Drive on Mantinghausen

The following covers a recent Soviet hasty attack on a British defensive sector set in 1982 using a scenario developed with the Scenario Generation System. Both the British and Soviets opted for an Option A reinforcement. I’ve provided a little additional detail around the Soviet planning as background. The Soviets were commanded by Robin and I, while Andrew commanded the British.

Various thoughts ran through Major General Viktor Golubev’s mind as the divisional operations officer completed the orders group. Had he considered the enemy deployments sufficiently? The reconnaissance reports indicated he would be engaged against a British brigade comprising tank and mechanised infantry. While the maps indicated the terrain on the enemy right was more open indications of ridge lines and British armour heavy formations were of concern. Was his decision weight his attack against the British left correct? Would the attack through a large wood against the high ground that dominated the forward centre of the British position be successful? Certainly he was concentrating his effort as the attack would initially utilise two mechanised battalions, soon rising to three. Would the battalions have sufficient strength to press on to the secondary objectives where a second British mechanised battalion was located. But what of the British tanks? His intelligence officer indicated the British armour would remain in place, but would it? There were so many variables to consider. Then his mind was drawn his two regimental commanders tasked with the divisions immediate objectives. He wondered if each of his commanders were up to their respective tasks or if the would flinch at the critical moment? Would they make sufficient use of the resources allocated? Only time would tell…

By 3pm the advanced elements of the attack were committed. Elements from two Motor Rifle Regiments were allocated to the phased assault with each regiment allocating two reinforced battalions to the advance. On the left the BMP equipped regiment advanced in two groups. The first was tasked with advancing and clearing a large wood and small village before swinging left to secure high ground. Reconnaissance suggested the wood line would be held by infantry, yet the threat of British counter battery fires precluded pre-planned fires. Instead, it would be a silent attack with the artillery on-call. To the left of the battalion a second BMP battalion was held in reserve to provide flank protection and support for follow-on operations.

To the right of the BMP Regiment elements of a BTR Motor Rifle Regiment advanced. The 1st BTR Battalion was to advance along a route that ran parallel to the BMP battalion so it would strike the flank of the woods while potentially clearing a key village on the battalions right flank. In support a further BTR battalion would advance on flanking movement to the right of the village. Delays for this battalion were expected due to the approach march required. However, it would provide additional elements which would ensure the village, the other initial objective, was secured. On the extreme right a divisional reconnaissance company was tasked with deep reconnaissance of secondary objectives. The BTR Regiment would then press deeper into the British flank securing the secondary objective while the BMP Regiment would halt the expected British armoured counter-attack. In support of the four reinforced battalions were each regiment’s 122mm D-30, a divisional 152mm battalion as well as two battalions of 203mm towed guns for deep counter-battery fires. The SAM systems were prepared and included Gaskin, Gecko and Guideline and supplemented by ZSU and SA-7.

Above, the view from the north with Soviet forces entering from the east (left). The immediate Soviet objectives are the high ground on the centre left, behind the village and the village in the left foreground. The secondary objective is the village in the right foreground.

Below, the 1st BMP Battalion advances towards its primary objective, the small hill that dominates the village on the right. The BMPs, supported by a company of T-64B tanks soon came under fire by Abbots and light mortar fire. Swift Soviet counter-battery fires forced the Abbots to relocate. While Soviet radio jamming disrupted many new requests for support fires.

To the right of the 1st BMP Battalion the 1st BTR Battalion advances, shown below. Supported by T-62 tanks this battalion was soon engaged by dismounted Milan teams, just visible in the wood line, of British 2 Para. Again British artillery fires, from a second artillery battalion, supported the defence. These fires caused increasing casualties among the Soviet forces. However, again the British self-propelled guns were hit by Soviet counter-battery fires. Suffering casualties the Abbots were forced to relocate. The village on the centre right though an objective was to be bypassed initially while the battalion concentrated on the main attack. Eventually 2 Para would fall back leaving a now isolated company to hold this village.

The artillery fires were not all in the Soviet favour. Divisional level D-20 152mm guns attempted to neutralise the Milan teams. These were almost immediately located and hit by British counter-battery M110. The entire Soviet battalion was eliminated. The M110 were however located by Soviet M-1955 towed guns. Suffering casualties they too were forced to relocate.

