Saturday, 6 June 2015

Little Cold Wars battle report

Yesterday I had the great pleasure to be able to take part in an all-day LITTLE COLD WARS battle. It was organised by Tim Gow, and took place on the back lawn of Knuston hall, Northamptonshire.

Besides Tim (who acted as umpire) there were five other participants, including myself. Two commanded the forces of the 'Red Menace' (i.e. WARPAC) whilst the rest of us took command of the 'Forces of Freedom' (i.e. NATO). The latter were tasked with trying to hold up the advance of the WARPAC forces on the town of Neu Stan Halle and its nearby NATO airbase. As expected, the NATO forces available were outnumbered but acquitted themselves with honour and glory. (That's what it said in the official after-action report!).

The town of Neu Stan Halle. The edge of the airbase can just be seen in the top right of the photograph.
The airbase.
Even before the WARPAC hordes had advanced very far across the border, a Spetsnaz unit (led by an attractively-dress female soldier) attempted to disrupt the NATO force by attacking its HQ in Neu Stan Halle.

After a short but decisive firefight the Spetsnaz unit was wiped out ... but before the NATO troops could congratulate themselves, the sound of a large explosion could be hear to the east of the town. WARPAC had fired a FROG missile at the town!

A reconnaissance helicopter was send forward to find out the nature of the threat posed to the NATO troops in and around Neu Stan Halle.

The helicopter spotted a large force of WARPAC tanks and armoured vehicles advancing along the main autobahn that linked the town to the border. They also spotted at least one artillery regiment deployed and ready to fire.

As a result NATO deployed a tank company and armoured infantry company into their forward positions in order for them to blunt and WARPAC attack.

In response the WARPAC forces deployed a further artillery regiment.

On the NATO right flank a number of WARPAC reconnaissance vehicles probed forward.

These reconnaissance vehicles included several PT-76 amphibious light tanks.

By now the bulk of WARPAC forces on the main axis of advance were visible.

The bulk of the armoured vehicles were tanks ...

... but there were also Shilka anti-aircraft vehicles ...

... and armoured personnel carriers.

There was also a 57mm self-propelled anti-aircraft vehicle present.

A close-up of some of the WARPAC tanks. The terrain may appear to have been flat, but as the tank in the centre of this photograph shows, it wasn't!.

NATO's response included sending forward a pair of attack helicopters.

It was a target-rich environment ...

... and despite the presence of a some mobile SAM launchers ...

... NATO also mounted a low-level, high-speed reconnaissance mission using an RAF Jaguar.

This mission enabled the NATO commanders to get the most up-to-date information on the position and numbers of the WARPAC forces.

With so many armoured targets available, a NATO A-10 Warthog was despatched to do as much damage to the WARPAC invaders as possible.

The presence of another Shilka anti-aircraft vehicle did little to put the A-10's pilot off his mission ...

... but the arrival of two WARPAC fast jets did!

A Su-15 fighter.
A MiG-21 fighter.
The WARPAC forces also mounted air attacks using armed trainer aircraft ... but they did little damage.

By this point in the battle the NATO attack helicopters were in range of a number of potential targets, which they engaged with TOW missiles.

Some of the WARPAC tanks reacted by making smoke and retreating behind it.

Despite this the TOWs found some targets that could be seen.

The WARPAC air forces again made attempts to mount ground-attack missions ...

... but the arrival of an RAF F-4 Phantom brought these attacks to a premature and ineffective end.

The WARPAC commanders chose this moment to fire further FROG missiles at Neu Stan Halle and its airbase ... but they missed their target.

In the centre of the battlefield the WARPAC troops had been held up by the much-depleted NATO tank and armoured infantry company.

On the NATO right flank a NATO air-mobile infantry battalion began was deployed to see off the WARPAC reconnaissance unit that was trying to outflank the NATO troops facing the main WARPAC thrust..

A degree of 'encouragement' for the WARPAC forces arrived in the person of Comrade Kleb ...

... and her minions.

The sound of a large number of helicopters was heard approaching the NATO left flank.

These were engaged by the Sergeant York self-propelled anti-aircraft system ... but it failed to live up to its promise and the helicopters continued to move toward the NATO airbase.

In the centre the WARPAC forces finally managed to close-assault (and wipe out) the remaining NATO armoured infantry platoon.

At the airbase the troops deployed to defend it became visible to the WARPAC helicopters.

The defenders included a number of M-60A2 tanks equipped with Shillelagh anti-tank missiles.

Two NATO self-propelled artillery regiments were also available to give fire support to the defenders of Neu Stan Halle and the airbase ... but they never actually fired at any point during the battle!

