Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Cuba Libre - Liberation Batrep 7


It's 0630 on 1 Feb 1990, and 2nd Marine Company, 6th Infantry Battalion, has just come ashore at the Bay of Pigs landing site (7).  The Marines debarked their Amphibious Assault Vehicles, which turned around to go pick up the second wave, then began moving east along the beach.  The Marines had met no resistance during the landing (as expected), but when they began fanning out to the east they ran into elements of the 81st Infantry Company, 4th Infantry Battalion, who, as pure dumb luck would have it, were on maneuvers in the area, away from their base at Cienfuegos.

So far we've had:
1) B Squadron SOF destroyed a radar site in support of amphibious landings at Playa Colorada (5).  B Sqdn then egressed and linked up with CLA rotary wing assets for their follow-on mission in Havana (6).
2) C Squadron SOF destroyed a the Cuban military's communications center.
3) 1st Para Battalion dropped in and seized a bridge to screen the landings at Playa Colorada (5).
4) 2nd Para battalion dropped in and eliminated a Castro-regime garrison to screen the landings at the Bay of Pigs (just west of (4).
5) 1st Marine Company, 3rd Infantry Battalion, made an amphibious assault at Playa Colorada.
6) A Squadron SOF attacked a Castro-regime SAM site near Havana, which failed to clear the way for B Squadron's helo assault into Havana.
7) 2nd Marine Company, 6th Infantry Battalion, landed at the Bay of Pigs then turned east and ran into a strong enemy force.

The opposing forces, with Castro-regime troops on the left and CLA on the right.  The Marines have a rather small, but highly proficient force, but are significantly outnumbered in men and heavy weapons.

Commander, 2nd Marine Co, 6th Inf Bn: Captain Spirovales

The CLA force has a Command Stand, five Marine rifle teams, a light machine gun, and a single-figure stand representing...

6th Infantry Battalion, Commanding Officer: Colonel Ricardo Colvasquez

The enemy force has a Command Stand, seven rifle stands, a medium machine gun, and an 82mm mortar.

Overview of the map, north is up, Marines are on the left (west), coming from their landing site, while the enemy is on the right (east), moving to check out the commotion, unaware (due to C Squadron SOF knocking out the comm center) of the invasion.  In the north is Hill 47.

On the Marine left is Captain Spirovales and teams 1, 2, and 3.

While Colonel Covasquez has the LMG and teams 5 and 6.

The enemy's deployment, with troops in skirmish line in the close terrain in the north, and in road column in the south.

The fight starts with the Bn Cmdr moving the LMG up and having them light into the closely stacked Cuban Army troops on the road...

Getting 'men down' and a pin.  Could have/should have been a lot better than that...

Then Tm 4 moves up and fires on the enemy troops in the road...

And he gets 'men down' on the previously pinned team, and pins the next team in line.  Interesting...

On the left, Capt Spirovales leads Tm 2 forward towards Hill 47.

The enemy CO moves over to rally his troops, but the first team has taken too many casualties and melts away (fails rally and dissolves).  But the enemy mortar (top right) gets going...

And pounds the LMG team, who suffers casualties.

An enemy rifle team moves up, and Tm 5 (off camera to left) guard fires but misses.  The enemy fires on Tm 4...

Forcing them to fall back (red bead, from far right).  I was trying to spread them out to not provide a great target for the mortars...

The enemy MG team moves up and gets their gun into action.

Captain Spirovales, a seasoned combat leader, senses he's facing a larger enemy force, and decides the best course is, as always, violence of action.  (With some outstanding 'sprint' rolls) The CO gets Teams 1, 2, and 3 atop Hill 47.  Rather surprisingly, the Cuban regulars do not flinch, and they themselves close the distance.

In the south, Colonel Colvasquez rallies the LMG team, who then moves up to the road, then falls back and rallies Tm 4.

Then the Bn Cmdr leads them forward (bottom right).  Tm 5 does not move up as they now have clear LOS and we're trying to maintain spacing so the enemy mortar can't eat our lunch.

The enemy in the south press forward.  They are being very aggressive, game on!

That damned enemy mortar (top right) gets going again, marking the Marine LMG team (bottom left)...

And knocking them out.

