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Rorke`s Drift With Tanks- Team Yankee AAR

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:32 am

Rorke`s Drifting Tanks

So the day finally dawned that would see both my Brits and myself get our first taste of Team Yankee. As the sun flickered through the trees, it`s beams highlighted upon the misty dawn of the German late summer, little 15mm squaddies, their breath showing on the crisp morning air, drank tea, smoked fags, and told dirty jokes by way of distraction. For they knew the day would be long, and the outcome, as yet, unclear.

This is the story of high drama, fights, confusion, camaradarie, conflict and tension; of sin and redemtion, and the will to survive. And what happened on-table was pretty interesting as well. This is the unbiased and impartial story of how brave Tommy Atkins and his plucky British chums took on the despotic Communist horde with both a hip, hip, and a hooray!

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There will be two parts: the after action report, followed by an extensive, and unnecessarily graphic, stomping on certain parts of the rules.
First- the rami/carefully planned battleplan.
Steve had talked of bringing an East German horde, but I still thought that this may be a rouse. To be on the safe side, I ensured that I had plenty Milan anti-tank to back-up my handful of Chieftains. The previous evening, I planned that my Milan would fix the enemy centre as my Chieftains would use their superior rate-of-fire and hitting power to snipe from the flanks. I simply could not foresee a situation whereby my genius would be ever called into question. That situation arose twelve hours later when I found that Steve had, indeed, brought an East German 100 point horde consisting of thirty-five tanks and over thirty other supporting armoured vehicles and infantry. My big hitters were my six Chieftains, Milan equipped infantry, and Spartans with Milan turrets. My mass of FV432 were now looking rather impotent armed only with General Purpose Machine Guns against this steel wall of East German tanks, which may have been mostly old T-55, but tanks none-the-less; bit difficult slowing them down with a Jimpy! Add to this, a company of T-72, and this looked like trouble.

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Almost immediately I began screwing-up. Through my own stupidity we ended-up selecting the very scenario that I wanted to avoid: `Free For All`, a meeting engagement where the attacker is considered moving on turn one, and therefore unable to use any guided missiles. Despite the `meeting engagement` rule, the opponent is not considered to have moved and, therefore, is free to use their whole range of weapons. I fail to see how this is anything other than your standard attacker/defender game; a meeting engagement should surely see both sides suffering the same movement penalties during turn one.

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In a most gentlemanly gesture, Steve offered to be the attacker, at which point I should have said `go on then`. But no, I had to roll the dice...and rendered my whole plan arsed by becoming the attacker! No Milan in the first turn, my whole defence- nuked! Plus, I had conspired to play down the table to allow some defence in depth, and again, I managed to goose this 50/50 prospect to find myself defending the long table edge against a horde that would stretch across the entire horizon, able to attack everywhere at once rather than a narrower front that I had schemed to get. Curses!
Last edited by WingAttackPlan-R on Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rorke`s Drift With Tanks- Team Yankee AAR

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:35 am

Steve really had done an excellent job with the terrain. With no hills, the board looked full and varied with a factory area on the British left, a town in the centre, and open terrain and a water tower on the right. Woods, roads, hedglines, and walled areas completed a very nice looking board. I am a fan of boards that use stuff like this, rather than simply a few hills dotted about, and Steve`s games always look the business. Model rail buildings are perfect for 15mm Cold War, especially as so many are from German companies covering German subjects.

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Both sides had `Spearhead` units. My Scimitars got a vital deloyment area on the west side of the town, where the infantry would soon deploy, whiles Steve`s BMP platoon got him into the East side around the church, again useful for his infantry.

The aforementioned steel wall went across from west to east, roughly: T-55 coy, T-72 coy, mass of T-55 and supports, BMP coys. From the same orientation, I had: flanking Chieftain troop, thin-red line of infantry and missiles, flanking Chieftain troop, with the infantry connecting the two tank troops, and the supports sitting just behind on my own table edge. Somewhere in this process, I screwed-up again and forgot to deploy my Milan turreted Spartans, like the total spanner that I am, only realising their absence when putting stuff away after the battle, spanner!

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Steve`s deployment had gotten an infantry platoon into the church grounds, within touching distance of an East German objective. Playing across the four foot table, able to deploy 12" from your own table edge, and the objective 8" from the opponents` table edge, then the `Spearhead` pre-game recce move, and deployment of units within an 8" radius of the Spearhead unit, meant that the East German mech infantry were so close to the objective that they could taste it. My only consolation was that I had an infantry platoon right on top of the objective, backed by several Jimpy-toting 432s, and if German Ivan wanted the objective, he was bally-well going to have to come and get it!

All the same, even before the first turn proper, I had resigned myself to a hefty clobbering, and wondered if there be a rule covering Nuclear Weapon Release. Double curses and drat!

