Saturday, February 23, 2013

Anti-NATO no more

When I first started playing wargames, only a few years ago as of this post, the modern made wargames that were available included beautiful, graphical depictions - silhouettes or top view - of armor, infantry, etc. A game which depicted only NATO symbols for these units was not very appealing to me. They appeared outdated and unnecessarily complex. This was mostly because I did not understand the symbolism.

Originally posted by Carl Paradis on
I've played Carl Paradis' No Retreat! The Russian Front (the GMT deluxe version) which introduced alternate armor counters (with graphics) and enjoyed this to some extent. At that time, I still did not comprehend the NATO symbols but there were limited differences in these counters. The game primarily used infantry and mechanized infantry in addition to the armor with some fortified units thrown in here and there. To the left is an image of the counter sheet with alternate counters for armor.

Lock n Load: A Day of Heroes (LNLP)
I haven't played No Retreat! in some time but it is one that I would like to get to the table again soon. Recently, I have been playing Lock n Load Publishing's Lock n Load series which is a squad based platform covering multiple theaters. The counter images are silhouettes and profiles (leaders) and the artwork looks great. This of course is a squad based game and as such lends itself well to using silhouettes. Personally, this game would be lacking if all of these counters were marked with an APP-6 Infantry.svg or APP-6 Special Forces.svg (Special Forces).

Heores & Generals by Reto-Moto

In the PC realm, I've recently been enjoying a game currently in Beta called Heroes & Generals by Reto-Moto. It's an interesting concept of combining a FPS with a grand strategy campaign focus around WWII. As you gain experience and credits fighting as a rifleman (FPS), you will then be able to buy Assault Teams to launch your own attacks to take resources and territory or to stop enemy advances. Even your Assault Teams can be upgraded - from Infantry to Motorized Infantry to Mechanized, etc. Well, it is in this game, which uses NATO symbols in the campaign mode, that my distaste for NATO symbols suddenly ceased to exist. I can't explain it; it just happened. Thank you Heroes & Generals!

Heores & Generals - Campaign map with NATO symbols

Mark Walker's Nations at War: White Star Rising (LNLP)
Today, I just wrapped up my first play of Mark Walker's Nations at War: White Star Rising (LNLP). This is a platoon level combat WWII game that uses a chit-pull system rather than the typical "I-go-you-go" gameplay found in most wargames. The added bonus here is that the game looks great as well (as seen to the right) - even with the NATO symbols. In fact, I personally think this blend of NATO and silhouette adds visually to the game. Better yet, it also has a function in the game to help determine which units are "hard" targets and which units are "soft" targets. All NATO symbol units are "soft" targets, they have no armor value. Whereas all units with silhouettes are "hard" targets and their armor value (and "Save number") can be found in the upper right of the counter.

Below I've included some common NATO symbols that you might come across as you are playing wargames. Hopefully, this will help to not deter you from enjoying these games. This partial list was taken from the Wiki page for NATO Military Symbols, found here.

Unit symbolUnit type

APP-6 Anti Tank.svgAnti-tank
APP-6 Armored.svgArmour (Stylized tank treads)
APP-6 Air Force.svgAviation (fixed wing)
APP-6 Engineer.svgEngineer (stylised bridge or other structure)
APP-6 HQ Support.svgHQ
APP-6 Infantry.svgInfantry (evocative of the crossed bandoliers of Napoleonic infantry and the crossed rifles of the U.S. Army's infantryinsignia)
APP-6 Maintenance.svgMaintenance (stylised crescent wrench)
APP-6 Medical.svgMedical (evocative of the Red Cross symbol)
APP-6 Mortar.svgMortar
APP-6 Navy.svgNavy
APP-6 Ordnance.svgOrdnance (excludes maintenance units of the US Army Ordnance Corps; see maintenance, above)
APP-6 Reconnaissance.svgReconnaissance (or cavalry; inspired by the cavalry's sabre strap)
APP-6 Combat Supply.svgSupply

Modifier symbolMeaning
APP-6 Air-transportable.svgAirborne (including Air Assault and Paratrooper forces)
APP-6 Parachute.svgParatrooper
APP-6 Airmobile Mod.svgAirmobile
APP-6 Airmobile.svgAirmobile with organic lift
APP-6 Amphibious.svgAmphibious
APP-6 Motorised.svgMotorized
APP-6 Mountain.svgMountain
APP-6 Rocket.svgRocket
APP-6 Wheeled.svgWheeled

Modifier symbolMeaning
APP-6 Mountain Infantry.svgMountain Infantry examples: Italy's Alpini, Germany's Gebirgsjäger, France's Chasseurs Alpins, Poland's Podhale Rifles
APP-6 Parachute Infantry.svgParachute Infantry example: 82nd Airborne Division (United States), Division Spezielle Operationen (Germany), United Kingdom's Parachute Regiment3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (Australia)
APP-6 Airmobile Infantry.svgAirmobile Infantry example: 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)Jägerregiment 1
APP-6 Mechanized Infantry.svgMechanized Infantry example: US 3rd Infantry Division (equipment example: M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle),
APP-6 Combined Arms.svgCombined Arms (new symbol for the Maneuver Elements of the US Heavy Brigade Combat Teams) example: US 1st Armored Division
APP-6 Infantry Mechanized IFV.svgMechanized Infantry equipped with Infantry Fighting Vehicles equipment examples: M2 BradleyBMP-3Dardo IFV
APP-6 Amphibious Mechanized Infantry.svgAmphibious Mechanized Infantry example: 1st Marine Regiment (United States) when Amphibious Assault Vehicleunits are attached.
APP-6 Wheeled Mechanized Infantry.svgMechanized Infantry (wheeled-"medium") equipment examples: 3rd Brigade (US 2nd Infantry Division), StrykerPatria AMVMowag PiranhaBTR-80Freccia (with machine gun turrets)
APP-6 Infantry Wheeled Mechanized IFV.svgMechanized Infantry (wheeled-"medium") equipped with wheeled Infantry Fighting Vehicles equipment examples:StrykerPatria AMVMowag PiranhaBTR-90Freccia (with autocannon turrets)
APP-6 Wheeled Tank.svgTank Destroyer equipment examples: B1 CentauroAMX 10 RC
APP-6 Armored Engineer.svgArmoured Engineers equipment examples: M60A1 AVLBBergepanzer BPz3. Also engineers mounted in IFVs such as Bradley or Warrior.

1 comment:

  1. I am also starting to lean towards the Nato counters. I'm starting to learn that functionality is sometimes better than fancy graphics as you start to move up from individuals and squad level battles.