Firstly, I would like to share a link to an interview that was done with the team at Strategy & Wargaming. Link: Interview Link
I believe that a lot of the questions and answers from this piece will give you all further insight into both our ethos and plans. Thanks to Nuno Marques for his publishing this article.
As the header of this blog states, we are making available some additional content for the largest Modern Campaigns title, Danube Front ’85. When Modern Campaigns was updated in 2019 to ‘Gold’ standard, the very popular ‘Bolt out of the Blue’ mod was included. This mod by ‘Tazaaron’ had become a definitive version of a 1985 ‘Next War’. The version of the mod included in 2019 was 5.3, the most recent at that time.
With the pending move of the Modern Campaign titles to WDS, we approached Tazaaron and asked him if he wanted to update the mod for inclusion in the latest versions. By coincidence, he had been working on a reimagining of the situation and aligned with his efforts we provided some additional resources, resulting in The Bolt out of the Blue version 10.0.
Unfortunately, when it came to the crunch of the WDS launch, all the art assets for the mod were not ready, so we pulled this new scenario from the build. We are now at a point where it can be released. This version is currently a beta version, and we plan to collect feedback from the community to improve the scenario as required. We expect to have a feedback post in the Tiller Operational Campaigns Forum at the Blitz Wargaming Club here: Beta Feedback Thread
The changes are extensive and includes areas that will be retrofitted at some point into existing Danube Front scenarios such as the inclusion of the new ‘full’ map. You can see in the below image how the unmapped areas have been added and this has allowed Tazaaron to expand his base scenario.
The briefing for the scenario is as follows:
Date: June 10th, 1989 - Size: Huge - Location: Central Europe
NATO Sigint stations have picked up a high volume of communications between WP units and Moscow. Shortly after satellites are seeing increase Warsaw Pact military movements everywhere, in the west Pact forces were seen fueling military vehicles, on the Kola Peninsula they could see Soviet subs leaving port and there was still no word from the Soviet government, could this be it. Within 24 hours of these reports NATO governments have ordered their militaries to start mobilizing and soon reports were coming out of Moscow that Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev was assassinated 2 days prior by hard-line communists inside the military and government. NATO leaders had called a high-level meeting to discuss the situation when reports started coming in of WP forces seen leaving their bases and heading West towards the inter-German border, then the loss of communications with West Berlin, the last communication saying artillery was landing on their positions. Next scattered reports of West German border troops skirmishing with their WP counterparts before losing comms with some of them. With NATO forces just starting to deploy to their positions and the first American reinforcements loading up at US airfields the attack started with a massive cruise missile attack from Soviet long range bombers and surface to surface missiles, the target NATO airfields, it was followed shortly after by waves of Pact aircraft, this is when NATO commanders realized their worst case scenario had come true, the Soviets have initiated THE BOLT OUT OF THE BLUE..........
Off Map Design note: SGF is attacking Austria off map from turn one, so Austria is at war as of first turn. Plan accordingly.
Following is the changelog list from Tazaaron that will highlight the scope of this new beta version:
- Expanded Map: Yes, the map is bigger. I always wanted to build Bolt a different way but didn’t feel I had what was needed to make it happen. Well, now I do, and you can thank David for it. Plausibility will never be questioned again; units will start from their bases on both sides with a variable release of normally 25%. So, no 2 games will be alike, reliability is everywhere, the players will have lots of freedom to do whatever they want.
- Visibility reduced to Min-2 Max-4 for every day.
- More variable weather- after the 1st day 70% chance normal conditions, 30% soft. After the 2nd day same but add 10% chance of storms. Germany in June rains about 33% of the time, I'm using soft conditions to represent a light rain and thunderstorms of course the heavy stuff.
- Removed the NATO Italian airdrop.
- Removed the small chance of Polish troops withdrawing.
- Raised terrain combat modifiers 10% for village, town, city, industrial.
- Raised Electronic War Parameter of NATO from 10 to 14 and WP 3 to 12.
- Changed Night move disruption from 30 to 12.
- Whatever quality Recon units were before now they are 1 step higher.
- Added some French strike aircraft.
- All Recon units have 33% more movement.
- New replacement value in the PDT - set to 0 for both sides. I already have replacements built into the OOB.
