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Subject: Reading Material rss

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Eric Avila
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Since it seems to come up with many of the popular games (and this definitely rates), a couple of the better books on this What-If War which may interest players:

The Third World War: August 1985 by General Sir John Hackett

and his follow-up The Third World War: The Untold Story. The first book was written in 1978 and he had to do some re-writes as certain hypotheses became irrelevant (such as Iran being a US ally).

Team Yankee by Harold Coyle was popular but I think the combat's a bit too clean.

But for the tactical gamer, the best of the bunch is Red Army by Ralph Peters. Peters was a US military intel officer and FAO on the Soviet Union. He knows his stuff doctrinally, but the combat descriptions are where this book shines, especially the account of a Soviet air assault battalion seizing bridges near Hameln. Every battle sequence is gut-wrenching. The book follows, if I remember right, a Soviet Tank Army chief-of-staff, an artillery battery commander, a tank company commander, an attack helicopter pilot, and an air assault battalion commander.

You can get used copies of all of these pretty cheaply, and they're worth the read. I got through Red Army in one day.
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Steve Caires
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Red Army is my favorite of the third world war fiction books. (Team Yankee, Sword Point, Red Storm Rising being a few others). You get a clear picture of how the war develops through the different viewpoints mentioned, all on the Soviet side. Peters strays away from techno-porn, rarely discussing weapon systems or even giving their alphanumerical designations. His book is about the fighting men and how they are affected by the brutal war, not simply the guns and tanks. My favorite portion is the regimental sized soviet tank attack on the british about halfway through the book, seen through the eyes of a battalion commander buttoned up in his tank.

I give this one my recommendation as well. I've reread it a good half dozen times just for the hell of it.
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Christopher O
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Mentioned in other posts is "First Clash" by Kenneth Macksey.

The book was actually written as a fictionalized account of a real NATO wargame exercise and was intended as a training tool, but was so well received that it was published.

It's the story of how a Canadian combined arms team deals with an attack by several waves of a Soviet motorized rifle regiment in a defensive delaying action set piece. Everything from initial deployment, advance to position, preparation, contact, fall-back and final withdrawal are covered.

It's actually not very compelling from a characterization viewpoint (the author is more concerned with the timing and details of an actual attack) but the level of detail and technical accuracy is quite impressive, especially with regard to command and control issues.

I wouldn't call it a must-have, but it is a very interesting read.

http://www.amazon.com/First-Clash-combat-Kenneth-Macksey/dp/...
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Jeff Schulte
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I too have read the same bunch of books for WWIII in Europe. I would rate them as follows in terms of the perspective of game play.

1) Red Army - best tactical action as stated above

2) Team Yankee - good tactical action here as well

3) First Clash - a bit dry.

3) Third World War - more of a strategic and operation perspective

4) Red Storm Rising - same as TWW but more emphasis outside of Europe.

A couple of others I have read are Armor at Fulda. This was published in '89 but was a sort of future history and included some sci-fi type touches like robotic tanks and mines. There's also NATO Under Attackby RHS Stolfi published in '83 which is an analysis of NATO's ability to defend itself conventionally from a historical analysis.
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Jan Vater
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There's a good overview of how fictional accounts can be used to spice up a wargame in the design notes of HPS' "North German Plain". They rate Ralph Peter's book as the best out there and i absolutely second that. All three HPs games dealing with a fictional Third World War in june 1985 in the ETO are very good and thoroughly researched.

But Sir John Hackett's fictional documentary isn't bad either. He was a very impressive person and his career as a soldier and scholar is second to none.
 
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Kenneth Bailey
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I vaguely remember reading the Red Army back in the day.

Maybe not books about the potential war but the Viktor Suvorov books are worth a read. His book about the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia is a classic. He also had a book about the Soviet Army in general. Sadly, I don't remember their titles off hand.
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Eric Avila
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mikoyan wrote:
I vaguely remember reading the Red Army back in the day.

Maybe not books about the potential war but the Viktor Suvorov books are worth a read. His book about the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia is a classic. He also had a book about the Soviet Army in general. Sadly, I don't remember their titles off hand.


You're referring to The Liberators and Inside the Soviet Army. The first book focuses on Suvorov's training as a cadet at a Soviet military academy, and the "liberation" of Czechoslovakia in 1968. It's actually rather hilarious. The second was not memorable, but I had it.

Well, it seems Red Army is the universal favorite.


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Steven Price
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Radetzkymarsch wrote:

There's a good overview of how fictional accounts can be used to spice up a wargame in the design notes of HPS' "North German Plain".


A well put together game. OOBs are of course best guess, but still recommended.

If you ever want to play it by pbem sometime Jan . . .

Steven
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Jan Vater
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Gents,

just a quick add for the completionists among us:

here http://www.lib.msu.edu/events/contest/Grevstad2006.htm

is a nice collection of books describing the 'cold war turned hot'. Must say i haven't read all of them yet - shame on me ;-)

Steven, i'd be delighted to meet you on the battlegrounds of the internet, goes without saying. I do have all the HPS cold war-related titles and prefer playing with the 'Volcanoman' add-ons. But that's negotionable, of course. I'll send you a PM with my email, so we can sort things out. Right now i'm quite busy at work, so it may take a while to get things going, but i'll try and manage 2-3 turns a week (time permitting).

Cheers,
J*
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Jeff Schulte
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Thanks for the link. I was able to order Red Thrust from Amazon since I had not heard of that book before.
 
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Eric Avila
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thecaptain wrote:
My favorite portion is the regimental sized soviet tank attack on the british about halfway through the book, seen through the eyes of a battalion commander buttoned up in his tank.


I remember that one vividly...they all get bogged down in mud and it turns into a murderous cannon duel.
 
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Keith Plymale
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Given the mass of men and machines in such a confined space I thought then and still do that it would have been a high tech W W I attrition battle. NATO shells and missle's v. WP tanks/IFV/APC/infantry/artillery totals. It was figured the WP would have managaged a 8-1 or 10-1 ratio at the point of the attack. This system works well showing the differences in the systems with out getting bogged down in miniatue.
 
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