Guess which nation the aircraft belong to....

Guess which nation the aircraft belong to....

If you already played Wargame: Red Dragon a lot, you already probably know the answer that's coming for who is the worst faction in the game. Imagine a faction which has absolutely no high powered anti-tank options, limited infantry options, a very one-purpose and inflexible air force, and a complete lack of heavy firepower. If you want to die to massed artillery and heavy tanks to which you have very little answer, there is always this faction! But maybe you haven't played Wargame: Red Dragon, or maybe you have a different opinion: if so, read on to see who exactly is the worst faction in Wargame: Red Dragon. Hint: It starts with an A.

In Wargame, there are three crucial criterion for any faction that determine how good it is

  1. Versatility. The most important trait in my opinion, is that of being able to respond flexibly to any threat. Consider a faction in Wargame which is excellent at everything - at destroying tanks with superb high AP, heavily armored super heavies, at annihilating infantry with great fire support options and powerful infantry of their own, with great reconnaissance and superb artillery. There is only one problem - they have no anti-aircraft weapons. It doesn't matter that they are good at everything else, because this critical weakness will be exploited by the enemy, and they will be mercilessly bombed and helicopter attacked into oblivion. For a faction to be viable, it must have some sort of counter to each threat it faces.
  2. Efficiency. If it does have these counters, then what it has has to be reasonably efficiency. The units must work and perform well, and not be too expensive. They must be cost effective. There are plenty of examples of units which fill the same role in Wargame, but where one is simply far better - such as the Soviet series of BTR-70 and 80 transports, which fill the same role as fast motorized transports with autocannons on them, the Finnish KT series, but where the Finnish KT series with their powerful bushmaster autocannons are simply infinitely better than Soviet 14.5mm KPVT heavy machine guns. Or East German Mot Schutzen which are 5 points cheaper than Chinese Lu Zhandui, despite being essentially the same.
  3. Synergy. The final feature is how well all of these work together. It is possible to have excellent units, but if they don't work together well, then they are useless. North Korea has an excellent bomber with the B-5, but it lacks SEAD to enable it to survive in a defended air space: as a result North Korea's air force lacks the synergy needed to make it work. Even with less glaring examples the same can happen, the most common example being infantry and their transports - infantry on their own may be great, but if they have bad transports, they do not work well. This has often been the bane of East Bloc troops, cursed to rely upon the inflated price of their 15 point BTR transports.

The last two are subjective, since the second means which units are better or worse, and there is a great deal of debate over this. The third one too, can be argued a lot, since different roles and their synergy are perceived very differently by different people. This makes the first one - versatility - the most clear cut factor, and the most important. Thus, to attempt to find out the worst faction in Wargame, what needs to be done is to figure out which faction is missing the most in the way of vital roles.

There are a number of factions which are obviously less "complete" than others - and nobody plays them on their own for this reason. The stars of the underequipped are Australia, Denmark, Norway, Poland, and North Korea. Their listings are below.

*Technically, but not really
**Sort of but not really
***No 2 armor values on top
****Nothing more than 16 AP
*****Chimera

 

Australia

Canada

Denmark

Norway

Poland

North Korea

Infantry CV

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Tank CV

Yes

Yes

Yes

No***

Yes

No

Large supply truck

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

Cheap reservists or line infantry

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Grinding infantry

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

10 man shock infantry

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Commandos

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Fire support infantry

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

ATGM infnatry

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

Good manpad

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Mortar

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Cheap 7 HE howitzers

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Advanced fire control system howitzer

No

No

No

No

No

No

10 HE SPG

No

No

No

No

Yes

No****

Low HE MRLS

No

No

No

No

Yes

Yes

High HE MRLS

No

No

No

No

No

No

^Low AP cluster artillery

No

No

No

Np

No

No

High AP cluster artillery

No

No

No

Yes

No

No

2,800 meter anti-Helicopter Artillery

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Anti-air artillery

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Cheap fire support tank

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Workhorse tank

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Heavy tank

No

Yes****

No

No

Yes

Yes

Superheavy

No

No

No

No

No

Yes

Regular reconnaissance infantry

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

Shock recon infantry

Yes

No

No

No

Yes

No

Commando recon infantry

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

^Sniper team recon infantry

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

^Excellent optics recon vehicle

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

No

Wheeled fighting reconnaissance vehicle

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

No

No

Recon tank

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Recon helicopter

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Fighting reconnaissance helicopter

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

No

Cheap fire support vehicle

Yes

No

No**

No

Yes

Yes

Effective 5 point infantry transport

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

10 point motorized vehicle

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

IFV

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

^Tank destroyer

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Fire support helicopter

No

Yes

No

No

Yes

Yes

Tank destroyer helicopter

No

No

Yes

No

Yes

No*****

Anti-air helicopter

No

No

No

No

Yes

No

Good workhorse fighter

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Elite fighter

No

No

No

No

No

No

Anti-tank plane

Yes

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Iron bomber

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

^Napalm bomber

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Yes

^Rocket pod plane

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Anti-helicopter plane

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

SEAD plane

No

Yes

No

Yes

Yes

No

Categories Missing

  • Australia: 21.5
  • Denmark: 20.5
  • Norway: 22
  • Poland: 12
  • North Korea: 18.5
  • Canada: 18.5

Not all of these categories are created equal, which is why any one with a ^ at the beginning sees its importance reduced by 1/2. It is simply not as important to have low AP cluster artillery as an anti-tank plane.

