Welcome to Cold War Gamer, a blog I am using to record my Cold War wargaming projects. These range from fictitious Cold War hot projects to historical conflicts that took place around the globe throughout the Cold War era, all modelled and gamed in 20mm. The blog includes links to various resources useful to the Cold War Gamer.

My current projects include: Central Front; British & Soviet. South African Bush War; Angolans and South Africans. Soviet Afghan War; Soviets and Afghans

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

ORBAT - Soviet Late 80's Breakthrough Capability Part 2, Army Independent Flame Thrower Battalion

The Army Independent Flame Thrower Battalion has always been a little difficult to pin down,  FM 100-2-3 identifies it as being part of the organisation for a Soviet Army although it is hard to find evidence for the detail of the units organisation and structure.  Putting this post together has therefore involved a deal of speculation and conjecture to fill in the gaps around the available facts.

Flame Throwers in the Soviet Army have traditionally been employed by chemical troops, who have provided a range of units covering:
  • Flame Throwers
  • Smoke Generation
  • Chemical and Biological detection and decontamination
There are references to the use of flame thrower equipped troops in a number of doctrine publications. Tactics a Soviet view (1984) identifies there use in the chapter on the offensive identifying that they can be used for clearing entrenched enemy in prepared defences. In FM 100-2-2 the section on Urban Operations outlines the organisation for an assault group that would would contain flame weapons as follows:
  • A Motorised Rifle Company
  • One or Two Tank Platoons
  • Anti-Tank Guns
  • An artillery battery in the direct fire role
  • A combat engineer platoon
  • Flamethrower and Chemical Specialists

The same section goes onto look at the task organisation for these units into groups as follows:
  • Attack or Seizure Groups consisting of a motorised rifle platoon reinforced by tanks
  • A Covering and holding group consisting of a motorised rifle platoon reinforced with anti tank guns
  • A fire support group including attached artillery in the direct fire role and Chemical troops with flamethrowers
  • A group of Combat Engineers equipped with bangalore torpedoes and mine clearing devices

The section also articulates some general concepts that are applicable to both Urban operations and more general break through operations against formed defences.  These are that a Division attacks:
  • on a Frontage of 4-6 Kms
  • in two echelons at all levels of command.  
All this demonstrates the doctrine was in place that required flame thrower equiped units to be deployed when faced with either urban operations or the clearance of fortified or heavily defended belts.  Their application in these areas is borne out by use in both the Afghanistan and Chechen conflicts.

Flame Thrower Dismounted Companies

The principal weapon systems deployed by the dismounted flame thrower companies have been the LPO 50 and TPO 50 Flame throwers and the RPO series of thermabaric rocket launchers.

David Isby talks about flame thrower equipped units using LPO-50 and TP0-50 in his section on Engineers.   He notes that these weapons were deployed by Assault Engineers although nearly all other sources clearly attribute the operation of flame throwers to Chemical Troops.

The LPO-50 is conventional Flame Thrower firing a jet of flame 50-70m and contains enough fuel for 6 Bursts.  The TPO-50 was a heavier trolly mounted variant.

The RPO-A or "Sheml"is a recoilless, shoulder launched rocket with a thermabaric warhead that was introduced into service in 1984 and replaced the more traditional LPO-50 back pack flame thrower. David Isby notes a gradual transition with the RPO-A augmenting the LPO-50 in the first instance.  The weapon was used to equip flame thrower platoons and these were deployed in both Afghanistan and Chechnya. Evidence from both conflicts notes that these platoons would be attached to Motor Rifle Battalions as required.  In Chechneya these assets were employed to clear villages as well as cities.  

At one stage it was proposed that the flamethrower platoons would become a permanent feature of the Infantry battalions as they were used so extensively. Whilst this did not happen the proposed organisation of the flame thrower platoon would seem a good model to use for the dismounted element of the Flame Thrower Battalion.  The platoon proposed consisted of two APCs with 14 Gunners and 28 RPO launchers split into two sections one mounted in each vehicle. 

