Friday, 28 September 2012

4. A Fathers Footsteps

Oberst Pieter Fischer looked at the devastation around the HAMBURG HQ and the surrounding suburb, utterly shocked at the level of violence that had been unleashed in less than 12 minutes.  The warning just 3 mins before the strike by the HIND Units and their Spetsnaz Cargo had barely been enough  to get the HQ Garrison to the Armoury.  They should have all died here, but lady luck had saved them, a warm front no less. A warmer spell had melted much of the January snow just enough to make many of the pre-prepared positions flooded and unusable, before it turned cold and iced.  The OiC had shifted his GEPARD battery, so when the HIND’s swept in and struck the long known about prepared positions they hit nothing of value. The counter fire from the Gepards whilst slow at first knocked out three quarters of the Assault force within minutes, several managed to perform controlled crashes close to the HQ and approximately 30 Spetsnaz had carried the assault into the buildings. The firefights were brutal and quick, but the Spetsnaz were off balance, lacking Leadership and reeling from their heavy losses and rapidly lost the initiative. 12 were Captured and they were under guard at the Provost post. Many of the Duty Staff had died, due to a Handful of Spetsnaz that had infiltrated inside the base by 5th columnists and socialist sympathizers. Local staff had been compromised and, in turn, compromised the Facility. It had been deadly to many of the staff who thought the threat was external to the HQ building had never expected its domestic and ancillary staff would be part of an assault force.

The facilities had been thoroughly trashed by a liberal use of High Explosives and there were typewriters, Computers, paperwork and files scattered over a huge area, the heat from the fires within the building had added yet more problems as the snow on the roof melted and flooded the basement and lower floors.  It was utter chaos, he didn't even know where to start, but then that wasn't his task. He was a Commanding Officer of a Frontline Combat unit not a collection of Staff and rear echelon logistics types. But there was a glimmer of hope, the members of the Duty Staff had been eradicated almost to a man, but most of the core staff were on a weekend leave and scattered all over Germany and the Netherlands. They were all racing back, although for what reason he had no idea, his Brigade General was setting up an alternate shoestring HQ using the Brigade HQ as a skeleton for the Divisional HQ, but the communications suite was woefully inadequate for the task.


The British Sector was also in tatters, in point of fact the whole of NORTHAG was in disarray. CENTAG had fared better but was being hit by near continuous Chemical Weapons and conventional rocket attacks which were severely hampering Airbases, Supply depots and HQ’s. The 11th ACR was already in contact and fighting a desperate rear guard but was haemorrhaging as it traded space for time, and kept pressure on the leading Soviet elements. The USAF had been battered, losing over 50% of the desperately needed A-10’s on the ground and the AH-64 had been prioritised by the USSR as well.

What a disaster, this is what my father must have experienced in 1944 he mused to himself. After a quick jog around the HQ building finding no Senior Officers, he grabbed a Staff Captain by the shoulder.

“Right, the 171 are moving East to New positions outside of Hamburg, we will take up defensive positions in and around Elmenhorst. The Ratzeberger See, will force them south and probably south of Moln, if the Garrison at Lubeck holds them back, then the weight of the attack will fall south of Moln. I will setup positions at Elmenhorst and report back”.

“But Sir...The General has not give orders for that..You must await your orders”
“If we wait for orders we will lose Germany, initiative is the only thing that counts on a day like this” replied the Colonel.

With that the Colonel leapt on his Command Marder, and the vehicle moved out. His 6 Companies were already on the Autobahn 24 heading east at the most economical speed; god knew when resupply would come so he had ordered them to drive frugally. His Panzer Grenadier Regiment had an attached Squadron Leopard 2A2. They were the very latest upgraded mark, he was equally pleased with his Marders with their MILAN missile system and gun system they were a potent combination and would no doubt give a good account of themselves, if used wisely. 

Using their Heads; This above all was was his biggest task, to ensure all his men used their heads, and not be raised to anger or rage by the invasion of their homeland. It would be hard watching their people running, the effects of Chemical weapons on their own communities and families, but if they did not fight smart they would lose everything to these Soviet bastards.  There was no point in rushing into the teeth of the advancing Russian hordes, and being destroyed in seconds. He needed every advantage he could muster, in order to slow or stall the Soviet advance and even then it was looking an impossible task.

