Battle Report: Spectre Operations 20/04/2017

Thursday’s battle at the club took us back to Spectre Operations and once more deployed to Bazistan. Wanting to get more horde of technicals on the table, what better opponent than heavy metal itself, the Challenger 2.


2 days after NATO intervention in Bazistan.

US and British forces are currently pushing towards Bazi city, engaging both the rebel militias and elements of the Bazistan army and police who have changed allegiances.

As part of this advance, a British Challenger 2 named “Boar Fighter” has encountered mechanical issues and was separated from the main advance. A group of engineers (escorted by a US Army squad in Humvees) have managed to repair the tank and as a group are now advancing to catch up with the main force. Luckily, the Panther belonging to the engineers has managed to get some CAS in support.

Between the main force and the breakaway party is the village of Al-Kahal. Al-Kahal sits at the high points between two valleys, forcing vehicles along the road through it. Although Al-Kahal was cleared by US Army forces earlier in the day, the local militia has returned in their technicals and has additionally been reinforced by elements of the National Police of Bazistan. Having spotted the small convoy moving towards them, the fighters prepared to ambush the tank and destroy it.

As the convoy rumbles towards the town, the only sign of something amiss is the lack of locals outside.

BLUFOR comprised of the tank, a fireteam of Brits in a Panther CLV and a squad of US Army Infantry spread across two up-armored Humvees. Against them, OPFOR had a mighty 5 technicals (including a heavy recoiless rifle and a TOW missile system), a squad of Eritrean mercs, a squad of National Police of Bazistan, a mob of militia and a team of tank hunters.
As the game began, BLUFOR rolled slowly onto the board while the militia held their fire, waiting for the tank to get closer. Eventually, the M40 totting technical decided to take out the second vehicle in the convoy (the Panther) with a quick pot shot. However, the round sailed past, doing nothing more than alerting the Brits that they were under attack. As the tank started to rush the town, the rest of the OPFOR started to open up, doing nothing more than suppressing the crew in the tank.

However, in the next turn the tank recovered, rolled forward and rotated it’s gun towards the unfortunate technical that fired the first shot. The rest of the convoy moved up as well. The Panther got into position to deploy it’s troops.

Shooting began with the Challenger 2 hammering a HESH round into the technical and achieving a mobility kill, making all but one crewman into a casualty. The two Humvees then joined in, raining .50cal rounds into the pickup and causing it to finally explode. In response, the militia opened up with a second round of “fire everything” which did nothing more than add more suppression.

BLUFOR decided to turn off the road and head through the back streets, the Humvees keeping close behind the tank. The Challenger rumbled down the road, halting with its gun barrel poking round the corner. This obviously scared the pants off the driver and he started backing up.

Close by however, the Eritreans prepared to take out the more vulnerable Humvees with a hail of fire. Across the road, the fireteam of tank hunters also crept forward trying to get in a good position to knock out the rear of the convoy.

However, the Brits were too quick and spotted the attackers entering the wadi. Pouring on the fire, both the RPG gunners went down dead. In the side street, the American gunner spotted movement and hammered .50cal rounds into the gap. The four shots downed the RPG gunner and suppressesed the next threat. The Eritreans responded with a volley of shots that suppressesed the humvee but caused no damage.

The movement of the tank hunters also opened up a gap for the TOW to put a shot in. With a *foosh* the missile flew across the fields and slammed into the ground just next to the lead humvee (it hit and caused some mobility damage). The lead vehicle was now going to slow the convoy down.

Their job done, the Brits remounted and sped past the Humvees. The tank continued to rumble round the corner, it’s prey once again frantically reversing. However, it was all for naught.

Seeing the demise of their technicals, the National Police started moving, keeping it’s RPG gunners in position to tank hunters while the rest moved out of sight. The rest of the force started to prepare defenses against BLUFOR trying to ram through the wall and then run off the board

In a calculated move, the Challenger 2 started to accelerate towards the wall. Behind it, the Panther got into position and hammered the flank of the pinned Eritreans, keeping them of action. The Humvees limped forward. Bigger news was what the Challenger 2 did next. Knowing about the TOW that would be shooting at it once it cleared the wall, it set off its smoke launchers. The smoke dropped all around, with one grenade landing on the police unit causing a casualty while another hit the militia and caused two more men to go down. The Challenger was also overwatched by one of the police but it shrugged off the round and them wiped out the shooter with the co-ax.

At this point, most of the militia was combat ineffective through suppression or location. However the Challenger rumbled on, smashing into the wall and breaching it. The AT gunners sat on overwatch all fired but the rounds just bounced off the Chobam armour. The rest of the convoy followed up the tank and headed for the breach.

Time was rapidly running out but the BLUFOR player has one last task. Swinging the turret, the Challenger lined up its 120mm gun on the fake tank and blew it sky high.

By now the bar staff were slowly turn the lights off and so we called it. BLUFOR has managed to push through the village with only minimal damage. However, with another turn one of the .50cal technicals might have caught the Humvees in the rear and caused some damage. But that’s just mights and the BLUFOR had managed to break through. Looks like the militia commander will be in trouble with the Shiekh


Overall, it was a rather fun time. I think Spectre’s rules are great and the vehicle stuff work best at the lighter end of the spectrum of vehicles. The combination of “to hit” and “to penetrate” speeds up the game but can lead to some bizarre situations. The tank hunter rule changes help  it the fact lethality plays no part seems incorrect.

More the fault of us, we completely forgot about the off map options we had. BLUFOR were hampered by their ROE but i should have been dropping mortar fire like it was going out of fashion.

On the other hand, we threw a large number of figures and vehicles at the board and both teams has fun – that’s what matters at the end of the day. I was also really happy with how the technicals look on the table – there were quite a few positive comments made about them (including my favourite the “fake tank”).

