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Force on Force: Cold War Gone Hot (1987)

Richard umpired a 'Cold War Gone Hot' modern game last Friday, using Force on Force rules and his collection of 20mm Soviet and British figures and vehicles.

The scenario was a Soviet attack (Simon, Mal, me) against a British force (Doug and Rob) in Germany in 1987, the aim being for the former to occupy a town or high ground behind it, unpinned, by the end of play.

Models and Terrain

The Soviets had nine T72 tanks and four BMPs, the British had two Chieftains (later reinforced by one more), two recce Scimitars and four APCs; both sides had off-table artillery and the British also had an attack helicopter.

Terrain consisted of open fields with scattered woods, a town in the middle of the table on the left and a river crossable there only by bridge (although BMPs could cross anywhere), and hills at the British baseline.

Turn One

The Soviets deployed in a line, Simon on the left, Mal in the centre, and me on the right.

British infantry deployed in the town, partly hidden in buildings, whereas the two Chieftains stalked from the top of the hill.

Rob’s opening salvo against one of Mal’s T72s ended abruptly when Mal quickly fired back and destroyed Rob’s Chieftain tank, after Rob - knowing his luck - rolled five ones!

However, Doug’s Chieftain took out one of Simon’s T72s.

Turn Two

Simon caused some damage to the town with the Soviet artillery, whereas Doug’s artillery damaged the barrel of one of Mal’s tanks.

At this point a British helicopter sortie pounced on Simon’s vehicles – immobilising one T72, and destroying one BMP. The same helicopter immobilised Mal’s damaged tank and brewed up one of his BMPs.

Doug’s tank took out one of my tanks at long range, but I responded in kind – killing Doug’s Chieftain.

A British Scimitar emerged from cover near Mal’s column, but he managed to destroy it.

Doug now deployed the reserve Chieftain tank, which moved to the rear of the town.

Turn Three

The British helicopter continued to take its toll on the Soviets. One of my tanks suffered a damaged barrel, while one of Mal’s was immobilized.

By this point in the game, the Soviets had only one tank out of nine undamaged. Two BMPs had been lost, one damaged, but one was still OK.

Edging closer to the town, the Soviets also came under fire from the British infantry within. There was now little Soviet infantry in the vicinity of the town left to speak of.

Turn Four

I tried to move my two remaining tanks from the right flank to the bridge, via the wood in the centre. But one of the T72s was hit by artillery and lost its gun.

Mal destroyed a town building with his tank, neutralising the AT position there, and doing some damage to the British infantry.

However, the Soviets now realised they had been truly pasted and were consigned to failure with Stoic resignation... and gnawing fear of retribution by pistol-wielding Commissars at their backs!

Turn Five

On the final turn, two of my tanks were hit by British artillery and reduced to half movement. Thus ended the encounter.


The game was decisive and over by 10:15pm.

The Soviets had decided to split their command into three separate parts, which dissipated our infantry – making an assault on the town harder.

We could have kept the tanks further back, concentrated and coordinated our forces better, and focused on taking the bridge while pinning the British infantry.

Instead, Soviet units became stalled in (but not particularly protected by) woods behind the river and slaughtered by the British artillery and helicopter attacks.

Whether the loss of the whole Soviet force was historically realistic is a moot point. However, the game was enjoyable and the rules do enable interesting actions to be fought using relatively small armies.

Thanks to Richard for putting on a challenging and fun encounter with some very nice figures, as well as introducing the club to something decidedly different. The Cold War Gone Hot is completely new to me, but I'd also like to play the Afghanistan version of Force on Force...


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