Hadn’t seen that before! – Team Yankee Challenger I

So there I was flicking through the November issue of Wargames Illustrated when there was a Battlefront advert for a Team Yankee British army deal. Oh I thought just another way of getting some more Chieftain MBTs…

Hold on…

What’s that?

Team Yankee Challenger I

It’s a Challenger I for Team Yankee.

I hadn’t seen that before, or even heard it was coming out.

In the same Army Deal you get along with the five Challenger I tanks, two Lynx helicopters, two MLRS Rocket Launchers, two Chieftain tanks, two Warrior Infantry Fighting Vehicles with Milans, two Scorpion tanks and four Fox Armoured Cars.

I don’t recall seeing the Fox Armoured Cars either…

Fox Armoured Cars

The models look great.

Plastic Comet

The Comet (A34) was a British cruiser tank that first saw use near the end of World War II. It was designed to provide greater anti-tank capability to Cromwell tank squadrons. It was armed with a 77mm HV, a derivative of the 17 pounder, with the result it was one of the few British tanks with the firepower to challenge late war German designs.

One of the most popular posts on the blog is an article I wrote back in 2011 on the Battle of the Bulge reporting on the news that Flames of War was going to release models and rules for the Battle.

Then I said:

I would like to see two tanks in particular, the M24 Chaffee and the British Comet. These tanks are currently not in the FoW range.

I was pleased when Battlefront released the plastic model back in 2015, however I didn’t manage to get some until now. I am not a great fan of the plastic kits, much prefer the resin models which have more weight.

Flames of War Comet Tank

It was on the eBay I purchased two of the sets containing two Comets each.

Flames of War Comet Tanks Box OFBX08Flames of War Comet Tanks Box OFBX08

The box contains two plastic Comet sprue and were designed as expansions to the original Open Fire starter box. So you get some data cards too.

Flames of War Comet Tank Datacard

Though you don’t get the (metal) commanders that you get in the five Comet box.

Really pleased that I have some now, I have been thinking of using them not only for Late War Flames of War games, but also 1950s Cold War games. The Comet remained in British service until 1958. Reading the Hot War books from Harry Turtledove has inspired me to think about gaming some scenarios from the books. British Comets and Centurions versus Russians T34-85 and T54 Soviet tanks with American M26 Pershing and M48 Patton tanks. In the book there are also Sherman manned by (West) German forces.

So time to get building and painting.

RAF Regiment Scorpion

RAF Regiment Scorpion

On a recent visit to RAF Cosford Museum I took some more photographs of the RAF Regiment Scorpion that was on display in the Cold War exhibition.

RAF Regiment Scorpion

The RAF Regiment’s mission is protection of RAF bases from ground attack, and patrolling a large area around main operating bases abroad, in order to defend aircraft on ingress and egress from surface to air attack.

It was in November 1981, the RAF Regiment took delivery of its first Scorpions.

RAF Regiment Scorpion

The FV101 Scorpion is a British armoured reconnaissance vehicle. It was the lead vehicle and the fire support type in the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked), CVR(T), family of seven armoured vehicles. Manufactured by Alvis, it was introduced into service with the British Army in 1973 and served until 1994.

In 1989 No. 1 Squadron RAF Regiment was based at RAF Laarbruch. It had 15x Spartan and 6x Scorpion. No. 51 Squadron RAF Regiment, at RAF Bruggen, also had 15x Spartan and 6x Scorpion.

RAF Bruggen was situated next to the village of Elmpt, approximately 43 kilometres (27 mi) west of Düsseldorf near the Dutch-German border.

RAF Laarbruch was also located in Germany, however it on its border with the Netherlands.

The role of the RAF Regiment would have been to defend the airfields from Warsaw Pact attack.

You can imagine in the world of Team Yankee (and Iron Maiden) that the RAF Regiment would be involved in fighting Warsaw Pact forces, though much of it would probably have been Spetsnaz, Soviet Special Forces. This is more appropriate to a 20mm or 25mm skirmish type game rather than the 15mm tank versus tank battles of Team Yankee.

