Saturday, June 6, 2015

Cuba Libre - Liberation Batrep 5


It's 0600 on 1 Feb 1990, and 1st Marine Company, 3rd Infantry Battalion, has been tasked with a forced entry operation, coming over the beach at Playa Colorada (on the western end of the island), held by elements of the 27th Infantry Company, 3rd Cuban Infantry Battalion.  Unfortunately for the Marines, the enemy was tipped off by local fishermen regarding the strange ships lying close off shore, and so the regime forces are ready and waiting when the Marines arrive.

In the overall scheme of things, CLA SOF Squadron B knocked out a radar site (1) in an attempt to mask the landing force, but local fishermen warned the regime forces, elements of the enemy 3rd Infantry Battalion, of the foreign ships, and so the enemy at Playa Colorada (5) are waiting for the CLA Marines.  2nd Para Bn has already dropped and seized a key bridge (3) to protect the beachhead from the enemy's Pinar del Rio garrison just to the east.

So this fight is coming ashore at Playa Colorada (5) in order to secure the Guadiana Bay so that the assault ships can enter and debark 5th Armored Battalion at the docks of La Fe; the Marines' amphibious assault must succeed; if La Fe is not opened, 4th Infantry Bn and 5th Armored Bn will be forced to land over the beaches, possibly at the Bay of Pigs landing site.  This will significantly delay the landing, placing 4th and 5th Battalions at peril, as the their delayed debarkation will likely draw the attention of regime attack aircraft and boats.  Additionally, an inability to land 3rd, 4th, and 5th Battalions will not only throw the entire CLA operational plan out the window, it will strand 1st Para Bn as the only conventional unit in the west.

**Fight 2 was CLA SOF eliminating the Cuban military's communications hub, and Fight 4 was 2nd Para Bn seizing a key hilltop position to protect the Bay of Pigs landing beaches (the landing there has not yet occurred).

The opposing forces, regime on the left, CLA Marines on the right.  The forces are little bigger than I really wanted, but is just sort of happened.  I rolled up the CLA force and it was relatively small, but then I rolled up the enemy force and it was really big, so I must admit I had to cheat a bit and give the CLA force more troops.  But it didn't really make sense to make an amphibious assault with a teeny-tiny force anyway, so what the hell.

Commander, 1st Marine Co, 3rd Inf Bn: Captain Benavides

The Marine landing force: Command Stand, six rifle teams, a SMAW team, a 60mm mortar team, a light machine gun team (what the hell?  I don't see them in the pic), and a single leader figure representing...

3rd Infantry Battalion, Commanding Officer: Colonel Malusio Galban.

The enemy force, Cuban Army regulars of the 27th Infantry Company.  They're ready and willing, but are hurt by a lack of dedicated anti-armor weapons.  They have a Command Stand, six rifle stands (three with RPG attachments), an MG team, and an 82mm mortar team.

The battlefield, north is left, with the Marines landing from the west (bottom) and the regime force defending in the east (top).  The enemy is dug in and ready.

The northeast portion of the enemy line, Bunkers 1 and 2 (left to right).  The enemy has rifle teams with RPGs in each bunker, and the MG in Bunker 1.

The southeast, with their mortar at top right.

The CLA force, loaded into three Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAVs, or 'tracks') heading for the beach.  The CLA doesn't have much in the way of a Navy, so no preparatory bombardment, but they did manage to lay a smokescreen via a jerry-rigged affair lashed to a commercial yacht.  So the CLA had lost 'strategic surprise' on this beach, but not 'tactical surprise' as the enemy could only see the smokescreen and had no idea what was coming or when exactly it was coming.

And the Marines took advantage of this, with the three Tracks (1, 2, and 3 from left to right) dashing up through the surf and beach then pitching to a halt...

To disgorge their occupants.  An awesome sight to behold ;)

But right off the bat the enemy caught a piece of luck...

When Track 3 hits a mine, immobilizing it.

Sorry for the fuzzy photo, I've been doing better ;)

But the Marines on the beach pose tempting targets, and the fight starts with the enemy mortar (top right) firing on Tm 4 (bottom center, white puff).

Both Tm 4 and the SMAW team are 'men down,' and Track 2 falls back (bottom left).

On the Marine left, Bunker 1's MG team fired on Tm 6, missing.  The LMG team (next to Tm 6) returned fire...

