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.

Holding the Ford – The Second Boer War

I’ll freely admit, my wargaming tastes can be pretty focused on playing the modern period. I think it’s mainly due to finding large scale battles just dull. Don’t get me wrong, they are plenty impressive (I still get a kick out of seeing them all lined up) but it’s not particularly interesting to play. I’ll probably be thrown out of the wargaming world for saying this but it just normally ends up with blocks of forces being slammed into each other. As things become more modern, the importance of each small unit increase, up to the modern day where a fireteam of four men is the tactical unit of choice.

On the other hand, I do also enjoy the more social side of wargaming. After the last few weeks which have been lacking in dice rolling and tape measuring, I just had to jump in on a game. So when I noticed Angus (of Edinburgh Wargames fame) grabbing the terrain I usually pick, I just had to get involved.


The setting is Second Boer War, some time in the early 20th century. As the British Army advances into Boer territory, the commandos attempt to slow them by securing vital locations. This is one such position, the only ford for miles that can support the British logistics train.

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A familiar looking board – a dusty plain with a road and river running through it. This time, however, it’s South Africa rather than the plains of Bazistan.

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The Boers set up their defences by the river, with the Johannesburg commando taking position in the slit trenches in front of the river. On the other side, the volunteer commando digs in behind the wagons. Both commandos were mounted infantry, meaning their free actions (which don’t require a leadership check) allowed for movement rather than shooting.

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The plan was that this Pom-Pom was going to form the key part of the defence, able to out range the enemy rifles and maxim gun. Unfortunately, requiring 7+ to activate (combined with poor rolling) meant it spent most of the game standing useless.

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Behind the wagons, the commandos start to see the British filling the horizon. As well as large groups of infantry from the Devonshire and Gordon Highland regiments, the British also had a maxim gun, a field gun which could outrange the rifles of the Boers.

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The British also had a unit of cavalry that game rushing down the flank, across the river and then right onto the guns of the Volunteers. Worse, this is how they ended their activation, with a block of commandos ready to fire.

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Unfortunately, the Jo-burg Commando failed to activate for most of the game and so sat in their trenches and watched the enemy get closer. A pom-pon shell managed to pin some of the Devonshires but the Gordons charged in, pipes wailing and proceeded to give the Boers a taste of British steel.

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More bad news as the other Jo-burg commando were soon engaged by the Highlanders as well.

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The Pom-Pom, having slowed one unit, decided now was the time to dump all the ammo in the dirt and refuse to activate for the rest of the game.

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Things did not go well for the cavalry. The volunteers ripped them apart before they even reached melee range.

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Of course, the Volunteers could also see the rest of the British army was about to turn up and kick their heads in. Seeing no use in staying as the British were already in the ford, the Volunteers packed up and rode for the hills.

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As the game ended, and the Highlanders stormed the pom-pom sangar, the Devonshires finally got stuck in and routed the last of the commandos.


I had a really fun time playing this game. Although we didn’t win, it’s was still nice to get the dice out and move some really nice figures around. The scenario was pretty stacked in the Brits favour (seeing as they had multiple artillery pieces and much better command and control) but it could still have gone differently.

If I was to play it again, I’d have pushed the Jo-burg commandos to the other side of the river (meaning the Brits would need to cross the river to engage them). I’d also put the Volunteer commandos in the wadi, letting them pop off a few shots before using their mounted infantry perks (movement without needing to pass an activation check) to flee before the foot infantry got too close.

What did I think of the rules? Well, like many of the rulesets from Osprey, I picked up the basics of The Men Who Would Be Kings within a few minutes of playing. You can easily see some of the similarities to Daniel Mersey’s rulesets (Dragon Rampant and Lion Rampant) in terms of the basic rules but it has a different flavour thanks to the focus on firepower. This battle was “rifles vs rifles” but it’s easy to see how natives vs empire would go.

Overall, I think this is a nice ruleset if you want to get your colonial stuff on the table and play a game that’s easily finish-able in an evening of play (complete with the usual trips to the bar, photo taking and discussions on the usefulness of trenches in melee causing breaks). I’m sure there are rules that are more realistic but as someone with limited knowledge of the period, these were great for me.

And before you ask, no I am not going to collect a Colonial army. I already have enough side projects.

For readers wanting an alterantive (and more informative) viewpoint, my fellow Boer commander has written up his report. You can find it online at http://www.edinburghwargames.com/de-jagers-drift-1899/

Battle Report – “Climb To Glory” – Skirmish Sangin

This week’s battle report takes us back to Bazistan. The last few battles have been pretty Special Forces heavy so this time we’re going to get the regulars on the table. This is also a chance to play some Skirmish Sangin without a giant plane sat across most of the table. Anyway, on with the battle report!