Not sure the next time we will be playing Spectre, but I’m looking forward to it!

Weekend Warfare 2 – CGS S01E02

Part two of my attempt to play more wargames returns us to Skirmish Sangin, with a few new house rules this time. While the last mission was all out action against an inferior foe, this one sees a small team attempting to recon a warehouse currently being used as a base for a shifty corporation and their mercenaries. What could they be up to? It’s time for CGS’s Team 2 to deploy.

 


CGS S01E02 – 1 Hour Earlier

1 hour before CGS Team 1 go into action in Bazi City, the camera zooms in to a warehouse complex on the outskirts of town. Zooming out to the front gate, it pans over old and worn adobe building before directing towards four dirt lumps huddled on the roof. There is a pause and then a shuffle as weapons are drawn and placed into position.

Team 2’s mission was to infiltrate this warehouse facility (codenamed Site Bravo) and perform two tasks:

  1. Hit the comms tower and grab a data dump that will contain information on transfers around the site
  2. Investigate the interior of the warehouse, in particular a shipping container from the last shipment to arrive at the warehouse

Team 2 was comprised of four soldiers split into 2 elements:

  1. Sniper team with Tinkler (Sniper Rifle) and Richards (DMR)
  2. Assault Team with Ward (M4 w/ UGL and Suppressed Pistol) and Harrison (M4 and Suppressed Pistol)

Arrayed against them?  The initial Intel put a set of 4 security guards (Smith, Wright, Brown and Creighton) patrolling round the site or in static positions. On site observation in the days before the raid showed an 8 man from Argo’s Direct Action team – armed with assault rifles, SMGs and a light machine gun. Four operators began off site in an SUV (Dvořák, Pownall, Baum and Leusink), two were sleeping in the building next to the portaloo (Chichigov and Séguin) while the other two were guarding the warehouse (Montanez and Šnajdr).

Due to the imminent start of the operation in Bazi City, it was decided to bring the action part of the operation forward. With the SUV away from the site, Ward and Harrison chose this opportunity to sneak inside and begin the intel gathering.

Turn 1

To begin with Tinkler and Richards stayed quiet, using their shooting position to spot the various guards that were in the line of site. Wright and Brown continue on their patrol paths while Smith stayed inside the front gate shelter, looking back into the facility. This distraction gave Ward and Harrison plenty of time to sprint towards the dense on the south side of the facilty, moving past the jersey barriers via the gap. They then paused to climb the fence.

Inside the warhouse, the two mercs eventually stopped their conversation and returned to guard duty. Worse, the two sleeping mercs woke up and move outside to get some fresh air. Luckily, Richards and Tinkler were able to pass on their locations allowing the assault team to pick the right moment to climb the fence and then sneak past the front security gate. Unfortunately, just as they were about to clear the guard hut, Smith finally stopped staring off into the distance, turned, noticed a man (Harrison) wearing a bush walking past and started reaching for his radio.

Before he could thumb the radio, it was time for Ward to activate. Walking forward, he pumped two suppressed pistol rounds through the open window dropping Smith to the ground, heavily wounded and unconscious. Brushing this off, the assault team crept in. Creighton, having swapped roles with Brown, walked out of the site office and strolled right past the front gate. Obviously thinking too much about the warm chair he just left, Creighton managed to miss both the pair of bushes and the strangely quiet gate post.

Turn 2

This lack of awareness would be his downfall. As the second turn started, Harrison activated and crept up behind Creighton. Rolling well, Harrison dropped the guard to the floor by causing 13 points of damage, an instant kill. Bounding past, Ward rushed to the the main hub building to get to the data tower and begin the download. Working his way through the building he reached the roof, placed the hacking device and started the transfer. Harrison moved into position on the floor below, ready to provide cover or escape should it be required.

It was at this point that an SUV started pulling up to the entrance of the facility. The four remaining members of the mercenary team had returned.

Tinkler and Richards, sat in overwatch watched the vehicle slowly turn in and halt at the barrier. Realising that the odds were stacked well and truly against them with the arrival of the relief team, and that the objective wasn’t yet complete, Tinkler decided now was the time to go active. Also affecting the decision was the sounds of dismay coming from two of the security guards – they had spotted Creighton’s body in the open and were about to raise the alarm.

Just as Baum stepped from the vehicle (planning to investigate why the barrier hadn’t been raised), a round from Tinkler came flying right past him, hitting the front of the vehicle and smashing through the engine block. The SUV was no longer functional, causing the rest of the mercs to dive out of the vehicle in disarray. Richards then attempted to send a round into Baum but he missed. The rest of the mercs outside the base then moved into their own cover points either by choice or by failing morale tests and retiring.

Inside the compound, the rest of mercs started appearing out of their various hiding places and started moving towards the front gate. Montanez headed up to the first floor of the warehouse to gain an advantage while the others (and the remaining security guards) moved into various pieces of cover to regroup.

This gap in the firefight was advantageous as Ward was quickly able to finish grabbing the download. At this point, CGS had fulfilled one of two objectives. After consulting with the CGS off-site commander (one of my wargaming buddies down in York), they decided not to risk entering the warehouse as they were unsure how many enemy troops were hidden away and the current situation was one they could more easily escape from. As part of this getaway, Harrison rushed down the stairs, vaulted through the window of the front gate’s hut and then hit the deck. Ward, data disc in hand, only made it to the top floor of the office.

Back at the extraction point, Richards was able to spot Pownall and bring an aimed shot to bear. It hit, dropping the unfortunate soldier with a single shot. However, this fire was starting to attract attention. Leuinksi, having pulled himself together managed to spot Tinkler after a few attempts. The rest of the mercs inside the compound started to engage the Assault team. Montanez sprinted up the stairs ready to breach and enter. The rest focused on Harrison, shredding the outer wall of the hut but doing nothing more than causing some morale markers. Chingov, looking for a new angle, moved behind the site office.