And then the enemy MG team fires on Tm 5; Tm 5 goes 'men down,' while Tm 4 (bottom center) is pinned...

A nasty, short range firefight erupts atop Hill 47.  Cuban regulars (bottom left) place accurate, short range fire on Tm 2...

Who are forced to fall back down the hill (far left red bead, from center); sorry, I flipped perspectives on you, the last photo had the Cubans on the left and Marines on the right.  It's because I'm trying to get the best photo through the trees...

Tm 2 tries to rally, but only gets 'up' to pinned.

Tm 1 (far left) opens up, pinning an enemy rifle team (top right).

Captain Spirovales falls back and tries to rally Tm 2, but they remain pinned, while Tm 3 opens up a hellacious fusillade on the enemy on Hill 47, getting 'men down' on one team and pinning the other.  Things are looking ripe for a close assault ;)

In the south, Colonel Colvasquez moves back to rally Tm 5 (bottom left) and they fires on the enemy MG (top right), but only gets a 'pin' result, and they're already pinned.

You can see the LMG casualties in the road at center and the pinned Tm 2 at top center.

Tm 4 fires on the enemy MG team...

And knocks them out (center left)!!!

Enemy rifle teams fire on Tm 5 (far left)...

Knocking them out (far left).  Colonel Colvasquez is okay and moves to Tm 4.

Tm 4 now receives enemy fire, but suffers no ill effects.

On Hill 47, a pinned enemy rifle team tries to rally but fails, and falls back (top right), while another pinned team fails and stays pinned.  The 'men down' team does manage to rally (bottom left), and the enemy mortar team moves south (bottom right) and sets up.

The enemy CO moves to a pinned team (top right) to rally them, but they run!  Two more enemy teams move up (bottom left), maintaining the pressure in the south, as the Marines only have the Bn Cmdr and one rifle team...

But Captain Spirovales decides to counter enemy pressure in the south by applying pressure in the north: Tm 1 circles north into enemy lines (barely visible in the trees at top center, between the enemy rifle team pinned at center (yellow bead) and the enemy team hunkering (red bead) at top right, while the CO leads Tm 2 up into line next to Tm 3.

Fortune favors the bold: in the south, Colonel Colvasquez and tm 4 open fire...

They knock out one team (bottom right) and pin the other; Colonel Colvasquez leads Tm 4 into close combat!

The Bn Cmdr and Tm 4 defeat the enemy rifle team in  close combat, then move up (bottom center) as the enemy CO falls back (top right, on road).

Back on Hill 47, Tm 3 opens up on the enemy...

Getting 'men down' on one team (white bead at far left, very vulnerable), forcing another to fall back (red bead at top right, also very vulnerable), and pinning the enemy mortar (yellow bead at far right, already vulnerable, now even more so).  The enemy CO (bottom right) looks on helplessly as Marine firepower and gallantry crumbles his forces before his very eyes.

Seizing the initiative, Captain Spirovales immediately leads Tm 3 into close combat...

The enemy team, already having suffered serious casualties, is easily swept aside, and so the CO again pushes forward, and he's joined by the rest of his Marines coming on line.

The enemy tosses their weapons down and surrender, mission success for Captain Spirovales and 2nd Marine Company!  Fantastic though I expected nothing less from the Marines ;)

Man, we were getting cut to pieces in the south by the enemy machine gun and mortars, but a lucky 'scurry' let the CO and three teams get to the top of Hill 47.  I was really surprised when the Cubans decided to clos atop Hill 47, rather than fall back to the village (the odds were certainly in favor of falling back), but I'm not sure it mattered with the way the Marine shooting dice were coming out.  I mean , I had no business getting anything done in the south, but the Cubans closed there too, and so when Tm 4 got a ridiculously good shooting roll it made it possible for the Bn Cmdr to head into close combat (and win).

Both Colonel Colvasquez and Captain Spirovales were decorated for valor (Bronze Star and Silver Star, respectively).

Friendly: ~15 KIA/WIA
Enemy: ~30 KIA/WIA, ~20 POW

I've still got another to write up, maybe more, we'll see.



  1. Replies
    1. With the Marines, it could be no other way! ;)

      Thanks Jim.