Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Into Void (Part 1)

This was another outing to my fictional 1981 Third World War. One element I wanted to pick up during the narrative was the role (and fate) of the various deep operational air assaults the Warsaw Pact intended to carry out. These were aimed at siezing key strategic terrain locations to both impede NATO and also facilitate the advance of GSFG wth the airheads being relieved in 2-5 days depending on depth. Classic 'A Bridge Too Far' stuff!

The operational area, Hamelin, on the River Weser.

I originally set this up as two sided game, but there is so much that can go wrong with an air assault it seemed to fit better as a team game and I also thought NATO has had quite enough of being stomped all over by the opening Warpac attack. In this initial game I just wanted to set the scene for this particular airhead and make sure they had a reasonable chance of getting on the ground, we can pick up any counter attacks/reliefs etc in later games.

I ran it as a team planning game by email with the actual drop being executed on game night, with a bit of 'run up to war' stuff thrown in. Main soviet briefing is reproduced below.

Into the Void, June 31st 1981

General Briefing
The Soviet invasion of Iran a week earlier and subsequent exchanges of fire with US forces in the Gulf prompted the Soviet leadership to initiate an all out attack on NATO to preserve the integrity of the USSR. In the BAOR sector covering Hannover, NATO forces had barely had time to mobilise to war strength and their assembly positions before Soviet tanks were rolling over the border and the sky was black with Warpac aircraft.

Warpac briefing
In support of the counter offensive against NATO aggression, the VDV is conducting a series of deep operational (50-75km deep) and strategic (100-150km deep) air landings to sieze key terrain locations. In support of the attack by 3rd Guards Shock Army, 34th Air Assault Brigade will size a bridgehead designated by the Centre over the Weser.

These units will attack prior to the main offensive, and the initial parachute wave of the deep air assault will conducted along the entire front will be conducted using fast transports including hardened civilian airliners. The depth of the attack renders helicopter insertion impractical. The initial attack will be conducted within 30 minutes of dawn (either way).

Secure a bridgehead on the west side of the Weser in the vicinity of Hamelin, secure bridges over the river both to deny them to the enemy and allow our own forces to use them, clear out any enemy local defences forces. Prepare a secure defensive perimeter and plan on being relieved by ground forces  in 2-3 days.

Forces (D8, high morale unless indicated otherwise)

34th Air Assault Brigade
Bde HQ plus motorised engineer, atgw and recce companies.
3 x parachute battalions (2 companies ea), 1 x mechanised battalion (2 x company BMD)

Paras delivered via paradrop from fast transports. Antonov transports for BHQ and Mech Bn, Antonovs may land on open roads (minimum 1km length, ideally 2km) if they are prepared by paras first.
Fighter escort will be available for the Antonovs.
Ground attack aircraft will be available for ground support, including preparatory airstrikes if desired.  

Intelligence may be gathered prior to the op by air recce, ground agents, inspection teams. A spetznaz team may be inserted a few days prior to hostilites, including German speakers if desired. Excessive interest in the area may provoke a defensive response.

Villages and towns provide concealment and cover (-1 to hit), woods provide concealment.
Hills are rugged and are bad going, stationary units may find concealment on them. Marshes are a serious impediment to vehicular movement.


The weather is good.


  1. Hmm. That sort of thing will require inspired leadership from the Brigadier. And other players for me, er I mean him to blame if it all goes horribly wrong....

  2. I find the lack of confidence in your Comrades, who are equally skilled in the socialist art of war slightly worrying,

    signed - a Regimental Commander.

  3. I think the brigadier has summed up the art of command quite neatly.

  4. Just remember, Comrade Pete, that now the Commissar knows where you live....