Weekend Warfare 3 – INTEL01 “Thieves in the Night”

Part 3 of Weekend Warfare steps away from the adventures of CGS (don’t worry, more reports are coming soon following those lunatics). Instead we look at a side story, based on events that took place in Bazistan before Commando Global Solutions arrived. These stories are based off Intel requested by officers in the company

Argo Corporation maintains several depots in Bazistan. These depots will often contain Argo made products getting ready for local distribution but can also act as storehouses for Argo Black Ops in the region.

6 months ago, -REDACTED- discovered Argo was stockpiling gear and preparing to move contractors in country. -REDACTED- hired a team of freelance operators to break into a depot and document the hardware that was in place.

The freelance operators chose to break in before the contractors arrived, when the only personnel at the site were an overnight crew not expecting trouble.


The freelance operators comprised of four characters

  • “Hawthorne” – Elite with SMG
  • “Compton” – Elite with silenced SMG
  • “Alameda” – Veteran with assault rifle
  • “Hollywood” – Average with assault rifle

There are two interesting points about these guys – the first is the range of experience. Two are elites ready to roll but the others are less well-trained. I presume they found Hollywood in a bar somewhere. The other thing is the lack of gear. None of the guys are wearing body armour and only one of them is using a silenced weapon. In other words, they are not in the best state for the mission they have signed up for – the plan is to rely on not getting spotted.

Against them are 8 guards. The four with M16s are all fully trained (rated Average) and start off duty in the sight office. The four armed with pistols are renta-cops (either Novices or Average) and begin wandering set paths inside the warehouse.

The goal of the game is for the Operatives to place trackers inside 5 ammo boxes spread throughout the warehouse. Depending on how many are tagged will determine if the Operative succeed in their mission, each tracker placed improves the final roll by 20%. If they need to set off the alarm off to do this task, it doesn’t matter. However, due to a lack of numbers and armour, it would be best to be avoided

The Operatives stack up
Warehouse 1 with the two guards on patrol
Warehouse 2 with the two guards on patrol. The operators were placed inside due to some camera positioning issues

As the game begins, all is quiet with the guards continuing their patrol routes. Hawthorne and Hollywood are the first to enter, sneaking up to the shelving and coming to a halt. Hawthrone, keeping his eyes open for movement ahead of him, finds the first of the ammo cases and cracks it open. Placing a tracker inside, the first part of the objectives are achieved.

Compton, the second in command of this little group, then enters the warehouse. Walking through the half-light of a dark interior, he spots movement and a flashing torch ahead of him on the ground floor. However, his attempts to spot the exact source fail. In contrast, one of the guards (Waters) peers over the gantry and spots someone who doesn’t seem to be wearing a security guard’s uniform. A flash of a torch and Compton has been spotted. All it would take is a radio call and suddenly the rest of the guards would come rushing in.

Sensing his hastily planned mission is about to go awry, Hawthorne now decides time is of the essence. He sprint up the board and runs head long into Jones, another guard. Hawthorne throws his weight and slams Jones backwards. However, Jones isn’t knocked unconscious (instead running back behind a shelf) and the noise of the scuffle sets alarm bells ringing. With the rest of the guards now getting into combat positions, Hollywood finishes placing a tracker, pulls his gun and starts to rock and roll. Spotting Waters up on the gantry, he raises his assault rifle and sends a burst flying down between the shelves. It misses but forces him to duck for cover. This movement attracts Compton’s attention and he also hammers a burst of 9mm rounds up towards the gantry. These rounds hit and cause a lot of damage, knocking Waters unconscious with a Critical wound. One guard is now out of action.

More worryingly, the reaction team begin to enter the warehouse, sprinting for cover (one of them even flips a table over thanks to too many action films) or rushing up onto the gantry. However Alameda, the final operative has also entered the proceedings and rushes to cover near his boss and long time friend.

The guards start attempting to spot the intruders and for a little while the battle turns into a two-way shooting range with both sides trading fire for not much result after everyone dived for cover. There are some close calls (including a shot missing by 1%). The main result is the slow progress of the operatives up the board, with a third tracker placed by Alameda.

On the guards side, one memorable moment is when Baptist (one of the reaction guards) draws a bead on Hawthrone. He spots, aims and shoots. Its unsure what happens next but probably inspired by the action film they had been watching in the hut and maybe related to an unauthorised modification to a trigger sear, but Baptist proceeded to mag dump all 30 rounds into the wall. Even worse, he seemed to have misplaced all his spare magazines and would have to go grab one from one of this buddies (translated: he rolled a 100 which is a fumble in Skirmish Sangin).

Compton rushed up to cover and almost barged into Jones, still recovering from that first melee attack. Compton however quickly responds putting two shots into Jones chest before a final shot to his head to finish him off. However, exposing himself to get there draws the attention of the guards and a hail of fire flies over his head, almost pinning him in place.

Other guards continue to hammer fire at the rest of the operatives. One, by the name of Brown, pulls up his pistol and scores a hit on Hawthorne. It’s only a graze, a light wound. In return, Hawthorne swings around and puts a burst of accurate fire at Brown. The hits pummel Brown and falls unconscious from the shock. This sudden violence shocked many of the other guards letting up the fire slightly.