Poland clearly has the most complete army - but its great problem is that it lacks mortars, which are a huge staple for any tactics in Wargame: Red Dragon, and which weigh far more heavily on it than others. But still, it clearly is far more independent than the rest. North Korea falls somewhere in between, but it still gets a 40% availability bonus - which Norway and Denmark both get. Australia, with the second highest amount of missing categories, only gets a 30% availability bonus. Off-hand, Australia is the worst.

Australia's F-111 bomber is one of the best in the game.

Australia's F-111 bomber is one of the best in the game.

What are Australia's Strengths?

Most of Australia's units are relatively standard, and there are few standouts. There are three great exceptions.

  • Commandos '90. Probably the best anti-infantry shock infantry in the game, Commandos '90 have SMG rates of fire on their bullpup, highly stabilized, primary weapons, with an excellent Minimi machine gun, and reasonably good anti-tank firepower with their Carl Gustav M2 anti-tank launchers. Furthermore they have access to reasonably good motorized transports with the ALSAV PC. They form an excellent shock infantry component for Australia.
  • Vickers Mk. 11. There is no real equivalent to the Vickers Mk. 11 as a fast, extremely well armed, armored car in the game. Packing a 105mm gun with 17 AP, 8 rounds per minute, and impressive 60% accuracy and 55% stabilizer, as well as very high speeds of up to 100 kilometers off-road and the standard 150 kilometers per hour on the road, the only equivalent to it is the French AMX-10 series. Not only does it pack a better gun, but it is stabilized which makes it exceptionally good at motorized openings. Unfortunately it is poorly armored, and unlike the AMX-10RC, does not get good optics nor stealth.
  • M14A1. For just 10 points, the M14A1 boasts 2 frontal armor, a .50 machine gun, and a main gun with 2 HE, 8 AP, and 1,750 meter range - very useful for providing cheap, spammable, fire support.
  • Bushranger. This is questionable since it is both a strength and a weakness, but the Bushranger is a very unique unit, with only Canada getting something similar - with HEAT rockets which are guaranteed to do at least 1 damage to enemy tanks, regardless of armor. Two of them can knock out any vehicle in the game. Unfortunately range is not good, at just 2,100 meters, and the price is high, at 45 points. Still, they are unique.
  • F-111C. Probably the best iron bomber in the game, except perhaps for the North Korean B-5, the F-111C gets x4 1,000 kilogram bombs, very high speed of 1,000 kilometers per hour, reasonable ECM of 30%, and there are 2 of them - 3 when playing as Australia. This gives Australia fearsome air to ground bombardment capabilities.
  • A-4K Kahu. Although slow, the Kahu is still a very impressive AT plane, packing 30 AP missiles with 60% accuracy, and good ECM at 30%. This makes it a very good killer of enemy heavy armor, although the slow speed makes it easy to respond to.

What Australia doesn't do well

  • Australia's line infantry is overpriced and comes in mediocre transports. At 15 points, Digger 90' have a good machine but, but their AT capabilities are limited with just 525 meters range, and their cost is too high. Their transports have 2 machine guns, but only have 1 armor on all sides.
  • The ALSAV-PC only is available with 2 cards. This makes choosing what units get it incredibly difficult. Commandos '90? Reconnaissance infantry? SASR? In a coalition deck, this is not that bad: for Australia, it is a horrible limitation, which forces it to rely upon mediocre 5 point tracked vehicles or Stolly 10 point trucks, which are even worse.
  • There are no high AP infantry-launched ATGMs. Certainly, the base Milans which Australia has aren't bad. They are cheap and come in 5 point transports, so they can be scattered all over the map. But Australia lacks heavily for high powered AT weaponry, so its limited ATGM selection hurts.
  • Australia has a terrible artillery selection. Australia's M108 howitzer is worse than useless, with mediocre accuracy, awful HE performance, bad range, and
  • Australia has only mediocre anti-helicopter options. It gets a decent MANPAD, and a mediocre Tracked Rapier, which only gets 2.8800 meters range. There is no fast, no long ranged, option against enemy helicopters.
  • There are no tanks more powerful than 55 points. Australia doesn't even get access to top line Leopard 1s, much less more powerful tanks. This is one of the most crippling problems for Australia, since it means that it lacks any survivable units and is heavily lacking in firepower, and has next to no ground-based defense against enemy superheavies.
  • Reconnaissance options have awful AT power. With only base M72 LAWs, Australian reconnaissance infantry of any type is all but helpless before enemy vehicles.
  • Australia has a very limited and bad helicopter selection. The Bushmaster may be unique, but it is probably worse than a regular, TOW-2 armed anti-tank helicopter, and Australia has no regular anti-infantry rocket pod armed helicopters, no ATGM helicopters, no workhorse autocannon armed helicopters. Its helicopter arm is awful.
  • The F4E Phantom II is a terrible fighter. Even in an Australian national deck, it only gets 4 of these planes at veteran level (experience level is of overwhelming importance with aircraft), when they are so overwhelmingly mediocre. 90 points only buys 10% ECM, a 400 meter turn rate, and 7,000 meter range SA guided 40% accuracy missiles, plus terrible short ranged infrared missiles with only 30% accuracy - although at least the 4 HE of these missiles match the 6 HE of its long range missiles, so a hit from both will kill enemy planes. For 10 points more per plane, Czechoslovakia gets access to, in its own national deck, x3 elite MIG-23 MLs, which have the same turn rate and ECM but whose long ranged missiles are massively superior, with 7,700 meter range and 50% accuracy, as well as 50% accuracy short ranged missiles - although unfortunately the combined HE impact from both is only 4. But the much better veterancy levels, range, and accuracy of the Czechoslovak fighters make them much better. If Australia got 4 of its fighters at elite levels, they might be adequate, but at veteran they are terrible.
  • Australia has no SEAD. Without SEAD, it has no capability to suppress and engage enemy air defense.

