CWC Background Reading…

Since I discovered Cold War Commander I’ve been picking up a few books for background reading, both factual and fictional. First stop was to be a revisit to Hackett’s The Third World War (which I read c.1980) and the follow-up Untold Story. These can be a little dry but the premise and detail are good. Shame about Birmingham though…

However in trawling TMP for hints on what to read I was pointed to Howard Coyle’s Team Yankee, a fictional account of a US unit in action against the Soviets using Hackett’s theme as the background. Now, I’ve read a few of Coyle’s other books but only the ones related to the French Indian War (Savage Wilderness) and to the American Civil War (Look Away and Until the End) but never any of his ‘modern’ stuff. Team Yankee was excellent fun and following on from this I managed to get The Ten Thousand.

This is based a few books on from the first where a unified Germany and a diminished but more US friendly Russia exist and the now independent Ukraine has seized nuclear weapons. The US seize these weapons (not entirely successfully as some go off!) and move the remainder to bases in Germany prior to returning them to the States. This is where things get ‘interesting’ as the German Chancellor (an ex-Hitler Youth with a hatred of America after they killed his family in 1945!) seizes the weapons to help Germany resume its place as a great European power. What follows is a quite good account of a US Corps fighting its way up through Germany a la Xenophon (hence the title). I think I’d be slightly offended if I was German as the portrayal of some is a little ‘iffy’ but all in all a good read. I now have the intermediate books waiting to be read, Sword Point, Bright Star and Trial by Fire.

I also have the inevitable Red Storm Rising to re-read. I haven’t read this since I was in India many years ago where I worked my way through all Clancy’s books (as of then). Final on the list is Red Army by Ralph Peters … which looks at a Warsaw Pact attack from the Soviet side. Supposed to be good so looking forward to this.
On a more serious fictional note I’m just about finished with First Clash by Kenneth Mackesy:

which is a rather interesting look at a Canadian Brigade in action defending against a Soviet attack. Lots of good detail if not exactly an exciting read but worth the effort.

The factual stuff is currently restricted to the relevant Ospreys (T-55, 62, 72 80), Leopards 1 and 2 and the BMP book. I’d like Zaloga’s Nato v Warsaw Pact book but that is (like a lot Ospreys) out of print. Also have the Warsaw Pact, US and Soviet army books as well. Isby keeps getting recommended on the Russians but the 1988 edition is still a little pricey for me and not at the moment essential. I have one the generic Inside the Russian Army books which has lots of pretty pictures but not really the detail I need. (Too many to provide links for there!)

I’m sure there are a lot more books on AFVs (Concord series etc.) but there is a limit to how much detail I need on an AFV for 1/300th!

Oh and finally I’m just finishing Simon Pearson’s Total War 2006 which posits a Russian backed Islamic Alliance surging to power across the Middle East and threatening Israel and the West. Not sure how possible it is but the detail (especially on air war aspects as the author is ex-RAF) is good and if I wasn’t firmly entrenched in the 1980s I might give some of the ideas a look as possible scenarios.

So there we are. My current reading matter. Hope it’s of interest. In case you wonder why I’ve got a few nearing the end it’s because I usually have four books on the go at once. Once by the bed, one in bag for bus/work, one in attic toilet and one in main toilet! Means I always have a book to hand!

6 thoughts on “CWC Background Reading…”

  1. Chieftains by Bob Forrest-Webb is very good if you can get hold of it for a reasonable price (long OOP but comes up on eBay periodically).

    There are a number of Coyle books unreleased in the UK, Amazon is your friend and they can be found quite cheaply.

    Finally I recall Vortex by Larry Bond was quite good. Set in South Africa but lots of scenario ideas…

  2. Red Storm Rising is excellent – military technology porn.. :o))

    Thanks for the head up on the Coyle stuff though -I'll keep an eye open..

  3. Chieftains seems to be around but pricey through dealers. The Coyle stuff is often on Amazon for 0.01 plus the 2.75 postage! I hate that system as once I found four books from one dealer and they refused to combine postage! It was going to cost £9 to send 4 paperbacks! Barstewards!

  4. Wow – First Clash we gobbled that up since if the balloon went up that would be us – if NATO lasted long enough….

    Lots of good 80's title you have there.

  5. I remember reading Hackett's book when I was just a kid and being freaked out when he said Dudley was badly damaged from the bomb dropped on Brum. I should have stuck to reading Tolkien.


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