Prelude to War

Turn 0


“This is the time Premier Gorbachev.” Said the rail thin diplomatic attache to the USA. “We must use this unique opportunity since your successful visit in December to England and recast our world view and change history!” Eduard Shevardnadze spoke compellingly of a new world. One of peace.

Gorbechev snorted. “I admire you Eduard, you want to change history as you say. I too wished for Glasnost. Now I say I just want feed our people. Oil prices are plummeting, which is a boon for world economies. But not ours. No one cares to even plant crops unless by order of the State,we lack motivation, drive, spirit! Our people are mindless robots. We must press the Americans for concessions. They must withdraw their spies who cause havoc in our nuclear power stations with bribery and corruption, they must cede political control of Iran to us.”

“But Premier, that is not proven. Chernobyl did not explode, it just overheated! We averted disaster. Spies don’t do that!”

A slow heavy voice spoke next

“We control the routes to Iran, the Shah is deposed. This is the time to capture that oil and drive prices back up for our fledgling oil industry. Force will show the Americans we are not weak.” The gruff voice erupted in a smokers dying coungh for two minutes….”As your Military advisor this is the plan to take Premier!” Said General Sokolov in a rapid phlegm filled final rasp. He continued in a labored voice; “The Saudis brazenly continue to support the USA which is driving Iraq, the Islamic Republic and the Centrists into the US arms! That low born bastard Chernenko sent the Mujahedeen weapons, further driving the wedge into our policy of containment in Iran. We must act know and Mobilize before the Iranian Army revolts and we lost control of the oil”

[Cards: USA: Saudi Support and Soviet: Arms to Mujahdeen]

Foothills of Southern Iran

“You tell the President that I got it” Said the cocksure voice at one end of the scrambled and encrypted line. “The Iranian Army is a lock, I have the support of all of the Generals and Officer elite. We own their bitch asses.”

The other end of the line spoke at length. A haranguing tone emitted from the earpiece over the static and delay.

“Listen, wait…Stop..Will ya listen to me you panty waist, pussy cat” Said the Agent. “I, it…But…OMG…Listen for the last time. Israel will fight, the Iranians are on board, as is Jordan. If you had not screwed up with that Centrist bullshit we could have counted on the Iraqi’s too. The damn Commies, Syria and New Republican Government of Iran are all PO’d at the Prez and his off the cuff remarks. This shit will get real if you are not careful. Do you understand me? REAL with a capital R.”

[Cards: USA- Recognize Centrist and Soviets- Denounce Israel]


“Channel 7 World News, Lisa Blabrite reporting; In a further escalation of tension between East and West the Soviets this week denounced the alleged provocations of Israel. US diplomats urged calm, noting a buildup of Soviet forces in the border regions of Iran’s North to be provocative, film at 11.”

Turn 3

[Cards: USA-Arms for Iraq and Soviet- Mobilize Southern Forces].

Hinterland of Iran/Iraqi Border & SITUATION ROOM:

“Listen Frank. I god damn told you. I warned you to stop the bluster. While you are pissing about sending M-16’s and LAWs to Iraq, the freaking Guard Corps are warming their engines in the mountain passes of Afghanistan. ” The agent paused.

“What? What? What to do? You need to follow through now. My contacts say standing down ain’t gunna cut it. KGB insiders say Gorby is not what Reagan and you wonks think.”

The agent paused to listen. “It could never happen? Are you out of your mind…IT IS HAPPENING. DO? What the freaking hell….you have one choice. Spin up the RDF. I’m going to ground, it’s headed to molten hot here and I cannot do much more from here, Good luck, I’ll call from Iraq” As the line went abruptly dead, the other end erupted in a rising crescendo of panicked voices.

Reagan, looked around from face to face, as his world class team attempted to out shout each other. Calmly he placed both hands on the circular war room table and stood. Silence fell like an ominous blanket.

“Push us to DEFCON 3. Alert the RDF. It appears to be in the stars for us to fight one more war.”

As he walked to the exit, he paused and turned and pointed at the gathered men. “The blood of the world is on our hands if we are wrong, and he does not back down. But I will not see our country beholden to Soviet style penury if they control the oil.”


Six days later in the smoke filled Politburo conference room, the din finally subsided.

“The Iraqis are leaning our way as a result of arms shipments to counter US led efforts! Iranian Communist party wants more aid.” Said Yuri.

“We however have bad news. The Revolt of the Iranian army is a huge debacle, our informants said that the Iranian Generals would be slow to act. They were not.” Words tumbled out in a rush now.

Turn 4

[Cards: USA-Alert RDF Soviets-Arms for Iraq]

Silence all across the room as men sat still paused in mid draw on cigarettes or pen poised while taking notes. “Our agents warned allied Iranian Army officers in Tehran quickly, but it seems they looked only after their own interests.”

“Yuri, please continue” Said Gorbachev, his voice flat and emotionless.

“Yes Premier, the situation is going to require a change in our plans. The entire coastline has fallen to US affiliated forces.”

“All of it?”

“Yes sir. Baring Bandar Khomeyni held by a small Brigade.”

Turn 5

[Cards: USA Invade, Soviet Intervene]


“Yes. Yes they did. Recon is overhead now sir. It will take some hours to assess the size of the movement of forces into Northern Iran, sir…” Senior Analyst Mike Curtis hung up the phone with the Director. If the Russians were ‘invited in’, that would make the USA the aggressor? Are we really going to invade Iran? That has got to be bad. He rubbed his eyes in an effort to ease the burn from interpreting 1,000’s of prescreened images from Satellite feeds and higher resolution Blackbird film, he turned to the task of garnering an accurate estimate of the Soviet mobilization. There would be no sleep tonight either.

KGB Headquarters

“Nothing” said Dmitry Klyuykov. Repeat came the request. “I say nothing. The US has not moved Naval or Air into position to intervene in Iran. We do see an uptick in activity, but no mobilization” he finished.

Dmitry also agreed that the response from the US had not been swifter. Soviet Mig-23’s, SU-24 bombers had taken out Iranian Army units in the foothills west of Tehran. There had been no acknowledgement nor response from the US.

The US backed imperialist forces in Iran had moved quickly to secure the coastline. But had failed to garner enough support locally in the critical Tehran areas. This would pave the way for the 145th Motorized Infantry Division to secure Tehran and mop up localized resistance.


The city of Saarbrucken was unusually congested with busy traffic, and 18 wheelers rolled into and around town. Endless streams of vehicle clogged roads. IF residents took a casual ride out near the US and NATO bases, they would have noticed the heightened level of activity and wondered what was afoot? Across the pond in the US Officer leave was cancelled and preparations were being made. More so than the NATO countries. They scoffed at the notion of escalation with the Soviets. 

Langley to Pentagon Emergency Briefing Room PG001

The phone rang at 0345, a rumpled attendant listened to the urgent tone in the callers voice; “This is Mike Curtis, I need to speak to the Director. It’s urgent…….”


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