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September 13, 1985 – Barrel of a Gun

The latest (and maybe the last one!) chapter about the intrigues and maneuvers of KGB Colonel Fabrizio Leonidovich Vianello.
As usual, developed and written by Grognard Emeritus Thomas Gaul!

Time: 9pm, Moscow time, 13 Sept. 1985
Place: Special restaurant of the KGB officer’s club of Dedicated Socialist, soon-to-be-Hero-of-the-Soviet-Union, soon-to-be-KGB- General-presently-KGB Colonel Fabrizio Vianello

Feet propped up on his table, boots off, head back KGB Colonel Fabrizio Vianello savored the moment. He had allowed himself a rare luxury (well to others it was rare; to him, as a true son of the Communist system, less so) and richly deserved it. Vodka was, of course, well and good and necessary, but a true French wine (Bordeaux, of course) to wash down the chef prepared gourmet meal, complete with the best prepared steak in Moscow, was a special part of the non-existent heaven of decadent capitalist religions. Of course, such things only existed to dull the minds of the exploited workers of the Capitalists pawns, but, if they did exist, surely this would have to be part of it.

As special waitresses, several on whom were known to the Colonel in more intimate, private, areas cleared away the meal, the Colonel was content. Ah, the justifiable rewards given by the masses to dedicated Socialist geniuses such as KGB Colonel Vianello. And for true believers in the Communist system such as KGB Colonel Vianello. To those who were constantly fighting against the Capitalist exploiters and oppressors of the people, nothing was too good, no reward too large, no luxury too extreme! Yes, other, lesser, men than the Colonel would, perhaps, become decadent and jaded, but, with his special KGB training, KGB Colonel Vianello knew he was immune to such sicknesses. No, with him the dachas, the women, the meals, the cars, these did not weaken him, but gave the him the strength and energy to continue his fight for the Glorious Soviet State and its inevitable victory!!

Here it was, three weeks after “Operation Potemkin” had been launched from his personal computer and it could not have gone better. Accolades had been showered on the Colonel from all sides. All acknowledged the Colonel’s genius in solving the “logistical shortages” that had been noted by the braying,whining, jackel generals of the front lines. Tanks! Planes! Ammunition!! These had been “found” and sent forward to the battle in seemingly unending numbers!! With such reinforcements, only an idiot or wrecker could fail to win the battles to come.

And, smiling his secret smile, KGB Colonel Vianello contemplated the “magic” that had made this possible. The reinforcements were coming, of course they were. The “computer printouts” said they were there, so, therefore, they were there. Who would dare question what the computer said in black and white? A computer, much like the 5 year plan and the Communist system as a whole, did not lie. It was a computer; it could not lie. Even those who did not understand much about what a computer was “knew” this. All knew this.

Ah, the Colonel’s foresight! His genius!! Truly, at times the Colonel really did think he was a prophet, able to foresee the future. Most of the time, those who tried to defame him ended up shot. Or at least in the gulag, forgotten. But for “computer genius” KGB Major Marco Josevich Cimmino, for him, he had arranged merely to be sent to the gulag. And, he had not forgotten him. He had even cultivated a friendship (definition- those who could be useful to KGB Colonel Vianello) with the Major.

And such “friendship ” had paid off. Frankly, the Colonel had not completely understood all that the Major had said about “hacking” and “worms” and “extra computer code”, but it had not been necessary. All that was needed was a very special program devised by the Major and implemented by KGB Colonel Vianello , and ‘presto-chango’ war materials appeared! Now that the “program” was in place, anytime he wished the Colonel could “create” new war material and “send” it to the front. All now looked to him as the “Miracle Man”. Nothing was beyond him now. The power, the glory, the fame….

“KGB Colonel Vianello! Sir. Sir! SIR!!!”


Abruptly, the Colonel awoke with a start. He realized both that he had dozed off and that someone was addressing him. And not just someone, but two someones. Two someones in the uniform of the KGB “special services” branch. This was serious! Having employed them himself on occasion, the Colonel knew that no person, no matter their rank, was immune from their power. The power to arrest. To interrogate. To shoot.


With an overt air of menace, the goons thrust into his hands a special folded envelope:
“For you, sir. And we will wait”

Tentatively, as if it were a dangerous snake, the Colonel opened the envelope. What he read dried up his good feeling with all the power of a spider sucking out the blood from its prey.

