This past weekend Canberra, Australia was host to the annual WINTERCON convention; the mid-year little brother of CANCON (which is run in January). The convention was well attended again this year, and good fun.
Our gaming group this year opted for a demo/participation game of Team Yankee in 6mm. The general concept was to get away from the gamier aspects of TY by using doctrinal organisations and scenarios (instead of points based and the game scenarios). We played an escalating scenario over the course of the two days, on a large (8’x6’ playing surface), based on doctrinal organisations on both sides (US and Soviet). The sequence of events was to be (in broad terms) a Soviet BTR Motor Rifle Regiment (MRR) advance in a sector defended by a US Mech Infantry Battalion with some cross-attached tanks. The phases would play out something like:
- (1) Initial (Soviet) recon
- (2) Vanguard MR Coy attack on Security Position (US Platoon)
- (3) Advance Guard (MR Bn-) vs US Company Position
- (4) MR Regt(-) vs US Bn(-).
As well as using doctrinal groupings and scenarios, for recent TY games, we’ve discussed and tested some concepts to tweak the rules to better reflect reality and also go well with the scenarios. Rather than writing completely new add on rules, we figured the easiest way is to utilise existing rules mechanisms to achieve effects we were after. Below is how we treat them:
‘Overwatch’ or ‘Opportunity-Fire’ Mechanism:
- The method of implementing ‘Overwatch Fire’ is to extend the existing “Shooting at Aircraft in the Enemy Turn” rules to ALL stands. This means that non-guided weapons can choose to shoot at enemy stands in the attacker’s turn before the attacker stands fire. But the defender stands are then marked and cannot:
- shoot in defensive fire in the assault step, or
- shoot in their own shooting step next turn, or
- assault in the assault step next turn.
- This is an easy way to implement a form of ‘overwatch’ fire. But like AA fire, there is a real tactical trade off choice to be made. However it can offer an advantage if used well, and stops enemy driving past defending troops with impunity.
- The method of implementing ‘Hidden deployment’ without complex map-deployment is that Defenders can utilise the scenario special “Ambush” deployment rule for ALL stands.
- Use of recon is therefore important for the attacker to detect, or limit the deployment opportunities for (ie. Clear or deny), hidden enemy positions.
- This is a simple way of allowing defenders to deploy hidden, does not require complex ‘spotting’ rules, and encourages use of recon and forward tactical groupings’ movement to shoot revealed stands firing in the attacker’s turn (from the rule above).
- All forces enter from the E table edge (bottom of picture)
- exit at least one combat-effective battalion off the opposite table edge (W table edge).
- T1+: Regimental Recon Company enters
- CHQ Recon BRDM-2, Recon Platoon 3x BMP-2, Recon Platoon 3x BRDM-2)
- T3+: Vanguard company:
- Full BTR MR Company,
- Tank Platoon of 4x T-72,
- Battalion Mortar Company of 6x 120mm Mortars (off table counts as 2S1))
- T7+: Advance Guard MRB(-):
- 2x full BTR MR Company (BTR) each with Tank Platoon of 4x T72,
- 3x ZSU-23-4 Shilka SPAA,
- Battalion Mortars continue,
- plus Regimental SPG Battery of 6x 2S1 Carnation (off table)
- T12+: Regiment Main Body; MRR(-):
- Two BTR MR Battalions: each with:
- 3x full BTR MR Company (BTR),
- Tank Company of 12x T72,
- Battalion Mortars (6x 120mm Mortars)
- plus Regimental SPG Battery of 6x 2S1 Carnation (off table) continues.
- Add an additional 2S1 Battery (6x SPGs)
- Regimental Support Companies:
- SAM Platoon: 3x SA-9 SAM,
- AT Company: 6x BRDM-2 Spandrel ATGM
- All on-table forces may deploy using Ambush deployment
- Any infantry may deploy in foxholes and gone to ground
- May place 3x ranged in markers (represents pre-registered targets)
- Battalion Security positions (Platoon from Charlie Company, plus Battalion Recon Platoon) may deploy anywhere on table.