The contested zone between Bazistan and Aden has been the site of several attempts by international agencies in improve local conditions. One attempt in the 2000’s was the establishment of the Bazistan Agricultural College, including a modern educational building in the contested zone. The compound, co-sponsored by the Argo Corporation, would provide technical help to the locals farmers as well as a testbed for new techniques and varieties. Unfortunately, the building was started just before a rise in violence between the local tribes and the governments and so was left abandoned. The local farmers took over the fields around the building shell and continued to till the ground.
Unfortunately, the building, among others in the valley, have been taken over by one of the insurgent groups in region to use as staging positions when moving supplies and personnel into Aden. ISAF-AP have spotted the activity in the region and have ordered elements of the 3rd BCT, 10th Mountain Division to move down the valley. Starting the operation in the early hours of the morning, dawn is approaching by the time the first troops reaches the Bazistan Agricultural College.


BLUFOR

The Americans in this battle were formed up in two groups:

Alpha – Squad Leader and two fireteams with the usual mix of weapons (Two M4s, a M4 with UGL and a M249). One of the riflemen is replaced by a marksman with his M21.

Bravo – Team leader, Combat Lifesaver, grenadier and M240 medium machine gun team. All of these are mounted in a M-ATV with a HMG

The objective for the US Army troops were simple – secure the area, destroy enemy assets and limit friendly casualties. These guys are the forward edge of a search and destroy mission.

OPFOR

The opposing force in this battle was one of the militia groups in Bazistan that has taken advantage of the porous state of the border. Several small groups were scattered around the main buildings with a mix of weapons from assault rifles up to RPGs (including a RPG 29). There were also a set of technicals, with two of them carrying HMGs to add some fire support. Two more acted as objectives.

The insurgents have also setup the area for defence. They have placed some small but potent IEDs in some of the fields (in order to take out people trying to sneak into the area). Additionally, mortars in other strongpoints are available to call in (assuming a forward observation roll is passed).

For this mission, the Insurgents know that the Americans are in the area. They are preparing to fire a rocket barrage from their technical which is a little unreliable. This is also a delaying action, so causing casualties to the oncoming force will give other strong points more time to prepare their defences. Evacuating supplies and fighters is also recommended.


This battle begins just after dawn. The American offensive began before the sun rose, with small units working quickly and quietly to overcome positions at the start of the valley. Just off-board, Alpha dismounted from their MRAP and began their advance on foot, trekking up to the edge of the wadi. On the road, Bravo moved slowly, looking for a good position to support the assault.

Inside the college grounds, the insurgents were preparing the rocket pod pulled from a Bazistan Hind. Although the system for firing had been used before, it was never 100% reliable.

The M-ATV arrives with the gunner swinging to aim at the shell of the Agricultural College.

A better view from above shows Alpha set up near the wadi while Bravo sat in their M-ATV (their presence in the drainage ditch is an illusion).

Eager to get in the fight and keep pushing forward, Bravo’s driver put his foot down and floored it. As they rolled down the road, the gunner shouts “CONTACT” after spotting two of the sentries close to the turning into the compound.

Hearing the news over the radio, Alpha decided to stay in the wadi and put the fire down, rather than the original plan of assaulting the compound. The marksman in the squad quickly found a target on the roof and, in an excellent bit of marksmanship, dropped him with a single shot. This alarmed the RPG wielding fighter behind him, who is suddenly distracted from the oncoming M-ATV to evade bullets.

However, the insurgents closer to the road were all ready to take on the armoured truck rolling towards them. One of the DSHK technicals rolled onto the road while the RPG-29 gunner set himself up ready to fire. At the same time, the M240 team disembarked from the MRAP and began to set up their machine gun.

Before anyone could take their shots, one of the grenadiers in Alpha dropped a 40mm grenade straight onto the technical. This blast ripped the vehicle apart and rendered it combat ineffective. While the crew dived for cover amongst the wheat field, many of the other fighters were disheartened.

However, the RPG gunner on the roof was more on the game and sent an RPG round flying towards the target. Despite the huge size of the vehicle, he missed sending up a plume of smoke next to vehicle. The shot wasn’t entirely ineffective though – the blast rattled the crew inside causing them to be stunned in place.

Two insurgents attempted to outflank the MRAP by moving along the drainage ditch, careful to keep out of the firing arc of the M240. However, Bravo’s grenadier (sat in one of the passenger seats) spotted the oncoming threat. In one swift move he disembarked, spotted the oncoming threat and took out both fighters with a single 40mm grenade.

The two lead sentries, shocked by the arrival of the M-ATV, had gone to ground in the crop field. For a few activations they were hidden away until Alpha spotted them and opened up with the M249.

Back on the road, things were not going well. After seeing the original RPG 29 gunner get cut down, another insurgent rushed to pick up the dropped launcher. Barely pausing, and limited by his skill with heavy weapons, this plucky insurgent sent another round towards the vehicle. Sadly it was ineffective causing nothing more than another nasty fright for the crew in the MRAP. Return fire cut this have-a-go-hero before he could reload.

I haven’t got a huge number of photos of this but throughout the game, Alpha squad were racking up a massive bodycount. Rather than advance, they simply sat back and used their high rifle skills and night vision to spot enemy targets an engage. The photo shows one of the main threats to them, a PKM team in the front building, after it was engaged by multiple LMGs, 40mm grenade rounds and assault rifles.

