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Monday, September 19, 2016

Preview: The Forces of Iron Maiden: Tommy’s Not Tanks

Now that you have seen the spoiler and the cards for Iron Maiden, the next step is to give you an idea of the formations the book offers you. Let me go back to my first impression of Iron Maiden: “Wow”. Yes, the book shocked me. I saw right away how different the British would be as compared to the other three nationalities in the game. I got the advanced copy of the book before Throck, and I left for the Guns of August Tournament in Williamsburg VA. I told him I saw the book and he asked for my thoughts. I can recall saying “it’s different” and “if you like infantry, this book is for you”. I loved the fact the first lists - and especially Leopard  -featured the tank as the main weapon. Who doesn’t like tank fights? However, with the release of IM, I see how the developers expanded the scope of the game and put a tool in the game's tool box that you will love to play or hate to play against.

On to the Book
While Leopard had 3 formations to choose from, Iron Maiden has 4 types of formations: Tank, Mechanized Infantry, Air Mobile, and Recce. After reading the book a few times, I would say it would be hard to argue against the fact that the strength of the British in Team Yankee is their infantry.  This article will detail the infantry-based lists from Iron Maiden.

Mech… The Way to Go
Let’s look at the mechanized formation - first thing you will notice is that you have to take two platoons of mech infantry.  For 7 points, you get a full platoon, with eight stands and 4 FV432 AFVs. For another two points, you can add 2 Milan missile teams and another AFV.  So, for 19 points you get a very good infantry force. It’s not a mass infantry force like the Soviets, however what they lack in size they make for in quality. I can make this statement for a few reasons: first the British are the best infantry in assault, hitting on a 3+. For those who thought assaults were dead in TY, can welcome its resurrection. Second, their missiles and anti-tank assets are really good. With an AT of 17, the Carl Gustav has an even chance to kill a tank with side shot - even if they have Chobham or BDD armor.  As for the other ATGM in the platoon, the Milan also can take on the front armor of any tank in the game. Throw in the ever present 2” mortar and the GPMG teams, one can see how good these guys are. Once in foxholes, good luck digging them out.

Looking at the direct support in the mech formation, you can see how you can add even more Milan missiles with the Milan or the Spartan section. So, for 27 points you can get 10 Milan teams, which is not bad.  Yes they have some drawbacks, and the 8” minimum range is the biggest with the other being is that these teams can die like anyone else.  However, I can see how you can do a serious “defense in depth” with Milan teams engaging the enemy and range, pulling back as the enemy draws near and then dare your enemy to assault your Carl Gustav equipped infantry.

I think a British mech list will be hard to beat in missions in which they defend. Even a Soviet tank or BMP horde, hitting on 5+ in assaults would not fare well against this force.

The other organic support here is a Scimitar troop, a Chieftain platoon, AFV mounted mortars, and the Abbot SPG. As for the Abbot, it’s not a hard kill piece of arty, but you can get 8 of them for 12 points. Add in the fact you can augment this with M109 from divisional support and the arty park is reborn.

Another neat aspect of the British infantry is how the formation command can add two extra GPMG teams with a halted ROF of 6 that must be attached to your mech platoons. So more firepower for your infantry and you can beef them up to 10 stands each.

Airmobile Son, we can pick up that boat up….
The other interesting list in the book is the Airmobile Company.  As the Mech formation is made for the cautious player, the Airmobile Company is for those who like to take risks. The company is really just 3 platoons with 2 of the airmobile platoons being mandatory. While they are the same size as their AFV counterparts, they trade in the Carl Gustav’s for Milan teams and come out to 8 stands each with 3 Lynx helicopters.

The formation commander - who has to hitch a ride with one of the platoons - can also add SF GPMG teams to bring the two platoons up to 9 stands each. The third platoon - and I find this really incredible - is a Milan platoon that can get you another 8 Milan teams for 11 points. So a full Airmobile company is 28 points and has 9 Lynxs in it.  The Airmobile Company also does not have any organic support but it can use divisional assets.

This company really gives you options.  They can be dropped anywhere on the table and take advantage of an opening in the terrain to unleash a torrent of missiles at you opponent.  After they do this, they can mount up and do it elsewhere. You will have to be careful against an enemy who has a good amount of AA on the table, however once in place this is a deadly force.

So without looking at the tank and recce list, you can field a very good force at with these two companies and still get some great divisional assets as support.

Divisional Support
So let’s look at the divisional assets for a second.  What I like here is how wide it is and you can notice how you can take an extra tank, mech, or airmobile platoon from the divisional assets. I do not think that any of the other nationalities can do this, and the option lets you create a real hybrid force.  Let’s say you go with a mech company - you will have the option of taking 6 Chieftains, which is one less than the required amount for a tank company.  On the other hand it lets you add a single airmobile platoon to a tank company as well.  So when your opponent asks you what kind of formation you are running you can just say “Yes".

In fact, the only thing the Mechanized Company cannot get is a Swingfire or Striker Missile platoons.  All the anti-aircraft available is located in divisional support and they are missile shooters. So, two platoons is the most you can have. With both maxed you can have 6 Blowpipe and 4 Rapier vehicles.  A point to note about the British AA: they are not all one trick ponies. The Blowpipe can be used against tanks and infantry. The Rapier is one of the best AA missile shooters in the game, with its 64” range and 3+ firepower it can clear the skies of enemy aircraft.

Speaking of air the British get the HELARM Lynx helicopters which can shoot TOW missiles and, of course, the Harrier. The jump jet special rule allows them to come in on a 3+ vice a 4+_ roll each turn, however they have to get in close to attack which means they may not stay around long.

Along with the Jump Jet special rules the British get a few unique ones based on the characteristics of their weapons. The one that seems interesting to me is the Swingfire rule which allows a team to remain Gone to Ground while firing.

So, looking at the British infantry based lists you can see you have a lot here to play with.  I feel these guys are going to make an impact on the game when they finally hit the table.  In my next article I will break down the Tank and Recce lists.
Twitter: @MitchWWPD

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