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, 18 October 2013

Review - Book, A History of Soviet Airborne Forces

Whilst the bulk of the book talks to the evolution of Soviet Airborne organisation and use throughout WW2, it illustrates effectively the type of operations talked to in the post war doctrine whilst highlighting the somewhat hazardous nature of delivering Airborne units by parachute into the enemy's rear. The operations presented are comprehensively researched and presented with supporting maps that enable the reader to understand the operational points being made.

The last 100 or so pages talk through the development of the modern force set against the wider evolution of Soviet Doctrine, from manoeuvre in nuclear war to the defensive postures of the late 80s. The arrival of the Helicopter and its wide spread employment by the US in Vietnam clearly influenced Soviet military thinking in this space providing more predictable means of delivery and support for airborne envelop ment and manouver.

The Author charts this evolution of both organisation and doctrine in some detail, but sadly to my mind has not covered the contemporaneous evolution of the Air, Aviation, and Artillery Forces that were the fundamental enablers of the concepts discussed but which sat outside the scope of the title. A better History might have been of Airborne Forced, Operations and Doctrinal concepts which could have caught these missing elements.

Whilst the book does cover operations in Afghanistan which reflect the Soviet experience of air mobility this is done with a fairly superficial look at formations undertaking the role rather than a look at the operational context, which was significantly more difficult to come by in 1994 when this book was published. This is better covered in the Bear went over the Mountain, chapter 3, Tactical Air Assault published 1996 and the Soviet Afghan Wars sections on Air Assault and Army Aviation, published in 2002.

Having said that the chapters on the Modern Airborne force and the evolution of the Air Assault arm set against the evolving doctrine is extremely useful, and the detail on the organisational structures of the VDV and DShV adds significant value.  For the Modern gamer I am not convinced that the content justifies the current price of £45, If your interested in WW2 or If you can score a cheaper second hand copy then its definitely worth having.
A History of Soviet Airborne Forces (Cass Series on Soviet Military Theory & Practice) @ Amazon

Other Book Reviews:

Soviet Tactical Aviation
Armies of NATO's Central Front
Red Thrust, Central Front
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. Great review- thanks for that. It get's added to my 'when I see it cheap' list. Have you seen the Zaloga book 'Inside the Blue Berets'?



  2. Cheers Pete not seen the Zaloga book - I'll Keep an eye out for it.