Monday, 28 April 2008

The Sand War

Another little war gamed conflict is that between Morocco and the Polisario Front fought in the Western Sahara from the mid seventies through to a cease fire agreed in 1991. After the withdrawal of Spain from the Western Sahara the region was split between Morocco and Mauritania but the indigenous peoples desired independence and with the backing of Algeria and Libya formed the Polisario Front. Mauritania dropped out and signed a peace agreement with the PF but Morocco annexed the area and the conflict continued.

By the mid to late eighties backing for the PF from Libya and Algeria had declined due to their own internal problems. Up to 1985 the PF had been well equipped with BMP1s, BTR50s,T55s, BM21 and SA7s. They were organised and equipped along similar lines to the Libyan military.

Morocco had received equipment from the US and France amongst others including M48A3, M60A3, M113, Ratel, Steyr4k, jeeps with TOW, VAB, AML90 and AMX10RC. The armoured cars were organised in squadrons and were the main striking force with the tanks used mainly at company strength parcelled out to support the infantry battalions.

This is one of those conflicts I have wanted to have a go at for quite some time and have now finally got round to it. The fighting was mainly over sparsely populated areas and in theory ideal terrain for a fast moving armoured conflict. The AML90s have languishing in my micro box since the late eighties with only the occasional outing as Recce units. The first game will take place this week hopefully.

Moroccan Army

Armoured Car Squadrons were 17 strong 4 platoons of 4 plus 1 command.
EBR 75, AMX10RC, AML90, Eland 90.

Mechanised Companies 3 platoons of 4 APCs plus 2 Command and 2 with 81mm mortar

Attached AT section one per company 2 jeeps with Milan

Brigade AT platoons 4 jeep with TOW

Brigade Support platoons 4 M56 Scorpion or 4 Kurrassier

Attached Tank Platoons 4 M48A3 or 4 M60A3

AA sections were 2 M163 or 2 M48

SA7 teams could be attached to HQ

Towed 120mm mortars
SP 105mm(M108) or 155mm(M109 or F3)
SP 122mm MRLS(BM21)

Polisario Front

Organised along typical Russian lines

Tank companies of 10 vehicles.

BMP1 10 vehicle companies.
If BTR50 additional Sagger or Milan teams per platoon.

Motor rifle style companies in EE-11 or OT64A

Recce units BRDM2 or Fiat 6614

AT platoons 3 BRDM-2S
AA 2 ZSU23-4
SA-7 or SA-13


120mm towed mortars
SP 122mm (SAU122)
SP 152mm (SAU152)
SP 122mm MRL (RM70)
towed 122mm Howitzers
towed 130mm guns

For additional info see the attached links

Friday, 7 March 2008


The last two weeks have seen Soviet forces fighting their way across Norway, our first game was 10,000pts worth of Soviet attacking 5,000pts of Norwegians in a hasty defensive position. This game whilst fun was a little too big to work through in an evening, but to be honest my opponents Soviets were stalled by the mixture of minefields and the longer range fire of my M48's and NM116's, the last straw being the FASCAM being dropped on one of his tank battalions.

The second game was the same antagonists but slightly lower points 8,000 vs 4,000. This time my opponent chose his own army instead of me doing both as there had been complaints in the first game that the army was rubbish and I had for some reason created an army designed to lose. The justification for this accusation was the lower command levels of the Russian HQ's and the shorter range of the MBT's guns. These accusations should not be taken too seriously as they are part of the normal games table banter.

If I had to be subjective about the forces except for the lower command levels of the HQ's my list at least provided Engineers to breach the minefields, enough infantry to fight through built up areas and smoke for the artillery to cover the advance.

The picture shows a view across the battlefield looking from the Norwegian right flank. On the far right of the picture are the bulk of the Russian troops, two BMP1 battalions and a T72 battalion, another BMP1 battalion is closer to the centre behind the village centre right and nearest camera a T64 battalion. On the Norwegian side NM116's with Recce and FAO cover the gap in the minefield. The village further back in the centre and the wood beyond are held by conscript infantry bravely awaiting the Russian onslaught. Things didn't work out so well for the Norwegians on their right flank with the NM116's attempting to do a little shoot and scoot but failing their command roll so after a round of rather ineffective fire at the T64's found themselves exposed on the hill and well within the T64's effective range, things weren't pretty after that with the superior armour of the Russians soaking up the fire and the NM116's dying bravely protecting Norwegian soil.

