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 Border War; Angolans and South Africans. Soviet Afghan War; Soviets and Afghans

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Review - Books, First Clash, K Macksey

First Clash 1985, Kenneth Macksey.  Kenneth Macksey is an ex armoured core officer who served in WW2, he wrote first clash as a training publication for the Canadian DOD.  The book deals with the deployment of 3 Royal Canadian Regiment (3RCR) Battlegroup as part of a 4 Canadian Mech Brigades defensive battle plan and the attack against them by 290 Motor Rifle Regiment and 301 Tank Regiment. The book covers the organisation and rolls of the various sub components of a Canadian Armoured Battle Group.  The Battle Group comprises 3 Mechanised Companies, Anti Tank Platoon, Recce Platoon, Morter Platoon, a Tank Squadron, a Battery of Guns and an Air Defence section of Javalin.  In addition it covers support from the brigades Helicopter Squadron and the use of Engineers to create an obstacle plan. It considers the preparation for and deployment to the defended locations, the sequence of the battle preparation and the detail of the occupation of the defence, then the actions against the two Soviet units which includes their engagement of 3RCR's covering force elements followed by the main action and the sequence of arrival by the Soviets onto the RCR positions.  It closes with the 4 Canadian Mech Brigade  withdrawing covered by the Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD) Squadron Group comprising 2 Troops of armour and a mechanised platoon from the Royal 22e Regiment (R22R) together with two sections of anti armour weapons and support from the RCD Recce platoon in Lynx supported by the Brigades Artillery Regiment and unit morters.

It covers the subject well having been written in conjunction with the Canadian DoD and not only provides some excellent orbat data for the Canadians but also provides a real flavour of what NATO trained for and to some extent expected to happen.  It lays out the procedures for the whole action with the intent of providing instruction for Junior Officers, so not necessarily the most exciting read but a great book none the less if your interested in the cold war on the central front in the 1980s.  I am currently collecting the components of a canadian battle group and hope to get on with it in more detail later in the year or maybe next year so more to come on the Canadians.

First Clash: Combat Close-Up in World War Three  @Amazon

Other Book Reviews

Soviet Air Land Battle Tactics
The Military Balance
Encyclopaedia of the Modern British Army
The Soviet Conduct of Tactical Manoeuvre
The Third World War
The British Army in Germany

The Cold War Bookstore contains links to over 60 Cold War titles covered in my book list


  1. Andy,
    I agree - First Clash was tough to get behind while reading but is an excellent resource for all things '80s Cold War. I have a tattered copy on my shelves!

  2. Cold War Gamers,

    I read this book in the eighties after it was recommended to me by a group of Canadian Army Cadets on an exchange to a UKLF Cadet Leadership course. I lapped up the book and believe that 4CMBG offers a superb discrete project to model and game. Macksey's book provides an excellent resource and I look forward to seeing how this thread may develop.
    Aye, Rusty

  3. Ah, First Clash! It's the mutt's nuts as far as I'm concerned. Love it! Might be a bit of a dry read in parts, but much better than Zalonga's Red Thrust.


  4. I've not seen this book but was impressed with the same author's book 'Tank Warfare: a history oftTanks in battle' (1971/76) If 'First Clash' is of similar quality, then it will be indeed a good and informative read.

    'Tank Warfare' begins with the the trench impasse of WW1, and ends with the Yom Kippur war of 1973, concluding with a look at what was then the future.
    I recommend it highly, if you ever find a copy. Mine, as well read books do, is falling to pieces... :(

  5. I wasn't aware of your site until this evening but can see I have plenty of reading to do.

    Your post on "first Clash" prompted me to have search for a second hand copy of this book, which I had meant to do a few years ago. Now ordered hopefully my copy will arrive in a few weeks...

  6. This book has now crossed my Desk and I am looking forward to reading this. Equally "The Rusty Nail" is playing the CMBG in my 15mm Cold War Campaign, so I've got a double interest in this book!

  7. Love the book, and it inspired me to build my own 4CMBG force in 6mm. https://cama4.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/4cmbg-pictures/

    1. good looking force it is too thanks for the reference