An Updated Chrome Plating of the Big One to Come

by David M. Roberts

Here are a few semi-official rules that may add some spice to your next game of The Next War. Note that some of the rules surround dubious technological advantages (such as Stealth aircraft). Even though some of this might turn out to be so much media gas, itís worth tinkering with the game to discover the possible effects of the putative exotica. RAS

In lieu of the promised Next War Update, this article provides some new rules to reflect changes in weapons systems and doctrine in NATO and the Warsaw Pact in the 1980ís.

Electronic Warfare Aircraft

The NATO player receives two Wild Weasel counters on Game-Turn 3. The WP player receives one AWACS unit that functions identically to the Wild Weasels on the GT following that in which the Nuclear Threshold is reached.

These units have the old capability of lowering the opponentís pilot quality rating, with simultaneous deployments canceling out the effect for both sides.

WW/AWACS units may also now create ADS (Air Defense Suppression) Zones. ADS Zones consist of a target hex and the surrounding 4 hexes in all directions (i.e., a mega-hex, nine hexes in diameter). One such ADS Zone may be generated per Game-Turn/Air Sector where WW/AWACS units are committed, and ADS Zones may overlap each other and Air Sector boundaries without additional effects. ADS Zones may be placed at any time during the GT.

Opposing ADS Zones cancel each other where they overlap. ADS Zones affect enemy flak by reducing the range of all flak within the Zone to one hex and by adding one to any die rolls (units with only a one-hex range normally are unaffected). ADS Zones affect friendly flak units engaging targets within them by subtracting one from all die rolls.

When WW and AWACS assets are committed to the same Sector, deployment of ADS Zones may be contested by the opposing player at the risk of losing or damaging his own unit. When an ADS Zone is announced by the opposing player in a contested Sector, the non-Phasing player rolls one die. On a roll of 1 or 2, the AWACS is damaged; on a 5 or 6, the WW is damaged, 3 or 4, there is an unsuccessful interception, but no damage to either side. Damaged

WW/AWACS assets are repaired off-map by rolling two dice and returning the units the resultant number of Game-Turns later. Rolls of 12 result in permanent loss of the units.


NOE Flying. Any helicopter may opt to fly NOE at any point during its movement to reduce its vulnerability to flak. NOE flying increases the movement cost per hex to three points. Units may fly NOE, revert to normal mode, revert again to NOE, and so forth, with no penalty.

FARPS (Forward Area Rearming and Refueling Points). A FARP may be created by dedicating a transport helicopter within half its operational range of a given hex. A FARP permits helicopters to operate from non-city hexes as if they were airfields. Lift capacity of one battalion will support one unit at a FARP. Transport units are considered to be actively transporting POL, munitions, spares, and the like to the FARP and so are vulnerable to hostile flak units within range of any part of their flight path. FARP supporting transports may fly NOE. Units operating from FARPís count against the 20-unit maximum capacity of the airfield that supports them.

FARPís may be raided by special forces units as if they were airfields, except that they are never damaged. FARPís become inoperative immediately if the supporting airfield is damaged, and they recover immediately when it is repaired. A FARP may not support another FARP. A FARP need not be in supply, as long as the parent airfield is. Ground units actually present in a FARP hex may be supplied there by transport assets at the same rate as they might be transported:

three battalions of lift are the equivalent of one brigade. Special Forces/Commando units are considered to be battalion-sized units for supply purposes. This rule provides for the creation of airheads and aerial supply if a player has sufficient assets in transport helicopter to support them.

CSWS. In the late 80ís, the US plans to field the CSWS (Corps Support Weapon System) C a system that will replace the Lance missiles in Europe. With a range of 200km +, the missiles will be targeted by RPVís at 2nd echelon forces and will dispense sub-munitions in four flavors: nuclear, anti-armor, anti-personnel/antimaterial, and chemical. Their function will be to channel, delay, disrupt, and destroy.

The Rule: US Corps HQís may conduct one CSWS strike per GT at ranges out to 15 hexes. Each strike is conducted against a hex as if it were an air-to-ground attack using the 5-6 column of the Air-to-Ground Combat Results Table (21.46). CSWS strikes may interdict FSH and Supply paths. CSWS may conduct Persistent Chemical Strikes in the manner of the WP SSM units within the range constraints above. Only the target hex is affected by non-chemical attacks, with the exception that CSWS/Corps HQís are now capable of nuclear strikes as well. CSWS targets need not be reconned in any fashion; the RPVís (Remotely Piloted Vehicles) are organic to the system.

Satellite Recon

During GTís 1 through 6, both players may roll one die when desiring to target aircraft. If the die roll is greater than the GT number, then all targets desired during that entire GT are automatically successfully reconned. After GT-6, NATO may attempt satellite recon each turn by rolling a 6 with one die; the WP is successful on a 5 or 6. Satellite recon is not affected by Bad Weather (since the satís carry imaging radar or IR).

This rule is intended to reflect both the capability of satellites to acquire tactical targets on a realtime basis, and the fact that the US and USSR have anti-satellite capabilities. Since the Soviets can launch roughly three to four times the number of satís as the US, they are given an edge in effectiveness.

