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Scrapper_511

80's armor

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I'm thrilled with the addition of the M1 and M60 in the latest update. This gives the U.S. proper force mixture for hypothetical NATO vs Warsaw Pact German battles set in the 80's. Along with M2's, M113's, and Hummers, this completes the picture for American OOB. The Leopard I, Marder, and Jaguar round it out for the Germans, while Warsaw Pact forces have the T72, T62, T55, BMP1, and BRDM. This is awesome, but where are the British and French?

Any plans for Chieftain, Challenger I? AMX-30 for the French, plus their wheeled armored cars? What about ZSU-23-4 the WP?

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Cool article. This is a scan from what magazine?

Strategy and Tactics was the magazine, I am sure they are some old boardgamers out there who remember the days of pushing counters around. I still do it. Charles Kamps did a series of battalion and regimental games for SPI, that covered VII and V Corps in the late 70's. They were 3 or 4 boxed games that linked together to cover the Brits up north all the way down to V and VII Corps if I recall. I actually played it solitaire back in the day.

Pete

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Back in the day, board games was all we had for military based stimulation. I envy people who got to grow up with computer games. The S&T magazines are some of the relics I still have from that age. I read that these can be worth some $$ nowadays.

I'll post some more articles when I get a chance...

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I read that these can be worth some $$ nowadays.

Sold my entire SPI collection 6-7 years ago. Some of the "monster" games like NATO Division Commander, Next War and Red Star White Star, went for over 200 bucks! Then about 3 years ago I started buying the new tactical board games from Lock n' Load and what do you know I started doing counters, scenarios and development for them.

Now for the shameless plug. Heroes of the Gap is coming out very soon. It covers a hypothetical US vs Soviet engagement in 1985 (my favorite topic in the world). Here are some sample game counters I did.

Pete

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Edited by dpabrams

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Sold my entire SPI collection 6-7 years ago. Some of the "monster" games like NATO Division Commander, Next War and Red Star White Star, went for over 200 bucks!

Pete

Was that an eBay thing or did you find a keen collector?

I have shelves of these things (including never to be played again titles like ”Next War”) that I’m sure she who must be obeyed would like to see some cash for (instead of just going into the paper recycling).

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Was that an eBay thing or did you find a keen collector?

I have shelves of these things (including never to be played again titles like ”Next War”) that I’m sure she who must be obeyed would like to see some cash for (instead of just going into the paper recycling).

I remember that I sold the collection during operation Iraqi Freedom. I actually advertised on eBay that I would only sell to "Coalition of the Willing" members. Sold a some games to Brits and Ulrainians but man the French guys were pissed! You have a goldmine there.

Pete

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I thought the article gave an interesting snapshot of the strategic thinking of the time. The Soviet threat was still very real. Assuming the article was written in 86 who would have guessed that in 3 years the Soviet Union would break up, the Berlin wall would collapse, Germany would reunify. I thought the author gave a rather pessimistic assessment of NATO morale and operational readiness but nothing on how the Warsaw Pact would have performed. I'm sure by 86 cracks were starting to appear in the readiness, much less commitment to all out war, of the WP esp in the satellite countries, East Germany, Poland, etc. I was stationed in Germany 77 to 80 which was in fact a bad time for the US Army having just emerged from the debacle of Viet Nam. The quality of the recruits was generally low, my own unit, 5/68th armored, was riddled with drug abuse and discipline problems. I was intrigued by the author's claim that the 8th Infantry (my division) was to be redeployed to NORTHAG from Southern Germany. I rather doubt that we could have done it within the 48 hour projected window of advance warning given that there would most likely have been a massive traffic jam on the autobahns.

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my own unit, was riddled with drug abuse and discipline problems.

Sucked to be a professional soldier back then. Yes, the children of the 60's and 70's. Now all these hippies have grown up and entered politics and are making big, important decisions. God help us.

Pete

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One day we will have crewable M60 and will be able to play with the old brother in those scenarios.

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When crewable M60?

No idea, but I suspect not for a while yet.

Now the tankers in Cairo, have fun!

I’ve never thought of deploying against your own countrymen as fun.

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Assuming the article was written in 86...

That article was published in Sept 1980. The landscape at that time was totally different than what it would be in 1986.

A quick history for those who were too young: In late 1980, Brezhnev was still in power and had just invaded Afghanistan a year prior. It was the first overt use of Soviet military power, something they had never done before up to that point. The fear of a possible invasion of Western Europe felt more real than ever. Moreover, the US military faced a hostile Congress, a failed rescue attempt to free the Iran hostages, a pay increase freeze, and a Presidential election right around the corner. An uncertain future laid ahead and things were not were not looking good. However by 1986, fortunes had reversed. A massive US military buildup was in full swing. With the political will and support from the new Administration, the US military had a revival, marked with successes (Libya, Achille Lauro) and failures (Lebanon). While in the USSR, General Secretaries started dropping like flies, beginning in 1982 until Gorbachev ascended to power in 1985. The campaign in Afghanistan had demonstrated to the world that they were not 10 foot tall giants. The political reformation which began Poland's Solidarity movement had taken root and Perestroika allowed it to spread. The cracks were definitely forming and going to war was not on the top of the list (if it really ever truly was at any point). Quite a change in a short amount of time.