After an aborted attempt, the rocket pod suddenly sprung to life. With a plume of smoke and a scream of rockets, the insurgents completed one of their objectives by sending its deadly payload into the bulk of the American offensive.

Around the same time, a plucky insurgent armed with an RPG attempted a hit and run on the MRAP. This shot also missed but it did make the M-ATV realise that it maybe should move before one of the rounds actually caused some damage.

Having seen the rocket pod go off, the Americans were desperate to engage and destroy the launcher before it fired again. This lead to a rather hilarious situation where almost two full squads engaged an empty vehicle and managed to do nothing more than add some ventilation holes, wreck the interior and blow big chunks of dirt up.

On the other flank, the green technical had been attracting ineffective fire from Alpha while distracting them from the escaping supply truck. As the rounds got closer, the technical decided to back up.

“What’s that Abdul, there’s Americans around here?”

The M-ATV hammered away with it’s .50cal, turning the vehicle to mincemeat and igniting the ammo.

With only two fighters left, Alpha and Bravo decided to roll forward and begin clearing out the college building. However, tragedy unfolded when the M-ATV decided to cut through one of the crop fields. With a deafening bang, one of the IEDs detonated and ripped through the crew compartment, completely destroying the vehicle. Having not taken a single casualty all game, two soldiers were now dead and an expensive vehicle was now wrecked.

However, the Americans had forced the insurgents from this position and the road was now open for the rest of the offensive to move forward. At the same time, despite massive casualties, the insurgents had fired their rocket barrage, evacuated their supply truck and caused casualties amongst the American forces.


Overall it was a really fun game. BLUFOR managed to get fire superiority and keep it through most of the game. Playing as the insurgents, I think I fixated too much on the M-ATV rather than trying to engage Alpha. It was a real shame that my off-map mortar were not called in – I guess they had an issue (possibly the kicking off for a new scenario perhaps). At the same time, I managed to hit all of my objectives which is new! It’s also really different to play with more Average troops having been running the demo game with Special Forces. There were more missed shots than I was used to (even with one of my opponents using his magic dice) which led to a few outrageous shots.

Having not run a game at the club since January, I really miss the different feel that you get from running demo games. It’s a bit more relaxed despite having less time to play. So expect a game in April – perhaps this one will be run with more than a week’s worth of planning.

Battle Report – Big Bird Down – Spectre Operations

This week’s battle report saw me finally bringing the downed C130 down to the club. Rather than the infantry heavy Skirmish Sangin scenario that is being used for the demo game, we instead brought out the big guns and went for some vehicle action in Spectre Operations.


While flying a routine transport operation between Bazi City and Abu Dhabi, a C130 Hercules belonging to a civilian contractor suddenly reported incoming fire. The aircraft managed to attempt evasive action but contact with the aircraft was swiftly lost.

Due to the nature of the cargo on board the aircraft, the contractor was quick to report the loss citing safety reasons and the potential issues if the various militia groups in the region were to secure it. Coalition forces have attempted to find it but a massive sandstorm in the region has forced a delay.

Now the sandstorm has cleared up, intelligence has now found the crash site and spotted movement around it. JSOC has now been ordered to prepare an operation. It’s objectives are to deploy to the crash site and secure all sensitive material.

Due to the number of enemy in the area and reinforcements approaching it, US Special Forces are attacking at speed. The plan is to snatch and grab the key objectives, utilising two armed SF pickup trucks.


Forces for this engagement were as follows:

BLUFOR:

V1 – SF Technical with .50cal

Team 1 – 5 professional with the usual operator kit such as body armour, comms and personal medkits. Also a mix of weapons from carbines to compact LMGs and light AT weapons

V2 – SF Technical with minigun

Team 2 – same as team 1 but with one less LAW available.

OPFOR:

6 Trained but well equipped soldiers with body armour, assault rifles fitted with scopes and red dots and comms

2 Trained soldiers working as a sniper team with a DMR

Two groups of trained fighters (each between 5 and 10) with a mix of assault rifles and at least one MMG and RPG

2 Technicals with HMG

Technical with light recoilless rifle


The US forces start at the bottom of the board and would need to work up it. The three objectives were:

  1. Recover the black box
  2. Recover intel documents from the white SUV in the central cargo compartment
  3. Destroy the flight deck in the nose
  4. (Optional) Destroy enemy assets (such as the technicals)

OPFOR’s role was to prevent these from happening – any objectives left standing at the end would count as being under control of the bad guys.

The board layout before deployment. Lots of open areas for both sides to cross while under fire. From here you can see the objectives stretching from the black box next to the tail section up to the flight deck at the top of the board.

The game begun by both of the US vehicles rolling on the board and getting ready to fire. Vehicle 2, complete with its minigun, rolled slowly onto the board and spotted the enemy. With the characteristic “brrrt”, the minigun opened up.

