Modern Chain Of Command

“Modern” Chain of Command – Rules under Development

For some time now, there has been some interest in the club in adapting the Chain of Command WW2 skirmish-level rules to play more modern scenarios – from Vietnam and the African wars from 1960 onwards, through various Cold War scenarios to the Soviet-Afghan war of the 1980s, and up to the present-day conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

As we began discussing the concept, it quickly became apparent that, for our purposes, modern warfare can be treated as just  an extension of WW2 technology. A Russian AK47 or British SA80 isn’t going to be much different in effectiveness from a German MP44 assault rifle, an RPG can be treated as a modern bazooka or Panzerschreck, a mortar is still a mortar, and so on. The quantum leaps in military technology – such as tank armour and modern munitions, modern aircraft, and guided weapons – just don’t figure largely at the small unit and ground scales which Chain of Command employs.

On that premise, we have worked out force lists for (among others) 1980s period Soviet and Afghan units, and have been using that war to play-test our modified rules. We started with simple encounter battles between infantry-only forces, and found that they were quite playable games. The small unit sizes typical of modern forces, plus the increased firepower when every soldier has an assault rifle, make infantry units quite fragile and they certainly don’t want to get caught in the open, but the results obtained generally felt quite realistic.

We have gradually evolved the game,  and added special rules to give some local flavour – IEDs, suicide bombers, TV crews, rules for civilians and mobs, and so on. They certainly spice up the game, and introduce an element of uncertainty, so this is an ongoing development.

More recently, we have been trying some “asymmetric” games, which probably better reflect the nature of many modern conflicts – where one side has access to technology and heavy weapons which the other side does not possess. Rather to our surprise, this has not over-balanced the game at all –Russian APCs are easily handled by Afghan RPGs, for example – and elite forces such as Spetnaz on one side can be countered by larger numbers of lesser-trained troops on the other. We have admittedly yet to introduce heavier armour, but ”tank fright” is nothing new to anyone who has played Chain of Command with the early WW2 force lists, where infantry have no effective defence against even light armour.

For our various play-test batreps, click on the links below.