Cold War Encounter Battle, Western Europe, 1984

This was a play-test game pitting a small British battlegroup against a much larger Soviet force set at the height of the Cold War in 1984. This was the second time the scenario has been played out on the tabletop, the first game being fought by Mark as the Soviets and myself as the British. The first play-test turned out to be a major Soviet victory, but some of the rules and unit stats needed tweaking, hence this second game. I played solo to test the changes that were made.

The scenario was a standard 8-turn encounter, with the Soviets taking the first turn. One new optional rule is Air Superiority, which is diced for at the start of the game. The British gained full air superiority for the duration of the battle. This indicates that each time the opposing side attempts to bring on air support, the command roll to request the support is reduced. In addition, attack dice are rolled when the support arrives on-table, meaning it could be shot-down or forced to abort the attack as it arrives over the table. This is in addition to any air defences the opposing player has on the table!

British Battlegroup

  Armoured Squadron
    4 x Challenger I
    1 x Lynx AH.1 Attack Helicopter
  Mechanised Infantry Battalion
    6 x Guards platoons in FV-432
    1 x Mortar
    1 x Milan ATGW
    1 x Rapier & Truck
  Motorised Infantry Battalion
    1 x Scorpion Recce
    6 x Guards platoons in trucks
    1 x Mortar
    1 x Milan ATGW
    1 x Blowpipe SAM
  Artillery Support
    3 x Abbot
  Air Support
    1 x FAC
    1 x Jaguar GR.1

Some new features of the game: the British battlegroup is Motivated and is based around Flexible tactical doctrine. The breakpoint was 13. I have no idea of the points cost as the points system hasn't been done yet. The forces on each side are guesstimates on what I think should be reasonably balanced battlegroups. That's what play-testing is all about!

Soviet Battlegroup

  Tank Battalion
  1 x BRDM Recce
  9 x T-72A
  2 x BRDM + Spandrel ATGW
  1 x ZSU-23-4 Air Defence
  1 x Mi-24 Hind D Attack Helicopter
  Motorised Rifle Battalion
  6 x Conscript infantry in BMP-1
  1 x Mortar
  1 x Spigot ATGW
  1 x SA-7 Air Defence
  6 x T-55A
  Motorised Rifle Battalion
  6 x Conscript infantry in BMP-2
  1 x Mortar
  1 x Spigot ATGW
  3 x T-55A
  Artillery Support
  2 x BM-21 Rocket Launchers

The Soviet breakpoint was 23, the battlegroup was Demoralised and the doctrine was Rigid.

The Battle

The Soviets raced on the table during the first turn, using the fast movement of their T-72s and BMPs, reaching the half-way line in the centre of the table at the end of turn 1. However, the movement of command units has been modified slightly to represent different tactical doctrine, so the units out-ran the CO by a fair distance. That'll teach 'em! The battalion with the six T-55s deployed on the right flank, the other one deployed on the left, close to the centre.

The British edged on the table in the centre with the CO and the Challengers. They were already in range of the Soviet tanks, so didn't want to race too far onto the battlefield. Both sides stayed-put in the centre for the duration of the battle, apart from the Challengers edging foward slightly to close the range to half-distance. They out-ranged the Soviet tanks 100cm to 60cm.

Over on the British left flank, both sides were racing for the high ground, the British reaching it first and deploying behind the crest in wait for the Soviets. There was some heavy close fighting later during the battle and the British defeated the Soviets in detail.

On the other flank, the British again went for the high ground and held that all game, giving them a good vantage point to the Soviet mass in the centre and on the (Soviet) left.

Notable actions include the Lynx helicopter getting shot-down by the combined AA fire of the Soviet CO and ZSU; the Jaguar aborting it's attack run on two occasions, again die to the Soviet CO and ZSU; the Spandrel ATGW softening-up both Challengers, with the T-72s finishing them off; the assault on the hill, where the superior British troops defeated the Soviet conscripts.

Oh and the British won this battle, with the Soviets losing 26 units, the British just 5. I hope you enjoyed this taster of what's to come with the new game - whilst there is still a lot to do, it should be worth the wait :-)

The centre of the battlefield where the tank action took place View from the British side Infantry battle for high ground on the British left flank

The British CO The Soviet CO The British deployed for action on the right flank

The end of the battle for the defeated Soviets

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