Turn 3

Baum and Tinkler have the same body and would activate at the same time so a roll off took place. Tinkler won it and responded by spotting Baum in the open and hammering a shot into him. The sniper round caused more than fatal damage and another merc was down. Success was also on CGS’s side inside the compound as Harrison climbed out the window and barely made a close range shot. It also caused a low amount of damage, doing not much more than putting Brown on the ground for a bit. Ward also caused some damage, spotting Montanez through the door and putting a burst into him. Montanez was in a bad way but still conscious. This shooting had a knock on effect as both Wright and Brown became pinned in place.

The next activation saw lots of things happen very quickly. Tinkler tried to shoot the LMG gunner but fumbled, causing a misfire that would need to be cleared. Spotting the shot, Lesunki popped up out of cover and put a burst of fire down on Tinkler to shut him up. It didn’t cause any damage but it did draw Richard’s attention. After a successful spot, a shot landed and caused a medium wound knocking Lesunki unconcious.

The mercs still in the fight spotted Ward and started putting rounds down. With the luck of the devil, Ward managed to evade all this fire, pass his morale checks and keep running. Both he and Harrison reached the exfil zone and were about to move off board when Dvorak, the Argo team leader, popped up and sent a few aimed shot towards Ward. The shots missed and the CGS team disappeared off into the desert.

Post Game

With all four team members intact and with the data disc in hand, CGS Team 2 had managed to fufil part of their objective. However, they had not investigated the warehouse and so are unaware of what exactly Argo are distributing in the region. Due to the lack of injuries, Team 2 will also be able to assist Team 1 in the next mission, either as heliborne snipers or by dropping into the city.

The rules I was testing was working well, and although there are a few tweaks needed it’s heading in the right direction. The other stand out part of this was playing over the excellent MDF terrain. Sarrissa’s factory is without compare and it’s a shame more of a firefight didn’t happen in there. Its also making me think about using the factory as one element of my demo board. Maybe CGS will be returning to Site Bravo? I also really need to get the boards assembled and the scenery painted – bare MDF is a little boring to look at.

Next game will be delayed a while (the next few weeks are very busy) but when we return it will be time for Team 1 to try and get out of Bazi City with a VIP in tow. Hopefully the arrival of Team 2 should help them out a little bit. On the other hand, there are a lot of cops and militia on their tail.

Team 2 sits in the back of extraction chopper, ghille suits stowed and weapons hung on the racks. The usual post mission feel is interrupted when the helo suddenly changes direction. The loadmaster breaks open the supply boxes and begins handing out ammo and weapons. Ward stands up, turns to his team and asks “You guys ready to pull Davison’s ass from the fire again?”

Battle Report: Skirmish Sangin 09/02/2017

Scenario 12 of the Bazistan Crisis – An RAF F35 Lightning II enforcing the no-fly zone has suffered an engine failure and has crashed somewhere in the rebel held zone. Unable to deploy conventional CSAR assets, British command has ordered an SAS team already in country to find and extract the downed pilot. Upon arriving in the area, the special forces troopers spot some mobile tangos also moving to find the pilot. It would now be a race to find where the pilot is hiding out

Coming back to Skirmish Sangin after a short break where I’ve spent most of my time writing scenarios rather than playing them, I decided to go all out. Big table, vehicles and everything. After dispensing with my original idea, I instead decided to send us off looking for a downed pilot. After lots of comments about “That’s a big board” (useful seeing as vehicles move rather quickly), we set down and started playing


The SAS begun in the village, getting ready for moving into the rest of the search area. In the fields, the rebel band was milling around next to an old watch tower, climbing aboard their technicals or setting up their machine gun to overwatch the area. One of the fighters moved north to scan through the crops but found nothing of use.

Across the board, the SAS drove north heading to the abandoned mosque. Coming to a stop nearby, the team leader disembarked and looked inside. With a whisper of a codeword, the pilot revealed himself. He was swiftly bundled into the SUV but the sight of potential pursuers caused the SAS to pause in place.

“Flying Officer Livingston I presume?”

Seeing the cloud of dust from a high speed vehicle, the rebel leader shouted for his band to roll out. Streaming across the desert, the two vehicles separated while the guard team (sat in the tower) started trying to accurately spot the target vehicle.

However, the SAS had easily drawn a bead on the pickup trucks. A second trooper disembarked, dropped to a knee and opened up on one of the approaching vehicles. A burst of fire ripped the vehicle to pieces blowing it up and immolating all the passengers except the rebel leader. This cunning veteran had dived out the vehicle just before and was now lying prone on the desert floor.

The other vehicle tried to spot the source of the gunfire but the gun crew were distracted watching the burning wreck of their comrade’s ride. This distraction was deadly – a second burst of fire (this time from the squad’s LMG gunner) shot up the crew compartment wrecking the vehicle and stopping it from functioning. The passengers bailed out, going to ground around it.

However, it wasn’t going all the SAS’s way. The guard team in its tower was putting fire down on the SUV, with the combined PKM and assault rifle pinning the troops inside down. In an attempt to respond, the JTAC in the squad started trying to call down a hellfire from an orbiting drone. Despite the visible threat, the drone operators were in a no go situation, requiring more details from the operators. The JTAC was happy to give them, in addition to a few choice words.

The rebel leader was, to bit it mildly, a little annoyed. He had been robbed of his prize to parade on TV, two expensive weapon platforms were destroyed and several soldiers were either dead or injured. Angry, the battle-worn fighter levelled his AK at the figure behind the bonnet of the SUV, took aim and fired a shot. He saw the target drop behind the vehicle but before his eyes the injured man crawled out of sight.

