Having been asked last week to plan a game, I sat back and had a careful think about what might be an exciting scenario to get my opponent’s figures on the table. Some sort of escort mission maybe but what to protect? As my eyes wandered across the various modern wargaming Facebook groups I settled on a name. Geordiestan is the setting for Whitley Bay’s 3D Gamers current moderns campaign, a middle eastern paradise that seems to involve every group under the sun.
Who better to protect than a visitor from a foreign country? After all, how dangerous can the drive from the airport be?
Geordiestan, a fellow Middle Eastern backwater, is seeking to establish relations with the newly established Bazistan government. To begin this process, Geordiestan have sent a political team to begin talks. While planning the trip, an issue has arisen in regards to the ambassador’s safety.
With the local forces split between the Pro-Democracy and Pro-Monarchy factions and therefore unable to provide protection, Geordiestan instead turned to the private sector. Unfortunately for them, the two primary contracting firms in the region (Commando Global Solutions and Argo Asset Protection) were unable to provide close protection due to various legal issues.
A new company to the region, Petramco, has instead been contracted to provide close security during the ambassador’s visit. The trip between the airport and the city would see the protective detail joined by two patrol vehicles from the New Zealand Defence Force as required by ISAF-AP.
However, anti-government forces have been informed of the ambassador’s visit. Capturing or eliminating the ambassador would be a massive blow to the new government and any strike against the western forces would put pressure on ISAF command.
Rules: Spectre Operations
Setting: Bazistan, Post Intervention
BLUFOR: NZDF, Petramco and Geordiestan Diplomatic Services
OPFOR: Bazistan Militia – Anti-Government Forces
Protecting the ambassador was two groups. 8 professional contractors (with carbines, LMGs and a battle rifle) working for Petramco would provide close protection while a squad of soldiers from the NZDF were tagging along to provide protection along a common ambush route. Both groups were mounted in vehicles – the NZDF had borrowed some armoured Humvees while the two teams of contractors were riding in armoured SUVs. Finally, the Ambassador rode in a covertly armoured car along with two bodyguards and his aide.
However, against them was a pretty substantial force. The core was four large groups of trained fighters, each with a squad leader and a mix of heavy weapons. In addition there was a snatch squad of professionals armed with carbines ready to drive in. The heavy hitters were a Anti-Material team occupying the high ground and four technicals. Three of them were armed with HMGs but the last was carrying a M40 heavy recoilless rifle. Finally, this group was receiving some outside support from an unknown group – each of the infantry units were accompanied by a professionally trained soldier, complete with body armour and grenades. This professional was able to take advantage of the mentoring rule and boosted those guys he was working alongside.
The goal for each force was simple – BLUFOR was aiming to move off the opposite corner of the board while OPFOR seeked to capture the Ambassador and his aide. However, if this wasn’t possible then killing the ambassador would be a partial win.
The starting positions for everyone. ROE for BLUFOR was to only respond if fired upon or if overt actions were spotted (such as an armed vehicle or group armed with heavy weapons moving to fire positions).
The convoy begins moving, with the NZDF taking front and rear positions while the ambassador rode in the centre.
Spotting BLUFOR’s movement, one of the groups of fighters started to get moving. Originally planning to just engage in a fire fight, my fellow warlord came up with an ingenious idea. One fighter hotwired the HGV while the rest prepared to jump on board. This spur of the moment idea is one of the reasons why I really like Spectre.
As the lead vehicle rounded the corner, one of the OPFOR teams decided to seek cover behind the parked car. However, the gunner on the top spotted this movement. In particular, the sight of two RPGs and a PKM being moved into position prompted a burst from the M2HB to rattle down the street.
The first salvo was deadly – both RPG gunners were killed and the suppression spread amongst the rest of the squad.
As the next turn started, more of the convoy began to enter the high street. This prompted some reaction from OPFOR. The red technical with the recoilless rifle rolled forward to block the escape route but managed to be immobilized and stripped of its crew, leaving the gun ready to fire but missing its crew. This would be a constant threat to BLUFOR, as gun teams frantically tried to get its tank busting power back online.
At the same time, the blue pickup carried the snatch squad to a forward position, getting them in a location from which they could ambush the incoming convoy. However, this did expose the team to a drive by shooting from the lead Humvee, causing the death of one of the team.
In addition, this turn saw the start of the barrages of fire from nearly every group. Machine guns and RPGs flew everywhere adding suppression to the incoming enemy vehicles.
The next turn saw more movement as the BLUFOR commanders ordered them to “push push push”. The rear NZDF vehicle however slowed, setting itself into overwatch to protect the rear of the convoy from anyone sneaking in.