In Afghanistan their is evidence that sections were mounted in BTR series vehicles and in Chechnya BMP2.  The Current Flame thrower battalion has a company mounted in MTLB and a company in BTO.  Other than the BTO which did not enter service until well after the Cold War ended you have a reasonable degree of choice for transport.  At the moment I am torn between BMP2 and MTLB.

The modern Russian Army has at least two flame thrower battalions each is  equipped with 1 Company of TOS-1 and 2 Companies of Assault infantry one in MTLB and one in BTO.  I have read somewhere but cannot currently find the reference, that each Assault company contains only two platoons.  This seems a reasonable structure for the Cold War Battalion.

Flame Thrower Tank Company

Both David Isbey and the current Russian Army include Flame Thrower capable tanks within the Flame Thrower equipped units. David Isbey identifies the TO-55 as being present in Assault Engineer Regiments and goes onto state that a platoon of tanks would directly support motor rifle troops engaged in urban operations and when attacking fortifications or a fortified zone this is in line with the historical evidence from Chechnya.

The TO-55 was a conventional flame thrower tank based on the T-55 that could fire a Jet of Flame unto 200m.  Sufficient fuel was carried by the vehicle for a maximum of 12 bursts.

The other vehicle of interest here is the TOS-1 Buritano.  The TOS-1 is a short range direct fire 220mm Multiple Rocket Launcher based on a T-72 chassis that entered service in the late 80's or early 90's depending on your reference.  Nearly all references agree that it was trialled in Afghanistan prior to the end of that conflict.

The vehicle can fire either a full salvo of 30 rockets or can fire pairs of rockets.  These can engage targets up to a range of 3,500m,  this range has increased with the development of the TOS-1A to around 6,000m, minimum range is stated as 400m.  The Area of coverage quoted is 400m x 200m and I assume this is for a full Salvo so an individual missile approximates to 70m x 35m.

Reports from Chechnya also discuss the deployment of TOS-1 in support of infantry operations and here they identify that 2 vehicles would be used to reinforce the Regimental Artillery Group.  It is worth remembering that the Soviet Army's doctrine on the use of Artillery encourages direct fire engagements so this is not a particularly unusual approach.

Possible Organisation of the Battalion

Based on this evidence you have to ask what organisation would make sense?  
  • A regiment in the Assault would probably only put the Flame units in the first echelon and assaults against fortified zones and Urban areas would be made with 2 echelons at all organisational levels.  A regiment would need to provide support for two of the three battalions at any one time.  This is similar to the doctrine used for the use of  armour in offensive operations.
  • The evidence form Chechnya and Afghanistan notes that a flame thrower platoon supported a battalion.
  • The evidence from Chechnya that 2 TOS-1 would support a Regiment under the control of the RAG suggest that a platoon consisted of 2 TOS-1, I assume the TO-55 was operated in platoons of 3.
  • Janes Armour and Artillery states that only 24 TOS were produced and speculates these would be deployed at front level, although there would seem to be no obvious unit for them to deploy to.  Interestingly 24 vehicles give each army independent flame thrower battalion in GSFG 4 vehicles and this would provide sufficient for a company of two platoons of two vehicles for each. 
  • This begs the question why you would deploy this type of unit to a Tank Army which was doctrinally not likely to be engaged in the sorts of operations where these equipments would be of use this would potentially mean that sufficient capability existed to push TOS-1 wider potentially covering the Northern and Central Groups of Forces. 

A Likely Orbat for the Flame thrower battalion would seem to be:
  • 2 Assault Companies each of 2 Platoons of 2 Sections of 7 Men deploying 14 RPO-A 
  • 1 Tank Company of 2 Platoons
For my Flame Thrower units I am going to assume the Soviet Army would task organise a group of two dismounted Flame Thrower platoons and a Tank Flame Thrower platoon to support a regiment.    The Army Flame thrower battalion proposed would be capable of supporting two regiments and this was sufficient to support a single Divisional breakthrough operation or Urban Assault where the Division would generally be assaulting with two regiments in the first echelon.