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Re: Rorke`s Drift With Tanks- Team Yankee AAR

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:38 am

Turn one, and unable to use my guided missiles or artillery, and my infantry anti-tank weapons like Carl Gustav mostly out of range, it was left to my six Chieftains to hold the line, again with a reduced RoF due to moving rule from `meeting engagement`. Now I had a dilemma. It was my first instinct to preserve my tanks and engage the East German horde on more favourable terms; retreating the Chieftains behind the town, forcing the enemy to follow them into a narrow corridor, a company at a time, instead of going toe-to-toe with a whole line of tanks and missile launchers. However, this would leave my infantry exposed as they set-up their Milans, and would leave the western objective vulnerable. So, the tanks were to be sacrificed, and although they scored kills and bails, it was not on the level hoped for, and a hail of 100mm, 125mm, and guided-missile fire came back in return, felling one Chieftain in the west, and bailing another in the east by the water tower.

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The battle around the church was going slightly better for the Brits, being the one area where they currently outgunned the East Germans. Carl Gustavs were destroying BMPs, and the infantry and their 432s were shooting-up the Volksarmee infantry without reply.
On turn two I, maybe unwisely, tried to dig-in my infantry, precluding them from using their Milan for a second turn. Most managed this, and more enemy BMPs fell to Carl Gustavs. Now firing at their full rate of fire, the Chieftains were scoring one or two victories per troop against the hoped for three or four. But still, they gave the T-55 and T-72 reason to be cautious as I attempted to sort-out my infantry. In retrospect, I felt this was critical as the East Germans could have swarmed the western objective before the infantry could do much about it, but chose not to storm over open ground with the Chieftains awaiting them. However, the huge volume of fire that came back as a result took another Chieftain, this time it was nine Spandrel missiles from a BMP-2 company that succeeded where tank rounds had failed.

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Still the Brits in front of the church held their own, it becoming clear that they, at least, were going to prevail in this part of the battle. The artillery was now able to make it`s contribution also, with the Abbots killing and bailing East German armour.

As the turns went by, the East German juggernaut was getting thinned out by kills and bails, leaving the Volksarmee`s main routes of advance signposted by burning wrecks. Not having it all their own way, the Brits lost their final Chieftain on the left to a morale roll, leaving a last tank on the right. It continued to shoot-up T-55s until caught in the flank by 30mm cannon shots by advancing BMP-2. YES! you heard correctly! Some genius at Battlefront has lumbered the sixty-ton Chieftain with a side armour rating of `6` !!!! When compared to the forties/fifties vintage T-55 and it`s armour rating of `9`, this was one of several moments in the game where both Steve and I stopped and agreed `that isn`t credible`. But more of that in the summary.
The Brits had lost the last of their tanks, but although not racking-up Wittmanesque scores, the Chieftains had done their job. The Communist advance on either flank had been slowed sufficiently for the infantry to take over, and with enemy tanks now in range of both Milan and Carl Gustav, their losses continued to mount. Even a Blowpipe missile operator got in on the act and took out a BMP.

Bosh! Take that Communism!


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Re: Rorke`s Drift With Tanks- Team Yankee AAR

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:42 am

With the rules foibles now running at 2-1 to Steve, I equalised by raining down artillery right in front of the unit firing the barrage. That there is no minimum range is just as wrong as having your artillery just behind your forward line of troops in the first place.
In the west of town, the infantry that had gained entry to a building on the outskirts due to the Scimitar`s `Spearhead` move had made it count by engaging T-72 and T-55 with Milan and Carl Gustav, as the tanks made for the western objective. In the centre of town, the East German infantry in the church had been wiped out, and the T-72s that made it into town were now under fire from Milan, Charlie Gee, and LAW 66mm.

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Now we came across another foible of the rules. Despite blocking the road, the T-72 were too close to engage with Milan, yet the rules allowed the missiles to fire through these units at the tanks behind. That is asking a whopping-great suspension of disbelief. So, by now, that is one crazy rule gone against me, another gone for me; and balance was brought to the force...probably or something.
Aaargh, another rule headspin! Steve`s tanks got into a postion to fire on my artillery. An old complaint among those of us who have played Flames of War is that you must deploy artillery on-table, unrealistically close to the action. Battlefront`s `Nam` rules allow for off-table artillery, no reason for TY, FoaN, FoW not to, no reason at all.

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It was unfortunate that so many silly rules, that people have complained about for years, continue to distract from the game. But with the foibles score at 2-2, Steve attempted a tank assault on the infantry in the centre. Both T-72 were bailed by LAW rockets, and with an untouched platoon behind them, the British position on the objective seemed adequate without being air-tight.

