Alan R. Arvold



   Red Star/White Star was a game about modern tactical armored warfare in the mid 1970’s. Already obsolete when it was released in 1972, it still proved to be a popular game for its time. Its most damning feature was that it showed a 1970’s US Army going up against the Soviet Army of the 1960’s. This was due to the lack of more up to date information provided to the designer, James Dunnigan, by the US Army. Variant articles, both those published in magazines and those posted on the Internet, have brought the Soviet Army up to 1970’s standards. But what about going in the other direction? In other words, pitting a 1960’s Soviet Army against a 1960’s US Army. I found this to be a fascinating idea and thus was born this article.


   Besides using the main game, this variant uses the rules and units from the variant articles in Moves #12 and my variant article, Updated Red Star/White Star, which is posted on





   Why 1965? Why not some other year in the Sixties? Well I chose 1965 because I believe that this was the year that both armies would have given their most credible performances in that decade. Both armies had their problems in the last half of that decade that would have precluded them from performing adequately in combat or even going to combat at all.


   The US Army in Europe (USAREUR) was a very powerful force in 1965. With five and one third divisions in Germany it presented a serious obstacle to any Soviet advance across it. However in 1965 the war in Viet Nam escalated and American involvement in it started to grow. Starting in 1966 the Army started to use USAREUR as a manpower pool to replace casualties in Viet Nam, especially in the critical junior officer ranks and all of the NCO ranks. Also fewer personnel were being rotated to Europe for their overseas assignments as Viet Nam became the main overseas assignment. And even those who did make it over to Europe had no guarantee of completing their assignments as the Army would frequently transfer people directly from Europe to Viet Nam during their last year overseas. As a result, the manpower strength of the various combat units started to go down until about 1970 when many units only had 50-60% of the number of people that they were suppose to have. Not only was manpower a problem, there was also the problem of keeping the equipment and vehicles ready to go. In the second half of the Sixties, Viet Nam consumed most of the money allocated for overseas units in the Army. Thus in Europe, money for replacement parts dried up and spare parts were difficult, if not impossible, to find. Thus vehicles started to go down and stay down due to lack of parts. Things got so bad that by 1970, many units had to put a third of their vehicles into administrative storage due to lack of parts and the lack of people to crew them. To make a long story short, the combat quality of USAREUR went down in the latter part of the Sixties and stayed down until about 1972 when the waning of the Viet Nam War caused the Army to reallocate its resources and USAREUR started to receive priority status again. During this period, few people in USAREUR had any confidence that they would win a war if the Russians came storming across the border, though they would give the best combat performance that they could, given the circumstances. The Soviets were well aware of this situation and one would think that the late Sixties would have been the perfect time to attack with the best chances of winning. However, the Russian Army was not without problems of its own during this time.


   The Russian Army in 1965 was the most powerful army in the world, at least on paper. In Eastern Europe all of its units were at full strength and over 90% of its vehicles and equipment were ready to go. However it was within its command structure that the problems were. Since the Second World War and especially under Premier Khrushchev, the Army had become a growing political force in the Soviet government. The Communist Party in Russia did not like this and when Khrushchev was deposed in 1964, started to take steps to curb the Army’s power and bring it back under Party control. Among these measures was that political officers in the Army units regained the almost all the power that they had as commissars in early Soviet history, up to the early days of the Second World War. This meant that they were almost equal with the unit commanders and their signatures were required to make every order valid. Because of this, what little initiative existed in the Soviet Army, especially in the upper command levels, virtually disappeared for fear of the commanders losing their jobs if something went wrong with their commands. Perhaps the best example of this was the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. While it was a masterpiece of planning and execution, it was a logistical disaster. The Army’s solution to this would have been to study the problem and implement changes in their logistical system to correct them. However with the Party in charge, what was done was that commanders of units which failed in their missions were relieved of duty and cashiered from the Army only to be replaced by officers who were more politically reliable and who would try to make the old system work rather than fix it. To make a long story short the Party, which relied on the Army to do its job, simply did not trust it to do so and so would not commit to an invasion of the West at this time. Still one would think that the shear size of the Army in Eastern Europe would still give it a good chance of victory, despite these problems with the Party. However in 1969, small unit clashes along the Sino-Soviet border forced the Soviets to reinforce their units along there and they did this by using their forces in Europe as a trained manpower pool from which to transfer troops and officers to the East, much the same as the US Army was doing with USAREUR. Thus the Soviets literally threw away what was their best chance of winning a war with the West. Starting in the early 1970s, the Army started to take back control of itself from the Party, but it was a long slow process and it was not until the invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 that the Party finally let the Army correct its problems on its own again without Party interference.


