[Note: for younger readers chocolate body paint sounded like a great idea, until you realised just how messy your bedding got, but not as messy as in Trainspotting 1 though, thankfully!!!]
Yes ! The year is 1989 and we are in at the final throw of the Cold War. It was the time of mullets, Astro-turf (more on that later), Abba (they were, Swedish: Ed); Taylor Swift (who?); Maggie Thatcher is UK Prime Minister; Jack Nicholson is the Joker in Batman; and there were only 4 UK TV channels etc. etc. etc. and I am mostly painting 6mm (1/300th scale) mico-armour for the start of this year’s Cold War Commanders Landjut 2017 campaign.
A bunch of us are The Cold War Commanders and we play a number of weekend events over a year, depicting 2 days of fighting in a fictitious Cold War (or WW3) encounter using the Cold War Commander modern micro-armour rules – now owned by Pendraken: http://www.blitzkrieg-commander.com/default.aspx
Why Danes I hear you ask?
Especially as I already have Cold War Dutch (too many Dutch … but that’s another story), and my (big fat) Greeks, plus my US 82nd Airborne (well the Sheridan tanks are a must, as are all those Huey choppers … “Charlie don’t surf!”) but it had fallen to me to field the home-side in the inaugural kick-off game of this years campaign, as we were embarking on a Warsaw Pact assault on Denmark.
The Landjut campaign is interesting because the Danes were due to be reinforced by Britain, Canada, the USA, the Dutch (& possibly the Belgians) – so there is plenty of scope for multi-player participation. However, the Danes also would have taken an advanced defensive position at the Kiel Canal in Schleswig- Holstein in conjunction with West German Territorial Reserves, so we had a major landmark as a focal point to kick-off for the campaign. Opposing them the Communist aggressors were made up mostly of Poles, Soviets and East Germans. What also makes the Danes a challenge is that they were at this time probably the most inadequately equipped force in NATO, even the Greeks had more main battle tanks of modern design than the Danish. The Danes were also still using antiquated equipment, such as Walker Bulldogs (photo above), Centurion tanks, jeeps with recoilless rifles and a lot of infantry was still mounted in Unimog trucks … so it also represented a ‘playing challenge’.
So, to get started I had to research the Danes, work out an army list, buy the figures (Heroics & Ross, Scotia Grendel and GHQ all supply a lot of appropriate kit) and then paint them all up. So below are a few photos of work-in-progress ahead of the game.
The start of a Danish Unimog truck borne Infantry Company
So, to the ‘big game’ held at the Tudor Arms, Slimbridge over the weekend of Friday 17th, Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th March. The next batch of photos will give you a flavour of what this all entailed:
Pre-combat calm – a peaceful morning on the Kiel Canal (viewed from the North West). The big railway bridge in the centre is the Levensau High Bridge across the canal.
In the heat of the action Midday Day 1: a Soviet Motor Rifle Regiment has swum across the canal whilst a Regiment of T64s crosses via a pontoon bridge. The village of Sehestedt, with its ferry bridge crossing (right) – still intact as the Canadian combat engineer platoon didn’t make the Atlantic crossing in time, are defended by stubborn Canadian infantry, which suffered almost continued Soviet artillery barrages and smoke attacks every game turn for two whole days … enough to try the patients of a saint (but they held out and fought back viciously when assaulted).
Above- A long view, down the length of the Kiel Canal towards the far beaches where the Polish amphibious assault was underway. The Polish Commander are to the left, a British commander to the right, and a Soviet hand bottom foreground (that is not his lunch in the plastic box but casualty and suppression markers) . In the foreground another Soviet Tank Regiment had just discovered the NATO minefields (to their cost!).
Canadian Leopard 1A3 Main Battle Tanks, with a helicopter mounted FAO move up (through smoke) to support their infantry at the ferry crossing. Recce and FAO’s bottom left and CHQ behind the grain store.
The Poles land on the beaches unopposed, and prepare to move into a belt of coastal woodland. What will they face on the other side? Hmmm … British Chieftain tanks and dug in infantry with ATGWs we fear.
The first Day 1 of fighting saw the Poles move forward cautiously, gaining some ground over the British on the left of the battlefield but taking serious casualties. Whilst on the right, the Soviets refused two sections of the Kiel Canal defended by a Belgian Armoured Infantry Battalion and focused all their forces on the apparently weaker Canadian battlegroup. By throwing all their regimental and divisional artillery at the Canadians, they managed to force 3 pontoon bridges across the canal. So that meant that just 4,000pts of Canadians were faced with nearly 15,000pts of Soviets – mostly Tank Regiments … would they hold out ? And where, after all this, where those plucky Danes, I hear you ask … more to follow soon dear reader.
Our thanks as always to our roving correspondent. What brilliant terrain and models. A lesson to all in just what can be achieved and, of course, that middle age men do not have drink heavily and chase barmaids around the pool table on weekends. We look forward to part two once repairs have been made to the badly damaged pool table….