In no time at all the target squad, hunkering down behind a section of wing, were taking serious hits. Each of the minigun’s six shots took out their target, causing some a chunk of suppression. However, it wasn’t all going the operator’s way. In response to this hail of gunfire, the leftover bits of the target squad (as well as the marksman team on the two storey building) opened up at their oppressor. With the hail of PKM bursts and a carefully aimed marksman shot, OPFOR managed to knock out vehicle 2’s driver, gunner and then engine block in rapid succession.

Vehicle 1, having just seen its buddy get lit up, decided to take a slightly less dangerous route. It pulled in behind the wreck of the tail section, just in range to collect the black box. It also was the perfect position to engage one of the smaller insurgent groups hiding under the wing with the .50cal.

Having seen the lead BLUFOR vehicle go down, the rest of the OPFOR vehicles moved in for a better shot. These technicals moved at full speed, giving up a round of shooting in order to get closer next turn.

Springing from their death trap of a vehicle, Team 2 moved into cover and started acting as a base of fire team for the rest of the attack. Despite coming under long-range sniper fire, the team’s biggest concerns were the approaching technicals and the left over medium machine guns that had chewed up their ride. Unfortunately, the response to the technicals missed (although did cause some suppression) at the cost of their single use AT4 rocket.

On the other hand the LMG caused merry havoc on the infantry behind the wing. After another hail took out the squad leader and a medium machine gunner, the leftover trio would have to spend time regrouping and recovering from the suppression.

On the other flank, Team 1 and their vehicle were doing well. Most of the team had disembarked,leaving only the top gunner still in the vehicle. However he swiftly got to work, the HMG cutting down the small 5 man squad over the course of two turns of fire. On the ground, the rest of the team was getting ready to deploy. The team leader disembarked, spotting the left over bits of the main enemy squad and radioed to his buddy with the 40mm grenade launcher.

One carefully aimed indirect shot later and the leftovers had been taken out.

On the other side of the board though, Team 2 were in dire straits. Although the machine gun fire had been effective, they had been exposed for just a little too long. First, the light recoilless rifle fired taking out one operator with a direct hit but missing his buddy on the luck of a dice roll. Then the HMG on the other technical fired, kill the exposed LMG gunner. Finally, in the following turn, the recoilless rifle fired again, blowing the immobile technical to pieces to prevent anyone using its minigun.

Seeing it all going to hell, the BLUFOR commander decided to cut his loses and focus on grabbing some of the objectives. To grab the black box he popped smoke, sprinted a guy out to the box and dragged it back while the rest of the team put down supporting fire. Marking the flight deck off as a lost cause, he them formulated a simple plan to solve the issue of the intelligence documents in the white SUV. Using another light anti-tank weapon, he blew the target sky-high. If BLUFOR can’t have it, no one can.

Loading the black box onto the remaining vehicle, squad 1 mounted up (apart from two escorts) and made a sprint for the edge of the board. Despite the rest of the enemy being hot on their heels, BLUFOR managed to escape unharmed.


That was a really fun game. Trying to roll the unarmoured SF pickups directly into the line of fire might have been a bad move to begin with but the fact that the operators managed to hold the bad guys (mostly). I think this game does show how vulnerable the highly trained operators can be while they are still mounted as they can’t rely on their improved skills as much.

Next time though, I’d give BLUFOR something a little more armoured like so they could actually be more likely to thunder run up the board.

Battle Report – A Brush With The Law – Spectre Operations

This week’s battle report sees us return to the ongoing campaign in Bazistan. Following the kidnapping of the Geordiestan Ambassador from the Petramco/NZDF force back in September, it’s time to go to the next stage of the operation.


The Geordiestan Ambassador has been missing for two weeks. After being kidnapped en route from the airport by an unknown group of militia, intelligence has been working day and night to recover him. Unfortunately, the whims of the Bazistan government has caused this process to be delayed as only Bazi SF can act on any intelligence partner nations provide. A Special Forces team from Geordiestan did arrive in country but was turned round at the airport. Other nations have also been held off, with American, British and Russians all barred from operating legally on Bazi soil.

However, a new piece of information has come to light. Multiple sources point to a group in the badlands bordering Aden which is preparing to move two high value targets out of the country. This compound has attracted the attention of the Bazistan army as well as British Intelligence. Two teams from the SAS (codenamed SABRE and WANDERER) have been deployed to extract the hostages before the Bazistan Army does.


The game takes place in a frontier town in the Badlands of Bazistan, close to the border with the Aden Republic and only a short drive to the Red Sea. Intel had found two target buildings, (the tan coloured ones in the photo above) that were militia strongholds and could be the location of the two hostages. Both buildings would need to be checked. As the game began, the militia were completely unalert – the town is in safe territory and the police hadn’t tipped them off to any possible attackers. The Bazistan Army wouldn’t arrive until later – Bazi SF arriving on turn 2 and the bulk of the force arriving on turn 3.

