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Old 07-16-2020, 01:42 PM
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Default The 173rd in Romania, a 1.0 Timeline Option

Looking for any advice on fleshing this out!

===
When Romania declared for NATO, allied planners knew they had a brief window in which they might be able to provide advisors and troops to the former PACT country. The most immediate tool at their disposal - the European based 173rd Airborne, which had been reconstituted earlier and was now looking for a home anywhere but Italy.

Romania was a natural fit for a number of reasons. Firstly, the languages were quite similar. Troops that had studied Italian to order beers, pick up girls, and navigate around town, found that the vocabulary and sentence structure were quite similar to Romanian. Likewise, the training the unit frequently did in the Alps, was not wasted in the Carpathian. The relatively short travel distance ensured that sorties received fast turn around, allowing the entire unit to deploy quickly and efficiently.

All of these advantages permitted the 173rd to establish operations in Romania well in advance of the Soviet assault on the country.
===

https://www.army.mil/article/145463/...ntain_training
https://lifeinthearmy.com/2018/12/06...borne-brigade/
https://www.strategypage.com/militar...112124228.aspx

Looks like a good fit for fighting in the Carpathian mountains! Lots of mountain warfare training.

Any help appreciated!

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Old 07-16-2020, 02:33 PM
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American troops in neighboring Yugoslavia are under CivGov command, no? With which gov't faction do you think a Romanian-based 173rd BCT would side?

It's an interesting idea, for sure (although I've got the 173rd in Kenya for the duration of the war).

https://forum.juhlin.com/showthread.php?t=2312

Did the Ploesti complex produce oil during the later years of the Cold War?
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Old 07-16-2020, 02:56 PM
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American troops in neighboring Yugoslavia are under CivGov command, no? With which gov't faction do you think a Romanian-based 173rd BCT would side?
That's an interesting question. Having the 173rd declare for Milgov would add the potential for friction with the neighbouring Civgov forces.

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Did the Ploesti complex produce oil during the later years of the Cold War?
Indications are that it did. The Death of a Division hand out confirms that the 4th Guards Tank Army is running on gasoline and one of the listed rumours states that's come from Ploesti. Now, granted, it's a rumour rather than a confirmed fact but it seems plausible to me.
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Old 07-16-2020, 06:44 PM
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I do like this. It's an interesting little corner of the world, and a theatre of the European conflict that has not been well-explored in previous canon. The East Europe Sourcebook gives Romania only 1.5 pages of material, not counting the obligatory and rarely-useful OOBs.

If we're working off the 1e history (because, really, why wouldn't we?), it looks like Turkey was the first NATO member to support Romania.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1996
The first nation to rally to Romania's aid was her neighbor, Jugoslavia. Within 24 hours, three divisions and five brigades crossed into Romania and two days later were at the front under Romanian command. NATO responded shortly thereafter with the offer of full membership in the security organization to both nations, which they accepted. More concrete assistance took the form of the Turkish 1st Army, which launched its offensive against a thin Bulgarian covering force in Thrace on Christmas Eve.
Then NATO tried to throw some logistical aid to the Turks, with mixed results:

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Originally Posted by 1997
The best Soviet troops were shipped further south to Bulgaria, and by May had managed to halt the Turkish drive. As Greek pressure on the Turkish left flank in Thrace built, unit after Turkish unit was shifted to face the Greeks. It became clear that, without aid, the Turkish Army would have to fall back or be defeated.

On June 27th, a NATO convoy of fast transports and cargo ships, accompanied by a strong covering force, attempted the run to the Turkish port of Izmir with badly-needed ammunition and equipment. Light fleet elements of the Greek navy intercepted the convoy and, in a confused night action off Izmir, inflicted substantial losses and escaped virtually unharmed. Two days later NATO retaliated with air strikes against Greek naval bases. On July 1st, Greece declared war against the NATO nations, and Italy, in compliance with her treaty obligations, followed suit on the 2nd.
So we have a definite date on which Italy would have expelled or attacked any remaining NATO forces within its borders - though they'd already withdrawn from NATO around mid-December 1996, so the expulsion was probably already well under way, if not complete.

The timeline actually works out rather well for you. Italy withdrew from NATO in mid-December and Romania accepted the NATO membership offer sometime between 21 and 31 December 1996, so the 173rd would have deployed to Romania as soon as NATO could establish air superiority for its movement. With the shortest route being across Yugoslavia, which also had accepted NATO membership, this would be more an issue of securing a corridor than complete theatre SEAD. The 173rd wouldn't be in country before the Soviet invasion (unless NATO was engaged in skulduggery to exceed the East German defection), but they could get there pretty darn quick thereafter.

