Sunday, August 16, 2020

Hidden project - Revisiting Harad

Several years ago a friend started up an 'imagi-nations' project built around the crumbling empire of Harad - modelled upon Iran, c.1980, imagined as a vast Middle Eastern imperium stretching from Pakistan to the Mediterranean coast. This friend, whom I tend to think of as 'Evil Uncle Brian' (from his former email address, I think), is the sometime author of 'A Fistful of Plastic' blog spot, and originator of the Harad group on Facebook. Neither gets much traffic these days.  Pity. 

Third Motorised (Mixed) Battalion (Regiment).  Three rifle truck-mounted
companies, and a squadron of Centurion MBTs. The Hummer command vehicle
 is a little anachronistic: too bad.

His invitation to join in I resisted for a considerable time, being finally persuaded by the look of some of his battles. We did play out one interesting scenario, back in 2012, I think (entirely his gear), but otherwise not a lot happened except that I received a fair bit of kit - quite a lot, actually - that I'd like to think was surplus to Brian's requirements. The unfortunate part was that Brian got a dream job up north, he left town, and so the project went for some time into limbo. But not before I drew up a map of the Middle East (Baluchistan, Medifluvia and the Mesogesian coast), and created my own country the Nawabate of Tchagai.  The Nabob (Nawab) as Head of State was Brian's idea.  I called him Yeswih Khan, son of Maibiwih Khan.  Thank you, President Barack Obama!

Harad Empire c.1980.


I still poked around with it from time to time, and went into a little 'back-history' with the Developing the Portable Wargame campaign 'Long Live the Revolution', which series of postings I began late last year.  

Third Motorised Regiment.  Behind it is a Army/ Division/ Brigade command 
vehicle created by finding some running gear for the trackless hull.  The 
logistics element is a container on a flat-bed lorry.

But it was Tim Gow's Little Cold Wars that gave me a certain impetus to develop the Nawab's army.  The organisation lists therein suited me better than the Command Decision type lists, which called for a heck of a lot more vehicles. However, I went for the 'CD' 'look' for the organisations overall. So here are 5 rifle battalions - mechanised, motorised and 'leg' - and a reconnaissance battalion, still a work in progress, but gradually getting somewhere.
Second Mechanised Infantry Regiment, in their distinctive flecked uniform:
4 Rifle companies, a mortar platoon, and some sort of missile-launching APC in the rear.
 'D' Company is mounted on an old Alvis 'Stalwart' vehicle.  I have no idea what the other things are.

Another view of 2nd Mechanised Infantry.

As you can see, this unit is still WIP.

This is the elite 1st (Mixed) Mechanised Regiment, the 'Blue Berets': 3 Rifle coys with 3 platoons and a RPG team,and 1 rifle coy with 4 platoons; plus a powerful squadron of Leopard I MBTs,
and an HQ element of  mortar and 2 sniper teams.  I have no idea what the APCs are.


It seems that one of the Leopards has night vision gear.

Here is 51st Reconnaissance Battalion: 3 Recon rifle coys mounted in Saracen APCs, and a 
mixed armoured car squadron of Saladin and some 8-rad German thing.  The battalion command 
vehicle I suspect is another anachronistic toy.



Two 'leg' regiments, 4th and 5th Infantry, each comprising 4 rifle companies.  They could probably 
use at least 1 LAW, TOW or Sagger AT team, and 1 mortar platoon as well.  


Now, all I need is to develop an enemy - possibly from among the Nimruz hill tribes, if not Harad itself.  Maybe that is what will become of the 6th, 7th and 8th battalions (not pictured), a cadre of soldiery for an enemy supported by the CCCP (Collective Cooperative Confederation of Peoples).

26 comments:

  1. Your APCs while clearly toys, are I think a fair representation of the French VAB:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Véhicule_de_l%27Avant_Blindé#:~:text=The%20Véhicule%20de%20l%27avant%20blindé%20or%20VAB%20%28"Armoured,Army%20and%20has%20also%20been%20exported%20to%20more

    The command vehicle is either a toy version of the the US MRAP (picture in the article above clearly taken from your armies manoeuvres).