As his Marder sped on to the Autobahn, his own 2iC, Major Schultz brought him up to speed and  reported that the Recce Platoon of LUCHS vehicles had passed through Elmenhorst and were now fanning out across country to report Enemy movements south of the Ratzeberger See. Well he thought, it’s all in the hands of fate now.  

Monday, 24 September 2012

3. A Rude Awakening

Major Miller was not a happy man, not only had 25% of the Divisions FV432’s broken during the recent Alert Drill and Crash deployment, but he had witnessed some less than competent Leadership by various unit Commanders. The number of thrown tracks and poor field maintenance was reflected by the damning report he had collated in his hand. Track pin’s lost, tool boxes emptied of tools and used as additional storage and a general lack of attention to detail concerning the most basic maintenance. He was so furious with the state of the Divisions Infantry Carriers he had worked late on Friday and into Saturday morning to get this done.  He was intent on delivering this directly to the Divisional Commanders Hands or at least his deputy, so he could drive back to Britain and take a well deserved 10 day leave.

After finishing the report at 2:00 o’clock in the morning, he went to his quarters and crashed out. A quick 4 hour sleep, and he was up, showered, shaved and dressed. A quick dash in the snow from his Quarters to the Mess dining room 30 yards away revealed a quiet morning.  The Officer of the Day was reading Fridays Papers and a couple of young subalterns were planning a trip down to the local town to sample some beer and maybe a local fraulein.

Sitting down heavily, he asked the steward for a pot of Coffee and the full issue breakfast. He looked out of the window and planned his movements for the morning, 1st straight to JHQ and get the Duty Officer to sign for this report, then over to the motorpool to grab his Car which had been serviced by some of his lads for the journey back to the UK, plus he need to borrow some snow chains and bits and bobs. But with the temperature and the overcast clouds, he decided it would be a long day’s drive to Calais, so he was having the full English breakfast and calories be damned.

His breakfast arrived and he tucked in, checking his watch it was 07:50 on the 1st of February, god where is the year going he mused to himself, it felt like Christmas was yesterday. As he mopped up his Breakfast he sat back and helped himself to a second cup of Coffee out of the Pot, and considered going outside again and the drive to drop off the paperwork. Bloody army he thought, when the Divisional Commander wants something on his desk Monday morning 08:00 it really does make a mess of your plans.  
He barely noticed the sound of the Helicopters at first, but the Subalterns were curious, excusing themselves from the table and walked over to the window.
“Bloody Hell Sir ! It’s a HIND!” one of them said
“Don’t be so bloody stupid, Thomas” said the Officer of the Day.

The Major stood up and looked out the window, ready to tear a strip off the younger Officer when he got eyes on this helicopter. But as he looked up, he realised they were all wrong,  it wasn’t a HIND, it was 10 of them, and the nearest one suddenly flared before being hit by a Rapier Missile and exploding and swinging north away from the camp with figures falling out of the rear of the doomed aircraft.

The Major’s mind went into overdrive “JESUS CHRIST! Activate everyone, get to the Armoury! We are about to receive visitors”. The British Army of the Rhine was about to be mauled by the claws of the Bear. 


With some assistance I have created (using a points system) listings for our forces for all NATO and WARPAC forces.

The General content of the lists, will be 1500 points for NATO and 2000 points for WARPAC at least for the first 10 Turns (each turn represents a Day). If NATO survives this it will then be a 2000 point equal battles from Day 10 onwards to represent the Roll-over of Convoys of the US and the Airbridge units.

Sample List.





Sunday, 23 September 2012


I have been inspired and generally informed by the 20mm Wargaming Blog here:-

The quality of research in the posts and detail is really superb and is something I wish to emulate but not copy.  That said, this diagram is so good I couldn't not post it on my own blog. It is an accurate and succinct map showing the dispositions of the NATO and WARPAC major formations and their respective areas and limits of authority.

Items like this are indispensable when planning Wargaming with at least a kernel of believable truth in there. It's fantastic for my gaming group and actually makes a campaign feel alot more believable and helps to flesh out the narrative making it far more interesting to readers and followers.

I cannot recommend Cold War Gamers Blog highly enough.