Unfortunately, things didn't work out so well for Turkey anyway - the NATO resupply effort wasn't sufficient to hold the Turks together:

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1997
The Soviet and Bulgarian forces in Thrace also began a major offensive against the Turks in September. The one-sided use of tactical nuclear weapons broke the stalemate, and by month's end Bulgarian tank brigades were racing toward Istanbul... At the same time, the limited use of tactical nuclear weapons, the increasing numbers of Soviet reserves, and the withdrawal of the Jugoslavians caused the Romanian front to collapse. As Warsaw Pact columns swept through both countries, isolated military units withdrew into the mountains and began to wage a guerilla war.
So your window for sending additional NATO forces to back up the 173rd is... oh, call it February to September 1997.

- C.
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Old 07-16-2020, 06:52 PM
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So in Romania c.1997, we have elements (in descending order of size), of course, Romanians, probably split between a pro-NATO majority and pro-Soviet minority, Soviets, Bulgarians, Turks, Italians, Yugoslavians of various ethnicities and some Americans (probably aligned with CivGov due to their proximity to their CigGov-aligned countrymen across the border in Yugoslavia. That makes for a very interesting and volatile mix.

And don't forget the vampires...
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Old 07-16-2020, 06:59 PM
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But wait! There's more! Mediterranean Cruise also features a Romanian stop on the Corpus Christi's itinerary! This and the preceding Turkish visit also give us a bit more specificity - namely, that the NATO membership acceptance came between the Soviet invasion on 20 December 1996 and the Turkish invasion of Bulgaria on 24 December. While these aren't immediately relevant, I do like a nice clean timeline.

The same Romanian section of the sourcebook also definitively establishes the Ploesti complex as the source of the oil that fueled the U.S. 5th Infantry Division's funeral pyre:

Quote:
With the strategic exchanges of late 1997, the Ploesti oil fields of Romania were the subject of some nuclear strikes, but for reasons not completely understood, the refineries and oil production facilities were not completely destroyed and were beginning to become operational again by mid-2000. By the fall, these fields had produced enough petroleum to fuel a last Soviet counteroffensive in Europe (the one referred to in the basic game which destroyed the U.S. 5th Mechanized Infantry Division), which brought the active phase of the war to a messy conclusion.
This section also gives us a cursory 1e TO&E for Soviet forces in Romania, which are also noted as "the last units in Europe still loyal to Moscow." I haven't checked to see how well this lines up with the Soviet Vehicle Guide's divisional phone book.

Notably, the Romania stop on the mission is the ostensible purpose of the entire cruise: extracting a DIA operative in exchange for arms, equipment, and official (Mil)governmental recognition of a Romanian partisan leader as Romania's legitimate head of state. It's also where the PCs and their bubblehead retinue learn that they're in the second module of a trilogy.

This material is still skeletal and fragmentary, but it's possible to draw some inferences from it with regards to the current status of Romania - and what remaining American/NATO forces there might be up to. It's also an opportunity to provide a much better reason for the Joint Chiefs to hazard their only remaining fast attack boat than retrieving one lone DIA asset. (This is, by the way, a prime example of what I mean by finding a rational, internally-consistent explanation for an aspect of canon that makes no sense on its face.)

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And don't forget the vampires...
As you well know, I never forget the vampires.

- C.
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Old 07-17-2020, 04:47 AM
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American troops in neighboring Yugoslavia are under CivGov command, no? With which gov't faction do you think a Romanian-based 173rd BCT would side?
Found the more or less definite answer to that one - pg 27 of the ref's manual

Quote:
The surviving foreign and national organizations dealing or concerned with the United States, choose between the rival Governments. The German Military Government and Polish Government in Exile continued relations with the Joint Chiefs, while the partisan commands of Jugoslavia and Romania recognized the civilian Government.
So looks like the Herd should be pro Civgov, notwithstanding any skullduggery initiated in Med Cruise.

Some more snippets from Med Cruise that may be useful in defining an area of operations

Quote:
The only major Soviet force remaining in Europe after Decem-ber of 2000 was the Danube Front of the Southwestern TVD (Teatr Voennikh Deystivy, Theater of Military Operations), consisting of the 38th Army and the 3rd Guards Tank Army, Located in the Bucharest-Ploesti area, these forces are currently making use of one of the few refinery complexes in the world not destroyed by the war to provide fuel. These two armies represent the last viable tank forces in Europe.

