Cold War gone the cold

Soviet Tank established a blocking position in front of a river crossing

Back in the 80's there was a near-future RPG called Twilight 2000.  As a young nerd with a passion for military hardware it was natural for such a game to pique my interest.  A quick summary of the game is essentially "Soviets invade West Germany, things go badly for everyone, eventually the armies are shattered and the survivors must brew their own fuel."  I was always less interested in the 'present day' of the game (The Summer of 2000 after the last NATO offensive is shattered and things just fall apart) and much more interested in the rich history of how society got there.  There was a lot of interesting background material and all the real world units had a documented 'history' for their version of WWIII.  That and plenty of Osprey style 'color plates' of real and imagined armored vehicles from around the conflict. 
Soviet Mortar sets up in a burned out farm house. 
I still enjoy reading the background material from time to time, and there was even a new supplement produced couple years ago for the Korean Peninsula.  That said, the rules never really appealed to me as I found them far too complicated and focused on individual small arms to an extreme degree.  I went so far as to adapt Easy Eight's Battleground World War II to provide a modern skirmish game I could use to set battles in the 'modern era' (modern being 1980-2000) 

Soviet Motorized Infantry cross at a ford. 

So why the trip down memory lane?  Last month the "It's 500 Miles to the German Border" Twilight 2000 blog decided to run a contest. In honor of the season, interested painters could submit a model or vignette inspired by Twilight 2000 in a winter theme.  (The contest voting is still open for those who want to see the entries.)  I took the opportunity as the inspiration to actually paint my Soviet Tank crew in gas masks from Eureka Miniatures.  (Inspired by the film The Beast)  I picked up some of Vallejo's snow effect paste, and decided to finish my 3D printed T-72 at the same time. 


I had enough fun finishing these, that I decided to make the transition with the entire Armageddon 84 Cold War collection starting with the Russians.   They are already stuck in the misery of full MOPP suits, why not compound it with the bitter cold of Nuclear winter?
With the loss of their vehicle, a Soviet Tank crew become infantry. 
I have the Russian side completed, so I thought I would take the opportunity to dust off the BGWWII rules I used to use and adapt them for solo play.  I decided to create a Twilight War inspired scenario.  A small group of American Soldiers are cut off and attempting to break out of the encirclement. 
US Mechanized infantry prepare to defend the remnants of a small town. 

For setting up the solo game, I decided to make the blinds truly blind.  I set up 8 White chips with a Soviet Unit written on the back and 8 blanks. 

  • Fire Team 1 - 3 Figures w/ AK47 
  • Fire Team 2  - 3 Figures w/AK 47
  • Fire Team 3 - 2 Figures w/AK47 1w/PKM
  • Fire Team 4 - 2 Figures w/AK47 1w/PKM
  • AT Team 1 -  2 Figures w/AK47 1w/RPG
  • AT Team 2 -  2 Figures w/AK47 1w/RPG
  • SQD LDR -  3 Figures w/AK47, can call for fire on a 10
  • Sniper       - 1 Sniper w/SVD

I did the same thing for the vehicles with 1  Red Chip for the BTR and 1 for the T-72 and three blanks.

I then randomly selected 9 White Chips and 3 Reds.   I organized the chips into three groups. 

I have no idea how many of these represent real forces

 Two vehicles with support would approach to hold the bridge crossing.  

The other chip would cover the ford.

I then placed the three remaining infantry chips in the burned out village.  I assigned a card to each of these for initiative.  The two vehicle groups would share five cards between them.  I would move one chip per card, that way I would not know for sure if any actual units were being moved up to support the village each turn.    Once a unit made a successful spotting or listening roll, I would overturn the chip to determine its nature) 

The Americans would be made up of six survivors attempting to break out from the Soviet encirclement.  They were broken up into three groups: 

  • King of Spades  -SSG Jones (M16)  SPC Davis (M203)
  • Queen of Spades -SGT Able (M60 LMG), PVT Baker (M16)
  • Jack of Spades - SPC Kawalski (M16, LAW) PVT Eaker (M203)

The goal it to get across the river, hopefully without getting detected (or at least killed) 

I shuffled the deck and started moving chips and figures.  The US plan was fairly simple.  The LMG team would set up in a supporting position to allow the other groups to advance up a block and then move up.  They would move toward the ford in successive bounds, hopefully avoiding contact.

It started off well, the support team set up in the basement and Kawalski made a quick rush across the road.  Then all hell broke loose.  The first Soviet Chip made a spotting roll and pulled a critical success (natural 1).  I overturned the chip to find an Anti-Tank team. 