The forces were simple:

SAS

  • SABRE – 6 Elite operators with usual direct action kit, including a LAW, LMG, UGL and DMR
  • WANDERER – 6 Elite operators in local clothing. Designed for stealth, they also had a SMG, Auto Shotgun and a Airburst grenade launcher

Bazi Army

  • Bazi SF – 6 professionals with modified assault rifles and the usual support items like body armour and medical kits
  • Bazi Motorised – 8 Trained soldiers with Assault Rifles, a MMG and an RPG accompanied by an Elite Special Forces mentor

Militia

  • Three technicals – two with HMG and one with a recoilless rifle
  • Multiple small groups of trained fighters, armed with the usual mix of Assault Rifles, RPGs and MMGs

The SAS came on from the Western board edge, seeking the shortest route to one of the buildings that avoided the patrolling guards. SABRE headed for one of the ruined buildings, aiming to set up a base of fire to assist an assault on Objective Bravo.

WANDERER headed for Objective Alpha, stacking up on the door before breaching into the empty interior. Carefully sneaking around, they headed upstairs. Due to the buildings not including staircases, we added two in opposite corners of the building. Next time I’ll add some markers

Upstairs, they found themselves in the midst of a small collection of insurgents. Taking advantage of their silenced pistols and SMGs, the team took the first shots of the game easily dropping the two fighters inside the main room. After disposing of them and the two RPG gunners on the balcony, only three militiamen knew something was up.

Unfortunately, their intel was faulty – this building was completely clear of hostages. Time to dig in and start covering

Instead, time to focus on Objective Bravo. SABRE moved into an assault position, with the LMG, DMR and UGL gunner digging into the damaged building while the rest of the team prepared to sprint across the road.

Interestingly, they spotted a white SUV moving away from the target building. It seemed to be forming up into a convoy with one of the other technicals.

As turn two began, the first sign of real trouble turned up. Six operatives of the Bazi Special Forces had appeared, moving through the ruins of the African Quarter. They managed to stay relatively quiet, not alerting the militia as they crept into position.

Turn two was pretty uneventful – WANDERER dug in to the building by setting up positions covering the staircases and aiming to cover any assault on Objective Bravo. At the same time, SABRE moved into final positions, with the assault team going into cover behind one of the pickups by the side of the road. By now these actions were starting to concern some of the civilians and it was only a matter of time before the militia was entirely on alert.

Of course, elements of the Bazi 12th Motorised Division have no concept of stealth and rolled onto the board in their BTR80A. This could be a major game changer – the armour would be hard to penetrate while the heavy autocannon would easily cut a swathe through tightly packed squads.

This was the battlefield as the engagement shifted from a stealthy operation into a more kinetic experience. A few other things happened very quickly:

First up, the technical leading the convoy about to escort the SUV away swung round at the sight of the enemy. The M40 recoilless rifle it carried on the back would be one of the main weapons against the enemy AFV.

Two of the local Bazistan police ran forward to see what on earth this military unit was doing here. Once in cohesion range, these two police changed from being ambient civilians to working alongside the military.

As for the militia, they quickly started moving some more assets around. One of the technicals with HMG moved into an ambush position, ready to spring out with the .50cal. Of more immediate danger, a fighter with a RPG-29 moved into position on the balcony and prepared to engage.

Across the road, SABRE waited.

Rolling forward, the BTR was quick to drop the ramp and send deploys its squad of Bazi soldiers. Of note was the fact that they had been joined by an Elite mentor to give them a bit more sticking power in the fight.

Thanks to the massed fire from three separate squads, the Bazistan army quickly started taking a toll on the smaller militia units, pinning them down under massed suppression of simply taking them out.

Meanwhile, SABRE bust into the target building and came face to face with a few surviving militiamen. Ever the professionals, they quick dropped them before pushing forward. From upstairs, they could hear the steady sound of gunfire as the insurgents engaged the oncoming army. The fire managed to down the two policemen and suppress the oncoming soldiers but did distract them from the team of killers slowly climbing the stairs.

At the same time, WANDERER got involved and pulled a cool piece of kit out of the toolbox. Rather than engaging an isolated militia group with carbines, the airburst grenade launcher took aim and sent a single shot flying out across the roof tops.

Safe to say, it was quite effective.

An interesting side diversion was the two police at the end of the map. Rather than meeting up with the Bazi army to begin operations, they instead got stuck in a fight while trying to defend themselves from the militia trying to restrain them.

Back in the fray, the militia were taking a beating with huge numbers of suppression markers. It wasn’t just the Bazi Army – WANDERER were assisting the assault on Objective Bravo by eliminating incoming militia units thanks to sitting on overwatch – the -1 modifier was easily nullified by the optics and high shooting skill.

Meanwhile in the building SABRE rushed up the stairs to be confronted by a stack of insurgents. However, they were ready for this. In went the flashbang.

After a blinding flash and a hail of gunfire, three insurgents lay dead – the other two were to follow in the next turn.

At this stage, the photos dry up but there were a few great events

  • SABRE’s base of fire started engaging the Bazi Army, kill several with a mix of 40mm, LMG fire and DMR shots. However, many more were saved thanks the body armour and personal medkits
  • The BTR and technicals started trading rounds, leading to both parties ending up with no drivers.

