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Red Thunder Spotlight
with Wayne Turner

When Team Yankee kicked off we gave you two sets of intelligence briefings in the rulebook to get everybody started, based on the forces featured in H W Coyle’s novel Team Yankee. Since then we have released Leopard (West German forces), Iron Maiden (British forces) and Volksarmee (East German Forces). Red Thunder is our first book to revisit the forces initially featured in Team Yankee. Red Thunder expands and enhances the forces available in Team Yankee for the Soviet Army.

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Red Thunder Design Notes

The Soviet Union’s most powerful forces are stationed in East Germany and Czechoslovakia poised on the border with West Germany ready to strike at a moment’s notice. They are equipped with the very best Soviet industry has to offer, from sophisticated missile firing T-64 tanks and powerful T-72 tanks to versatile BMP infantry fighting vehicles, as well as plentiful BTR-60 armoured personnel carriers.

Supported by elite Afgansty Air Assault troops, powerful self-propelled artillery, and effective and numerous antitank and anti-aircraft weapons, there will be little that the corrupt capitalist armies of NATO can do to stop them. Soon the western workers will be free and the dawn of a new socialist age will begin.

Red Thunder Design Notes
What's Different?
There is more choice. More tanks options with the introductions of the T-64, more anti-tank options with the Storm and Spandrel anti-tank missile carriers, more anti-aircraft with the SA-8 Gecko and SA-9 Gaskin SAM vehicles, more recon options with the addition of the BRDM-2 scout car, and more motor rifle options with the introduction of the BTR-60 armoured personnel carrier. These add more Formations to choose from with the addition of the T-64 Tank Battalion and BTR-60 Motor Rifle Battalion.

Don’t worry, all your old favourites are still available. In fact these can also gain access to the new anti-tank, anti-aircraft, motor rifle, and recon options. You can still take a T-72 Tank Battalion, or a BMP Motor Rifle Battalion, and we have also included the Afgantsy Air Assault Battalion in Red Thunder, which also has access to many of the new models as support options.

Red Thunder Design Notes

What's New?
As mentioned above Red Thunder introduces a bunch of new Soviet vehicles. First and foremost is the T-64 tank. The T-64 is a more sophisticated tank than the T-72. It comes with its own optional anti-tank guided missile that is fired through its 125mm 2A46 smooth-bore gun. This allows the tank to fire an Anti-tank 21 missile out to 48”/120cm even on the move. Being a HEAT weapon, enemy targets don’t get an extra +1 to their armour at ranges over 16”/40cm. It is also Guided so doesn’t suffer the addition +1 to the score to hit for long range. Being the same gun as the T-72, the 125mm 2A46 is also powerful with conventional anti-tank rounds with a range 32”/80cm, anti-tank 22, and firepower 2+. The T-64 tank has improved armour with a Front 17, Side 9, and Top 2, making it a challenging proposition for many NATO tanks.

Red Thunder also introduces the BTR-60 mounted Motor Rifle Battalion and Companies. The BTR-60 is an 8-wheeled armoured personnel carrier mounting 14.5mm and 7.62mm machine-guns in its small turret. Each BTR-60 can carrier two teams as passengers, who are protected from small arms fire by its Front 1, Side 0, and Top 0 armour. The Motor Rifle units mounted in the BTR-60 also have AT-4 Spigot missile teams because, unlike the BMPs, the BTR-60 doesn’t mount an anti-tank missile team. The AT-4 team has a range 8”/20cm – 40”/100cm, ROF 3, AT 19 and FP 3+ and is HEAT and Guided.
Red Thunder Design Notes

All the motor rifle companies, whether mounted in a BTR-60, BMP-1, or BMP-2, also gain optional access to the AGS-17 grenade launcher as a heavy weapons team. With a range 16”/40cm, Halted ROF 9, anti-tank 3 and firepower 6, this is a weapon the enemy doesn’t want to be caught in the open near.

Red Thunder introduces three new vehicles based on the BDRM-2 to the Soviet Army (as seen with the East Germans in Volksarmee). The first of these is the BRDM-2 scout car. These can be taken in the BRDM-2 Recon Platoon in a unit of two or four either as part of a Formation or as support. Like the BTR-60, the BRDM-2 mounts 14.5mm and 7.62mm machines in a small armoured turret. The vehicle itself is protected from small arms fire with Front 1, Side 0, and Top 0 armour. The vehicle is amphibious and fitted with IR (Infra-red) equipment for night fighting, while the unit uses the Spearhead rule.

