Category: Modern Warfare

Modern technology in small scale wars. WW2 could be in the Industrial Warfare or Modern Warfare periods. I have arbitrarily lumped it into the earlier, Industrial, period because in wargaming circles “Modern” usually means post-WW2. Sub-categories: Korean War, Arab Israeli Wars, Spanish Sahara, Portuguese Colonial War.

Grass Tufts or Wargaming with Fairy Door Grass Mats

FDGM062 Fairy Door Grass Mat

Brett Simpson kindly sent me some “Fairy Door Grass Mats”. I’d asked about the grass tufts in his jungle photos and wanted to know the source. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, Fairy Door Grass Mats are only available in Australia. So Brett sent me some. Despite the mushrooms and bugs, these mats are a useful source of jungle foliage. Perfect for the Portuguese Colonial War.

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Deep Battle: Soviet Doctrine for Operational Level Warfare

Operation Uranus - Successful Deep Battle -Eastern Front 1942-11 to 1943-03

Everybody knows about the German’s Blitzkrieg style of warfare. But I was surprised to discover the Soviets had a similar approach to warfare called “Deep Operations” or “Deep Battle”. This was a well defined doctrine for Operational Level Warfare, was invented during the 1920s, and deliberately applied during WW2. Admittedly Deep Battle had mixed success during the war, but this was probably more to do with the previous purge of Soviet military leadership than with any fundamental flaw in the doctrine. Soviet doctrine in the Cold War period is still based on Deep Battle.

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2018 Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian


My inner megalomaniac is back. This post is a follow on from my 2017 Reflections of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian. The previous post was a retrospective of the last 23 months, which means pointing out my successes. This post is the (overly ambitious) list of what I’d like to get done in the coming year. It is the more embarrassing part. The confession. Bear in mind these are more or less active projects.

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2017 Reflections of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian

Megalomaniac 2017

I have noticed that my The Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian of 2015 was literally a confession, describing my overly inflated ambitions and incomplete projects. But the 2016 edition was more a reflection on my progress against those goals. It has been a 23 months since the 2016 edition and it is time to revisit. But I’m going to split the reflection aspect from the confessions bit. So this is my reflection on the 23 months from the beginning of 2016 to the end of 2017.

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What is the Operational Level of War?

Three Levels of War - Strategic, Operational, Tactical

I’m interested in operational level wargames for World War II. But my definition of “operational level” has been pretty vague. Something about campaigns and major offensives. So I thought I’d explore operational level war in more detail … and it turns out I was right. It is all about campaigns and major offensives.

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Fincher’s Initiative – A Crossfire Scenario for Vietnam

Map for Fincher's Initiative

Julian Davies sent over one of his Vietnam scenarios for the Schueler variant of Crossfire. All words are Julian’s.

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Water Party – Scenario Design Experiment for Crossfire and Fogo Cruzado

PCWW-14 More insurgents

Immediately following our successful experiment on Ambush scenarios for the Portuguese Colonial War, Jamie Wish and I tried another type of scenario. The goal of our second game was to defend a water party, which is an idea from FNG of Two Hour Wargames. Of course, our version of the scenario was for Crossfire and my Fogo Cruzado variant.

As a scenario design experiment, this one failed in a pretty spectacular fashion. But maybe I’m biased because Jamie won, and very quickly. 😉 Anyway, the good news is that we learnt a few things.

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African Ambush – Scenario Design Experiment for Crossfire and Fogo Cruzado

PCWA07 Portuguese patrol entering village

I’m in the process of writing a solo campaign for Portuguese Colonial War called “African Tour”. This process has been dragging on for years. Instead of sitting with my computer imagining what might make a good game, I decided to experiment with some of my ideas. So I invited Jamie Wish over, we got out my (previously unused) figures and tried an ambush scenario for Crossfire and my Fogo Cruzado variant.

Despite the scenario design misgivings I had before we started, it was actually a pretty good game. Exciting and novel.

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Tactical Air Support (TacAir) and Helicopters for Fogo Cruzado / Crossfire

The following rules cover both Tactical Air Support (TacAir) and helicopter support in Fogo Cruzado, my variant of Crossfire for the Portuguese Colonial War. Only the Portuguese can use aircraft. Air support may be detailed as part of a scenario and/or requested during the course of a game. I admit these rules are a bit rough.

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3D Printed 1-144th Scale Vehicles for the Portuguese Colonial War

1-144 Berliet Gazelle GBC 8

Look what I found … 3D printed vehicles for the Portuguese Colonial War. Berliet, Unimogs (x4), Bravia Chamite V200, Panhard AML60, and Panhard EBR75. Wow. So lucky. Except they are in 1/144th scale or 1/200th scale and, of course, I only play 1/100th scale (15mm).

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How to use Sisal String as Long Grass by Barrie Lovell

Barrie Lovell - Sisal String Vegetation

Around 2000 Barrie Lovell published, on the Grunt! website, a tip for adding undergrowth to Crossfire / Incoming! bases. Barrie dyes sisal string and uses this as vegetation. Since Grunt! has disappeared I thought I’d republish the article here. Barrie had in mind Vietnam / Incoming! and World War 2 / Crossfire. But this is a good technique for the Portuguese Colonial War / Fogo Cruzado.

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Steven’s Caçadores for the Portuguese Colonial War

Caçadores Combat Group 1 - Close Up

The Portuguese Light Infantry (Caçadores) were the mainstay of the government forces in the Portuguese Colonial War. Unfortunately their quality varied enormously with the ability of the officers largely influencing the quality of the troops. Both infantry and artillery were organised into temporary Caçadore battalions for service in Africa. Must have been a shock for the specialists who suddenly became riflemen. So far I have a single combat group (i.e. platoon) of Caçadores. More will come.

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Jungle Hell – An Incoming Scenario by Barrie Lovell

Jungle Hell Table

“Jungle Hell – The Battle of LZ Tusk and Hill 731” is a scenario in which the US 173rd Airborne meet the NVA 174th Regiment. Barrie Lovell wrote it for Incoming! / Vietnam and published it on the Grunt! website around 2000. As Grunt! has disappeared I have republished it here. All words and images are Barrie’s.

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Steven’s Special Group for the Portuguese Colonial War

Special Group – Close Up

The Special Groups (Grupos Especiais or GE) were African para-military formations raised in Angola and Mozambique during the Portuguese Colonial War. They had a distinctive black uniform with a colourful beret. The GE were so successful that, in Mozambique, the Portuguese recruited a battalion of Paratrooper Special Groups (Grupos Especiais Pára-quedistas or GEP) from the GE. I have one unit that, with yellow berets, can do double duty as a GE or GEP combat group.

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Flight Plan Africa – Portuguese Airpower in Counterinsurgency, 1961-1974

T-6G Harvard, Cufar, Guine

John Cann published “Flight Plan Africa” in 2015. If you are interested in Airpower in Counterinsurgency, particularly the Portuguese experiences in 1961-1974, then get this book. I’ve taken a few notes, mostly quotes of bits I found interesting. To liven it up a bit I’ve included photos from other sources.

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