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Draco – Task Force Bravo

Draco – Task Force Bravo

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Project Blog by draco84oz

Recommendations: 131

About the Project

Painting a Team Yankee British force from scratch, and playing in an Escalation League whilst building it up.

This Project is Active

The New Target

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 4
1 Comment

So, when did I last post here?

*Looks at date of last post*

Oh…

Ehh…

To be honest, I kinda lost the motivation to continue on this project when the league I was supposed to be playing in fell apart…damn squirrels…

But it did leave me open to a more relaxed working on a project – I just needed somthing to work on…

My initial thought was to do up the Shock Company I had always wanted to do – but that would require some time to get everything together, and I still had plenty of British stuff on hand. Then I remembered the scenarios at the back of the British army book – Call Sign Charlie/the Battle of Shellerten. Technically, you’re supposed to play the scenarios one after the other, but there is an option of playing the whole battle on a 6′ x 12′ table, all at once. It looks like a big ask, but I did the sums and got the total model count:

Chieftain Coy

1 x Chieftain Stillbrew HQ
3 x Chieftain Stillbrew
3 x Chieftain Stillbrew
3 x Chieftain
3 x Chieftain
2 x Chieftain
3 x Swingfire
2 x Scorpion
4 x Abbot

FV432 Coy

1 x FV432 HQ
Platoon – 2 Milan + 5 FV432
Platoon – GPMG + 4 FV432
Platoon – GPMG + 4 FV432
4 x FV432 Mortar
2 x Scimitar

Reece Coy

2 x Spartan HQ
4 x Scorpion
4 x Scorpion
4 x Scorpion
4 x Striker
Support Troop – 4 x GPMG Team

Brigade Support

Lynx Troop – Platoon + 3 Lynx
1 x FV432 FOO
4 x Spartan Blowpipe
4 x Rapier
2 x Lynx HELARM
4 x Harrier

And you know what, I think that it’s actually doable. I’ve actually got a portion of this already painted, and a bit more in stock, ready to paint. Might be a good way to get things going again! Sure, its plenty of tanks, but the Chieftain is fun to paint, and who doesn’t like lots of tanks?

The New Target

The other thing is that it gives me a good base to work from to work out my Polish army list, even if some of the units aren’t complete available as Poles yet.

Soviet/Polish Opforce

T-72 Btn

1 x T-72 HQ
10 x T-72
6 x T-72 + 3 Mine Clearar
6 x T-72 + 2 Mine Clearer
2 x Shilka
2 x Gopher
3 x Carnation
Reece – 4 x BMP-2

BMP-2 Btn

1 Pltn + 4 BMP-1
1 Pltn + 4 BMP-2
2 Pltn + 9 BMP-2
Reece – 4 x BMP-2

Air Assault Btn

1 x Team HQ
2 Pltn + Spigot + Gremlin + AGS-17 GL
2 Pltn + Spigot

Divisional Support

6 x Hind
6 x Frogfoot

But that is a lot of BMP-2s…maybe I’ll give this a bit of an update once the new Warsaw Pact book comes out.

Welp, here goes nothing…

Metal Bawkses!

Tutoring 2
Skill 3
Idea 3
No Comments

Do you have any idea how long I’ve been wanting to use this meme?

Yep, the boxes are finally done! Well, at least the first 12 are – a HQ Box, 10 squaddie Boxes, and a FOO Box.

Look! FV432's! FV-FOUR-THREE-TWOOOOOOOOOS! Our enemies hide in REAL LIFE METAL BAWKSES!!, DA KOWARDS! TEH FEWLZ!Look! FV432's! FV-FOUR-THREE-TWOOOOOOOOOS! Our enemies hide in REAL LIFE METAL BAWKSES!!, DA KOWARDS! TEH FEWLZ!

Its still very pleasing how well this camo scheme is working out. Its certainly not an airbrushed scheme as shown in the book, but it also doesn’t exactly have the have the hard edges that i’m more used to with painted schemes.

But at least I have found a method of doing somthing similar to an airbrush job that I’ll be able to use when I finally get around to my Poles and their T-72 swarm. And their own armed Boxes.

