Sunday, 23 August 2015

Cold War 1986 British Vs Pact first game (using Tank Wreck)

When 15, a friend and I in 1980 got a little interested in playing with modern forces.  My interest was from this book that I read a lot (and still have), even though it was a reference book:

I ordered some 6mm British, he ordered some Soviets.  We both painted up some forces and played a few games.  And that was that.  My Chieftains and FV432s have been stored away since 1981. Internet mate Just Jack recently shamed me in that these figures had lain unplayed for 35 years. It was just wrong.  I put some searches into eBay and waited for some reasonable minis.  Eventually I acquired some Soviet enemies, and some British infantry as the 6 stands I had really show they were my first 6mm paint job - shocking!

Some of the Chieftains I painted when I was 15. My first outing in 6mm,
I have various rules for Cold War (there may be more):
  • WRG 1950-1985: The ones I played with, twice I think, back in 1981 or 1982.
  • TankWreck!: acquired this about 5 years ago to see if I could use them for WW2.  Seem fast and fun
  • Challenger: Acquired these in 1990 while in the UK. 
  • Close and Destroy: 1:1 modern rules that seem fine
  • Third Generation Warfare: 1:1 rules
  • FiveCore company command: I like these, got them for WW2 but would fine with modern
  • Dunn Kempf Training rules: The US military rules used for training (a streamlined version of WRG 1950-1975)
  • Contact!: The Canadian military rules used for training loosely based on WRG 1950-1975.
  • Irregular Miniatures Mechanised Warfare Rules: Too simple and no command and control.
I chose for my first game…TankWreck! It will not strain the brain, fast,looks like it will work with small forces on the table but provide the feel of long range tank battles and hard to kill infantry in Europe in the 1980s.  We shall see.  My close runners-up were Dunn Kempf and FiveCore.
TankWreck! is by Martin Bourne who also wrote ShipWreck!.  Not much out there as a review, other than the short TMP topic.  There is a yahoo group with QRS and more vehicle info than in the rules.

I will be playing on my small board in the map drawer (as usual) and will convert inches to cm.  If I have to, I will double the move of infantry (the rules have them quite slow compared to other Cold War rules). I say if I have too, as mostly infantry will be mechanised.

I was feeling lazy and so just looked for some small cold war scenarios.  Could not find many, but have gone with heavily modifying the first scenario in the Force on Force First Clash - a Cold War Gone Hot Campaign (I downloaded a copy via the Guild).  Changed Canadian to British and upscaled the infantry.

A force of British infantry guard a village with armour support on rear hill. More armour is expected as re-inforcements.  Soviet armour and mech infantry objective is to take the village and hill in ten turns. Victory points are obtained by causing casualties and taking objectives.

The table with starting positions marked.
Soviets (start offboard)

4 T-80s
6 BTR80 each with infantry stands (in two companies)
BRDM2 artillery observer
2 offboard heavy mortars


(in village)
8 infantry stands (in two companies)
6 FV432 (part of above companies)
2 FVV432 with Wombat (part of above companies)
Landrover with artillery observer stand
(on ridge)  
2 Chieftains (one company)
(reinforcements on beginning of turn when d10 <= turn number)
2 Chieftains (one company)
2 offboard 81mm mortars

British infantry in the village, chieftains and artillery observer on the ridge.  Artillery will be placed at the edge of each respective edge but is only there so I remember about it!  They are really both off-board.

British deployment - Chieftains and Artillery observer on the hill, infantry in the village.  The infantry are actually in the building if they are behind it.
TankWreck uses an opposed roll to determine initiative at the start of a turn.  Players take turns activating companies. Units either fire, or move and fire, or call artillery (if they can), go on reserve (aka opportunity fire), or do nothing.  For the first turn, I just moved on the Soviets and assumed the British would be on reserve fire.  The range is quite long to hit anyone.

The Soviets enter.  Tanks in front, BTRs to the rear. I used this formation as Phil Barker wrote about in in the back of the WRG 1950-1985 :-)
The T80s continue to move,the Chieftains fire and miss. Russian observer call artillery on the left of village. The BTR80s move on the left flank and dismounts infantry.  No casualties on either side anywhere.

View from the British side.  The Russians continue to advance.  The BTRs to the centre and right in this picture dismount their infantry.
The BTRs move closer to the British infantry.  It is really hard to kill infantry unless you are within 5.  All infantry dismounts close to the enemy.  Chieftains miss again.  All infantry fire misses.  All artillery misses.  I think I rolled about 50% 10s! (Low rolling is good in this game). Very poor rolling by both sides.  But that means the next turn may be better. Oh, and the end of turn roll for the Chieftain reinforcements is a success.

Soviets dismount the infantry into the village. One way to tell the difference in infantry is the Soviets have some green flock on the base, the British do not.
One British infantry stand is destroyed.

 A different view after one British infantry base destroyed. The right half of the British infantry are broken.
The British second company has 3 elements suppressed and at the end of turn the company in the main village rolls badly for morale and is broken (will run away next turn).

The Chieftains on the hill.
TankWreck! uses a to hit (on a d10) followed by a to kill (on a d10).  There are no spotting rules, this being taken into account with the to hill probabilities.  The rules had suppression occur if the to kill roll was two more than required.  I was playing with the revised QRS from the yahoo group where if a unit is hit it is suppressed (similar to the early WRG WW2 rules).

Two T80s are hit - one suppressed and the other destroyed.  The morale test at the end of the turn sees all company suppressed. The Russians wanted to lay smoke in front of chieftains but failed the radio roll.

The chaos that is the village.  The retreating British infantry can be seen at the top left and a destroyed T80 top right.
The British first company infantry is still in village, while the second company is broken and running.  No other damage anywhere.  The Soviet mortars successfully lays smoke in front of a Chieftain.