However, the big thing was unmasking of the hostage in Objective Bravo revealing the ambassador’s aide. Finally being told that the ambassador was in the quickly escaping white SUV, two members of WANDERER decided to engage. And for the first time this game they actually rolled pretty high on their armour penetration roll leading to this.

The aimed precise shots were a little too effective, with a carbine killing all three passengers in the vehicle with a single burst.

Good job everyone.


Henry Mitchell reports on the situation in Bazistan after the dust has settled

Seeing as the Ambassador is no longer with us, Geordiestan must be furious with everyone involved in this affair from Petramco and the Kiwis to the Bazistan government and the rumoured involvement of British troops. We shall have to see what happens next!

Slightly more concerning is what the rescued aide recounted to the SIS when being debriefed. He overheard his kidnapper mention a safe house they were to be taken to… in the city of St. Davide in Zaiweibo!

The next game will pick up this trail, possibly going for a slightly stealthy mission as intelligence forces seek to discover more information in the land across the Red Sea.


Hope you guys enjoyed the battle report! It was a really good game, where I got to put a lot of toys on the table, hiding the militia in amongst civilians. The most important thing however was that everyone left the table smiling having had one hell of a battle.

Next week we’ll take a closer look at those SAS chaps, along with their more urban focused buddies. There might even be an additional impressions based on another set of figures I’ve recently painted…

Battle Report: Home of the Wolf – Skirmish Sangin

It was the last club night before Halloween – something slightly spooky was required. With freshly finished scenario in one hand, and freshly painted werewolves in the other, we sat down to play… Home of the Wolf!

The scenario saw 8 UKSF soldiers and a SIS agent going up against 3 werewolves. Thanks to the design of the scenario, I managed to fit two games of it in.


The board ready to play, with an abandoned compound in the middle of a forested valley. I think this was the most trees I’ve used in any of my wargames.

First game saw me taking control of the werewolves. The SAS setup throughout the central compound, in particular taking the high ground.

Slightly blurry shot, but it isn’t a werewolf film without a shot of one howling to the moon. I went for a scatter approach, probing for a thin point and then using my superior speed to mass suddenly at that position.

The start of the game didn’t exactly go my way. Werewolf number 3 was shot before he even activated, having been spotted early on and shot down by the combined gun fire of two Operators (including the SIS agent).

Werewolf number 2 ran straight into the two-man combination of shotgun/LMG trooper, leapt on top of the gunner and ripped him to pieces sending morale markers everywhere. Werewolf kills generate additional morale effects so even the elite and veterans were suffering morale failures.

Meanwhile the Alpha bounded over the wall and engaged one of the operators covering the front. Luckily for the trooper, he managed to parry the werewolf’s furious strikes.

I must have missed the photo but the two-man killing team that took out Werewolf 3 slewed round and finished off the alpha as well. About 4 phases in and I was down to 1/3 of my force.

Back on the rooftop, the shotgun trooper now stared down the last werewolf. Before it could leap forward he took aim and pulled the trigger. And….

Rolled a misfire. The shotgun jammed and now required 3AP to clear it.

The last wolf leapt off the roof and went running for some concealment. Maybe another ambush would help it get its prey.

After having watched the operators move to regroup, the wolf jumped in to take out another operator but got hit by the mother of all snapfires. Everyone in the arc opened up. However, the wolf managed to take the storm of bullets before slashing it’s target down and then sprinting away into the darkness.

As the wolf player, I was running out of options. So I went for a hail mary – moving round the compound, leaping over the wall and then trying to get some stealth kills by sneaking up behind

Alas, it was not to be. The wolf’s attacks were parried and in the next turn, he was dogpiled by the remaining SAS troopers.

Final result – all wolves dead, two SAS trooper critically incapacitated. Looks like the boys at Porton Down are about to have some new things to investigate.


I took a different approach when I jumped in as the SAS. Rather than sitting in the compound, I decided to make a break for the separate building and look for a spot where I could take advantage of massed firepower without being ambushed (also to avoid wolves jumping over the walls). To this end, I setup at the south gate ready for a sprint.

The downside of this blob approach was the fact the wolves could get much closer and very soon one had jumped over the wall to get at a straggler. However, snapfire inflicted some serious damage, dropping him to half health and his attempts at combat were parried.

This wolf then attempted to flee but Cunningham the SIS agent was having none of it. Upon activating she turned, sighted the fleeing wolf and dropped it with a burst before it could regenerate

The SAS attempted to make a break for it but upon exiting the compound got slammed by the other wolf.

After some bouncing around (including a good few hits on the wolf that regeneration didn’t get round to fix) one of the wolves managed to cause a wound on one of the rear guard. This caused a bubble of morale markers but the Operators were not being put down by a few oversized dogs.

At this point, the Alpha really got to strut its stuff. First it disemboweled the shotgunner (the snapfire shot missed by rolling equal to the target value) before killing the LAW gunner outright.

Raging at this kill, three of the SAS bum rushed the Alpha and with a flurry of blows (helped by the fact the wolves can’t parry).