I’ve still got another 4 Mortar Boxes, and even 3 Swingfire Boxes, to go, although the latter are probably going to be way down on the priority list. I still need one more box of Boxes, however, to do 3 Platoon’s Boxes, but, again, that’s further down the list.

I also managed to finally get the last of D Company painted up.

D Company, 3rd Battation, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, in all their battlefield glory...D Company, 3rd Battation, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, in all their battlefield glory...

It is a satisfying feeling to finally get a major part of your project out of the way.

So, what next? Well, apart from the Mortar Boxes, I think its time to call in some friends. Those magnificent men…

Metal Bawkses!

Also, the word “box” (in various forms) appears 15 times in this blog post.

Operation Cul-de-sac

Tutoring 3
Skill 2
Idea 3
1 Comment

My game this week was against AJ’s East Germans – Bridgehead was rolled as the scenario, with me as the defender.

Unfortunately, due to my army makeup, I ended up with only the infantry on the board, with one tank platoon in Ambush. I was utterly dismayed by how many vehicles my opponent had, however, as his army was a T-72 HQ, 5 x T-72, 4 x T-72, 5 x T-55, 4 x Gaskin, 2 x Hind, and a short BMP-1 motor rifle company.

Luckily, though, it started out well…kinda. My two minefields were placed to funnel the enemy, and it actaually did work – the two wings of the enemy had to go wide out to avoid them. I didn’t get any reinforcements on my first turn, but my Ambushing Chieftains killed three T-72s and bailed one more on their opening salvo, before scooting behind cover. My Milans also did their job, taking out another two T-72s on the other flank. AJ expressed his shock at this, as he’s a veteran ANZAC player, and not used to losing vehicles so quickly – although he did like the league as it gave him an excuse to paint up his Germans.

Operation Cul-de-sac

It was this point, however, that the Hinds made their presence known. Their first shots managed to cripple the Chieftains, meaning they only got one salvo off in the entire game. I was then playing catch-up with them, dashing to my FV-432s into MG range even to have a chance of shooting them down – but the Mil Mi-24 isn’t known as a летающий танк for nothing…

Operation Cul-de-sac

Luckily, my remaining Cheiftains came on at the same table corner in Turns 3 and 4, finishing off the BMPs before their infantry could get into RPG range.

Operation Cul-de-sac
Operation Cul-de-sac

On turn 6, the remaining T-55s rushed the objective and tried to nail the Chieftains when their turrets were turned, but the shots bounced off. The Chieftains then returned fire (after a quick Blitz to clear the lanes of fire), brewing up three of the T-55s, and I had to take out one more to win the game. Luckily, one of my Milans was in range, and I just needed two 3+ rolls…which I managed. Total victory for me.

Operation Cul-de-sac

So, what did I learn? Helicopters, especially Hinds, suck/rock! Seriously, I really need to get some AA into my list at 75pts if I’m even going to try to survive – the only reason they didn’t really mess my tanks up was because they had a tendency to miss with their Spirals. A few better rolls, and my CO would have had three tanks blown out from under him.

Additionally, the inclusion of Carl Gustavs in the infantry platoons are quite a deterrent for the enemy. Even though they’re only AT17, its enough to force BMPs and other light vehicles to stay back far enough so I can only engage with my Milans. And that has the additional side effect of making my troops 6+ to hit even if they fire.

This list hits hard, but it does lack real staying power, compared to the Pact forces, however. And, as AJ noted, it will have problems taking objectives. I guess until I have a better striking force in my list, I’m sticking to defense as my battleplan.

And if I ever do a Pact force, I’m going to need even more destroyed markers.

*Looks sidelong at two Potecknov’s Bears boxes in pile…*

The First Battle

Tutoring 4
Skill 3
Idea 5
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So, it was finally time for my first full game of Team Yankee.

