Monday, April 13, 2015

Team Yankee(-ish) with 5Core Company Command


Whaddaya know, it's circa-1985 again, and this time we find ourselves in Germany with "Team Yankee" (with apologies to Mr. Harold Coyle, but his book was part of my formative experiences).  I did Marines, so I figured I owed it to my Doggie brethren to throw some love their way.  So, the balloon has gone up in Germany, and Team Yankee has been in heavy combat the past couple days.  Here we see surviving elements of Team Yankee conducting a spoiling attack into an East German armored formation.

The opposing forces, East Germans on the left, Yankees on the right.  This is a big one: the commies have 20 stands (not including their CO), and the US has 18 stands (not including their CO).  For those wondering about firepower, here's what I used:
M1 vs T-72: 2K 1S                       T-72 vs M1: 1K 1S
M1 vs BMP: 3K 2S                       T-72 vs HMMWV/M-113: 3K 2S
TOW vs T-72: 2K 2S                    BMP vs M1: 2S
TOW vs BMP: 2K 2S                   BMP vs HMMWV/M-113: 2K 2S
HMG vs T-72: 1S                         AT5 vs M1: 1K 2S
HMG vs BMP: 2S                         AT5 vs HMMWV/M-113: 2K 2S
Mk19 vs T-72: 1S                         RPG vs M1: 1K 1S
Mk19 vs BMP: 1K 2S                  RPG vs HMMWV/M-113: 2K 2S
AT4 vs T-72: 1K 1S
AT4 vs BMP: 2K 1S

*Firing on flank/rear/top is +1K

The Commies: two platoons of tanks (6 T-72s), two platoons of motorized infantry (6 BMPs, 6 rifle squads, each with RPGs), and 1 BTR carrying the CO and two AT5 Spandrel ATGMs.

Team Yankee: a tank platoon of three M-1 Abrams (survivors); an infantry platoon of 3 M-113s (w/.50 cals), 1 M-113 with TOW, one M-113 with 81mm mortar, three infantry squads, and one dismount TOW; a Scout platoon of four HMMWVs (one TOW, two .50 cals, 1 Mk19) and two dismount squads; and one M-113 carrying the CO.

Overview, north is up, East Germans at top, Americans at the bottom.  The river can be crossed at any point, with a penalty, not just at the bridge.

The northwest corner, with an East German platoon of tanks and a platoon of infantry.

The northeast corner looks the same, but with the BTR carrying the CO and two ATGMs.

The southwest corner, where Team Yankee has its Scout Platoon, the CO, and the tank platoon.

And in the southeast corner, the infantry platoon.

I use a straight-up roll to determine who goes first, and the Americans win.

Turn 1, US Normal: Yankee 1 (center) and Yankee 3 (top) both move up and fire, while Yankee 2 (bottom) sits tight to go on overwatch (not an actual status, simply not doing anything means you can react fire).

Yankee 1 and 3 are at far right (3 is atop the hill): Yankee 3 is targeting the very top tank at top left, and Yankee 1 is targeting the highest tank at left center.

Yankee 1's shot hits (top), getting a mobilization kill and pinning the tank next to it (yellow bead).

Sorry for the fuzziness, must be an action shot...  Yankee 3's shot hits as well (bottom), knocking out the main gun.  The crew bails.

The CO's M-113 moves up (center right), then the Scout TOW truck moves up and fires.

But the shot goes wide.  The BMP returns fire, but misses too.

On the far right, the infantry's TOW track moves up into position on the hill.

The East Germans roll a scurry.  Very interesting; it's a good spot for them, they get to close some distance without react fire.  But they also roll a random event...

Maintenance is key; a BMP breaks down (black bead at center), immobilized for the entirety of the game.

On the commie left, the BTR moves up and kicks out the two Spandrel ATGM teams (left).

Back on the East German right, a BMP moves up (top center, white puffs), but a Scout Platoon gun truck opens up with its .50 cal.

Forcing the BMP to fall back and hunker (red bead, falling back from the white puffs at right).

A T-72 pulls up to help his mates rally.  At top is the knocked out tank, then a tank that just rallied, then the 'helper' tank, then a BMP that was hunkered but rallied 'up' to pinned, then the immobilized BMP.

Turn 2, US Scurry.  Now that's really interesting.  As I'm typing this I realize I made three mistakes:
1) Neither side gets to use reactive fire in the first turn, and the Americans shot.
2) You can't fire react at troops that are scurrying, but the Americans did.
3) The Americans didn't respond to the scurry.

In any case, the Americans have a scurry now, which sucks.  On the bright side, it will allow them to straighten their lines, but now they will be very close to the enemy, rather than getting to take advantage of long range direct fire.

On the left, the Scouts move up and drop their dismounts, while the CO and tanks move up.