The other wolf, seeing the Alpha taken down, promptly failed its morale test and made a run for the hills, followed by a chorus of jeers from the surviving troopers.

And with that, another victory for the SAS. Two men dead (minced by the Alpha) and one injured but the werewolves had been fought off.

One point we thought up while playing – the pounce move mentioned in the PDF which knocks the enemies prone is designed to cause a problem in close quarters. For this reason, we changed its effects to match up to the “Trip Up” combat action – a nasty way for the wolves to avoid enemies parrying them. Similarly, if you find the wolves a little too squishy, some light armour would help.


Overall a fun, dumb scenario – perfect for Halloween. Don’t worry, we’ll return to your regular scheduled Ultramodern content next week.

Battle Report: “The Welcome Party” – Spectre Operations

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.

Battle Report: “Big Dave Must Die!” – Spectre Operations

Sometimes, pre-planning games don’t always go according to plan. On Monday, the game was a 7 person multiplayer game on a massive 6×8 table where every side had designs on Big Dave (mostly killing him). On Wednesday I had changed the sides. On Thursday morning, it was now going to be a much smaller game. When I got to the club, it had become a 1 vs 1 over a standard 6×4 board.

And honestly? It was a barrel of laughs that I enjoyed every minute of.


“Big Dave” was a Corporal in the Eritrean Army until he and his squad decided to cross the Red Sea and become a mercenary in the badlands of Bazistan. For the first few years he worked for the various factions before setting himself up as a pirate warlord. Due to his ongoing actions, his name and group quickly joined the list of targets of ISAF-AP seek to remove from the region.

Today, his number has come up. US Army Special Forces Command has dispatched an 8 man team (along with a US Army Security Element) to the small town where Big Dave holds sway. They seek to capture but if no other option is available, deadly force is authorised.

The American Force consisted of two parts: The team of 8 elites in a Razor and a SF Pickup and their Security Detail (a standard 9 person squad with a medic accompanying, all rated Professional) mounted in two up-armoured Humvees. The Americans had an advantage – as far as they knew, the defenders had no idea what they were doing in the region.

 

Against them were two groups. Big Dave had pulled back as many of his pirates as could, giving him a mob of African militia, 4 local militia and three technicals (two with HMGs and one mounting a BMP turret). In addition was his own squad, which were trained to a professional standard and had followed him over the sea from Eritrea. He had also paid off the local police force, giving him an additional 12 Trained fighters which included some heavy weapons. Most of the village was abandoned but a UAV had spotted two armoured SUVs arriving the previous day. The allegiance of the inhabitants of these vehicles were unknown – the Americans would have to be careful.

 As the game begins, the Americans moved into the Area of Operations from the north. In the centre of the board, outside the police station, a group of officers were milling around, chatting with some of the militia and generally standing guard. More officers sat inside doing the general tasks of a working police station, all while trying to not think too much about the most recent guests who had appeared in town. Importantly, all the heavy weapons (the RPGs and MMGs) were still in the station’s armoury.

Inside the compound, the 3 technicals (Red, Green and Blue) sat idling. One was preparing to set off on patrol, with the pirates waiting to help open the gates. However, Big Dave knew something was coming. A little bird had mentioned there could be trouble in the next few days and now dust clouds had appeared on the outskirts of town. He set off to start alerting his troops and getting everyone ready for the fight.

Entering the town, the two American units split. The grunts headed for the covering position, planning to take advantage of the long sight line of the main street. The SOF took the side streets, with the Razor zooming ahead of the upgraded pickup.

Despite the vehicles moving around, the bulk of the OPFOR hadn’t spotted the incoming threat. The green technical set off on patrol while the militia finished their discussion and moved to go back inside the compound.

However, the two most northern cops had spotted the bulky Humvees rolling around and became alert to the incoming threats.

 

As the next turn began the Americans moved even further into town. Both the Humvees finally rolled into their positions and prepared to set up an overwatch.

The two SF vehicles continued to speed along, heading straight for the compound wall and a possible assault position.

In the next turn, the pirates snatched the initiative. The alert police had grabbed the rest of their team and sprinted across the street in order to find a fighting position. However, this was a major tactical blunder. One of the Humvees had setup overwatch and the .50cals ripped a bloody hole in the team, piling on the suppression. The other Humvee fired past the police at the green technical just pulling out of the compound. However, all the rounds missed causing nothing more than suppression.

After having interrupted the enemy’s movement phase, the US Army deployed. Leaving the gunners in their seats, the rest of the team spread out. One fireteam setup on the roof to provide more fire while the other began checking nearby buildings for possible insurgent hotspots.

The SF had finally reached the corner and momentarily slowed in order to take it.

However the gunner on the pickup was itching for a fight. The grunts had reported two police heading for side road and the gunner was now ready. As they passed the gap, the M2 hammered between the buildings. This burst of fire dropped two more police, bringing that main squad down to one policeman hiding behind a car.