    The modern period is great for Imagi-Nations; Africa, Latin America and the former USSR being particularly attractive as people generally have no idea of what the real countries in these areas use.
    Neil

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  2. Actually looking at the pictures again I think you also have some Roco Minitanks Fuchs (Fox) Bundeswehr APCs with the Leopards.

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    1. Thanks for your info, Neil. Seems that the Nawab is pretty eclectic in his military purchases! But I'm glad the APCs are generally fairly representative of the time period this purports to be. I have some long-gun Stryker vehicles that I would like to add to some unit or other - probably the recon battalion, but they stem from a much later time (2002+).

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    2. I initially wondered if the "command vehicle" in the reconstruction btn was a French VBL which is why it says "either".
      The Nawab's eclectic purchases are in keeping with the real world. Non-aligned countries are often courted by the arms dealers of several nations. Iran operated a mix of US, UK and Soviet equipment all bought by the Shah which caused problems after the revolution; spare parts are a nightmare and I recall that Iran had warehouses full of US parts that the U.S. technicians took with them on departure.
      Neil

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    3. First off - You have done a great job with these! I really like the look of the both the desert tan scheme and the green one for the Leopards.

      Neil is correct that some of the not-VABs are TPz Fuchs. The APCs in the 1st (Mixed) Mechanised Regiment, the 'Blue Berets', are SIKU diecast Fuchs APCs. The other similar ones are I believe WZ-551s from a Chinese manufacturer.

      With regard to your "long-gun Stryker vehicles", I would consider that you could fudge them in as the first Mowag Piranha came out in 1972, and some of the various concepts of low recoil mobile gun systems were being considered for both tracked and wheeled platforms in the late 1970s, so it would have some basis in what was possible in the timeframe.

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    4. Cheers, Brian -
      All this feedback is helping a lot. Meanwhile I have some toys that will probably also be something of a fudge: a couple of truck mounted Area Defence SAMs (SA-2s, I imagine), a couple of truck-mounted Quad 23mm AA, and a couple of truck mounted big guns (possibly 85mm, maybe something bigger). That's for another posting. I'll have to gather together the toys I haven't so far mentioned and see what we can make of them.

      The desert tan scheme is actually a thickish grey acrylic, with a fairly liberal sepia wash overall. I rather liked the way they turned out as well. This was after I'd painted up the Leopards, so they'll stay as is.

      Now that I have an army I can work with, the question is what OPFOR to field against them. I have an idea from the WW2 stuff I already have , but it may be something of a mis-match. We'll see.
      Cheers,
      Archduke Piccolo.

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  3. Great looking forces Archduke. The Saracens and Saladin are very nice.

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    1. I admit I owe even more to Tim Gow's LCW than perhaps I let on. Finding the organisation for the Danish army, methought that would be just the thing with the kit I had available.

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  4. I am enjoying reading about your preparations for this modern imagi-nations project, and also trying to guess the make of some of the models.

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    1. Thanks Peter - What now is needed is a plausible enemy to fight. Methinks the region of Nimruz might be acquiring a whole bunch of WW2 upgrades (T34/85s, 152mm artillery, Katyusha rockets, and some other bits and pieces), in order to make good on some claims to some horrible but resources-rich border country.

      I don't think I'll be using the LCW rule set 'as she is writ', but some sort of Portable Wargame version of my own devising. Probably.

      Cheers,
      Archduke Piccolo.

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  5. Archduke Piccolo,

    I am very impressed by what I have seen of the Army of Tchagia. Are there an Air Force and Navy as well? (The thought of some Hawker Hunters and MiG-21s overflying your battlefield flitted across my mind as I read your blog post, and a small destroyer or two would be able to give fire support to any landing craft you might add to your country’s armed forces.)