Below, another view of the advancing 1st BTR Battalion. The situation was critical and with casualties mounting the political officer at Regimental HQ was “encouraging” the Regimental Commander to press forward.

Below, the Soviet 1st BMP Battalion presses its advance towards the woods while a platoon of T-64B tanks and ZSU-23-4 support the BTR advance by engaging the Milan. The BMP Regimental D-30 towed 122mm guns also conducted artillery fires against these Milan. After firing for a period the towed guns were moved to a secondary location to avoid British counter-battery fires.

Using combinations of armour, ZSUs, 122mm artillery and 120mm battalion mortars the Milan teams were finally eliminated.


Above, the Soviets BMPs press forward. With the British paratroopers deployed mostly within the woods, rather than on the edge, the BMP mounted infantry advanced into the woods where they drove back the British paratroops. Again the village was ignored.

Behind the village elements of a British mechanised battalion can be seen on high ground and moving into the wood in a desperate effort to support the British paratroops. The forward deployment of this British battalion was unexpected. The BMP battalion’s towed 120mm mortars were particularly active supporting this sector and caused considerable disruption to the British infantry. The 120mm mortars were now themselves subjected to a massive counter-battery fire by M110, with devastating results.

Meanwhile, on the British right, the unengaged armour heavy battalion had been ordered to move from its defensive position in a counter-attack. Above, a portion of the battalion deployed before the Soviet attack, mechanised infantry were deployed in the town behind the village in the foreground. The ridge provided a strong blocking position and any attack here by Soviet formations would have ended in disaster, despite the small number of British tanks.

Below, the Chieftains on the move. The small two contour hill on the right is the BMP battalion initial objective. The British armour heavy battalion is now operating without mechanised infantry and is about to pass through elements of a seperate mechanised infantry battalion and attack the 1st BMP Battalion left flank. A difficult task which impacts greatly a formations ability to engage enemy.

Below, the British armour moves over a ridge line and advanced elements begin to engage the 1st BMP Battalion at 1500m. Additional dedicated ATGW systems, concentrated T-64Bs or helicopters would have been extremely useful at this point!

Instead with rapidly fading daylight the Soviet reserve battalion was committed. It now advanced against the exposed British right flank.

Above, British Scorpions, forward of the Chieftains, engage the rapidly advancing BMPs while T-64Bs begin to engage Cheiftains. In the centre right BMP SA-7 teams deploy to high ground. The Soviet commander was continually concerned about British Lynx or fixed wing air attacks, which never appeared!

Unfortunately, we had to call time at this point with the game very much in the balance. The engagement had been excellent and highlighted many of the strengths of Modern Spearhead, when combined with a well balanced scenario. With neither the Soviets or the British having a complete understanding of the enemy force suspense was maintained throughout. The well coordinated British defence had proven a difficult task to penetrate. Yet supporting attacks and maintaining a focus of effort had rewarded the Soviets, though their objectives were yet to be secured. Artillery fire had been heavy and both protagonists had exhausted their main counter-battery assets. The flank marching Soviet BTR battalion having arrived late was now pressing forward. Supported by D-30 122mm artillery this, along with the other D-30 artillery battalion of the BMP Regiment, would now provide much needed artillery support. EW missions, in the form of Radio Jamming, had proven useful to the Soviets. The threat of British air strikes had failed to materialise, though the threat haunted the mind of one Soviet commander! Meanwhile the other Soviet Regimental commander lamented the lack of Soviet helicopters or fixed wing air support. He argued they would have been very useful providing critical support against the advancing British armour. He was correct, perhaps next time…

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Defence of Neuwallwitz

Last night three of us deployed some models for what was to be excellent 1982 encounter set in Europe. The scenario was developed, as is the case for almost all our Modern Spearhead games, using the Scenario Generation System.

The Soviet offensive had entered its third day and the progress made in many sectors was starting to take its toll on advanced units. Frontline forces were suffering heavy casualties, fuel and ammunition supplies were strained while artillery and air support assets were dropping below operational levels. Most concerning gaps were appearing in the SAM umbrella. While much had been achieved and many towns liberated the resolve of enemy forces was becoming more determined. Near Neuwallwitz British forces, in brigade strength, were preparing to unleash one of a number of hasty attacks to recover ground and to apply pressure to WARPAC forces.