With an injured squad leader (mostly alive due to his body armour) and still under MG fire, the team was now all in cover behind the vehicle and trading shots with rebels. The UGL punched out a grenade that took two more rebels down, leaving 3 of the attacking force still alive. The second squad leader didn’t want to become stuck out in the wasteland so he and his buddy sprinted off towards the village in the hope of finding cover and a better angle.

Also around this time, another white SUV was seen off in the distance. This was the second team in the SAS element, having been alerted to the ongoing fight. The offroader bounced across the plains, pulling to a stop near the edge of the crops in the centre of the play area. The second team then started to disembark, providing a distraction to the guard team in the tower. The PKM swivelled to face the new threat.

The let up of incoming fire allowed the JTAC to do his job more easily. Transmitting the target co-ordinates to the help flying aboce,  nothing initially seemed to happen. Nothing that is, until a titanic explosion ripped the tower apart as a hellfire missile found it’s mark. With the gunfire slackening off, the SAS started to prepare to leave.

The rebels were shaken but not yet out the game. The force’s leader became pinned down in a crossfire, lost his nerve and then left the field of conflict. However, the other squad leader sprinted up some stairs to a rooftop. Using this advantage, he and his partner in crime riddled SAS team 1’s SUV, causing the pilot to bail out and potentially giving them a long walk home. However, before they could finish the job, Team 2 landed a 40mm round on their position putting them out of action.

The AO now clear of enemies, the SAS were victorious. Now they just have to fix their holey vehicle and get out the hinterlands and back to civilisation. I’m sure this is one story the pilot will be telling for a while.


Overall we both had a fun time. It was great to get back into playing Sangin after a break and it’s still my favourite system to play.

Learning Points

  • Vehicles look tough but actually technicals and humvees (whose profile the SUVs were using) are still vulnerable to small arms fire.
  • JTACs and UCAVs are very fun to use as a player, even if they take up a massive points value.
  • Scenario still needs a little balancing. If I had all my vehicles painted, the insurgents would have received a third technical as well as a team to go with it as reinforcement for the OPFOR.

Battle Report: Spectre Operations 01/12/2016

More photos and coverage of the game can be found at Pioneer Painting and SESWC

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This week’s wargaming took me back to Spectre, demoing the game for the first time to two members of the SESWC. I also wanted to put on a bit of a show and get lots of insurgents on the board. I had originally planned for the game to be 4 sections of Professionals vs an equal points value of militia and trained but I very quickly found myself running out of figures (and time to paint more). Luckily, I had overestimated the number of players that would be taking part and so my points values worked out great against only two sections. Moral of the story: stop panicking.


This mission saw the NZDF commitment to Bazistan moving into an area to destroy weapon caches and confront the opposing force.

NZDF
Two sections with body armour, radios, PMK, pistols, frag and smoke

  • 2x Professional Squad Leader with Assault Rifle (scope and red dot)
  • 4x Professional with Compact LMG (scope and red dot)
  • 4x Professional with Assault Rifle and UGL (scope and red dot)
  • 6x Professional with Assault Rifle (scope and red dot)

Militants
Militia Commander w/ Assault Rifle + Long Range Comms + Binocs + Radio + Remote Detonator
3x Mortar Strike

3x Militia Squad Leader w/ Assault Rifle + Radio
4x Militiamen w/ RPG
6x Militiamen w/ MMG
20x Militiamen w/ Assault Rifle
Militiaman w/ HMG

Trained SL w/ AR + radio + remote detonator
Trained SL w/carbine + radio + remote detonator
9x Trained w/AR
5x Trained w/ carbine
Trained w/ AR and UGL
2x Trained w/ MMG
Trained w/ DMR + scope
Trained w/ RPG
Trained w/ Combat Shotgun
2x Trained w/sniper rifle w/ scope
4x IED (victim operated)
2x Vehicle IED


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The game started with the Kiwis advancing onto the board behind the diplomatic compound giving them plenty of time to creep forward around the unalert militants. The two sections broke down further into fire teams. Two teams went south towards the main street (with one team vaulting the wall into the compound itself) while the other two crept along the north wall. However, as one of the southern groups crossed the street, both an insurgent sniper and HMG weapon spotted the team and became alerted. In the following turn, the HMG hammered down the street. It caused nothing more than a few points of suppression but it did alert every figure on the board. In response, the other fireteam opened up with its Compact LMG and brought the gunner down.

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Drawn towards the fire, other militant forces started to stream through the village. The militia led the way, intending to mob the better trained and equipped New Zealanders, while the trained groups waited back. One mob streamed around the buildings towards the southern most fireteam and managed to put some fire down. In response, the Kiwis opened up with an LMG and Grenade launcher knocking most of the mob down and getting them some breathing room. In the next turn, section 2 relocates with one fire team falling back to the security barriers while the other climbs onto the first floor to provide some top cover. From this cover, the section managed to put a lot of fire into the mob coming down the main street and wipe them out. They also managed to put a lot of fire into a group that came streaming out of the southern most courtyard and knock out all but three of the militia.

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On the northern edge of the board, section 1 had managed to skirt round the compound and get close to the courtyard where another arms cache was being held. However, before they could do anything, trained fighters started streaming over the wall (except for one soldier). A round of shooting managed to kill 2 but more appeared, forcing the NZ player to frantically get out of the road and into a piece of cover.

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Now at this point, I was ably assisted by a friend of mine at the club walking over to the game and offhandedly commented “Hey, can’t that sniper see someone?”. A quick check, a lucky dice roll and one member of section 2 was lying down bleeding out. The fire team drags their injured comrade back behind the concrete walls of the diplomatic compound. Up top, the overwatching team causes casualties to more of the militia but they just keep coming. The three fighters left alive suddenly prove their worth, hammering MMG fire and an RPG into the overwatch team and causing more casualties and downing two more professional soldiers.

