This battle was only 35pts, due to time constraints; my opponent was very kind and accommodating, due to me working a later shift, and still allowing time for gaming.
The Mission was Bypass from the Quick Mission Pack for Team Yankee available here
My army list came from the Unofficial, but Battlefront Approved "British II Corps pdf", available here
The main difference between the British in Iron Maiden and the Territorial Army Troops featured here is:
[A] Less training, giving them a standard 4+ Skill rating
[B] Being less willing to stick it out in a tough situation, giving them a 5+ Morale rating
Captain Grey had been a career soldier, despite his Territorial Army posting. His men, on the other hand, were not. They were a varied assortment of teachers looking to keep fit on the weekends, office workers doing their bit for their country, and (sadly, in his opinion}, school-leavers who did not have much prospect beyond a poorly paid manual labour job, but were not passed fit for the Army itself.
It had come time to prove their worth now though. The old 'Sherwood Rangers', of Normandy fame, had been boiled down into a small Territorial Army reconnaissance squadron, supporting the barely-trained troops of the 51st/52nd (Scottish) Territorial Army regiment. But as luck would have it, a small contingent of the regulars from the Black Watch had arrived the night before to help hold the line against the retreating East Germans, who were trying to smash their way through the picket in Hamburg, back into Brandenburg.
"It's probably the first time most of them have fired a live round." He commented to his Lieutenant; Blackwood.
"Probably, sir. But they know their stuff now. They have to. We're not on the range now, and there's not likely to be a piss-up afterwards... pardon my French." The man replied as they sat atop the Spartan transports, watching the soldiers set up their positions.
The Black Watch were camped out in a field by the road, covered by 'A' Troop, who were hidden by the hedge. Along from them, set up in the train station were the foot infantry of the 51st/52nd. Lurking behind the station were the fearsome Striker missile section; the best kit available to them, they'd had to do their best to keep them working. In the forest nearby was a battery of Abbot self-propelled artillery, attached out from the 'City of Glasgow' regiment. They were covered by 'B' Troop, and finally, out in front were the support troop from the squadron. A small lightly armed section of men, crouched in the shadow of the hill, covering the road.
"Well, let's see their mettle..." Grey pointed through the gap in the hedges beyond, where the first few glimpses of enemy tanks could be seen.
Captain Grey could feel the tension in the air; he knew his men were very 'Green' in terms of encounters with the enemy, and this would be their baptism of fire. The men had been in high spirits on the journey from Amsterdam to Hamburg, they had been reading the newspapers which claimed this would all be over by Christmas... just as every war had been declared in the past hundred years.
He didn't have much time to think on past matters though as shots rang out and whistling noises overhead turned to explosions. An audible rabble came from the troops in the train station in front of him as off to the north, a Scimitar erupted in flames from the pounding artillery, but almost immediately as he was processing this, another explosion flared up behind the hedge to the south: his Observation track now crackling with flames, as a 100mm round found its target from the almost impossible positioning.
"'B' Troop! Redeploy! They've got your number!" He barked into the radio, watching the little tanks slowly meander their way through, behind the Abbots, who were returning fire into the air. "Striker Troop; deploy south; target One-Five-Oh! Free fire!" He declared, the little missile carriers slipping almost effortlessly over the train-tracks, their missiles hissing out, almost in unison with some from the field as the Milan teams from the Airlanding troop took their revenge for the destroyed OP.
This was going to get brutal.
The rumble of engines was getting closer, implying a larger, as yet unseen threat was coming in on the north flank. The combined efforts of the missile troops had put paid to the East German advance down the middle, but Grey knew from his briefing that those burning tanks would be less than half the number that would be stalking the field. The was soon proven to be true as a small force of BMP tracks appeared at the edge of the forest in front; their machine guns rattling off shots around the train station, the men hitting the deck, crouching behind walls, trying to keep out of sight as they were swept with bullets.
"Up! Up at them!" Cpt Grey yelled; a few brave souls raising their weapons in response, and finding their mark, a couple of the vehicles blooming in smoke and flames as the others went quiet, the rattling shots doing their job of making them think twice.
The whistle of artillery fire sounded again as shells began to drop around them; luckily none finding their mark. The blessed existence continuing for the moment as Grey took a moment to assess the situation.
"Striker Troop; redeploy North. I'm expecting a presence very soon." Grey commanded, crawling onto the back deck of his Spartan for a view round the train station, just as an almighty shot roared past, missing his track by inches. "Bloody Christ! Almost lost my neck on that one!" He exclaimed, taking a moment to calm his nerves, before peeking round at the second Company of T-55AM2s which had made their presence known and were now harassing the support troop, who seemed to be 'left out to dry' a little.
The Striker troop rolled out again, slipping into position. Captain Grey watched on expectantly as the spotters aimed their lasers through the foliage of the hedge, sizing up their target, before the fearsome whistling sounded again. A shell completely took out the edgemost track; a small crater all that was left of the vehicle that once stood in position.
"Holy..." He gasped, but clamped a hand over his mouth as the missiles streaked out of the remaining vehicles; extracting vengeance for their lost sibling as T-55s were lit up again. He was about to give his remarks when movement on the road caught his eye: the support troops, emboldened by the burning tanks had risen up and were running towards a small group of larger tanks that had made their presence known now. The men mounted the hill, but catastrophe awaited them as machine guns mowed them down like chaff. The few survivors, hitting the deck, but it wasn't enough as fire from the hedge; the shilkas, cut the remainder to shreds, a few sorry souls limping back towards the cover of the train station.
"Idiots... bloody idiots." Grey groaned as he watched the survivors get dragged into the station. The men left on the hill unmoving.
Captain Grey sighed as he saw the tanks rolling towards his position, thinking that soon they'd have to deal with them. But strangely enough, the tanks hesitated as they crested the hill; their turrets skewing round to fire off shots at unseen targets. No sound of explosion found his ears, only the jarring sound of a glancing shot on metal.
"Blackwood?" He asked, utterly confused.
"It's the Abbot battery sir... they've lost their damn mi-..." The Lieutenant began, but the sight of not one, but two tanks erupting into flames cut him off.
"Is that it then?"
"Oh... super, smashing, great, then?"
I apologise that this report is a little less coherent than my usual ones. It's been a rather long day here, I really wanted to get this posted and out there to show that the Territorial Army pdf does have its uses, and that the lesser morale and skill ratings do not pose that much of a penalty on your force.
The Strikers constantly passing their Blitz roll was in no small part due to the HQ element hugging them constantly, and passing over their improved Skill rating. Without them, the Strikers would have been left high and dry for half the battle.
The battle really didn't go well for my opponent, largely due to the number of anti-tank assets I had at my disposal. Without the Milans, Strikers and even the infantry weapons, it would have been a different story. Trying to take on what he had with a basic Recce Squadron would have ended incredibly badly. I will, however, be changing up my list again, trying out some apparently 'impossible to win with' combinations to find out whether I am just lucky or not.