Monday, 22 August 2016

Team Yankee Competition

This weekend the Hall of Heroes was the venue for a Team Yankee Tournament, organised by Lachlan.

That 'Oh S*!T' moment!
Now as a general rule I steer clear of Tournaments, thinking that they can attract hard nosed 'win at all costs' types, and that any battle that has both sides meeting on equal terms means that one commander or other has blundered!

In fact this is the first tournament I have entered in my own right, rather than just standing in for a mate for the odd game. 

However on both counts this excellent tournament proved me wrong. The standard of sportsmanship was all that you could wish for, with my 3 opponents courteous and knowledgeable, and more interested in developing their knowledge of the Team Yankee rules whilst playing a challenging game, rather than winning at all costs. And the general ambience of the event suggested that attitude was universal. To my surprise the TO told me I was unanimously voted for as ‘best sport’, well in that company that was a real honour!

'Oi Dave! Where's the objective?'

My second reservation about tournaments, that battles rarely occur historically as fair fights between equal points armies; is to a great extent addressed by the imaginative Team Yankee scenarios. Both the ones in the rule book and those then developed in the free online supplement. With a clear sense of specific mission, they present equal but challenging situations that do seem to mirror my understanding of real life tactical challenges. And a confirming second opinion comes from Ken, a 25 year veteran of the Royal Australian Regiment!

M1s of the Aussie 1st Armoured Regt, backed up M109s of the USMC - yes we know they had Leos in 1985!

Rob, who had come a fair distance north from Canberra to take part, was my first opponent in the Dust-Up scenario, which we played across a reasonably ‘busy’ table, terrain wise, reflecting a rural but moderately wooded and hedged terrain with lots of crop fields and a few scattered farms.

The first thing I want to say is what a pleasure it was playing against Rob’ beautifully painted army.

I voted for this as the best painted army - US Autumn MERDC lovingly executed and shaded!


We diced off for attacker, which was me, to my relief as I had played as attacker in all my practice games.

Fielding a Soviet Tank force, I started off with my usual tactic of trying to get as close to the enemy as quickly as possible whilst getting on top of the objective fast – my experience with a Soviet Tank army is that the law of diminishing returns applies with a vengeance – if you don’t seize the objective in the first couple of turns, you aren’t going to!

However, in the face of 9 M1s, I moderated that policy slightly by using the cover of the cropfields where possible.

At first this seemed to pay off as my T-72s knocked out 2 of his M1s and the rest of that platoon decided to break off!

Unfortunately Rob then did the same to me, with interest...

so by move 4 it was game over as I had no platoons left in good spirits! Played 1, Lost 1!

My second game was Breakthrough, playing against Ken, also from Canberra, this time playing his Soviet tank force – Blue on Blue! Or is that Orange on Orange? Ken’s army was also a treat for the eye, and I will be unashamedly copying some of his techniques and cam schemes in future!

This time the attacker was nominated, and again it was me. But I had never played against a WarPact force before – was attacking wise? Interestingly, they say designers give a tank a gun that will overcome its own armour, and that certainly holds true for the T-72 – Front armour 16, Anti-Tank 22 – so no saves against other T-72s – and only bailing out on a roll of a 6…Ouch! 

Since like me Ken chose not to take any Aviation or Fast Air, I left my Gopher Platoon Out of Battle, and left a Tank Platoon in reserve – with hindsight a mistake as the reserves come on close to the rear of one of the objectives.

Ken's T-72s - Modulated paint techniques can make the most plain AFV interesting...

Gonna be copying this scheme!

In fact I think my doubts about how to handle a WarPact-WarPact situation were reflected in my game play from the get-go, as I faffed around for 4 moves trying to move a group of mech inf about 18 inches to clear the opposing infantry away from the closest objective.

Where's the MPs when you need 'em?

The ‘Follow Me’ movement order failed to reduce the difficulties of hedge and stone wall crossing to get there, once within 4 inches of the objective my BMPs and Infantry then got in each other’s way in the constricted lanes of the village!

By the time the chaos in the forming up area  had been sorted out Ken had destroyed all of my other platoons without losing any of his – a complete whitewash! Played 2, Lost 2!

