Good Cold War Book

W. Baxter’s “Soviet Air Land Battle Tactics” from 1986 is a recommended read for any Cold War enthusiast. It offers an interesting insight into the thinking behind soviet tactics, and a wealth of examples of standard doctrine. The material in the book is gathered from published Soviet sources, military journals and other documents from the other side of the iron curtain. Particularly interesting examples are the Soviet nomograms, simple charts officers and planner can use to solve complex calculations with a ruler and pencil. For example one chart can be used to determine how long it takes for meeting battle to start, if the enemy is advancing  at 15 kmh and own forces at 20 kmh, and the enemy is not 68 km away. No need for complex computing machinery, when one can just issue a standard Soviet Space Agency pencil to the forces. The tone of the book can be summarised as “don’t think the Soviets are mindless automata piling their troops into massive breakthrough attacks. Their doctrine and thinking emphasises manoeuvre, shock and surprise. Be prepared.” I give this book Five red stars. It is available from your favourite second hand book seller through... read more

SU-122 Assault Gun

The Red Army encountered German Sturmgeschutz assault guns for the first time in 1941. The advantages of assault guns were that they were less expensive to produce than tanks with rotating turrets and that a larger gun could be fitted onto the same chassis. The Soviet Union was struggling with raw material shortages which made assault guns an attractive proposition.

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Cold War Soviets from Sandsmodels

I have been painting some cold war era soviets for our Force on Force games. Sandsmodels from the UK has recently re-launched their 20 mm Soviet motor rifle infantry and VDV figures. They also do engineers and artillery crew. UAZ staff car. The nice resin model comes with four metal crew figures. The picture is from one of our Force on Force games set in 1984 West Germany. The soviets quickly learnt to hide their vehicles behind buildings after they saw what a Carl Gustav can do to anything on tracks or wheels. Shaun from Sandsmodels was a real gent and sent these figures to me even before they were officially launched. The VDV (paratroopers) are all wearing a beret, which is the only way to tell them apart from the motor rifle figures, as the distinctive striped shirt is not visible underneath the body armor. The AT-4 on bases I modeled for upcoming Afghanistan battles. Plamya automatic grenade launcher. The figures are a nice addition to any cold war era force. The are all wearing body armor and camo smocks. The poses are nice and dynamic. In some figures the anatomy is not 100% natural, but not to an extent that would deter from using these figures for a good game. They mix nicely with my khaki-wearing figures from... read more

Operation Bagration

These scenarios are the battles that occured in our Blitzkrieg Commander campaing inspired by Operation Bagration, the Soviet 1944 summer offensive in Belarus. By this time the Soviets had truly mastered the art of Blitzkrieg, and in a lightning campaign they destroyed the German Army Group Center and liberated vast tracts of Soviet Union from occupation. Wehrmacht would never recover from the crippling losses suffered at the hands of the Red Army. The scenarios are not balanced, some of them are decidedly one sided. For example the Soviets have an almost impossible task in Scenario 2. Feel free to tweak these if you intend to play them as competitive games. After action reports are available at our blog. Practice scenario A small mixed German force tries to stop a Soviet attack. All handouts (140 kB pdf) Scenario 1 The Soviet attack catches the retreating Germans at a river crossing, but runs into a fresh strong armored unit.This was the first appearance of the Reconnaissance Battalion. All handouts (250 kB pdf) Scenario 2 After beating back the advancing Soviets in scenario 1 the Germans retreated to defensive positions behind the river. The Reconnaissance Battalion was placed a few kilometers behind the front line. The Soviet attack succeeded in creating a major breakthrough North of the battalion positions. While the main Soviet breaktrough continues West towards Stayki, a Soviet motorized regiment tries to capture a vital crossroad behind the German front lines. Umpire’s handouts (295 kB pdf), German handouts ( 2 MB pdf), Soviet handouts (2 MB pdf) Scenario 3 The Tiger tanks attached to the Reconnaissance Battalion decimated the Soviet flanking force and the Germans started pulling back before being cut off by the main Soviet breakthrough to their flank. Unfortunately the motorized Soviets had already reached the bridges in the German rear. Retreating Germans attempt a river crossing in face of strong Soviet opposition. German handouts (1.8 MB pdf), Soviet handouts (1.8 MB pdf) Scenario 4 Their first attack being repulsed, the Germans regroup and attempt a new attack against the Soviet defenders in the village German handouts (2 MB pdf), Soviet handouts (1.9 MB... read more