In the next turn, the SF vehicle came sliding round the corner, guns facing forward. This sudden appearance shocked the militia and the snarl you can see above appeared. Green had frantically reversed and turned to get away from a crossfire of .50cals while Blue had just moved through the gate as the main gunner frantically wheeled the turret around. The smaller gate had seen action, with all the militia pouring through as Big Dave started to move to join the fight.

Before Blue could hammer a round into the new attackers, the SF pickup sent a burst of .50cal rounds into it. No major damage was caused but it began a hail of rounds onto it.

The rest of the American forces began to send fire down towards Blue. Multiple hits caused damage, first immobilizing the vehicle and then sending .50cal rounds straight through the passenger compartment. The driver was instantly killed while the passenger was incapacitated.

Also at this time the Razor commander had swung its M240 round and lit up the squad of local militia. It’s four shots took down half the squad with the rest being removed by carbine and LMG fire from the grunts further up the map.

However, it wasn’t all going the Operator’s way. Green emptied a burst into the Razor. Only one round hit but it slammed into the driver. It only incapacitated him but the lack of action sent the Razor skidding towards the wall.

The following turn saw the SF disembarking from their rides. The team medic rushed to deal with the driver while the rest of the operators started engaging enemies.

A UGL blast was targeted at Green. However it missed and scattered onto the group of militia around the technical. Both the RPG gunners were vaporised and even one of Big Dave’s squad took a hit. At the same time, one of the operators had requested a missile strike to drop right on top of the wall next to the Green technical.

 

While all this had been going on, a small group of contractors had appeared from two buildings on the board. Initially it seemed like they intended to fight, with one team using the armoured SUV as a shield and advancing behind it. However, seeing the Americans at the compound gates, the rest of the mercs saw the way the wind was blowing. They quickly rushed to get in their vehicles, slinging kit into the boot and moving in a non-combat way. One of the contractors also radioed to the Americans, quoting the days authentication code for Private Military Companies in the region.

Checking the codes against the daily orders, the Humvee gunner did not engage the vehicles, instead letting them speed away from the battle raging behind them.

Around this time, the heavy weapon teams from the police had got their act together and moved to join the fight. However, they were still in the firing line and were taking rounds from the Americans.

Back at the main gate, a traffic accident appeared to have occurred. Blue had been immobilized right in front of the gate and so Red would have to ram the damaged vehicle in order to get into the fight. Luckily the ram didn’t destroy either vehicle but it did end up knocking Green (who had rolled forward to get out of the firing line. The militia decided to use these vehicles as cover and got ready to engage the attackers.

Despite this, the militia got pounded again. Rounds poured in knocking down fighters, killing the gunner on the back of Red and pinning everyone in place.

 

The Argo mercs reached the AO edge and swiftly drove off in the direction of the highway.

Big Dave saw the way things were going and started sprinting (along with his team) towards a parked pickup that could be used to escape. It was a slim chance but maybe the mess behind him would distract the Americans.

And just after everyone had cleared the target zone, a Maverick missile screamed out of the sky and blew a hole in the compound wall.

At this point the middle battle was basically over. The police had been annihilated (only one officer was left alive) while the militia were drowning in suppression or dead. Big Dave’s pride and joys (the technicals) were all combat ineffective, unable to do nothing more than act as a roadblock.

Big Dave kept running to his escape vehicle just as the two Humvees moved into position to block the main routes.

Big Dave reached the vehicle and, rather than wait for the rest of his team, slammed the car into reverse heading for the exit.

This move took him into the firing line of the Humvee. For this turn, he was safe as the Army wanted him alive.

Slamming into gear he skidded round the corner, sped past the two remaining members of his squad (one having been engaged by the Humvees) and began to make a break for it in the other direction.

However, he hadn’t taken into account the three operators that had crept into his compound. Before he even saw them, two carbine bursts and a hail of battle rifle rounds had slammed into the crew compartment. Everyone inside were injured, with Big Dave beginning to bleed out in his seat.

Having just seen their boss’s vehicle get shot up, and presented by a pair of .50cal barrels from the Humvees, the remaining Eritreans surrendered to the US Army.

A few minutes later the operators come to verify the casualty. Big Dave was now dead and the battle won. Not the best outcome but a victory for the US Forces.

But why were Argo in the village? And what had been in those containers inside of Big Dave’s compound? Maybe the interrogations of the remaining Eritreans can reveal who Big Dave was dealing with. 


Overall a really fun game. It came about due to some improvisation and would need a few tweaks if played again but both of us really enjoyed it. There were loads of cool moments, from the SOF sliding round the corner to see the crowd of technicals in front of them to Big Dave’s failed attempt to escape.

My big problem was forgetting two assets I’d been given. As this was pirate town, I should have been rolling for reinforcements every turn once I started taking casualties as the rest of the pirates started flocking to the fight. I also had a mortar strike that I should have dropped on the US Army base of fire and prevented the two 50cals from locking my guys down.

As the game was wrapping up, one of the other players at the club asked if I wanted to run a game next week so he can play with some of his toys. It’s only fair but I think I’m going to get all my insurgent toys out the cupboard. I’ve got some trucks to hunts down.