WW3 what if? AAR- Tank Skirmish 1989.

Another week, another Monday night of playtesting my NUTS! modern modifications. Chris said he wanted to play with lots of tanks and I like to think that I’m an accommodating host so I knocked up a quick scenario.

The year is 1989: the fall of the Berlin wall has launched the USSR into a state of great upheaval, conscious of their position in Europe being threatened hawkish elements in the politburo launch a limited offensive as a show of force. As a Soviet armoured probe rolls into West German a mixed group of Brits and West Germans push forward to meet them.

Chris and Evan played the Soviets with 1BRDM2 and 3 T80s (Chris’ command), and 1 BMP with rifle squad and 3 T72s (Evan’s forces). Brian was the British commander with a Scimitar and 2 Challenger Is, I took the West Germans with a Marder and infantry squad as well as 2 Leopard 2A4s.

The table as seen from the NATO base edge.

The table as seen from the NATO base edge.

A view of the little German village straddling the road.

A view of the little German village straddling the road.

Chris' part of the Soviet force.

Chris’ part of the Soviet force.

Evan's units.

Evan’s units.

The Soviets push forward but soon take heavy fire from the Challenger's 120mm gun, destroying one and forcing one back.

The Soviets push forward but soon take heavy fire from the Challenger’s 120mm gun, destroying one and forcing one back.

Brian's Brits advance.

Brian’s Brits advance.

My German's enter the table late, I put the tanks down the NATO left flank to meet the T72s and try to get the infantry to dismount in the wood before moving yup to cover the wood.

My German’s enter the table late, I put the tanks down the NATO left flank to meet the T72s and try to get the infantry to dismount in the wood before moving yup to cover the wood.

Evan has a similar idea with his infantry, our tanks begin to trade shells.

Evan has a similar idea with his infantry, our tanks begin to trade shells.

Trying to use the hill as cover I begin to engage the Soviets.

Trying to use the hill as cover I begin to engage the Soviets.

With my notoriously bad dice rolling I didn't do very well. However the Brits were more than holding up their side of the game. With the majority of the Soviet tanks out of commission we call the game there.

With my notoriously bad dice rolling I didn’t do very well. However the Brits were more than holding up their side of the game. With the majority of the Soviet tanks out of commission we call the game there.

The game was pretty useful as far as playtesting is concerned, it did show up a slight over sight in not making the Challenger I’s 120mm gun more powerful than the frontal armour of the Soviet tanks, this was corrected as soon as it came up in the game. Given how well the Challenger I performed in Gulf war 1 I think I was justified in this.

Otherwise the game proved several things I suspected. Firstly my 6 foot by 4 foot board isn’t big enough for this number of tanks, too crowded by far and consequently the game turned into a bit of a shooting gallery. Secondly modern tanks in NUTS! work far better as an adjunct to the infantry rather than the main focus of the game. Thirdly small numbers of better trained troops will hold off a numerically superior enemy; I had rated the Brits highest followed by the West Germans then the Soviets last. The Brits could have probably won by themselves with out the German’s help at all… Which leads me on to my last point…

The later one sets a Cold War game the harder it is for the Soviets to win, the discrepancy in the quality of kit shows too much. 1989 is the worst case scenario by far and we didn’t even have M1Abrams on the table which are better again than the Challenger Is. If the game had been set 10 years earlier things would have been very different; the difference in guns, armour and general performance between the T64 compared to Chieftains and Leopard 1s is much less than what I had set up for this game. Definitely something I want to explore further.

Cheers,

Pete.

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6 comments on “WW3 what if? AAR- Tank Skirmish 1989.

  1. wargamingresources says:

    Hi Pete, interesting read, and I was wondering if you have an idea of when these rules might be available to play?

    Cheers, Iain

  2. Pete S/ SP says:

    Hi Iain, Hopefully soon a few tweaks may be needed to be made but when I can make an announcement I’ll do so as soon as possible on my blog.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

    • Just re-read this (followed the link from the Stalingrad Sewers game). Having recently read Chieftans by Bob Forrest-Webb, I notice that your forces have similar numbers, whereas many WW3 scenarios assume NATO forces to be numerically lower than USSR. I wonder if changing the number of forces would have balanced the game.

      The other thing I see from your pictures is how large the models are compared to the ranges – would 6mm or 10mm give a more realistic relationship?

      And, as always, how is the project coming on and when do you think it will be ready 😉

      Cheers, Iain

      • Pete S/ SP says:

        Hello Iain,

        The numbers were roughly the same as I wanted the game to be a meeting engagement between tanks rather than the standard NATO defend Warsaw Pact attack scenario, though this does given the edge to the NATO side both in terms of better kit and higher REP. Though at this point of the playtesting I was just fighting tanks against each other as much as possible to see how the stats I’d given them worked against each other- game balance was secondary. You’re right about the balance- halving the NATO forces would have made the game much more even. Agree entirely about the model scale/ ground scale problem though I was wanting to have a modern infantry game with the occasional tank rather than a tank heavy game, if I were after that I’d definitely go for 6mm. As I said it was mostly an exercise in stat checking.

        As for how the project is progressing it has been rather slow due to personal reason- long story short I’ve gone back to uni… also the change in the systems CR3.0 etc. However if you’d like to help playtest the stats I’d be more than happy to send you the stuff over. What sort of modern gaming would you be interested in?

        Cheers,

        Pete.

  3. Thanks for the quick reply – that all makes sense 😀

    The periods I’m interested in are Falklands, Afghanistan & Iraq, plus WW3 as you’ve already been gaming. I should have some free time in about 2 weeks time – just need to finish a couple of projects for people first. Happy to do proof-reading, play-testing or anything else that helps out!

    Thanks, Iain

  4. Pete S/ SP says:

    Give me a shout when you’ve got the time and I’ll be happy to send the stuff over. Be good to get another opinion on my stats and ideas.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

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