Category: Portuguese Colonial War

Portugal was the first European country to arrive in Africa and the last to leave. Between 1961 and 1974 Portugal conducted three simultaneous campaigns in Guinea-Bissau, Angola and Mozambique – collectively called the Portuguese Colonial War (Guerra Colonial) or Overseas War (Guerra do Ultramar). It was Portugal’s first major war since World War I. The Colonial War was small scale and involved the Portuguese manning and supplying fortified posts whilst trying to locate and destroy small guerrilla bands with intervention units (unidades de intervenço). The war is sometime described, particularly by Portuguese participants, as the Vietnam in Africa.


African Ambush – A Crossfire and Fogo Cruzado Scenario

PCWA05 Portuguese patrol entering village

An armed patrol walks into an ambush somewhere in Portuguese Africa. The action starts seconds before the bullets fly. Will the unsuspecting targets spot the danger before it is too late? This is a Crossfire/Fogo Cruzado scenario for the Portuguese Colonial War. The scenario uses a cinematic premise, i.e. start the action when there is action.

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Using Political Tokens for Military-Political Climate in an Insurgency Campaign

Portuguese Political Tokens Logo

I think the maxim “war is the continuation of politics by other means” particularly applies to insurgencies such as the Portuguese Colonial War. So I wondered how I could use Political Tokens for a campaign set in the Portuguese Colonial War.

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Painting the windscreen of a wrecked Portuguese staff car

I got a Destroyed Mercedes model from Peter Pig. Don’t ask me why. It seemed cool I guess. So while I was painting my reconnaissance vehicles, I thought I’d paint this baby too. As a wrecked Portuguese staff car for the Portuguese Colonial War.

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Painting Recce Vehicles for the Portuguese Colonial War

Step 9 - Spray matt varnish

I’ve had a busy week. At work and at home. But I found few hours to paint some Portuguese vehicles, mostly reconnaissance scout cars and armoured cars. All for the Portuguese Colonial War. With so many to paint I got into a bit of a production line. Here’s how I did it.

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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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2018 Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian

Megalomaniac

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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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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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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Steven’s Commandos for the Portuguese Colonial War

Portuguese Commando Combat Group 01 Close Up

I have blogged before about my figures for the Portuguese Colonial War but they were on on individual bases. Now I have rebased for Fogo Cruzado – my period specific variant of Crossfire. That means each base is a fire team. I had to expand the numbers considerably. This week features my commando combat group.

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