What Australia fails to synergize

Unfortunately, this is not the end of Australia's woes, since many of its weaknesses have a very negative effect on the strengths that it does have. One of Australia's big strengths is the motorized opening of its ALSAV-PCs, ASLAV-25s, and Vickers Mk. 11. Unfortunately the lack of mobile and high range anti-helicopter options makes protecting this against enemy helicopters very hard. It also lacks for high AP ground units following up to deal with enemy heavy tanks.

Australia lacks heavily for any artillery, which makes its ability to suppress enemy units and positions during an assault all but non-existent: its only strength is its ability to deploy mortar smoke, but then every nation save for Poland can do this easily. At the least, other nations can stun enemy units in forests and cities, but Australia's inability to do this makes it hard for them to attack, while their forest fighting strength is very much limited by their inability to protect against enemy bombers and their limited anti-vehicle strength if heavily armored enemy vehicles appear. The only section where Australian infantry could do very well is deep inside cities - but this is a rare occurrence in Wargame: Red Dragon.

Worse is in regards to its airpower. Australia has excellent air to ground options with its F-111C and A-4K Kahu. Unfortunately Australia's bad fighters and SEAD prevent this from being very effective against an enemy with a combined air defense and fighter network: the planes will be shot out of the sky.

Australia's great strengths of infantry and aircraft are thus largely useless, because they lack the supporting arms to put them to use.

Australia - the worst Wargame faction

In summary, what makes Australia bad? Australia is a fundamentally very inflexible faction, one whose strings it finds difficult to bring to bear, and whose weaknesses are difficult to counter. Australia's strength is based on very good infantry-to-infantry forces, fast motorized fighting units, and excellent air-to-ground support options. On paper, this sounds very promising. However, in practice all of these strengths have great weaknesses which make them much less useful. Its infantry combat is let down in forests by the lack of ability to protect itself from enemy airpower and limited anti-armor capability, which means it struggles against enemy units like BMPTs or forest fighting tanks. In cities it can do better - but this is a very niche combat zone in Wargame. Its motorized striking forces lack staying power, without motorized long-ranged anti-helicopter units, and exceptionally little capability to deal with enemy tanks once they engage. Its air-to-ground aircraft are good - but they lack survivability in light of Australia's terrible fighters and complete lack of SEAD aircraft.

Its own defense against enemy strategies is limited, and among the worst in the game for defending against a well coordinated attack of enemy super heavy, or even heavy, tanks. When dealing with a well coordinated tank push relying upon effective smoke, preferably with air-defense, there is next to nothing Australia can do. Its only available options, tank destroyers and anti-tank planes, are neutralized by smoke, and it cannot wrest command of the air from the enemy with its inadequate fighters, nor neutralize enemy air defense with SEAD.

Against a player using a lot of helicopters, the slow nature of Australian anti-helicopter vehicles, and reliance on MANPADs, makes it exceptionally hard to respond and deal with enemy helicopter attacks.

And what about an air-centric player? Australian anti-aircraft units are decent enough, but vulnerable to SEAD, and Australia lacks good fighters to back up the air defense: against any competent workhorse fighters, it will lose command of the air. Against enemy artillery, the situation is even worse, since Australia has no artillery of its own to respond with,

Australia is the worst faction in Wargame because of this - because it cannot exercise its own strengths because they do not synergize well, and because it cannot respond well to enemy attacks. Other similarly weak limited nations have some viable strategy. Norway is excellent at forest fighting, with a wide range of powerful infantry options, and it has superb air defense and fighter options which can ensure that it protects itself from enemy airstrike, alongside SEAD and bombers of its own to pummel enemy positions. It might lack even more terribly than Australia in open country against enemy superheavy tanks - but at least it has the high AP infantry to deal with them in forests or closer quarters. Denmark has a viable strategy of a grinding mechanized offensive, and North Korea has a reasonably well rounded deck, lacking principally in reconnaissance forces. Australia is the unique stand out faction, in lacking both a strategy and a response to the enemy. For this reason, it is the worst in Wargame.

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