Thursday, September 6, 2012

Three Great Books for Cold War Gone Hot Scenarios

I know that on my previous post I said that I would be doing a review/impression of the new rule-set Maurice.  I had my days confused.  We played  a game of Black Powder last Saturday and I will post that soon.  It takes me a while to load all the photos up, I think I took 30 plus photos.  I will also write about Maurice in the nest week or two.  The following post appears in The Herald.  This is a bi-monthly publication of the HMGSGL chapter.  A good friend committed to be the editor and I told him I would write articles.  Several friend also help him label and stamp them.  I am going to start putting those on my blog.  The following is the 1st installment.

It is relatively easy to come up with a scenario for an ACW, AWI, WWII and I could go on. Any historical period , with a little bit of research has a lot of material for scenarios. Those of us that enjoy playing more modern periods, what ifs and Cold War gone hot have a bit harder time. I do have three books that are really great for generating scenarios.

The first book is by Steven Zaloga and it is titled, Red Thrust. The following is a partial biography of Steven Zaloga from .

Steven Zaloga is a senior analyst for Teal Group Corp., an aerospace consulting firm. His professional specialization is the commercial and technological aspects of the international trade in missiles, precision guided munitions, and unmanned aerial vehicles. He also serves as an adjunct staff member with the Institute for Defense Analyses, a federal think-tank.
Mr. Zaloga has published numerous books and articles on military technology and military history. His books have been translated into Japanese, German, Polish, Czech, Romanian, and Russian. He has been a special correspondent for "Jane's Intelligence Review" and is on the executive board of the "Journal of Slavic Military Studies". From 1987 through 1992, he was the writer/director for Video Ordnance Inc., preparing their TV series "Firepower" that aired on The Discovery Channel in the US.

Red Thrust is a very interesting book. It deals with a hypothetical clash between NATO and the USSR in the mid 90s. The first chapter is entitled Plan Buran: The Invasion of Western Europe. This is just background material as to why the USSR is attacking NATO. There is a lot of unrest in the Warsaw Pact nations and the Soviets are really pretty heavy handed about dealing with it. The situation quickly spirals out of control.

Then each and subsequent chapters have a fictionalized account the battle. In the second chapter, Zaloga describes a Motor Rifle assault on a small farm manned by West German territorial troops.  The third chapter describes Independent Tank Battalion(18th Guards) attacking a small town

Then the last third of each chapter Zaloga analyzes the equipment, training and tactics of the Soviets.

The chapters include the a fore mentioned Motor Rifle Attack, Tank Attack, Spetsnaz, Attack Helicopters and Fighter Combat to name a few. In fact if you play CY6 Jet Age. I wrote a scenario using this book. If you want to take a look, you can see it at the CY6 yahoo group. It is in the player designed scenario folder under Cold War Gone Hot. It is called Shaska Flight and it is a clash between MiG-29s and RCAF CF-18s.

There a lot of scenario ideas. It primarily deals with land warfare and is suitable for skirmish and larger games.

The second book is First Clash by Kenneth Macksey. The following is his biography on .
Kenneth John Macksey (1 July 1923 – 30 November 2005) was a British author and historian who specialized in military history and military biography, particularly of World War II. Macksey was commissioned in the Royal Armoured Corps and served in World War II (winning a Military Cross ) under the command of Percy Hobart, later writing the (authoritative) biography of that leader. Macksey, gaining a permanent commission in 1946 and being transferred to the Royal Tank Regiment in 1947 , reached the rank of major in 1957 , retiring from the Army in 1968 . Amongst many other books, Macksey wrote two volumes of alternate history, one dealing with a successful invasion of England by Germany in 1940, and the other describing a NATO - Warsaw Pact clash in the late 1980s. The latter book was done under contract to the Canadian Forces and focuses on the Canadian role in such a conflict.

He also wrote several Ballantine's Illustrated History of World War II and people of a certain age(we won't say how old) will remember those fondly.

First Clash was originally written as an official manual for the Canadian Armed Forces. This book follows the 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group that is in defense of the Buhl plateau. First Clash is very detailed as a training manual would be. Macksey's book details defense in depth, fighting withdrawal and counter attack made by the Canadians.

There are detailed battle maps showing the disposition of NATO and Warsaw Pact troops. It would be ideal for a campaign game and is suitable for a skirmish game also.

The final book is Arctic Strike by Michael Palmer. He is a professor of History and Maritime Studies at East Carolina University. Arctic Strike details WWIII in the north. A Soviet invasion of Norway through Finland and fly overs of Sweden. The book also talks about para drops by the Soviets and amphibious attacks, both Soviet and NATO. Land engagements consists of Finnish vs. Soviet; Norwegian vs. Soviet; US Marines and Royal Marines vs. Soviets.

There is also quite a few naval engagements. Palmer also gives very detailed accounts of naval battles, even down to each specific vessel in each task force. I recently purchased the game Surface Battle Group byTom Dziegielewski and I will be gaming some of the encounters that are described in Arctic Strike.

Last but not least Arctic Strike gives a very good account air warfare from the very beginning of the book describing, Norwegian F-16s tangleing with Soviet fighters when they are trying to intercept Il-76s carrying Soviet VDS troops. Palmer also writes about US Navy aircraft fighting Su-27K (naval version). The Soviets have operational aircraft carriers. The author also mentions that Sweden defends her airspace against Soviet intrusions, which really intrigues me.

Now that I have told you about these books, you might ask, where can I get them? There are several places that one can get these books. As you all may or may not know, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have a service for used books. When one types in a book, the website shows used copies and one can order that way. Amazon and Barnes & Noble have a relationship with some used book stores. The other website that is very good, I use this one a lot is . This is a collection of used book stores, both here and in the UK. I bought two of the three books on Alibris. One can also get used copies of Wargame rule sets and RPG games too.


  1. nice Micheal, I have not read any of those!!!


  2. I highly recommend First Clash. As a book it is gripping. As a resource, the book is superb for terrain and doctrine on both sides.

  3. Just found this. Thank you I will be adding Arctic Strike to my library.