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"Calling Dunn Kempf Players" Topic

23 Posts

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dsfrank11 Aug 2022 8:33 p.m. PST

from time to time we have a post that references the US Army's training simulation using micro armor from the mid 70s to late 80s – the Dunn Kempp system – many grognard veterans recall playing it but there are virtually no pictures out there of the game in play – I'll be dusting off my set of boards – all 10 of them ( 8' x 10' of thermoformed plastic nothern Fulda Gap terrain goodness)and bringing them to both the Advance the Colors and Fall In conventions coming up to run the game – rules as written as a bit of nostalgia for us old timers

irishserb12 Aug 2022 5:16 a.m. PST

That is an awesome idea! I look forward to seeing, an possibly playing the game.

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian12 Aug 2022 6:40 a.m. PST

IIRC the rules were a variant of WRG

Only played on the vauform boards a couple times, but many games on a TASC table at the Infantry School at Ft Benning

Martian Root Canal12 Aug 2022 7:57 a.m. PST

Our gaming club used to play it at the Armory Building at the University of Illinois. The Army ROTC unit had a complete set. We repainted the micro-armor to actual colors, then added in new vehicles and eventually switched to GDW's TacForce. I recall using the boards for System 7 Napoleonics once.

Eumelus Supporting Member of TMP12 Aug 2022 9:39 a.m. PST

Part of the Army's mid-70s shift to taking a more serious approach to shedding its post-Vietnam traumas and preparing for confronting our real-world mid- to high-intensity warfare adversaries. Anybody remember the mythical "OPFOR" nation with its ridged helmets?

DaleWill Supporting Member of TMP12 Aug 2022 10:48 a.m. PST

When I was a teenager I remember playing once at Fort Drum in Watertown, NY on those terrain boards. Somehow a group of local gamers where invited out to play. Looks like I'm going to try and sign up for the game at Fall-in.

jurgenation Supporting Member of TMP12 Aug 2022 1:02 p.m. PST

Great game.

Major Mike12 Aug 2022 4:42 p.m. PST

Yep, played/trained with that. Also used First Battle, but that was for Division level exercises that usually had a control center with game pieces on maps moved by players and the Battalion and up HQ's were in the field moving around and getting reports passed to them from the players by radio.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP12 Aug 2022 4:42 p.m. PST

Didn't play, but one of our officers paid me to paint the microarmor version of the tank company he was never going to command. I liked that guy. He was honest about it.

MajorB13 Aug 2022 3:17 a.m. PST

The rules are available here:

kcabai13 Aug 2022 10:19 a.m. PST

Played the game for first time in 1980 at Armor Officer Basic Course at Ft. Knox, Having already been a micro armor minis gamer, and had published the first edition of the "Jagdpanzer" rules a few years earlier. We had a very good winning streak vs the instructors.

A great tool to teach tactics to all ranks, before an FTX. As a Commander I also requisitioned one for my company a few years later. The rest of the BN soon followed suite. Before I left the 4th ID, in 1984 all 3 Brigades had a number of sets. An interesting note is that I taught Staff Duty personnel to paint the Division's tanks during their overnight watches. I still have a couple of the complete rules and umpires sets.

witteridderludo13 Aug 2022 10:21 a.m. PST

Thank you MajorB for the link.

svsavory13 Aug 2022 6:22 p.m. PST

Nostalgia! I remember seeing it played at the old Capcon conventions in Columbus, Ohio, many years ago.

jfleisher15 Aug 2022 12:29 p.m. PST

I also saw it played at CapCon in Columbus. Man I miss small, local conventions.

Wolfhag07 Nov 2022 2:42 p.m. PST

I observed a game at Fall In over the weekend. The GM knew the system very well and kept the game going. I really liked the terrain as it simulated the depressions and elevations realistically and really shows the advantages of using micro armor to get a more realistic looking simulation.

The players were at both ends of about a 12-foot table and had some problems seeing the enemy units from so far away – as it should be.


dsfrank09 Nov 2022 10:36 a.m. PST

"I observed a game at Fall In over the weekend. The GM knew the system very well and kept the game going"

Thanks Wolfhag – I ran the game & appreciate your kind comments – the lighting in the theater area was terrible – I hope to run it again in future conventions

Wolfhag20 Nov 2022 12:25 p.m. PST

You are welcome. I was just commenting on the obvious.

