Undeniable Victory: First Steps with Team Yankee Iranians!

An army slapped together from disparate parts…fitting for the period!

The force (mostly) gathered. Lots left to do!

Team Yankee! It has been a long time since I posted about this game, but not for lack of wanting to. Other topics simply pushed it out of the way for a spell. But, staring down my ‘to build’ pile was a load of models for the game, and I really wanted a break from painting for a bit.

One of Team Yankee’s many supplement books, Oil War was an interesting direction for the game which had been almost laser focused on the European front of any WW3 scenario. But it made sense; the Middle East had been at war off and on with each other for most of the latter half of the 20th century, and these battles were a perfect petri dish to see how modern combat would actually look like. When two of my friends started Israeli armies, I knew I wanted something to fight them with. Initially, I was going to go with Syria(which use Iraq’s rules but with Warsaw Pact support), but after watching some very interesting documentaries on the Iran Iraq war, I was inspired to take up the sword for Iran.

An Iranian soldier takes cover during an Iraqi gas attack. The Iran Iraq War was as brutal as it was backward, as later on trenches became the norm. gas was commonly used, and Iranian soldiers would launch massive human wave attacks.

This was primarily due to just how unique an army they are in game. Using primarily Western equipment but utterly hostile to the West as a whole after the Revolution, and being aided by the Soviet Union. They have higher then average morale and courage values, but notably worse to-hit ratings and skill. It takes a very different sort of play-style to run then any other army I play so far.

In real life, the Soviet support would have never happened. The Soviets were viewed with just as much hostility as the West, and the ruling Ayatollah would have never condoned it. This could lead to some interesting narrative elements should I choose to include Soviet support later in my army.

The Iranian Army of the 1980s was an army in transition. The Artesh, or regular forces, suffered from leadership purges in the immediate aftermath of the Revolution, and was viewed as politically and religiously unreliable by the powers that be. The Shah had spent a great deal of money on modern Western equipment, like the British Chieftain and American F-14 Tomcat, and the army was mostly organized along Western lines. After the Revolution, this supply was cut off, leaving the Iranians with loads of kit they couldn’t replace. Some reverse engineering happened, and they were able to copy the TOW missile system. When Iraq invaded, the Iranians turned to North Korea and other nefarious sources for Russian style equipment, while the Iraqis enjoyed the unprecedented support of both the United States and the Soviet Union.

Iranians in a trench. I’m not sure if these are regular army or Basij troops.

The Iranians had almost a second army in the wings though, that of the Revolutionary Guard Corps. Raised as police originally, this was mobilized into a fighting force rapidly. The Basij, or ‘The Mobilization’, was open to anyone 12 or older, and often went into battle assured that they would die as Martyrs. This meant enlistments were high, and while poorly equipped, were fanatical on the attack. Basij troops would often begin attacks and make breakthroughs, which were then exploited by the trained regular army. They would attack through minefields and straight at Iraqi lines, which would sometimes break under the stress.

A very young Basij volunteer, wearing slogans on his helmet. Unfortunately, Iran used many child soldiers, an utterly deplorable tactic.

In all, the Iranian forces were a very diverse and eclectic army, with supply issues rampant, poor tactics, and vast casualties. Yet, they often achieved incredible victories among their losses. The Iran Iraq War ended with a UN brokered peace agreement, with no territorial changes for all the blood spilled. Seven years of brutal war with nothing but tears to show for it. The modern Iranian military is a different beast altogether, something a more military minded blog can cover.

So with all that in mind, this army started as a bunch of cast-offs. My American army donated its M60 tanks, M109 artillery, M113 apcs, and Cobra attack helicopters. I bought two sets of Ayatollah’s Revolutionaries from Meeplemart during a sale, which gave me Chieftain tanks, and yet more Cobras. A Fate of a Nation Egyptian T-62 Tank Battalion box gave me, well, T-62s and a couple of Shilka anti-aircraft tracks. This was all tied together with a purchase of Iranian Unit Cards to allow me to field this rag-tag and often dysfunctional army.

The complete army-list. The sheer variety on order here is crazy. East meets West indeed!

Lets take a look at some of the models. I have focused on one of each model, as being unpainted this won’t be terribly interesting for some of you.

