02 October 2023

The Grumble Hunt - Part 1 - Background

Well it's been some time since I last posted an After Action Report here.  To scared to look it up to see just how long ago!  Anyway - last weekend I got to play the scenario I had published in Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy Magazine Issue 107.  I played the Soviets guarding an S-300PS (known to NATO as the SA-10 Grumble) battery site in Northern Norway.  I had 5 players - Andrew and his son Alex, Ben, Gareth and Liam - taking on the roles of an SAS patrol, a SAS sniper team, a Royal Marine Mountain & Arctic Warfare Cadre patrol and a Norwegian Home Guard scout. I would play the Soviets.


It’s been 11 days since World War 3 began, and in a series of well-coordinated amphibious and airborne assaults, Soviet forces have side stepped or smashed all serious Norwegian resistance in the north of the country.  Lakselv, and the strategically important Banak Air Station fell quickly.  Now the Soviets are using the air base, which greatly increases their own fighter’s range into Norway and allows Soviet Naval Aviation aircraft to cut across northern Norway as they seek out NATO convoys and the Atlantic Strike Fleet. 

Four days ago a NATO air group attempted to stop air operations out of Banak.  Those that broke through the CAP were quickly engaged by the Soviet long-range air defences.  With no significant SEAD systems currently in the Arctic area, CINCNORTH has decided to use his only available strategic assets to take out the SAM sites immediately prior to another, even larger raid on Banak.

Lucky for Norway, elements of the 22nd SAS’ A Squadron (Mountain Troop) were already in Norway before hostilities broke out, conducting a joint security exercise in Trondheim.  When 3 Commando Brigade deployed, it included  elements of the Royal Marine’s Mountain & Arctic Warfare Cadre.  Normally they play a critical reconnaissance role for the Brigade, but now, along with the SAS squadron they are the only in-theatre NATO assets capable of undertaking this mission.

The mission takes place in the area at the tip of the red arrow.  This map also shows the limit of the Soviet advance through Norway at this date:

The Soviets have deployed two SA-10 battalions, split into four batteries within 20km of Banak, with the primary air search radar and command components within the perimeter of the airfield.  The Marines and SAS operators have been split into four assault teams each lead by a local guide from the Norwegian Home Guard.  They are to raid each site simultaneously.

We'll be focussing on the northernmost battery shown here, along with its proximity to the primary radar and command components at the airfield.

All the SA-10 (S-300) batteries are mobile, however NATO EW and INTEL assets have been constantly tracking their movement and now have a developed an accurate picture of where each battery will spend the “night”.  

Our team was dropped by a helicopter  within 10km of the SAM site, and has moved quietly to the target area on foot.  After crossing the river, they are now lying in the scrubland overlooking the large field which contains the battery.  

This is a satellite view of the battery, annotated to show all the battery elements and surrounding scrubland.  Here is the key to the map:
A - 5N63S Flap Lid B Engagement Radar
B - 5P85S Transporter-Erector-Launcher (smart TEL)
C - 5P85D (dumb TEL)
D - 5P85D (dumb TEL)
E - Air Defence Command Post (a Ural-375A Office Body Truck)
F - 2 x ZSU-23-4
G - Military Police Checkpoint
1-3 - Various civilian structures - farm buildings
4 - Camouflage netted area

It's mid-summer in Norway.  Here in the Arctic Circle, this means the sun doesn't set, so although the mission begins at 3am it's not that dark.  Just for context here is a more modern photo of a couple of guys sitting at the river, probably about 500m from where the battery was situated, at 3am.

Lucky for the NATO troopers, it's lightly raining - so visual ranges are somewhat limited.


Here's how my table compares to the satellite image

It's obviously not exactly the same, but good enough for me!  You can see the boundary between the paddock the battery is situated in, and the scrubland surrounding it.  In reality the scrubland looks more like this google earth image I snapped of the E6 at the battery location.  It's autumn in the picture but I think you get the gist:


Ideally the assaulting teams must now sneak up to each TEL and the Radar Acquisition Vehicle and attach timed demolition charges between the missile tubes or under the radar section.  The figures have enough C4 to deal with any other vehicles the team chooses to target.  All the vehicles on site play a role in making the SAM battery function so anything destroyed is useful, however the TELs and Radar vehicle are the primary targets and must be destroyed.

The assault team must then exfiltrate the site and move to the extraction point for pick up.  If all goes well the emplaced explosives will explode at 3.50am, 15 minutes before the NATO aircraft raiding Banak begin their attack run on the airfield.  

The aim is to achieve all this without firing a shot, however the sites are known to be guarded by Soviet Motor Rifle Infantry and Military Police.  It should be possible to slip past them and execute the mission.  If considered necessary the team may engage the Soviet’s and the British troops have been kitted out with a number of suppressed weapons in addition to their more standard small arms.  