I especially like the terrain table and how realistically it portrays the nuances of slopes; with scaled vehicles, you get accurate LOS checks. It looks like a real battlefield where less is more to create realism.

It was nice hearing terms like TRP and meters instead of inches for ranges.


Master Caster01 Dec 2022 8:50 a.m. PST

Yep,,,'played' it too but I forget exactly where and when. It was probably late 70's or early 80's at Fort Sill artillery officers' basic training. I don't recall it being much of a game so much as a staffing and maneuver exercise. But hey,,,,,it had GHQ's models, painted terrain boards and it was the only time I ever recall playing with miniatures and getting paid for it.
Toby Barrett

wballard06 Dec 2022 1:50 p.m. PST

As a former NCOIC of the III Corps Battle Simulation Center in early 1977 (when we shared building space in an old WWII office building) and the CO was a Captain, I remember playing lots of Dunn-Kempf.

At Fort Hood we had made terrain boards of local terrain using carved Styrofoam covered in cloth, painted and lichen based vegetation. There were two 4x8 foot terrain sections in 3 rooms with the adjoining terrain represented. If we had had a large enough room we could have created a single playing area of 8x24 feet or scale 4,800m by 14,400m.

I played enough games on these boards that at one time I could estimate the ranges from almost any position the US players were likely to select to the target elements with in one inch (50m). That actually translated to tactical exercises later when using the actual ground.

The most fun we used to have was when we had visiting staff from British or German officers. We would brief the situation as the "playing" team were on the boundary with a British/German unit to their flank. Then part way through the session have some allied equipment appear on the border of the terrain area. The vehicles were typically Chieftain or Leopard I tanks painted differently than any of the Us or Warsaw pact units. Typically the US unit would shoot up the Allies and I would then ask the visitors to explain the error and to point out recognition features.

I do have a set of Dunn-Kempf rules still.

MILSPEX7810 Dec 2022 4:02 a.m. PST

Awesome. Just awesome. I played Team Yankee in 6mm at a tournament a few years ago and something was lacking.

I've been looking for the perfect ruleset to redeploy my GHQ and CinC stuff into battle with.

Recently I discovered Contact! and its father, Dunn Kempf.

I am fascinated with the curtain prop. That is incredible.

I've been thinking how to rig it up in my place, will probably hang it from the cieling beams. I would then move the tables under the curtain as forces advanced or fell back. I have no chance of getting the vacu formed terrain boards as I'm in Aus but with my own terrain and the visual screen, it should work.

Also I just realised I'm a solo gamer and have no friends. Obvsiously Dunn Kempf would only work with 2 or more players and a referee. Time to make some friends. Does anyone know of an Australian service where you can pay people to be your friend? Thanks.

47Ronin05 Jan 2023 2:09 p.m. PST

Dear Dave,

I saw your terrain board at Fall In. It looked amazing. I stopped by before the game so I didn't see it in action, but I hope you will bring it again to future HMGS conventions.

FYI, the Dunn-Kempf system has been the topic of a past lecture at the HMGS War College delivered by Mike (no relation) Dunn.

If you bring your game to Historicon 2023, there's a chance that HMGS could put the two of you together.

streetgang609 Jan 2023 4:36 p.m. PST

I would be more than happy to meet Dave in person. We're friends on social media, but IRL is always best.

sadly, no Cold Wars or Historicon for me this year; pesky work schedule is interfering. (Not that I have any right to complain as my work is wargaming).

Mike Dunn

TimePortal24 Feb 2024 2:48 p.m. PST

In 1978 our new Cavalry Troop, had us sign out out the Dunn Kampala system. Though Fort Hood had a simulation center, he wanted a set up at the unit. The boards were hollow bouncy plastic and shook often. The base boards were plaster. Since I had used them in school at Fort Knox, I was in charge of them.

I have photos of us using the rules on the base boards. They are on my Facebook page. Not sure how to transfer them here.

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