TO: KGB Colonel Fabrizio Vianello
FROM: KGB Major Eleonora Olivares, Special Branch Division

Your presence is required at once.

KGB Major Eleonora Olivares, Special Branch Division

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1985: Under an Iron Sky – Vassalized!

The Vassal module for 1985: Under an Iron Sky is ready and available for download!

Download 1985: Under an Iron Sky Vassal Module

Created by John Rainey with the same graphics used in production print, the module contains ready-to-use setups for the four scenarios and two campaign games of the boxed version. It also adds several handy functions:

  • SAM coverage overlay
  • Air Superiority Areas overlay
  • Automatic “Return to Base” for Air Squadrons
  • Integrated Sequence of Play

No feeble excuse can now save you from the final showdown between NATO and Warsaw Pact. You had a lot of time for visiting Russia, today it’s too late. Russia is visiting you.

“Mind the Gap” Scenario
“Mind the Gap” Scenario
“Forward, Comrades!” Campaign
“Forward, Comrades!” Campaign
NATO Airfields
NATO SAM coverage over Denmark
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August 21, 1985 – Disinformation Technology

Another chapter in the plots and conspiracies of KGB’s Colonel Fabrizio Leonidovich Vianello!
Brought to you by Thomas Gaul, retired KGB (or CIA?) agent and Grognard Emeritus.

Time: 2:24 am Moscow time, August 21, 1985
Place: Kremlin, private office of KGB Colonel Fabrizio Vianello, extra-top-secret sanctum cubicle of KGB Colonel Vianello

KGB Colonel Vianello suppressed a massive yawn and contemplated his new work with with the self satisfied inner bliss of one who has completed the “perfect” 5-year plan, or in this case the plan to solve the problems of the initial war-plan against the capitalist swine that was NATO. Of course, the initial plan prepared by him and his team had been nearly flawless, but as ever, wreckers and pseudo capitalist leeches, or even worse, personal enemies of the Colonel, had failed to anticipate events correctly, or even actively worked to smear his plan. But what he had now completed would correct those errors of lesser minds.

In preparing to implement the “more correct” correct plan, Colonel Vianello gave to himself the mental congratulations for his justified foresight and genius. Not all his opponents could or should be sent to the gulag and forgotten. All, of course, must be sent to the gulag (for an enemy of his was obviously an enemy to the State) but some should be sent to the gulag and still used for the Glorious Soviet State.

And such had been the fate of former KGB Major Marco Josevich Cimmino. An early “genius” in the field of computers, his future had been bright. Too bright. He had sought to replace the Colonel and his team, claiming his computers would do the job better and more certainly, without the corruption of humans. Him, Colonel Vianello, soon to be hero of the Soviet victory, corrupt!! As if a few richly deserved rubles, dachas and women, were anything other than proper rewards of a grateful Soviet State! The Major had been investigated, found lacking in proper Communist ideology, properly denounced, and the gulag it was.

A rare picture of KGB Major Cimmino in civilian clothes, taken before his downfall.

But such was the Colonels’ genius that, while orchestrating the Major’s fall, he had convinced him he was actually on his side. And, by arranging a few pieces of meat for the Major’s daily diet of gruel and extra blankets for the Siberian winters, he had succeeded in convincing the Major that, with the his knowledge of computers put to proper use under the Colonel’s guidance, rehabilitation was possible. So the Major had labored 75 hours a week for months with his “computers” to produce what was needed by the Colonel.

The generals would receive what they had been clamouring for. Extra resources! Tanks! Planes! Artillery! Ammunition for all the baying hyenas with more stars on their collars than brains in their head!

Or so it would appear. Truly perception was reality with the masses. And, now, “IT” was ready. With a push of the special button on his computer, Operation Potemkin was launched. ….

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1985: Under an Iron Sky – Second Echelon


Yes! 1985: Under an Iron Sky is going to have a second print run, code named Second Echelon. 

The only differences from the first print run will be:

  • Rules Booklet updated with the errata included in Living Rules version 15
  • Tables assembled in a single 6-pages booklet, easier to use
  • Box with a “Second Echelon / второй эшелон” label in the lower left corner

Second Echelon should be ready in September and, short of a popular uprising, will be printed in 200 copies only.