Of interest the planning norms for artillery support to such operations in term of the number to tubes required per km also suggest that an Army could support only one breakthrough operation or Urban assault at a time.  Given the way that Artillery in the first echelon is reinforced by the Second it is also feasible that a similar principal might be applied.  

As ever in the Cold War the introduction of Offensive weapons late in the period fell foul of the changing political and economic circumstances that drove the Cold War to its conclusion.  As ever different political circumstances would have lead to different outcomes, particularly if a situation in which conflict would have started could be imagined.  Having said that based on the above the proposed Flame thrower battalion organisation and equipment would seem both reasonable and sufficient given the Soviet Army's doctrine.

Wargames Orbat

The Battalion will be equipped as follows:
  • Pre 1984 - TO-55 Flame tanks and LPO-50 (the LPO-50 organisation would deploy 2 Flame throwers per section and sections would probably be of 8 men)
  • Post 1985 - TO-55 Flame Tanks, with a mix of LPO-50 and RPO-A
  • Post 1989 - TOS-1 and RPO-A for Armies in the forward group of forces.
  • There is evidence to suggest that a purpose built BMP2 was introduced to carry RPO teams, I believe this was a result of operations in Chechnya.  MTLB, BTR or BMP 1 or 2 would seem reasonable.
As I play a Modern adoption of Rapid Fire and use model scale of 1:3, I intend to generate an  Flame thrower Assault support group of:              

  • 1 Tank Company of 1 TOS-1 Buratino or TO-55,
  • 1 Dismounted Company of 2 BMP 2 or 2MTLB  and 4 RPO-A, 1 Officer

Rapid Fire Rules Amendments
I suppose the other aspect that needs to be considered is the corresponding effects though I am inclined to keep damage as a flame weapon, perhaps modifying the in building rule, which currently states no casualties but catches fire and has to be abandoned.  Other than that it would seem sensible incorporate the range, area of effect and PHit of the relevant rocket systems.

I do confess that my interest in this capability is not only stimulated by a desire to understand what the Soviets did but also to build and deploy the rather handy looking TOS-1 produced by Modelcollect


Saturday, 13 September 2014

Review - Models 1/72, Hobby Den MTLB

The MTLB was produced from 1970 and included over 80 different variants across the estimated 12,000 vehicles produced.  The primary role of the vehicle was as an Artillery Tractor for Anti Tank or Towed 122mm artillery systems. Additionally the vehicle was used for APCs, Engineer, Anti-tank, Air Defence, Artillery Command and Observation Posts, Air Defence Command and Observation posts and Chemical Reconnaissance.  So a very versatile vehicle, within my forces I currently use them in the Artillery tractor, Command and Observation Post and 120mm Mortar tractor roles and have sufficient to mount a couple of motor rifle battalions if I had a desire to have a Finish or Northern Norway game.

I am aware of 3 different models on the market though I am sure their are more.  The 3 I have used all have their merits and cover quite different price points and skill levels as follows:
  • ACE currently out of production, if you look hard you can still find them for around £14 a unit.  They build to a very nice model of the system but come with the usual ACE challenges.
  • S&S The S&S model is the simplest of the lot with about 3 parts and has its limitations but it is also the cheapest at £9 including P&P which is excellent value.
  • In the middle of the field is the Hobby Dens offering and the subject of this review at €15 which approximates to £12 most of the time.

The Hobby Dens model is a resin and white metal re-cast of the old MMS metal MTLB and is a great looking model when built. Both my copies were crisply cast in cream coloured resin with no air holes or significant defects leaving no work to be done on the hull before assembly.  Resin has been used to produce the body of the vehicle and the turret with the hatches doors, weapons and tracks all being cast in white metal.  The white metal parts are well cast with excellent levels of detail and are generally flash free requiring little preparation before assembly.