Causing the enemy rifle team (with RPG) to abandon the field, leaving the MG team alone in the emplacement.

Bunker 2 fires an RPG at Track 1, pinning it.  Tm 3 returned fire to no effect.

And then the last RPG team fired on Track 1...

Busting it wide open and causing the LMG team to fall back and hunker behind it...
Tm 1 returned fire, no effect.

But the Marines get a shot in the arm when the crew of Track 3 are able to get the vehicle back in the fight (another random event).  The Battalion Commander, Colonel Galban rushed forward and rallied Tm 4 and the SMAW team.

Then the Colonel fell back to Track 2 and rallied them.

And this is where it definitively swung: the Marine mortar (bottom right) fired on the enemy troops in the southeast (top right)...

The enemy mortar team and a rifle team were eliminated, and another rifle team was forced to fall back.

Then Track 2 (bottom left) fired on Bunker 2 with its .50-caliber machine gun...

I had just rolled two red sixes and a black six with the mortar, and now this...  It sucked though that I couldn't take advantage of all that good rolling as there just weren't enough enemy troops around!

One enemy rifle was KO'ed, another forced to fall back (that's the enemy CO at bottom left, wondering what the hell just happened).

Then Track 2 surged forward, ripping a hole in the wire and knocking a hole in the wooden fence.

The SMAW team fired on the MG in Bunker 1, pinning it.

Followed by Track 3 moving up (top right) and firing on Bunker 1, forcing the MG team to fall back (far left red bead, from bunker at bottom left).

Then Tm 6 moved up next to Track 2 (on the Marine left) and fired, knocking out the enemy rifle team.

A look at the enemy positions: the dice are hot as hell!

The Marines surge forward off the beach.

And the enemy quits its positions.  The Marines are off the beach, Mission Success for Captain Benavides and the 1st Marine Company!

Friendly: ~10 KIA/WIA, one AAV knocked out.
Enemy: ~25 KIA/WIA, ~20 POWs.

Holy @#$%!!!  Another fight that had me shaking.  I mean, it ended up practically being a walkover, but that's not how it started, and it certainly turned on a dime.  The Marines came ashore and debarked, but then all hell broke loose: Track 3 hits a land mine and is immobilized, the middle of the line is ripped open by enemy mortar fire, Track 2 takes an RPG hit and falls back, then Track 1 goes up in flames.  But then our mortars decimated the right side, and Tracks 2 and 3 got back in action.  The Marines got on their feet, followed the tracks through the breach, then mopped up.  Pretty wild.

And don't make fun of my very rudimentary beach/surf area; it took me all of about five minutes with stuff I already had on hand, and it's 'good enough.'

A string of five fights during the opening stages of the CLA invasion, going well,  I'm having a lot of fun and I hope you are too.  More fights coming up.



  1. When your AAVs started having "issues" I thought it was all over for this attack and things would get ugly on the beach. Glad it turned out differently.

    1. "Glad it turned out differently."
      Yeah, me too ;) I've got four more batreps to get written up this week, should have the first up tonight. Thanks Chris.


  2. This was awesome, love seeing the LVTPs/AAVs in action. I also thought the Marines were toast for a moment. Many, many thanks for posting these, am greatly enjoying them.

    1. Thanks man, I appreciate it. You may be disappointed to find the next Marine fight has them on foot, sans tracks. And I'll tell you the next Marine fight started off rough, but I won't tell ya how it ended. Well, rest assured that there's no way a Marine unit is getting beat on my table ;)

      I'm glad you're having a good time, thanks for letting me know, helps keep me going when I start to realize how much time I'm sinking into writing these things up!


  3. Beach is fine. Two words: "Magic dice" :-) You can take pictures all you want but 7 6s from the mortar and the MG?! Actually I am kidding, I have this all the time and no one except you believes me. I thought this might be the game the CLA would lose, but as you say at the end of the post, the dice came through midway.

    1. Thanks Shaun. The beach was as good as I could do in five minutes, and now that it worked, it's just plain good ;)

      I was a bit worried for the CLA Marines, but they pulled through. I will say that, this weekend the CLA suffered its first operational setback, and the consequences are already being felt...


  4. Oh, and I am with irishserb, the beach is fine.