Team Yankee – Hammerfall



Team Yankee from Battlefront Games of New Zealand is a World War III miniatures game set in the same world as the novel published in 1985 by Harold Coyle. The series offers players the chance to battle out the fate of West Germany between NATO and Warsaw Pact forces on a dinner table.

Of course, like Warhammer 40K and the like, there’s always the aspect of assembling and painting your chosen army, so the game becomes a hobby in itself. If you have the time and the $$$ to spend on that sort of thing, you’re in luck – the game’s Hammerfall starter kit will get you hopelessly addicted to help ease you into the world of Team Yankee, or as my friends call it, “Plastic Crack Cocaine” for middle-aged guys. I’m joking of course – I have no friends.

Rules

For those who aren’t well acquainted with the rules set, the game is played in an IGOUGO format. One player moves his units, then shoots, and finally assaults. Then the opposing player does the same.

Movement is pretty straightforward. You can conduct two types of movement with your units – tactical and dash. Units that conduct tactical movement can fire in the firing phase. Those that are dashing can move a greater distance but cannot fire. Distance is measured along the tabletop with a standard tape measure.

In the Shooting Step, the active player calls out targets and rolls a number of six-sided die equal to their unit’s ROF. Hits are achieved on the target if the rolls are equal to or greater than the target’s “To Hit” number. This can be modified by things like concealment or being within command range of your own unit. In an interesting twist, the opposing player can attempt to “shift” the hit die to a nearby target within enemy LOS as if the firing unit had mistaken their target.

Checking Line of Sight is a What You See is What You Get affair with players getting down to their unit level and trying to gauge what their unit can see. Units with more than half their base behind some form of terrain are concealed and therefore harder to hit. Anything less than that is not concealed.

The effect of hits are determined by, yep, you guessed it – rolling six-sided dice. If the sum of the opponent’s Armor Value plus the die roll is greater than the Anti-Armor value of the firing unit, the active player need only roll his weapon’s Firepower number or greater to destroy his target. Otherwise, the result is a Bail Out and the affected unit must make a Remount check at the start of its turn to get back in the game.

The game is fast-playing, especially with such a small number of units, but it is fun. The lack of opportunity fire rules creates some weird situations sometimes where tanks are driving into close range of enemies then opening fire. I found the rules very simple and easy to learn and if you’ve ever played MBT, you’ll likely agree. In fact, I think you could easily use MBT’s rules here if you can adjust the scale properly. I’ll have to try it and see how it works out.

Although the Team Yankee rules set is based on the popular World War II minis game, Flames of War, this game has a few notable rule changes.

The biggest difference this time around is the hardware – in FoW, moving and shooting with your tanks was done at a considerable penalty to RoF. In the 1980s world of advanced gun stabilizers and laser rangefinders, there really isn’t a benefit to sitting still and shooting with your tanks. For this reason, Team Yankee is much more a game focused on movement and outflanking your opponent.


Hammerfall

There’s a lot more to what I have described above but these are the basic concepts you need to know in order to play the base game starter set, named Hammerfall.

This box set includes two M1 Abrams tanks and three T-64 tanks. You need to assemble them and, if your heart desires, paint them up. There’s a smattering of terrain included in the box – flat cardboard houses, concrete dividers, and hedgerows. These don’t look amazing on your table but they do allow you to play the three scenarios included in the game’s “Start Here” book.

The Team Yankee rulebook is included with the set. It’s in full color with nice illustrations and photos but at my age, I found it a little hard to read the small print and opted for the hardcover version at a larger size.

I was a little disappointed that decals were not included for the plastic models (or at least they weren’t in the box I received).

Assembly

Assembling the tanks was very easy – even for a klutz like me. There are extra pieces included if you want to do up some variants such a mineplows or if you would rather build IPM1 tanks instead of the classic M1 Abrams. You can also choose to go with closed hatches or have a commander poking out of an open hatch of your tanks.

As a side note, I had a hard time gluing the M1 side skirts on and I’m not sure if that’s because of my inexperience or if other people had the same issue. Once or twice, they’ve come off on me during a game and I’ve had to glue them on again.

