Monday, November 9, 2009

Venezuela and Colombia go to War, Part 1

Venezuela prepares for war: South America yawns and says "Wtf? Again?!"

Chávez warns the imperialist ianquis that Venezuela's modernized armed forces stand ready to fight for continental liberation, causing epic lulz across the Western Hemisphere.

Yesterday, Sunday November 8th, 2009, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez avised his armed forces to prepare for war against that notorious South American imperialist superpower, Colombia. Chávez is apparently buttsore over the fact that Colombian President Álvaro Uribe called the Venezuelan President "the most successful human imitation of a pineapple since Manny Noreiga".

Hugo's proclamations provoked an enormous sense of blasé across the South American continent. Typical commentary by the man-in-the-street ran from "ROFL!" to "Wtf? Again?!" to "Will someone please shut Pineapple Boy up?" You can read more about the Chávez gang's plans for continental Armegeddon here. Meanwhile, the top news story in Brazil this Monday morning involves a young lady who was expulsed from her university for wearing a miniskirt. I shit you not.

If Venezuela and Colombia do go at it, the rest of us down here in Pindorama are going to be treated to the spectacle of two one-legged men engaged in an ass-kicking contest. However, you might want to game this pathetic conflict, and with that in mind, Lead Doesn't Bleed offers up the following for your delight and eduficamation...

The Colombian Military
Colombia has an armed-forces amounting to something less than 300,000 men. Its army consists of the following units:

7 divisions, divided into:
2 Mechanized brigades
16 Infantry brigades
9 Mobile brigades
2 Jungle brigades
1 Airmobile brigade
1 Special Forces brigade (geared to anti-guerrilla operations)

These are further broken down into:
72 Counterinsurgency battalions
12 Special forces battalions (one of which is an elite "Lancero" (or Ranger) battalion)
37 Infantry battalions (including 3 cadet battalions)
7 Mountain Infantry battalions
4 Para Infantry battalions
1 Airmobile battalion
7 Armored cavalry battalion
3 Mechanized battalions
1 "Tank" battalion (sans tanks)
8 Artillery battalions
2 Marine battalions
1 Helicopter battalion
12 Engineer battalions
11 Infrastructure Protection battalions
1 Para Engineer battalion

Here's a link to a relatively complete OoB for the Colombian National Army.

Colombia's land forces are so anemic that their main AFVs are light Brazilian armored cars built in the 1980s: EE-9 Cascavels and EE-11 Urutus. The army has 120 of the first vehicle, which is a 6x6 armored car armed with either a 37mm cannon (scrounged from old M5 Stuarts) or a 90mm cannon, and 100 of the second, a 6x6 machinegun-armed APC. Colombia also has some 130 M-113s and no tanks to speak of. None at all.

Colombia's current main battle tank: the mighty Engesa EE-9 Cascavel.

For army air support, colombia can field some 60 UH-1 and 30 Mi-7 transport and utility choppers. It also has 60 U.S.-supplied Blackhawks, however, giving it one of the most powerful attack helicopter forces in South America. (I know: that's not saying much.)

It doesn't take a genius to figure out that with 178 "teeth" battalions in its OoB and an army of 235,000 soldiers, most Colombian units are going to be drastically understrength, perhaps only existing as a cadre or on paper. As a guess - and given Colombia's recent military escapades, which are mostly anti-guerrilla in nature - most of the available active military forces are concentrated in the parachute, air-mobile, special forces and counterinsurgency battalions. Their armored cavalry units are probably relatively operational, given the fact that Urutus and Cascaveis are very easy AFVs to maintain and operate. I have my doubts about the M113s, however, which are probably very old.

In short, what Colombia's going to have on hand in case of war is a bunch of light infantry units backed up by a couple of battalions of very light, mobile armor. The Army's 60 Blackhawk helicopters and its highly trained Lanceros will definitely be the main elite units involved in any future conflict with Venezuela.

Colombia's air force has 25 Brazilian-made Super Tucano prop-driven light attack planes, 11 OV-10 Broncos, 9 A-37 Dragonflys and (ooh, cool) 6 C-47 Spooky gunships. For air superiority, they have some 16 Kfirs and 12 Mirage Vs, though I'd be very surprised if more than half of these fighters were operational.

