Friday, 19 April 2013

Covering Force 1981 - NBC game report

This game was set in the early hours of a shooting war between NATO and Warpact forces in 1981.  Martin designed and ran the scenario which was played with his 2mm toys and my NATO Brigade Commander rules.  John led the defenders (mostly British with some West German home guard types) from his bunker while I alternated between my BTR-50PU (room to work) and T-64 (photo opportunities for Pravda) at the helm of the lead two tank regiments from 10 Guards Tank Division.  John is rarely seen without his DPM jacket so I retaliated with my Motor Rifle beret.
The photo record is a bit scanty - if you want a reason choose from wartime censorship or my camera being low on memory... 
Above can be seen both tank regiments ready for action.  In NBC a stand usually represents a company, or in the case of WP-style units, a half-battalion.  Each regiment consisted of:
3 Tank battalions (T-64), 1 Motor Rifle company (BMP), 1 SP artillery battalion, 1 AA company, 1 recce company and a full engineer batalion.  I also had an on-call flight of SU-17, a flight of Mi-24 attach helicopters and an Air Assault battalion in Mi-8.
My briefing was as follows:
3rd Shock Army is pushing out of Magdeburg like an uncoiling spring.
10th GTD is tasked with clearing the march routes and lateral communications along the Mittelland Canal while main forces push directly along the Autobahn to Braunschweig south of the canal. Once the route is clear, the way is open to the rolling plain leading to Hannover.
Division and Front artillery are firing a massive programme in support, and our air attacks have achieved surprise.  Push forward rapidly, bypass centres of enemy resistance which can be left to second echelon forces and exit mechanised forces from the far side of the battle area.
Martin had provided a map showing the terrain set up (using his Hexon), and when I spotted that we were in the area around Wolfsburg I remembered that I had a copy of the BAOR 1:50,000 scale map of the area.  Soviet planning was therefore carried out on a 'proper' map.
The Inner German Border was in the northeast corner of the map sheet, so I was expecting to face relatively light covering forces.  The main feature of Wolfsburg is the large factory complex (the black blog on the map).  If you've ever run a German-built Volkswagen this is where it was built.
British recce forces (Scimitars made from cut down Warriors) near the border minefields.
The Fitters on their first attack run.  All the toys are 2mm Irregular models from Martin's collection.  Several are conversions.
The Soviet rolling barrage targeted terrain features only.
Soon the tanks were heading west!
The SU-17s caused some consternation anoung this company of West Germans - the yellow marker denotes a morale failure.
Unfortunately the lead tank battalion didn't think much to finding itself not only in a minefield but also under fire from Swingfire AT missiles.  All was soon well though, and as the remainder of the regiment assembled the AT units was despatched and all was set for a drive to the west!
Highlights included the insertion of the Air Assault Battalion on this crossroads several km into enemy territory.  The crossroads was held by a British engineer company.  This was first beaten up by the Hinds and then overrun by the paras.  Orders of Lenin all round!
We wound up the game agreeing that the Soviet 'rollbahn' was clear, Wolfsburg being bypassed and left to one of the Category 3 Motor Rifle Divisions currently plodding throught Poland.
Conclusions (as fed back to 3 Shock Army HQ):
Heavy AT missiles in defensive positions can be very effective but once their positions are known they are extremely vulnerable to attack helicopters.
Our heavy investment in attack helicopters is paying off handsomely.
The latest Soviet tank designs are highly effective - 10GTD only lost a company-worth of T-64 in the border battles.
The British Harrier jets have been very overrated - their attacks were easily deterred by salvoes of light SAMs.
British light recce AFVs are highly agile but burn nicely when hit.
All evidence points to the historical inevitability of our forthcoming victory!


Martin Rapier said...

Great game report Tim.

I'll be posting up some background info to the war and some more stuff on this specific scenario at the weekend.

The Swingfires were indeed a bit scary, but the T-64s also performed impressively. Highlight was certainly the opposed airborne assault.

Tim Gow said...

Martin Rapier befits a great game! I'll be looking again at the stats - I wonder if the T-64s were a bit too good.

Paul said...

Nice AAR Tim. Given that this was an opening phase encounter I have to assume that the odds are indeed in favour to Red forces.

Were the West Germans involved Territorial forces? It just seems a little odd they suffered such poor morale against air attack on their own territory.

Hopefully once Blue airpower comes into play striking at the Red logistics hubs and crossroads the spear shall be blunted.

Martin Rapier said...

're the T64s, it was partly the luck of the dice (they only save on a 4) and the stats need to be that way so they are better than T72,62 etc.

Paul, it was one armoured recce BG vs half a Cat I tank division. Delaying action only.

Tim Gow said...

In fairness to the West Germans, they had endured artillery fire and air strike and direct tank fire before they decided to bugger off. Can't fault them really!

Maverick Collecting said...

What effect did the Glorious Gloster's brown, cream and grey armoured push North from checkpoint bravo into the MSR have on slowing things down at the front?

What? Dead in our beds, killed by Hind D's at stupid O'clock in the morning...that's just not cricket.

Lucky it never 'appened, heh?