The T-64s went together very smoothly and I found out here that it’s best to take an “assembly line” approach to your tank building rather than making one model at a time. It’s much quicker to do it this way and you can quickly apply any lessons (or mistakes) you might have learned from assembling your first tanks.

Painting

Because I don’t have a hobby shop near where I live, I resorted to buying the Team Yankee paint set directly from the Battlefront store. I don’t have a lot of time to mix and match my paints to find the right color so having the paints ready to go was really nice. I only have the Soviet paint set at this point so I’ll talk about that.

The paints are quite thick and you might need to use a thinner, especially for your basecoats. I tried the thicker basecoat and had a few smears but they worked out with a second layer and some touch-ups here and there. The tank surface details really came alive with a wash of Ordnance Shade and I was pleasantly surprised at the results.

Finally, I dry brushed Soviet Green on the tank to finish it up and the result was much better than I expected. The last time I built a model kit was back in the 1980s so I really had no idea what I was doing here and I am pleased with how the tanks came out. Well – beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Overall

I really like the quality of the Team Yankee products. It seems Battlefront has really committed to pleasing their customers with a wide range of armies and units along with full-color rulebooks and guides for helping people assemble and paint their models. The demo videos I watched on the website were invaluable for understanding the flow of the game. I find some of the prices on things like terrain to be a bit too high, even though they do look nice and seem to be well-built. The rules isn’t particularly deep but it looks beautiful on a table and it does give you a feel of platoon-level modern combat. As I said before, I’d love to try this with the MBT rules to see how it works.

The End of World War Three

Slowly but surely, I got halfway through a recent game of GDW’s The Third World War:  Battle for Germany to see things bog down into a stalemate by the beginning of turn 5.  NATO’s defense was sub-par due to its lack of depth and inability to cut through the Soviet breakthrough in the middle of the board.

The Soviets, on the other hand, were unable to follow up their early successes with further breakthroughs and by the time, they got within spitting distance of the Rhine, the front line had bogged down as a motley collection of heavily disrupted units were unable to make the final push.

In the early game, the Soviets had an overwhelming success by clearing NATO units in the center of the board and following up with successful second echelon attacks.  NATO air superiority in the subsequent turns managed to blunt the Warsaw Pact’s attacks as they reached further into Germany and began to push through a few lonely divisions into Belgium.

As the Soviet player, I kept to one or two tenets for my overall strategy.  The first and foremost was to keep moving and the second was to reinforce success.  While the Pact was stymied by strong NATO defenses in the north near Bremen and Hamburg and down south near Munich and Frankfurt, it did keep a lot of NATO units busy in these sectors while the other Pact units funnelled right through the middle.   As NATO reinforcements and POMCUS units came online, however, they were able to stem the flow of Pact reinforcements coming through the initial breakthroughs.  Both sides quickly found that they had committed all their frontline units and reserves into a slogging match that went nowhere fast.

Warsaw Pact penetration into West Germany.

Nuclear artillery was used by both sides but to little effect.  The Pact focused their nukes on hitting at stubborn NATO units sitting inside of cities and comfortably defending themselves against Category G units with low proficiencies.  In the meantime, NATO nuclear artillery was used to some degree of success for getting surrounded units out of isolation and back towards a more defensible line.  On turn 4, the escalation level allowed for nuclear attacks by air units, which NATO probably could have used to better effect than the Soviets given the situation on the board.  I suspect NATO might have been able to roll back some Soviet gains in the next couple of turns but not enough to make a huge difference.  The die had already been cast by mid-game and it seemed that neither side had the ability to push back against their opponents.

With most of the Ruhr occupied by Soviets at this point, I couldn’t imagine that either side would be happy with the way things turned out.  For the next game, I would need the Soviets to keep their second echelons well back during each first echelon attack phase instead of committing them all wholesale and hoping for the best.  NATO, on the other hand, would need to use their heavy divisions in a more intelligent way.  It doesn’t pay to use them in rough wooded terrain where their attack factors are halved.

Great game!  The best thing about it is the initial forward movements by NATO basically help to determine where the Pact is going to get its first breakthrough.  If the WP is going to have a successful time of it, the breakthrough needs to be followed up by some very careful planning in subsequent turns.