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Back in the north of the board, one of the two NZ fire teams crept around the top of the board and got into a close quarters fight with one of the trained squads. The fight downed another Kiwi but also cost quite a few of my unarmoured troops including the squad leader. As the last move of the game, one of my opponents noticed I’d left my commander by himself and within line of sight of the Minimi gunner in the surrounded building. Three round burst later and my highest command value suddenly dropped.

As we ran out of time, its was obvious the militia had taken a beating but only one arms cache had been destroyed. This is the first time as a militia player I’ve managed to make a huge dent so I’ll be doing much more mobbing in future games

My main takeaway? THE FOX (and his spotter) STRIKES AGAIN!

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Battle Report: Black Powder “The Battle of Newark 1776”

Up until now, I have only been writing reports for modern wargames battles.However, seeing as my fellow wargamers at SESWC report on all the games they play, I thought I should follow them and branch out a little to show the variety of games that are played down the club.

This week – Black Powder!

A group of players at SESWC have been running a campaign re-enacting the American War of Independence, with each player taking a general and their troops. So far, I haven’t taken part in any of this but I was invited to jump in and take control of a brigade of Colonials. Having only played a little bit of Black Powder, this was a good chance to learn with being overwhelmed by how much I was controlling at the time.

The situation was thus – Sixteen American regiments and guns (under General Washington) had managed to mass and were able to pin down a small group of British in an attempt to force them back. This battle saw a large force encircling Newark, home of a British garrison. Luckily for the Americans not only was this garrison only three regiments strong, it was also the location of the British C-in-C, General Howe out visiting the troops and unfortunately delayed enough to prevent him leaving the encirclement.

I took command as Brigadier Gen. Clinton, commanding the 7th, 17th and 26th regiments of the 1 Continental. Forming up close to the woods by the Northern road, the plan was to engage forces on the northern side of the town, providing support for other units to advance and capture the settlement. The rest of the Americans deployed to the North and West, including a small force crossing the ford and so able to approach the town from the West. Finally, the player in charge of Washington had used some rules of the campaign to deploy a surprise attack, bringing a final force into play from the South.

As the battle begun one of my regiments traded fire with the British while one of my other regiments moved through the woods to form an extended gun line. Elsewhere, the British were coming under a hail of fire. The southern troops had managed to enter the town. On the eastern side, the Americans had manged to reach the bridge and were pounding the flank. In the west, the Americans were redeploying but had managed to inflict some casualties and started to advance.

Seeing the end, General Howe decided to ride out in glory. Taking the least mangled British regiment, he charged into my forces. Luckily the American line held and thanks to the masses of support around combat, the Americans eventually broke the British and captured Howe himself. The British on the eastern flank were the last to fall, encircled on all sides by Americans.

I haven’t played a huge amount of Black Powder but I’m a fan of them. As someone who doesn’t know a huge amount about the period, its more important that the rules work (at least for now) and Black Powder is quick, light and fast to play (as long as you don’t spend too much time arguing about rules. As for the game, the Brits were in one of those situations you occasionally find in a Total War campaign that you would normally skip; they put up a good fight but sadly they were doomed from the start. Luckily for them though, this change in campaign position has put the bulk of the Continental Army right in front of the British Regulars. We might be returning to Newark sometime soon for a different type of battle.

Other Views

For more photos and viewpoints, take a look at some of the other reporting on this battle.

SESWC – https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1158037994234172&id=158670127504302

German Michael – http://meneken.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/howe-could-ye-ever-let-that-happen.html

Jack (George Washington) – http://pioneerpainting.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/battle-of-newark.html

Bart (Howe) – Coming soon

Gallery

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The paperwork
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Overview of the board from the North-West corner
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Howe joins the battle!

Battle Report: Spectre Operations 03/11/2016

If you haven’t realised based off previous posts, my wargaming opponents are split between friends down in York and SESWC up in Edinburgh. Having introduced Spectre to the guys in York, it was now time to try it out with the Edinburgh crowd. Here is how things went down


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The game begins

After the SAS operation robbed them of their prize, Militants in Bazistan are looking for ways to raise funds. Their latest target is the Argo Corporation, a multi-national with various commercial interests in the region. The militants have managed to kidnap two contractors and are now holding them for ransom. Eager to recover their people, they have sent some of their Private Military Contractors to sort out a deal with the militants.

However, the two hostages are actually responsible for several acts of sabotage and spying, including one on a Russian competitor. Even worse, this competitor is a front for the Russian Intelligence services and as such a team of Spetsnaz have been deployed to secure the two hostages and “question” them about their involvement.

The deal goes down in an abandoned town. While the contractors and militants converse, the Russians advance…

Forces

Spetsnaz

All with body armour, pistols, radio, thermobaric and smoke grenades and personal medical kit

1x Elite Squad Leader w/ Carbine (w/ red dot and laser)

1x Elite w/ Heavy body armour, MMG (w/ red dot) and Combat Shotgun

1x Elite w/ LMG (w/ red dot)

4x Elite w/ assault rifle (w/ red dot and laser)

1x Elite w/ Carbine (w/ red dot and laser), battlefield trauma kit and stimulants

1x Elite w/ assault rifle (w/ red dot and laser) and MGL

Contractors

1x Professional Squad Leader w/ carbine (w/scope and Red Dot)

3x Professionals w/ carbine (w/scope and Red dot)

