Friday, June 12, 2015

Cuba Libre - Liberation Batrep 8


It's 0630 on 1 Feb 1990, and B Company, CLA Unconventional Warfare Group (UWG), is in pursuit of an enemy garrison of the 84th Provincial Militia Company, 16th Territorial Infantry Battalion.  General Waroldonez is not pleased as this whole gambit almost cost the CLA its strategic surprise for the invasion.

Everyone in the CLA knows of Colonel Huistrella's (commander of the CLA UWG) impatience to get at the Castro regime.  The invasion plan called for Col Huistrella's B Company to eliminate an enemy garrison, east of Cienfuegos, in the Escambray Mountains, as part of the UWGs mission to delay enemy forces in the east from attacking the beacheads or linking up with regime-forces in the west.  But the UWG was not supposed to begin carrying out its portion of the plan until AFTER the landings occurred, and, indeed, that is what A and C Companies did.

But Colonel Huistrella couldn't restrain himself and could have jeopardized the whole plan.  Instead of getting into position surrounding the enemy garrison on 31 Jan 1990, and attacking after the landings occurred on 1 Feb, Huistrella ordered B Company's commander, Captain Galban (son of the 3rd Infantry Battalion's commander) to attack the enemy garrison immediately, and this occurred at 2330 on 31 January 1990, approximately seven hours early.

The attack was near flawless, but only near.  The attack by B Company went off, with the CLA force defeating a much larger enemy force on the strength of surprise and violence of action, and all communication equipment was destroyed without the garrison notifying anyone (this was done by Popular Force infiltrators).  But an enemy column did escape their base, and so to prevent them notifying anyone of the attack, B Company divided into three groups and pursued the enemy.  After seven hours of dogged pursuit in the jungle-covered mountains, the enemy column found itself blocked by a CLA force to the south (off map), with a force in the northwest led by Colonel Huistrella and a force in the northeast led by Captain Galban.  The enemy's only option was to stand and fight, though it wasn't much use in the end...

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, which it handily defeated.
8) B Company of the UWG pursued and destroyed an enemy garrison in the Escambray Mountains.

The opposing forces, with regime forces on the left and CLA forces on the right.  What a mess, using Pendraken Aussies (Vietnam range), VC (Vietnam range), and Vietminh (Indochina range) for the bad guys, and Minifigs Aussies (Vietnam range **What are you going to do now, Shaun, there are Aussies on both sides), Pendraken Brits and Argentinian Special Forces (from the Falklands range), and Minifigs modern US, with a mix of desert, semi-arid, and temperate/jungle basing.  Perfect ;)

Commander, B Co: Captain Galban (son of Col Galban)

The CLA have a Command Stand, six SF rifle teams, a Popular Force rifle team, a SMAW, an LMG, a 60mm mortar, and a single figure representing...

CLA Unconventional Warfare, Commanding Officer: Colonel Hector Huistrella

The regime fugitives have a Command Stand, five rifle teams, and two LMG teams.

Overview, north is up, high in the Escambray Mountains, with no roads, only jungle trails.  There is a strong CLA force in the south (down) off map, which has caused the enemy to halt in the south and turn to face their attackers, who are in the northwest (top left, Colonel Huistrella) and northeast (Captain Galban).

In the northwest: the Colonel, three rifle teams, the mortar team, and the SMAW team.

The northeast: the Captain, three rifle teams, the Popular Force (PF) team, and the LMG team.  These guys wouldn't even really get into action.

And the enemy, in the south, having seen CLA forces before them  (off table) as they hustled along the trail to the south, they have now halted and faced north, and are scrambling for decent defensive positions.

The Colonel immediately puts the mortar to work...

And the rounds drop on the left side of the enemy's line...

Knocking out one enemy rifle team and pinning another.

From the northeast side, the LMG team moves up (top left) and fires on an enemy LMG (bottom right), missing.

While back in the northwest, the SMAW team takes a shot...

And misses too.

So Tm 6 (far right) moves up and fires...

Knocking out the enemy rifle team (top left), and forcing the LMG team (bottom left) to run for their lives, and they are soon pocketed by the CLA force off table to the south.

