Top 20 Pages on Balagan

Balagan Site Stats

I started this blog on 21 Feb 2001 and then Migrated Balagan to WordPress on 15 Sep 2013. So, roughly 4.5 years ago. One of the great things about WordPress, compared to the hand crafted HTML site I had before, is that I get statistics on page views. Apparently I’ve had 1,176,779 views since I migrated and 1,125 comments. My biggest day (23 Feb 2018) brought 2,420 views – this was because Reddit got hold of my Academy of Street Fighting: Tactics during the Battle of Stalingrad post. Today is a typical day with 750 views.

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Grass Tufts or Wargaming with Fairy Door Grass Mats

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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

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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

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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?

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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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Water Party – Scenario Design Experiment for Crossfire and Fogo Cruzado

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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

PCWA05 Portuguese patrol entering village – Close up

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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How to use Sisal String as Long Grass by Barrie Lovell

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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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