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

Friday, 27 April 2012

Terrain - Camouflaged Hides

I made these a while ago, the idea is to represent a camouflaged vehicle or unit such that the enemy understands there is something there but not what it is, equally useful for deception, so a not quite hidden unit marker.

Built from CD bases and bits of kit sprue draped in open weave non elasticated bandage soaked in water and white glue then covered in tea leaves, The Tea leaves bit didn't work very well.

Nets are bronze green highlighted with Russian uniform and Desert Yellow, with loads of scatter material and some foliage dumped on top of them.

At the very least they are something a bit different I'll probably use them to represent the location of an unidentified sub unit of unpo Company or Squadron strength

Other Terrain Posts

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

ORBAT - 1980s British BG, Part 5 Royal Artillery

Each division's Divisional Artillery Group consisted of 3 gun Regiments and a Blowpipe Battery. In the 1970s the gun regiments were 2 Abbot Regiments and 1 M109 Regiment and this evolved throughout the 1980s as the Abbots were replaced, this process was not complete by the end of the Cold War in 1993. Each Brigade in the division would be supported by 1 of these gun Regiments fielding equipment of a single type.

In the 1980s the composition of each divisions artillery group evolved as follows:

1st Armoured Division 1 Abbot, 2 M109A2,
3rd Armoured Division 1 Abbot, 1 M109A2, 1 FH70 / Aug 1990, 2 M109A2, 1 FH70
4th Armoured Division 2 Abbot, 1 M109A2 / Apr 1989, 2 M109A2, 1 Abbot / Feb 1990 3 M109A2

Blowpipe batteries are shown as being provided to each Division throughout, this is surprising as Javilin was introduced in 1984 and you would expect the batteries to transition to the new equipment.

In addition the DAG could be reinforced by a variety of assets held by 1 Br Corp or in the UK these included

  • Batteries from 39 Heavy Regiments M110A2s (Converted to MLRS in 1990)
  • Batteries from 32 or 5 Regiments M107s (Converted to MLRS in 1992)
  • Locating support from 94 locating Regiment, provision of additional Mortar locating Troops with Cymbeline
  • Additional 105mm Lt Gun Batteries from the TA 100 and 101 Regiments
  • Tracked Rapier from 22 Air Defence Regiment providing Area Air Defence

  • Javalin air defence missile detachments from the TA Javalin Regiments
Blowpipe I think

The Abbot and M109 Field and RHA Regiments were organised along similar lines with 3 Batteries and an HQ Battery.

HQ Battery: Provided the Regimental HQ this deployed alongside the Brigade HQ and was responsible for the deployment of the Gun Batteries and the allocation of Fire Units in response to requests for fire, In an Abbot Regiment it also included a Troop of 4 Cymberline Mortar locating Radars.

3 Gun Batteries composed of

Battery HQ: The HQ formed 2 Groups:
  • A Tac Party comprising 4 FV432s and 4 OP parties, one of these being the BCs. They were equipped with Laser Range Finders, Night Observation Devices and the ZB298 Ground Surveillance Radar, replaced by MSTAR in 1991.

  • Battery Captains (BK) Party which contained the BK and the BSM who controlled and moved the guns and ensured they were kept supplied. I am not clear on the allocation of vehicles. This was done under the direction of the Regimental HQ who also allocated the Gun Line to tasks.

2 Troops: The Troop consisted of 4 Guns, each supported by a Stalwart for ammunition carriage. A command FV432 and Ferret Scout Car provided the HQ element.

The Battery Tac Party were detached to the supported Battlegroup and provided advice, Fire Planing, and Artillery Observation Posts to call for and control fires. They worked in close cooperation with the Battalion Mortar platoon and would lead on the coordination of all indirect fire including Mortars, Air and Aviation.

There was some confusion over the number of guns in a Battery at this time which may have been due to the difference between the Peace Time and Wartime Establishment of equipment. Most units would increase establishment for war as reservists were called up.

For wargames I currently intend to represent the Gun Group using 2 Abbot and a Stalwart and the Tac Party using 1 FV432. The early 80s Battle Group will be supported by an Abbot Battery with the Late 80s and Early 90s Battle Groups being supported by M109s. In addition an MLRS, M110 and some AS90s might find there way into the collection.


ORBAT 1980s British Battle Group, Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 6Part 7
Encyclopedia of the Modern British Army
The British Army in Germany: An Organizational History 1947-2004
Warpaint: v. 2: Colours and Markings of British Army Vehicles 1903-2003

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Review - Figures 20mm, Elhiem Cold War Soviets in NBC

Matt has had this range out for a few years now to represent Soviet style infantry in chemical warfare protective equipment. In general they represent Soviet troops in the L-1 suit issued to chemical reconnaissance units and crew members

L1 Suit
although the RPG gunner in his long coat clearly represents an unfastened OP 1 combined arms suite that was on general issue to the infantry.

OP 1 Suit worn unfastened

Whilst the L1 suite was a trousers jacket combination the OP1 could be worn long or fastened around the legs so either can be represented using the figures. I am going to use colour to distinguish mine putting the Recce in the blue green suite and the infantry in the brown colour. The range is modelled without helmets, wearing the GP5 gas mask produced in the 70s and 80s, a number of other masks could have been modelled.

The figures carry the usual range of soviet small arms including RPGs and light machine guns. In addition the range includes one figure carrying a chemical detector, one with a pistol and one with a sniper rifle. These will be very useful for the Chemical Recce unit I have planned. The figures are nicely proportioned and posed with excellent weapon detail, they were cleanly cast with little flash and required minimal cleaning. They come in packs of:
  • 3 LMGs;
  • 3 AK/AKM;
  • Pistol and RPG;
  • Sniper rifle and chemical detector.

