"You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it."
- – Margaret Thatcher
The Chieftain is among the first successful designs which would embody the modern concept of a main battle tank. Deployed in 1966, the Chieftain was a breakthrough of tank design. While contemporary designs like the Leopard 1 and T-62 placed a premium on mobility at the expense of crew protection, the Chieftain swung the focus onto firepower and survivability at the expense of mobility. Toting the rifled 120mm L11 gun, a cupola mounted 7.62mm machine gun and a co-axial 7.62mm machine gun intended for ranging the main gun, it was among the best tanks at the time. Even in 1985, the Chieftain remained an intimidating foe for Soviet armor, despite 19 years of
aging refining like a world class scotch. Updated with laser rangefinders, NBC protection and the Stillbrew Package (Additional armor for the turret ring and turret front, not a box of Earl Greys), it served as the backbone of the British Armored Divisions, alongside mechanised infantry.
Contrary to US and German doctrine which placed an emphasis on anti-tank training in their Armored Corps, the Chieftain was expected to engage anything from BMP-mounted infantry to enemy T-72s. This is reflected in the force organisation of their battlegroups, whereby anti-tank capabilities were primarily entrusted to Anti-Tank Guided Missile(ATGM) equipped units. This is not to say that the Chieftain was ill-suited to fighting enemy armour; just that they served a far more general role to British military thinkers.
In Team Yankee
Despite being a generation behind the M1 Abrams and the Leopard 2, the Chieftain mk.7/mk.10 remains an excellent tank, with a cannon capable of turning tanks and entrenched troops inside out at the expense of mobility. For 6 points, you get a main gun with Stationary ROF 2, AT 22, 2+ Firepower, Laser Rangefinders, Smoke, Stabilizers and most importantly, BRUTAL. This rule sets the Chieftain apart as the only tank capable of effectively threatening infantry on the board, in addition to punching through NATO tanks with some luck. Canadian and ANZAC Leopard 1s are indeed cheaper and better at killing troops, but are dead in the water against the latest tanks - something the Chieftain giggles at, menacingly. It has the option to purchase Stillbrew for 1 point per tank, which bumps the Chieftain's front armor rating from a 17 to an 18, allowing it to survive BMP-1 missiles en-masse, and potentially saving a tank from a T-72 hit.
However, the Chieftain does not lack its weaknesses. In fact, it is the only NATO tank with moving ROF 1, making it a poor choice for the commander wishing to hit things with their sword. Lacking Chobham armour is another weakness of the tank, rendering it vulnerable to almost any side shots by anti-armor, with a pitiful side armor of 6 (10 vs HEAT with Bazooka Skirts). RPG teams, BMP-2 autocannons and anything heavier has a very high chance of bailing a Chieftain, if not killing it outright. Should the tank be outfitted with Stillbrew, it begins to suffer from a 3+ cross check, meaning that 1 in 3 Chieftains would bog down should you need to take a new firing position from that forest you just came out of. The lack of thermal vision also means that cunning Soviet commanders can simply blind the tank with smoke.
The decision to take stillbrew depends on your meta, rather than any tactical decisions on your part. Given that Chieftains are best suited to destroying the enemy from a fixed position, the 3+ cross check should not matter too much unless something has gone terribly wrong. Stillbrew would improve your chances against ATGMs and enemy tanks, but units like the Sturm, Hind and Frogfoot boast AT23 and AT27 missiles, easily killing Chieftains with or without Stillbrew. Even then, a flanking shot by these aircraft would automatically destroy them if hit.
TLDR: Good if your opponent cannot deal with stationary tanks, terrible otherwise. Also, these are amazing campers. Keep them as snipers if you bring Stillbrew.
The Chieftain comes in Troops of 2-3 vehicles, costing 6 points each. Stillbrew is +1pt per tank.
Iran received 700 mk.3P and mk.5P Chieftains from the UK during the 1970s, with more planned until the 1979 revolution happened. The P in mk.5P stands for Persia, meaning the rather good British original was stripped of all the fancy stuff like laser rangefinders and long fin rounds, while of course Stillbrew armour wasn't introduced until the 80s, so the Iranian Chieftains are basic AF.
Most obviously, Iran lacks decent ammo and so the main gun drops to (a still respectable) AT 20, but it also loses some dash speed and suffers +1 to hit long range targets while on the move. Despite this, the Iranian Chieftain is still formidable, as most of its deficiencies can be compensated for by just staying still and relying on the halted RoF 2 and Accurate. Having Brutal is excellent and front armour 17 will laugh at Leopard 1 105mms, giving a single platoon the firepower of twice its number's worth in T-72s, with better armour to boot.