Soviet forces in the vicinity of Neuwallwitz comprised three Motor Rifle Battalions deployed in a blocking position over a wide area. Each of the three BTR battalions was allocated a company of T-64 tanks and deployed in battalion sized defensive positions. These battalion positions were generally centred on a village with the component a companies deployed to cover likely attack routes while retaining tanks in overwatch and very limited assets in reserve. The regiment was reinforced by an additional T-64 tank battalion and artillery in the form of the regiments 122mm artillery and very limited divisional artillery. Most other assets were allocated to divisional offensive operations.

Above, the Soviets deployed with British forces advancing in the top left from the left long table edge. The Soviet left flank is in the foreground.

British forces comprised two mechanised battalions (FV432) and an armoured battalion of Chieftains. Companies from one mechanised battalion and the armoured battalion were reorganised to create an armour heavy battalion and an infantry heavy battalion which would form the main attack force. The remaining mechanised battalion would form a reserve and follow on force while providing flank protection. Significant assets were allocated in support including corps counter-battery artillery as well as fixed and rotary air support.

The main thrust would fall on the Soviet right where both British battalion sized groups advanced. The first objective was a series of hills providing ideal firing positions for the planned assaults on the first village, Langenhals, which formed part of the Soviet defensive positions on the Soviet right. No sooner had the British forces crossed their start lines than British electronic warfare moved to a higher level. The shaping of the battlefield was clearly underway with the progressive detection of Soviet SAM systems.

On the more traditional battlefield, as the British mechanised infantry advanced, they came under effective artillery fires by Soviet D-20 152mm towed guns. The resulting fires caused heavy casualties. Below, a British mechanised platoon is suppressed by Soviet artillery fires.

However, the British response was swift and soon the Soviet D-20 artillery battalion was silenced by long range 175mm counter-battery fires. Soviet artillery in support of the was now limited to artillery assets of the Motor Rifle Regiment itself, primarily a 2S1 122mm battalion and a scattering of mortars.

As British forces continued their advance the next phase began. With Soviet on-table SAM either neutralised or ineffective due to poor disposition, a flight of Lynx helicopters deployed forward and immediately engaged a Soviet tank company deployed on a small hill. The position provided excellent support for the advanced company deployed in a Langenhals. While these T-64s, as well as a another company, managed to destroy several Chieftains the position was soon untenable. Suffering heavy casualties from the Lynx’s TOW the hill was abandoned.

Above, Lynx helicopters engage Soviet forces on a small hill before relocating to another sector, below, to continue their tank hunting closer to the village of Langenhals, on the left.

The Soviet Brigade commander, aware of the deteriorating situation now ordered two order changes. First, he ordered his reserve tank battalion forward to reinforce his exposed right flank. A robust debate took place among the Soviet commanders with the Tank Battalion commander taking a more aggressive approach. The T-64s lurched forward and advanced with speed to stabilise the right flank. Below, the reserve battalion moves forward at speed. The village visible is Elstervorstadt, which forms a second defensive position on the Soviet right.

Unfortunately their advance was too aggressive and the exchange of fire between the Chieftains on the British extreme left, while not one sided, was clearly in favour of the British.

A second order change was issued to the 1st Motor Rifle Battalion, positioned on the extreme left of the Soviet Brigade position. This battalion begin a flanking manoeuvre which would result, in time, for an attack on the British flank. The battalion, minus one company left to hold the original left flank would take considerable time to make such a relocation.

Below, the general situation on the Soviet right. The Lynx has relocated and is engaging Soviet armour in the centre, equally successfully! The village of Langenhals is on the left, while the village of Elstervorstadt is on the right.

Meanwhile British infantry platoons prepared to close assault the village of Langenhals.

As they formed up effective Soviet artillery fire caused significant casualties. Those British platoons that did assault were now at a disadvantage as the Soviet and British infantry engaged in desperate combat in the side streets of Langenhals. Unfortunately for the British, their attacks failed and the remains of the British mechanised company fell back heavily disorganised and combat ineffective.