I have painted mine up as general infantry as I have yet to build my BRDM2 Rkh for the chemical defence company, this will be a project coming up in the next month or so. I purchased sufficient to put a battalion out in NBC equipment. Matt has just released some British in NBC black, so increasing the scope for playing out Armageddon, exploring the issues presented by chemical weapons on the battle field.

The figures were painted in Vajello English Uniform, washed with devlin mud then highlighted with the base tone and a high tone of English Uniform and Buff. The respirators are buff with black grey eye pieces. The canisters should probably be Russian Uniform and the respirators could also be painted black.

Overall the figures provide a good representation of Sovit style troops in NBC equipment and could be used to represent a range of Soviet, Warsaw pact and client states, alternatively they would be fairly useful for Sci Fi and other near future scenarios and games.  Great figures!


Inside The Soviet Army Today, Osprey - Plate L

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Review - Book, The Soviet Conduct of Tactical Manoeuvre, D Glanz

The book outlines the use of forward detachments within the Soviet operational concept. It starts with a short but effective examination of the principal task organised components within a Soviet force, which of itself is significantly useful, before examining the use of forward detachments in different operational circumstances. The operations considered include:

Offensive Operations
Meeting Engagements
Defensive Operations

It then goes on to look at the historical context for the evolution of this doctrine before, during and post World War 2 and then concludes on both the effectiveness of the approach and the Wests understanding of the importance of this doctrine to the Soviets.

The Soviet Conduct of Tactical Manoeuvre was written by David M Glantz who was Director of Soviet Army Operations at the Center for Land Warfare, U.S. Army War College from 1983 to 1986 and went on to help found the Soviet Army Studies Office in the 1990s.

The book is an exercise in the examination of the military doctrine of the Soviet Union and is a definitive dry read. Having said that it contains some absolute gems of information on the organisation and missions of forward detachments and provides significant insight into the Soviet way of doing business. The author casts the Soviets in a very different light to many other books and military pamphlets written on the subject that I have read.  In particular, the way in which he carries forward the analysis of World War 2 operations, including the experience gained from the Manchurian campaign, into the modern context is insightful and explains key elements of the Soviet approach to tactical and operational manoeuvre. This appears to be something missing from the vast majority of Western military thought on the Soviet Union in the Cold War period which fails to recognise their capability for conducting operations at scale and pace with a significant element of effective deception.

The most interesting parts for the wargamer are those that deal with the use of forward detachments in defence as a covering force, for river crossing operations and how the forward detachments would be sequenced into the attack with the main body and the operational manoeuvre group depending on the state of the enemy's defence.  To my mind these components are critical for the creation of "realistic scenarios" for the war that never happened. In addition the insight into the Soviet use of task organisation is also extremely useful. I would recommend reading this in conjunction with Lester Graus work for SASO on the Combined Arms Battalion which provides an extensive analysis of Task organisation in Soviet Post war exercises.

On reflection this is a very useful book I have yet to work out how best to read it as it deals with some very complex issues. It has considerable utility as a reference, but requiers some element of a cover to cover read in order to fully grasp the message and certainly warrants dipping into at a frequency.

If you are interested in gaming the Cold War at some level beyond linning up the tanks wall to wall I would be inclined to pitch this as a must read and if you can pick up one second hand it's definitely worth getting, digesting it will requier some effort.

Some part of this book can be read at Google Books

The Soviet Conduct of Tactical Maneuver: Spearhead of the Offensive @Amazon

Other Book Reviews

Soviet Air Land Battle Tactics
The Military Balance
Encyclopaedia of the Modern British Army
First Clash
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

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Wargames Unit - British BG 1980s Echelon

The supply echelon of the British Battle Group was broken down into components which sat with the Units ( Battle Groups ) Sub Units (Squadrons, Companies and Batteries) and with the Brigade resuply organisation. At the Brigade level there were RCT assets which reinforced the forward delivery elements and in the early 1980s every thing to the rear of the Brigade was Run by the RAOC and the RCT . The RLC was formed at the end of the Cold War as part of the general Revision of Combat Support (Engineers, Artillery and Aviation) and Combat Service Support (Logistic, Repair, Medical and Provost).

There was a wonderful system to ensure that fuel, rations, water and ammo flowed forward however in most wargames rules we don't worry too much about the detail of this activity. Rapid fire has optional rules associated with the representation of the CSS element so I include them in my units. For this battle group I wanted a supply echelon at least 2 trucks.

The first vehicle in the group is an S&S Stalwart converted with a scratch built Unit Bulk Refueling Equipment UBRE, the building of the model and a review of the S&S Stalwart is the subject of an earlier post. The vehicle is stowed painted and marked using my British painting scheme, covered in detail  in the Britannia FV432 review

The second vehicle in the Group is the Airfix 1 ton Landrover, this is a great model of this vehicle which served in many guises through to the end of the 80's where it started to be replaced by the Reynolds Boughton and later the Pinzgaur as the preferred steed of the support weapons elements of light role battalions, the other use I will be putting it to.  I have stowed it with a cam net and cam poles.

The Final vehicle in the group is a Bedford MK, 4 Tonne truck, again the Airfix model and very much the transport work horse of the british Army throughout the 1980s.  JB did a brilliant representation of this vehicle which paints up really well.  Take care over the orientation of the rear truck body, I got it wrong three times, how I am not quite sure. For this vehicle I just added the Cam nets, the other option I am considering is the use of a half height tilt, putting the top of the tilt in line with the top of the cab, this was quite a common tilt setup for Troop Transport Vehicles or TTVs as they were known.

For the late 80s/90s Battle Group I will go for a Bedford 8 Tonne UBRE and a land rover 110 and a Leyland DAF truck all of which are available in one form or another from BW models