Note: I have been taking off the FV432s as I assumed they were not needed as they have no armament.  I should not have.  Retreating infantry would have boarded the carriers rather than run.  It is a learning game after all.

Successful smoke in front of a Chieftain. British infantry still retreating
Turn 7 was a death turn.  The broken British infantry company continued to retreat but recovers at the end of the turn.  The other British company had its two remaining infantry units destroyed.  Another T80 destroyed. The Soviet infantry unit loads up onto the BTRs.

Some Soviet Infantry has loaded up in the BTRs and is heading for the retreating British infantry.
The Soviets control the village.

The village is now under Soviet control.
Next turn the remaining British company have some units suppressed.  The Chieftains change targets to fire on the BTR80s and destroy two of them.   I am not sure that the Russians can take the ridge in the two remaining turns.  Note the other Russian infantry in the village did not move in case the (formerly retreating) British infantry made a counter attack.

The British infantry (the 4 bases in the centre) surrounded by Soviets (flock on bases).  But two BTRs are destroyed by Chieftain fire from the hill.
And then we have another death round.  I think it is because the vehicles are decent tank range (less than 20 the to hit is about 3 or 4, not much but twice as many hits as when the chance was a 1 or 2 when further out). The Russians unload the infantry to attack the British infantry for no damage but the British infantry manage to kill a Russian infantry unit. In a big break for the Russians, a T-80 manages to KO a Chieftain.

One Chieftain on the hill KO'd (centre top).. Lots of smoke around ! 
Another Chieftain down (two gone). but another Russian infantry stand is destroyed and the unit breaks.

Followed shortly after by another Chieftain destroyed.
The Chieftains destroy another two BTRs.

While one British infantry base is destroyed, the Chieftains destroy another two BTRs.
The last turn and the Soviets cannot take the ridge and the British cannot retake the village.  But there are victory points to be had for destruction.  The only KO is a Russian infantry stand that then also causes the already broken unit to break again and so is routed.  It was only one infantry stand left anyway.

One Soviet infantry company broekn and routed.  The BTRs of that company are all destroyed so stay on the table...
And the game ends.

Game ends.  Remaining British forces circled in red.  2 Chieftains, artillery observer and part of an infantry company.
Victory points
Soviets: 20
killed 5 infantry (+5), say 4 APC even though I took them off (+8), 2 tanks (+6)+village(+2)
British: 17
killed 3 infantry (+3), 4 APC (+8), 2 tanks (+6)

Close enough to call it a draw.

I was not enjoying the game for the first few turns.  The infantry fight in the village just looked messy and seemed it would go on forever.  but then I remembered that cramming 6mm infantry onto a small table and in a village fight looked messy in all my other games!  I felt a little better.  I also did not seem to have much of a plan for the Russians. The rules were also new and have a few nuances I realised when looking some stuff up.  But about turn 4, I was started to get a handle on how the rules worked, ranges etc.It did seem to have a more modern fell than the WW2 I was used to (longer ranges, mechanised infantry playing a bit part).  And thought up a plan for the Russians.  From then on I enjoyed the game a lot.  I did not even mind using d10s, much preferring d6s. and I forgot to use the LAWs that the British would have been armed with against the BTRs.  TankWreck! is a fun ruleset.  I am very tempted to play another game (if fact I did and a write-up is coming).


  1. Great timing Shaun. Would love to find a manageable Cold War set so I can actually use my figures! Will be following your adventures with interest. Modern Spearhead us just too much of a mission for an evening solo fame. Cheers, Aaron

    1. Argh, auto correct makes that comment almost unintelligible, sorry!

    2. Thanks Aaron.

      While Spearhead seems a good set, I am not going to get around to it for awhile due to space and time limitations. For my first foray into Moderns, I am glad I tried it out with TankWreck. A fairly simple set but worked well. I have only one more game I have played so not too much more to look forward too.

      And I figured out what your comment was. Auto-correct can be so much fun - as the interest sites devoted to its shenanigans attest,.

  2. Enjoyed the write up. Glad people are still playing it. I worked on it before Martin published it. Our aim was fast, playable and solo friendly. You may want to relate the FV432 as SA for firing as they usually mounted a GPMG.
    Look forward to more reports. Happy to try and answer quiet ions if you have any

    1. Hello David,

      Thanks for stopping by. After playing, I do think it is an underrated ruleset - definitely met your aim of fast fun and solo friendly. I have already played my second game but for other I will give the FV432 an SA, it will help.

      Lastly, thanks for the offer of answers. I found the yahoo group useful to search in for any questions. I had no questions that could not be answered by the rules but the yahoo group does have a few clarifications that might crop up in future games.

  3. Interesting, I used to play modern war rules back in the 80s.

    1. The few games I played back in 1981 were set in the near future i.e. 1983. Odd that playing some games now it is recreating what-if for 25 years ago instead!

  4. Shaun,

    I can't believe you're blaming me! You should be thanking me, your 15-year old self was on to something! ;)

    Looked like a helluva game! When I saw the orders of battle, I thought "where are the Soviet hordes? They don't stand a chance!" I was really surprised when they quickly evicted the Brits from the village.

    It looked like a good back-and forth, and my favorite part was when the poor grunts fell back to link up with their rides, and discovered they weren't there! Fog of war, brother! ;)


    1. OK Jack, I apologise - i *thank* you for pointing out that 35 years may be too long for minis to languish.

      The rules are quick playing and if you ger initiative you have a chance to fire first, so for the village the Soviets managed to do some damage, and the Brits rolled rally badly. It was back and forth and I think thats why I picked up on the enjoyment halfway through.

      And I can imagine Corporal Smith exiting the village and looking around for the FV432s going "Hey, where'd they go?".