• Robison Wells

What Nations Can Be Played in WWIII: Team Yankee?

WWIII: Team Yankee is a wargame from Battlefront (the same company that does Flames of War), which is based on the novel, Team Yankee, by Harold Coyle. The book, which came out in 1987, is a technothriller which describes a shooting war in East and West Germany at some point during the 1980s.

The game is primarily vehicle focused, with both ground and air vehicles, and is altogether portraying a war between the Warsaw Pact and NATO. Consequently, there are quite a number of nations depicted in the game, which offers loads of flavor and opportunities for storytelling and narrative play.

While you don't need to know the details of global politics during the Cold War to play the game, a general knowledge of the powers is helpful. You'll also find that the units are very specific--the designers paid a great deal of attention to detail and scope as they picked which units could be fielded. In other words, this is not merely a game fought between main battle tanks on each side; there are quite a few vehicles involved, from artillery to anti-aircraft to armored personnel carriers to infantry vehicles.

Not all of the nations represented in the game, however, are part of the Warsaw Pact or NATO. There are also armies represented for Middle Eastern combat. We'll get to those later.

The Armies of NATO

United States of America

The United States has the most units of any NATO force, and the most variety among the forces. The starter set for the USA comes with 5 Abrams, 4 Bradley Scouts, 3 M109 155 Self-Propelled Guns, 4 HMMWV Scouts, and 2 Apache Helicopters. However, there is a huge number of interesting units that can be fielded, including the M60 Patton tanks, Huey helicopters, rifle platoons (there are some infantry in the game, but not much), and my personal favorite, the M427 Sergeant York.

You'll also notice in many of these armies that there is unit crossover between different nations, as many countries bought and sold weapons to each other.

Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany)

The West Germans have the second most units in NATO, and their starter force comes with 3 Leopard 2A5 tanks, 2 Leopard 2 tanks, 4 Marder 2 scouts, 3 M109A3G 155mm Self-Propelled Guns, 1 M113 OP, 2 Tornado aircraft and 2 PAH helicopters. They do have quite a number of additional units. I'm particularly fond of the LARS Raketenwerfer Batterie (a rocket launcher). They also have more infantry units available than the USA does.

United Kingdom

Coming in third in size, and with a considerable number of units available is the United Kingdom. You'll also see that the same weapon systems the UK uses are available to most of the Commonwealth forces. Primarily fielding Chieftain and Challenger tanks, they also have a variety of anti-aircraft units such as the Tracked Rapier SAMs, and artillery such as the Abbot Field Battery.

French Republic

We're now getting into the smaller NATO nations. The French have a few interesting options such as the AMX-30 tanks and the AMX-10 RC Recce Platoon. It is fun to join these forces in the battle in Germanys, either fielded as part of a larger NATO unit or representing a specific French vs. Warsaw Pact engagement.


Now we can see where the smaller nations are taking their units from the larger ones, as the Netherlands' primary tank is the Leopard 2, and they use the M113 as scouts.

The Warsaw Pact

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR)

The USSR is the largest force in the Warsaw Pact, obviously, and they are armed to the teeth with interesting weapon systems. Their starter set comes with 5 T-80 tanks, 2 BMP scouts, 2 Gaskin AA vehicles, 3 Spandel anti-tank vehicles, 2 Mi-24 Hind helicopters, and 2 SU-5 Frogfoot aircraft. I admit that I'm partial to rocket launchers, and the USSR has two interesting ones, the TOS! Thermobaric Rocket Launcher Battery, and the BM-27 Hurricane Rocket Launcher Battery. They also have a small number of infantry involved, but their main strength is in variety of vehicles: tank killers, artillery, and anti-aircraft.

German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany)

The GDR has surprisingly little of their own forces, relying on the USSR to the heavy lifting in the fight. Their main tanks are the T-55AM2 Panzer Kompanie and the Soviet-built T-72 tanks, but that's about it except for some spotty infantry.

Warsaw Pact Forces

There is a generic category of vehicles called the "Warsaw Pact Forces" which are meant to represent any of the other nations (Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Romania) but the units all come from the USSR and GDR.

The Free Nations

Commonwealth of Australia

The Free Nations is a designation for countries that were not part of NATO, but were fighting alongside them. Australia uses primarily American vehicles, the M113s, and some infantry.


Canada also makes use of the American M113, but also has the Lynx Reconnaissance vehicle, the ADATS anti-aircraft unit, and some infantry.

Middle Eastern Conflict


Israel is well-armed with vehicles of their own making, including the Merkava tanks, the Magach tanks, the Pereh anti-tanks, as well as some American vehicles including the M113 (those M113s really got around) and the M48 Chapparal SAM.


Iraq sports Hussein's Republican Guard which comes with 3 T-7 tanks and 2 Gazelle helicopters. Other than that they have an anti-tank platoon and infantry.


Ah, back when Iran was getting arms from the West. Their main battle tank in the Ayatollah's revolutionaries was the British Chieftain, and they fielded Cobra helicopters. And those darn M113s can't be kept down.


So those are all of the nations represented in WWIII: Team Yankee. I got really into this game for a very brief period of time and spent far too much money on it building up both NATO and USSR forces. Small tanks (they're 1/100 scale) are just so much fun to paint, and the variety of units is really staggering and delightful.

The game is fast-paced and fun. If you're used to Games Workshop games where units can take a lot of wounds you'll be dismayed when your tanks start dying left and right. The effectiveness of the weapon systems is on full display and the tactics are mainly about maneuver and cover to take good shots (killing in one blow) and not getting hit yourself.

What nation do you want to play in WWIII: Team Yankee?

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