Tensions had been mounting between the Federated States of Natonia and Republic of South Dakkastan for more than three decades, ever since the overthrow of the latter’s former pro-Natonian ruler, King Basmati. The Kirkland Incident only brought matters to the point of open armed conflict.
In Natonia and other rich industrialized northern countries, the RSD was viewed as dangerously radical. It had sought to export revolution throughout the oil-rich Middle West. It had seized the assets of Natonian companies. It was engaged in widespread human rights abuses at home, while supporting international terrorism abroad. There were also growing suspicions that South Dakkastan had stockpiled significant quantities of chemical weapons, and had even begun a covert effort to develop nuclear weapons. In an attempt to pressure the RSD into more cooperative behaviour, Natonia had imposed modest economic sanctions. These, however, had only spurred even more bellicose rhetoric from the country’s unpredictable leadership.
In South Dakkastan, things looked rather different. Many remembered Natonia’s past support for the Basmati dictatorship, as well as the avaricious behaviour of the northern oil companies that had once exploited the country’s natural resources. The FSN and its client states condemned the RSD’s rightful support for oppressed populations, yet at the same time supported counter-revolutionary groups that sought to violently undermine the Dakkastini people’s revolutionary accomplishments. While Natonia was the world’s preeminent nuclear-armed superpower, the limited efforts of the RSD to develop adequate defensive capabilities had been attacked by northern countries with a campaign of vilification, scare-mongering, and crippling economic sanctions that hurt the workers and peasants of South Dakkastan most of all.
It was in this context that Horatio Kirkland—either a feckless self-styled freelance journalist with a blog, camera, and a satellite phone, or possibly an unlucky spy from the Natonian Intelligence Agency—was arrested in a seedy bar in a sensitive and troubled border region.
The Dakkastani government suspected that Kirkland was involved in providing covert assistance to a local insurgent group, the redundantly-named North Dakkistani Liberation Army for the Liberation of North Dakkastan. A televised “confession” and show trial quickly followed, after which he was sentenced to a long prison sentence.
Natonia demanded Kirkland’s release. The war of words heated up. A bomb exploded at a Natonian diplomatic facility, with no claim of responsibility. Several Dakkastini nuclear scientists were killed by unknown assailants on mopeds. RSD speedboats began harassing Natonian tankers passing through the Bay of Urfe. In the one case, Dakkastani and Natonian naval vessels briefly exchanged fire. The Natonian Congress responded with its famous “Bay of Urfe Resolution,” authorizing the President to employ military force in defence of Natonian lives and interests in the region.
The power was soon used. Citing terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, the President ordered the initiation of full-scale military operations—ostensibly to rescue Kirkland, but in reality to cripple the RSD’s military power and overthrow the regime.
War had finally come.
Games will be played using a combination of the Wargames Research Group’s Wargames Rules for Armoured Warfare, 1950-1985 (1979) for the basic movement and morale rules, coupled with the target acquisition, direct and indirect fire, and air strike rules from the later edition Wargames Rules, 1950-2000 (1993). While the attempt to encourage the use of appropriate national doctrine in the latter through a series detailed orders and associated tactical modes was a bit too unwieldy (which is why we aren’t using those sections), they both remain some of the best modern wargames rules ever written.
Natonia has deployed only a limited number of troops in its expeditionary force, but they are of much higher quality in terms of both troop quality and modern equipment. They employ US equipment and roughly US organization: M1A2 Abrams in its tank companies, M2A3 Bradleys in its heavy mechanized infantry companies; Strykers in its infantry companies. Its northern allies may also join the war, fielding Leopards 2s and LAVs. It has almost complete air superiority over the battlefield.
Dakkastan will generally employ older Soviet/Russian equipment. The elite Revolutionary Republican Guard units will deploy upgraded T-72s and BMP-1/2s. The less reliable but more numerous regular army will deploy refurbished T-55s and T-62s, BTR-60s, and trucks. These forces will be supplemented by lightly-armed but fiercely loyal members of the People’s Militia, utilizing infantry and various “technicals” mounting machine guns. recoilless rifles, and light anti-aircraft guns. IEDs will be liberally deployed in defence of the homeland.