The Reds Smash Through

Playing “Third World War:  Battle for Germany” again these days after a break from it.  I’m really starting to enjoy how simple but elegant the system works and takes into account the different capabilities of both sides.  To further explain, the Warsaw Pact gets two movement and combat phases, both with a second echelon phase that allows follow-up units in the rear to take advantage of breakthroughs by first line units by advancing through the breach in the front lines.  Thinking more deeply about how to maximize my second echelon units, I managed to get quite a breakthrough happening in turn one as Soviets ended up making their way close to Dortmund.  Yikes!

End of Turn 1:  Third World War – The Battle for Germany

On the other hand, I’m starting to get the hang of NATO defense and counterattack.  The Pact player is trying to advance quickly, which means that there are going to be some vulnerabilities in their advance.  The NATO player needs to find those weaknesses and hit at them as hard as they can with the American units while using the other smaller and weaker NATO defenders to sit back and try to slow the Pact onslaught.

I’ve been playing the game all through this week, one or two segments per evening.  Finally after finishing turn one, I’ve tried some different things in this playthrough that have yielded some interesting results.  First off, NATO rolled horribly for initial movement.  The largest US divisions were stuck twiddling their thumbs way off to the west while the Soviets were poised to enter West Germany without an invitiation.

The Pact predictably won air superiority at the start of the turn and managed to cause some minimal damage to NATO airfields while putting a Canadian unit near the front out of supply (NATO used emergency supplies to reach the Canucks but had to deprive a French division near the France/West German border to do so).  NATO played it smart and did not try to contest air superiority for this turn (NATO will almost certainly get it next turn so why worry?).  Unfortunately, a number of F-15s were lost intercepting Russian strike missions but they gave as good as they got.

The Soviets used lots of air transport points (something I hadn’t done in any previous games to any serious extent) and got several desant and para regiments to take Frankfurt and Mannheim (another airmobile raid on Dusseldorf ended in disaster for the Russians – oh well).  This really slowed the rear NATO units from advancing from western Germany and France towards the Fulda Gap. NATO had to spend one valuable turn eliminating these pesky units from their cities before launching a counterattack at the massive Soviet breakthrough in the middle of the board.  On the second NATO attack phase, air units played a pivotal role in helping the American and British divisions force a few key Soviet and Polish divisions on a retreat.  The tide is hardly stemmed, however, and things look particularly dire for the western forces as they attempt to staunch the bleeding.

Aircraft maintenance phase at the end of the turn was a boon for NATO as every single one of its air units was able to get back in the action for next turn.  The Soviets faired poorly, however, as only half the Warsaw Pact air force was able to recover.  My prediction is that NATO will be able to use its air power to better effect after gaining air superiority and they may be able to cut off the large Soviet force making its way steadily towards the Rhine.

I have to say that I really admire the way that the game handles aircraft by integrating the factors into ground combat attack odds.  It works really well without distracting from the game’s main focus while at the same time accounting for how crucial the air war is for both sides.  I’m starting to gain an appreciation for why the game is so well-liked by the community.  It is indeed a classic in the true sense of the word.

The Third World War: The Reset

Well, I went through the next several turns of my first game of “The Third World War:  Battle for Germany”.  I made lots of rules mistakes and played through them as best as I could, gradually picking up the system until I had a fairly good grip on it.  Three turns and several evenings passed by while I worked out where I had gone wrong both in terms of rules and overall Pact strategy.  During my first play, NATO had kept the Soviets pinned tightly to the East German border and three weeks of fighting ended with only a trickle of Russian armor breaking out in the south before NATO plugged the gaps.

Several mistakes I had made:
1)  Not counting movement points correctly when leaving enemy ZOCs
2)  Not advancing units correctly after forcing enemy retreats
3)  Not calculating terrain combat modifiers correctly (about half the time)

Those are some pretty big errors but pushing through the turns definitely helped to give me the chance to learn the rules better and incorporate the lessons in my next game, which I promptly set up and began again.