2. Same Sh*t different Day

Lt Colonel Chris Tempest, Commanding Officer of the famous “Black Horse” US 11th Armoured Cavalry Regiment was visiting observation post Alpha with his Aide. He wanted to do a snap inspection of the position and also to speak to Major Schultz, who had acquitted himself exceptionally at the REFORGER 86 Exercise. He had been pulled out in week 2, to take over from Major Anderson who had been taken off the line and sent to Ramstein by Helo with acute appendicitis. Pulling up towards the turn off, he noticed the road hadn’t been snow ploughed yet, so much for German efficiency. He would bawl out the Soldiers at the outpost for not keeping this vital access clear at all times.  He leant forward and told his Driver “Drive it like you stole it Son. I want those Russkies up in that Observation tower opposite, to see us strong and fearless, not meek and mild like. You understand”.

“Yes Sir!” replied the driver enjoying the official sanction to be reckless; he gunned the engine and hit a snow drift at the side of the road which must have been concealing something solid, it launched the vehicle 3 feet in the air before landing heavily back in the 1 foot of snow in the centre of the road. As he hit his head on the roof of the vehicle, the Colonel instantly regretted his comment but decided to say nothing else on the Journey.

The Vehicle raced into the Compound, and hand brake turned skidding on a patch of snow and ice, coming to a halt across 3 spaces in front of the maintenance shed. This dramatic entrance both surprised and amused the 3 Crewmen who were working on an M1Abrams less than 20 ft away. The maintainers were had the heaters working full blast, but the hatches were all open and keeping the tank warm was a nightmare.

“He know something we don’t Sergeant?” Cpl Lockhart suggested in his southern Drawl.
“Shit, it’s the Colonel, go grab the Boss, and the rest of you run around spread the word. Don’t just stand there MOVE!” shouted Sergeant Ramirez. If the Colonel was this far forwards, in these weather conditions it must be another damn inspection. Great he thought, there goes another maintenance day entertaining Officers and make all the right cooing sounds at the right time. He could do without this crap.

1km away at the Observation tower, the Specialist operating the Ground Radar System detected a huge signal indicating contacts on his quirky and unreliable system. Not being even 50% confident in his equipment, he spent 2 minutes lazily doing a diagnostic, when that gave him nothing, he decided to turn the equipment off and reset it. A further 2 minutes later the Cathode Ray Screen resolved again only with more contacts which were alot closer, giving up on the system altogether, he picked up the high powered optic Carl Zeiss Tele-lens on the tower. Once he visually confirmed it was spurious he would report it to the Duty Officer as another phantom contact. Stupid piece of crap Ground Radar, the army always buys it’s equipment from the lowest bidder he mused to himself.

He swung the Tripod on the bearing and set the range focus before pressing his eyes to the rubber eyepieces and scanning slowly, adjusting the focus as he went. Then he stopped, dead still, barely breathing, He slowly exclaimed “Holy Shit..........” and turned around reaching and hitting the alarm button.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Dramatis Personae


Colonel Bob James - 2nd Battalion Royal Welch (Mechanised)

Oberst Pieter Fischer - Pz Gren Btl 171

Lt Colonel Chris Tempest - 11th ACR "Black Horse"

Major Johanson - Combat Aviation Brigade (7th Bat - 17th Cavalry)

(AH-64, OH-58, UH-60, CH-47)  

Major Chris Miller - Brevet Colonel, Refit & Maintenance Unit, 7th Armoured Division

Colonel Rusty - Brigade Chief of Staff - 4th CMBG

Unknown Commander - Operations directed by SACEUR and NA.


Major Mishka Eduardovich - OiC A Company 201 Motor-Rifle Regiment

Colonel Mikhail Baldovich - 345th Independant Guards Airborne Regiment

Spetznaz  Corps - Unknown Commander

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

1. Campaign Prologue - The Opening Gambit..

The Soviet Union had timed its strike to perfection. NATO units across the West German Plains were returning to base to rest, refit and conduct lessons learned and debriefing after REFORGER 86. It was a cold and Snowy Saturday overcast and grey; the day would be indelibly written into memories of those who survived this day and the hundreds of millions who would watch it unfold on TV stations around the globe.