Hawthorne, watching the clock, realises that it might be time to cut their losses and flee before the rest of the reaction force turns up. Giving clipped orders, the operatives start to peel away with Hollywood taking the lead. Alameda followed, popping off a shot to pin down any pursuit. Compton even managed to brave the fire and begin his own withdrawal. However, before Hawthrone could join them, one of the guards popped out from behind his table and dropped the leader of the operatives with a short burst (the hit was a massive 17 damage on 2D10).

Despite this last act of defiance, the Operatives had managed to fulfil at least part of their objectives and escaped into the night leaving only one of their number behind. Now they just had to hope the trackers were working….


So final count:

  • 3 Guards knocked out of commission
  • 1 Operative KIA and left in the warehouse
  • 3/5 trackers placed giving a 60% chance of the trackers actually working as intended. Rolling the dice I got a 25, meaning that the mission was overall a success and -REDACTED- now know where the Argo mercs are heading. Starting point for a future mission maybe?

Overall it was a fun game. The testing of stealth rules was rumbled by a valid detection and instead it turned into the test of fighting through the TTCombat Warehouse. There were a few places where I was struggling to fit my chunky gamer hands but it’s a great place for just a simple battle through it if you don’t fancy laying out an entire board. The multiple levels and bays, as well as the shelves you get in the kit. The only downside is that there are limited chances to flank without exposing yourself. Having smoke grenades or adding a small outside area would help solve the issue.

Additionally, the lack of people with body armour led to much more cautious play, sticking to cover and using suppression. However, when someone got hit they normally dropped down hard. A 1D10 pistol becomes a lot more horrifying when there isn’t body armour to block it.

I also really like Skirmish Sangin for such a small game – each character feels like a separate person with their own skill level. For example, Hollywood’s rifle skill in this was almost as good as Alameda but Hollywood did suffer from a lower morale due to being Average rather than Veteran meaning he was more likely. In your mind’s eye, Hollywood becomes the skilled new guy who may be more likely to run away than the seasoned old-timer Alameda.

I’m coming to the end of a few things, and hopefully with have my terrain boards back so expect more Weekend Warfare soon!

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

img_20161201_193245

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


15235850_1180324165338888_3827672266192139376_o

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.

15168745_1180324225338882_3990689330496008386_o

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.

blogger-image-41123556

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.

blogger-image-1866517966

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.

blogger-image-150011586

 

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!

15272205_1180324232005548_2285529623817402623_o

 

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

img_20161110_195054
The paperwork
img_20161110_194740
Overview of the board from the North-West corner
img_20161110_202433
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


img_20161103_194656
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

15000819_1150898591614779_4244058404227967553_o
Hostages all ready for the trade
15000667_1150898694948102_1115184368518952693_o
The Contractors run through the plan
14990941_1150898861614752_7519662386177026075_o
The PMC backup team waits for things to go wrong
14976821_1150898931614745_1435738792197663106_o
One of the Spetsnatz leaning over the wall
20161103_200629
The Russians Fire Support all ready to support
20161103_204736
The PMC Red Shirt’s view of the battlefield
20161103_215014
The compound at the start of the final turn
14939430_1150899041614734_6046844542389893647_o
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: Spectre Operations 23/10/2016

I’m writing this just after two weeks of manic work and then a weekend away getting back to the airsofting/shootmans for the first time in a while. Airsoft was really good, great site and I got to rock and roll with my favourite airsoft gun that hasn’t been used in a year (thanks Timehop for that reminder). I also got to spend some time with friends and have a fun drive back up through some great countryside – Autumn really is the best time for driving (except for the torrential rain that came out of nowhere as I got past Newcastle).

More importantly, I got to play some Spectre Operations with my wargaming friends down south. As usual, I took the OPFOR while the 6 SAS operators were split between three new players to the rules. So without further ado, lets take a look at the game.


Barzistan is a breakaway region in the Middle East, containing parts of Saudi Arabia and Yemen. 24 hours ago, two civilian aid workers were kidnapped by militants. In response, SAS operatives in the region have deployed on a snatch and grab mission. Based on recon information, they strike at dawn before the major groups of militants return to the target village.

14712753_10157588947295048_5064498088640360081_o

Forces

BLUFOR

All BLUFOR has body armour, a pistol, radio and three types of grenades (Frag, Smoke and Stun)

1x Elite Commander w/ Carbine (Laser, Red dot, Scope, Suppressor) and Underslung Grenade Launcher

1x Elite Operator w/ Carbine (Laser, Red dot, Scope, Suppressor), Underslung Grenade Launcher and RPG w/ Thermobaric Warhead (a M72 ASM)

2x Elite Operator w/ Carbine (Laser, Red dot, Scope, Suppressor)

1x Elite Operator w/ Compact Light Machine Gun (Laser, Red dot, Scope, Suppressor)

1x Loitering Tactical Munition

OPFOR

1x Militia Commander w/ Assault Rifle

1x Militia Squad Leader w/ Assault Rifle

20x Militia w/ Assault Rifle

1x Militia w/ Sniper

1x Militia w/ DMR

1x Militia w/ LMG

5x Militia w/ MMG

4x Militia w/ RPG

The Game

As the operation starts, the SAS team is formed up near the communications mast. Inside the village, the militants are split into several groups. The two largest were the attack groups with around 10 figures in each group. There was also a 5 person sentry group (just heading out to their prepared positions) and two pairs of sentries on various roof tops.