Tm 5 (top right) move up next to Tm 6, and take a shot at the enemy team (bottom left) that the LMG and SMAW have already failed to hit.  Tm 5 misses also; those guys are bullet-proof...

Then the Colonel and Tm 4 move up and fire on that same enemy team, pinning it.

The enemy CO tries to rally them, but they stay pinned, while their remaining LMG team and a rifle team move further up the hill.

Bu their rifle team on the left makes a fatal error, moving farther left, away from his friends, rather than braving fire to cross the trail to them.

Now the CLA mortar goes after the enemy LMG team on the right...

And it's fantastic!  The enemy team at far left goes 'men down,' as does the LMG team, and the enemy team at far right falls back and hunkers!  It's all over but the cryin'.

The LMG team (from the northeast force, you can see Colonel Huistrella's northwest force at top/center left) fires on the enemy rifle team on their left flank (bottom right), no effect...

Then the SMAW moves over to take a shot; the enemy riflemen see the rocket team moving and fire, but miss.  The SMAW team sends a rocket their way, which is enough to send them running off the map into the waiting arms of the CLA southern (off map) force.

This ends effective resistance, as the only unit on the regime left, and the only unit still in fighting shape, just ran away, leaving only a rifle and LMG team that have taken heavy casualties, and a rifle team that is suppressed.

Colonel Huistrella leads a couple rifle teams forward, and they quickly mop up the Castro-backing survivors, Mission Success for UWG's B Company and Captain Galban, or is it Colonel Huistrella?  Either way, the enemy garrison is eliminated and the UWG troops are in position to block enemy forces advancing east to west towards the Bay of Pigs landing site.

Friendly: ~5 KIA/WIA
Enemy: ~10 KIA/WIA, ~30 POW

Still more to come, hope you're having a good time.



  1. Excellent report....lots of action and great photos.

    1. Thanks, Jim, should have another batrep up this evening.


  2. Another exciting chapter! Two questions. First, maybe I missed them in previous reports, but what do those red-orange markers represent? Second, what are you using for materials for your hills and mountains? It looks like some sort of carpeting.

    1. Chris,

      Thanks man. On to your questions:
      1. I'm using it as 'tracer' fire. Not for effect, but to help the reader see who's shooting at who.

      2. Ugh, you mean you haven't seen any of the knuckleheads here, or on the various forums, making fun of me for using spray-painted carpet for hills? ;) Yeah, they're carpet, and they work for me!


    2. I am sure no one put Chris up to his question :-)

      "knuckeheads"? You can talk - you are the one with the carpet hills! I am *so* waiting for you to put a heavy barrage from planes on one of your hills - carpet bombing would never be so apt a term!

    3. Carpeting bombing, eh? Don't quit your day job(s)... ;)

      Old Kyote keeps saying he's making me hills; you guys are starting to give me a complex. I had been telling him I don't want his hills, now I'm starting to feel like I need them!


    4. you may not *want* them, but as you say, you *need* them.


  3. Great battle reports - keep em coming.. I'm going to have to give the 5Core Company rules a try out.

    Cheers, Andy

    1. Hey Andy, thanks for the kind words.

      I do recommend 5Core; innovative activation system, everything else is nice and simple, intuitive, quick, and easily modified to give you exactly what you want. I've played about thirty games with the Company Command variant now.


  4. Hello Jack,

    OK, I am making an effort to catch up as i am going to New Zealand in a few days on a family holiday (skiing and scenic stuff with a couple of other families) so will be mostly off web.

    Firstly, I cheered for both sides - Aussies on Aussies is never pretty but you have to do what you have to do to remain loyal. One day you may even use them as Aussies. Great report and glad to see you got your own back with friendly mortar fire rather than been subject to good enemy mortars as in the last game.

  5. Shaun,

    Hey man, it's always good to hear from you, hope all is well. That is, you kept the same job longer than a week, you got over your cough, and the family is great. I am super jealous of your New Zealand outing; someday. I made it to Oz three times, kept telling myself I'd go to NZ 'next time,' ran out of next times...

    On a wargaming note, use them as Aussies??? For what? I'm sure you recall it was the USMC that saved Australia ;)


    1. I am sure you never said that last sentence while you were out here :-)