Battle Report – “Training Day” – Skirmish Sangin

Man, it’s been a while since I got some figures on the board. The last battle report was way back in March (where the M-ATV got blown up) and work has been mad. So, why not get the giant table out and put those Humvees to good use.

With the ongoing situation in the breakaway Tribal regions, the Aden Defence Force (or ADF) has started preparing a new strategy to deal with cross-border insurgents close to Bazistan. After constructing several FOBs, ADF units now patrol the countryside. To assist these units, several ISAF-AP nations have assigned small units to provide training and force multipliers.

This activity has begun to take an effect on the insurgency, prompting one group in the region to plan an ambush. Hiring in an expert bomb maker and several local fighters, the group’s aim is to eliminate an ADF patrol and dishearten the rest of the government’s forces in the region.

On the road between FOB Alpha and FOB Delta, a new ADF section and it’s support will have a trial by fire.

Briefing Document


BLUFOR was split into two parts. The bulk of the force was an ADF section, mounted in two Humvees. The Aden Defence Force is arranged (and equipped) along British lines, with two four-man fire teams containing assault rifles, a UGL and an LMG. This section replaced the fourth man in the fire team 2 with a GPMG for some extra range. The lead Humvee was armed with an M2 HMG, the classic look. Vehicle 2 mounted the AGL and MMG in the turret. It also has a FLIR unit to assist with spotting enemies (a +20% bonus to spotting for anyone in the back seats)

The final vehicle in the column belonged to the US Special Forces element supporting this ADF platoon. Five men (4 Green Berets and a USAF JTAC) were mounted up inside (the rear MMG currently unused). In terms of equipment, the SF element has access to an LMG, DMR, UGL and the M2 HMG on the vehicle top.

Off map, the column has access to several support options. On the ground, FOB Delta has 81mm mortars covering the route. In the air, the JTAC had access to a pair of F16s flying a combat air patrol (CAP) to perform a Show of Force and the ever-present DUSTOFF was available for casualty evacuation.

Overall, a pretty powerful force. But, it’s worth noting that BLUFOR is operating under quite strict ROE due to the operating region, unable to engage unless a threat was spotted via PID.


Opposing them was a small group of insurgents. Above you can see most of the core element. Led by the triggerman, the element also included an SPG-9 recoilless rifle to assist in taking out enemy vehicles and some rear security in the form of a veteran fighter with an MMG. This group also included The Fox, a renowned insurgent marksman known throughout Bazistan and a constant threat to ISAF-AP forces.

To assist in the ambush, the main force brought two IEDs. A medium IED was placed inside a white civilian vehicle and parked on the main road. A secondary device, much smaller than the main, was buried on the road. Both were controlled via remote detonators, operated by the core element.

To assist the main force, two small elements of local fighters had been hired. These 8 fighters ranged from novice to veterans and had an RPG-MMG combo to add some firepower.

Both groups also had access to a series of ratlines, letting them move quickly around the map.


First up, the BLUFOR force rolls onto the board, ADF elements leading the way.

As they approached the edge of the village, the SF Humvee hangs back to provide fire support.

That white car seems a little suspicious. 

Two enemy fighters popped their heads up on the edge of the village being spotted effortlessly by the FLIR system. The ADF moved to speed up to get through any possible ambushes.

With a sudden bang, the white car suddenly erupted into flames. This IED managed to catch both the ADF vehicles in the kill zone causing massive damage. The lead vehicle was made immobile by the blast, leaving the crew shaken but alive. The second vehicle was less lucky, being destroyed by the blast with a loss of all crew.

At this stage, the BLUFOR players declared a mission change. They would be unable to reach FOB Delta without abandoning the troops in the damaged vehicle. Instead, they decided to perform a casualty evacuation and return to base.

Cautious of secondary devices, the SF vehicle rolls into a position to help with the evacuation.

Activating at the same time, the US SF team leader and the JTAC quickly jumped on the radio. While one called in the MEDVAC, the other requested a Show of Force to clear some breathing room from the insurgents.

Having spotted the lead vehicle still engaging with the heavy machine gun, the recoiless team opened up. Although it hit, it failed to destroy the vehicle.

The Aden Defence Force trooper armed with the UGL spotted the recoiless rifle and popped smoke to obscure it.

Two of the US SF soldiers dismounted to provide additional secruity

Another view of the key areas of the battlefield – that tree in the centre of the map would have probably ended up being shredded based on how much fire was zipping past it.

The SF Humvee managed to successfully engage this pair of insurgents with the .50cal despite them being in adobe cover. The HMG continues to be an incredibly effective weapon in Sangin.

As the troops moved to evac the casualties from the destroyed vehicle, the SF Humvee backed up to make it easier to load them into the cargo bed. Additionally, the gunner on the top used this opportunity to pop smoke to cover the operation.

As with all games, there comes a point when you’re too busy to take photos. But here are some highlights:

  • The arrival of the Show of Force managed to scare away several insurgent fighters, including the SPG-9 team. It also contributed to multiple fighters close to ratline holes simply dropping into them and running away.
  • The MMG gunner in the lead vehicle managed to survive the recoiless rifle round going through the crew compartment. He then dismounted and put the fire down on multiple enemy fighters before being shot in the chest. However, his armour stopped most of the wound and so was able to fight on before helping to drag one of the casualties away.
  • The rest of the insurgent force took advantage
  • The Fox actually survived a game and inflicted some casualties without ending up in a drainage ditch.

We ran out of time before the BLUFOR guys managed to get off the board. However, they were well on the way with every casualty on board the SF vehicle and the rest falling back in an orderly fashion. On the other hand, they had managed to take 5 KIA and several wounded

Seen here is the figure we’ll be mentioning in dispatches. Corporal Jacobs, team lead in vehicle one, managed to survive his vehicle being hit by an IED. After recovering, he took up position in the turret and proceeded to engage multiple enemy targets with suppressive fire to cover friendly troops falling back. After coming under additional enemy fire, he dismounted the vehicle and rushed to save the body of one of his men. While able to lift the body into cover, he was caught in the open by multiple enemy troops but managed to avoid being hit before falling back with the rest of his team.


So overall a very exciting game. As expected, the IED caused massive damage, shifting the focus of the game from advancing across the board to fighting off a hoard of OPFOR. I was quite happy how the BLUFOR team just rolled with the punches and started working together to make sure no one was left behind. On the other hand, they maybe shouldn’t have trusted the single civilian car on the board.

The OPFOR team also did well, managing to achieve their objective with two KIA and several MIA fighters. The placement of the second IED was designed to catch any vehicles that managed to survive the first blast meaning it sat unused for the entire game. Instead, the OPFOR commander decided that next time he would have put it alongside the main device. However, they managed to give the ADF the bloody nose they wanted to.


Stayed tuned for future games! I can see the US Special Forces wanting to hunt down the bombmaker. I’m also itching to roll out some more covert operators.


UPDATE

If you want some alternative viewpoints of the battle you can find them at the Aden commander’s blog and on the SESWC page.

Additionally, the thread on the Lead Adventure forum has had some interesting posts. We got the Insurgent commander’s viewpoint, some thoughts on how different the game would have been if it was played using Spectre Operations and some hindsight thoughts on dealing with the white car.


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