US Mech Platoon

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When my granny was ninety one!

"Wars are fought with weapons but they are won by men."

– Colonel Chester Philips

The average American Soldier is a member of one of the finest fighting forces in the world. The US Military is an all volunteer force, (though conscription is legal in the form of the Draft and in the event of the cold war flaring up would likely be reinstated) highly trained and highly motivated. Standard Platoon size is 50 men, commanded by a fresh faced Lieutenant. These men wield a variety of weapons from the standard issue M16 Assault Rifle, to the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon, to the M47 Dragon Anti Tank Missile.

In Team Yankee[edit]

The Stat Card

The Mech platoon excels in midrange combat, with the rifle squads holding the line while dragons engage light armor or even some MBTs. Skilled and well armed, these brave soldiers excel in holding key positions on the battlefield and protecting your tanks from getting overrun by the Soviet hordes.

The two parts of the Mech Platoon are the M249 SAW/M72 LAW Teams and the M47 Dragon Teams.

The SAW/LAW Teams are your anti-infantry component that can occasionally deal with light armored vehicles or early model MBTs from the side. When halted, each individual SAW/LAW Team has a very respectable ROF of 3, which is a considerable amount of DAKA for opposing infantry to deal with. When combined with the general resilience of infantry (3+ save against everything remember), a mech platoon can be quite a stumbling block. If your opponent sends their reconnaissance vehicles or IFVs to try to root you out, the AT 12 of the LAW is more than sufficient to punch through the front of these vehicles. The cool thing is that both weapons of the SAW/LAW teams have a FP of 5+, which means that they can deal with dug in infantry and armored threats with the same efficiency as auto cannons (I guess the combination of DAKA from the SAWs and M16s plus the explosives air mailed by the M204 grenade launchers make up the difference).

When the Commies get a little frustrated with their light forces being held up by your GI's and send something more serious your way, its time to bring out the M47 Dragons. The Dragon missile is an optically guided ATGM (Anti Tank Guided Missile) that excels at dealing with all but the latest model PACT armor. The AT value of 18 is in an interesting range of numbers where it can punch in one side and out the other of almost every vehicle in Team Yankee, but is easily stopped by the front armor of almost every MBT, though the sides are a different story. The range of the Dragon means that you can comfortably engage threats out to 28" away which is more than double the range of the Soviet RPG-7 and can surprise unaware Opponents by detonating vehicles that they thought were a safe distance with its 3+ FP. Don't worry about the penalties for engaging targets at range though, as the guided and HEAT rules ignore those anyway. Their are some downsides though, the Dragon can only be fired if you have not moved, meaning you cant fire while charging like the Soviets can with the RPG-7 and BDD Armor can prove quite difficult to deal with.

Remember that both weapon teams have thermal imaging, which means smoke can be used to great effect to help preserve their numbers while they bleed the enemy of their troops and support vehicles.

Compared to other US infantry, the mech platoon is far more versatile and cost-efficient thanks to the additional M113s. However, the Marines and Airborne are undisputedly superior options if you wish to use your infantry as assaultmen or as dedicated infantry killers.

IRL[edit]

Give me a rifle, one round and point me to Berlin Moscow!

The latest mechanized units of the United States Army are the last in a long line of similar units stretching all the way back to WW2. Today most Mechanized Infantry Units are equipped with either the M2 Bradley Infantry fighting vehicle or the Stryker IFV, though reserve units and other less important formations may still roll around in M113s with replacements of those starting in the 2020s by upgraded Bradleys. The Dragon ATGM has been replaced by Javelin ATGMs and improved TOW missile variants.

Oh, here's an interesting tidbit about the M47 Dragon. The Dragon was guided by a wire that trailed from the launcher. This wire would relay commands from the sight, which the operator would point at the intended target. Basically, wherever you looked at through the sight, the missile would home in on. This lead to some issues with inexperienced operators accidentally firing their multi-thousand dollar missile (one that they have humped across a battlefield for possibly days mind you) straight into the ground. See, the whole contraption weighed about 30 lbs, and when preparing to fire, the operator would have to brace himself against it. When the missile was fired, the majority of the weight was quite literally lifted from his shoulders, and all of that tension required to keep the missile steady would suddenly no longer be restricted by gravity, which would cause the soldier to rock forward a bit. Not much, but enough to send the Dragon burrowing into the ground, possibly alerting the enemy to the fact that someone is shooting missiles at him. Experienced soldiers would aim a bit high to give themselves some room to correct that inevitable issue.

Another fun fact is that during the Cold War, the best body armor given out was the PASGT vest... A glorified police vest... 9mm was about all it could take, which sounds dreadful but most casualties in modern war come from shrapnel, explosive and the like so 9mm is enough for most cases. In general the best way to survive even with any kind of armor is not to get hit at all, as modern armor covers only vitals with rifle resistant armor. However, it is possible a speed up of the issuance of the ISAPO which had some resistance against rifle rounds, happened due to war.

US Forces in Team Yankee
Tanks: M1 Abrams - M60 Patton - M551 Sheridan
Transports: M113 Armored Personnel Carrier - UH-1 Huey - AAVP7
Troops: US Mech Platoon - Marine Rifle Platoon - Huey Rifle Platoon - HMMWV Machine Gun Platoon
Artillery: M106 Heavy Mortar Carrier - M109 Howitzer - LAV-M
Anti-Aircraft: M163 VADS - M48 Chaparral - M247 Sergeant York - HMMWV SAM
Tank Hunters: M901 ITV - HMMWV-TOW - LAV-AT
Recon: M113 FIST - HMMWV Scout Section - LAV-25
Aircraft: A-10 Warthog - AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter - AV-8 Harrier