   Thus as one can see, 1965 was the last year for both sides to give their best performance during that time and thus, the reason why I chose this year to set this variant in.



New Units


   The following new units are stand alone units. Dismounted and APC units will presented later in this section.


American: 106mm Recoilless Rifle Platoon 15-AP-4-2-6

                  MGM-242 ENTAC/Jeep Squad (40)-AP-7-1-6

                  M-41 Light Tank Platoon 10-AP-5-[7]-6

                  M-103 Heavy Tank Platoon 20-AP-10-[14]-6

                  ARCv Section 10-MX-8-[7]-6

                  M-114 Squad (MG Armed) 1-LG-2-[4]-6

                  AH/MG (Huey) 10-LG-2- -60

                  AH/RK (Huey) 30-HE-8- -60


West German: M-48 Medium Tank Platoon 15-AP-8-[12]-6

                        HS-30 SPATGM (40)-AP-10(2)-[4]-6


Russian: ASU-57 Company 5-AP-3-[5]-6

               Mechanized Rifle Company 20-LG-2-[9]-6

               Mechanized Rifle Battalion 60-LG-2-[27]-6

               Motorized Rifle Company 20-LG-2-[9]-6

               Motorized Rifle Battalion 60-LG-2-[27]-6


Notes on Units: The American 106mm Recoilless Rifle Platoon contains six M-40 106mm Recoilless Rifles mounted on Jeeps. The MGM-242 ENTAC/Jeep Squad is an N-242 ENTAC ATGM mounted on a Jeep. The M-41 is the old “Walker Bulldog” light tank in its last years of service in the US Army. It would be replaced by the M-551 Sheridan by the end of the Sixties. The M-103 is the US Army’s only heavy tank that it ever had in service. At the time it was being slowly removed from Army service and there was only a battalion of them in Europe in 1965. The ARCv section has the same composition as the regular one except that the M-41’s replaced the Sheridans. The M-114 is the machine gun armed version, mounting a .50 cal machine gun (the 20mm armed version would not come out until the late Sixties). The two attack helicopter units are based on the Huey helicopter as the Cobra helicopter had not come out yet. The German M-48 platoon is five US M-48A1 tanks in German service. The German HS-30 SPATGM is the self-propelled SS-11 ATGM mounted on a variant of the German SPZ 12-3 APC (also known and the HS-30). It contains one vehicle. The Russian ASU-57 is the self-propelled 57mm gun used by the Russian Airborne Forces at the time.





   As I mentioned before, this variant uses the new rules from my previous article “Updated Red Star/White Star”. However there are a few changes to some of them to keep in context with the year 1965 and so I list them here.





   While the Soviets did have helicopters in their army in 1965, they did not have an airmobile doctrine and so would not use helicopters in front line combat. Thus in 1965 the Soviets do not have any helicopter units in any scenario. Thus there will not be any American air defense units used in the scenarios either.





   In 1965 the following counters are used for West German and Soviet mechanized and motorized infantry units.