The major Russian effort was weighted towards the Norwegians left flank with two infantry and one tank battalion driving forward at a fairly sedate pace. The Soviet commander had decided to keep his units rolling forward together and rather than letting some of his formations race off when the command dice were favourable he didn't. This led to units moving generally only once per turn and whilst it presented a formidable force it would have had a serious effect on the game turn limit.

Norwegian infantry deployed in an industrial unit with NM135's lurking behind in the hope of offering at least some support. There is another group of industrial unit to the top of the picture again occupied by infantry.
The Russian hordes lurking in wood land before their mad dash towards the Norwegian defence line, unluckily for them the Norwegian FAO had managed to drop a FASCAM barrage on the far end of the line slowing up the Russian advance. The Russian commander choosing to creep forward out of the mine field at 4cm a time. This really stalled the Russian attack.

The centre village with Norwegian conscript infantry nervously awaiting the Red Horde which luckily for them never arrived and apart from watching the T64's slaughtering the NM116's on the hill to their right never even saw a Russian.

The hero of the day on the Norwegian side was undoubtedly the M48 battalion who managed to do a little bit of long range sniping on a BMP battalion moving from cover to the crest of the hill popping off a couple of rounds before retiring out of sight until their next turn. They also managed to hold up the T64 battalion after they had dispatched the NM116's by firing at maximum range causing enough suppressed units to slow them down. As usual we found ourselves running out of time but the slow Russian advance would have left them struggling to take the objectives before the game time limit in any case.

Another enjoyable game with lessons learned don't try and take on Russian MBT's with NM116's unless its at maximum range or it will all end in tears. Don't buy flock from the model shop if the lightings a bit dim, you could end up with the shocking green that adorns some of the M48 and NM135 stands.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

The Ogaden War some pictures

Here are a few more pictures from the games we have played over the last couple of months. No batreps but some explanations of the pictures.

Ethiopian infantry deployed on a reverse slope awaiting the arrival of the Somali armour, T54's and Centurions but no infantry support. The Ethiopian infantry have the RPG upgrade on half of their stands, there are some 57mm AT guns deployed at the bottom of the hill centre right and some M47's deployed on another hill just behind and to the right of the infantry.
The Somali armour reach the crest of the hill and fail their command roll. It them becomes a bit messy with the Somali armour being largely suppressed, destroyed or driven back with acceptable casualties on the Ethiopian side.
The aftermath, two Somali Armoured Battalions in disarray for the loss of two infantry units on the Ethiopian side. The suppressed armour is about to take another series of attacks from the supporting M47's which just about destroys them as an effective force. Reverse slope defence in action, there is of course the other side of the coin, the attacker comes over on mass with armour and infantry, faces ineffective challenge fire, makes their command roll and participates on the right side of a turkey shoot. Some you win some you lose.

Long time coming

Well the blogs been quiet for a while, not enough time to cover what I wanted to do and I'm still having problems with the camera. Some of the pictures aren't too bad but most are still a bit out of focus.

The Ogaden War campaign has been progressing steadily with a series of counter attacks by both sides with varying degrees of success. We finally ended up with a pursuit scenario followed by an encirclement as the Somali forces fled with the Ethiopians in hot pursuit. We have begun to pay more attention to the victory conditions for the different scenarios and not been so hung up on the losses suffered if they didn't directly impact on the goal of the mission or reached break point for the battlegroup.

We are currently having a bit of a break from the Ogaden War after six successive battles and played out the diversionary attack scenario from the book. It was based on the late Eastern front army lists with 5,000pts of Russian against 2,500pts of German, the Russians managed to achieve a minor victory by putting the bulk of their armour on their right flank and bulling their way through and destroying enough infantry elements to force the deployment of the first German reserves. It was at this point we were out of time so we never got to see how the T34's would have faired against the German armour, it is maybe a good thing that we had run out of time as one of the T34 battalions were currently presenting their rear armour to the German table edge and would have been in effective firing range.

Next week at the club it 's going to be a Cold War battle between Warpac forces and my Norwegians if I get the NM135's finished otherwise German Territorial's either way it should be fun 10,000pts of BMP's and and T-64's against 5,000pts of M48's, Kannones and M113's. I'll borrow my wife's camera as its probably better at close ups than the one I'm currently using.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Part Two

I thought it might be a good idea to list the composition of the battalions involved. There are also points values for the formations and some other units which were not involved in this game but will in all probability appear in later games. The basic organization was lifted from the old Table Top Games army lists which are from 1985 so a little bit later than the Ogaden War but not too radically different however the TTG lists do contain some later equipment  which was acquired to replace the losses incurred during the war.