On the right the infantry platoon moves up and dismounts.

Now the East Germans get to reactively move (everyone that saw an American move), without drawing fire.

On the American left, the East Germans move up to the river, and dismount a rifle squad (left, Americans at right).

On the East German left, the BMPs go left, while the T-72s go right.

What the hell is going on???  The East Germans roll another scurry.  The commies probably should have sat tight, but they decide to act aggressively, pushing ahead.

On their right they begin fording the river.

And the same on their left.

The US re-positions on their left.

And the right.

Turn 3.  I figured these modern fights would be short and sharp, and things quickly got sharp in this turn, where the US rolled up a normal activation.  The Scout TOW truck fires a missile at a T-72.

Bang!  Mobility kill, crew bails, T-72 next to it is pinned.

On the right, the infantry's TOW track fires at a T-72.

BAM! The hatches fly open as secondary explosions and flames engulf the T-72 (next to a knocked out T-72).

Yankee 1 (bottom right) fires at an enemy T-72 (top left), but misses.  Return fire immobilizes Yankee 1, and the crew bails.

Dismounted scouts fire an AT-4 (or LAW?) at the T-72, but miss.  The BMP (just below the rocket) returns fire...

The dismounts fall back (bottom right with red bead, from the white puffs), while the gun truck is pinned (center, yellow bead).

Yankee 2 (bottom right) moves up and fires, finally putting an end to the resilient T-72.  The infantry next to it go 'man down.'

In a stroke of tactical genius (mine), the US mortar (bottom center right) fires a smoke mission right in front of the two East German ATGM teams (top center, just left of the bridge).  It's genius because
1) The ATGMs were dominating the battle space.  You might not think so because they haven't even fired yet, but they have split the US forces in two, and the US won't even move in their fire lane out of fear.
2) No one in their right mind would spend activations to move the ATGM teams to get them into firing position, you'd have to use activations on the your tanks and BMPs.
3) The fight will be over by the time the smoke clears.

What a move.

Meanwhile, the CO moves over and rallies the Scout dismounts.

And then the East Germans roll ANOTHER scurry.  So scratch everything I just said about my tactical genius, it was just undone with one roll of the dice...

At top left is the broken down BMP.  The troops from that vehicle hop onto the other BMP and it rushes forward to the river (top right).

The other BMP on the East German right moves over (center) and drops its squad in the trees, which also manages to rally the 'man down' squad.  The remaining T-72 also moves over, squeezing in between the burning T-72 and the house, trying to get small.

The two damned AT5 Spandrel teams move through the smoke, re-opening their field of fire...

On the far US right, the East German CO leads his infantry platoon up close to the Yanks.

Then the US reacts.

On the left, the Scouts move to flank.

While the center falls back...

As does the right.

Time for Turn 4, and the US rolls a FIREFIGHT!  It's all over but the crying, and it's a slaughter.  Though it starts off a little slow...

On the far left, the Scouts open up on the T-72 with two AT-4s and a MK19, but all they manage is a pin...

Seeing his compatriots struggling with their aim, the Scout TOW truck fires a missile at the (same) T-72 behind the house.

They don't get a clean hit, but the shot forces the T-72 (top left, red bead) to fall back and hunker all the way from the far right (house).

Yankee 2 (top right) fires on the BMP (far left, just below the infantry in the trees), blowing it up.  Two .50 cal gun trucks (one at far right, next to the TOW truck, the other at bottom center, next to the telephone pole) open up on the infantry in the trees, but all they manage is to pin one squad...

Yankee 3 (bottom left) then fires and blows up another BMP (far right, just below the bridge), also getting 'man down' on the infantry squad and pinning the BMP next to it.  The M-113 next to Yankee 3 (just right of it) fires its .50 cal at the Spandrel ATGMs (top right), getting 'man down' on one and forcing the other to fall back across the river and hunker.

The infantry's dismount TOW fires at a BMP...

Gets a mobility kill and pins both rifle squads next to it.  The BMP crew bails.

Then the infantry's TOW track fires at the last BMP on the right flank...

The missile misses (bottom left), but forces the BMP to fall back over the bridge out of sight (far right, red bead).

Two tracks on the right flank (just left of the house at top center) open up on the East German infantry in the treeline (bottom right), forcing them to fall back and hunker (red beads).

At that point the East German commander has had enough and orders a withdrawal...

That fight was a bit different.  The commies really suffered from a string of bad activation rolls (scurries on their part and the US firefight that sealed the deal).  It's not that the fight lacked drama or tension; quite the opposite really, as the scurried kept the tension constantly building, and I just knew that, with the two sides practically breathing on each other, it was going to be decided in a violent flash.  And it was.