Now, I must note that I haven’t played a Flames of War-style game since…2008(?) and second edition. I kinda lost track of things during third ed when everything started to get its own special rules, which is a feature that I personally dislike in wargaming. I agree that it gives each of the units its own flavor, but remembering which unit has which rule, and how they interact with other rules – it gets a bit confusing after a while, and can lead to disagreements which ruins the fun of the game. That’s one of the reasons I was appreciative of Team Yankee, as it listed most of its special rules in the main rule book, and most of the others are just variations on this core set.

But I digress…

My first game was versus Gav, who was running a Motor Rifle Battalion – 2 short MR companies with BMP-2s, 3 x T-80s, 4 x Shilkas, and 2 x BRDMs. We both chose Maneuver as our setup, and rolled Free For All, which was good for me as it was a straight forward scenario.

The First Battle

The first turn saw some long-range shooting, with me trading a Chieftain for a BRDM, with the other scout eventually quitting the field. However, I did come to be cautious of the T-80s, which I realised I had to flank to even try to kill. Plus the BMP missiles were certainly a threat, when they hit.

The First Battle

Whilst one of my Chieftain platoons tried to handle the T-80s (preview – it didn’t go well), the other platoon pushed up the centre, although they lost one of their number to an infantry assault. Additionally, the Shilkas decided to mess around with my infantry, but, over three turns of a, indecisive firefight, I managed to kill one and bail two in return for two infantry stands. The Shilkas, despite being autocannons, only managed 15 hits over three turns.

The burning fuel station is from when my tanks too a pot-shot at the Shilkas and missed...The burning fuel station is from when my tanks too a pot-shot at the Shilkas and missed...

On my third turn, the last two Chieftains made a dash for the objective, but they were then taken out by the same infantry that had killed their squadmate. And that was my last attempt at victory, since the T-80s were sitting on their objective, having only lost one of their number overall.

A total victory to Gav.

Not that it mattered too much – I’ve kinda resigned myself to losing every game in this league, given how new to things I am, but it is nice to be painting and playing with things after a year of lockdowns and home stay.

So, what did I learn from this game? Well, apart of re-learning the basic mechanics of it, the main thing I learned was “The Dance” – the maneuvering that tanks do in Team Yankee to get flank shots on each other. Short of completely avoiding the T-80s, there wasn’t much room for me to do that on the table, but I now understand that using shoot and scoot and the like is one way of keeping up the Brit’s rate of fire.

I also learned not to worry so much about my units getting hit. Even though Gav was throwing more shots than I was, I think I had a higher hit % than he did – the difference between the NATO and Pact base to hit values is a big thing. Plus infantry in foxholes is almost invulnerable, unless they get hit with high explosives – hitting them with autocannons certainly doesn’t do much.

Still, the game got me thinking about my list overall. I’ve been playing around with things a bit, and Ive come to realise I can run this at 50pts:

British – 49/50 pts

FV432 Mech Company – 37 pts

Company HQ – 2 x GPMG 3 pts

FV432 Mechanised Platoon – 2 x Milan 7 pts
FV432 Mechanised Platoon – 2 x Milan 7 pts
4 x FV432 Mortar 2 pts
3 x Chieftain 18 pts

Brigade Support – 12 pts

4 x Lynx HELARM 12 pts

Having the helicopters in there will certainly add to my flanking fire – especially with the Hunter-Killer rule – and having two platoons should make my defenses that much better. I still don’t have any Stillbrew on my tanks, but, truth be told, I’m not sure if its worth it. It reduces their cross value in return for 1pt more front armour. And even without Stillbrew, I was reliably pinging RPGs. I don’t think that the additional armour will do much vs Pact tanks, and BMP-2 missiles are nasty regardless. Still, getting for the tanks in this list will only mean I have to give up my GPMGs, so, could be worth the cost.

Well, two weeks until the next one. And at least my order finally came in, so more painting to do!

(Seriously, designed in NZ, manufatured in Malaysia, and distributed from England? Logistics chains make no g*****n sense…)

Little boxes...

Tutoring 2
Skill 5
Idea 4
2 Comments

No wait…that’s describing houses…oops.

Little boxes...