The startled Soviet soldier spotted movement in his peripheral and turned to see two American's running across the road across from him.  Shouting a warning to his comrades, he fired a rocket at the disappearing forms.  The rocket landed short, but the concussion knocked the men to the ground as they leaped for cover in the rubble  
 SGT Able opened up with his M60 managing to suppress RPG gunner before he could reload.  SSG Jones started directing fire to allow Kawalski and Eaker to get out of the fire. 

The sudden eruption of the firefight alerted the Soviets squad leader to the American's presence.  His men poured fire into the ruined building while he scrambled to get his mortar on-line and firing.  
 Disaster struck as a burst of weapons fire Killed SPC Davis as he tried to bring his M203 to bear.  SSG Jones was now outnumbered with half his team exposed.  
RIP SPC Davis, we barely knew ye.

Soviet Reinforcements trundled down the road to level the building.  Thankfully it was a false report and the road remained empty.
 Spotting movement down the road, PVT Eaker expertly put a grenade through the open doorway.  The Soviet squad leader was blasted prone, the heavy weight of one of his man pressing down on his back.  Fortunately for him the man was lightly wounded, unfortunately he had dropped the radio!
A lot of jammed weapons in this game, so many 20's
 Baker managed to put a grenade through the first floor window across the street.  The was a loud 'pop' and all fire from the building ceased.  SSG Jones didn't know exactly what had happened, but knew they needed to move out fast.  
American fire wounds two soldiers, the other breaks and runs for the rear.  
 Kawalski and Eaker took the opportunity to pitch out some smoke grenades to cover their crossing.  They are half way across the street when they hear the shriek of an incoming round. 
 The first mortar round punches through the shattered roof and savages the third floor.  Fortunately, Jones had gotten his men out just in time. 
Soviet mortarmen adjust fire. 

The next round lands in the road, adding urgency to Kawalski's run.
 Kawalski and Eaker dropped into their support position just in time to see a lone BTR-60 emerge between two buildings.  It's heavy machine gun continuing to pour fire into the building SSG Jones had just departed.  

SGT Able and PVT Baker were for forced to check their movement and seek cover.  They could hear the vehicle advancing on them.  Would Kawalski be able to take it out?

Kawalski and Eaker were too slow in acquiring the BTR and the vehicle commander managed to spot them first.  A burst of 14.5mm fire dropped Eaker as Kawalski prepped his LAW.  He knew he would only have one shot at this. 
Guess who's card came up first?
 Lining up his site, Kawalski squeezed the firing stud.  The rocket motor erupted and in a flash the front of the BTR erupted in flames.  
Rolling low is good in this game
 The driver and gunner lept from their burning vehicle and fled back towards the river.  The Russian AT team saw the action to their right and laid down suppressive fire.  Another group of Soviet infantry, following behind the BTR added their weight of fire into rubble pile.  
 SSG Jones arrived just as the fusillade cut down PVT Eaker.  He decided right there that his mission was a bust.  They needed to find another way out before the rest of them were killed as well.  He called over to SGT Kawalski who's attention was on something across the street from them.  Jones looked over with a raised eyebrow as Kawalski hefted a grenade through a broken window.  
I am thinking that SSG Jones is not a lucky man.  
 The crump of the grenade was followed by muffled screams.  The fire from the north slackens for a brief moment.  
Kawalski for his part is on fire.

With two men down and the Soviets closing in, SSG Jones decides to fall back and find another route.  He and Kowalski manage to lay down some smoke and traverse the road without being taken down.  Linking up with Able and Baker they fade back into the night.  Perhaps they will make another breakout attempt later?

Well that could have gone better.  I think the blind system worked beautifully as it did provide a lot of tension every time I overturned a chip.  The successful spotting roll in the first turn by the Russian patrol compromised the mission from the beginning.  From that point on, all the Russians were able to focus on one avenue of advance.  The shear volume of fire they were able to generate ensured that the American's would be forced to keep their hands down, an would prevent forward movement.  Battleground's rules always played light a light Role Playing Game, so they provided a lot of narrative as the flow of weapons jams and near misses built up.  They also allow for different skill checks and actions beyond simple fire and movement. 

For next time, I may opt to make the Soviet's Green to see if it gives the American's a better chance. 


  1. Oooh. Rough day for the 'Mericans. Cool set up and nice minis!

    1. Attempt 2 didn't work much better. I need to tweak my rules a bit.

  2. Fun looking game, Jake. And quite a transformation of the T-72! This is a period I've never thought about (so "Modern"), however, it has interesting possibilities!

    1. I agree! The T-72 work is an outstanding transformation. Any abnormalities from the 3D printing are camouflaged now.

    2. Thanks, yeah to mid 80s doesn't appear to be a hotbed for miniaturists. If only someone did a Dragon ATGM

  3. A compelling narrative, and an astounding transformation of the 3D printed tank!

    1. Thanks, though not as compelling as your tales from the Tyrol. I find weathering is a great method for covering blemishes.


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