Literature / Team Yankee

Team Yankee is a 1987 Military Science-Fiction novel by Harold Coyle.

What would happen if the Iran-Iraq war escalated into something much bigger? After an incident in the Strait of Hormuz between an American destroyer and a Soviet cruiser, the Cold War turns hot: more specifically, into a conventional World War III between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. The eponymous Team Yankee, an American heavy armored company, is stationed in Germany at the time, and must fight the Soviet advance.

The book is itself set within the universe established by The Third World War, and expands upon one of the short mentions within that book.

It was adapted to a Tabletop Game, a miniature wargame, a Graphic Novel, and a tank simulator for the Atari ST, among other consoles.

Provides examples of:

  • Alternate History: Obviously, NATO and the Warsaw Pact did not duke it out in Germany, or else we might not be here.
  • Awesome Personnel Carrier: Both Team Yankee and the Soviets have these. For the Americans, it's the M113 personnel carrier and the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle; for the Soviets it's the BMP infantry fighting vehicle and the BTR personnel carrier.
  • The Captain: Captain Sean Bannon, commander of Team Yankee. Subverted in that he behaves like a real captain, i.e. attending meetings, planning attacks, and issuing orders, as opposed to being a One-Man Army.
  • Deadly Gas: After the first failed Soviet assault, Team Yankee is bombarded with chemical shells as the second attack begins.
  • Death from Above: The novel mentions several ways this is provided. Artillery bombardment is commonly used by both sides. In two engagements, Team Yankee is assisted by AH-1 Cobra gunships and a flight of A-10s respectively.
  • Ensign Newbie: Lieutenant Garger, the new 3rd Platoon commander. He grows out of it.
    • Later, one of Garger's friends and classmate from the Armor School arrives to replace a wounded officer, and receives this treatment, because unlike Garger, he hasn't seen combat.
  • It's Raining Men: Discussed in-universe, Soviet airborne troops have landed in north Germany and are fighting it out with NATO there.
  • Military Alphabet: The eponymous Team Yankee and its sister unit, Team Bravo, designated "Y" and "B" respectively on maps. The military alphabet is also featured prominently in all radio communications.
  • The Namesake: Team Yankee is about an armored company, named...Team Yankee.
  • Oh Crap!: The entire Team has one when they realise they've all overslept several hours, and must now withdraw under the bright morning sun, instead of under the cover of darkness.
  • Sergeant Rock: Sergeant First Class Gary Pierson, 3rd Platoon platoon sergeant and Vietnam veteran.
  • Shown Their Work: At the time he wrote this book, Harold Coyne was a Major in the US Army, and had commanded a combat team much like Team Yankee. It shows.
    • Less so for the bits of the book involving the Soviets: Coyle tends to stereotype quite badly. Read Ralph Peters' Red Army for a much more balanced picture of the Soviet soldier.
  • Tank Goodness: Team Yankee has two platoons of M1 Abrams main battle tanks. The Soviets have their own.
  • Technology Marches On: A small case of this: much of the technology in the book is accurate for its time period (1987), though by the mid 80s some hardware was starting to be replaced (for example, AH-1 Cobra gunships were gradually being replaced by AH-64 Apaches (first Apaches arrived in Europe September 1987), and the M1 Abrams with the 105mm rifled gun was being replaced by the M 1 A 1 Abrams with the 120mm smoothbore gun). Still plenty of the older variants in USAREUR, though, so it's not too jarring.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Garger, who opens the book by getting chewed out by Captain Bannon for being a dumbass, takes several levels in badass when the shooting starts - at the end of the book, his tank has the most kills in the entire Team.