With the FV432s still on the way (Battlefront finally got the order off) I had to take some drastic action – unless the bigger boxes arrive before February, I’ll have to sub in these Spartans for them. Not that I minded, they were actually quite fun to paint up, and they look so cute!

And that’s when I realised I wanted to do the full Reece Company, with command, and Scimitars, and Strikers…these little boxes are basically priced at $10 each…what am I doing…?

Little boxes...

However, this was the last part I was looking for – the first 50pts are (un)officially complete. 7 Tanks, 4 APCs and 8 stands of infantry

Oh well, as the Brits would say – “We’re in for a spot of bother now!”

Fear Naught!

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 5
No Comments

When I first tried painting my Chieftains, I used the painting guide in the British source book exactly, but quickly found something out – the recommended base colour for the brits, Bronze Green (Vallejo 897) is waaaay to dark to be similar to the presented models, or even close to the historical colours. So I tried several other colours to see what would work:

L to R: US Olive Drab (887), Bronze Green (897), Russian Uniform (924), Army Painter Army Green, Camo Olive Green (894) - all with German Grey (995) camo stripesL to R: US Olive Drab (887), Bronze Green (897), Russian Uniform (924), Army Painter Army Green, Camo Olive Green (894) - all with German Grey (995) camo stripes

So the Bronze Green was too dark, and the closer colour to what is shown in the book is actually Russian Uniform, which is recommended as the highlight? My original choice was Camo Olive Green, but I realised that I would use a similar colour when I did up my Poles, and I wanted these vehicles to be different.

 

The original Camo Olive Green (894) schemeThe original Camo Olive Green (894) scheme

Whilst I was doing all this, I started painting up my crewmen too – my practice is to have a crewman in the cupola of unit leaders, and a different model in the cupola for the formation commander – luckily, the Brits have both helmets and berets for their crew, so the helmets went in the for the unit commanders, and the formation commander had a beret.

In this case, however, I painted the crewman helmets with an old tube of Brown Violet (Vallejo 887, now known as US Olive Drab). It occurred to me that it was a fairly decent colour, and after a bit of searching, I found I could get a spraycan of it (although I had to order it from Christchurch!). so the tanks went into the Dettol, and the colour scheme for my army was born

Fear Naught!

German Grey was used for the camo stripes, and then it was a case of Black wash, re-base coat and careful hilights of everything. To be honest, I’m quite happy with the result.

Fear Naught!

So that’s my first tank formation for my force – C Squadron, 1st Royal Tank Regiment. The Scottish flags are because part of their recruitment area is in Scotland, so it gives me an excuse to use them – and it looks pretty good in my opinion.

Right! Now where do I find some FV432s…

PBI

Tutoring 5
Skill 7
Idea 5
No Comments

Well, that was a relatively effective use of Christmas…I got some things painted…

My inital plan was to paint the tanks first before starting on the infantry, but after a few difficulties with coloring, I swapped to painting the grunts. And boy, did this bring back memories of when I still played Flames of War!

I have, however, developed a decent enough system for mass painting 15mm models like this, and, in many respects, I didn’t have to change much. Each model get put on the head of an iron nail, which allows me to paint all the parts of it without touching the mini itself. I work on one colour at a time, which allows each colour enough time to dry by the time I get through all 20 or so that I have on the pad.

PBI

But lets talk about the colours a bit.

Mostly, I did use the colour schemes given in the British sourcebook, and the camo scheme they have is actually quite good. But I did also remember that trying to do individual clothes camo is rather difficult to get working properly (at least for my skill level), plus a full suit of camo does tend to cause the miniature to blend into a single blob, since you can’t effectively highlight anything.

But somthing that came to mind was when I was painting my Finns for Flames of War – their winter uniform has a two-tone scheme, and it allowed the models to stand out quite a bit. I was wondering if I could do the same thing when I came across this picture:

PBI

I do understand that this is probably an earlier uniform since it doesn’t use the DPM-camo trousers (I read somewhere that it was the usual uniform that British troops wore in the Falklands), but it gave me the colour scheme I was looking for – the single colour pants would give some definition against the camo smock.

Next, I considered the L1A1 rifle.