On the naval front, the Colombian National Armada contains 4 frigates, 4 coastal submarines, 31 gunboats and some 15 river gunboats. Of interest here is ARC Juan Ricardo Oyola Vera, a home-built, helicopter equipped and ultra-modern stealth patrol boat. Colombia apparently has five of these.

Like most South American militaries, the Colombian Armed Forces is made up of a mass of fairly inept, undertrained foot-sloggers, backed up by a handful of extremely professional veterans armed with modern weponry. Available munitions and supplies are likely quite low. In the (extremely unlikely) event of a long war, this force will be augmented by masses of hastily raised conscripts.

Cold War Commander List for the Colombian Army
Troops                 Arm                Move    Attack    Hits    Save   Cost    Notes
CO CV9               Command        60         3/30        6          6          90         -
HQ CV8               Command        60         2/30        6          6          45         -
HQ CV7               Command        60         2/30        6          6          30         -
FAO CV6            Command        30          -              4         6          15         -
FAC CV6             Command        30         -              4         6          15         -
Scouts                 Recce               10         2/30*      6          -          35         -
4x4s                      Recce               30         2/50*      3         -           30         -
EE-9                     Recce                30        4/60         3         6          85
Conscripts          Infantry            10         2/30*      6         -           25        #1
Regulars             Infantry             10          3/30*      6        -            35        #2
Lanceros            Infantry             10          4/30*      6         -           40         #3
LAW Upgrade  Infantry            -             4/20(H)   -         -           20    
HMG                   Support           10           4/60*     5         -           50
Spike ATGW     Support           10          8/100      5         -           190       #4    
81mm Mortar    Support            10          3/120*    5         -           40
120mm Mortar   Support            -            4/200*    4        -           70
Combat Eng.     Engineer          10          4/30*       6        -           60 
EE-9                    Armour            30          4/60         3        6          65
4x4 TOW           Anti-tank         20          6/150       3        -          205       #4
106mm RCL       Anti-tank        -            5/60(H)     4       -           60
Air Def. MG      Artillery           -            4/30*        4       -           30
Air Def. 20mm   Artillery          -             2/40         5        -           25  
Air Def. 40mm   Artillery          -             1/50         4        -           10 
Art. 105mm        Artillery           -             3              3        -           45
Art. 155mm        Artillery           -             4              2        -           60 
Naval                  Artillery          -             4              6         6          70 
AC47 Spooky    Aircraft           -             4/50         4        5           85      #5
Blackhawk          Aircraft          -             6/50         4        4           250     #5
Tucano or A37   Aircraft         -               5             3        5           125
Truck                  Transport      20            -              3        -            10
M113 APC         Transport      25          2/50*        4        6           40
EE-11 APC         Transport      30         2/50*         3        6           40
M-3 Halftrack    Transport      20         2/50*         3        6           25
Transport Heli   Transport      -           2/50*         4        6           60

#1 Conscripts: may not use intiative to assault enemy. This should be the majority of Colombian infantry, especially the lightly-armed anti-insurgency and infrastructure defence forces.
#2 Units of the Rapid Deployment force, Airborne, Marines, most Special Forces and other regular units, especially those with recent combat experience.
#3 Elite: no command penalty for assaulting and +1 in close assault.
#4 Probably not many of these. 1 per 1000 points, perhaps.
#5 Maximum of one. Treat as attack helicopter.

Special rules:
  • Special forces units can use flexible tactical doctrine.
  • Poor maintenance and low supplies: -1 to random points modifier.
  • No counter-battery capacity.
  • May schedule two ambushes at the start of the game.
  • Assets include Artillery HE (max 3 per unit, 10 points each), aircraft ground attack (max 2 per unit, 10 points each), Aircraft Air Assault (max 1 per unit, 50 points each).

Of course, the good ol` Yew Ess uv Ay has been looking for an excuse to bitch-slap Hugo Chávez for some time now. Given this, it's quite possible that a future war between Venezuela and Colombia would see ianqui military intervention on behalf of Colombia. I doubt very much that said intervention would involve large ground forces, but it would probably include air and naval support. If you want to play with this option, give Colombia automatic air superiority and allow them to buy air and naval support off the U.S. list.

Next up, Pineapple Boy's neo-Bolivaran forces...


  1. Dude..can you please acknowledge the use of the emblem of the Colombian Military under the Creative Commons License 3.0 as stated on the Wikipedia source? Thanks

  2. Tell Pineapple Boy to sue my fat gringo imperialist ass.