As for the First Echelon, we’re not going to use PreOrder or KickStarter. If you want to be sure to grab a copy, you may reserve one simply by stating it in the following BoardGameGeek Thread:

And now, the eye candy section with some images of the First Echelon! As already said, Second Echelon will have only minor differences.








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August 14, 1985 – Every Party Has Its Price

A new chapter in the story of KGB Colonel Vianello, introducing Gosphaza Barbara – his loyal, virtuous wife.
With war in Central Europe not going as expected, everybody has to review their own survival plans…..

Brought to you by Grognard Emeritus Thomas Gaul!

Time: The day after the party, officially proclaimed as “Celebration in Anticipation of the Party’s Elimination of Revisionist Swine”

Place: Summer dacha of KGB Colonel Fabrizio Vianello, bedroom of Gosphaza Barbara Vianello, wife and partner to KGB Colonel Vianello

Gosphaza Vianello sat wrapped in her Italian sheets, seemingly asleep, but actually wide awake. She had learned many times the value of “pretend” during her time as the Colonel’s wife. As she lay in her Paris bought lingerie, she thought intensely about her next course of action. Her life, perhaps, and certainly her life of ease and luxury, would depend on this decision and, it was difficult to know which way to go.

Her husband, the Gullible One, had passed out at the party, the vodka making a fool of him, as it did most men. She had allowed and even encouraged this, as she knew something he did not. For all that he prided himself on his “secret” smile (which she had deciphered 3 days after first dating him), she knew he would babble like an Italian when drunk enough and he thought himself safe in bed. Like his mistresses who he thought she knew nothing about, his secrets lasted no longer than she wanted them to. Mostly, the mistresses were a useful distraction for him and her when she wanted to take a “treatment” in Spain. Ah, those Spanish “treatments” the massages, the hands, the feet, the back, and then, slowly, the…

Firmly she brought herself under control. Fun was fun, but a critical decision must be made. The war, and the Colonel’s “Plan”, was in full fury. Difficult for her to know who was winning, even with her access to the Colonel’s secrets. She did not truly care who won the war but rather whether the Colonel would survive and with him her life of luxury. He had survived many times, due mostly to her subtle guidance and certain “arrangements” she had made with KGB Generals, and he might or might not survive again. The most important question was, “Should she stay or should she denounce him and move on”?

She had known he had been worried about the investigations into “war shortages” and with good reason. His dealings had brought in much capital (unlike her husband, she did not even pretend to be a Socialist) for both and, for her, furs, jewels, special shopping sprees and “treatments” in Europe. She obviously made no complaints about the activities that kept her in the style to which she was accustomed. And, of course, she had gathered enough evidence against him that at any time she could denounce him and PERHAPS not be eliminated.

But it was that PERHAPS that worried her. If he fell, could she truly survive? And not just survive, but continue her life of comfort? If he fell, and she survived, and she could move on to the next foolish but high-ranking male, all was well and good. He would be shot, of course, but such was life in the Soviet Union. She would look good in black, and there would, of course, be a State funeral, with many connected and handsome KGB, Party or Kremlin officials needing to comfort a grieving widow.

However… he was not dead yet and might survive, with her help of course. He did have some abilities and his latest endeavor with this “computer” of his might be enough. Though she little understood the paper she had found when rifling through his “secret” boot compartment, it did seem to have promise. And, if he DID succeed in deflecting the investigations…..

She made up her mind. Better the Devil you knew. She would play the dutiful wife. He would believe she was still loyal and, in her own way, she was. He would believe her to be what she wanted him to believe her to be. For now, she would stick by him. For now……

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August, 6th 1985 – In the Middle of the Storm

From Thomas Gaul, Grognard Emeritus, another chapter in the world of deception and subterfuge of KGB’s Colonel Fabrizio Leonidovich Vianello!

Time: A couple weeks after the beginning of the war against NATO Neo-Fascist Capitalist exploiters
Place: KGB Colonel Vianello private office, secret KGB location deep within the Kremlin

KGB Colonel Vianello sat deep in contemplation. His keenly honed sense of danger, which had served him so well in the arcane and deeply complicated, interwoven, maneuvers of Party, KGB, and Kremlin politics, was going into overdrive. The meeting of the Committee for Review of Analysation and Planning, headed by General Beriaski, had just been completed and all was in flux.

