First some history… In 1995, I was a young soldier stationed with the 3rd Signal Brigade at Ft. Hood, Texas. I lived in the barracks, so what did I do with my free time? I played DBM twice a week and I participated in “Team Trackless” on my Pentium 75 computer and dial-up internet service. Team Trackless was “a volunteer, unclassified effort to use commercial wargames to test new doctrine and tactics for the new "trackless" (wheeled armored vehicles) brigades the US Army is experimenting with. Team Trackless members are all wargamers, and many are wargame developers and military professionals. The purpose of Team Trackless is to see if we can develop a faster way military professionals to test new ideas using off the shelf tools."
The tool used was TacOps by Battlefront (Battlefront.com, not the FOW guys) and I spend hours playing through the scenarios, but never actually sending in my results. Fast-forward 25 years… The United States Army has transformed into the Brigade Combat Team (BCT structure) and the Stryker BCT has been a reality for 10+ years. The concept it to bridge the gap between Heavy forces (High tactical mobility and protection, low strategic mobility, few dismounts for close terrain) and Light forces (Low tactical mobility and protection, high strategic mobility, suited for close terrain)
In fact, the only maneuver Brigades permanently stationed in Europe is the 173rd Airborne and the Stryker based 2nd Cavalry Regiment.
Reading through a few recent issues of Armor and Infantry Magazines and a fellow miniature gamer’s blog has sparked my desire to do some ultra-modern gaming and see how Stryker Units would possibly fair in what the Army calls the “Decisive Engagement Environment.” With the end of 10+ years of counter-insurgency operations in the Middle East, the Army is having to relearn the ability to fight a near-peer enemy. Additionally, the Russian Army has come a long way from what we model when we play the Group of Soviet Forces Germany in hypothetical 1985 scenarios.
My inspirations were:
- Restructuring the Tactical Russian Army for Unconventional Warfare: http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/documents/restructuring-for-unconventional-warfare.pdf
- Russian Hybrid Warfare and the Re-emergence of Conventional Armored Warfare: Implications for the U.S. Army's Armored Force: http://www.benning.army.mil/armor/eARMOR/content/issues/2016/JUL_SEP/3Fox-Russia16.pdf
- Russian Hybrid Warfare and its Relevance to the US Army’s Infantry: http://www.benning.army.mil/infantry/magazine/issues/2016/APR-JUL/pdf/5)%20Fox_RussianHybrid.pdf
- The Stryker-Tank Company Team: http://www.benning.army.mil/infantry/magazine/issues/2016/APR-JUL/pdf/14)%20Kertis_StrykerTank.pdf
- Tomahawks Take on NTC: Strykers in a Complex Fight: http://www.benning.army.mil/infantry/magazine/issues/2016/APR-JUL/pdf/12)%20Bassney_Tomahawks.pdf
- The Stryker Brigade Combat Team Cavalry Squadron in Decisive Action: http://www.benning.army.mil/armor/eARMOR/content/issues/2016/JAN_MAR/1Hoovestol16.pdf
- Armored Task Forces: NATO’s Combined Arms Answer to the Russian Challenge : http://www.benning.army.mil/infantry/magazine/issues/2016/APR-JUL/index.html
Additionally, if you have any interest in ultra-modern warfare at all, you should read both Armor (http://www.benning.army.mil/armor/eARMOR/) and Infantry (http://www.benning.army.mil/infantry/magazine/) magazines. A lot does not apply directly to our tabletop games, but it is nice to be reminded how little “simulating” we actually do, as we tend not to worry about logistics, casualty evac, reconnaissance, the layout of a BCT TOC, maintenance, training plans, etc.
At this stage in my gaming life, I am a huge fan of small, easily completed projects. My main inspiration or this project Bish’s blog, specifically his 1:1 scale 1:600 project:
So, I am embarking on modeling a specific type of conflict in 1/600 scale, a reinforced US Army Stryker Infantry Company versus elements of a Russian Battalion Tactical Group. I have bags of Picoarmor 3mm Sci-Fi stuff, so to save money and in the best tradition of the US Army, I am replacing the Russians with a suspiciously Russian equipped and organized OPFOR, the Krasnovians.
One ~$30 order from Picoarmor + the Sci-Fi stuff I had and I was ready to start painting! Next up, fielding the force…