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

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Review - Books, Red Thrust Central Front

Red Thrust by Steven Zaloga was written in 1989 and looks at a series of vignettes set within a central european cold war conflict. Each chapter examines a different Soviet Arm of Service and each vignette is followed by an analysis and discussion which look at aspects of the doctrine and the evolution of weapons and forces, both NATO and Soviet this of course was written at the time of the cold war and was trying to predict forward so has limitations.  The Chapters cover the subject matter as follows:

Ch 1 Operational Planning and Operational Art
Ch 2 Motor Rifle Troops
Ch 3 Tank Troops
Ch 4 Spetznaz
Ch 5 Attack Helicopters and Air Assault
Ch 6 Artillery
Ch 7 Air Support
Ch 8 Chemical Warfare

The Vignettes sit within the overall context of a Danube crossing operation in Southern Germany and the various stories come together to describe the operational action.  Some of the Vignettes particularly around the core arms of service, tank and motor rifle are not particularly illuminating as the methods of operation of these Arms tend to be reasonably well understood at the level of description provided in the vignettes.  The vignettes on Spetznaz, Air Assault, Artillery and Air Support are more useful as they illustrate the progress of the operation in the context of the doctrine in areas that are less well covered else where.  The analysis components are where the real value of the book lies but these sadly comprise less than 50% of the book. 

Ultimately looking at Soviet combined arms doctrine from the perspective of a single arm is difficult as their whole approach to war fighting emphasised its prosecution in a combined arms environment. The fact that the book is tying to examine the impact of future equipment change identified as coming into service in the 1990s is another limitation if your intent is to use it to understand what the Soviets intended to do at the backend of the cold war. The book is of interest none the less and I found the predictions interesting in the context of how the 1990s played out.  If you can find one at a low price its worth a look but be prepared to be disappointed with some of the chapters, I found Chapters 5-8 the most useful.

Red Thrust: Attack on the Central Front- Soviet Tactics and Capabilities in the 1990s @ amazon

Other Book Reviews:

The Soviet Afghan War, How a Super Power Fought and Lost
Weapons and Tactics of the Soviet Army
Soviet Air Land Battle Tactics
The Military Balance
Encyclopaedia of the Modern British Army
The Soviet Conduct of Tactical Manoeuvre
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


  1. Andy. Sounds like an interesting book. I shall check it out. My cold war novel goes to my publisher this Sunday! You have a great Blog here. HB