Both these books have a broadly similar approach to telling the story of the first Gulf War from the perspective of two of the Armoured Infantry Battalions the Royal Scots and The Staffords. the First Gulf war followed on from Iraqs invasion of Kuwait, which from Saddam Husseins point of view was one of the most badly timed moves in history, coinciding as it did with the end of the Cold War and releasing one of the largest and most well trained armoured forces of all time to do something else.
So why are these books of interest to the Cold War Gamer? The war they describe in some detail at battle group level was fought by men who were organised, trained and equipped to fight on the Central Front against a Soviet equipped and trained force. Arguably they swapped the plains of Northern Europe for the deserts of Iraq and Kuwait and cracked on. As such the Tactics Techniques and Procedures that fall off the pages in the many interviews that were conducted to bring these books together were those that would have been used in Europe if the Cold War had gone Hot in the late 1980's.
The equipment disparity between the Soviet Army and the Iraqi army was considerable and undoubtedly gave us an easier run. Likewise our ability to concentrate equipment and combat power together with the rapid introduction into service of a number of modifications gave us an arguably more capable force than we could have deployed in Europe. Although some aspects of that are worthy of study in terms of what can be achieved in short order once you know you are going to fight a real war. As ever it remains difficult to second guess what would have happened given a scenario that would have lead to a war in Europe, periods of heightened tension would have lead to changes. Undisputedly the terrain was different, bizarrely in both the Falklands War and the 1st Gulf War the terrain was not disimilar to our main training areas which were themselves unrepresentative of Northern Europes heavily urbanised and wooded terrain. Ultimately the principals are the same it is the detail of the solution that changes.
Both books have similar value really, giving real examples of Task organisation and Tactical deployment and Manouver that directly translate to the central front. They structures and procedures discussed are those that I recognise both from my time as a platoon commander from 1985-1987 and saw played out at BATUS from 1991-1993.
Structurally the books are not disimilar discussing the pre deployment activities, the in theatre Training and the operations. Both provide some useful detail in the later part of the book with interesting insights coming from both the training and the attacks. Equally there are some interesting pictures in both books. the books themselves are not great literary works and are written with significant inserts from the soldiers themselves which strains the narrative at times.
If you can get a .01p deal on amazon they are undoubtedly exceptional value for money @ £10 you probably need to think a bit and may even only buy one as there value to the gamer is intrinsically similar.
The Royal Scots in The Gulf @ Amazon
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