As night fell the commanders took stock. One Soviet tank battalion had suffered a morale test, though it remained operational. One British battalion and another Soviet battalion had suffered heavy casualties and any more, for either, would have resulted in a morale check. Soviet artillery and air defence was severely compromised. In contrast while British heavy artillery strikes were almost exhausted Abbots and fixed wing assets in the form of Harriers remained uncommitted. Further, a third British infantry battalion remained in reserve. Yet the fact remained that despite an extremely a well planned and executed British attack, all objectives had been held by Soviet forces, just…

Havraga & Zrakor – 9th October 1973

The following is an after action report from a Arab-Israeli War wargame fought using Modern Spearhead and 1/300th miniatures. The game was played on an 8′ x 6′ table which with the reduced ground scale of 1” equals 125 metres. The area of battle was thus 12km in width and 9km in depth. The wargame involved three players. Two commanded the Egyptian divisional sized formation while a third commanding two under strength Israeli brigades. The wargame was fought to a conclusion in five hours following game set-up.

The engagement was based on a situation on the 9th October ’73 when Adan’s (Israeli) division was advancing towards the “Artillery Road” which was some 12km from the Suez Canal and runs parallel to the canal. Forces available, as well as the scenario, have been altered to correspond to the Israeli expectation at the time of an Egyptian armoured breakout around this date. The following narrative is from the perspective of Maj. Gen. Avraham “Bren” Adan…

My briefing with Southern Command was completed at 0300 hours and by 0600 my briefing with my brigade commanders was well underway. The coming day was to be a critical one as intelligence reported massing of Egyptian Armour in my sector.

Some 3km west from the Israeli forward edge of the battle area the Artillery Road snaked it’s way north to south. Two significant sandy hills rose up west of the Artillery Road, commanding the Artillery Road as well as the Ma’adim and Spontani roads that ran from behind the Israeli lines west to the Suez. These later two roads were some 8km apart. The larger of the two hills was named the Havraga, which was situated in the south. The other, but equally critical, was the Zrakor. Some 5km separated these features. A number of other areas of raised ground were to be found in the operational sector.

The operational orders set down by Egyptian High Command called for the Egyptians to expand their bridgehead to the Artillery Road driving the Israeli’s back from it. Significant armoured elements, some 240 tanks, had been allocated to the Egyptian commander. This allowed him to follow Soviet doctrine, which required an early breakout.

I was ordered to keep the Artillery Road open and my two weak brigades in this sector were able to operate some 50 tanks each. Gonen however, stuck to the concept of capture of an Egyptian bridge across the canal. For this reason my orders where clear, that if a strike could be launched on the canal I was to be open to it. However, after the costly battles of the 8th we were all aware this was likely to be a battle of containment with little chance for armoured breakthrough.

The Egyptian forces engaged in our sector included the 4th Infantry Brigade from the 2nd Infantry Division. This formation consisted of three infantry battalions and one tank battalion. Support included a Sagger ATGW company from divisional assets. This brigade was initially deployed 4km west of the Artillery Road, where it had been located overnight. The Egyptian infantry brigade’s tank battalion, some 40 T-55’s remained in reserve. This primary formation was in turn supported by two armoured brigades.

The first was the 15th Independent Armoured Brigade with three tank battalions and one mechanised infantry battalion with a total strength of some 100 T-62 tanks. These vehicles had only recently joined the Egyptian army and were deployed in limited numbers, the 15th being one of only two brigades equipped with them. Their 115mm guns were to prove a significant improvement on the 100mm guns in the T54 and T55, but their limited numbers were to limit their battlefield effectiveness.

The second Egyptian armoured brigade deployed in my sector was the 23rd Armoured Brigade, from 24th Mechanised Division, with three tank battalions with it’s attached mechanised infantry battalion. This formation also fielded a total strength of some 100 tanks, but this time older T-54 and T-55 tanks. Finally additional support was provided by 120mm mortars as well as 122mm and 152mm artillery from the 2nd Infantry Division.

Those elements of my division operating in the sector were made up of two under strength brigades. The first brigade was that of Natke’s and consisted of two Centurion battalions each with an attached mechanised infantry company.

Centurion_Tanks

The second brigade was that of Gabe’s with two Magach battalions each with an attached mechanised infantry company. Other brigades were held in reserve or operating in other sectors. I was however able to allocate limited artillery support and Gonen had advised that air support would be made available as the day progressed.