1x Professionals w/ carbine (w/scope and Red dot) and Battlefield Trauma Kit

2x Professionals w/ compact LMG

1x Professional w/ carbine (w/ scope and red dot) and automatic shotgun

4x Professionals w/ carbine (w/scope and red dot) and UGL

Militants and AWOL Eritrean soldiers

Eritreans

All have body armour, radios, frag grenades and personal med kits

1x Trained Commander w/ assault rifle and UGL

4x Trained Soldiers w/ Assault rifle

1x Trained Soldier w/ RPG (HEAT and AP)

1x Trained Soldier w/ LMG

1x Trainer Soldier w/ Battle Rifle and Battlefield Trauma Kit

Militants

1x Trained Squad Leader w/ carbine and radio

1x Trained w/ MMG

1x Trained w/ Combat Shotgun

6x Trained w/Assault Rifle

5x Trained w/ Carbine

The Game

Militants start inside the compound while the PMC start in the village, with the two sides having a conference by the front gate as they attempt to make the trade. Inside the compound, the hostages are stored in a shipping container where they have been held for several days. The Russians are infiltrating from the other side of the drainage ditch. As the game starts, everyone but the Russians are unaware.

For a while the game was pretty quiet – the Russians move into position against the wall of the compound, the contractors sneaked a unit into the L-shaped building and a small group of militants patrolled around – worryingly, the militant’s leader re-entered the compound leaving the contractors to deal with his subordinate. However, the Russians soon started the party with a bang; Two soldiers were propped up by their buddies so they could shoot over the wall while the grenadier hefted his pump action grenade launcher and rattled off three quick shots (Ed: yes this required some rule improvisation). The assault rifles dropped two of the militants while the grenade launcher missed, scattering and shredding the trees the Eritreans were hiding in. Realising the alarm was raised, the rest of the Russians opened up with machine guns and suppressed more of the Eritreans.

As the sounds of gunfire erupted, the other sides swiftly swung into action. Before the targets could even react, the leader of the mercenaries and his backup swiftly went into action and double tapped the guards outside. The rest of the contractors, assuming a double cross, started opening up with 40mm grenades and LMGs even attempting to hit the shadowy forms on the other side of the compound wall. The Russians continued to take out the exposed Eritreans even as they fled into the fields. On top of a tower in the compound, the Eritrean commander repeatedly failed to rally his forces and was hamstrung more when another grenade launcher round hit the tower and took out him and his RPG gunner. Looks like the AWOL soldiers were a bad investment as backup.

However, the fight wasn’t going all the attackers way. The militants springing into action managed to put some fire down on the perched Russians forcing them back over the wall. After rallying off the suppression, three of the Spetsnatz (including the medic and commander) leapt over the wall and got ready to rush the remaining militia. Upon landing, the militants managed to drop one and pin down the others with scattered automatic fire. On the far side of the compound, the PMC moved up and got ready to breach the interior in an attempt to grab the hostages before the Russians.

Time was running out and so the final two turns saw a lot of stuff happen very quickly

  1. The Militant leader and his buddy grabbed the two hostages and used them as human shields
  2. The PMC team breached, saw the two militants holding the hostages and dropped the bad guys
  3. As the militants advanced on the Russians, three more Spetsnatz operators climbed over the wall and dived onto the OPFOR taking them out in CQB
  4. The rest of the Russians inside the compound opened up on the PMC intruders dropping two of them
  5. That dastardly operator with the MGL fired his final blast and blew away the last contractor inside the walls.

As the time ran out, the militants had been wiped out. The Russians had 1 KIA but the rest of the team was in a good position and closest to the objective. Finally the contractors had lost three of their number but still had troops in position on the rooftops overlooking the compound. All the players agreed that an extra turn or two would have probably seen the Russians win, but it would really close.

Gallery

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Hostages all ready for the trade
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The Contractors run through the plan
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The PMC backup team waits for things to go wrong
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One of the Spetsnatz leaning over the wall
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The Russians Fire Support all ready to support
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The PMC Red Shirt’s view of the battlefield
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The compound at the start of the final turn
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PMC pop smoke as the Russians come running in

 


Another good game, everyone seemed to enjoy it. Looking forward to getting some games in and playing around with some more forces.

The other two players will be writing up their thoughts – SESWC at https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1150900081614630&id=158670127504302 and Bart at http://asienieboje.blogspot.co.uk/

Battle Report: Skirmish Sangin 21/07/2016

Seeing as people liked the last game, here is the followup. I’m forming a rough campaign taking the results of the last game and bringing it forward. I played this at SESWC using a tweaked version of the Compound 17 scenario from the rulebook. 

48 hours earlier…

“Round of applause for Team 2 everyone” joked the Major as the teams shuffled into the briefing hall. “Thanks to the little snot they captured during the bombmaker hunt, they managed to claw viable intel from what would have otherwise been just one less bomber in the world”. The Major waitied for everyone to be seated before continuing.

” We now know that the Taliban are looking to regain a foothold in the region. There are lots of warlords eager to line their pockets and go back to the bad old days. Thanks to our little bit of intel, we know when a major Taliban figure will be sitting down with a warlord to discuss joining forces. Team 4, you’ll be going in to  observe the target compound. Once both HVTs are meeting, we will launch an assault supported by the West Shiresdale Fusiliers. Two sections will block to the north while 1st section will provide fire support. Grab or eliminate the HVTs and try not to get too banged up – the quartermaster is still annoyed with the dinged armour Team 2 came back with”

Now…

The Blackhawk flared slightly as it came into land. The 8 soldiers inside quick disembarked and regrouped, heading towards the series of compounds.

“Bloody hell, could they make any more noise?” ‘Oscar’ whispered to the rest of the operators huddled in the dried creak bed. 2 days ago they had trekked in and hidden themselves amongst the rocks and grass. It took 24 hours of waiting before there was even any sign of enemy activity in the village, more than just a few locals tending the fields and chatting in the sun. The arrival of a group from out of town in black turbans and totting serious firepower announced that both HVTs had arrived. After reporting in, the team had donned their kevlar and prepared to engage.

