13 May 2018

Well, What Aboot That Then....Eh*? Canadians in Team Yankee

*With apologies to our Canadian friends...we just couldn't resist.

I reckon that the Canadians were one of the most hotly anticipated additional nations for Team Yankee. Since we saw the release of the Leopard 1 for the West Germans, there have been scores of questions asking when the Canadians are coming, and I'm pleased to say they're here!

Free Nations allows you to run a couple of different formations bearing the Maple Leaf; a Leopard C1 Armoured Squadron and an M113 Mechanized Company. There is specific Canadian brigade level support as well.

Let's get stuck in then.

Leopard C1 Armoured Squadron

The Canadians ordered over 100 Leopard 1 tanks and fitted them with a Belgian fire-control system called SABCA and this tank effectively became the Leopard C1. Armed with the mighty 105mm L7 gun, there is enough firepower here to take on any Pact armour but be warned, you aren't that heavily armoured yourself.

Your Armoured Squadron HQ can be fielded as 1, 2 or 3 tank options, which I think is great. Additional firepower never hurt anyone....well, except the enemy...

You must have at least 2 Leopard C1 Armoured Troops in your formation and these are bought in either 3 or 4 tank troops.

You can then fill your formation our with optional choices. There are 2 more slots for further Leopard C1 troops if you want them. You then have the option of taking:

- an M113 Mechanized Platoon (which we'll cover later)
- an M150 TOW Anti-tank section, and
- 1 - 3 Lynx Recce Patrols.

The M150 is an M113 that has been adapted to mount an Improved TOW missile for some additional AT support. You can buy 2 or 3 TOW tracks in your section.

The Lynx offers you your Scout/Spearhead option to get your tanks closer to the enemy if you need it. The Lynx is similar to the M113 but is much smaller and lightly armed. It excels at finding places to hide though and the MG fire should also be a deterrent to infantry getting too close. There are 2 Lynx's in each patrol.

M113 Mechanized Company

As we've seen with the other nations in Team Yankee, Mech Infantry is now the standard and the Canadian forces are no different. They're riding into battle in the versatile M113 that many other nations use.

Your Mech Company HQ consists of a C1 Rifle team riding in their own M113.

From there, you create your formation. You have to take at least 2 Mech Platoons and they can be fielded as either of the following sizes:

- 3 x C2 SAW with integrated M72 LAW, 3 x Carl Gustav AT teams, 1 x C5 GPMG team and a M19 60mm Mortar team. They all ride in 4 M113's.
- 2 x C2 SAW teams, 2 x Carl Gustav teams, 1 x C5 GPMG ans 1 x M19 60mm Mortar. There are 3 M113's to ferry these guys around.

Once you've bought these, you then have optional slots which can be filled with:

- another M113 Mech Platoon,
- a Leopard C1 troop,
- 1 - 3 M150 TOW Anti-tank Sections,
- 1 - 3 Lynx Recce Patrols, and
- an M125 Mortar Platoon

The M125 Mortar platoon gives you some artillery on the go, just in case you need to give some infantry the impetus to get out of their foxholes. You can buy a platoon of either 2, 4 or 8 tubes!

So with your formation options looked at, we can have a look at the Canadian brigade support. There are a couple of choices to look at here.

For your Brigade level artillery, the Canadians field the M109 SP Howitzers. You can field a battery of either 3 or 6 guns and there's also an M113 OP to help them spot their targets.

In your air defence slots, you have a couple of choices. First up, let's have a look at the ADATS Air Defence Platform. This is a Swiss made short-ranged SAM missile, that could also be used as an AT weapon as well. These are currently being tested for use by the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery and you have access to either 2, 4 or 6 systems.

Finally, you have a choice of taking 3 or 6 M113 Blowpipe tracks which have a man-packed portable air defence system in them (MANPADS).

As you have no Canadian options for either Helicopter or Fast Air support, you also have the option of taking both US and West German support options in limited numbers which can give you access to both the heavier tanks such as the Abrams and Leopard 2, as well as air assets such as Cobras, PAH and A-10s.

This makes the Canadians a pretty well rounded option for your force of choice in my opinion and are definitely worth a look into.

The final volume in our Free Nations degustation will be the Dutch forces. Keep an eye out for that one!

03 May 2018

I Come From a Land Downunder! Australian's in WWIII

Let's remember going into this article that Team Yankee is set in a hypothetical 1985 so the inclusion of Australian and New Zealand troops in Western Europe is most definitely plausible! Likely, they were included as part of exercises with other NATO powers and just got caught up in the whole mess.

Fielding an ANZAC force in Team Yankee has limited choices in terms of your formation. You can take either a Leopard AS1 Armoured Squadron or an M113 Mechanised Company. As with other Free Nations forces, your ANZAC force can also include a formation from another NATO party as an allied formation. There is also specific ANZAC Brigade support as well as British support options for you to choose from.