West German

Panzergrenadier Platoon (10-MX-3-[5]-6) = SPZ 12-3 APC (5-MX-3-[5]-6) +

Dismounted Panzergrenadier Platoon (10-LG-2-5-1)

Panzergrenadier Company (30-MX-3-[18]-6) = SPZ 12-3 APC (15-MX-3-[18]-6) +

Dismounted Panzergrenadier Company 30-LG-2-18-1)



Mechanized Rifle Company (20-LG-2-[9]-6) = BTR-50PA APC (10-LG-2-[9]-6) +

Dismounted Rifle Company (20-LG-2-9-1)

Mechanized Rifle Battalion (60-LG-2-[27]-6) + BTR-50PA APC (30-LG-2-[27]-6) +

Dismounted Rifle Battalion (60-LG-2-27-1)

Motorized Rifle Company (20-LG-2-[9]-6) = BTR-60PA APC (10-LG-2-[9]-6) +

Dismounted Rifle Company (20-LG-2-9-1)

Motorized Rifle Battalion (60-LG-2-[27]-1) = BTR-60PA APC (30-LG-2-[27]-6) +

Dismounted Rifle Battalion (60-LG-2-27-1)

Motorized Engineer Platoon (6-LG-2-[3]-1) = BTR-60PA APC (3-LG-2-[3]-6)

Dismounted Engineer Platoon (6-LG-2-3-1)


   The West German SPZ 12-3 APC was a new armored personnel carrier introduced the year before in the West German Army. It had a 20mm cannon in a turret on top of the hull. The Russian BTR-50PA and the BTR-60PA both dated from the 1950’s. Both vehicles were fully enclosed and mounted a machine gun (either 7.62mm or 12.7mm) on top of the vehicle. The BTR-60PB, with the turret mounted 14.5mm cannon, would not be in service until the following year.





   No combat units, on either side, had an inherent ATGM capability in 1965. The standard ATGM units at the time were the US MGM-32 ATGM and Russian BRDM-A with the AT-1 Snapper ATGM. Both of these were First Generation ATGM’s, hence their identical attack factors of (40). The West Germans were using the HS-30 self-propelled ATGM carrier which carried SS-11 ATGMs.





   During Rain and Falling Snow conditions, Soviet Airstrikes may not be used. (Soviet aircraft were not all-weather capable at this time.)



Formations and Organizations


As mentioned in my earlier article, the formations and organizations in the original Red Star/White Star were badly flawed and outdated. One would think that in 1965 they were still being used, but ironically, some of those organizations were from the Fifties, badly outdated even in the mid-Sixties. Thus the following are appropriate US, West German, and Russian formations from about 1965.


United States

Armored Battalion: 9 M60A1, 4 M114 (MG), 1 M106

Tank Company: 3 M60A1

Combat Support Company: 4 M114 (MG), 1 M106


Mechanized Infantry Battalion: 9 Mech Inf, 1 106mm RR/Jeep, 3 M125, 1 M106,

                                                   4 MGM-242 ENTAC/Jeep, 4 M114 (MG)

Mechanized Infantry Company: 3 Mech Inf, 1 M125

Combat Support Company: 1 106mm RR/Jeep, 4 MGM-242 ENTAC/Jeep, 4 M114,

                                             1 M106


Airmobile Infantry Battalion: 9 Air Inf, 3 81mm Mortar, 1 107mm Mortar, 3 Scout Inf,

                                                1 106mm RR/Jeep, 4 MGM-242 ENTAC/Jeep

Airmobile Infantry Company: 3 Air Inf, 1 81mm Mortar

Airmobile Combat Support Company: 1 106mm RR/Jeep, 4 MGM-242 ENTAC/Jeep,

                                                               3 Scout Inf, 1 107mm Mortar


Armored Cavalry Squadron: 9 ARCv (65), 18 M114 (MG), 3 M41, 1 Air Inf,

                                              2 Huey Helicopters, 2 Observation Helicopters

Armored Cavalry Troop: 3 ARCv (65), 6 M114 (MG)