Here’s my turn-by-turn reports from my latest play of Third World War:  Battle for Germany, starting over from turn 1.


Turn 2 report:

Turn 3 report:

Turn 4 report:

Third World War: The Ground War – Part 2

Continuing with my posts on my first game of “The Third World War” here and I’ll try to provide a bit more detail here about what’s happening.  If you’re new to the game, it sort of flows in this basic sequence:

1.  Air Phase
2. Warsaw Pact move and attack (first echelon) with a NATO reserve movement phase in here afterwards
2a.  Warsaw Pact move and attack (second echelon)
3. Warsaw Pact move and attack (first echelon)
3b. Warsaw Pact move and attack (second echelon)
4. NATO move and attack x 2
5. End of Turn stuff (Supply, Aircraft maintenance, etc.)

Right now, I’ve gone through 2 and 3 and I’ve “paused” the game just at the end of phase 3 to give this little report.  Basically first echelon phases allow for everyone to move and attack and second echelon allows for those Pact units that are not in enemy ZOC to move and attack again.  This allows for the Pact to keep pushing with its attempt to find a breakthrough in the NATO lines.

The Warsaw Pact moved and attacked during the first echelon impulse phase and managed to dislodge a few NATO units but not make any real advances across the front.  No serious breakthroughs have happened although NATO is kind of in trouble around the center of the board.

A look at the board as the Warsaw Pact combat phases end and the NATO phase is about to start.

In the second echelon phase, the Warsaw Pact gets to move and attack with its units that are not in an enemy zone of control.  This means that if you have units behind the frontline (or if your units were lucky enough to push enemies back so they are no longer in your zone of control), they get to move and attack again.

Making mistakes is all part of being a new player and I’m no exception here.  I had forgotten to enter the Pact’s reinforcements on the board.  That’s okay – I send forward about six Soviet divisions, enetering on the east side of the board from Poland.  Most of the units are used to reinforce the successes in the center of the frontline although a couple of units are sent to buff up the northern sector near Denmark, which has had few successes against the stubborn NATO resistance in the area.

Although the Pact moves and rearranges a few forces along the line in the second echelon phase, the changes are quite minor to the overall battle and no further attacks are made in the second echelon.  I suspect my attacks have not been wisely coordinated enough with the second echelon impulse properly in mind.  I feel that even though I’m in the first turn, I should be well past the border by now.

The Warsaw Pact gets another full combat impulse with a first and second echelon movement and combat phase.  This time the Pact concentrates its attacks and tries to focus a little more on a breakout rather than just hitting randomly at weak units.  The results are a fair bit better this time as NATO crumbles a bit in the center of the board and Pact units are now 100 kms into West Germany.  The British lose the 3rd Armored Division up near Hannover while a West German mechanized division down south of Nurnberg gets hammered by the 4th Guards Tank and is sent back west in a retreat, taking two more disruptions (for a total of 5) by the time it pulls back towards Munich.

UK suffers losses from the 28th Guards Army southeast of Bremen
Further south of Bremen, the Pact is getting very close to a breakout!

The Soviets decide to help out the Poles in their attack on West Berlin but thanks to rolling a “1” on the attack die, the British, US, and French forces hang on, suffering only a single disruption.  It’s kind of amazing how such a small force is managing to tie up several divisions of armor and infantry and I need to take care of them very quickly so I can get those Poles to the front. (I initially thought those NATO units in West Berlin must be isolated but according to the rules, NATO units in the city are never isolated).

By the time the NATO impulse comes around (they get two in a row now), things are looking fairly good for the Pact near the Fulda Gap while the south of the map shows a steady advance of Pact units moving towards Munich (although most of them are suffering disruptions – which basically affects unit proficiency.  This acts to shift the CRT odds in favor of the enemy when attacking units with higher proficiency levels).

In the south of Germany  West Germans suffer major disruptions but Soviets are hurting a bit too.

In the north, a stalemate has occurred but there are quite a few Soviet tank divisions moving up from the line to help out after dealing serious damage to the nearby British.

Anyway, here’s a youtube video that sort of describes what’s been happening over the last couple of impulses and might help to make things more clear for those interested.

