hood than most people see. In my opinion the largest negative is that the MLRS cannot provide a smokescreen and so loses some flexibility.

Another unit with mines is always amazing. The MLRS is about board control, plain and simple this unit helps you dominate table space more than anything else, and mines are a great way to do this. With the MLRS rule letting 3 teams count as 6 you can drop 2 minefield tokens and cover a key gap, or route forcing your opponent to make tough decisions.

Salvo fire is huge. People always forget just how big salvo fire is. An artillery template is 6”x 6” or 36 square inches, the Salvo template at 10”x 10” provides 100 square inches, or just under three times the area enabling it to hit a lot more targets. The downside to this is almost all of your shots will cover terrain features and as such will be harder to rang in. An MLRS battery really loves having an M113 FIST team to make sure it can range in on 4s if you’re planning on repositioning it or using the mines.

The MLRS rule makes each team firing count as 2 teams, so your three-team battery of MLRS for 9pts fires as six teams and rerolls all misses to hit. When you compare this to a similar pointed unit like the minimum M109 unit at 7pts you start to see how effective this system can be. Rerolling all misses in three times the area gives you dominating fires. This is especially effective against infantry and unarmoured tank teams that a single hit will also pin, but enough AT 3 against top armour will put dents in a lot of armoured units.

The firepower as we initially discussed is what commonly turns people off of the MLRS, at 5+ it looks like it’ll be ineffective but when you start to run the numbers the MLRS more than holds its own.

The table below describes the likelihood of any team under the respective artillery or salvo template being hit, infantry dying, dying to a repeat bombardment and the same for dug in against 3+ to hit and 4+ to hit infantry.

3+ to Hit
System To hit Inf Fail Repeat Dug in Repeat
MLRS X3 88.9% 29.6% 49.9% 9.9% 16.5%
M109 x3 66.7% 22.2% 37.0% 18.5% 30.9%
4+ to hit
System To hit Inf fail Repeat Dug in Repeat
MLRS X3 75% 25% 41.7% 8.3% 13.9%
M109 x3 50.0% 16.7% 27.8% 13.9% 23.1%

The MLRS rule drives your hit percentage up massively, and it provides a bigger advantage against harder to hit teams like 4+ infantry or teams out of line of sight. This translates to more infantry kills in the open, providing kills almost ⅓ of the time against Soviet and other 3+ to hit infantry and ¼ of the time against 4+ infantry. With the size advantage salvo brings, you are hitting almost 3 times as much area, letting you hit more teams, more often, potentially multiple units, and then killing more often.

Against dug in teams the 5+ fire power is a detriment, but hitting teams more often brings the numbers up and you find that the MLRS is roughly half as effective at killing dug in teams as the M109. When you remember that the system hits almost three times the area this evens out pretty nicely. The area advantage is where the MLRS shines, as it can almost completely cover the area where defenders can hold an objective from the start of the game. This lets you blanket the area and just bath the enemy in fires until they move or die. Few players will leave units to sit under a template all game, and those that do will regret it.

If an MLRS system is targeting an objective and given multiple turns to fire, there isn’t going to be much left to defend the objective and paired with robust reserves like the new M1A1 Abrams you can have a game winning combination that is very hard to deal with.

MLRS also excels as a cut-off for all of the above reasons. With 100 square inches of table space covered if you protect an objective or key terrain with the MLRS template and call a repeat, on average about 50% of Soviet teams are going to die. That is a crushing level of fire that few forces can accept to take, and being pinned under that template and having it continue basically spells death for anything that doesn’t make it out quickly. Making a no go zone for enemy infantry allows you to shape the battlefield and force players into a bad position.

The M270 MLRS is a gem of a unit that adds another key tool to the American arsenal. Does it replace the M109? Nope not even close. But what it does is give you another option for how you want to take apart your opponents. The M109 provides dominating specific fires and a toolbox of ways to assist your army with specialist munitions while the M270 MLRS provides board control, being a murder machine for troops in the open and can truly perform area denial on its own because of this. What does this mean for American commanders? There is the right system available to support your battle plan waiting to be called upon to hit the table.


Bradleys Hold The Line?

With Nick Azzaro (and Brandon and Lonnie)

The stage was set for a confrontation outside a small town. The US forces had occupied the town prior and were dead set on defending it from the Soviet interlopers. The buildings would provide cover for the Americans as the hills and valleys outside the town would help mask the Soviet advance. As the sun rose over the small town, shots rang out.