Red Thunder Design Notes

The second variant of the BRDM-2 is the Spandrel which mounts an AT-5 Spandrel guided anti-tank missile launcher system instead of the turret. The AT5 Spandrel is a powerful anti-tank missile with a range 8”/20cm – 48”/120cm, ROF 1, AT 21, FP 3+ with the Guided and HEAT special rules. These are available in units of two or three either as part of a Formation or as support.

Supplementing the powerful SA-13 Gopher SAM Platoon, is the lighter and cheaper SA-9 Gaskin SAM. This vehicle is based on the BRDM-2 scout car, but mounts a SA-9 anti-aircraft guided missile launcher system on top. It has a 360 degree arc of fire and can shoot aircraft out to 48”/120cm away without penalty for long range. These can either be got as pairs or in fours and are available as part of your Formation or as support.

Red Thunder Design Notes

These are not the only new anti-tank and anti-aircraft options. The new Storm anti-tank missile carrier mounts an AT-6 Spiral guided anti-tank missile on the MT-LB armoured tractor (the same vehicle that the SA-13 Gopher is based on). The launcher is fitted with one tube, but can be lowered into the hull for reloading. The chassis provides the crew with protection from small arms fire with Front 1, Side 1, and Top 1, so don’t expose the Storm too much. However, the AT-6 is very long range (8”/20cm – 56”/140cm) and powerful (with ROF 1, Anti-tank 23, FP 3+ using the HEAT and Guided rules). The units come in two or three Storms and is available as a support.

The new divisional support anti-aircraft option is the SA-8 Gecko SAM launcher. This big 6-wheeled vehicle is an all-in-one design that mounts the missiles and radar together to allow it to detect, track, and engage target aircraft independently. The SA-8 Gecko AA missile has a massive range of 72”/180cm, giving it coverage of most table tops. It has a Halted ROF 3, a FP 3+ and uses the Guided AA rule which gives it not penalty to hit at over 16”/40cm.

Red Thunder Design Notes

Red Thunder also introduces another artillery option in the form of the 2S3 Acacia 152mm self-propelled howitzer. The 2S3 Acacia has Front 2, Side 1 and Top 1 armour. It can fire its 152mm howitzer as Artillery (Range: 88”/220cm, AT 4, FP 2+ with Smoke Bombardment), or in direct fire (Range: 16”/40cm, ROF 1, AT 14, FP 1+, and uses the Brutal, HEAT, Slow Firing, and Smoke rules). It also has a third option, firing laser-guided Krasnopol Projectiles (Range: 88”/220cm, Halted ROF 1, AT 4, FP 1+ and uses the Brutal, and Krasnopol Projectiles rules). This works a little differently to the American laser-guided projectiles found in the rulebook. Krasnopol Projectiles are designed for taking out small ground targets rather than tanks. An Observer Team requests Krasnopol Projectiles rather than a bombardment. Th`en each weapon in the artillery unit fires a Krasnopol Projectile using the normal shooting rules, except using the Observer Team to determine the Line Of Sight. The unit does not suffer +1 to hit for range over 16”/40cm, Armoured Vehicles use Top Armour for saves, and the target team’s armour is not increased by +1 for being over 16”/40cm away.

All of these new weapons and units, where they are options to existing units, have been added to the Formations.
Red Thunder Design Notes

What about my old force?
If you are happy running your Soviet force as it is, it is still a perfectly valid force, no units or options have been invalidated. However, there are plenty of great new options that many of you will find very tempting.

If you’ve been thinking about getting some Soviets, but haven’t dived in, this is the perfect time, there has never been so many different options for fielding the Soviet Army in World War III.

Red Thunder Design Notes

Lots of Extras
Red Thunder is also packed full of other stuff. We also have three Scenarios that can either be played as one off games or as part of a three game campaign. The book also covers the exploits of the 2nd Guards Tank Army, 94th Guards Motor Rifle Division and Major Yuri Volkov’s Tank Battalion during World War III, plus lots of other background and technical information. It contains a Soviet painting guide and a product catalogue listing all the models available to field a Soviet force in Team Yankee, making Red Thunder a one stop shop for planning the collection of your force.

So get stuck in and enjoy!

~ Wayne.

Last Updated On Thursday, June 29, 2017 by Chris at Battlefront