Let's dig in...

Leopard AS1 Armoured Squadron

The Australian regiments started using the West German Leopard 1 in around 1976, relieving the long-serving British Centurion as their MBT. 

To field this formation, your HQ selection will consist of either 1 or 2 Leopard 1 tanks.

You have to field at least 2 Leopard AS1 Armoured Troops at a minimum. From there, you have optional choices of:

- an additional Leopard Armoured Troop, and
- either another Armoured Troop or an M113 Mechanised Platoon, and
- up to 2 M113 Cavalry Troops.

Your Leopard Troops can be bought in either 3 or 4 tank troops depending on how many points you want to spend. 

We'll take a look at the M113 Mechanised Platoon shortly, but also inherent to the Armoured Squadron is the M113 Cavalry Troop. These guys effectively act as your Recce section, scouting ahead for the all clear.

There are a few options here in terms of the size and make-up of your Troop. You can choose to make them up of. 

- 4 x M113 LRV and 1 x M113 MRV,
- 3 x M113 LRV and 1 x M113 MRV
- 4 x M113 LRV, or
- 3 x M114 LRV

As you can tell, these are both based on the American M113 hull. The M113 LRV (Light Reconnaissance Vehicle) is armed with a .50 cal MG as well as the standard 7.62mm while the M113 MRV (Medium Reconnaissance Vehicle) has an improved Scorpion turret housing a 76mm gun which, in the side of most tanks, should be enough to dispatch them!

While the M113 MRV has a slower Tactical move than the LRV, it also has the Sneak and Peek rule which allows it to move 10"/25cm Tactical if it doesn't fire it's 76mm gun.

These guys I see as being very complimentary to the Leopards, giving them Scout and Spearhead capabilities as well as being pretty well powered to handle threats.

M113 Mechanised Platoon

Like other NATO nations, the Australians are now utilising mechanised infantry battalions as part of their make-up. Riding in the American M113, the Diggers of the 1st Brigade are ready to take to the fight!

Your formation HQ is made up of a single SLR rifle team riding in an M113.

From there, you have to take 2 M113 Mechanised Platoons at a minimum and can then add:

- Either another M113 Mechanised Platoon or a Leopard 1 Squadron, and
- an M125 Mortar Platoon, and
- up to 2 M113 Cavalry Troops, and
- up to 2 Milan Anti-tank Sections.

You have 2 options for you Mechanised Platoons:

- 4 x M60 teams w/ integrated M79 LAW, 3 x Carl Gustav AT teams and 4 M113 APC's, or
- 3 x M60/LAW teams, 2 x Carl Gustav teams and 3 x M113 APC's.

Alongside the infantry, you also get access to some artillery support in the form of the M125 'Mortar Track'. You can choose to take either 2, 4 or 6 tubes depending on the points you spend.

And giving you access to more Anti-tank capabilities, you can pile in a heap of Milan teams with their own designated transports as well. You can choose to take either 4 Milans with 4 M113's or just 2 and 2. If it were me.....I'd take 4. 

Australian Brigade Support

Now, here's where things start getting a bit interesting! There are a few support choices here specific the Aussie's, and I think they're pretty cool!

Let's start by taking a look at the Anti-tank Land Rover Section. What you have here is effectively Jeeps with 106mm recoilless guns mounted on them! Yeah, that's right! These things serve a dual-purpose role in that they're reasonable anti-tank weapons and they're also fantastic at getting infantry out of foxholes....by vapourising them!! You get to take either 2 or 4 of the buggers!

Because you really don't want to be deprived of AA in Team Yankee, you also have access to the M113 Redeye. Mounted on the M113 hull, you can take 2 AA tracks.

And finally, what Aussie force would be complete without our Kiwi cousins! The Queen Alexandra's Squadron are here assisting the Aussie on their maneuvers in their nimble Scorpion tanks! You get access to either 2 or 4 of these and with the Spearhead special rule, can get them into the thick of it! You also have the option to take 2 of these as part of your force.

I think these are a must add in any Australian force. If you're not using the main gun, the get Sneak and Peek so can get around pretty quick, causing all sorts of potential flanking issues for your opponent. They'll also ruin BMP's days pretty smartly as well.

Divisional Support

As mentioned at the start, your divisional support is taken from the British. Here, you have access to:

- Artillery in the form of either an Abbot battery or M109 battery.
- AA support in a Tracked Rapier SAM section.
- Choppers in TOW Lynx Heliarm Flights. You can take 2 of these!
- Fast movers in the Harrier Close Support Flight.

All in all, an Australian force, despite it's limited choices, has the potential to be pretty well rounded and can cause some concerns for any opponent. Definitely a fun army to take a look at!

Next cab off the rank....let's look at some Canadians...eh?