Assembly is straight forward and simple, unusually for resin models hatches can be modelled open or closed which provides a lot of options for crewing the wagons as this includes the hatches over the crew compartment as well as the driver and commander.  all the hatches have associated receased hull areas  which allow crew figures to be set into the model.  It's a shame more manufactures don't take the same approach.  

The completed model builds into a nicely detailed representation of the vehicle which captures the hull shape well.  The model is a little larger than the ACE kit but works well with the 1/72 BMPs and tanks that I deploy it with.  All up a great model and one which with the demise of the ACE kits I will be using in my motor rifle battalions from now on.

In Soviet service they are generally seen very lightly stowed even when photographed in a range of the post Cold War conflicts.  As ever un-ditching beams are a feature of Soviet vehicles and there would appear to be a number of options for stowing them on the vehicle.

Either across the back as in the image from South Osettia above or along the side in what looks like a purpose built bracket.   Other than that I have seen images with tarpaulins/boxes stowed on the rear deck or along the side.  The only images of vehicles I have seen festooned with packs belong to the US Army's OPFOR. The marking options pretty much follow those outlined in the post on Soviet vehicle markings with Numbers and formation symbols appearing on the rear door and hull side.

The exact position on the hull side can vary with some vehicles sporting them on the rearward part of the angled front.

So with this in mind I have lightly stowed my MTLBs, using plastic rod and green stuff to place an un-ditching beam on to the right hand side of the vehicle along with a tarpaulin and crate on the back decks.

The two models having a slightly different arrangement of equipment.  Stowage is variously by Black Dog, Goffy.  The crew figure is one of Ellhiem's German tank Crew which make pretty handy Soviet Tank crew as well, The Driver in this instance could have been made for the model.

I have painted the vehicle in line with my other Soviet equipment in green, although having converted to an airbrush I am now using the following paint scheme:
  • The vehicle is given an overall coat of Tamiya XF-13 JA Green, and is then washed with a dilute solution of  badab black.
  • The panels were then painted over using a mix of JA Green and Tamiya XF - 65 Field Gray.
  • The detail was then picked out with a pin wash of Humbrol Blue Grey Wash.

  • The stowage, tracks and crew figure were painted with a variety of Vallejo colours, the whole vehicle was then sealed with a coat of Tamiya Matt clear and the decals were then applied using Micro set before receiving another coat of Tamiya Matt Clear
  • The vehicle was then weathered using the Humbrol dust wash and an overspray of Tamiya XF-59 Desert Yellow

I decided to mark the vehicle using both a vehicle identification number and a unit symbol, the unit in  the Soviet army being the regiment.

The decals used were from the modelcollect large decal sheet which has a variety of regimental markings and stencilled numbers although the numbers lack the variety of size need for the rear door and these I got from a Scotia set.

The MTLB is based on laser cut MDF bases supplied by East Riding miniatures, these are covered in a mix of sand and white glue before painting.  Once dry a range of basing materials have been used to create the vegetation on the base.

This is quite an exceptional model of the MTLB and stands up well in comparison to the ACE kit, I would even go so far as to say that I prefer it and in a number of areas it has better levels of detail.  Next years project is a BTR equipped regiment with a towed Artillery Battalion so I expect I will be making a few more.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Review - Book, The Iron Division, The History of the 3rd Division 1809-1989

Iron Division is an excellent little reference book on the 3rd Divisions History from 1809-1989 the first edition was published in 1978 and written by Robin McNish.  This review focuses on the revised edition, published in 1989.  In 1986 the division approached Charles Messenger who was both a historian and a watch keeper on the Divisions staff to update the text to cover the Divisions activities in the period 1978 - 1989 which produced some very focused writing on the late Cold War period .

