In Hackett’s books the Warsaw Pact invasion of West Germany reaches its high water mark on the 14th and 15th of August 1985. Having reached the Dutch border, Soviet forces begin to swing southwards aiming to cut the supply lines of NATO’s Central Army Group. The Soviets attack between the Maas and Rhein rivers towards the Dutch town of Venlo, pushing back II British Corps and forming a southward-pointing bulge known as the Krefeld Salient.
Richard's game covers not only the fighting in the central corridor between Maas and Rhein but also the two flanking sectors. The first of these is along the A73 motorway west of the Maas and the second is towards Duisberg, expanding from narrow bridgeheads across the Lippe river.
I must apologise for not taking photos of the right-hand table - the Lippe table - T'other Richard had taken it on himself to do this table and he did a stunning job on it. Have a look at the photos on his blog.
Gordon already had a load of Soviet kit so he did a 3000 point Airborne Battalion - I believe that there were about 40000 points of Soviet troops in the game. Apparently the Soviets had even organised a plan before they arrived to play the game.
I went for Nato troops so that we could play CWC back at Slimbridge. I opted not to go for British, US, Canadian, West German or Dutch. I went for Belgians instead. I originally wanted to do French but as they weren't there I opted for the next best thing.
My Belgian force of 4000 points had 9 Leopard 1A4s, 9 YPR-765s, 12 Infantry armed with Carl Gustavs, 2 Gepards, several 105mm and 155mm guns and loads of HQs. Andy at Heroics and Ros had everything but the YPR-765s which I picked up from Skytrex. Both suppliers turned the orders round very promptly.
Nato had 20000 points of US, British, West Germans, Dutch and Belgians but no plan. After a quick chat Rob and Jamie took the left flank with 7k of British, West German and Dutch troops, Ian took the right flank with 7k of US troops which left the Centre to myself and George with 10th Reserve Mechanised Brigade (4k of Belgians) and the 13th/18th Royal Hussars Battlegroup (3k of British with 8 Challenger 1s, some infantry in FV432 and a couple of Abbott SPGs)
The Soviet plan involved an airborne assault on the right flank with 10K of troops, a feint in the centre again with 10k of troops leaving 20k of Soviet armour to charge down the A73 on the left flank.
Things did not look good for Nato
The next post will show the course of the battle on the Central table.