I thought the author gave a rather pessimistic assessment of NATO morale and operational readiness but nothing on how the Warsaw Pact would have performed. I'm sure by 86 cracks were starting to appear in the readiness, much less commitment to all out war, of the WP esp in the satellite countries, East Germany, Poland, etc. I was stationed in Germany 77 to 80 which was in fact a bad time for the US Army having just emerged from the debacle of Viet Nam. The quality of the recruits was generally low, my own unit, 5/68th armored, was riddled with drug abuse and discipline problems.

It was from 1980 perspective (which you know now). If anything, you unknowingly added credence to his position. However, he obviously had issues with US Army officers and his bias is clearly presented. Personally, I think his argument was misplaced. The fatal flaw was NATO's strategic plan not its soldiers: 1. The concept of forward defense 2. Logistics which ran parallel to the front rather than perpendicular and the excessive use of civilians in the support echelons. 3. The implied intention to fight only to restore the status quo if attacked and not to threaten a counter offensive that would have brought into question the security of the Communist governments, at least in Eastern Europe.

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I studied this topic extensively when I did a gigantic scenario for The Operational Art of War (TOAW) more than ten years ago. I looked at about 1968 to about 1988. I decided to go with a PACT vs NATO in May of 1978 as the most balanced time frame in my opinion. It was a blood bath! About 50-50 between competent human oponents. In my opinion as the 80's progressed the margin for success and the likelyhood of PACT aggression, decreased exponentially, for a variety of reasons. I think the sweet spot was from about 1974 to 1981.

Pete

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Back in the day, board games was all we had for military based stimulation. I envy people who got to grow up with computer games. The S&T magazines are some of the relics I still have from that age. I read that these can be worth some $$ nowadays.

I'll post some more articles when I get a chance...

I went from the Avalon Hill games and other great table top strategy games, to computer games. My current favorite game along those lines is "The Operational Art of War III" or just TOAWIII for short. It is the best out there, I havent found another game that captured that level of detail and complexity that the old table top games had.

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I was basing the date of the article on the bibliography on the last page which listed The Third World War, August 1985. I just realized my mistake, though. The date is part of the title of the book.

I agree, the late 70s were the period of greatest vulnerabilty for NATO. The US had not yet commenced the Reagan buildup, morale was at a low ebb due to Viet Nam, and, of course, the labor unrest in Poland had not disclosed the first weakness in the Warsaw Pact alliance. Plus, oil and gas prices, which were in essence financing the entire Soviet military machine, had not yet collapsed. Any scenario recreating a Soviet invasion at that point would be very interesting. The losses on both sides would have been staggering but the outcome questionable. Another tidbit, which came out in the late 80s, when it didn't matter any more, was the lack of standardization of weaponry among the NATO forces which meant the there was only enough ammunition stockpiled to sustain operations for no more than 30 days. The fighting would have been short and bloody, the outcome of which would have been decided within the first 2 weeks.

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The notion of a purely conventional confrontation between both blocks appears interesting, but ahistorical to me. While NATO's operational planning almost ended with the release of nuclear weapons, WP plans started with the employment of tactical nuclear strikes. War plans that were discovered after the German reunification included 23 nuclear strikes in northern Germany alone in the first three days.

If NATO planners seriously hoped to keep a conflict below the nuclear threshold, they were living in la-la land. Whether it was simply politically incorrect to calculate with it (not in the sense of today's "PC", but rather that had it become public knowledge that NATO expected Germany to become a nuclear wasteland from day one, what would have been the point for Germany to contribute substantially to the conventional defense) or wishful thinking throughout all levels, I don't know. But it would've been mushrooms everywhere, and be it simply because one side never seriously expected that it could manage without or didn't want to rely on the speculation that NATO might not release nukes first.

Fortunately however the strategic nuclear deterrence worked.

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"The Operational Art of War III" or just TOAWIII for short. It is the best out there,

I don't want to brag, I don't want to boast but I did the entire order of battle for Desert Storm for TOAW. I was play testing at first, and then I got the Desert Storm scenario from a legend by the name of Wild Bill Wilder. I saw that good ole Bill 90mm recoilless rifles in the US TO&E. I just had to intervene and thus my foray into computer gaming. I later did scenarios for the Six Day War and a giant hypothetical PACT vs NATO in 1978. The US and Bundeswer were at Company level and the Soviets at Battalion.

Pete

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Not to get too off topic, but if you like TOAW3, you should try "Danube Front '85". It is a good battalion level game covering all of Germany.

Are you the same "Volcano Man" who did the mods for all the HPS Simulations? I thought so. I did my own mods for all the modern stuff and even the IDF. You try finding a picture profile of an L/33 Howitzer. We actually traded some emails and art. I was hooked on the modern HPS games for awhile.

Pete

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The notion of a purely conventional confrontation between both blocks appears interesting, but ahistorical to me.

I was giving a 1980 perspective when very little was known about the other side of the iron curtain.

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