    All the best,

    Bob

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    1. Food for thought, Bob -
      I do have some toy aircraft, but they are too obviously 'Army Men' type toys. I'll have to think about that one. But you might have discovered for me a use for my 'Narvik Class' destroyer and a minesweeper (Airfix 1:700 scale). I also have a 1:1200? scale 'Prinz Eugen' that isn't getting any use...

      Cheers,
      Archduke Piccolo.

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    1. Hi Grenzer -
      As in Beerand...?
      Cheers,
      Archduke Piccolo.

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  7. A nice looking project Ion, as Bob said some air and possibly naval support would be spiffing.
    Regards,
    Paul.

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    1. Hi Paul -
      Well, then, we might be forced to add a little 'spiff' to the whole project. I'll see what I can conjure up over the next ... little while. I'll be looking at ground attack units, probably.
      Cheers,
      Archduke Piccolo.

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  8. Looking great! I like that many of your units have mixed equipment. I third adding air and naval. Maybe the naval assets can be more fast attack craft and smaller warships like frigates. Bulldogs Away! is a great set of rules for ships of those size.

    --Chris

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    1. Hi Chris -
      The feedback I've been getting here is certainly adding a whole new dimension to this project! I'll have a look into 'Bulldogs Away'. Methinks that maybe my 1:700 scale 'Narvik Class' destroyer and my (British) minesweeper might be vaguely suitable craft for inshore work...
      Cheers,
      Archduke Piccolo

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  9. So let me see we've got some 4x4 and 6x6 variants of the VAB. An M-ATV MRAP vehicle (the large 4x4 jeep like thing). The 8x8 is a German Luchs. While the 6x6 next to it might be a Alvis Saladin, I seem to recall there were a number of strange conversions but it could just be that it's a nondescript toy.

    Sorry had to let my nerdy side run free there and try and pin down all the possibilities. I would probably have to get up close to better identify many of them.

    A good range of kit from a broad time group (much of it still usable even to this day!). I would say that Harad is quite well equipped. But what about the Oliphants? They were quite effective at the battle of Pelanor fields. Surely they still have a place.

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    1. Gowan, I appreciate the input. Neil's hints allowed me to figure out the VAB vehicles, and I did have some idea of some of the others, but you have helped to fill in some of the gaps.

      I have been thinking about some kind of OPFOR for this force, and it's looking like something with a lot of upgraded WW2 stuff, including a couple of battalions of T34/85s.

      I have to say that Tchagai is not really Oliphaunt country, they being more native, I believe, to the jungles of Umbar. Of course I stand to be corrected on this.
      Cheers,
      Archduke Piccolo.

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    2. I saw others give the information above, but I couldn't stop myself from nerding out and saying it all again.

      Regarding Oliphants, I could of course check my Tolkien books once more for their precise location. Though I do believe that they came from far to the South of Harad, so potentially this in not country for them.

      That being said Harad could be home to the Olifant - the South African version of the Centurion MBT.

      OPFOR can always use T-34s! Can't get enough of them. There was some very interesting/questionable conversions of T-34s by the Egyptians. A very interesting project with plenty of potential.

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    3. I have 14 T34s, I think 13 of them are 'doable' as T34/85s. That will give me a couple of battalions. I'd dearly like to add in the IS2s, but I'm not sure of their service life post WW2 (maybe as IS2-M). A couple of ISU152s - yes, I might be on to something.
      Cheers,
      Archduke Piccolo.

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    4. I believe that the IS-2 was knocking around in the reserve of the Soviet army until the 60s when they were passed on to others or into storage.

      I seem to recall that despite obselecence that some of the Soviet heavy tanks did pop up from time to time. I think some 1990s by one of the separatist factions in Georgia (I can't remember the name of all these microstates - South Ossetia?)

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    5. Something to bear in mind, then.

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  10. Replies
    1. Good one! You want to use 'em come Tuesday? I'm good on the German front.

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