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The 1990s Technothriller Flail

Having started the Fuldapocalypse Review Blog and being a natural reader, I’ve consumed a lot of books this year. Many have been technothrillers published in the period following the USSR’s fall and Gulf War. With the strongest foe lost, there was a big flailing around for opponents. Besides the traditional and still most credible Russians and Chinese, the foes also included, and were certainly not limited to:

  • Real-life regional opponents like Iraq and North Korea
  • Japan
  • Western Europe
  • Drug dealers
  • American militias
  • “Middle Eastern Coalition” amalgams

This was not always a bad thing, and the quality of the book depended on a lot more than just how weird the opponent was. And I like weird, unconventional opponents. One of the joys of Command’s scenario editor is how a fight against such a foe can be made just as easily as a great power megaclash.

Trident II Missile Crosssection

Aircraft paint schemes

A lot of aircraft paint schemes are in either the “dull but practical” or “deliberately showy” category. Then you have one of my personal favorites, used briefly by Moldova for MiG-29s.

This Fulcrum, in the process of being shipped to the US as part of a purchase deal, has a very green color scheme. A lot of Soviet-era aircraft have a “ground color on top to help camouflage when viewed from above and blue underneath to help when viewed from below” paint scheme. This has a dark green on top and light, seafoam green on the bottom color.

MiG-29s have displayed some very interesting color schemes over the years, and there’s a site that has chronicled them with excellent illustrations. I like interesting footnotes like this.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words: OPFOR Strike Package

From page 313/chapter 10-19 in the Heavy OPFOR Operational Art handbook, a look at a strike package in a concise, illustrated way.

This sample package features 20 MiG-27s supported by ten MiG-23s, six MiG-29s, and eight Yak-28PPs. The latter have a particularly unenviable job, specialist aircraft like themselves are always in low supply and very high demand.

For the “other side of the hill”, discussing high-intensity NATO air operations in a similar time period, I recommend Air Battle Central Europe.

Kuril Sunrise is out

My newest Command LIVE scenario, Kuril Sunrise, is out.

It can be bought on Matrix or Steam.

Falklandsesque Conflicts

I want to start by( slightly belatedly) mentioning Command’s “fifth birthday”. It’s amazing both how far it’s come and how good it was even back then. As I’ve mentioned before, what made me fall in love with Command was its ability to simulate the most obscure and unlikely conflicts. Simulating the American or Russian Air Force is one thing, but a small, weaker force is quite another.

When I did my first of countless editor experiments, I did not do a GIUK Gap or South China Sea. I did a “Francoist Spain vs. Nigeria” over Equatorial Guinea. This eventually got made into a formal scenario called The Old Regime and the New Nation. Another community author has made the Spanish Guinea set, in the same area.

It got to me that there might be a general trend for this kind of scenario, that which I call “Falklandsesque”. Like every other classification, it’s not hard and fast. But what the Falklandsesque trend involves is…

  • Territory generally internationally recognized as belonging to Country A, but far closer to Country B.
  • Country A is wealthier than Country B, who is not generally considered a world military power, and would likely crush them if the two were next to each other.
  • However, they’re not next to each other. Country B has a credible military force for the region, and Country A has to stretch its very limited power projection abilities to the absolute maximum.

Other Falklandsesque scenarios I’ve seen in Command are the Canary’s Cage and Green Tide standalones (also starring Spain, and over the Canary Islands), and the many Netherlands vs. Venezuela over the ABC Islands scenarios in the community pack. It’s not hard to see the appeal of these scenarios, for they offer something distinctive, high-tech, and evenhanded.

 

OPFOR Volume 3: A Blockbuster

I’ve made two updates to my collection of un/declassified “OPFOR” manuals in the past. For this third volume, it’s (vastly) more substantial to the point where I’ve had to break the collection into three folders for size and organization reasons. I figured that, after all my searching, I couldn’t not share them. So here they are.

Fake Countries

The past collections of declassified American, British, and Australian manuals have been folded into “fake countries”. Added to the list of fake countries includes:

  • A version of the Decisive Action Training Environment, one of the most recent standing exercise concepts.
  • More Circle Trigon Aggressor manuals, including the 1955 version (which is by far the most detailed of them) and the 1973 version (the last one before they ditched the goofy helmets in favor of an openly Soviet stand in).
  • The first installment of said Soviet stand-in, the 1977 “Opposing Forces Europe”.
  • The fabled  FM 30-104, “Handbook on Aggressor Insurgent War” manual, written during Vietnam and dealing with unconventional forces.
  • Various post-1991 OPFOR manuals, including an organization guide that details brigade-corps similar to the GENFORCE “mobile forces” or real reformed post-Soviet models, and an idealized pseudo-Iraq/California overlay called “Samara”.

The “fake countries” can be accessed here

Real Countries

A big addition: This is un/declassified assessments of real, as opposed to fictional/stand-in countries. As with all intelligence documents, they must be taken with a big grain of salt, but remain very useful. The countries with documents of them include…

  • USSR/Russia. This includes the classic FM 100-2 series on the Soviet Army, a more nuanced British report on Soviet tactics that was one of the final made before the USSR’s collapse, and several on contemporary Russia.
  • An early Cold War study of Soviet client states.
  • A pre-Gulf War (optimistic) assessment of the Iraqi Army by the NTC.
  • Early and late Cold War assessments of the Chinese PLA.
  • Assessments of post-millennium Iran and Syria.
  • Assessments of both 1980 and modern North Korea.
  • 1977 assessment of Cuba.

The “real countries” can be accessed here.

Misc..

In addition, this final section houses the equally valuable documents I nonetheless felt didn’t really belong in either previous section.

  • Official Soviet field regulations of the early-mid Cold War captured and translated by the CIA, now declassified.
  • Large doctrinal musings from Chinese and Soviet officers.
  • The three-volume “Voroshilov Lectures” on strategic and operational matters.
  • A study of the possible incorporation of Warsaw Pact minor countries into Soviet plans.
  • Several studies on the potential future organization and tactics of an (intact) future USSR.
  • Though not an OPFOR piece per se, a US study on “Tactics and Technology for the 21st Century” that perfectly encapsulates 90s defense thinking.

The miscellaneous section can be viewed here.

Hope these are interesting and stimulating.