Pow! Take that Erich Honecker, General Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party and leader of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) from 1971 to 1989!

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On the right, there was now a burning park of T-55 and some BMP. There was still a British platoon at about 60% strength sited infront of some healthy, and some not so some not so healthy 432s, but on their left was the full-strength platoon that could give support with Milan, and Charlie Gee.

On the left, there were several burning British Abbots, 432, and Chieftain, and the infantry were bruised, but crucially, unbroken, as they contested the western objective with the lead T-55. Again, the full-strength infantry platoon, that had defeated the East German infantry in the church, could lend support with their heavy weapons.

With both sides reeling from heavy losses, and with no objectives taken, a draw was declared. I think honour was served all round with this result. The Brits survived the onslaught, and the East Germans proved to be more than just a glass-jawed steamroller. The East Germans did well against the Chieftains, and the British infantry proved particularly resilient.
Plus, in the finest tradition, I exploited my early reverses and portrayed the draw as a resounding display of plucky British pluck. All joking aside, I expected a right proper thumping during turns one and two, so a draw was a point won rather than two points dropped, and no mistake!

Kablooey! Take that Karl Marx, your brother Groucho was marginally funnier than you!
Last edited by WingAttackPlan-R on Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:15 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Rorke`s Drift With Tanks- Team Yankee AAR

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:46 am

So having inflicted a crushing draw on the evil Communists, what about the rules?

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Well, there are some oft-visited problems, many of which were flagged-up by Steve, and I agree with.
---The me-go/ you-go system would be so much more tolerable if there was an opportunity fire phase. One already exist for anti-aircraft fire so it would not, somehow, ruin the game. During your opponent`s movement phase (and instead of using the time to peel and orange or read the paper) you could roll a skill test to opportunity fire. If successful, you would mark your unit (just as one does now with `anti-aircraft`) so that this unit could not move, fire, or assault in it`s own phase. If the skill test is failed then the unit suffers a -1 to hit during it`s own fire phase.
---The artillery rules are to be modified, but only minor changes to bring them in line with Fate of a Nation and Flames of War. On-table heavy artillery should be available as a choice, not a demand of the rules. This choice exists in the `Nam` rules (off-table `firebases` etc.) and there is no reason for them not to in Team Yankee or Flames of War. Having on-table artillery getting shot-up on the front line, and then dropping barrages right in front of their own postion is an abstraction too far.
---You can`t shoot through a friendly vehicle because it is blocking line of sight, but when it is an exploding fireball belching thick black smoke then it only acts as concealing terrain? That isn`t credible.
---If the narrow road is blocked by an enemy vehicle for movement purposes, and `line-of-sight` by units of the same side, then how can you shoot through it as the opposing player, surely that isn`t consistent? If the enemy can`t shoot through their own vehicle then how can you?
---I agree with Steve`s point that being able to assume hits on stands from the same unit, even though some may be in the open and some in cover, is not credible.
---Again, Steve`s logic is impeccable in criticising the fact that some units can travel further in a turn than they can shoot. It literaly suggests that some vehicles can travel faster than a speeding bullet...which is wrong, last time I looked.
---CHIEFTAIN? SIDE ARMOUR `6`!!! YOU OWE ME A CHIEFTAIN, BATTLEFRONT. CARRY IT TO MY HOUSE SO THAT IT MAY CAUSE YOU TO ASK WHY IT IS SO HEAVY!!!

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I may not have agreed with all of Steve`s points, but annoyingly, he makes his case with intelligent analysis and reasoned arguement, which is rather difficult to counter. Drat and fiddlesticks!
However, after all is said and done, I`ve played several Cold War rulesets, and Team Yankee is up there with the best of them. I`d take TY over Challenger 2000, Cold War Commander etc. And I`ll be interested to see how it compares to `Team Krankie` from Too Fat Lardies.
Despite my criticisms of the rules, I enjoyed the game, the balance of which continued to the end of the last turn. I lost count of how many turns, but Steve tells me it was over six, and the outcome was in doubt right until the end, something that I liked and held my goldfish bowl-like attention. I have been known to pishaw and phooey the use of objectives in games, but the contested nature of the objectives in this game, and the swinging pendulum of either side`s fortunes, added to the sense of drama rather than detract from it.
I hope to write another entirely impartial Team Yankee After Action Report about the war against evil Communist horde armies soon. :D
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Re: Rorke`s Drift With Tanks- Team Yankee AAR

Postby maelmordha » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:13 am

Cracking write up of our inaugural TY game Ian. It was a good bash that we were still playing when everyone else had gone home, despite some rules madness.

I also think overwatch could help. Treating it as a skill test might well work and would get rid of the silly 'count as moving' rule for the attacker in some of the scenarios. You don't need it if the opposition can shoot you during the first turn of the game. Treat overwatch exactly as you suggest.