PBI

Pictures I’ve seen of this gun have it both with wooden and plastic furniture (this is the British version, though – the Australian SLR had wood for its entire service), and you can even see some of Battlefronts own minis having a mix of brown and black furniture. But after a quick bit of searching I found statements from some veterans that the switch to plastic started in the mid-late 70’s, with new rifles having the plastic, and gradual conversion of the older weapons. However, this process was not completed by the time the L1A1 was replaced with the L85A1 in 1985. So, I decided that about 1 in 3 of my rifles would have wooden furniture to reflect this.

Also, you may notice in the company photo below, several of the soldiers of D Company were of African or Afro-Carribean decent. I decided to show this as well, although the ratio there was about 1 in 10.

The final thing I needed was a colour for my painted metal. According to the source book, it should be Bronze Green (Vallejo 897). But the experiments I had with that colour showed to to be waaaay to dark for my liking. It was at that point that I noticed the tank crew I was painting up I had used an old tube of Brown Violet (887), and it looked fairly good. A quick test, and that was going to be my main painted metal colour, as well as other things…

PBI

And two weeks later, my first two platoons and a few extra weapons were done…mostly – I ran out of minis to finish off all three platoons, and was one mini short for my second.

But didn’t you buy a Company box and an additional platoon?

Yes, I did, but I did a few things differently to what was recommended. For one, it appears that half the bases in a platoon are assumed to be having one of the leader models. My personal preference would be to have a leader only on the Unit leader stand, helping to point that stand out. Additionally, I wanted each of my GPMG teams to have a GPMG gunner on them. But the they only give you 3 gunners per platoon, only one of which is prone.

With that need for additional models as well as not using nearly a dozen leader models, I’m in need of another company box to finish it off, which I’ll pick up when The Bunker reopens next week. Yes, I’ll have left over minis, but I’ll start on another company in case I ever do a two-company force, or an Air Landing company, or the support troop for a Recon company (that I’ll probably paint up and never actually use in a game).

The only thing I don’t have that I still need for my first force is the FV432 transports – I’ve got several boxes on order, but indications are they won’t arrive before February. Not that it matters too much – I can pick up a box of Spartans from The Bunker and use them in the interim – they’re still APCs…mostly…

Still, the number of FV432s I need for a single company is impressive – HQ vehicle, 5 vehicles per platoon, 4 for the mortar platoon – that’s 20 per company, more if you want some additional weapons. All that plastic for metal bawkses! that’ll probably spend only two turns on the field…

First wave

Tutoring 4
Skill 5
Idea 6
No Comments
First wave

So, time for the first wave of models to be painted…good thing I’m on my Christmas break now!

The big question is, however, what do I paint? I’ve you can see my initial haul of stuff above, but it isn’t what I would call a full force – just a bunch of stuff. I have been playing around with experimental lists for a bit now, based on internet discussions I’ve seen; and it appears that the first 50 points will either be tanks with infantry, or infantry with tanks.

Note that I don’t consider myself sufficently experienced for a more…exotic list (one of the players in our league is planning on a US Airborne force with 6 attack helicopters at 50pt).

My ultimate experience from my test lists is that Challengers and Warriors aren’t really viable for this point level – minimum Challenger list is 55 pts (5 tanks total), and minimum Warrior list is 21pts, and that’s with a maximum AT of 17, and max armour facing of 3.

So, it would fall to the Chieftains and FV432s – not that that’s a bad thing, they’re decent enough vehicles as it is.

The final list I came up with was this:

British – 49/50 pts

Chieftain Armoured Squadron – 49 pts

Squadron HQ – 1 x Chieftain = 6 pts

3 x Chieftain = 18 pts
3 x Chieftain = 18 pts
FV432 Mechanised Platoon – 2 x Milan = 7 pts

As much as I wanted to give the Chieftains Stillbrew, I also felt that the Milans were probably a better option. The tactic would most likely be a hammer and anvil routine – the infantry dig in on an objective whilst the tanks try to flank the enemy. Unless they’re running T-70s, in which case they can probably play sniper from a decent position.