- Reworked all Supply Depots, almost all are on map edge so farther away you are the less supply there is. Starting the 17th, the WP will start losing 1% supply each day to help show results from off map Interdiction on roadways, bridges etc. NATO will also start losing 1% each day starting the 17th to show loss of infrastructure and reliance on supplies from the US mainland.
- Adjusted some HQ command ranges down, with the extra ECM HQs with long range were getting hammered.
- Redid all Recon units in the OOB, for the most part no more small recon units. I think now is a good simulation of what they provide. For example, the WP divisional recon Bn’s are now merged as a Bn, so they have on average 32 vehicles, then I added the 4 regiments recon units into another recon unit of 28-38. And with WP divisional command range being 12 I think these 2 bigger units represent divisional recon well not to mention its more survivable bigger and Recon spotting is better; all goes along with the adjusted Recon Spotting Rule.
- French OOB got a little remodel.
- Belgium OOB got a tiny remodel.
- Company's and merging are back, most KGs are removed unless it’s a company size unit that doesn't merge with anything then it remained KG. There's higher fatigue recovery in the scenario and I see this as a better method of getting around the 3x rule, so we are able to merge units again.
- Attack helo's are now off map like Aircraft. No more blocking movement, flying all over map, using every turn, will now always face AAA/SAMS, interdiction and so on.
- Austria OOB got a remodel, more Austria now, had to reorganize.
- Rhine, Elbe, and Danube River parts that are on the map are all between 300-500 meters and since Danube is a full hex so should all 3. And yes, they weren't 1 mile but for game play and to show a difference between these major rivers and regular rivers on map this is the only way. This is one thing I wanted standardized.
- Bolt turns are shorter than Vanilla and bridge build was overlooked so this has been lowered to 66 from 85. I wanted something that still made it most likely to happen but had more variability to it so you couldn't depend on it happening every time and with turns being shorter anyways it made sense.
- Pontoon bridge takes 2 turns to build now instead of 3.
- Streams are not really all streams per say on the map, more like minor rivers, with that said to move across stream in Bolt was lower than Vanilla, that is now changed. To move across streams will now cost more MPs. The cost is comparable to vanilla.
- Made some ease of life changes to the OOB. Some of these NATO reserve companies inside active Bn’s I've made changes. For example, the Dutch had 2 B morale and 1 C, I just made it them all B, as it doesn't really affect much. German M-113 company's, I took the 2 in each Brigade and moved it into the split Bn with tanks and took the 2 Marder companies in the mixed tank Bn and put in the Mech Bn’s those forming a full unit to combine. Works great and still simulates what was in the unit, there's others but you get the idea.
- Turn 1 is at 1am so attachments are possible, and I've gone through who can get attached to who. Except for the Strategy on turn 1 on where you want the NVA 1st MOT division I felt East German, Polish, Czech, and French units shouldn't be able to attach or be attached to any more than what the start of game gives you. Make sure at game start to adjust for whatever your strategy is, if you want 30 Soviet divisions in OpDirRuhr and 1 in OpDirLux then go ahead and any Strategy's involving different command HQs are on the 0100 hour so you can make the proper attachment at the same time so don't forget.
- You will notice few Strategies, that is because the design of the start is a strategy in its own. It’s all in your head. The Strategy's that are in you will notice duplicates on multiple nights in a row, this is to help you, I have no idea where the combat will be on a certain day in the game, so I have provided a defensive option and many offensive ones that take place on multiple days to help in timing of attacks.
- Increased WP Air Drop loss rate to 100 from 70. What this means is before it would take up to 34% losses in clear terrain, now its 40%.
- AI, AI, AI, and more AI. So much AI I broke the editor, still not as good as another person of course but I hope someone finds it fun enough to play against. Attack is a little easier than defense but either way how do you plan a defense or attack 80 turns in? Where is everyone? At least Offense is always pushing forward, but I am happy both ways, honestly think it came out better than I thought it would. I have planned out the AI from 1st turn till last so unless your absolutely sure you will win you might want it to play out.
We hope you will enjoy this new scenario as it is a fascinating situation, here are a few screenshots from version 10.0
You can download the Beta scenario from here: The Bolt out of the Blue 10.0 Beta
This is a zip file, just unzip into your Modern Campaigns - Danube Front '85 directory.
The product page for Modern Campaigns - Danube Front is here: Modern Campaigns - Danube Front '85 Product Page