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Monday, May 8, 2017

Team Yankee, at last!

The images of my first Team Yankee game have finally arrived and it was a good game indeed. My opponent Roger, from the Operation Mad Dog channel, fielded his American force of two small companies (one Mechanized Infantry, one M1 Abrams Squadron,) with some air and artillery support against my Soviet Tank Battalion backed by the Russian Airforce. 

We found a beautiful table laid out by our hosts at the Phantasos Studio, which centered a small improvised airfield at a local gas station near the Hessian town of Kassel, one of two possible objectives. 

Dicing for the scenario, we played a counter-attack in broad daylight with the Russians attacking. Therefore, half of the American force deployed in one quarter of the table, while the other half was waiting in reserves to counterattack. So, the Americans established a stronghold in the woods and rocky hills next to the gas station, where they also found old medieval ruins, which are quite common in our German landscape.
American mortar carriers behind the ruins
AA VADS, ITVs and M109 Artillery around the first objective
My horde of T-72s preparing for the attack
American reserves for the counter-attack
As the Soviets had the first turn, two of my Tank Companies rushed towards the American strongpoint right away, causing some minor casualties, namely one VADS and one ITV, another just bailed out. Meanwhile the Motorized Infantry Platoon in their BMP-2s headed for the gas station. They were covered by my third company of T-72s. 
Red Thunder! T-72 battle line.
Having forgotten about the rule, that the first turn-players' aircraft have to loiter off table, I brought in my 4 MI-24 Hinds and 4 SU-25 Frogfoots, as well. But it was a very bad day for the Red Airforce. The Frogfoot strike aircraft headed to attack the dangerous AA VADS, but got wiped out completely before firing a single shot. Dangerous, indeed!      

The Hinds kept out of range from the VADS, hovering over the gas station to attack the mortars, but lost one to their .50 cal AA machine guns, while destroying all three mortar carriers... 
The Soviet Airforce, still in good shape
The gruesome American VADS Anti-Air-Vehicles
Close-up of the MI-24 Hinds
 The American answer was suprisingly low, as every shot from the two Abrams and ITVs seemed to bounce off the T-72s' front armour. You see, why the Yankees will upgrade to the M1A1 soon...
American commander with 2iC in their M1 Abrams (having a nice view of my well fed Communist belly^^)
My Russian tanks scored some hits, eliminating two more ITVs, one M109 and the Forward Artillery Observer, while the BMP-2s made it to the second objective, the airfield with gas supply, protected by the Hinds. They seemed to be scared of the VADS and chose to remain inactive and out of sight. The third tank company positioned themselves in a field to await the American reinforcements.
Soviet Infantry disembarking from their BMP-2s.
The scared  MI-24 Hinds
T-72s waiting for the Yanks to come
The fighting around the Amerian strongpoint developed into a bloodbath during the next two rounds. While the Americans lost their infantry commander and Abrahms 2-in-C, but eight out of ten T-72s went up into flames, mainly due to the direct hits from the M109 Artillery into their side armour. These mean vehicles penetrated easily (AT 17 vs side armour 9, ignoring my BDD armour because they do not fire HEAT ammo) and wounding automatically (Firepower 1+!!!). 

To add to this disaster, the three VADS rushed behind the ruins and shot down two more Hinds. The remaining pilot showed some common sense, failed his morale check and chose to leave for home.

The metal scrapyard at the objective
The now empty BMP-2s battled with the VADS, losing two vehicles, but finally getting rid of this gatling gun-armed nightmare. Now the first American reserves showed up in form of a M1 Abrams troop and a flight of 2 Cobra Helicopters. These were quickly shot from the sky by the Russian ZSU 23-4 Shilkas, while the waiting T-72s knocked out the two M1 MBTs.

Ironically, in the next round the last two M1 Abrams tanks arrived from reserves, approached from the other corner table edge in the back of the Soviet tanks and destroyed all four of them (one was bogged down in the field, lucky bastard^^).

BMP-2s in battle
ZSU 23-4 Shilka AA shooting down snakes
Gotcha! Ambushing T-72 ambushed by M1s
The first objective was now lost, with only the commander and two other T-72s remaining on the field, along with 2 battered BMP-2s and four Shilkas lurking in the woods, being easy prey for the M1 Abrams. The Soviet Battalion was really thinned out.

This left solely the Motorized Infantry Platoon to defend the second objective, and their fighting power was really in question, because Leytenant Kulokov distributed vodka bottles from the gas station store to the men as they got bored waiting...
Not so sober comrades defending the objective
The Americans still had two whole Mechanized Infantry Platoons in reserve to storm the gas station, as well as a flight of two A-10 Warthogs and the remaining two M1 MBTs plus their Commander. As time was running late, we called it a night with a close victory for the Yankees.
The remaining American Commander calling in his reinforcements
What is there left to say? I really enjoyed the game with a really sporting opponent, who will release a video report of this game on Operation Mad Dog soon. I admire the beautiful desert camo scheme of his Americans, although it seems out of place in Germany during August ;-)

Lessons, that I learned:
1. Eliminate the AA fast, as they will take down all of your airforce in no time.
2. In the counter attack mission it is best to concentrate ALL of your forces on one point to be down with the starting force quickly
3. Beware of American Artillery!!!

Team Yankee is a game, that is fast paced and flows nicely with some unexpected twists always waiting around the corner (in the next round). It can get pretty bloody and feels really appropriate to the Cold War period in the mid-1980s. I will definitely try to play it more often.

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