The Danube Front currently encompasses the area east and south of the Carpathians, all the way to the Black Sea coast from Mangalia north to the mouth of the Danube (although parts of this area are still only partially controlled, and numerous bands of anti-Soviet partisans are operating on the fringes). The key to Soviet control of the area is the oil fields and refineries around Ploesti.
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Old 07-17-2020, 05:28 PM
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So looks like the Herd should be pro Civgov, notwithstanding any skullduggery initiated in Med Cruise.
In the context of Spartan's proposal, that may imply some prewar covert shenanigans on the part of the U.S. State Department and CIA. With the 173rd deploying to Romania before the Thanksgiving Massacre, we can assume a presidential policy decision in the Tanner administration to support the country's split from the Warsaw Pact.

If the 173rd remains loyal to the Tanner administration's successor in Omaha, that opens up the opportunity for collaborative shenanigans with the divisions in Yugoslavia - if not a small-scale Pax Americana, then at least a regional alliance with nascent governments that might someday be allies. That suggests a very interesting intrigue-driven mode of play, especially if the Corpus Christi's mission was the Joint Chiefs' attempt to meddle in the remaining State Department's international affairs.

- C.
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Old 07-17-2020, 05:55 PM
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I find myself drawn to the idea of DIA and CIA teams both operating in Romania, each competing against the other. How far do things go? I could see each side using proxies for sure, but at what point might they openly engage in armed conflict with each other?
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Old 07-17-2020, 06:01 PM
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That's a hard call. I think I'd rather see them competing for Romania and Yugoslavia's favor than openly warring with one another. Games of brinksmanship and one-upsmanship, with an unwritten rule that you don't kill other Americans, and both sides will drop their arguments to cooperate against the Soviets when Ivan acts up.

It's a quiet gentleman's war that's otherwise absent in the canon. It may not be entirely thematic for the main thrust of T2k, but I think it has potential in a "wilderness of mirrors" sort of way.

- C.
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Old 07-17-2020, 06:06 PM
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Don't you think there could be a hard core faction though? I see it as more of a thing within DIA if I'm being honest, small direct action teams going after specific 'targets' amongst Civgov loyalists, e.g. the CIA Station Chief for Yugoslavia gets convicted of treason in absentia by Milgov hardliners.

Or maybe I've been binge watching too much Homeland...
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Old 07-17-2020, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Tegyrius View Post
In the context of Spartan's proposal, that may imply some prewar covert shenanigans on the part of the U.S. State Department and CIA. With the 173rd deploying to Romania before the Thanksgiving Massacre, we can assume a presidential policy decision in the Tanner administration to support the country's split from the Warsaw Pact.
Is a fait accompli even necessary? I mean, couldn't the 173rd simply declare for CivGov after the schism like everybody else?

To Rainbow's point, although I can see the attraction of adding another adversary/competitor to the Romanian sandbox, NATO-aligned characters are going to have sundry OPFOR as it is (Soviets, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Italians, pro-Soviet Romanians, and marauders, to name a few). Adding internecine conflict might be piling on a bit.

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Old 07-17-2020, 06:25 PM
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I'm not thinking full on internecine warfare so much as one small group, acting as a group within a group. Say you've got a DIA operation going on in Romania and somewhere within that is a three person team. Call it an Orion Team (Orion being the hunter in Greek mythology iirc). They're essentially ultra black ops, boss level opponents. Run into them and it's a serious challenge for a PC group. and if you like to give your players moral dilemmas, there are all sorts of shades of gray in a Milgov / Civgov conflict. And if it's a group within a group, the regular DIA might not even know that they exist.
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Old 07-17-2020, 06:29 PM
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I'm not thinking full on internecine warfare so much as one small group, acting as a group within a group. Say you've got a DIA operation going on in Romania and somewhere within that is a three person team. Call it an Orion Team (Orion being the hunter in Greek mythology iirc). They're essentially ultra black ops, boss level opponents. Run into them and it's a serious challenge for a PC group. and if you like to give your players moral dilemmas, there are all sorts of shades of gray in a Milgov / Civgov conflict. And if it's a group within a group, the regular DIA might not even know that they exist.
Oh definitely. A little skulduggery is a must. I meant that I didn't think that the 173rd, if that's the only major NATO in Romania, should be aligned with MilGov with the the US forces in neighboring Yugoslavia loyal to CivGov. That just adds one more major adversary to the mix. Cooperation still adds mission possibilities (courier carrying top secret correspondence, that sort of thing) without creating an us-against-the-world situation.
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Old 07-17-2020, 06:31 PM
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Is a fait accompli even necessary? I mean, couldn't the 173rd simply declare for CivGov after the schism like everybody else?
Yep. That was my point. Their deployment was a policy decision of the prewar elected government, not a Milgov order or a Broward administration move (like the divisions that went to Yugoslavia). So they had to make that choice - it's not preordained by the canon OOBs or timeline.