I really wanted to include some air support at this point, but it would require 5 pts for 2 Harriers, and that’s not exactly enough for a good airstrike (re-rolling hits…not nice).

Still, with my initial haul organised, I placed an order for a couple of boxes of FV432s, and started assembling what I had.

 

First wave

I’m actually surprised at how large the tanks are for this game, and it makes me wonder how I’m supposed to maneuver them over a 4′ x 4′ board. But I do like the detail that’s in the tanks themselves – in fact, it giving me bad feeling about how these will be to paint up.

But that’s the next thing I have to worry about…

Mustering the Troops

Tutoring 6
Skill 6
Idea 7
No Comments

If there is one thing I like about Battlefront games, its that they are based on historical events, or possible events – Team Yankee is based on the novel by the same name by Harold Coyle, but I’ve actually read the book that runs through the scenario that Team Yankee is set in – The Third World War: The Untold Story by General Sir John Hackett (I actually found it at second-hand book event). Its not the most entertaining WWIII book I’ve read (that’s Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy) and it ends in a fairly abrupt fashion. But if it inspired people, good on ‘im.

I might have to track Team Yankee down now to see what it’s like…

But I digress.

Usually when I put a Battlefront force together, I like to model it on a historical formation. So, this means that my Brits would be based on a formation form the British I Corps, part of the British Army on the Rhine.

Originally, my thought was to use the 4th Armoured Division, since it wasn’t mentioned in any of the Team Yankee source material, but then I noticed that the British decals sheets didn’t just have Union Jacks flags, but also the St. Andrew’s Cross of Scotland. It occoured to me that maybe I could have some units marked as Scottish as well as English, so I set to work looking over 1981 force org charts.

Eventually, I settled on one formation – the 22nd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division, which, in 1981, formed the core of what was known as Task Force Bravo until its disbandment in 1993. It was a “Square” Brigade (i.e. two armoured and two infantry battalions) and filled my needs perfectly, as was shown in the new British sourcebook:

22nd Armoured Brigade, 1st Armoured Division
– Queen’s Own Hussars (Challengers)
– 1st Battalion, Royal Tank Regiment (Chieftains)
– 1st Battalion, Scots Guards (Warriors)
– 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (FV432s)

I realise this isn’t the exact composition listed in the source book, but its a compromise between what I’ve found in the historical charts and the book, plus it allows me to use the Scots flags for a few of my vehicles. And it allows me to use pretty much everything the Brits have in their arsenal.

So, what kind of force would I field? Well, I’ve always been a fan of the PBI, so it makes sense to continue that tradition in this new force.

And so begins the tale of Major Carl Davis, D Company, 3rd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers – below pictured in February 1983 following their rotation from 39 Infantry Brigade at Palace Barracks, Northern Ireland, and before their next posting in Montgomery Barracks, Berlin.

Mustering the Troops

(Picture borrowed from The Fusiliers Association website)

Starting the Leage

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 8
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Team Yankee v2 was released last year, and a couple of weeks ago, Battlefront opened The Bunker (https://bunker.battlefront.co.nz/) in Auckland – their first physical storefront. After the Grand Opening rush, the players in my club started debating about what the major focus for next year should be – and a Team Yankee league was one of the popular ones. After a bit of…discussion about various options, my mind got ahead of my logic, I messaged the TY veteran in the group and suggested that we run an Escalation League. As in, she and I would run it…

Why do I do this to myself?

So far, we have seven players signed up, four NATO and three Pact. And of those, I’m going to run the Brits. The league format is straight forward – four meetings of a points limit each, culminating in a multiplayer battle for all those involved. And the points limits are 50pts, 75pts, and 100pts.

We’ll also probably have additional pics of the games on our club blog: https://tcownz.blogspot.com/

I’ll be keeping a log of my painting over Christmas and beyond here, as well as reports on the games I play – I already have my first match vs the Soviets lined up for February. But I also have no illusions that i’ll probably lose every game I play – I haven’t played a Flames of War-style game since FoW 2nd Edition.

Oh well, stiff upper lip and all that.

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