Next Up:  NATO!

The Third World War: Battle for Germany – The Ground War

Okay, it’s time for the Warsaw Pact to get this party started on the ground.  The first echelon impulse begins and we start with some jostling around the intra German border, hoping to hit at nearby NATO units and push hard past them.

The Intra German border at the start of WW3

Everything in the south part of the board suddenly looks pretty vulnerable right now on the western side of the border.  A couple of the Pact units in the extreme south make it  including the Czechs in the far south, who are hitting at the 4th Panzergrenadiers Division to the east of Augsburg.  The odds here are actually pretty low (only 1.5: 1 in the Pact’s favor) for this attack due to the low proficiency rating of the Czech divisions.  It probably would have been wiser to support their attack with a Soviet unit but I wanted to hit the 2nd ACR up north as hard as possible.  I also think that I can supplement the attack with air support, especially since the WP has air superiority this turn.

Su-25 Frogfoots revved up for the attack

Further north of that, to the east of Nürnberg, the 8th Guards Tank Army piles on the attack factors versus the 2nd Air Cav of the US 5th Division at odds of 5 – 1.  Again, I’m going to be sending in aircraft to bring up the odds even further and hopefully earn enough of a victory to send my Pact units far forward in the second echelon phase.

Everyone jumps in against the 1st Armored Division (15-15-7)

Going further up north, the Warsaw Pact is going to throw everything it can at the US VII Corps’ 1st Armored Division.  I’d like to start clearing out the big units here to free up my other guys so they can surge forward without having to worry about them too much.  This attack is a big combined operation consisting of the 8th Guards Army, 1st Guards Tank Army, and 8th Guards Tank Army.  Of course, I’d like to throw air into this battle too, even at 6-1 to make for a nice schmorgesborg of destruction.

The US V Corps’ 11th ACR is slated for annihilation next at 9-1 odds against.  No need to throw air into this one.  Unless something really bad happens, the poor 11th should be just a nice little speedbump on the way to Paris.

I’m gambling big time with a 1.5 – 1 attack vs. the British 1st Armored Division.  I know this isn’t a good idea but a good result for the Pact here could really set back NATO in the northern area and let the Warsaw Pact make some big gains in the ensuing second echelon phase.  Airstrikes are going in to help improve Pact odds.

As we get further north, up near Magdeburg, the 1st Panzer Division is about to get its lumps.  Facing off against the entire 3rd Shock Army at odds of 8 to 1, a victory for the Pact here could rip open the entire northern area for advance since there are so many gaps in the line around here. At the northernmost point, the area around Hamburg is getting crowded with NATO units, so it’s time to at least try and send one of them packing.  The West German 1st Airborne Helo Regiment and the 3rd Panzer Division are attacked by 2nd Guards Army and 4th Guards Tank Army (which has just rolled in from Poland, I believe) at 2-1.  Hopefully, Pact air strikes will make the difference here by shifting the odds a little further in the Soviets’ favor.

Over to the east, the Poles are assigned the task of crushing NATO forces in West Berlin.  Although the fight looks easy enough at first due to overwhelming numbers, the proficiency of NATO units (especially the British) in West Berlin and the perils of urban fighting help to tip the balance a little further towards the beleaguered NATO units.  At 3 – 1, the Poles should be able to pull of a win here but I’ll throw some air at the situation to try and ensure success.

Ground Attack: 

A total of 5 Su-25 air units are assigned to hit at the NATO forces along the border and in West Berlin.  NATO decides to stay its hand and doesn’t send up any counter-air as it would likely get shot down pretty quick.  Also, with the impending loss of two flights from the runway cratering mission, it might be wise to be a bit conservative with its air right now.  Hopefully, air defense will manage to be enough.

The missions take off and…hol…ee…crow.  Only one mission succeeds while air defenses cause two aborted missions and shoot down the remaining two air strike missions.  The good news for the Pact is that the West German 1st Helo and 3rd Panzer Division are now being attacked at 5-1 near Hamburg.  However, there were two missions that really needed to get through that cause me great concern (the 1.5-1 fight between the Czechs and West Germans in the deep south and the 1.5 – 1 fight against the British 1st Armored Division near Hamburg in the north).  I’m suddenly starting to get a sinking feeling here about the coming battle.