Soviet Airborne forces made use of the BMD1 and BMD2 and these were air-portable.

BMD2
http://vitalykuzmin.net via https://commons.wikimedia.org CC BY-SA 4.0

These could be the ideal opposition for the RAF Regiment Scorpion tanks.

Though once the Cold War turned hot would the Soviets be able to push airborne troops that far west through contested airspace?

Maybe take an alternate perspective and use my own British Civil War background and have them as supporting Royalist forces, or as the Republican opposition.

I have some Team Yankee Scorpions, they are currently in the process of being painted as BAOR versions.

I have no Centurions

Alas it wasn’t to be….

In a previous post I said

So I ordered and purchased a couple of Sho’T models from the Flames of War Fate of a Nation range and will paint them up as British Army Centurions for use in Team Yankee games.

They never arrived…

Centurion Mk 5

Alas the supplier was unable to supply the models, as Battlefront have made them a direct-only order item, so I will need to order them from there.

Going back to 1971

Had my first game of Team Yankee at the weekend, using my new painted (but not finished) Scorpion and Scimitar light tanks. This was a blue on blue combat with British forces versus British forces. I had a platoon of Centurions to fight alongside my Scorpions and Scimitars. Opposing them was Centurions, FV432 APCs, with Carl Gustav teams and 66mm LAW teams. British troops refer to the Carl Gustav as the “Charlie G”. This was no 1985 era game, but really more likely 1971 or thereabout.

My first impression was that this is quite a deadly game and you need to play tactically.

Though not the same as Flames of War there are similarities. One aspect which still confuses me, partly due to experience playing other rule sets I think. So the process of rolling to hit is based on the target not the unit or weapon firing confuses me slightly.

I think the answer is to play more games of Team Yankee.

Overall the Centurions were deadly, however I can imagine if they were up against more modern tanks they would suffer. You would need a fair few Centurions to ensure you could take any punishment and flank the more powerful tanks.

I did like the speed and weapons of the Scorpions, but their thin armour was little protection from the 105mm guns of the Centurions or even the Carl Gustav and 66mm LAWs.

Looking forward to my next game.

Painting the Scimitars

For Christmas I was kindly given not only the Team Yankee Iron Maiden book I also got a box of the newly released 15mm British Scorpion or Scimitar Troop.

I have been thinking about the paint scheme for my Scorpions and Scimitars and I outlined this in a previous post.

I started them off, with a base coat of a spray of Chieftain Green paint.

Like the Scorpions, I didn’t quite get the coverage I was expecting.

Painting the Scorpion

For Christmas I was kindly given not only the Team Yankee Iron Maiden book I also got a box of the newly released 15mm British Scorpion or Scimitar Troop.

I have been thinking about the paint scheme for my Scorpions and Scimitars.

One choice would be to paint them as part of the BAOR tracked reconnaissance regiment. The kind of scheme they would have in 1985 just as war broke out.

Another choice was to paint them, if they had been fighting World War III for a while, possibly even after a limited nuclear exchange. The inspiration for this scheme is of course GDW’s Twilight 2000 background. These could be BAOR vehicles struggling to find their way home or another perspective could be the remnants of the British Army attempting to maintain control in a Britain broken apart by the nuclear exchange.

Another possibility was to use my own British Civil War background and paint them as Royalist forces, or as their Republican opposition.

In the end though I started them off, with a base coat of a spray of Chieftain Green paint.

Due to poor light I didn’t quite get the coverage I was expecting.

However I do think once I have added the black camouflage and given the model a dark wash, then this won’t matter so much.

Centurion Mk 5 – Team Yankee

Centurion Mk 5

The Centurion, introduced in 1945, was the primary British main battle tank of the post-Second World War period. It is widely considered to be one of the most successful post-war tank designs, remaining in production into the 1960s, and seeing combat in the front lines into the 1980s.

