On Sunday I enjoyed a talk on ancient warfare by John Bassett and Phil Steele. This mostly dealt with pre-battle omens and was most interesting. Then it was off to John Curry's presentation of the British Army's 1978 Desert Wargame. John had pieced this together and we played through a small action on a map he had handily brought back from a previous visit to Morocco. The original game postulated that British troops might be deployed to Iraq! Like that would ever happen.
For our game a reinforced British battalion (Chieftain & FV432) was advancing against a Soviet-style battalion (BTR & T62) conducting a delaying action. The photo above shows some of the counters used.
|The very nice 1:100,000 scale map.|
|The perfidious Brits. Their force vastly outnumbered ours.|
I ended up in the role of adviser to the 'Red' forces but despite this handicap we put up a decent show. Our force was based on a Motor Rifle Battalion and comprised two Motor Rifle companies (7 BTR each), a tank company (10 T62), a recce platoon (BRDM), an AA plt (ZSU23/4), AT co (BRDM+ATGM and 100mm AT guns). We also had the MR btl's mortar (120mm) battery and the support of two batteries of artillery and one of SRLs.The action opened with our recce chaps doing what they were paid for - spotting the approaching baddies and bu**ering off to another position.
It was interesting to see and play this game - and I for one was glad to have John there to run and explain it all, as the rules seemed unnecessarily complicated. That said, the game did produce a palatable result and was no doubt a useful tool for training young officers.