Attack Results:

The terrible effects of losing so many aircraft on ground attack missions is sobering and the lesson has hopefully been learned – air support is is to be used as additional insurance for attacks rather than a substitute for a lack of ground attack strength.  It can shift the odds in your favor but shouldn’t be relied upon too heavily.

The frontline after the first echelon attack phase

Despite all that, the attack rolls don’t go too badly for the Warsaw Pact.  Near Hamburg, the 3rd Panzer Division and 1st Helo are take 2 disruptions and get pushed all the way back to the city.  The 1st Panzer Division east of Hannover gets completely destroyed as does the poor 11th ACR further to the south near the Fulda Gap.  South of that, the 2nd ACR takes two disruptions and retreats back southwest.

The attack against the British ends up with nothing gained, nothing lost as both sides take a disruption hit.  The big loser here is the US VII Corps 1st Armored Division, which takes 2 disruptions and is forced to retreat.  This was the most powerful unit the Pact attacked this turn and this result hurts NATO.  To make matters worse, because it passes through the LOC of a Pact unit on its way back, it takes yet another disruption.  Down at the very south of the map, the Czechs fail to gain any ground, inflicting a disruption against the West Germans and suffering disruptions themselves.  I believe the Pact will be able to carry out a few interesting moves here in the second echelon phase.

I think I got everything right in this phase!  I’m sure I could have allocated the attacks in a better way but as this is my first playthrough, it felt pretty good to actually get some units past the border.  Now let’s see what we can do with the gaps we’ve created.

Up Next:  Warsaw Pact Second Echelon Impulse!

The Third World War: The Air War – Turn 1

This is just a series of short posts dealing with my attempts to play through a turn of “The Third World War” in order to learn the basics of the game.  If you haven’t tried it before, hopefully this will give you some insight into how it plays – providing I don’t make too many major rules errors!

The Air Superiority Phase starts and the Soviets throw anything up in the air that might be able to fly – regardless of whether it’s obsolete junk or the newest high-tech fighters.  They have more air units available this turn (NATO starts getting serious with air reinforcements in the coming turns) so this is the Warsaw Pact’s big chance for AS (and probably the only time they’ll get it all game, from what I’ve been reading).

Warsaw Pact throws almost everything into the air to gain air superiority on turn 1

With 24 air units on air superiority missions, NATO concedes the air to the Warsaw Pact for now and assigns its better aircraft (F-15s and F-16s mostly) to intercept Pact air missions attempting strike or ground attack missions.  The rule here is that the player who has air superiority gets to have two air units on air superiority missions (escorts, interception, top cover, etc.) while the one without only gets to have one unit on these kinds of missions.

The Deep Strike Phase happens and NATO is unable to launch any strikes on turn 1 so the Pact goes ahead and tries for a runway cratering mission and also a logistical strike.  The cratering mission is flown by long range Tu-160 Blackjack bombers and escorted by Su-27s and Mig-29s.  Meanwhile, the logistical strike mission will be flown by Polish Su-20 attack aircraft and also escorted by Su-27s and Mig-29s.

NATO scrambles USAF F-15s to attempt to intercept the incoming strike missions.  First off, we resolve interception against the cratering mission and the F-15s manage to shoot down the Su-27 escorts before being shot down by the Mig-29s.  The same exact thing happens with the F-15s intercepting the logistical strike mission.  Despite the nasty losses of the F-15s for NATO, the loss of the Su-27s is far more devastating for the Warsaw Pact, which has fewer high capability combat aircraft to lose.  NATO still has F-15s left in its arsenal and will have more coming online in future turns.

Left:  Runway cratering mission w/ escorts vs F-15s  Right:  Logistical Strike mission w/ escorts vs F-15s

The runway cratering mission gets to its destination and has some remarkable luck, catching two NATO air units on the runway and destroying them (these aircraft will be randomly selected and removed in an upcoming impulse).  The logistical strike is also quite successful, putting 5 NATO brigades out of supply.  This will come into effect on the turn 2 Supply Phase*.  So far, things have been going quite well for the Soviets and their allies but the real test is yet to come.

