Now, I'm going to get this out of the way right now and up front. If you were expecting Bradleys to be in here, you're going to be disappointed. They're not here.
If you can get past that, what you're going to find in Stripes is a heap of new options for building both US Army and US Marine forces for Team Yankee, all of which have new release plastics coming out either at the same time or very shortly after the main releases hit the stores.
Now, lets get into the book proper and see what we're going to get!
Stripes focuses on the US 7th Corps, the 82nd Airborne and the 2nd Marine Division, allowing you to take formations from within these combat units. I'm going to have a look at them all individually and also the support units you have access to with each.
The US Army portion of Stripes gives you the option to field three different formations; an Armored Combat Team, a Mech Combat Team or a Cavalry Troop. Lets have a look at them.
Armored Combat Team
Stripes allows you to field 2 options for your Tank formations, taking either the M1 Abrams or the M60 Patton. Lets take a look at the M1 first.
To have a valid formation, you must take your formation HQ of either 1 or 2 Abrams and a minimum of 2 Abrams platoons of 2-4 tanks (to a maximum of 3 platoons). As you can see, you also now have the option of upgrading your M1 tanks to the IPM1 (Improved Performance) which will cost you 1 point per tank, but the additional point of armour could be the difference between life and death against those big Warsaw Pact guns!
Your other option is to take the older M60 Patton tank as your formation. The Army has access to the new M60A3 Patton. Again, you have to take a formation HQ consisting of 1-2 Patton tanks and a minimum of 2 platoons of 2-4 tanks, up to a maximum of 3 platoons.
As you can see, while they're more lightly armoured than the M1, the Patton still deploys the mighty M68 105mm gun providing more than enough firepower to deal with those pesky Russian built tanks!
Both formations have the same optional support selections, allowing you the option of fielding:
0-1 M106 Heavy Mortar Platoon
0-1 M901 ITV Anti-tank Platoon
0-1 M113 Mech Platoon
0-2 M113 Scout Platoon
I'll cover these off in more detail later, except for the M113 Mech Platoon, which is part of the Mech Combat Team.
Mech Combat Team
The M113 Mech Platoons carry on the tradition of armored combat platoons set out in World War II as the Armored Rifle Platoon. They're mobile and armored to get into the battle and once the infantry are deployed, they have everything the need to see off the enemy.
To field your Mech Combat Team, you need to take a Mech Combat Team HQ consisting of an M16 Rifle Team and their M113 transport. From there, you can take a minimum of 2 M113 Mech Platoons (to a max of 3) and they have a full or short option.
In the full option, you get 4 SAW/LAW Teams and 3 Dragon Missile Teams. These have 4 M113 APC's to chauffeur them into the fight. The short option reduces you to 3 SAW/LAW teams and 2 Dragon teams with 3 M113's.
In both options, you can add an additional Dragon team for 1 point.
As support for your Mech Combat team, you have the option of:
0-1 Tank Platoon (either M1 or M60)
0-1 M106 Heavy Mortar Platoon
0-2 M113 Scout Section
0-4 M901 ITV Anti-tank Platoon
Armored Cavalry Troop
The final option you have for the US Army portion is the Armored Cavalry Troop. This is a slightly different formation than we've see previously and it requires you to take:
An Armored Cavalry Troop HQ made up of a single M113 Scout track. Once you have that, you must take at least 1 Tank Platoon, either M1 or M60. Once you've selected one, you can take an additional 2 tank platoons but they must be of the type you have already selected. From there, you have to take a minimum of 2 M113 Scout platoons, consisting of an M113 Scout and an M901 ITV, and you can have a maximum of 6 Scout Platoons.
As support here, you've got the option of:
0-1 M106 Cavalry Mortar Platoon
0-1 M109 Field Artillery Battery
0-1 AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter Platoon
0-1 UH-1 Huey Rifle Platoon
Light Division Reconnaissance Squadron
While not a main formation, you also have an option to field a Light Recon formation fielding the new High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle or HWWWV; the Humvee or Hummer.
To field this formation, you must take a HMMWV Cavalry Troop HQ consisting of 2 HMMWV-M2. From there, you must take a minimum of 3 HMMWV Scout sections and up to a maximum of 6. The scout sections come in 2 options; the first with a HMMWV-M2, a HMMWV-MK19 (with 40mm Grenade Launcher) and 2 HMMWV-TOW (with Improved TOW missiles). Your second option gives you one less HMMWV-TOW for a total of 3 Hummers per section.