Royal Marine Mountain & Arctic Warfare Cadre  - The Royal Marine M&AWC troop has Normal Supply levels, High Confidence, TQ - D10 and Morale - D10.

Each M&AWC member is also armed with HE grenades, smoke grenades, fighting knife and demolition material. The patrol is made up as follows:

  • Robert "Tazzer" Thopson - Mountain Leader (MP5SD3 & M16A1) 
  • Arthur "Lobster" Neumann - Signaller (M16 & LAW AT Rocket) 
  • Eric "Florry" Higgens - Medic (M16/M203 & LAW AT Rocket) 
  • Armand "Cloggy" Hendriks - Weapons Specialist (L4 LMG)

Special Air Service (SAS) – A Squadron (Mountain Troop) The SAS Patrol has Normal Supply levels, High Confidence, TQ - D12 and Morale - D12.

SAS operators are Stealthy. Each operator is also armed with a suppressed Browning pistol, a LAW AT Rocket, HE grenades, smoke grenades, a fighting knife and demolition material. The patrol is made up as follows:

  • Harry "Boss" Catterall - Patrol Leader (MP5SD3 & CAR-15) 
  • Johnny "Scaley" Anderson - Signaller (M16A1) 
  • Adrian "593" Jones - Medic (M16/M203) 
  • Jimmy "4 Fingers" Robertson - Demolitions Specialist (M16 & M79)

SAS Sniper Team is made up as follows

  • Joel "Stinky" Crownley - Sniper (AW Covert Sniper Rifle & CAR-15)
  • Brian "Baz" Smith - Spotter (M16/M203)

Norwegian Heimevernet (Home Guard) GuideThe Home Guard guide has Normal Supply levels, High Confidence, TQ - D8 and Morale - D10.

"Sven" - Guide (Designated Marksman AG3)

All NATO troops must start the game in the scrubland, but not within 6” of any Soviet equipment or troops.


NATO troops have the initiative for the stealth component of the game and for the first 2 turns if the game turns into a firefight.  From the 3rd turn onward, roll initiative for each side.


Each Soviet soldier/specialist KIA: +0 points
Each Soviet Primary Target with a charge laid/destroyed: +8 points
Each Soviet Secondary Target with a charge laid/destroyed: +5 points
Each Soviet Other Target with a charge laid/destroyed: +2 points
Not a shot fired during entire mission: +10 points
Every Primary Target has a charge laid/destroyed: +10 additional points


It's pretty simple for the Soviets.  Patrol, guard and defend the battery.  Immediately call for reinforcements if attacked.  Defeat any enemy action aggressively allowing the SAM technicians to carry out their primary Air Defence function.


Patrolling GuardsA Motorised Rifle Squad has been assigned to provide a roving patrol for the SAM unit.  The squad has Normal Supply levels, High Confidence TQ - D8 and Morale - D8.  The squad is made up as follows:

8 man Motorised Rifle Squad (7 x AK-74, 1 x RPK-74).  They have left the RPG-7V in their BTR-70.  These guards can be deployed in pairs, anywhere on the table that is not scrubland.

Their BTR-70 is parked within the Batteries confines.  Its 2 crew (gunner and driver) are on board.  They will have to start the BTR-70 to get into any fight.

Military Police - A small Military Police detachment is attached to the S-300 unit for road control.  They have a UAZ-469 MP Jeep and have set up a checkpoint on the E-6 highway.  The MP's have Normal Supply levels, High Confidence TQ - D8 and Morale - D8.

The MP detachment is made up as follows – MP Leader (Makerov & AKS-74U) 3 x MPs (AK-74).  The MPs and the UAZ-469 must be placed on or within 6” of the E-6 Highway.

Air Defence Specialists – Shift 1 There are 12 specialists on duty in the various AD vehicles.  They are currently unarmed by can arm themselves in one turn with AKS-74Us held in each vehicle.  They are working as follows:

5N63S Flap Lid B Engagement Radar - 6 Specialists
5P85S Smart TEL - 2 Specialists
Air Defence Command Post - 4 Specialists

Air Defence Specialists – Shifts 2 and 3 - Three shifts of specialists are required to properly man the site for 24 hours.  Typically that means there is another 24 men off-shift at any one time.  At least 12 of them will be sleeping, whilst the other 12 will be repairing and testing equipment, on guard duty, getting some political training, eating or playing cards.  The off-duty specialists can be situated in any of the structures on the table or in the back of any of the trucks.

Four of the specialists have been given an AK-74 and put on guard duty to support the Motorised Infantry.  All the other men are currently unarmed but can arm themselves in one turn with an AK-74.  The specialist guards must each be placed next to one of the four primary assets.