Tactical Directed Energy Weapons

US and Soviet A, B, and C class flak are considered to be laser augmented. During fair weather turns, two is subtracted from all flak die rolls where augmented units are concerned. During bad weather GTís, laser-augmentation has no effect.

An Option: Allow the same capability to British units (They claim to have an X-Ray Laser that they are proud of.) Note that all non-D class units are considered to be augmented in each force, not merely the mobile flak assets.

Stealth Aircraft

Beginning in 1987, the US plans to have tactical stealth system aircraft operational. Prior to that time, it is reasonable to assume that the US possesses a limited capability to field stealth system aircraft and missiles. Stealth squadrons will be deployed in lieu of recon and/or strike aircraft. The units are S-12-5/S-6-3ís. They may be based at any single US airbase. They have a range of 45 hexes and are considered all-weather. Stealth squadrons may conduct both recon and strikes at the same time (i.e., they can recon for their own strike). They can only be fired upon by flak units in the same hex when conducting strikes. When reconning, they may not be fired upon. Stealth aircraft subtract fire from flak die rolls fired against them; mixed groups are dealt with normally, except that losses are taken from stealth squadrons last. Any number of stealth aircraft may attempt suppression without having any effect on the die roll.

In scenarios that are considered to start prior to 1983, one stealth squadron arrives on GT 16; from 1983-85, one each on GTís 6 and 16; for 1986-87, one each on GTís 3, 6 and 16. For 1988-90, a full 10% of all US combat aircraft will utilize stealth systems; thus, two stealth squadrons are in place instead of two recon squadrons at start; two arrive on GT 3 instead of recon squadrons; two arrive on GT 4 in place of F-4ís (or their F-16 replacements); 1 arrives on GT 5 and GT 6 in place of low-rated bombers units; and one arrives on GT 15 in place of Harriers (whenever they actually do arrive): for a total of eight squadrons.

RACO (Rear Area Combat Operations). Special Forces/Commando/ Reydoviki units may operate without supply. Special Forces type units (both NATO and WP) are considered battalion-sized units and may be sub-divided into three company-sized units and a parent unit that operates at company strength. For each company deployed from a parent unit, a strength counter beneath reflects the number removed (a battalion with a 3 beneath operates at company strength).

SF units may operate in either Hide or Active mode. Units in Hide mode are removed from the map and have their location and movements recorded in secret. Hide mode units may not be molested in any way by the opposing player. NATO SF units move as leg infantry within non-WP national territory, and they have a Movement Allowance of 5 within the on-map WP national territories. WP SF units have a Movement Allowance of 10 within WP or conquered NATO territory, and 5 in the NATO rear.

 Hide mode units may not enter hexes occupied by, or controlled by, hostile units or their ZOC, and they may leave ZOCís. Units may change mode during the SF phase. Units changing to Active mode may conduct SF assaults, skipping the vertical assault table, or may interdict supply lines. Supply lines and paths traced within two hexes of a company-sized SF unit in Active mode are considered to be traced over clear terrain. HQ units within the two-hex range have their supply range halved (5 MP for WP, 10 MP for NATO). The presence of companies is cumulative: two companies double the terrain cost and quarter range. A full battalion or equivalent (four companies) choke off an FSH path, quadruple terrain costs, choke out a WP HQ to zero range, and reduce a NATO HQ to two MP range. Active mode companies and battalions may opt to retreat if attacked strictly by ground units, although they may not retreat into hostile ZOCís. Air units may not be used against SF units in urban or city hexes.

Airpower Sustainment

NATO. According to an authoritative industry source, the USAF maintains adequate stocks of spares for peacetime requirements, but the equivalent of only 10 to 20 days of wartime needs, so....

The repair capacity of NATO airfields remains normal until GT 6 when it falls to two damaged steps per GT. On GT 10, the repair capacity falls to one and remains there until GT 31 (beyond even the campaign game), when it rises to two again, and goes to 3 on GT 46 (M+92).

Re-Organizing Squadrons. Half-Strength air units that are undamaged and operating from undamaged fields may be withdrawn from the map for reorganization. Fields from which the units are withdrawn must be in fully general supply. Two squadrons must be of the same type and nationality. F.R.G. and Danish units must remain off-map for 12 GTís. All other nationalities remain off-map for 6 GTís and return as if they were normal reinforcing units. Helicopter units may re-organize as well.

Engineer Capabilities

In place of the existing Repair-Point Schedule (34.3), which allows all 15 NATO points to be used in Italy during one GT and all in Denmark the following turn (two days real time), engineer capability is tied to the units themselves: US and F.R.G. Corps HQ units possess two engineer points each that they may empty within 10 Movement Points (calculated at road mode). All other NATO Corps and Army HQís possess one EP (engineer point). All divisions C both NATO and WP C possess 2EP that they may employ within their ZOC if they are not changing mode in the same GT. WP HQís possess one EP, employable within 5 MP; RR regiments that do not move during the GT possess three EPís employable, within 10 MP. The WP player also possesses an intrinsic three EP useable within any WP nation, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Poland.

When divisions are broken down, the engineer capability is presumed to remain with the division-base. Use of EPís requires that the unit concerned be in General Supply. EPís from different units may be added together to accomplish a task.

MOVES nr. 54, Dec-Jan 1981