There are no additional support options here....but with the potential for 12 Humvee-mounted TOW missiles, who needs them?!
The 82nd Airborne
The 82nd Airborne has a long history in the US military stretching back to its formation in 1917 as the 82nd Division. It was during this time it was given its nickname; 'the All Americans'. In 1942 during the Second World War, it became the United States' first airborne division, with it's first airborne operation coming as part of the 1943 invasion of Sicily.
Fast forward to 1985, and the 82nd has become the core of the US Rapid Deployment Forces (RDF) and are ready to go at a moments notice.
UH-1 Huey Infantry Combat Team
Ferried into battle inside the Huey transport helo rather than parachuting in, the 82nd is no less mobile as a result.
To field the Huey Infantry Combat team, you must take a UH-1 Infantry Combat Team HQ consisting of a single M16 Rifle Team.
From there, you must field at least 2 UH-1 Huey Rifle Platoons and a max of three. You again have a full and short option with respect to your Rifle platoons.
The full option will give you 7 SAW/LAW teams, 1 Dragon Missile Team and 3 UH-1 Huey choppers. The short version limits you to 5 SAW/LAW teams, the Dragon and 2 Hueys. You do have the option, in both cases, to add an additional Dragon team for a point, up to 2 M-60 GPMG teams for a point each and an M224 60mm mortar team for a point. If you buy all the extra kit, you're gonna need another chopper, so you can get another Huey for a point as well.
As support here, you're able to take:
0-2 M551 Sheridan Tank Platoon
0-1 HMMWV Scout Section
0-1 HMMWV-TOW Anti-tank Platoon
US Army and 82nd Airborne Support Options
The weapon selections for your Army units, as above, which I haven't covered or haven't mentioned yet are included here so you can see what extra goodies you have a your disposal.
M106 Heavy Mortar Platoon
Mounted in the versatile M113 chassis, the M106 107mm mortar provides a great mobile artillery option for dislodging dug-in infantry and taking out lightly armoured targets.
M901 ITV Anti-tank Platoon
Once again utilizing the M113 hull, the M901 mounts a 'hammerhead' turret housing two anti-tank guided missiles, the Improved TOW.
M113 Scout Section
The Scout section give you the versatility of having a scout M113 alongside the M901 ITV to advance close to the enemy lines while still having the firepower to see off any advance elements that may be waiting in ambush.
M551 Sheridan Platoon
Armed with the dual-purpose M81 gun/missile launcher, the Sheridan ARAAV (Armored Recon/Airborne Assault Vehicle) is still utilized by the 82nd as tank support. Able to fire the Shillelagh missile, it holds enough punch to deal with practically any opposition.
M109 Field Artillery Battery
The ever-present and ever-effective M109 is the US Army choice for their self-propelled howitzer.
M48 Chaparral SAM Platoon
Using a modified version of the AIM-9 Sidewinder missile, the ground-based Chaparral system is an effective means of keeping the skies clear of any air interdiction.
M247 Sergeant York AA Platoon
Coming from a desire to replace the M163 VADS, the M247 went into production in 1981. It mounted twin 40mm Bofors AA guns coupled with search and track radar to increase accuracy.
M163 VADS AA Platoon
The M168 20mm Gatling cannon mounted on the M113 hull formed the basis of the US Army's AA defence systems.
HMMWV SAM Platoon
Mounting the FIM-92 Stinger AA missile, the HMMWV SAM platoon can keep up with the Mech platoons while provide close AA support.
A-10 Warthog Fighter Flight
Able to complete a variety of roles from tank-busting to digging infantry out of foxholes, the A-10 is a the close air support option of choice for the US Army.
AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter
The latest iteration of the Hueycobra, it now revels in it's tank-busting role taking advantage of cover before popping up and letting lose a volley of TOW missile power.
2nd Marine Division
Stripes also allows you to field units from the 2nd Marine Division in your Team Yankee games. You have a few formation options to choose from here including the Marine Tank Company, the Marine Rifle Company and the Marine LAV Company. While there are some of the same options for the Marines that the Army has, they're slightly different in their stat lines because....well....MARINES!