From my perspective all the post war content is relevant and illuminating charting as it does change in the British Army through the eyes of the Divison up until 1989 however the most useful chapters are 11 and 12 which deal respectively with:
  • The 1970's; 3 Division Role as the UKMF which was a NATO rolled reinforcement division deployable to either flank.
  • The 1980's; which covers the restructuring to and from field forces, the evolving doctrinal concepts around forward defence and a very detailed look at the life of the Division which is particularly revealing in the context of the exercises it participated in.
The remainder of the Book covers the History of the division through the following conflicts:
  • Napolionic Wars
  • Crimean War
  • Boar War
  • 1st World War
  • 2nd World War
The bulk of the book covers post 1944 operations and about 1/3 is dedicated to post 1950s operations the final two chapters total around 140 pages and are focused fairly exclusively on activities in the later stages of the Cold War.  It is very much a "unit" history and with extensive coverage of peace time life there is a fair bit of content on Royal visits and D Day commemorations.  That aside their are some real gems in the last two chapters which benefited from being published post Cold War and written by an historian who was a Divisional watch keeper so had significant knowledge of the wider operational context.

I picked up my copy second hand, if you can source it for under £5 its definitely worth a look. Just make sure you get the right version as the 1978 publication probably has limited Cold War coverage.

Iron Division - History of 3rd Division: 1809-1989 @ amazon

Other Book Reviews:

Sunday, 24 August 2014

ORBAT - 1980s British BG, NATO Reinforcement Part 2, The Infantry Brigades

In the late 1980's the British Army purchased the AT105 Saxon APC and converted a number of light role infantry battalions to the Mechanised Wheeled role.  These units were part of 3 Infantry Brigades with reinforcement roles onto the continent in time of war. The purpose of this post is to look at the organisation of these brigades how they changed over the period and the range of units and subunits that could be task organised as battle groups with the Mech (Wh) battalions.

The 3 Regular Army infantry Brigades converted were:
  • 19 Brigade a component of 3rd Armoured Division which was the Corps Reserve,  in 1986 the brigade became part of 4th Armoured Division.
  • 24 Brigade in 2nd Infantry Division provided rear area security, in 1988 the Brigade converted to the Airmobile role.
  • 1 Brigade formed the core component of the United kingdom Mobile Force (UKMF) and deployed to LANDJUT as part of the AFNORTH force to defend Denmark.
In addition there were a variety of Armoured Corps, Artillery, AAC, and Engineer units with direct reinforcement roles who deployed with these brigades.

There is a degree of conflicting evidence both for the organisation of the Brigades and the battalions. This I believe has to do with a number of factors:
  • The production rate and the rate of introduction of the Saxon between 1984 - 1989.
  • The two Orbats that were produced for Mech (Wh) Battalions, which may well have been a function of the production rate. 
  • The re rolling of 24 Bde as an Airmobile Brigade in 1988.
  • The variance between the formation deployment environments:
    • The 1 Brigade UKMF deployment had no parent British division.
    • The 24 Bde deployment with 2nd Infantry Division which was a TA division with a distinctive  Orbat that included 2 Yeomanry Recce Regiments and TA Air Defence assets.  Although A Rapier Regiment was allocated to defence of the Line of communication area.
    • The 19 Bde 4 Division deployment which was in the context of a regular Division.
  • The lack of a Mechanised Division HQ which lead to units being allocated under command of particular Brigades for peace time administration, deployment to theatre and operations.
  • Equipment change such as the withdrawal  of Fox and replacement initially by Scimitar then by Sabre.

Saxon Unit Conversion

The production rate of Saxon governed the conversion rate of the brigades.  I have no data in which order units converted but have hypothesised a scenario which illustrates the issues.  An examination of the purchasing production and reorganisation cycle can provide if not the answer then a level of understanding of what may have been going on:

  • Saxon was first produced in 1975 and was purchased by the British Army in 1983. 
  • The Initial order for 47 Vehicles saw first deliveries arrive with Kings Own Royal Border Regiment in 1984. 
  • This was followed by a second order for 247 vehicles that was further extended in 1985 by further 200. 
  • Production was complete in 1989. 

