"We will bury them!"
- – Rhino tank, Red Alert 2
The T-72 is Soviet second generation MBT employed by a variety of nations. In classic Russian fashion, it is rugged, relatively easy to produce, and simple enough that any soviet peasant can hop in and spread the revolution with utmost efficiency. The T-72 incorporates some of the latest advances in Soviet weapons technology, mouning an auto loading 2A46 125mm main gun, which is capable of firing fin stabilized ammunition, and protected by BDD composite armor, similar to the Chobham armor used on western tanks.
In Team Yankee
The T-72A is an iconic Red Army MBT, representing the middle ground between a horde of T-55AM2s and a tiny company of T-64Bs.
Lets start with the boomstick. The T-72 mounts a 125mm 2A46 gun which is quite capable of punching through early model NATO Main Battle tanks and stands a decent chance of damaging later models with it's AT value of 22, and with the FP of 2+, practically anything you penetrate you are going to blow up. It's also rather good at dealing with unarmored targets like infantry and light vehicles as the Brutal rule means that they have to re-roll their successful saves. The T-72 can fire on the move with near impunity as the stabilizer negates the negative effects of moving and the laser rangefinder negates the penalties of firing on the move. The only downside is the fact that the 2A46 only has a ROF of 1, both halted and on the move, which means that you must mass tanks to mass fire. Oh, there is also a pair of machine guns; one 12.7mm AA mounted on a pintle and a 7.62mm mounted coaxially.
It's when the T-72 begins taking fire rather than dishing it out that things can get a bit dicey. The Frontal armour only has a rating of 16, just one more than the front armour of a M60 Patton, and the sides have a rating of 8. Most NATO AT weapons will bend you over with very little effort. Things do get a little better as the T-72 is equipped with BDD armour, which bumps the side armour up to 13 against things with HEAT. Even still, the T-72 will struggle against well dug in opponents. While immune to LAWs, they will suffer from serious anti-tank shots (like the SMAW) to the side.
I have not mentioned the best part yet though, You can take a minimum company of 3 T-72s for 12 points. That's right, you can take 3 top of the line MBTS for only one more point than it costs for a Leopard 2. You can increase the company size up to ten T-72s for 5 points each. What this means is that you can effectively overwhelm the enemy with walls of stronk soviet steal, destroying all that lay in your path and spreading the revolution to the oppressed workers of the word.
Remember: quantity has a quality all its own.
Like many Soviet tanks, the T-72 is among the most massively-produced post-WWII tanks out there, seeing service in many countries outside Soviet borders. Like all things Soviet, its chief features are cost-effective design and simple but efficient lethality. Even while the modern Russian Army has replaced the venerable T-72 with newer tanks (namely the T-90, which is basically just a T-72 with more current weapon systems), the T-72 is still solid enough that it has been repurposed for a wide variety of combat roles that it wasn't originally designed for, including the BMPT Terminator used for urban pacification (and simultaneously sporting one of the most menacing names for a tank ever), or the TOS-1 30-rocket MRLS. If your confused by that and remember T-72's getting Roflstomped during the gulf war, the answer is that those were T-72M which are the export version of the T-72 and were not as advanced as the ones used by the Russian army and eastern bloc nations proper along with the reported inability of Middle Eastern armies in mastering the art of Soviet Doctrine (AKA Attack Move) (or any doctrine, really. Read some books about Arab-Israeli wars, they are so one-sided it's not even funny). Well the Republican Guard of Iraq did actually have sound defensive tactics but ultimately were overwhelmed by M1 Abrams tanks rushing over their defensive positions.
There's a bit of an old wives' tale regarding the T-72's and other Russian tank's autoloaders: namely that it's autoloader would every so often accidentally eat the Gunner's arm. This is a myth likely originating from Bryan Perrett's "Soviet armour since 1945" that haven't been true of the T-64's even when they were new as they simply wouldn't have been entered production otherwise. While yeah, T-64's were more complex and therefore less reliable compared to T-72, broken thread, suspension system or engine is one thing, but dead or seriously injured gunner is another. Let me give an example: in 1941 the Red Army had a grenade named RG-41, and it was more than a match to more common RGD-33, weighting less while having the same amount of explosives. The only problem was its safety system: if you fucked up the initiation sequence (and it was not as simple as "pull the pin") and it malfunctioned, that baby could blow in your hands right in the moment you were about to throw it. After less than a dozen recorded incidents (and mind it, not a word in press or anything!), soldiers simply stop using those grenades, preferring to throw RGDs-33 or not using anything at all, which lead to RG-41 quickly being replaced with much safer RG-42. A tank that can bite your arm off is a very, very bad thing for morale, and no one in the right mind would sit in it, am I right?
Incidentally: the T-72 was not the most modern tank in the Soviet Arsenal by the time of Team Yankee 1985 start date for world war three. That title belongs to the conspicuously absent T-80, first introduced in 1976, well in time for this 'dust up'. Expect a future update to team Yankee to have the Soviets get a new toy for its armed forces, and for its players to buy.
|Soviet Forces in Team Yankee|
|Tanks:||T-62M - T-64 - T-72 - T-80|
|Transports:||BTR-60 - BMP-1 - BMP-2|
|Troops:||Motor Rifle Company - Hind Assault Landing Company - Afghansty Air Assault Company|
|Artillery:||2S1 Carnation - 2S3 Acacia - BM-21 Hail|
|Anti-Aircraft:||ZSU 23-4 Shilka - SA-13 Gopher - SA9 Gaskin - SA-8 Gecko|
|Tank Hunters:||Spandrel - Storm|
|Recon:||BMP-1 OP - BRDM-2|
|Aircraft:||SU-25 Frogfoot - MI-24 Hind|