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Scenario Ideas from The Third World War

JMcCarroll writes:

The book that got me into WW3.


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Revision Log
6 September 2017page first published

5,129 hits since 6 Sep 2017
©1994-2024 Bill Armintrout
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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian writes:

I recently reviewed The Third World War, a book written in 1978 by a retired British general, forecasting what World War III might look like if it took place in 1985.

The Third World War

You might think the book is rather dated now, but for people playing Team Yankee and similar "Cold War Gone Hot" games, it's surprisingly relevant.

Here are some scenario ideas taken from the book:

Hill 402 at Wildeck

Starting on page 1 and running to page 5 is a fictional vignette about Captain Jack Langtry, Troop L, 3 Squadron, 11th Cavalry (Black Horse Regiment). His unit is on Hill 402, looking across the border at dawn as the advanced guard of a Soviet formation moves rapidly toward him down both sides of the autobahn (including T-72s). WWIII has begun.

Langtry has 15 Shillelagh-firing Sheridan tanks (three platoons) in hull defilade along high ground overlooking the autobahn. The TAC CP comprises three M-113s.

Their mission is to delay. They fall back to alternate firing positions as the Soviets advance. The squadron's tank company (17 M1 tanks) protect their flanks; they have support from the regiment's 21 TOW-carrying ATGM Cobras.

Can you turn this sketch into an actual scenario? Have you ever successfully executed a fire-and-fallback mission?

Central Region: Bravo!

C Squadron, 8 Royal Tank Regiment, 1 British Corps covering force, has unexpectly received the order at first light for Bravo. Bravo means to advance to their "emergency deployment positions, 1,000 meters over the crest, almost on the Demarcation Line." The terrain is "stumpy ground," recently deforested to open up fields of fire.

…his Commander's voice came up on the radio again.
'Enemy's closer than we thought,' it said. 'Expect early contact. Report first sighting immediately.'

The action begins as the NATO force reaches the crest. Ahead of them, open ground stretching to a tree line 2 kilomaters away, is filled with three sequential lines of advancing tanks. The closest tanks are 1,000 meters away.

Can you flesh this out to make it a scenario? Pages 5-7 from the book.

At Base at Norvenich

Oberleutnant Karl von Marschall (p. 7-10) is back at Norvenich after leading eight German Tornados on first-light attacks on the East German airfield at Zerbst. One aircraft was lost. The MiGs had not interfered with the ground-skimming Tornados.

German Tornado
We're doing fine up top but there are so many MiGs it's like putting your head in a beehive.

Coming in for a crash landing is Major Dick Gilchrist, from Bitburg, flying a damaged F-15. He shot down three aircraft in his first mission. Communications were jammed, so they operated on hand signals. He accidentally shot a Belgian F-16 operating out of its assigned area. A MiG 23 shot out his left engine and his power controls went out.

Can you compose a scenario that captures this?

Micks in Action: Sole Survivor

Sergeant Patterson commands Number One Section, Milan Platoon, 1 Battalion Irish Guards. They are positioned on the edge of a now-deserted village, watching the battered remnants of the covering force withdraw. They are dug in and in NPC suits.

Milan ATGM
…about thirty T-72s and at least twice that number of BMP now west of the obstacle, sources of a large force following them – over…

First comes 20 minutes of shelling. Then comes the Soviet armor through the cornfields. Sergeant Patterson will be the sole survivor.

Can this be made into a challenging scenario? Pages 12-13 from the book.

Protection Through Speed

Pages 15-17 introduce us to Unteroffizier Gunther Klaus, a Zugfuhrer in charge of four Leopard IIs in 16 Battalion of 3 Panzeraufklärungsregiment. There are reports of a Soviet motorized division moving in their direction, but the helicopter scouts have not confirmed. British and German light vehicles are withdrawing through their positions.

Suddenly the word come for the company to advance, leapfrogging two platoons, then the next two platoons, approaching a crest line.

Suddenly the world was full of express trains shrieking past. Enemy armour-piercing shot! He fired his smoke protective shells at once and changed direction, telling his platoon to conform, to seek the cover of a small copse ahead to the left. The sky appeared to fill with huge predatory helicopters bearing strange markings and, worse, with rockets issuing from their undercarriages…

A tough situation for the Germans! Could you build on this to create a more balanced scenario?