A total of 447 vehicles were produced in 5 Years, assuming the production rate was fixed then GKN were producing 89 per year. The  total order of 494 vehicles allowed 6 Battalions to be equipped with 64 vehicles with 110 left over for war maintenance Reserve.  This would enable three Brigades to consist of two Mech (Wh) battalions and 1 light role battalion which is one of the Orbats stated for these Brigades. RA Air Defence Battery Command variants were subject to a separate order completed in 1987 as were 100 Saxon Patrol purchased in 1991 for internal security.

A roll out plan to convert 3 Brigades to 2 Mech (Wh) Bns and 1 Light Bn with units initially converting to the 43 vehicle orbat then to the 64 vehicle orbat given a production rate of 89 vehicles a year could look like this:
  • 1983 Initial Production and delivery 47 Vehicles
  • 1984 
    • 1 Bn converted KORBR 24 Bde.
    •  Bde Orbats 24 Bde 1 Mech Bn, 2 Lt Bn. 19 and 1 Bde 3 Light Bn.
  • 1985 
    • 2 Bn converted (86 vehicles), I assume 19 Bde, (1 STAFFORDS records converting in 1985).
    •  Bde Orbats 24 Bde 1 Mech Bn(43), 2 Lt Bn. 19 Bde, 2 Mech Bn(43), 1 Light Bn and 1 Bde 3 Light Bn.
  • 1986 
    • 2 Bn converted (86 vehicles), I assume 1 Bn 24 Bde, 1 Bn 1 Bde, 
    • Bde Orbats 24 Bde 2 Mech Bn(43), 1 Lt Bn. 19 Bde, 2 Mech Bn(43), 1 Light Bn and 1 Bde 1 Mech Bn(43) 2 Light Bn.
  • 1987 
    • 1 Bn converted 2 upgrade to full fleet (85 vehicles), I assume 1 Bn 1 Bde and 2Bn upgrade 64 vehicles. 19 Bde.
    • Bde Orbats 24 Bde 2 Mech Bn(43), 1 Lt Bn. 19 Bde, 2 Mech Bn(64), 1 Light Bn and 1 Bde 2 Mech Bn(43) 1 Light Bn.
  • 1988 
    • 4 Bn upgrade to full fleet (84 vehicles), 1 Bde and 24 Bde, 
    • Bde Orbats 24 Bde 2 Mech Bn(64), 1 Lt Bn. 19 Bde, 2 Mech Bn(64), 1 Light Bn and 1 Bde 2 Mech Bn(64) 1 Light Bn.
  • 1989
    • War Maintenance Reserve and complete production. 
    • 24 Bde convert to airmobile and pass on a Bn of Saxons to 19 Bde, (1 Bn in 24 Brigade remained Mechanised when they initially converted).
    • Bde Orbats 24 Bde 1 Mech Bn(64), 2 Lt Bn. 19 Bde, 3 Mech Bn(64), and 1 Bde 2 Mech Bn(64) 1 Light Bn.

Once all the 24 Brigade units converted to Airmobile or when the brigade adopted its 2 Infantry Bn, 2 Aviation regiment structure in 1994 then 1 and 19 Brigade could each consist of 3 Mech (Wh) Battalions each. Whilst the order of conversion is not clear the impact of the production rate on Brigade and unit Orbats can be appreciated, different policies for issuing vehicles would produce different patterns.

against this hypothetical deployment model the following brigade orbats are supported:
  • A 2 Mech Bn 1 Light Bn Bde can be Fielded from 1985
  • A 1 Mech Bn, 2 Light Bn Bde could be fielded from 1984 until 1986.
  • Type A(43) Mech Bns (an invented term) can be fielded from 1984 until 1987
  • Type A(64) Mech Bns (an invented term) can be fielded from 1987
  • A 3 Mech Bn Bde can be fielded from 1989

In addition to the infantry units that were part of the Infantry Brigade a range of other units would also be included in the Brigades Orbat.  The detail of these is outlined below.