The SAS figures quickly split up, with two forming a fire support team while the rest moved into the village. Approaching the first house, the fire support team spotted the 5 man sentry group getting close. Rather than risk detection, they opened up with the suppressed weapons. Three guys went down but two more were left standing forcing a quick response from the assault team. Sneaking in closer, the assault team managed to carefully dispatch the other two sentry groups, the last just moments before they tried to set off the alarm. However, by now both mobs of militia were sat on the outskirts of the village and would pose an issue in getting to the target building.

Upon agreement with all three players operating the SAS, the team decided to go kinetic. First up, the Commander dropped a Loitering Tactical Munition out the sky and onto group 1 causing multiple KIA and a pile of suppression points. Group 2 was engaged by the fire support element, dropping rapid fire onto the mob and forcing them back behind the buildings. Two more of the SAS planned to  advance onto the taller building, stacking up on the doorway and planning to breach.

However, at this point we rolled for the civilians (having forgotten to do so up until this point – oops). Most groups scattered but one group took offence at the arrival of a bunch of westerners and immediately mobbed on of the breaching operators. One short close combat later and an elite SAS operator was knocked unconscious for the loss of one civilian also knocked down. His buddy managed to drag him into the building’s cover and then proceeded to stun grenade the angry civilians.

Ignoring the public relations work two of the SAS were doing, the renaming 4 operators went off to finish the militia. Group A (lead by the commander) worked its way round to start finishing off the group recovering from a drone strike. One of the suppressed militia managed to pop a shot off but the suppression was cleared pretty quickly. Group B waited for the larger mob to pop its head out. As soon as they appear, the two man team performed a Fire Control Order, dumping a burst of MG fire and an M72 ASM to pin the remaining fighters down with a pile of suppression. With all the militia combat ineffective and unable to rally off the suppression, we called the game

As the militia huddled under the blistering fire, forced away from their captives, two of the SAS operators manhandled the hostages and the team broke contact, falling back into the desert. The rebels will need to find another way to get the leverage they need…

Gallery

14595578_10153899084141727_3117584189949907659_n
Play begins as the sun rises across the board
14633712_10157588948275048_7871244246895565720_o
The SAS deploy near the old communication hut
14566414_10157588948340048_4275435242470814385_o
Guard group A finishes their work at the target building and prepare to go on sentry duty
14753835_10157588948370048_2564637650450843598_o
On the roof tops above, a sniper team watch the horizon while Ahmed attempt to get some signal
14633379_10157588948025048_1574713236513346423_o
Two SAS trooper provide cover as the rest of the team advances forward
14713080_10157588947910048_7223514900605655273_o
“Hold on, I might need to call you back. The Americans are here again”
14712876_10157588947340048_7977787285224845368_o
Team A gets ready to advance
14720537_10153899212876727_664992296658103634_n
A loitering munition drops out the sky
14633675_10157588947245048_470989485838729089_o
The aftermath
14729270_10153899175811727_316276244229722962_n
Fire support take up position on the roof tops
14712935_10157588945815048_9036678298919925924_o
SAS 5 regrets sticking his head round the corner – even the stunned soldiers are still armed
14708050_10157588946940048_3037267689677013806_o
The breaching team conducts some PR work
14713081_10157588946305048_5852928407803227479_o
Fire support comes out of overwatch and drops the hammer

So how are the rules? Well I was playtesting the rules for a little bit (see previous posts in the Spectre Operations tag for the early days) but this is my first time with the final version. Overall I think they are a fantastic little set of rules. The addition of squads really make the game standout – its not just focused on the individual characters but really focused on how a squad works together. Combat is pretty nasty (up close the tooled up operators were getting masses of modifiers thanks to compact/red dot/laser and more) and remaining unaware is very bad if you intend to stay in one piece (unlike the militia in this game). My biggest issues with the game are fixed – suppression is limited on professional and elite figures so they feel a little more special while frag rules just make more sense and are much harder to break. It is a little strange when you initially work out points values – 6 elite figures tooled up are equal to 50 odd militia fighters with AKs. However, after playing you soon see they can handle it. The game has a nice flow to it, even with the various markers and additional dice that end up on the board. It also still gives you the kid in the candy shop feel with the massive list of weapons and gear. There are a few beta features I miss but based on what Spectre have been saying it looks like they have plenty of stuff planned out.

Overall, I am super happy with Spectre and I’m really looking forward to playing some more of it. I have some more situations I want to try with it and see how it works (the big one being militia hunting AFVs) but I’m already getting sorted for my next game of it!

Now I’ve played this rules, I’m going to start work on the comparison article of the various modern rulesets. It won’t be a “X is better than Y” but more a comparative look into just what is available and what each does well/less well.