The invisible tank nonsense is also a bit weird. Being able to shoot through a solid wall of tanks doesn't make a great deal of sense. It happened again in our FOAN game a couple of weeks later where I shot your M60 with my super PT76 in the flank through 4 other tanks that were in the way. Bloody stupid if you ask me. I suspect BF did that to stop players using a wall of cheap stuff as a barrier but they've thrown the baby out with the bath water as far as I'm concerned. Unless you're up on a hill and have nerves of steel you shoot whats in front of you or bug out. It really needs a courage test to pick a distant target once the enemy is within a certain distance of your position too. Maybe that's a step too far for BF though.

Burning wrecks should block LoS. Shooting 'through' an enemy tank at something behind should be a +2 mod (concealed and gone to ground) if we continue to allow fire through vehicles that would otherwise block LoS.

On table artillery is utter mince (I have a mental block that wont allow me to use them). I quite happily potted 4 (5?) of your Abbots from tank fire and Spandrels. There's also no minimum range for Artillery fire. Nah... just nah.... They should be off table and only subject to counter battery fire. If they're on table then they cannot fire Artillery or Salvo fire - direct only. Counter battery fire should go something like this: Possible on a unit that has fired and not spent a turn repositioning. Only by Artillery or Salvo capable units (includes air).
The models can still be placed on table but in a marked area that represents an off table position.

Some of the unit stats are a bit wild as well but that's for another day.

No points system - how did they decide that a NVA T72M was worth 4 points and a Chieftain 8?

Shooting ranges, movement and time. No ground scale and no time scale. I can live with the convenience that this allows. However, when you can move further than you're effective range in the space of time it takes to fire one round then it's a bit mad. I'd double all ranges although this might break stuff.

Last point - a universal 3+ to hit Soviet/Warpac troops and 4+ to hit NATO troops is nonsense. I cant see any logic for it other than saying the soviets are crap and NATO are great. It's a blatant fudge by BF to allow the soviets to be cheaper and therefore be easier to horde. Unfortunately there's not much you can do about that other than dump TY/FOAN.

Having said all of this I'll play it again (even though this ended up as a bit of a rant). After all I've printed and painted 80 vehicles and bought 2 full companies of infantry for it. I'll lock my credibility bug away in a cupboard beforehand though! I mean if you're going to write up all of these as excellent AARs then who would say no.....it's worth it just for that.
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Re: Rorke`s Drift With Tanks- Team Yankee AAR

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Fri Mar 15, 2019 5:33 pm

Agree with everything you say Steve, particularly about artillery. I think your on the right track with counter-battery fire also.
When oh when does Battlefront fix the artillery issue? Well, if they have refused thus far I suspect that they will continue to so do. The minor tweaks they have made (easier to kill infantry with a repeat bombardment, and harder to kill AFV) is akin to giving Robert Shaw a sticking plaster at the end of `Jaws` as the shark bites his legs off. It does nothing to address the failings of the Battlefront`s handling of artillery across Team Yankee, Flames of War, and Fate of a Nation.

Much of my conclusions came from your observations, Steve, glad that you liked the write-up.

I too will play this again, and will enjoy the day`s gaming, having first immobilised my credibility chip; like I do when watching Star Wars, James Bond, or BBC News 24. :D
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Re: Rorke`s Drift With Tanks- Team Yankee AAR

Postby maelmordha » Sat Mar 16, 2019 9:03 pm

All is not lost... yet. There may be an alternative.

http://www.greatescapegames.co.uk/seven ... dthrr.html

I'm excited again.....
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Re: Rorke`s Drift With Tanks- Team Yankee AAR

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Sun Mar 17, 2019 7:42 pm

As long as it has tanks and unnecessary apocalyptic-grade violence, you can count me in!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fReXK_ntOYg

Ha, take that trees!
Several million dollars well-spent, I trust we can all agree. ;)
----------------------------------------------

EDIT
I`ve since taken a look at Great Escape Games and their WW1 rules, and I am officially interested in their upcoming WW3 game.

Some Eastern European lads also getting heavy metal value from their taxpayer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poLf9Qamnpk

`You guys...!` :roll:

---------------------------------------------
ANOTHER EDIT
I`ve since read the WW3 rules preview, and I`m VERY interested! :)
http://www.greatescapegames.co.uk/media ... ges_3_.pdf

Options, indeed.

;)
Last edited by WingAttackPlan-R on Sun Mar 17, 2019 8:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Rorke`s Drift With Tanks- Team Yankee AAR

Postby maelmordha » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:31 pm

I've got them pre-ordered so they should be here for the 1st meeting in April.
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