Armoured Corps

  • The Wimbish Recce Regiment which provided the Formation Recce Regiment for 3rd Armoured Division and later for 4th Armoured Division is shown in a number of sources as under Command 19 Bde (QDG and then 17/21L).
  • The Tidworth Recce Regiment is shown under command UKMF, 1 Bde  less 1Sqn which deployed to AMF(L),  (13/18 Hussars).
  • The Tidworth Armoured Regiment (4RTR then Royal Hussars) shown under command UKMF but allocated routinely to both 1 and 19 Brigade. (HQ + 3 Sqn to 19 Brigade as Type 43, 1 Sqn UKMF to 1 Brigade). Their is  evidence from Exercises that this could be varied (See Below).


  • 3 Engineer Regiments supplied at least a Squadron to each of the brigades whilst their main roles lay else where, these were:
    • 22 Engineer Regiment Tidworth shown under command UKMF, (1Bde)
    • 38 Regiment RE Ripon, 51 Fd Sqn (AM) to 24 Bde, 
    • 39 Regiment RE


  • a Low Level AD Battery, Rapier from 16 AD Regt is shown under command UKMF, which provided area air defence for UK Forces in LANDJUT, I have assumed this was not required by other Brigades as they would come under there parent Division. 
  • 40/45 Regt RA, 26 Regt and 47 Regt variously supported the 3 Bdes all equipped with FH70 155mm towed howitzers. I am assuming that some stage the TAC parties for these regiments received Saxon but have no evidence, other than a general policy of conformance with the supported units vehicle type.
  • An AD Battery, 21 Battery RA shown as under command 24 Brigade, but I believe this probably provided a Troop to each brigade. I am also assuming they were Spartan mounted.

  • 2 AAC Sans 657 Sqn allocated to (19 Bde) and 656 Sqn (1Bde). with 1 Brigades role as UKMF it seems clear that 656 Squadron would support throughout, whilst 657 Squadrons relationship with 19 Brigade is less clear.
A Mechanised Brigade Orbit

If we ignore the Wimbish regiment as it was clearly allocated to divisional Recce and assume that the Tidworth regiment whilst organised with 3 Recce squadrons and a GW squadron might on War have deployed 4 balanced squadrons. Then a Standard Mech Brigade with the infantry component outlined above could be accommodated that would additionally contain:
  • Up to 1 TA Light Role Battalion
  • Up to 3 Armoured Squadron Chieftain and Recce Troop Scorpion, 
  • Up to 2 Armoured Recce Squadrons, usually 1, for 24 Brigade this could potentialy be Yeomanry or Regular.
  • 1 FH 70 Regiment
  • 1 Engineer Field Squadron
  • Up to 1 AAC squadron
  • 1 AD Troop Javelin
  • Up to 1 Rapier Battery
Equally there was enough stuff for a mechanised Division though I suspect no sensible place to send it hence the 3 Independent Brigades.

Exercise Task Organisation

Groupings for exercises can also illuminate the issue:
  • A History of the Royal Hussars indicates that "The Regiment as a whole came under command of HQ United Kingdom Mobile Force and in August 1989 and February 1990, took part in two major exercises, Crimson Rambler I and II, on Salisbury Plain”
  • Lionheart 1984
    • 4RTR at the time was the Tidworth Regiment deployed 2 Squadrons and Recce troop on the exercise having deployed with 19 Bde they were then grouped and regrouped through out the exercise:
      • A Sqn to 19 Bde a B Squadron to 24 Bde
      • Battlegroup to 19 Bde,
      • Battlegroup to 20 Armd brigade
    • 24 Bde was reinforced with a TA Bn and detached from 2. Div which received the Bundeswehr's 53 HS Brigade.
This demonstrates the flexibility in Brigade and Divisional task organisation, which would be driven by the higher level scenario.

Many of the photos shown here are from the excellent Military Database site which contains a large number of photographs of NATO exercises in the Cold War and is an excellent resource.

Other Posts of interest:

Cold War Gamer, a Post War Gaming Facebook information stream.