Tuesday, 24 July 2012

PVO Strany

I mentioned this game in my earlier post on COW and indicated that there was more still to come.  Here it is.  The game began (like so many others before it...) as a daft chat at the Sheffield club.  I will take this opportunity to shift some of the blame to my co-designer Martin Rapier.
The, er, 'concept' was to simulate the challenges of:
1. Getting a 1960s nuclear bomber to it's target unscathed (getting home and indeed the issue of whether there would be a home to return to is a different issue.  And possibly a further game...)
2. Detecting and intercepting a bomber in the days before reliable surface to air missiles.
Above is one of the protagonists - nearly as good as my own Vulcan - and below the enemy.
Regular readers may recall the construction of my MIG-21s a few months ago.  Getting the toy aircraft together was the easy part! 
The game was to involve the Vulcan with it's crew of three (pilot, navigator, flight engineer) moving along an umpire-determined route between various landmarks on the Knuston lawn.  These were given clever code names such as 'Big Tree', 'White Chair', 'Duck Pond' and 'Summerhouse'.  The final landmark was of course the target.  The RAF navigator was given the route.
There then followed the construction of a replica 1960s Soviet radar set.  For this I used the glass from a car wing mirror (Saab 9-5 if it's of any interest - aircraft heritage you see?) taped to the handle of a floor mop.  The Operator faced the building and could only 'look' at stuff using the mirror.  He then passed the information to the Ground Controller (call sign 'Big Ears') who had a radio link to the Fighter Controller ( whose call sign was inevitably 'Noddy') located out of sight deep in the building.  The FC had a radio link (on a different channel) to a pair of fighter pilots ('Green 61' and 'Red 66').  These could only be directed with reference to the landmarks.
The first radar team - Chris Perry and Nick Drage.

The Vulcan in flight.  Graceful, isn't it?

Nick gets to grips with his apparatus.
The first sortie ended with a successful interception of the Vulcan as it made it's final approach.  Exciting stuff!
The second radar team - Rob Cooper and John Bassett.  They looked very efficient...

...but it was all a facade.  The Vulcan had an uninterrupted flight and dropped it's nuke.

For the third and final game the Soviet Union was being scoured for manpower.  A measure of their desperation was the recruitment of Bob Cordery and Ian Drury as the radar team with Fred Cartwright as Fighter Controller.

The Vulcan pictured near 'Tree Stump'.  On this third mission, the brave boys of the RAF saw off two interceptions and reached the target.

The management at Knuston was worried (but not at all surprised...) at the mention of nuclear weapons.  So we used smoke grenades instead.  This time....

One of the Soviet teams.  Chris Perry (right) is typically looking the wrong way...

Our brave boys.  Flt Lt King, R; Sqn Ldr Armatys, J; Flt Lt Kleanthous, A.


Pete. said...

Looks like a fun game. Given all the layers the directions to the fighter pilots go through it must be like a military version of Chinese whispers.



Conrad Kinch said...

How did interceptions work?

Tim Gow said...

You have it exactly!

Tim Gow said...

Conrad Kinch
If a MIG got to within arms length (literally) we paused the game and the the MIG pilot and the Vulcan's Flight Engineer played 'Rock Scissors Paper'. Best of 3 won.

Conrad Kinch said...

And other than the honour system - what was to prevent the MIG pilot using the Mark I eyeball rather than the vector system?

Tim Gow said...

Conrad Kinch
Honour was enough. And a vigilant umpire. Soviet fighters were tightly controlled from the ground, so weren't allowed to roam freely in search of 'trade'. And it was assumed to be dark.

Nick Grant said...

That is ever so clever! Well done boys!

Paul said...

Now this is really hands on stuff!

10 out of 10 for participation!

Ross Mac rmacfa@gmail.com said...

I see what you mean about the ship having sailed. Does look like fun though.


Tim Gow said...

Nick Grant
Clever? Maybe. Silly? Oh yes!

Tim Gow said...

Yes it's true - a modern air wargame with no dice rolling. Remember where you heard it first!

Tim Gow said...

Ross Mac
The good ship sanity is going down with all hands...