Sunday, July 28, 2013

Battle of Brandon - Cold War 3mm "Red Dawn" Prequel

One of the defining movies of the '80s was definitely John Milius' classic Cold War scare-piece Red Dawn. High school kids forced to witness their country's invasion by the Reds took up arms and ran to the hills to wage a guerrilla war against the evil invaders who imprisoned and tortured their parents, flattened their cities, and even shut down their McDonalds.  

Of course, the Red scare is remembered fondly by many of us who grew up in the '70s and '80s and the Conscripts are no exception... especially Conscript Greg, who can pretty much recite the movie's dialogue verbatim! As regular readers know, Greg's been working on a new insane 3mm modern project and he had a notion to run an '80s game as a kind of "prequel" to the events of Red Dawn... over to you, Greg...

"In the 1984 movie 'Red Dawn', the Soviet Union and its allies launch a land invasion of the contental United States!  How? An enormous intercontinental pincer movement!  With saboteurs and elite airborne units leading the way, aided by select nuclear strikes (!), the Soviet 'coalition' tears right up through the 'open door' along the border with Mexico, occupying much of the US great plains and mid west.  The other arm of the Soviet pincer comprises three army groups that come across the Bering Straight, trying to link up with this southern thrust. 

So, like, Canada is in the way, there, eh? What happens to poor Canada in 1984's "Red Dawn"?  Let's play a game and find out!

It's September 1984, and the Soviets are invading!  Canada is scrambling to respond the best it can. Teeming Red Army tank and motor infantry divisions are spilling along invasion routes out of the Yukon (!) down through Alberta, Saskatchewan and Western Manitoba - home of Brandon and Prairiecon!  A Russian Corps has advanced down Highway 10 in Manitoba, looking to get to the US border. Soviet paratroopers have seized Brandon and its bridges over the Assiniboine river, but the advance has been slowed because the Canadians have blown the Shellmouth Dam, temporarily flooding the Assiniboine valley in the Brandon area.  Lead elements of the Soviet advance have been trapped south of Brandon.

Soviet Bombers and missiles have already hammered the air base at Portage and CFB Winnipeg.  But the troops in Shilo have fought off the Soviet surprise attack, and are ready to respond. The 8th Canadian Hussars roll out from CFB Shilo to stop the isolated Soviets south of Brandon and check the Red advance.  Success here could allow the Canadian Forces to buy time and rally to at least keep the Red Army from moving further south and west."

View from the north (Soviet) table edge, looking south down Highway 10 towards Boissevain. The attacking force had 10 turns to break the Canadians - basically by destroying half or more of their units and hoping for a failed morale test. The Soviets attacked with two companies of T-72s and an armoured infantry battalion, plus artillery and air assets. The Canadians deployed two understrength Leopard companies and some infantry in M113s, some artillery tubes and A-10 Warthog ground-attack aircraft.

Greg explains the situation to Conscripts Kevin, Dave V. and Jim. Greg had designed the game using the tried and true "Spearhead" rules, but with each 3mm individually based tank representing one actual vehicle.

Off we go! The Soviet column (T-72 company) moves down the road followed up by armoured infabtry. The other tank company stages in the field to the right. Artillery park is in the wooded depression.

Canadian artillery.
Leopards move up to take position behind the rail cut.

The situation develops. T-72 company takes a hard left at the T-intersection and begins deploying down the road, turning towards the enemy and preparing to drive up across the field. The infantry commander behind them on the road was slightly annoyed that they were taking so long to do it ;-)

As the T-72s moved up, Canadian gunnery took its toll - obviously the gunners had studied their training materials carefully!

Leopards on the Canadian left flank were quickly overwhelmed by Mike F's T-72 company - you can see them beginning to take up positions to roll up the flank.

Meanwhile back on the left my T-72 company was getting obliterated by some hot die rolling!

"Hey, this is awesome. We wiped out the Leopards."

"Ummm... are those A-10s?!?!?"

Destruction of the T-72 platoon is complete.

Triple-A fire from the ZSU-23-4s attached to Mike's tank company saves them from aerial pasting with some hot rolling...

...while the Soviet Frogfoot ground-attack aircraft do some damage of their own.

Carnage!! While the Canadians caused enormous casualties to the attacking Soviets, the latter's resolved held just long enough for the defenders to be brought down to half of their original strength, forcing a morale roll. The dice came up "2" which was not enough to keep the Canucks in the fight - Soviet victory!! Onwards to Denver!!!

What a great game - if you've never tried 3mm you have to do it - it just looks so cool. Almost like a map exercise with exquisite little miniatures! Spearhead is a great system to use, also, as it rattles right along. In fact I think Greg had forgotten to bvring his rulebook but he knows the rules so well it didn't even matter.

Thanks Greg for bringing out the game and running it for us! "WOLVER-- err, 'BOBCATS!'"


The Angry Lurker said...

Excellent but 3mm.....I thought I was going blind! It does look good in mass though!almetu 4

Maj. Guiscard said...

Using the backstory from "Red Dawn" to set up a battle was a great idea!
I hope you guys keep going on this campaign thread.

Unknown said...

Hi, looking great there! I have never played a scenario like this ( or 3mm for that matter) but it reminded me very much of the excellent PC game AirLand Battle.

Richard Naylor said...

Hi, did you adapt Modern Spearhead in anyway to do this game?