The battle started with the 4th Egyptian Infantry Brigade advancing forward, from the positions they held overnight, towards the Zrakor and part of the Havraga. From this position they were to support the advance of the armoured formations.  Critically, only part of the Havraga feature was to be secured initially. The Egyptian commander expected this hill to be held in strength by Israeli troops delaying his advance for too long. We however had been abandon this following yesterday’s battles. Unlike the Egyptian bridgehead our doctrine allowed the use of a flexible defence. Terrain and ground was less important than the use of movement in defence.

As stated before two brigades were available for the operations in my sector. Natke’s was equipped with Centurions, and Gabe’s Brigade equipped with new American M60A1 Patton tanks. By mid morning our advance was well under way as we approached the forward edge of the battle area. My forward command post, moving in four Zelda Armoured Personnel Carriers, moved to a vantage point with a good view of the battlefield before halting in a swirl of dust and sand. My brigades continued forward carrying out a cautious advance along the front operational zone from the east at four points.

One battalion from Natke’s brigade advanced and took up a defensive position on the Israeli right flank while the brigade’s second battalion took up a reserve position in the centre. Both were east of the Artillery Road. A number of the Centurions were deployed forward on a small hill.

Gabe’s brigade, on the left flank, was deployed in a similar way. Though one battalion, with the brigade recon, pushed forward to one end of the Havraga – the opposite end of which was held by Egyptian infantry. This advancing Patton battalion, under Ehud, was spotted by elements of an Egyptian infantry battalion and some infantry were moved to counter this move while recoilless rifles were hastily deployed to protect the flank.

The Egyptian commander at this stage released two of the three T-62 battalions from the 15th Independent Armoured Brigade who were held in reserve on the Egyptian right flank. These advanced with great speed towards the Havraga in an attempt to seize this dominating terrain feature and thus deny it to Ehud’s advancing battalion. However, Ehud’s battalion continued to move forward, seizing the ground only minutes before Egyptian tank battalions entered effective range on the plain below. The ensuring battle on this flank was to last for several hours.

The Egyptian infantry were initially able to cause some disruption to the Ehud’s advanced battalion. Each Egyptian Infantry Brigade includes an anti tank bartery of 107mm recoilless rifles. These found the range of Ehud’s recon platoon Zeldas as they drove back an advanced RPG equipped infantry company. Several Zeldas burst into flame as the recoilless rifles opened fire at 750 metres. Platoon commanders requested covering fire from the brigade’s 120mm mortars to silence the advanced recoilless rifle platoon and allowing the Zeldas to retire out of range. The battle around Havraga now entered it’s second phase.

This was to see several attacks by the T-62 battalions of the 15th Armoured Brigade with supporting mechanised infantry in BTR-50 APC. Israeli electronic warfare missions allowed radio location finders to locate the main Egyptian artillery FO in the area and silence him with a counter battery strike while the Magach tanks cut through company after company of Egyptian T-62 tanks. The engagement taking place at ranges from a few hundred metres to some 2000 metres as the lines of Egyptian tanks and supporting infantry moved up to engage the Ehud’s battalion. After some 4 hours of fierce fighting the 15th Armoured Brigade was spent, while the Ehud’s battalion was down to almost 50% effectives. The Havraga was secure.

On our right flank and simultaneously with the advance by the 15th Armoured Brigade, a second Egyptian armoured brigade was ordered forward. This brigade, 23rd Tank Brigade, was equipped with T-55 tanks and was drawn from the 24th Mechanised Division. This brigade, like the 15th Armoured Brigade, had crossed on the night of the 7th October. Also like the 15th, it advanced with two battalions in front and a third held in reserve. As before the infantry was allocated in support to the tank battalions.

As Natke’s Centurions opened up the Egyptian commander realised his Saggers, while deployed on high ground of the Zrakor, were not able to engage the Centurions due to the distance to the Israeli positions. Our forces were indistinguishable from the Egyptians in the area. Frantic efforts were made by the Egyptian commander to get the infantry battalions moving, but with no results. The infantry were to remain uncommitted for the duration of the battle. The 23rd Armoured Brigade was now engaged in a deadly battle with Natke’s advanced Centurion battalion without the pinning attacks of the Egyptian infantry that his original plan called for.