According to this source, in 1981, the BAOR had 300 Centurion main battle tanks in reserve.

You can imagine that if World War III had started as imagined in the book by Harold Coyle that the British Army would want to use all the tanks they had access to when faced with the might of the armoured formations of the Warsaw Pact.

So though the Iron Maiden rules don’t cover the Centurion tank and no (British) models have been released I still thought it would be nice to have some Centurions on the gaming table.

So I ordered and purchased a couple of Sho’T models from the Flames of War Fate of a Nation range and will paint them up as British Army Centurions for use in Team Yankee games.

Centurion Mk 5

These look like really nice models.

Centurion Mk 5

Another possibility was to use my own British Civil War background and use them as Royalist forces, or as their Republican opposition.

I did consider getting the ANZAC Centurion Mk 5s from the Vietnam range, but they don’t have skirts. After operating for a few weeks in Vietnam, the tanks crews soon learned to remove the protective armoured side skirts from both sides of the tank, to prevent the vegetation and mud from building up between the track and the mudguards.

I did think that in a World War III scenario such modifications or battle damage would still mean the models could be used, but as the Israeli Sho’T models already come with skirts, I decided to use them.

So are you using Centurions in your Team Yankee games?

Building the 15mm British Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked) – Team Yankee

For Christmas I was kindly given not only the Team Yankee Iron Maiden book I also got a box of the newly released 15mm British Scorpion or Scimitar Troop.

The British Army Of the Rhine had three tracked reconnaissance regiments. The recce troops of the first two were equipped entirely with Scimitar reconnaissance vehicles, while the recce troops of the third mixed Scimitars and Scorpions together.

The box contains four sprues and unit cards for use with Team Yankee. Each sprue allows you to build either a Scorpion or a Scimitar. I have made them up as two Scorpions and two Scimitars.

Here are the two Scorpions.

The FV101 Scorpion is a British armoured reconnaissance vehicle. It was the lead vehicle and the fire support type in the Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (Tracked), CVR(T), family of seven armoured vehicles. Manufactured by Alvis, it was introduced into service with the British Army in 1973 and served until 1994.

Starting to build them they go together really nicely. Unlike “proper” plastic kits, these have a smaller number of parts. The tracks for example are in one piece, whereas the Airfix 1/72nd Scorpion had separate wheels and tracks.

As I mentioned in a previous post I added some ball bearings to the models to add weight.

For one of the Scimitars I added a commander figure and some extra stowage.

The FV107 Scimitar is a similar armoured reconnaissance vehicle (sometimes classed as a light tank) also used by the British Army. It was manufactured by Alvis in Coventry. It is very similar to the FV101 Scorpion, but mounts a high velocity 30 mm L21 RARDEN cannon instead of a 76 mm gun. It was issued to Royal Armoured Corps armoured regiments in the reconnaissance role.

Here are the two Scimitars.

I gave the models a white undercoat and the next stage will be a basecoat of Team Yankee Chieftain Green.

Heavier

One of the things I dislike about the new plastic 15mm kits from Battlefront is the lack of weight the models have compared to older metal kits and even the resin ones have.

With my recent addition of Team Yankee British Scorpion and Scimitar tanks I started to think about I could make them heavier.

My initial choice was some lead (or lead-free) weights of some kind, there isn’t much space in the models so any extra weight would need to be quite dense (so heavy weight but not very big). The obvious choice was fishing weights, but I couldn’t find any that were small enough for the models.

Another idea was some lead sheet, again small, but heavy.

In the end I compromised and went with Weldtite 5/32-inch British Made Case Hardened Bearings – 750 Pieces which I ordered from Amazon.

These are very small and just under 4mm in diameter.

I glued them into the hulls of the light tanks with some super glue before checking there were no loose bearings. I then glued the hull together.

They are not really heavy, but certainly better than they were and I fell less likely to be blown over by a strong breath in a game of Team Yankee.

So do you add weights to your plastic tanks and if you do, what method do you use?