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To Rainbow's point, although I can see the attraction of adding another adversary/competitor to the Romanian sandbox, NATO-aligned characters are going to have sundry OPFOR as it is (Soviets, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Italians, pro-Soviet Romanians, and marauders, to name a few). Adding internecine conflict might be piling on a bit.
Ah. But if you design it as an espionage/intrigue-heavy setting, then you have the option of writing multiple playable factions that most players will still consider "the good guys." This also opens up the possibility of joint operations and shifting alliances, in which yesterday's friends are tomorrow's objectives. Those betrayals and uncertainties are the heart of espionage fiction because they make for good storytelling and human drama - something that I think is all too easy to lose track of in this game's focus on hardware and tactics.

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I'm not thinking full on internecine warfare so much as one small group, acting as a group within a group. Say you've got a DIA operation going on in Romania and somewhere within that is a three person team. Call it an Orion Team (Orion being the hunter in Greek mythology iirc). They're essentially ultra black ops, boss level opponents. Run into them and it's a serious challenge for a PC group. and if you like to give your players moral dilemmas, there are all sorts of shades of gray in a Milgov / Civgov conflict. And if it's a group within a group, the regular DIA might not even know that they exist.
I like this very much. It could be a hardcore band of survivors from 10th Group who were originally deployed in support of the 173rd but have since started pursuing their own agendas.

- C.
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Old 07-17-2020, 06:45 PM
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Yep. That was my point. Their deployment was a policy decision of the prewar elected government, not a Milgov order or a Broward administration move (like the divisions that went to Yugoslavia). So they had to make that choice - it's not preordained by the canon OOBs or timeline.
Sorry I missed it. We're on the same page now.

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Ah. But if you design it as an espionage/intrigue-heavy setting, then you have the option of writing multiple playable factions that most players will still consider "the good guys." This also opens up the possibility of joint operations and shifting alliances, in which yesterday's friends are tomorrow's objectives. Those betrayals and uncertainties are the heart of espionage fiction because they make for good storytelling and human drama - something that I think is all too easy to lose track of in this game's focus on hardware and tactics.
I hear you, and I don't disagree stridently. But with both factions present in large numbers, then whichever side the PCs pick, there'll be one more major potential adversary to factor in. IMO, there are enough bad guys in the region already. I very much like the idea of small, covert groups representing the "other" faction pursuing opposing agendas in the AO, though.

-
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Old 07-17-2020, 06:53 PM
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I very much like the idea of small, covert groups representing the "other" faction pursuing opposing agendas in the AO.
I concur. What I had in mind was the 173rd being loyal to Civgov, which fits with what's established in the ref's manual, namely that the Romanian partisan command had declared for Civgov, but that the DIA would have small units operating on the ground covertly.
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Old 07-17-2020, 07:07 PM
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I hear you, and I don't disagree stridently. But with both factions present in large numbers, then whichever side the PCs pick, there'll be one more major potential adversary to factor in. IMO, there are enough bad guys in the region already. I very much like the idea of small, covert groups representing the "other" faction pursuing opposing agendas in the AO, though. -
I think we're on the same page here too. That's why I'd rather see competition and rivalry than outright warfare between American factions in the region. I'm trying to think of an appropriate espionage frenemy fictional equivalent and coming up blank, but... oh, hell, Locke versus Sabetha in the third Gentleman Bastards novel is the first thing that comes to mind.

(Part of that mix is also the Milgov guys trying to convince the Broward loyalists to abandon their sham of a Constitution-violating government, and vice versa. There's probably a bar in Belgrade or somewhere that's the designated neutral territory for those conversations.)

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I concur. What I had in mind was the 173rd being loyal to Civgov, which fits with what's established in the ref's manual, namely that the Romanian partisan command had declared for Civgov, but that the DIA would have small units operating on the ground covertly.
This makes Milgov's recognition of Vlad all the more interesting, because they're propping up a potential rival to the partisans that the Broward administration recognizes.

- C.
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