The war itself was fluid, as all military situations were in the beginning. Some successes, some less than that. The launching of the preemptive strike to deter NATO aggression had struck the Capitalist Swine hard and viciously. The beauty of “The Plan”, his Plan, or at least the parts that had gone well, had been acknowledged by all. Normally, this would be the time when he would be basking in the glow of the accolades, taking credit for the goals reached, pinning the failures on the less talented or less well connected.

And yet, and yet….. There had been an admittedly major shortcoming. The amount of ammo, supplies, oil, replacements, spare parts, etc…. had been vastly underestimated. Reports of glorious Soviet advances had been soured by major and (in KGB Colonel Vianello’s mind) strident and shrieking complaints from the front lines about “running out of essential materials”. Demands had been made for war materials that were simply not available.

Questions were being asked. Worse, investigations were being launched. Talk was that “heads would roll”. Such talk was treasonous but there it was. But, far, far more dangerous was what would actually be found. And, most important of all, who would be blamed.

KGB Colonel Vianello knew, that, of course, he was not to be blamed. After all, if the troops on the line were wasteful, was that his fault? Who could have known what the demand would be for war materials? And, alright, perhaps some of his “side deals” with black market weapons dealers had contributed to the shortage, but, truly, could a few SAMs, tanks, AKs, have made that much of a difference? No, such things were not to be foreseen.

But, there were those (secret Fascists in the Colonel’s mind), who would demand answers. And inquiries. And, in extreme cases, shootings. In dealing with fanatics like the generals, who bayed like hyennas when they did not have enough material, who failed to understand complicated logistical matters, anyone, even someone as dedicated and true as KGB Colonel Vianello, could fall victim to revisionists. He had made enemies, and, killed most of them. But some may have survived.

Abruptly, KGB Colonel Vianello came to a decision. Slowly, he reached into his boot, into the secret compartment where “the paper” was concealed. He reached over to his desk, complete with the new, glorious Soviet computer, stolen from the decadent Capitalists (such a decision like this could not be trusted to the typing pool) and began to enter the “numbers”.

His plan within a plan would begin now.

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June 01, 1985 – a few weeks before the storm

This is a contribution to the “1985: Under an Iron Sky” background by Thomas Gaul, old Grognard and reader of my “The Next War – Operation Attila” AAR. 

Time: June 01, 1985
Place: Deep in the secret bowels of the Krelim, KGB section

Comrade KGB Colonel Vianello signed with the contentment of a well stuff pig. The meal, wine (vodka also, of course), and cigars of the late night repast were the justifiable reward for all the hard work he and his team had put into the war plans for the coming destruction of the Capitalist-Neo-Fascist NATO powers. As such, his team and especially himself had earned this splendid feast. Yes, the workers might have to worry about a poor harvest but, after all, some of the masses were more equal than the other masses and as such should not have to worry about such mundane matters as the price of bread. When victory came, as it must, there would be plenty for all. Just plenty more for him.

All was in readiness. The plans, down to the most minute detail of mis-information given to the corrupt Western media had been prepared. Logistical, propaganda, rail movement plans, strike sights, airdrop zones, training, reserve call-ups, and all the thousand and one details that constituted the greatest military operation in history were all completed. Victory to the Glorious Socialist State was assured!

And, to himself only, Comrade KGB Colonel Vianello allowed himself his secret smile, the one he let no one, not the party elders, not his children, his wife or even his many mistresses see. For, though anything other than complete victory was inconceivable, it was the nature of the KGB to conceive even the inconceivable.
The “plan”, which, of course, would become “his” plan when it overran Europe, with the inevitable errors easily able to be fobbed off on incompetent underlings (some of whom might have to be shot as “wreckers” if it was an especially bad error) was never complete without the secret “out” clause he built into all his plans.

Not for nothing had he been nicknamed “The Survivor”* by his KGB colleagues. Just as his father had survived the Stalinist purges, his grandfather the Cheka before the Revolution, and some distant ancestor Napoleon’s invasion, so he too knew how to ensure his continued existence. Even if the inconceivable happened and somehow, no doubt through the failings of others, the “plan” failed and the Capitalist swine rolled into Moscow, he had a plan. With a grin he believed his British mistress might call “the Chesire Cat grin”, invisible to all, he patted the paper hidden inside his boot. Such an “insurance policy” was worth its weight in decadent capitalist gold.

  • *Those associates who had instead referred to him as “The Weasel” had long since been identified and sent to the Gulag or developed a severe and fatal case of lead poisoning.