Egyptian_T55_73

As the Egyptian T-55s rolled forward Natke, whose forward command post was with the advanced battalion, requested a series of air strikes. The Skyhawk pilots streamed low in twos and threes over the next two hours as the armoured battle raged below. However, heavy AA cover from SA6 missile systems across the canal as well as ZSU-23-4 self propelled AA guns advancing with the Egyptian tanks, resulted in heavy losses to the attacking aircraft for little result.

Natke, still concerned his position would be overrun or outflanked, requested reinforcement. Ordering his reserve battalion to move from the centre and swing right with an aim of hitting the Egyptian 23rd Armoured Brigade in the flank. This battalion had significant ground to cover and was to arrive some two hours later as the battle in this sector was all but over. In the meantime the advanced battalion was to hold on by itself.

As the battle progressed Egyptian casualties continued to mount. The commander of the 23rd Armoured Brigade ordered forward his own reserve battalion just as his supporting artillery was finally silenced by further Israeli counter battery fire. This final battalion was to have little effect on the battle however. As they moved into range so did Natke’s second Centurion battalion, sealing their fate. Eventually the Egyptian 23rd Armoured Brigade broke off after heavy fighting.

Meanwhile fighting on the Havraga continued. Israeli casualties mounted after another T-55 battalion was committed to the fighting. It was only a matter of time now before Ehud’s Battalion would be over run, having faced no less than five Egyptian battalions in rolling attacks over the course of the day. But the valley below and the slopes up the Havraga were a stark testament to the quality of Israeli troops against these modern Soviet supplied tanks. It had been a hard fought battle at great cost to both armies.

At this stage the pace of battle slowed and both forces began to disengage. The Egyptian infantry remained within 1.5km of the Artillery Road and began to dig in. The armoured thrusts had been contained and blunted with heavy Egyptian casualties. However, the Egyptian commander could be pleased the bridgehead was, at least for now, secure.

Scenario Design

Over recent years I worked on the development of a Scenario Generation System for use with the Spearhead and Modern Spearhead rules. Interestingly there still seems to be some perceptions on what the aims of the system are. I therefore thought a short post may be of interest to those people that have heard about the Modern Spearhead Scenario Generation System but who do not understand the background.

Modern Spearhead is a rules systems that is designed for scenario based play. That is, players are encouraged to play scenarios where a certain tactical situation is outlined and players then allocate their resources to achieve the outcome. In the Modern Spearhead rule book three scenarios are outlined. This concept is very different to rule systems that are designed to produce evenly balanced games for competitions, often found for example in the Ancient period.

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When I began playing Modern Spearhead I almost immediately found myself developing scenarios for my games. In part as I could not fall back on a published scenario books, as there were none for Modern Spearhead. In addition I did not have an experienced Modern Spearhead non-playing umpire, indeed I was often both organiser and one of the players.  As a result I found myself developing scenarios and playing. Frustratingly this meant that I had significant knowledge of the forces available and therefore there were few surprises for me.

A good scenario should provide challenges to the participants. It need not be perfectly balanced, as individual player ability will impact scenario balance, but both players should have a number of decisions to make where poor ones will result in defeat and good ones success. Therefore to provide an interesting game, and to model a military training exercise, a scenario should have a degree of balance. Further, just as actual commanders do not have a full understanding of the enemy composition, or its dispositions, neither should a wargamer. Further, wargame scenarios should have a basis on historical situations, much as military training operations do, or likely operational siuations. Not surprisingly I tried to model aspects of my study of historical engagements into the scenarios I was developing.

Interestingly, I soon realised that the scenarios I was developing were based on a formula. Indeed, if you look at the scenarios on this site you will see some of these formulas in action. As an example the defender is typically tasked with covering a number of objectives with a limited force. The attacker will have a number of possible avenues he can approach these objectives from. His forces will be limited, though he may have an ability to concentrate his forces. Victory conditions where defined in each of my scenarios, but often they too had a degree of similarity, another formula.

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So why did I use a formula? Well firstly it was not a deliberate action on my part, but rather I was nervous I would put together a “poor” scenario and as a result provide an uninteresting game for my opponent. Of course I tried to introduce variety, as without this the tactical problems would become limited. But it was always a balancing act.