Armored Troop: 3 M41

Air Cavalry Troop: 1 Air Inf, 2 Huey Helicopters, 2 Observation Helicopters


Tank Heavy Task Force: 6 M60A1, 3 Mech Inf, 1 M125, 1 M106, 4 M114 (MG)

Mech Heavy Task Force: 6 Mech Inf, 3 M60A1, 2 M125, 1 M106, 1 106mm RR/Jeep,

                                          4 MGM-242 ENTAC/Jeep, 4 M114 (MG)

Combined Arms Task Force: 6 M60A1, 6 Mech Inf, 2 M125, 1 M106, 4 M114 (MG),

                                               1 106mm RR/Jeep, 4 MGM-242 ENTAC/Jeep

Tank Heavy Team: 2 M60A1, 1 Mech Inf

Mech Heavy Team: 2 Mech Inf, 1 M60A1, 1 M125


Heavy Tank Company: 3 M103


Light Artillery Battery: 3 105mm

Medium Artillery Battery: 3 M-109

Heavy Artillery Battery: 3 M-110

Long Range Artillery Battery: 3 M-107


Notes: The ARCv (65) and the M114 (MG) units lists are the ones presented in this article, not the ones that come with the game. The M-103 heavy tank was being phased out of Europe during this time. In 1960 there were four battalions of them in Europe, in 1965 there was only one left and it was an enlarged one with four heavy tank companies. The heavy tank battalion was largely an administrative organization, it would never have fought as a unit. Instead the companies were parceled out to critical sectors, so one would never see more than one company in one area.


West German


Panzer Battalion: 9 M-48 or Leopard 1, 2 M106

Panzergrenadier Battalion: 9 Mech Inf, 2 M125, 2 M106, 2 106mm RR/Jeep,

                                            4 HS-30 SPATGM


Notes: In 1965 the M-48 was the main battle tank in the West German forces. The Leopard 1 was just coming into service and only a few battalions had it. In the 1965 use the Leopard counter that comes with the game, not the corrected one from later variants. (The original production model of the Leopard tank only had the stereoscopic range finder installed, thus the Range Factor of 8.)