Brandon’s American list hinged on the new Bradley. The appeal is that for a relatively low points cost, he can bring to bear a large amount of firepower in the form of their TOW-2 missiles. Even in this smaller 50 points game, Brandon was able to bring eleven M2 Bradleys, across three platoons in addition to his Combat Team HQ, using the M2 Bradley Mech Combat Team formation. He fleshed out the rest of his list with three MLRS Rocket Launcher Batteries and four HMMWVs with Stinger AA missiles.

Lonnie brought the Red Thunder with a Soviet list utilizing the T-72 Tank Battalion. As such, he had his Battalion HQ T-72 accompanied by two additional companies of four T-72s each. He rounded out his forces with a small BMP-1 Motor Rifle Company and two MI-24 Hinds.

The scenario would see Brandon defending the small town from Lonnie’s Soviets in a scenario of their own devising. (With a late game surprise element.) Brandon deployed his Bradleys in a defensive perimeter around the edge of the town protecting his more vulnerable HMMWVs and Rocket Batteries in the interior, along with his HQ Bradley. Lonnie’s deployment was mostly along the long board edge opposite from Brandon’s perimeter as his plan was to overwhelm Brandon’s deadly yet somewhat softer Bradleys with the firepower from his T-72s. His Hinds would start off the board and his BMPs, filled with eager Soviets, would begin further back in his line. However, with Brandon winning first turn, this plan was not to be.

Brandon kicked the game off with a bang. Having sufficient fields of fire, he would strike first and hope to cripple any counter attack before it could form. All his Bradleys opened fire with their TOW-2 missiles to great effect. His Bradleys closest to the T-72s blasted three of the Soviet tanks off the table with the last remaining fleeing instead of facing another barrage. Brandon’s middle platoon of Bradleys only had line of sight on the T-72 command tank and made short work of it as well. The last platoon of Bradleys had the least amount of luck only being able to destroy a single T-72 leaving three of his comrades in the hunt. The American luck would continue to fizzle out as the MLRS batteries were unable to range in on the distant BMPs. However, it was a bloody and eventful turn seeing the Americans gain a strong early advantage that the Soviets would have to work to surmount the rest of the game.

Having taken a browbeating in the American turn, the Soviets were looking to get some modicum of revenge. But first they had to shore up their defenses. Lonnie disembarked his infantry from his BMPs into the cover of a shallow ravine and then shuffled the BMPs out of sight for their own protection. The remaining three T-72s would then advance with the cover of some escarpments on their right. Finally, the Reds would hope to change their fortunes with the arrival of the Hinds. The Hinds went straight to their 57mm UB-32 rocket launchers and looked to drop a salvo on a large portion of Brandon’s Bradleys. The Bradleys would fire their Bushmaster guns in vain prior to the barrage. However, it wouldn’t matter in the end as the Soviets failed their firepower rolls and left the Bradleys unharmed. The T-72s would have slightly more luck firing downrange at the central Bradleys and destroying one. But this was not the counter punch the Soviets had hoped for. They would now need to survive another turn of American shooting.

The American turn began with the HQ tank moving into firing range of the Hinds and the HMMWVs trying to get a better angle on them as well. Both the HQ tanks and the HMMWVs fired at the Hinds to no effect. The Bradley platoon nearest to the Hinds unleashed their Bushmaster guns at full tilt and managed to down one of the menacing flying tanks, however. The Bradleys on the far edge continued their punishing barrage on the T-72s. But due to some unfortunate dice, only one T-72 bailed out and the remaining two were unscathed. The rocket batteries tried to finish off the T-72s but failed in this task. The Soviets were down but they were not out and it was again their turn.

The crew of the T-72 remounted and the company advanced. The infantry and now-empty BMPs also closed the distance. The single remaining Hind moved right into the thick of the American defense in hope of punishing some of the softer interior targets. Its plan was thwarted however; as it was about to fire, the unit of Bradleys that had fired out of turn before turned their sights on it. It was blown out of the sky before it had a chance to make a difference. The T-72s, in a desperate bid for revenge, fire on the Bradleys on the far end and manage to destroy one, thus securing a small victory in an otherwise troubled advance. But it was about to get more troubling for the Reds.