There was a conscious intent to portray the battalions as six tanks rather than nine as I wanted to depict the smaller WARPAC style formations with 10 rather than 15-17 tanks as per company. The same applied to the infantry battalions though I think I was perhaps a little heavy on the RPG upgrades.


Infantry Battalion

HQ Com 8

1 x Recce BRDM

7 x BTR60

10 x Infantry Regular

5 x RPG upgrade

2 x HMG

1 x 82mm Mortar

1 x 105mm RR

Points   960pts

In BTR50  890pts


Infantry Battalion

HQ Com 8

1 x Recce Scouts

10 x Infantry Conscript

5 x RPG upgrade

2 x HMG

2 x 105mm RR

1 x 82mm Mortar

2 x Truck

Points 685pts

If Regular 785pts

To add 2 x 100mm AT & Trucks 130pts


Tank Battalion

HQ Com 8

1 x Recce BRDM

6 x T34/85

Points 480pts

If T54  630pts

If M48 & AML90 Recce 760pts

If Centurion & AML90 Recce 910pts 

The troops below are regimental level troops and can be under the control of CO or attached to other battalions.

 Artillery Battalion


3 x 76mm

3 x 105mm

Points 255pts


AT Battalion

6 x Trucks

3 x 100mm AT

3 x 105mm RR

Points 405pts


AA Battalion

3 x 23mm

3 x 37mm

6 x Trucks

Points 135pts



 Infantry Battalion

HQ Com 8

6 x M113

10 x Infantry Regular

6 x RPG upgrade

2 x HMG

2 x Trucks

2 x 81mm Mortar

2 x 73mm RR 4x4

Points 1065pts

If in BTR60 with 120mm Mortar 1095pts

If conscript – 100pts


Militia Battalion

HQ Com 8

10 x Infantry Conscript

5 x RPG upgrade

2 x HMG

2 x 81mm Mortar

2 x 57mm AT

2 x Trucks

1 x Recce Scouts

Points 675pts

If regular + 100pts


Tank Battalion

HQ Com 8

6 x M47

1 x Recce Greyhound

Points 670pts

If M24 310pts


The troops below are regimental level troops and can be under the control of CO or attached to other battalions.

 Artillery Battalion


3 x 122mm

3 x 152mm

Points 345pts


AA Battalion

3 x SA7

3 x 23mm AA

6 x Trucks

Points 315pts


AT Battalion

3 x 57mm AT

3 x Trucks

3 x AT-3 Sagger

Points 630pts

Sunday, 6 January 2008

First Game

First game of the mini campaign with Ethiopian forces rushing head long into the Somalian spearhead for an encounter game.

Somalian Forces

2 x T34 Battalions & Recce
1 x T54 Battalion & Treece
1 x Infantry Battalion BTR50
1 x Infantry Battalion foot
Artillery support

Ethiopian Forces

1 x M47 Battalion & Recce
1 x M24 Battalion & Recce
1 x Infantry Battalion BTR60
1 x Infantry Battalion M113
Artillery Support

Initial Somali positions with the Leg Infantry on the right, the Mech Infantry in the centre and the three tank battalions on the left.

Initial Ethiopian positions Motorised Infantry on left, M47 in centre and Mech Infantry on the right with a M24 Battalion to the right of them,
just out of frame.

The Somali's race forward, the Mech Infantry consolidating the small village and the Leg Infantry doing a pretty creditable sprint towards the scrub. The ill fated T34 Battalion is strung out on the road just above the village.

A closer view of the Somali Mech Infantry. Hopefully the next batch of pictures will be better, now that I know there's a macro function on the camera.

Ethiopian troops crawling forward after stopping for a picnic to celebrate their second command blunder in two turns.

The Ethiopian Mech Infantry have just deployed on the hill (bottom right) as the Somali armour prepares to charge over the rise in front of them. The T34s strung out between the rise and the village are about to advance and turn their flanks to the M47s which are lurking to the right of their Mech Infantry on the hill. This wasn't quite as insane as it sounds because it put them into the flank of the other Ethiopian Mech Battalion which had not yet debussed. They however failed their second command roll and paid the price.

There will be a part two to follow, I just wanted to get this stuck up on the site to see what it looks like.

Why a blog

I thought it would be far easier to start out with a blog than to try and produce my own website, but this could be a project for the future when I'm a bit more confident about xml, html etc. At the moment my interests in wargaming revolve around Blitzkrieg Commander and Cold War Commander two excellent sets of rules, easy to learn and play and they emphasise command and control rather than minor weapons differences. These rules have made a big difference at our local club as I now have regular opponents for modern and world war two games.