Ah, Chieftains. I know these well, with many in my British army. These lack the Stillbrew armour package, which never made it to Iran, and conveniently allows them to look different.
The TOW Jeep kit has both Israeli and Iranian crew options, and one of my friends gave me his spare passengers from his kits. They make excellent tank riders.
M60 ‘Pattons’ are the most plentiful tank in this list, but not by much. I have grown to love these ugly and tall tanks, with a certain thuggish charm about them.
These tanks came second hand, and will require a new lick of paint.
A T-62, perhaps captured from the Iraqis or supplied by the Soviets in this WW3 timeline. These offer some unique, non-western flair to my army. Most Iraqi captured tanks I believe were crewed by Revolutionary Guard crews, but I’m not certain. I hope its true, as that will add some lovely narrative flavour.
Using notably worse export ammo and lacking the missile option of its Soviet counterpart, these tanks nonetheless offer a fun choice in my list.
A Shillka! These would also be Iraqi captures or Soviet supplied. These are great for clearing the skies of pesky helicopters, which haven’t yet made a strong appearance on the Clubhouses gaming tables…
For a resin/metal kit, this was actually really easy to build and fun to boot!
A nice brick of resin and metal, these M109s will add some serious punch at long range. These kits have been superseded by a newer plastic kit, which I will use in my Western armies. These older kits will serve instead in the Middle East.
Still, the detail is sharp and will be fun to paint.
An M113, a capable metal box! It’ll carry my Mechanized army regulars into battle alongside the M60.
Tow Jeeps, a fun unit with a nasty punch. Given that my tanks cannot pierce most Western designs from the front, these will be essential to deal with those modern tanks.
A Cobra attack helicopter. When Iran reverse engineered the TOW, it was for these vultures to use. This is also my main tank killer, and with four of them in the list they will have to earn back their points fast!
These models came to me built and in rough condition. They will need some TLC before I hit them with the rattle-can.
And the infantry. These will feature heavily in a different blog post, once I get them washed and put-together.
And the hilarious Iranian dice. I’m not entirely sure how politically correct it will be to throw these dice, but they do roll ever so nicely…

This project is far from over, but they have the advantage of being fairly easy to paint. I’m torn between the Team Yankee box-art bone-white colour and the pale green Iranian tanks were sometimes seen in. With the decals I purchased I can definitely add some unique markings that will add some flair, but I have also seen some tanks bearing a portrait of the Ayatollah on them, which I definitely want to add. Vallejo makes a great Bone White spray which will make painting this army a breeze…that is saying without taking the infantry into account.

I have shied away from the ‘human wave’ approach of mass Basij infantry, as I was drawn to this army from eclectic armour. But I had to include at least one unit of the Basij to pay my proper dues to the Army. Is this list competitive? I don’t believe so, but it will be a blast to play. With Chieftains providing cover for the faster M60s and T-62s, and with ample support options, I am really looking forward to some Oil War gaming!

Of course, as a match-up for Israel it is a bit silly. Iran may, to use massive understatement, disapprove of Israel… but they don’t share a land border. And with Iraq and Jordan in the way, it is very unlikely that they would ever trade blows in person. But the Oil War book’s internal balance appears to work out between the armies between its covers, and so it should be fun. The new ‘Super Tanks’ now available to both NATO and PACT forces are a hard counter to my mass of tanks, but some wily side-shots may yet prove effective.

With the Ontario lockdown extended until June 2nd, I have plenty of time to get some more painting done. I must say I was very impressed by the reach my blog had during my ‘manic’ posting spree of the last few weeks, but the burnout has finally hit and alongside a close family member being in the Hospital(not from the dreaded Covid, thank God.) I have been…distracted as of late. But I find myself happy with less views if it means I don’t push myself too hard. Blogging is supposed to be fun after all!

In any event, I hope you enjoyed this look into Team Yankee Iranians! I will have some painted before long, and once Lockdown ends I will hopefully get some games in of all varieties! I have another project in the wings to do with Oathmark, a rank and flank game from Osprey, so look forward to that in the immediate future!

But for now, Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and stay safe everyone!

4 thoughts on “Undeniable Victory: First Steps with Team Yankee Iranians!

  1. Great post. The Iran Iraq war is a very interesting, but tragic war to study.

    I’m considering getting some 80s Iranians in 20mm too. I’ve a platoon of Iraqis that need opposition. Like you the eclectic mix of vehicles is tempting.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It certainly is, a sobering topic to study for sure, and not one to take too lightly. Team Yankee’s alternative timeline helps a tad but not much.

      The vehicles are very interesting, so much variety! The rules allow allied Soviets, which tempts me to add some from the Turkestan military district. They wouldn’t have cutting edge equipment; they consisted of mostly motor rifle units so t-72s at best.

      I’d love to see you tackle Iranians. 20mm Chieftains would be a sight to see!

      Liked by 1 person

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