The helicopter has also elicited a response from the village. Civilians stared up into the sky or rushed to their rooftops to catch a glimpse of what was happening, but the fighters started to spread out, claiming fire points and grabbing guns. More importantly, the coming battle had pulled the warlord out of his meeting, running across to pull his newest fighter back into action and to scatter the civilians. The Taliban leader instead calmly stayed inside, trying to understand what was happening before risking his neck.

Putting their training to use, ‘Oscar’ brought the Minimi  to bear and, with a single burst, dropped the warlord into the dust with a scream. Other members of the squad similarly added their fire until the warlord stopped moving. With one HVT down, the special forces started to hammer the terrified and broken local fighters, plucking them from their perches or sending them crawling in the dirt to cover (including one who got pinned out in the open and distracted the SAS’s shooting for a while). Behind the SAS, the Fusilers had formed up and were beginning to move through the field towards the town.

The Fox was having none of this. With a cry to his brothers, they rushed to the roof of the building they had been resting in. One of the experienced fighters spotted some ‘Americans’ moving through the field. Resting the heavy PKM on the wall, he sent a burst of tracer fire flying towards the Fusilers. No rounds connected but the troopers had to stop to get their act together. This was to be a dangerous mistake.

Seeing the targets lit up, another insurgent rushed up the stairs, paused briefly and then sent an RPG spiralling towards to the field. It missed its intended target but instead airburst, sending bits of metal spiralling everywhere. Several fusilers got hit by shrapnel, with body armour luckily stopping most of the impact but one unlucky soldier took a shard to the leg, dropping him like a sack of potatoes. This changed Fireteam 2’s objective, and they quickly sought to get their casualty out of the line of fire.

This was not to be. With another burst of PKM fire, the rounds ripped the injured man apart. Fireteam 2 would now be evacuating a dead man. A field over, another catastrophe hit the Fusiliers. Eager to get out of the danger zone and close with the target, one of Fireteam 1’s soldiers rushed forward through the field. Unfortunately, he did not see the pressure plate stuck in the earth and detonated a booby trap placed the previous day by the insurgents. Fireteam 1 quickly rallied though, with one soldier pulling the injured away despite the rounds whizzing over his head. The other two (with grenade launcher and GPMG in hand) managed to dissuade any further response.

The SAS had finally cleaned up the fighters and started to advance into town, hoping to snatch the second HVT. What they hadn’t expected was The Fox. Having rushed across the road and pounded up to the roof of the two storey building (brushing past one of the locals recording the firefight on his phone), he found himself above two operators sneaking through the undergrowth. Worn out from rushing up the stairs, none of the shots connected but it had drawn the attention of one of the Fusilers. Trooper 1-2-4 raised his rifle and started hammering the rooftop while the SAS hit the deck and returned fire. Once again, ‘Oscar’ swung his LMG into place and ripped the target to pieces.

The frequent bursts of fire had started to draw the attention of the rest of The Fox’s team. First the PKM fired a burst, sending splinters of rock flying everywhere. Then the recently reloaded RPG sent another round spinning towards dried up river bed. His aim was off but ‘Oscar’ was dealt a critical wound. Seeing the Fusilers trying desperately to extract their casualties and concerned about his own team’s injuries, the SAS leader, Cpt E____ signalled a withdrawal and started to cover the retreat. Both sides were blooded but the Taliban had been dealt a serious blow. A potential ally had been killed and a lot of additional fighters had been sent packing. Two wounded and one KIA was a worrying trade however.

As the smoke cleared, one of the civilians climbed the ladder to his roof, eager to see what had happened from better viewpoint. He had seen The Fox rush upstairs and then the sound of gunfire and was eager to see what had happened. Lifting the hatch, he was greeted with a strange sight. The floor was covered in shell casings and a blood trail went to one of the corners. However there was no body to be seen…


Overall a tightly fought game. The ISAF forces managed to get a load of points at the start of the game thanks to nailing the warlord so early. However the combined RPG, PKM and booby trap combo managed to claw back a few points for the Taliban.

Learning Points

  • The game works really well with three people. Having separate commanders for the SAS and Fusilers ended up with some cool interactions
  • Veteran fighters are a god send for the Insurgents – decent skills and morale
  • Booby traps and IEDs can be a massive pain for ISAF and can quickly rack up VPs
  • Elite solders and good dice rolls can chew out much more numerous forces.
  • The moment ISAF takes casualties, you have a massive issue on your hands.

Photo Gallery

Thanks to SESWC’s facebook page for the images

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View of the battlefield from above – SAS on the left, Fusiliers advancing on the right
Closer view of the Fusiliers advancing trhough the fields
Closer view of the Fusiliers advancing through the fields
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A group of Taliban fighters rush past a meeting of the locals
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Fireteam 1 moments before encountering a booby trap
Another glimpse of "The Fox"
Another glimpse of “The Fox”

 

Battle Report: Skirmish Sangin: 21/06/2016

Skirmish Sangin is all about the narrative and so I want to try writing some narrative reports for it. This is from a game I played at SESWC using the trusty Route Clearance scenario, although replacing the SEALs with SAS troopers thanks to Empress’s new releases. EDIT: Pictures at the bottom of the article.

Night, and the lights of the nearby village appeared like fireflies in the NVGs of the four waiting SAS troopers. Intel had revealed that the local star bomb maker had finished a new device and would be placing it somewhere on this road, all ready for the next ANA convoy to blunder past it. For months, this figure had alluded them until a recent capture blurted out the craftsman’s habit of placing the devices himself. Thanks to this, the team was in position to spring an ambush although they had brought full kit, expecting a fire fight. The new officer, Captain R______, and his subordinate were crouched in a poppy field; the tall stalks provided good cover from prying eyes. On the other side of the road, the team’s LMG and his assistant were prone in a dried river bed, which provided ample protection and concealment. Now they just had to wait.

