Threat Tuesday / #Wargame Wednesday / #RPG Thursday (a few days early) – Underground Missile Base to Weaponeer and Perfect Villains Lair

This week Iran unveiled on YouTube their ‘underground barrage missile base:”

As if one video isn’t enough inspiration here is a second (minus the vertical missiles). Obviously filmed pre-COVID. I really like the ones wearing sunglasses deep inside a tunnel!

One missile wonk on Twitter even made a helpful graphic:

For Threat Tuesday this is an interesting way way to deploy missiles. The US certainly learned the danger of storing a liquid-fuel missile in an underground silo forty years ago when a Titan-II ICBM blew up in Arkansas.

For Wargame Wednesday (a day early) this is an interesting target to weaponeer. In the wargame Persian Incursion from Clash of Arms/Admiralty Trilogy Group players can use the rules from Harpoon 4.X to strike underground bunkers. These look much deeper and more difficult. Shades of Star Wars here – deliver that torpedo into the shaft!

For you roleplaying game players looking for RPG Thursday (2 days early) this looks to be a perfect villain’s lair for use in your James Bond 007 Roleplaying Game (Victory Games, 1982) or any modern espionage RPG setting.


Feature image courtesy popularmechanics.com

#ThreatTuesday – #Wargame Library: 2019 China Military Power Report from @DefenseIntel

This past week, the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) publicly released the 2019 edition of it’s China Military Power Report. With a subtitle of “Modernizing a Force to Fight and Win,” this report compliments the Pentagons’s Annual Report to Congress: Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China in 2018 released in August. I previously wrote how the Annual Report is a useful tool for wargamers; the new China Military Power Report is probably even more useful for game designers looking to portray the Chinese military in a modern wargame. The chapter Core Chinese Military Capabilities and the various appendixes give a useful broad outline of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Flying under the radar is a second report recently published by the US Department of Defense. Assessment on U.S. Defense Implications of China’s Expanding Global Access is a supplement to the August Annual Report. For wargamers long focused on scenarios across the Taiwan Strait or in the South China Sea, there is more to think about:

China’s expanding global activities in some of the areas listed above present military force posture, access, training, and logistics implications for the United States and China. The PLA’s first overseas military base in Djibouti and probable follow-on bases will increase China’s ability to deter use of conventional military force, sustain operations abroad, and hold strategic economic corridors at risk. The PLA’s expanding global capabilities provide military options to observe or complicate adversary activities in the event of a conflict. (p. 4)

The Annual Report, the new Assessment, and Military Power Report are good for the broad strokes and a top-level view of few key platforms but a naval wargamer (like me) looking for more tactical depth will find the publications wanting. In 2015 the US Navy Office of Naval Intelligence published The PLA Navy: New Capabilities and Missions for the 21st Century which shows many ships but unfortunately lacks individual ship details. Oh, but do note the two other products available from ONI, Iranian Naval Forces: A Tale of Two Navies and The Russian Navy: A Historic Transition.

For a wargamer, this abundance of “official” open source information is a real boon for designing your own games or scenarios. Now if we could only get similar items for US forces. I note that the last Naval Institute Guide to Ships and Aircraft of the U.S. Fleet was published in 1993!


Feature image  – Type 055 Renhai-class guided missile destroyer from Chinese internet via thediplomat.com

Wargame Wednesday – Persian Incursion (Out of the Box)

Courtesy Clash of Arms

Just a few days before Christmas I got a game that I had bought for myself – Persian Incursion.  The game is touted as an Admiralty Trilogy Game though the rules are stand-alone.  You don’t need another game, like Harpoon 4, to play though if you have experience with that system you will certainly catch on to the combat game quicker.

I am still working my way through the game which is actually two games in one; a political game and a combat game.  Like the real world it works better if you plan out strike packages ahead of time and then have the plans “on-the-shelf” and ready to go.  That is the part I am working on right now.

For background on the situation and Isreali and Iranian forces see this briefing presented at Historicon 2010.

One aspect of the confrontation between Israel and Iran that is not covered in this game is Stuxnet.  For a very insightful analysis of what Stuxnet may have been and what it likely did to the Iranian nuclear program see this Institute for Science and International Security analysis.  Goes to show you that no matter how hard wargame designers try, reality has a nasty habit of ruining the best of planning and analysis.

Threat Tuesday – Iran’s New WIG

Bavar-2 Radar Evader

(AP Photo) This photo released on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010, by the Iranian Defense Ministry, claims to show a Bavar-2, or Confidence-2, radar-evading flying boat. Iran’s state TV says the country’s powerful Revolutionary Guard has received its first three squadrons of radar-evading flying boats.

Radar evading?  Really?  Look at that nice FLAT and SQUARE radiator for the engine.  Maybe radar evading if you can count on low and slow.

A net search will reveal that this is probably the same “flying boat” shown testing in 2006.  At that time they advertised that it would be armed; a claim similar to those made today.