Tank Regiment: 9 T-62 or T-55, 1 SU-57 AA, 2 PT-76, 4 BTR-40

Mechanized Rifle Regiment: 9 Mech Inf, 3 82mm Mortars, 3 14.5mm AA,

                                               3 107mm RR, 1 120mm Mortar, 1 85mm ATG,

                                               4 BRDM(A), 3 T-55, 1 SU-57 AA,  2 PT-76, 4 BTR-40

Mechanized Rifle Battalion: 3 Mech Inf, 1 82mm Mortar, 1 14.5mm AA, 1 107mm RR

Motorized Rifle Regiment: 9 Mot Inf, 3 82mm Mortars, 3 14.5mm AA, 3 107mm RR,

                                            1 120mm Mortar, 1 85mm ATG, 4 BRDM(A), 3 T-55,

                                            2 PT-76, 4 BTR-40

Motorized Rifle Battalion: 3 Mot Inf, 1 82mm Mortar, 1 14.5mm AA, 1 107mm RR

Airborne Rifle Regiment: 9 Para Inf, 3 107mm RR, 3 14.5mm AA, 3 82mm Mortars,

                                          1 120mm Mortar, 1 85mm ATG

Recon Battalion: 1 T-55, 3 PT-76, 4 BTR-40, 6 Motorcycles

Heavy Tank Battalion: 3 T-10

Heavy Self-Propelled Artillery Battalion: 3 JSU-152

Anti-Tank Battalion (Towed): 3 100mm ATG

Airborne Anti-Tank Battalion: 3 ASU-57

Heavy Mortar Battalion: 3 160mm Mortars

Siege Mortar Battalion: 3 240mm Mortars

Medium Artillery Battalion: 3 122mm Howitzer

Heavy Artillery Battalion: 3 152mm Howitzer

Long Range Artillery Battalion: 3 130mm Gun

Medium Rocket Battalion: 3 140mm Rocket

Heavy Rocket Battalion: 3 200mm Rocket

Super Heavy Rocket Battalion: 3 240mm Rocket


Notes: The T-62 was a new tank at the time. Only one T-62 tank regiment was in each tank division and none were in the motorized rifle division. The rest of the tank regiments were T-55. When using the T-55, only use those counters with a range factor of 4. (The T-55 did not get new sights which up the range factor to 5 until the late Sixties.) The T-10 Heavy Tank was kept in independent battalions, usually under Army control. They were parceled out the divisions for specific missions. The mechanized rifle regiment was only found in the tank divisions. The motorized rifle regiments were only found in the motorized rifle divisions. Note that in 1965, just about all of the original Soviet counters that come in the game are used.



Scenario Corrections


The following corrections are to be made to the scenarios. This article assumes that the modified scenarios from MOVES #12 are being used. This section will list the changes to the additional supporting forces. The basic formation (battalions and regiments), all of which will have to be replaced, can be modified by simply replacing them with the ones listed in the above sections in this article and so listing them here in each scenario would be redundant. Exception: Some Soviet regimental changes will have to be listed to account for the mechanized rifle and T-55 tank regiments.


Scenario #1 – Russian Tank Regiment is a T-62 one. Replace the Russian Motorized

                       Rifle Battalion with a Mechanized Rifle Battalion.


Scenario #2 – Russian Tank Regiment is a T-62 one. Replace the Russian Motorized

                       Rifle battalion with a Mechanized Rifle Battalion.


Scenario #3 – West German additional forces consist of two M-48 and four HS-30

                        SPATGM units.


Scenario #4 – American additional forces should have three Huey gunships, not three

                       Cobra. Russian additional forces should have three T-10 companies, not

                       three T-62.


Scenario #5 – American additional forces should have five Huey gunships, not five

                       Cobra. Russian additional forces should have three T-10 companies, not

                       three T-62.


Scenario #6 – American initial forces should have twelve MGM-242 ENTAC/Jeep units,

                       not twelve Jeep/OTOW. One of the Russian tank regiments should a T-55

                       one. Both Russian motorized rifle battalions should be mechanized rifle



Scenario #7 – The Russian tank regiment should be a T-55 one, not a T-62.


Scenario #8 – The Russian tank regiment should be a T-55 one, not a T-62.


Scenario #9 – American additional forces should have two Huey gunships, not two



Scenario #10 – American additional forces should have six Huey gunships, not six

                         Cobra.  The Russian motorized rifle regiment should be a mechanized

                         rifle regiment.


Scenario #11 – In the US initial forces, both tank battalions should be M60A1 types. In

                         the US additional forces delete the two M163 and instead substitute with

                         three M103. In the Russian initial forces one of the tank regiments should

                         be a T-55 one. In the Russian additional forces delete the six Mi-8 Hip

                         Helicopter units and replace them with thee T-10 units.


Scenario #12 - In the West German initial forces, the panzer battalion is equipped with

                         Leopard tanks. In the additional forces delete the two JPZ and six

                         OTOW/APC and replace them with two M-48 and six HS-30 SPATGM.

                         In the Russian additional forces delete the two ZSU-23-4 and replace

                         them with two ZSU-57-2.


Scenario #13 – In the American additional forces delete the two M163 and replace them

                         with two MGM-242 ENTAC/Jeep. In the Russian Additional forces

                         delete the three ASU-85, one 23mm MG, and 6 Mi-8 Hip Helicopters and

                         replace them with three ASU-57, one 14.5mm MG, and six Airstrikes.





This concludes my variant article for Red Star/White Star 1965. I hope that players enjoy this interesting variant and that it gives the old game a new lease on life.