Once I realised I was following a formula it occurred to me that I may be able to formalise the process. If I could, I could perhaps build a scenario on the fly. As I explored this one of the interesting aspects was the increased variety I found in the scenarios produced. Indeed an early success was developing the battlefield, such as the one below. Rather than the battlefield being limited to my own “restrictive” mind I had two players working together to produce a different battlefield that had more variety than those I had produced myself.

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However, perhaps the most significant success was in the force structure variation. Players were no longer aware of the enemy force structure. Now both players may have an idea what their opponent was likely to have but they needed to consider other possible situations and how these may be countered. I felt I was on to something and continued to invest time in expanding expanding the formulas.

One of the formulas that I needed was a means of calculating the forces capabilities. For Modern Spearhead this meant the development of a points system. However, more importantly was the development of a points budget with which to provide attack and defence ratios. Some people seem very negative about points systems. To me they are just a tool to quantify some basic differences between different force capabilities. That said I was not interested in equal points based games. So while any  scenario designer makes these calculations, I mealy formalised them. So while points values feature in my formulas they are a small part of a much larger equation.

Putting all the formulas together has resulted in the Scenario Generation System which can be found on this site. If this system provides you with an interesting tactical situation on your wargames table then I will be immensely pleased. It certainly has provided many enjoyable games for my opponents and I.

The Arab-Israeli Wars

My first use of Modern Spearhead was for wargaming engagements of the Arab-Israeli Wars. Indeed, I have had an interest in these conflicts for many years. The wars provide both an interesting mix of equipment, ranging from old World War II vintage hardware, through to modern hardware supplied by the West and the Soviets and their allies.

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However, for many years my Arab and Israeli miniatures collection languished in storage. I had long been frustrated with earlier rule sets. These earlier rule sets either were focussed on low level engagements or too complex. However, on my discovery of Modern Spearhead the models were drawn out of storage and reformed for action.

As I slowly reorganise my wargaming pages I have started to revisit the Arab-Israeli war information. First up is a short article on wargaming the Arab-Israeli Wars and articles on the Jordanian, Syrian and Egyptian armies during the 1967 Six Day war. These articles can be found in the Arab-Isaeli Wars Section.

The Falklands War

My interest in the modern wargaming is not limited to hypothetical combats in Cold War Europe. For many years I have been interested in the Falklands War. At the time the war I, like many my age, found myself glued to the television each evening listening to reports of the war. Over the years my interest has not really reduced.

SanCarlos
Now, a number of people argue that the Falklands conflict is too small to be modelled with Modern Spearhead. To a point I would agree as many of the battles are small affairs. However, the British campaign to retake the Falklands, when converted to Modern Spearhead format, looks interesting. Basically there is a reinforced Divisional Level engagement, something that Modern Spearhead is designed for, in a limited geographical area with all the elements of modern warfare in play. As way of a summary the main campaign sees some nine Argentine battalions, organised in roughly three Brigades, fighting against eight British battalions in two reinforced brigades. Of course the air and naval aspects can not be forgotten, the former being especially well catered for in the base Modern Spearhead rules. The main British land operations of Falklands War seem an ideal candidate for an interesting mini-campaign.

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The historical Argentine invasion is more one sided of course. With some British reinforcements however even this could translate to an interesting scenario, perhaps re-fought as a solo game, where two reinforced Argentine battalions conduct an assault on a reinforced British defence of Stanley and it’s surrounds.

As part of my Falklands project I have today uploaded Orders of Battle and the conversion of these to Modern Spearhead for both the Argentine and British forces. They can be found in the new Falklands War section. I’ll need to see how the project progresses…

Cold War Scenarios

The reorganisation of my Modern Spearhead website continues, slowly, and this evening I have finally sorted out and uploaded several Cold War scenarios.

The first scenarios are provided as a set and cover a series of actions between British and Soviet forces in the first few days of 1982. The scenarios are “Blunting the Bear”, “Engagement at Einbeck” and “Beyond Breaking”.

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Each scenario involes a reinforced brigades, or in some cases two brigades, and can reasonably be played in an afternoon, or possibly evening, of gaming. The scenarios can be found here.