Another weekend flight for the AWACS crew, running a race track over the Franco-German Border, providing the Air-picture to the HQ’s with its two sisters, one to the north and the other over the Franco-Italian border to the south.  The Air picture was a normal weekend in Europe, trans-Atlantic flights leaving and arriving, others heading for the Middle and Far East. 

It was another dismal weekend duty, causing many of the crew to half-heartedly grumble, lamenting their lack of weekend leave, and resenting the civilians below enjoying their weekends with their friends and families. Just like a month ago when this particular crew had missed New Years Eve through an administrative screw-up. Squadron Ops had promised the crew chief no weekend Duty for the next 3months in return for covering New Year, and the next thing they were back on the Weekend Duty roster. 

This was true military life, there was no union to complain to, no-one to listen to your grievance and  anyway no one likes a whiner. Morale wasn't great but at least they were seeing some sunshine above the cloud base and some smart Airman had jury rigged his Walkman to the internal team speaker system and was currently playing A-HA’s “Sun always shines on TV” . The Chief didn't have the heart to tell him to can it, they needed any morale he could muster, so needs must. Another 5 hours and they would be back on the ground.

The first indication that something was wrong was when all Contact was lost with the E-3 Sentry AWACS over Venlo, the second E-3 Sentry on station to the South noted that Radar Contact was lost as well as communications. The on watch Air Battle Commander on the E3, ventured his opinion that this was a possible catastrophic failure, but the overwhelming electronic jamming that hit them bare seconds later confirmed his, and NATO’s Greatest Fears.  

They were at War, and with his communications were completely jammed, his screens were saturated he couldn’t do a thing, even the encrypted channels were somehow compromised. They frequency shifted to their war-modes on the Radar, and they too were jammed, as was the new frequency  hopping gear. The WARPAC had got all the technical details of all the equipment, even the Top Secret stuff was compromised. Out of options, he sank back in his chair utterly dejected. He had totally underestimated the threat, he always thought NATO could rely on Technology to turn back the hordes, but suddenly being this vulnerable and the weight of the enormity of what was happening, rendered him as useless as the equipment around him. 

The standby RAF Sentry Launched within 5 minutes and immediately went active on its Radar.  The sight that greeted the Air controllers was akin to the sight that greeted the German defenders of the Normandy beaches on D-day.  A veritable and potent air armada was launching and continuously pouring into West German Air space. They had been caught unawares, despite all their technology, skill and resources, they had been napping.  February 1st 1986 went into the History Books as the day when over 3,000 Aircraft clashed over German Airspace and when World War III unleashed its latent cold fury.  

Saturday, 15 September 2012

A Journey back in time...

Fighting out the Cold War in 15mm Scale

Welcome to my Blog charting CARDIFF WARGAMES CLUB's Campaign for the Force in Force - Cold War Gone Hot ruleset. (NOW ABANDONED IN FAVOUR OF OUR OWN CUSTOM RULESET)

Many of us are Veterans of the UK Armed forces or avid history buffs and the ability to play out some of our unrealised nightmare scenarios has a peculiar draw to it. Maybe it's partly the thought of what might have been, how things could have gone so wrong (but actually didn't!), the hours spent under canvas or in various shell scrapes in remote parts of Germany. It is the legacy and doctorine of NATO from that period that has carried through much of the UK armed forces & it's Allies well into the 21st Century. 

Well starting in January 2013, we will begin our journey back to February 1st 1986 post Exercise REFORGER 86 when our fictional Campaign will begin with an overwhelming assault by the WARPAC forces.

All NATO and WARPAC Forces will be represented (including the French) as will Airforces. Artillery and CAS will be determined by positions relative by their HEX's as will items such as MLRS which can be used against whole units across the HEX grid such as DIV HQ's and Artillery Parks.

Deployments will be made on our campaign map, and subsequently fought out on our 6x4 Tables with 15mm scale models. 

So this Blog will act as a Narrative, with some fictional stories to give it direction, but the stories will follow the results of victories, defeats, outrageous bad fortune, or unbelievable luck. I hope in this way to model the fickle nature of lady luck and how that affects modern warfare more than many would care to admit. 

It will also showcase models and forces that will be fighting in this campaign, and hopefully act as an interesting read to others who enjoy this kind of war-gaming.