*Oops, no. That should have come into effect immediately.  I tried to balance this out in the subsequent turn.

Next up:  The Ground War begins!

The Third World War: A Brief Update

Over the weekend, my newest game aquisition, GDW’s 1984 classic “The Third World War:  Battle for Germany” arrived.  TWW is one of those WW3 games that has a great deal of affection from many wargamers.  The fluidity of the rules along with the wide array of options available to both the NATO and Warsaw Pact along with the ability to mix the game together with others in the series for a huge 80s style superpower dust-up appealed greatly to gamers.  Reading the reviews at the time, it seems Frank Chadwick’s design was largely perceived as elegant.

Battle for Germany was the first of the games released in “The Third World War” series.  Set in 1990, the game was based on Chadwick’s projections about a near-term conflict between the Pact and NATO that’s sparked by events in the Middle East.  GDW was nothing if not confident about the game’s ability to appeal to wargamers.  Consequently, the scope of the series expanded in future releases in the series, including Southern Front, Arctic Front, and Persian Gulf:  The Battle for the Middle East.  You can’t help but wonder where Chadwick had gone next with the series if the Cold War hadn’t ended and GDW hadn’t gotten into some amount of financial difficulty by the late 1980s.

So with great anticipation, I ordered the first game in the series, Battle for Germany, and waited patiently.  Over the weekend, it arrived and I wasted no time in setting it up on the table, plunking down the counters, opening the rules up and…
After running through a practice turn in the full game and finding out just how many mistakes I made, I resolved to go back and slowly advance through the game once again after setting it up.  To make matters a bit easier for myself, I’m playing the “short game” which features only the battle in Germany itself and ignores the southwestern theater of operations that covers Yugoslavia and northern Italy.  I’m going to be blogging my attempts to learn the game on what is really my first playthrough.  I tend to get frustrated during this process so the coming updates may take a while or they may be incomplete – you’ve been warned!
So here’s my current setup on the eve of war:
After NATO and Warsaw Pact initial setup
Is this a good setup?  I’m not sure.  I’ve tried to basically position the Warsaw Pact forces so that one army will try to tear a hole in the NATO defense while the other tries to crawl through it and burst through to the enemy’s rear in the second echelon impulse. I’m a little worried that I’ve positioned too many Pact units on the border without enough reserve in place for a breakthrough.
Things look strongest in the center of the board where the powerful 8th and 1st Guards Army are poised to break through the Fulda Gap though with the powerful US V Corps sitting there, I’m not sure this is going to be an easy fight.  I’m pretty confident the Pact will hit NATO very hard around Hamburg but it doesn’t look like they’ll have much to follow it through with.  I’m hoping the Poles sitting way to the east can come in and exploit any gaps.  Down south, the Czechs will hopefully keep the West Germans busy while the nearby Soviets aim for the US units near Frankfurt.
After the Pact sets up, NATO gets a special impulse for forward movement.  Most of the NATO units managed to make the roll to move up towards the intra German border.  The French sunk a bunch of their armor around Frankfurt to shore up US defenses near Fulda and the Canadians are ready to help out.  All except one British division (the 4th Armored Division) made it to Hannover in what is destined to become a bloody affair with the 3rd Shock Army.  The most notable activations failure was that of the US III Corps’ 2nd Armored Division, which is still sitting south of Osnabrück doing not much of anything at all.  That’s a huge setback for NATO as they would likely prove very deadly working with the UK I Corps against Pact armor breakthrough attempts near Hannover.

After NATO Forward Movement
Neutral Activation Phase:  This is the Pact’s chance to declare war on a neutral nation so if it feels like going into Austria during the turn, this is the chance.  The WP seems to have enough strength in the south and there’s no need to make any new enemies (yet) so Austria is left alone for this turn.
Weather:  Weather is good for the entire first week of the war.  
Restraint Phase:  Neither player declares nuclear weapons restraint this turn.  Hope you know how to make a family shelter!
Next up!  Air Phase…