- Battalion forward defence position (Charlie Company(-)) may deploy anywhere up to ¾ from W edge (US baseline)
- Battalion Main defence position (Delta Company, plus Combat Team Bravo) May deploy anywhere up to halfway from W edge (US baseline)
- Battalion reserves (Combat Team Yankee) enter from W edge from turn 12, or N or S flank from turn 15 (pick an edge).
- Prevent Soviet penetration to the W within the battalion defensive sector boundaries (ie. Prevent exit from the W edge)
- T1+ (all use Ambush deployment):
- Battalion Mortars (6x M106) available
- Battalion Security Positions; Mech Platoon (from C Company), Bn Recon Platoon (three sections of 2x M113)
- C Company(-) Forward Defense position: Mech Company HQ, 2x Mech Platoon, ITOW section (2x M901), FIST
- D Company (Main Defense position): Mech Company HQ, 3x Mech Platoon ITOW Section (2x M901), FIST
- CT Bravo (main Defense position): Mech Company HQ, 3x Mech Platoon, ITOW Section (2x M901), Tank Platoon (4x M1), FIST
- CT Yankee (Reserves, from T12): Tank Company HQ (2x M1), 2x Tank Platoon (4x M1), Mech Platoon, ITOW Section (2x M901), FIST
- T4+: Battery of 6x M109 155mm SPG (one FASCAM mission from T8+)
- T12+: additional Battery of 6x M109 155mm SPG
The game played out beautifully:
- The US deployed their security forces well forward, 2x Scout Sections in the NE and a dug in Mech Platoon in the SE.
- The Soviet Recon company identified both security positions by receiving fire and being destroyed. In the process, the US scouts took casualties and withdrew.
- The Soviet Vanguard Company came on in T3.
- From T4, the Vanguard MRC called Battalion Mortar fire and assaulted the Mech Platoon position. The Defending US platoon called their own battalion mortars on the assaulting Soviet MRC. The US Platoon security position was largely destroyed by fire and assault, and survivors withdrew to the SW to the village.
- From T7, the Advance Guard Battalion(-) entered and quickly pushed a company (with tank platoon) up each flank. These advanced, taking some casualties but also revealing US Platoon positions in the US Forward Defense Company zone. ITOW sections inflicted some casualties, but artillery and mortars on both sides inflicted constant low levels of attrition. Over five turns, they advanced and destroyed or pushed back the Charlie Company platoons, advancing as far as the village in the N and the autobahn bridge over the stream in the S. Casualties made the Soviet Advance Guard MRB largely combat ineffective by T12, however they were still holding advanced positions and had cleared 2/3 of the table.
- From T12, The Soviet MRR main body road marched rapidly from NE to SW along the autobahn and secondary roads. They paid heavily in casualties from Artillery and Mortars, including a FASCAM mission onto the autobahn. By turn 14, the Soviet MRR we’re forward in numbers, but the tank heavy CT Yankee (with 10x M1 to add to the 2x M1 surviving from CT Bravo), plus an extra M109 Battery, had enough combat power to halt the Soviet Regiment’s penetration in this sector.
- All three MRBs of the Soviet MRR were largely combat ineffective and would have to be withdrawn from the line of battle (many more where they came from!!)
- The US Mech Battalion had lost a platoon of M1s, three of the four M901 sections of the AT Platoon, the Scout Platoon, several FIST teams, and two and a half Mech Infantry companies.
- Assuming each game turn represents approximately 15 minutes of real world time (which was my planning figure for working out when things would arrive from the order of march), then the US Mech battalion had held and fought against a Regiment for over four hours. Good effort.
Overall, the doctrinal units and scenario worked really well. Likewise, the house rules worked well and really captured a fog of war feel (through Defender ambush deployment), cut and thrust (through using recon and forward elements for locating and clearing enemy positions), and tactical dilemma (of whether to hold fire or not when enemy were moving). The tweaks gave the still very simple TY system a much more historical feel in my opinion.