The third turn began with the combined fire from two of the Bradley platoons finishing off the remaining T-72s while the third platoon moved onto the offensive. The MLRS rocket batteries fired on the infantry but they proved to be too dug in to be removed easily. So the turn moved to the Soviets who had their small BMP motor rifle company facing down a nearly unscathed American force.

Lonnie began his turn by advancing his Soviet infantry taking advantage of the cover afforded to him by his own destroyed tanks. The BMPs unleashed their Sagger missiles on the center group of Bradleys and managed to secure another kill. The Soviets were on the ropes, but they intended to bleed the Americans if they could. However, numbers were against them and it seemed that the days may be numbered for these comrades.

The fourth American turn would prove less bloody purely because there were hardly any targets left to destroy. The Bradleys that had dealt with the Hinds moved out of sight beyond the escarpments and the others on the far side destroyed one of the remaining rogue BMPs. The MLRS fired on the BMPs as well but only managed to spook them. The turn shifted to the Soviets, though the writing was on the wall.

In a last defiant effort, the infantry fired off their RPGs over the escarpment at the cost of a single Bradley and the BMPs tried and failed to destroy another. This ended up being the last turn as Lonnie conceded a gentlemen’s victory to Brandon instead of facing down a hail of TOW-2 missiles.

In the end, the Bradleys proficiency for destruction in the first turn left Lonnie’s Soviets an insurmountable climb. The constant pressure the Bradleys provided just wouldn’t let the Soviet advance get enough steam to crack the perimeter. Truly, the Bradley has demonstrated its efficiency and may be a contender for most aggravating transport to face, up there with the BMP. It was most definitely on the Bradley’s back that Brandon’s American victory was earned.

Happy 4th of July.


Historically Plausible…

with Victor Pesch

WWIII: American has been on my desk for a while, and I’d seen the awesome new Bradley sprue around the office, but with plenty of other projects to work on, I didn’t think I’d be starting another army.

Then Tuesday rolled around, Chris reminded me the launch was this weekend, and I found myself flipping through the book and hunting for sprues!

I decided on an M3 Bradley Armored Cavalry Troop.

My first hobby step as always is to hunt through google and books for reference images, and maybe something interesting I can do. I’m doing Gulf War British, so I was pretty set on doing something green.

Scale modellers are also good inspiration. The below examples are M1A2’s, but they capture the look I want.

What stood out to me was desert yellow vehicles with forest green replacement parts.

So I’ve decided to apply the same logic to forces fighting in Europe. It’s 1991, the first Gulf War has just ended, but the Soviets are still causing problems along Iron Curtain. Equipment and replacement parts that were destined for the desert are now being shipped hastily to a more lush climate. There are some picture of this, but it’s usually on later M1A2 tanks.

Being a Cavalry force, I took some liberties and added MG shields usually found on Vietnam ACAV M113’s. I have a few spare from building VADs.

Combat Identification Panels (CIP) were developed after the Gulf War, so again I’m using a bit of “what-if” logic and assuming they got these ready for the theoretical fighting in Europe.

To make these, I used some plasticard sheets (1mm spaced Clapboard, and 0.5 thick plain). The cutting was fiddly, but with a sharp knife and plastic glue it was surprisingly quick and easy.

The painting was pretty straight forward, as I’m aiming to get the army done daily quick.

Here’s the main colours:

– Tamiya Field Grey (Airbrush)
– Army Painter Army Green dry brush
– Citadel Biel Tan Green shade
– Citadel Nuln Oil recess shade
– Army Painter Army Green dry brush

– Vallejo Green Ochre
– Vallejo Buff dry brush
– Vallejo Pale sand dry brush

To continue the cavalry theme, I used some decals from the Vietnam M113 kit, and also added some matching penants on the aerials, made with folded paper, PVA glue, and paint.

Overall it’s a pretty quick and rough paint job, but with hopefully some interesting elements to make the army stand out. Now I’m looking forward to seeing this scheme on Bradleys, Humvees, and the rest of the support vehicles. I’ll look into adding stowage at a later date to the whole force.

Not everyone will love this paint job, but I think one of the great things about WWIII: Team Yankee is the “what-if” nature of it. It allows for some cool modelling opportunities.

It may not be historically accurate, but lets call it “historically plausible”.

– Victor