Marine Tank Company
Fielding the M60A1 Patton, rather than the upgraded M60A3 the Army has access to, the Marine Tank Company is no less formidable. Your formation must include the M60 Tank Company HQ of 1 or 2 tanks. From there you must have at least 2 Tank platoons to a max of three. Unlike their Army counterparts though, the Marines can have between 2-5 tanks per platoon.
In support of your tank platoons, you also have access to:
0-1 HMMWV Scout Section
0-1 HMMWV-TOW Anti-tank Squad
0-1 Marine Rifle Platoon
0-1 LAV Platoon
Marine Rifle Company
The Marine Rifle Company offers you a couple of options to get boots on the ground. You can either mount them in the AAVP7 transport or send them into the sky ferried in UH-1 Huey choppers.
You must take the Rifle Company HQ consisting of an M-16 Rifle team. Once selected, you then have to have 2 Rifle platoons and can add an extra if you like. As always, you have both full and short options here.
The full Rifle Platoon consist of 9 SAW/LAW teams and their transports (either 2 AAVP7 or 4 Hueys) while the short option has 6 SAW/LAW teams. You can then choose to:
- Replace up to 2 SAW teams with M-60 GPMG teams for free.
- Add up to 2 Dragon teams for a point each.
- Add an M224 60mm mortar team for a point, and/or
- Add up to 2 SMAW teams for a point each.
The AAVP7 is pretty cool new piece of kit as well used by the Marine to conduct both amphibious landings and as support when they reached shore.
Marine LAV Company
The Marines started their search for a new light armored vehicle in the early 80's and settled on the LAV-25 based around the Swiss MOWAG Piranha. Units issued with the new LAV effectively acted in a similar manner to the armored cavalry of the Army.
To field the Marine LAV Company, you must first take the Marine LAV Company HQ of 2 LAV-25. From there, you take 2 LAV platoons with the option of a third. The LAV platoons come in either 2 or 4 vehicle options.
You then have access to addition options of:
0-1 LAV-AT Anti-tank Section
0-1 LAV-M Mortar Section
Marine Support Options
HMMWV Scout Section
Much the same as their Army brethren, you get 3 Hummers here; the HMMWV-M2, the HMMWV-MK19 and the HMMWV-TOW.
HMMWV-TOW Anti-tank Squad
Also using the Improved TOW-armed Humvee to keep pace with the tanks and for increased mobility, the Marines could count on the extra firepower of the TOW.
HMMWV Machine-Gun Platoon
Get some!! Who doesn't need more .50 cal firepower?! You can also replace your .50 cal Hummers with grenade launchers if you need the thump!
LAV-AT Anti-tank Section
Mounting the same 'Hammerhead' turret as the M901 ITV, the LAV-AT adds even more tank-busting capability to the Marine arsenal.
The power of the 81mm mortar mounted in a LAV to add some artillery support to the Marines as well as smoke if needed.
M109 Artillery Battery
The ever-present M109 is used by the Marines in support of their towed 155mm howitzers for more fire support.
AV-8 Harrier Attack Flight
The famed Harrier 'jump jet' was adopted by the Marines in 1971. Being able to operate from carriers or close to the action using its VSTOL technology, the Harrier give the Marines some quick access to air support.
The Harrier also has the new Jump Jet rule, allowing it to arrive on a roll of 3+ instead of the usual 4+.
As well as the formation lists and new information, there is also three new scenarios in Stripes for you to use your new units in. It provides you with maps, OOB's and scenario details for battles at Rippach Stream, Röcken and Ellerbach Stream. These could also play well as a campaign, in my opinion.
You also have painting guides to help you get your US forces on the table.
Given we haven't had any new lists for the Yanks since the initial Team Yankee release, I think Stripes has the potential to get more American players back into the game, either with their existing lists or fielding new Marine lists. I already have a Marine list in planning based on the new Ryan's Leathernecks starter box.
There are going to be people who aren't 100% happy with this release but I reckon it gives US players a massive amount of flexibility and new options with which to build around, much like Red Thunder gave to Soviet players. Stripes really is a great addition to the Team Yankee stable.
One question I am left with though... where's the EM-50?