Major Potecknov could feel the political officer's eyes on him after yet another defeat...

My last game was No Retreat, and this time I was defending – a first for me, and probably not suited for a Soviet Tank Army! This scenario requires half of your platoons to go into reserve, and by the time I nominated another of my 7 platoons to sit in ambush, I was only placing Gophers and Mech Infantry on the table! My gallant opponent, Daniel, was actually playing with a US Armoured Battlegroup he had loaned from me, so I had the advantage of knowing his force’s strengths and limitations!

The table was an interesting set-up, a large swath of ruined cityscape at my end of the table, but intersected with cleared roads to allow some movement. The table as a whole had plenty of hills, and was intersected with a couple of rivers, so was not easy to negotiate. And with 4 minefields to place, I was not shy in thoroughly blocking all available road intersections!

One of Bryan's excellent minefield markers - available from the Hall of Heroes or THoR wargames scenery

Daniel astutely placed his Cobras out of range of my Gopher SAMs, which I had placed behind the only tall cover on my half of the table, right in the corner, and his opening salvoes of ITOW missiles and 105mm M1 rounds decimated my BMP platoon.

I was not off to a good start. However I sprang my T-72 ambush right in front of his other M1 platoon from behind the cover of a convenient ridge, and was able to pick them off steadily – that approach to the objective was safe for the time being. Moving my Gophers out from cover to close his Cobras, I forgot that Cobras could range the table at will – that cost me that platoon…

Daniel in an earlier game, at a table I' didn't play at, thankfully - Brrrr!

However the dice gods had clearly decided that I would win at least one game this day and I passed every single one of my immediate reserve dice rolls, so the other M1 platoon was soon facing an unequal firefight with 2 large T-72 platoons, US Cobras kept at bay by the accompanying Shilkas. After they’d had enough it was just a case of slowly but steadily grinding his infantry platoon so that I won by virtue of the enemy having no tank or infantry platoons in my table half by move 7. A hard fought game!
We then held the prize draw, based on raffle tickets awarded for a number of criteria; one for each win, best painted army, best sport, and so on. Bryan’s Aussie list got the best painted army, and that was an achievement since all the painted armies were pretty good! He also lent Lachlan his interesting Indonesian Marine Landing force army - quite the most interesting army of the day!

Rob got the prize for number of wins – having won all three of his games. Respect!

The Indonesian Marines head for the Pub with No Beer...

A great day’s gaming, challenging but spent in the best of company – thanks to Lachlan and the Hall of Heroes for running it, and kudos to Bryan for providing so much help with spare armies and terrain. I hope we do the same again next year! I’m looking forward to catching up with the lads at the MOAB Convention in early October! 

Of course not all the armies were fully painted -
I was surprised the West Germans had time to put their kits together, let alone undercoat them!


  1. Congrats on Best Sport...great post.

  2. Had three great games and the primary benefit was gaining a better understanding of the rules set. Some of the concept quite familiar with FOW, but many are new. Played in great spirit with many howls of laughter as the best laid plans came unstuck without notice...

    Congratulations on your best sport award - well deserved and really enjoyed our game. On reflection it was a wicked problem forcing you to attack through terrain that had so many cross checks.

    I've come away from the weekend less than convinced of the value of artillery; unless it be US and ensuring a US player takes the copperhead ammo. If they don't do that, then artillery is simply too easy a target for attack helo's and an easy VP. I'll be amending my list for MOAB and not taking any form of German artillery (guns or mortars).

    Again great write up!

    1. Thanks mate! Yes it was a frustrating scenario but great fun! Tend to agree about artillery, for the Soviets at least, which is a great shame. Definitely a major feature for any Firestorm type campaign game though - Red God of War and all that!

  3. Looks great Sparker! Do you think the tourney will run next year? I'm overseas for a while but would love to participate if it is run again.

    1. Hi Bish! I'd be surprised if it didn't run again - it was a great success...

  4. Congratulations my dearest Sparkles. The Sportsmanship award is of course the only award that is worth anything! 8O)

    von Peter himself