Some photos from the game follow:
Some photos from the game follow:
|The Battlefield - view from the Eastern (Soviet) edge.|
|Soviet Recon Platoon scouts the SE wooded ridge line|
|And another Recon Platoon scouts the NE wooded hill|
|View from the Western (US edge)|
|First US infantry are spotted in the trees|
|Then a whole platoon's worth of infantry in foxholes|
|US infantry platoon security position (dug in)|
|M113s are with them too|
|The BRDM2 platoon takes some withering fire and is destroyed. US forward positions located though!|
|The NE position was occupied only by some US scout sections.|
|Turn 3 the Soviet Vanguard company enters, dismounts in the woods and prepares to assault the US security platoon|
|Their BTR60s provide fire support from the fields|
|Company heavy weapons squads sit back and pour on the fire also|
|T72 platoon supported the BMP Recon Platoon in the N.|
|Soviet Mortars range in and start a slow trickle of casualties|
|The Soviet MR Company assault goes in|
|US Mortars, artillery, Dragon ATGM and LAWs cause casualties on the assaulting MR Company.|
The Soviet Vanguard captured the US security position.
The US Mech platoon survivors withdrew to the village to their west.
|Tanks move up to protect the Vanguard's flank|
|The Vanguard consolidates|
US commanders Chris ad John line up the artillery template.
Artillery from both sides caused a steady stream of attrition against their enemies.
|US Artillery ranges in on the advancing Soviet infantry|
|The Vanguard's tank platoon starts to take some casualties from unmasked M901 ITOW launchers at long range|
|The Vanguard company pushes the advantage and moves to flush the retreating US infantry out of the village|
|View from the NE|
|US scout M113|
|The ITOW section shooting at the distant T72s|
|The other two companies of the Advance Guard MR Battalion enter, one on the right (N)...|
|...and one following the success of the Vanguard company on the left (S)|
|Advancing MR company and tanks|
|Soviets press the attack|
|The remnants of the vanguard reach the autobahn crossroads halfway down the table.|
The crew pondering their moves.
From L to R: US commanders Chris & John, and Soviet commanders Shaun and Pete
|yours truly was the umpire and scenario writer/controller|
|MR company hits another dug in mech platoon on the N flank|
|And the other MR company advances to the crossroads on the left flank (S)|
|Overview at this stage (about turn 7 or 8). Soviet companies press down both flanks|
|until another US mech platoon fires from their position covering the Autobahn bridge in the S|
|And another Platoon position in the centre.|
|Tanks and BTRs advance|
First sighting of US tanks.
This is the tank platoon from CT Bravo on the US main defensive position.
|Tanks and ITOWs from CT Bravo with sweeping views of the battlefield from hull down positions|
|Another ITOW position in the S|
The Soviet MR company hits the intersection and all hell breaks loose!
Artillery, ITOWs, Dragons, LAWs and M1 gunnery pounds them...
|But the Soviet MR infantry push forward through the woods and across the stream|
|Close up of ITOWs|
|ITOWs and M1s in the woods on the ridgeline on the US defensive position|
MR Regiment main body arrives!!
Two MR Battalions with Tank companies attached are ready to enter.
|The advance guard battalion continues the fight at the forward edge of the battle...|
MR battalion advances at speed down the autobahn,
previously cleared by the vanguard and advance guard
|Two M1s fail to 'shoot & scoot' and pay the price from T72 fire.|
|The other two get down behind the ridgeline|
|ITOWs continue the fight|
Overview from the US lines.
Soviet MRR main body enters at top of picture.
|The MRR Main Body continues the advance|
|The other battalion takes the secondary dirt road further to the N.|
|...snaking along the dirt road in column|
|The MRR Main body advances rapidly, but suffered heavily from massed US artillery.|
|Soviet artillery smoke screen covers the advance, but not well enough. FASCAM is dropped on the autobahn, causing casualties and delaying the advancing MR battalion in the US killing ground.|
|The crew still rolling dice on turn 15. Soon after this we determined that the entering tank-heavy CT Yankee and additional US artillery had enough combat power to halt the depleted Soviet Regiment. It had been an epic battle though!|