Cold Weather for a Cold War: A Foray into 15mm

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Oh boy, here we go again!

It feels good to be back! It has been a long time since my last post, with my own personal situation and the global chaos that has been 2020 having caused a whole slew of issues, with my problems at least finally back in control! I apologize for the few of you who read my content, but for now at least I’m back.

With Covid-19 looming large, and a shutdown (albeit a soft one) in Canada, I found myself with not a lot to do. A quarantine project was needed, but having burned out of 40k(again), I couldn’t really muster any enthusiasm. Luckily, as it so often turns out to be, my friend asked me a quite innocent question that caused an avalanche.

“Hey, Andrew, you ever hear of a game called Team Yankee?”

I had, but not paid it much mind. 15mm was a scale I’d sworn off on doing, what with the tiny models and multiple infantry on one base thing. But 28mm was a topic my group had covered quite comprehensively, and my research showed me a game that was fun, if not entirely always realistic. The Cold War is also a fascinating topic, with lots of ground to cover, from Korea all the way to the hypothetical situation in West Germany with the Able Archer exercise causing a global thermonuclear war. Interesting, and also terrifying. As well, unlike many of my peers, my parents didn’t grow up with the terror of the Cold War looming as they had the quite real terror of the Indo-Pakistani wars instead, so it was a topic I needed to study myself. So it was a solid background for a tabletop game, trading my current existential terror of the pandemic for the historical existential terror of World War Three.

With my interest in the history, real or otherwise piqued, I turned to the game. Team Yankee is based off the venerable Flames of War system. I have heard many things about that game, not all of them good, admittedly. But Team Yankee from, at least from all the battle reports I had watched, looks incredibly fun. Simple to learn, with a degree of strategy above Bolt Action(which does platoon level infantry action really well, less so armored combat) or 40k, where many games I’ve played having been decided in the list-building step. The smaller scale also means that company level warfare was now playable on our 4×6 tables.

As for what countries each of us would play, my one friend picked the Soviet Union, while the other picked West Germany. Myself? I had a couple in mind, but the first one is the focus for today…

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“We’re fighting a land war in Germany….again?”

The British, or more specifically, the British Army of the Rhine, was my first choice. With a strong defensive focus, and a few nasty surprises, these chaps hit like a truck(or is that a lorry?) and can take it in turn. I wasn’t able to get the Challenger starter box, or either of the older Charlies Chieftains boxes, so my army was made up of what was available in Canada at the time. I didn’t know until later that this was one of the stronger nations to play, that was an accident, I swear!

We all agreed to build up to 100 points, and to have that 100 point army painted and complete before the next time we saw each other. Without any further distractions, onto the pictures!

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Your average British infantryman of 1985. Soldiering on with the L1A1, this model is actually superbly detailed for 15mm…
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…with his webbing and equipment well defined and easy to see.
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Four to a base, with specific weapons, usually three rifleman with anti-tank rockets, and a special weapon. This stand has instead replaced a rifleman with one with a radio, and the special weapon for an officer. This is the command stand.
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The full platoon. This size force is usually your entire army in Bolt Action or other 28mm platoon level games, but here it is simply part of a larger formation.

 

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Warrior IFV’s(Infantry Fighting Vehicle). This is a newer unit in Team Yankee, being rushed to the frontlines. These are solid, safe transports for the infantry. Three, the ones without the MILAN missile on top, are my troop transports, while the other two without are my MILAN Warrior Anti-Tank unit.
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These are in scale with the infantry, and you can see how they might fit into the transport.
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I’ve uparmored these Warriors, which isn’t correct for 1985-87 if this was a historical wargame, but being an alternate history of World War Three, I figured I could take the liberty. Also, it makes the vehicle much more survivable. In reality these kits I think first saw action in the UK contribution to the First Gulf War.
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The MILAN anti-tank missile, fitted to the top of this Warrior. This gives me an additional anti-tank option. Again, I don’t believe this configuration saw real life use, as the British didn’t want their transport crews to get any funny ideas and try to kill a tank.
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These cute little tanks are Scorpion Light Tanks. Traditionally used in the reconnaissance role, these guys let me expand my deployment area. They can also hammer enemy light vehicles, and maybe even kill a few!
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These things are small! Armed with a 76mm cannon, these little tanks can be a nuisance.
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Ah, finally, the real meat of this list. Five Challenger 1 main battle tanks. With the best armor in the game, these lads will survive almost anything coming their way, but will be heavily outnumbered in doing so. These are also up-armored with the ROMOR armor package, making them considerably more expensive but even more hard to kill. This package was first seen during the Gulf War, but I think they existed earlier; they just had no need to fit them.
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You can see the size here! A solid mass of still to this day classified armor, they will be a serious threat to Ivan.
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And, while completely ridiculous, we have on table artillery. While they shouldn’t even be on the battlefield, what with their massive range, that is an allowance to make it a game, not a simulation. In any event, these are MLRS platforms, and fire a scary barrage of rockets over a massive area. They will devastate anything under the template, but will not survive enemies who close in to kill them.
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These platforms can be taken by the British, Americans, and the Germans! A NATO vehicle through and through. This should help even up the battle against waves of enemy BMPs and infantry.
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And now we leave the realm of reality for fiction. These are Chieftain Marksman AA vehicles, armed with twin 35mm cannons firing at a rapid rate. While the system did exist, and was trialed, it was an entirely civilian venture, and was not adopted by the British Military. It was picked up by the Finnish later, who would put it on their T-55s, and later, Leopard 2s. In this timeline, it isn’t completely crazy to assume that a British government might see the need for such a vehicle…
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A Resin, Metal, and Plastic kit. Not a nightmare to work with, but a serious pain in the butt. Still, I know my enemy loves Hinds, so this is an investment to prevent any “Ride of the Valkyries” shenanigans.
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Conveniently, said kit came with the full plastic Chieftain kit, allowing me to make the normal Chieftain Main Battle Tank as well. These older tanks have the Stillbrew armor package; A measure meant to expand their service life. While my side armor is still thin on these guys, the main gun and frontal armor is very, very good for a 70’s era tank.
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And the whole army. I’m quite happy with this, not an overwhelming amount to paint, and very sturdy, at least in armor. Morale with my small units could be an issue, however.

As my friends complete their armies, I’ll ask them if they are okay with me showing off their progress. While it will be a while before I can play, it’ll be a fun project. I’ve already learned a considerable amount about the last years of the Cold War, and painting…when the weather finally cooperates to allow me to prime, will be a blast. Except for the infantry, in their fancy DPM uniforms. Almost makes me want to play the Warsaw Pact!

In any event, I didn’t stop here, as that would be an intelligent option. I also picked up another book, for cheap, on eBay. Reading it gave me an idea for another force…

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Oh boy! More tanks!

As the weather is downright miserable in Canada(at least my little corner of it.), I’ll be cracking on with assembling this second army. A few clues to what it is. Firstly, it is in the Free Nations book. And secondly, I will be posting progress pictures on April 25th. If you got a guess lemme know! You won’t win anything, but it will be slightly amusing! I’ll see you guys then.

As always, Happy War-gaming, wherever in the world you might be! And, stay safe everyone. May not be 1985, but we still got a crisis to worry about. Take care!

 

 

 

 

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