Drivers and other crew Each unmanned vehicle on site, except any UAZ-469 Jeeps has two drivers/crew dedicated to it.  These must be added to the Soviet’s personnel pool.  1/3 of the drivers and other crew have been given an AK-74 and put on guard duty. 

All the other drivers and crew are currently asleep in any of the structures on the table or in the back of any of the trucks.  They are unarmed. They can arm themselves in one turn with an AK-74.  The driver/crew guards must each be placed next to one of the secondary assets.

The specialists, drivers and other crew have Normal Supply levels, High Confidence TQ - D6 and Morale - D8.


The Battery Quick Reaction Force is based at Banak Air Station.  It can reach the northernmost SAM site within 10 minutes of receiving a distress call.  The QRF has the same stats as the Motorised Rifle Squad patrolling the site.  The QRF is made up as follows:

2 x BTR-70 APCs – each with an 8 man Motorised Rifle Squad (6 x AK-74, 1 x RPK-74 and 1 x RPG-7V).  One squad can replace one AK-74 with a SVD Sniper Rifle if you choose.  The QRF will arrive from the south on the E-6 highway. 

Once the shooting begins, start counting turns.  At the beginning of Turn 4 roll a D6.  On a roll of 5 or more the QRF has arrived.  If the roll is failed, at the beginning of Turn 5 roll a D6.  On a roll of 4 or more the QRF has arrived.  Turn 6 the QRF arrives of a 3+.  Continue rolling each turn until the QRF has arrived or the Assault team has left the table.


Each NATO soldier WIA: +1 point
Each NATO soldier KIA: +3 points
Each NATO soldier captured: +5 points
Each Soviet Primary Target to survive attack: +10 points
Each Soviet Secondary Target to survive attack: +5 points
Each Soviet Other Target to survive attack: +2 points
Guard successfully raises alarm: +5 points
Every Primary Target survives attack: +10 additional points


At the beginning of each turn and anytime a unit fails a reaction test by rolling a 1, draw a random event card.  I'll include these in a later post.

That's it for the preamble - next up will be the actual game itself.




  1. Very much like the kind of scenarios I design (although far more organised and correctly detailed). I respect you representing the entire battery including all supports! Wow if all those specialists and drivers wake up, the SAS and Marines are going to be dealing with a hell of a swarm of footmobiles! Great stuff.

    btw I have recently run a USN SEAL raid on a single Soviet MRBM launcher. Mine had to drive out of a hardened complex to explain the "why don't they just bomb it?" narrative. Your narrative is way cooler. Also surprising to see you running Force on Force! No more Battlegroup Cold War mod?

    Also, randomly, could you recommend a way to get a 1980s US Army Ranger without body armour, M16A2s and Ranger cap covers? The only way I can think of/find is to go to Elhiem, get 1970s US Army guys, Cubans in Che caps for headswaps and hack the barrels off the M16A1s, then pin on A2 barrels from the one Matt makes individually. I'm sure I would make a mess of that.. I think RH models made ones that matched that description, but I could never find pics..

    1. Hey Sam. Thanks for the comments. Yes it doers create a storm of footmobiles - but they are generally pretty hopeless. Still they did manage to take out one of the Marines in the game. More on that in the next post.

      This scenario was originally written for WSS Magazine - so it had to be for published games. So I wrote it for FoF and Black Ops. Hence I'm playing it in FoF as it will also be a demo game at a local con. Battlegroup Cold War lives on - I just don't really have anyone to play it with where I now live. I'm also slowly working on a newer completely original Cold War game.
      I think I have some RH Models US Army Rangers just as you describe. I'll have a look for them and maybe post up some pics for you?

  2. Ah I see. I'm looking forwards to the battle report. It's quite cool how the the FoF TQ system really knocks down poor troops quickly. I recently ran a game (My setting is Cold War Gone Hot too, but in Cuba circa 1988) where a Cuban platoon with 3 x BTR-60s tried to assault an airfield defended by a USMC platoon with AAV-7s and an M-60 MBT. With the huge imbalance in firepower, small imbalance in training, and the Americans in hasty defensive positions, it was very one sided. Two or three wounded Marines and all of the Cubans dead or wounded almost to a man. Pretty similar to what I think may happen in real life. Kind of like what happened in the Grenadian counter assault on Point Salines in '83. I'm glad WSS will let you publish it here. I may still pick up the issue though. Would be the first time for me.

    Thank you very much for offering to post those. If you do happen to track them down and get the chance to take pics I would very much appreciate it. Then I'll know if I want them and what to hunt (it seems RH are dormant in 2023?).

    Good that Battlegroup Cold War isn't done but with Northag I guess you want to make something unique? I'm in Canberra. If you ever make it down (Cancon or otherwise) give me a shout and maybe you, I and other gamers can talk Cold War over a coffee or a beer, man.