The only other thing to say about the fight itself was that it was a bit too big for me.  Each side was sporting around twenty units, when I usually have them at about 12 each.  It worked, it was just a lot of stuff.  I like my fights smaller, more personal ;)  I don't know if anyone noticed, but since I had so many units and so much armor, I mad the table a bit bigger (about 6 more inches width-wise and 10 more inches length wise).  With all the scurries they still ended up on top of each other.  And I just can't bring myself to have an open table, I've got to have plenty of buildings, trees, and hills to block LOS.  I can't believe I made those rules mistakes early on...  And I probably made the M1 Abrams too powerful for 1985.

Oh, and my US forces are lacking in terms of equipment: I'm sure you noticed that I had to use Pendraken ACAVs for the 'normal' M-113s, I used a Pendraken M-113 with a Minifigs TOW mounted atop (and painted as Israeli) since I don't have any M-901s.  I did have the M-125 right (Pendraken model), but it's painted for Israel.  I had to use my USMC fake-Universal Camo HMMWVs for Scouts as I don't have any Bradleys (need to order some).  Oh, and I had the CO riding around in a Pendraken M-113 painted for Israel.  The Abrams are Takara plastics.

Having a good time.  I need to get back to my dogfighting though!



  1. Brutal fight with a ton of tanks. Crossfire, eat your heart out :-)

    Your point about agonizing between activating the tanks "in the line" or bringing up the ATGM's is an interesting one, because that's one of the core things: I think games work best when every decision sucks in some way.

    As far as all the scurries, in my "narrative", that usually means it was foggy, night time or something similar.

    1. Ivan,

      Yeah, lots of tanks on a bit bigger table, seemed to work out pretty well. It's funny, due to the large size I almost split the forces up and gave each 'command' its own activation roll. It would have made perfect sense for the East German NE and NW groups to be their own commands (each get their own activation roll).

      The the Doggies could have had 1 activation roll for the entire force, or one activation roll for the Tank Plt, Scout Plt, and Infantry Plt. I didn't try it because I couldn't decide which way would make more sense for the US, to reflect their better overall command and control.

      I'm thinking one activation roll, meaning the US player gets to coordinate between all three platoons the same time. Then I started thinking that, due to their doctrine, the War Pac troops should be able to constantly keep pushing forward (the scurries accomplished this rather well, at which I point I think I should have given the T-72s 2K 1S for close range against the Abrams). I dunno, the possibilities are endless ;)

      And to clarify, the US has one activation roll and the WarPac two: use two red cards and one blue card, shuffle them up each turn and pull to see which side/unit activates in what order.

      Well, every decision of mine certainly sucks ;) Of course I agree, the player needs to be limited, forced to prioritize 'cause you can't do everything.

      To me these scurries were just the WarPac taking advantage of the chaos of the battlefield and making good use of covered avenues of approach to get in close.


    2. Won't giving the Warpac two activation chances give them six units activating to the NATO three? Although if the original BGs were large enough I guess you're splitting the six they would have had into two lumps instead...

      Hmmm. *ponders

    3. Negative: both sides are activating 1 per every 3. Once the US had its infantry dismounted it had 18 units on the board, activating 6 per normal turn.


  2. Looking good :)

    That's quite a lot of toys on table, but looks like (except for the first turn :D) you and the rules handled them fine!

    1. Thanks TP, and can't believe I screwed up the rules, which I've played about fifty times (between 5MIN and Company Command, same mechanics)...


    2. S'alright, I do that all the time :D

      Although as we often play "by committee" where we assume we're playing right becuase it's the way we always played and the way we did it X years ago a thorugh rereading of the rules often produces some surprised faces :D

    3. I know it well: "I'd have sworn that was what the rules said!"


    4. Tell me about it :D

      "Has that changed? We always play the other way!"

    5. My favorite: "when did they change that?"

      Umm, never, this is the only edition...

  3. Excellent report, really enjoyed it.

    1. Thanks Pete, glad you liked it.


  4. Excellent Battle Report. I like your terrain table. Where is the terrain from?

    1. Pineappleleader,

      Thanks. Which terrain? The trees are cheap plastics I got from a cake decorating company, the hills are carpet I cut up and spray painted, the bushes are lichen, the fields are from Hotzmats, the wood fences are MDF from 4Ground, the two small buildings are plastic from Pegasus, I don't recall where the orange-roofed building came from, and the roads and rivers are from JR Miniatures.


    2. Thanks for your reply. All the terrain. It is very impressive.

  5. Nice BATREP and toys.
    I have to try a game with more than 12 units per side.

  6. Thanks Javier. More than 12 is definitely possible, but I think I'm going to stay in the 9 to 12 unit range.


  7. Great report. It was also a helpful learning tool. I like Ivans point about consecutive scurrys simulating night or poor visibility.

    1. Thanks David, I appreciate it.