As you can see in this picture, this was lucky. The HGV roared forward, heading to ram the rear most vehicle. However, the overwatching Humvee was easily able to rip the vehicle to shreds knocking almost all of those onboard out of action. This also caused it to change heading,leading to it blocking the road rather than colliding with the opposition.
Further down the road, the lead elements of the convoy got caught in a cross fire as the snatch squad and a hidden technical opened fire.
The next turn saw the tide start to turn for the insurgents. As the lead SUV started to move off, the snatch squad opened fire. After causing major damage, a burst managed to hit the driver. This shot incapacitated him and the vehicle swerved to a halt. The first contractor was out of action.
Taking this as inspiration, the rest of the insurgents opened up. One group of fighters and it’s technical began to move to hit the rear of the convoy.
This turn also saw the contractors begin to engage the enemy from their vehicles. Although opening the windows reduced their protection, the automatic fire helped to put suppressive fire down.
The rear SUV also suddenly got into trouble as two RPG gunners moved into view. The rockets managed to cause some serious damage to the vehicle, rendering it almost immobile.
On the other side of the board, a duel of HMGs opened up. The rear Humvee hammered a few rounds at the exposed technical. It managed to cause a m-kill. In response, the insurgent gunner shot back but failed to do no more than cause a pile of suppression. Unfortunately a civilian was also hit in the crossfire.
The hits to the rear vehicle forced the contractors to make a choice. Either they could sit in their vehicle until it was destroyed or they could deploy and broaden their tactical options. Deciding to get stuck in, the four mercs rushed into cover behind the barricade and prepared to open fire.
While the commander of the lead SUV struggled to get into the driver’s seat, his rear passengers moved to shut down the closet threat. Rushing the technical that was causing damaged to their Humvee escort, the contractors managed to take out the driver and began moving towards the rear gunner.
At the same time, the snatch squad rushed the lead SUV. Attempting to grab the one of the contractors, two of the team rushed the door. The first was shot down by the remaining merc’s pistol but the second grabbed him and pulled him into the street, aiming to take him as a prize while his squad mates moved on the ambassador.
The rear team was also in the thick of it. After seeking cover, they had engaged the incoming insurgents. The SAW gunner took out the technical while the other three used their carbines to great effect. However, this is where the hidden professionals showed their use. A single frag grenade flew through the air and killed three of the contractors out right with the final guy left stunned. However, fire from the rest of the squad failed to take him out.
At this stage, the NZDF had had enough of being plinked at. The rear vehicle started to move up, partially to collect the remaining contractor but also to begin racing to the exit.
Four soldiers from the lead vehicle deployed, leaving the gunner on board to man the gun. Two soldiers moved to hit the snatch squad in the back and rescue their contractor buddy while the others move up to engage the team that had moved towards the ambassador’s car. The Ambassador however had screamed forward, slipping between the gap and heading for the exit, right into the two squads of insurgents waiting to engage him.
Before the Kiwis could get stuck in with the snatch team, they were engaged by a HMG from the immobilized technical. The shots flew into the melee striking one NZDF soldier down but also killing both of the snatch team. The contractor had been freed from his captors.
The last turn also saw a few other actions I didn’t grab photos of. The other two Kiwis from the lead vehicle moved into position but were shot down by the two members of the snatch squad in a close range firefight. In return, the two insurgents were eliminated by the ever-present Humvee and it’s .50cal. The other contractor left alive from the lead vehicle had managed to take control of the technical he had been attacking, removing one of the major sources of suppression.
Unfortunately, we ran out of time and had to call it. Looking at the board, it was going to be very close. However, the ending consensus was that the Insurgents had just about managed to out fight the western forces and snatched the Ambassador from his vehicle. BLUFOR might have still been able to put up a fight – it was possible that the remaining vehicles could have pushed through. But it would have been a slog as every vehicle, except the rear Humvee, was damaged in one way or another.
A few post game dice rolls worked out the final situation which saw the Ambassador taken captive and the loss of his aide, killed during the final snatch. In other words:
Whitley Bay, I have some very bad news about your Ambassador.
Overall it was an excellent game. The vehicles did a good job of soaking up all the fire but eventually the hits started counting. I decided to give the OPFOR a few more bits of gear when building the scenario so they could actually handle the armoured vehicles more than in my last game. I think the anti-material rifle was a waste of points – one of the professionals should have used it and maybe it would have done more than plink a few rounds off the Humvees.
Most importantly when running a game, both teams enjoyed themselves. We got a few rules mixed up but common sense (and Jack reminding me of rules I’d forgotten) saw that the game was an entertaining time.
But what is going to happen to the ambassador? And who were the hidden professionals working for? Most importantly, how will Geordiestan respond to this outrage? You’ll have to wait and see in future Adventures from Bazistan.