Another major difference is the quality of the crew. The Iranians are obviously less well trained than the British with a Soviet style skill of 5+ and are hit on 3+ as opposed to the Brits' 3+ skill and hit on 4+. However, the Iranians do have a better Morale, Courage, and Counterattack, suggesting a zealous, zero-fucks-given mentality in battle, and staying to the bitter, bloody end.
The main appeal is you can buy 3 for 10 points, barely over half the cost the British pay per tank, which makes the Chieftain an excellent choice. They should present a wall of RoF 2 Brutal shots to the enemy front, absorbing attacks with their armour while your Pattons or T-62s maneuver for the all important side shots. A full company of 11 costs 37 points, but with only 3 platoons of 3 tanks each, formation break is an important consideration, so always attach a mechanised platoon. Hit on 3+ will take its toll eventually, so as good as they are, expect casualties to mount very quickly.
As such the Iranian Chieftain is an entirely different beast from its British ancestor. Essential as a source of high armour and high AT in an army that lacks both, the Persian Chieftain is competitive and a rather attractive option for your wallet. Why buy 5 boxes of T-62s when 2 boxes of Chieftains is the same amount of points?
The Chieftain has served from 1966 to 1995 in the British Army as part of the Royal Armored Corps, with its successor; the Challenger 1 borrowing many of the core concepts laid out by the Chieftain. A revolutionary design for its time, it introduced a reclining position for the driver which not only reduced the hull profile, but also greatly improved protection against enemy fire and is used in virtually all main battle tanks today. Contrary to contemporary designs like the T-62 and Leopard 1 which emphasized mobility and firepower (to a smaller extent), the Chieftain focused on protection and firepower at the expense of mobility leaving it as an unreliable, 60 tonne monster with the largest gun of the day (though it should be noted these engine problems were fixed in mid production models onwards, nearly doubling its BHP output, though it never did quite meet the design specs for the engine). Doctrine of the time relied on Defence in Depth and Dynamic defense, resulting in NATO forces leapfrogging away from the Soviets along a series of defensive positions, giving them ground but making them pay dearly for it. Unlike the Patton and the Leopard 1, the Chieftain was far better suited to a stand-up tank on tank engagement due to its excellent armor. To make up for the chieftain's mobility issues the British saw fit to rethink their defensive fall backs and opt for more aggressive counter attacks. These flank attacks would be mobilized in such a way that NATO assaults would strike at the Soviet's heavily centralized command structures. Essentially cutting off the head of a snake as Soviet doctrine specifically discouraged lower level commanders having independent initiative. (Soviet field commanders of larger forces had a decent bit of leeway in the details of order execution, though the main objective was still dictated by the overall army commander. Soviet command is efficient, if also incredibly tasking on the small cadre of higher level officers of the army itself)
Today, the Chieftain is considered obsolete, (and it had the bad PR after being massacred during operation Nasr in Iran-Iraq war by T-62s) having been replaced by the Challenger but is deployed by some Middle Eastern countries such as Jordan. Its design is still capable of taking on many of the Middle East's older Soviet platforms, though. As a fun fact: the reason so many British tanks name start with "C" is because their Main Battle Tanks are descended from their WWII era "Cruiser Tanks", which names all start with C as shorthand for "cruiser" (the Churchill was an exception).
|British Forces in Team Yankee|
|Tanks:||Chieftain - Challenger 1|
|Transports:||Spartan Transport - FV432 Transport - FV510 Warrior - Lynx Transport|
|Infantry:||Mechanized Company - Milan Section (Mechanized) - Airmobile Company - Milan Platoon (Airmobile) - Support Troop|
|Artillery:||Abbot Field Battery - M109 Field Battery - FV432 Mortar Carrier -M270 MLRS|
|Anti-Aircraft:||Spartan Blowpipe - Tracked Rapier - Chieftain Marksman|
|Tank Hunters:||Striker - Spartan MCT - Swingfire|
|Recon:||FV432 FOO - Scorpion - Scimitar -FV721 Fox|
|Aircraft:||Harrier Jump Jet - Lynx HELARM|
|Iranian Forces in Team Yankee|
|Tanks:||T-55 - T-62 - M60 Patton - Chieftain|
|Transports:||M113 Armored Personnel Carrier - BTR-60 - BMP-1|
|Troops:||Iranian Mechanized Platoon - Basij Infantry Company|
|Artillery:||M109 Howitzer - BM-21 Hail - M106 Heavy Mortar Carrier|
|Anti-Aircraft:||ZSU 23-4 Shilka - ZSU-57-2 - SA-8 Gecko|
|Tank Hunters:||Jeep TOW - Jeep 106mm Recoilless - M113 106mm Recoilless|
|Aircraft:||AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter|
|Soviet Support:||SU-25 Frogfoot|