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Battlegroup! The Lessons of the Unfought Battles of the Cold War

Jim Storr
ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
Battlegroup! investigates the unfought land battles of the Cold War on the Central Front. It focusses on the 1980s. It looks solely at high-intensity, conventional warfare; largely from NATO's perspective. It concentrates on the lower tactical levels: from company to brigade, or perhaps division. It considers the tactics, organisation and equipment and of the American, British, West German, French and Soviet armies.

One interesting aspect of this book is the research undertake to explore the outcome of tactical battles between NATO AND Warsaw Pact sources. This is based on the outcome of some 202 simulations, pitting different nations using their national doctrine in a range of scenarios. These were table-top wargames using commercially available war game rules. Given that each game occupied two professional soldiers for a weekend, this represents a serious investment of time and expertise. If undertaken by a strategy consultancy with a lot of computing power it would be taken very seriously. If nothing else Jim Storr has proved himself Captain General of the nerds

The conclusions make for some serious myth busting:-
  • Infantry Fighting Vehicles? Death traps on any conventional battlefield. The tactical ideas cannot be made to work.
  • The NATO army most likely to defeat the Warsaw Pact? The Bundeswehr.
  • The truth about the Chieftain tank...
  • Divisions - all too big and immobile
Great reading for cold war warriors nostalgic for their Herforders, route B1 and that rifle.

The foreword is by James Everard, recce troop leader of one of the battlegroups that did think in tank time. Worth reading for his advice on troop leading. including " Never, ever run out of fuel or allow the SQMS to give your troop 'Menu X' Rations (Pilchards)..."

It is a thought-provoking book and essential reading for any BAOR based battlefield study.

295 pages. Helion and Company 2021 ISBN 978-10914059-96-4

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