As the hours went by, a small group of locals came out of the village and headed up the road towards the team. They moved carefully, scanning their surroundings. Upon reaching the junction, one of them knelt and started to dig at the earth while the rest setup a circle around him. These actions seemed suspicious to the Captain and a quick scope revealed the knelt figure as the target, carefully placing a package into the freshly dug hole. However, the ROE prohibited firing unless active opposition was spotted. The manoeuvre element slowly creeped forward, ready to rush in and arrest them.

For a while, the other figures seemed unarmed just smoking and watching the man work. All this changed after the bomb maker finished when one figure turned to put out his cigarette and his robe shifted, revealing a PKM to the SF team. With a single radio command, the team leader gave the orders to open fire.

The LMG did quick work of the machine gunner leading the group. Hearing the gun shots, the bomb maker fled. However, running over rough ground at night is tough and the bomb maker kept slipping and slamming into the ground before collapsing into the field and the cover of the tall plants. Another fighter also rushed into the field but instead of finding his friend, he came face to face with the SAS officer creeping forward. The two combatants engaged each other, but neither could find an opening so the insurgent broke off and hid. Deciding to focus on the mission, the officer crept on.

Back on the road, the remaining Taliban soldier went to see what had happened. Instead of finding his friend, he instead found the barrel of the SAS 2IC’s rifle. A few silenced shots, and another fighter was down. Hearing the noise of his friend and the SAS officer getting into a scrap, the bomb maker fled again, out of the cornfield and back towards the village. Obviously wearing shoes two sizes too big, he kept falling in the dirt until he eventually reached the wall of the first house.

The noise of the gun battle quickly brought more fighters into the fray with 7 more insurgents streaming onto the board, including a foreign fighter known simply as “The Fox”. While the rest of the group rushed forward towards the bomb maker to extract him, this wily fighter instead stepped off the street, dropped to his knee and started to scan for targets. One of the villagers ran up the stairs to the building’s roof and tried to spot any sign of the SAS in the wheat field. Two of the lead fighters advanced up the road, only to be dropped by another burst of 5.56 from the LMG still sat in the river bed.

The SAS officer, seeing it all going a bit Pete Tong, decided that a change in ROE was in order. After informing the rest of the squad, all the operators quickly aimed towards the bomb maker, now planning to take him off the streets entirely. A quick shot from number 1 downed the target, but he managed to crawl round the corner towards his compatriots. At this point, the LMG swung round and cemented itself as the toast of the mess. Drawing a bead on the injured fighter, the SAS trooper filled the street with high velocity rounds. The trail of hits not only took down the target but also killed two other fighters, including one clutching an RPG.

The Fox, seeing all this, started zeroing in on the cause of the fire. As the muzzle flash of an LMG  filled his sights, he fired a quick burst. The three shot flew in, one shattering the lens of the gunner’s NVG, while the other two slammed off his body armour. Crying out in pain, the gunner got low, trying to get further into cover. By his side, the assistant quickly popped up, sighted the source of the incoming rounds and dropped him with a few shots, seeing the insurgent fall onto his back before pulling himself out of the line of sight.

The 2IC had fallen behind, attempting to support his team from afar. As he moved toward the village and his superior, a noise and movement drew his attention. The last remaining member of the initial enemy group had planned to take advantage of the ongoing firefight to attempt to sneak back to town. Instead, he had run across to the road but tripped and fell into the ditch. Acting on instinct, the 2IC popped off a shot, the howl of pain from the injured man showing his hit. Hearing the call of “Target Down” from his boss, he decided to not finish the possible source of intel currently lying in front of him. Hitching the casualty on his shoulders, he worked his way back through the poppy fields. As he entered the first one, he heard a thud as someone had fallen over and in the rough earth in front of him. Much as he expected, the prone form turned out to be his Team Leader. Eyes raised and a mutter of “Bloody Ruperts” later, the operators continued falling back.

With their main target dead, a possible source of intel in hand and only a minor injury, the SAS started to exfil. However, one lone fighter still stood on the rooftop. Peering through the inky blackness, he attempted to spot the elite soldiers. For brief moment, he thought he saw the shine of a weapon in the moonlight. Then it was gone, much like the elite operators who had wiped out most of his friends. As he stepped down and went back to report in events to the local warlord, he noticed the body of The Fox had also vanished from where it had been moments before…

It wasn’t until the team was back on the helicopter ride home, captive safely on board and waiting for debriefing, that Lt. P____ turned to his Captain and said “Sir, you do realise that the IED is still in ground right?”. Looks like EOD will returning to that stretch of road before any convoys drive along it.

Learning Points

  • I need to finish painting the civilians. They play a key role in this scenario by potentially alerting the Taliban to the SF presence and getting in the way.
  • That SF LMG got me bottle necked coming on the board resulting in most of my reinforcements getting murdered before they even got a chance to engage.
  • SPREAD OUT – LMG fire has an AoE which can be pretty deadly.
  • The tripping on terrain rule in this scenario is rather cool and make fast movement almost impossible for OPFOR and hard for the BLUFOR soldiers.

Photo Gallery

Thanks to SESWC’s facebook page for the images

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Cpt R______ and his 2IC setup watching the road way
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LMG team takes cover in the dried creek bed
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SAS start their advance – MMG gunner has been downed and the insurgent group is starting to separate. The bomb maker and Cpt have not spotted each other

 

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2IC dragging an injured fighter out of the line of fire, ready for debriefing back at HQ