The NATO air-mobile battalion fired TOW missiles towards the WARPAC reconnaissance unit ... which immediately dispersed to hull-down positions.

At the airbase two of the WARPAC helicopters circled westwards to give support to a group of Spetsnaz troops who had emerged from hiding whilst the other helicopter landed and disgorged its cargo ... WARPAC paratroopers.

The helicopters were followed by an Antonov transport aircraft that was also carrying WARPAC paratroops ...

... but this was hit by ground fire on its run in towards the airbase. Despite the serious damage to the transport aircraft, the WARPAC paratroops jumped and landed in an arc some distance from the airbase.

Whilst that was going on, a WARPAC armoured rifle regiment deployed in front of one of the NATO defence positions to the east of Neu Stan Halle.

At this point we reached the deadline set to end our battle and we had to pack everything away before going home. It was a magnificent day, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

As to the outcome ... well NATO did manage to hold up the WARPAC advance but it was clear that they were eventually going to be pushed out of Neu Stan Halle and the airbase was going to be captured. Furthermore all day a WARPAC column had been moving out on the NATO right flank, and had the fighting continued the NATO troops would have either been cut off or forced to retreat.


  1. Lookalike a lot of fun Bob. I reall enjoyed the LCW concept when I had a chance to play test it last year.
    Cheers, PD

  2. Tradgardmastare,

    Perhaps you will be able to join us one day. I certainly hope so.

    All the best,


  3. Martin Rapier,

    It is a pity that you weren't able to join us yesterday. Let's hope that you will be able to join us next time.

    All the best,


  4. Bob
    What's not to love about LCW - easy game mechanisms, reasonable results and a high goofiness factor.
    Cheers, PD

  5. Peter Douglas,

    It was a great day of wargaming ... and I am totally sold on the concept.

    All the best,


  6. Peter Douglas,

    You are absolutely right ... and in terms of cost it is not that expensive when compared with other forms of wargaming.

    All the best,


  7. Spectacular! I wish this could have been played to conclusion.

  8. Barks,

    The sheer space available when fighting wargames on a lawn makes them look far more impressive than any fought on even the largest wargames table.

    I think that all the participants would have loved to have fought the battle to its end, but we had been at it from 10.00am until 5.00pm on what felt like being the hottest day of the year so far and we only a few short breaks for lunch and drinks.

    Perhaps we will be more successful next time.

    All the best,


  9. I have fought quite a few backyard and front yard games up to the WW2 period but have yet to play anything later on such a field. What is the source for most of the vehicles - kits or 'toys'? My favorite model was the female in civilian clothes! Where does she come from?

  10. James O'Connell,

    It is just as much fun fighting 'modern' battles outside as it is to fight pre-World War II ones.

    As to the source of the 'toys' used ... well the aircraft are all 1:72nd-scale models from a variety of makers (Airfix, Frog, Revell, Matchbox etc), some of which have been heavily modified to be 'look-a-likes' of the real thing. The tanks and other vehicles are diecasts from around the world (mainly Solido, Dinky and a number of Eastern European manufacturers), plastic toys from cheap bags/buckets of tanks and figures, and a few ready-made models from Japan and China. Again, quite a few are heavily modified. The figures come from a similar variety of sources. If you read Tim Gow's blog, he often writes about where he gets his stuff from ... which seems to be mainly eBay.

    I am unaware of the origins of the civilian female figure, but I suspect that she was bought ready-painted at a toy soldier show.

    All the best,


  11. Ross Mac,

    A great day was had by all ... even though some of us managed to get a bit sunburnt as a result!

    All the best,


  12. Wow. What a setup. That looks like it was a cracking game? I'm surprised from what you've said at how long it took. I would expected it to tip along a bit faster.

  13. Conrad Kinch,

    It was a great game, and had you been there, I am sure that you would have enjoyed taking part.

    The game moved along at quite a pace considering that we were a couple of players short. The photographs also don't give an idea how large the area we used was. It was easily the size of two tennis courts, and that goes some way to explain why we took from 10.00am to 5.00pm to get as far as we did. Taking breaks into account, I would estimate that we were actually 'fighting' for five and a half hours ... on a very hot day!

    All the best,


  14. Nice game, I liked that one. All the Best MrF

  15. MrFarrow2U,

    There is nothing quite like a LITTLE COLD WARS battle, especially one that enables you to use large numbers of toys to fight a wargame outside and on a day when there was lots of brilliant sunshine.

    I am really pleased that you enjoyed reading my battle report, and I strongly urge you to read Tim Gow's version of events when it is published on his blog Megablitz and more.

    All the best,



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