Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Cuba Libre - Liberation Batrep 27


It's 0720 on 4 Feb 1990 (D+3), and the CLA's B Company, 3rd Infantry Battalion, supported by tanks of 1st Troop, 5th Tank Battalion, have are clashing with the remnants of the enemy's 2nd Armored Battalion just east of the town of Artemisa, on the approach (of the Western Force) to Havana.  The regime's 2nd Armored Battalion has been through hell, fighting valiantly to stop the CLA's Western Force, but they know they are at the end of their rope.  The enemy battalion fell back (east) out of the city to reform and regroup, and as the CLA elements cautiously rumbled forward, the regime's 2nd Armored Battalion launched a spoiling attack.

So far we've had:
16) 9th Popular Force Battalion conducts a spoiling attack on the regime's 7th Infantry Battalion in the Matanzas garrison.
17) 2nd Air Assault Company, 7th Infantry Battalion, inserts east of El Rincon to block the escape of the regime's 6th Armored Battalion.
18) C Company of the UWG fought a running battle in the Escambray Mountains to delay/halt the regime's 12th Mechanized Battalion moving west.

19) A Squadron SOF holds off the regime's 2nd Airborne Company, 1st Airborne Battalion at the Radio Station in downtown Havana, while B Squadron SOF and 8th Popular Force Battalion move to reinforce.
20) 2nd Airborne Battalion, attacks north of Sandino to eliminate the regime's 4th Infantry Battalion.
21) 7th Infantry Battalion, attacks north of Sandino to eliminate the regime's 5th Territorial Infantry Battalion.
22) Colonel Huistrella's Unconventional Warfare Group fight another desperate holding action in the Escambray Mountains, this time against the regime's 10th Territorial Infantry Battalion.

23) The 5th Tank Battalion squares off against the regime's 2nd Armored Battalion just west of Artemisa.
24) 9th Popular Force Battalion holds the line at Matanzas as the enemy's 7th Infantry Battalion attempts to break out to reinforce Havana.
25) 6th Infantry Battalion, with support from 5th Tank Battalion, engages the enemy 6th Armored Battalion's spoiling attack.
26) The 5th Tank Battalion and 4th Infantry Battalion take part in heavy street fighting in Artemisa against the regime's 2nd Armored Battalion.

27) The 5th Tank Battalion and 4th Infantry Battalion are stymied by a spoiling attack east of Artemisa by the regime's 2nd Armored Battalion.

The opposing forces, with CLA on the right and regime on the left.  The CLA is made up of Pendraken US troops and M-113 (with Minifigs gunner) from the Vietnam Range, plastic Takara M-48s, and a Pendraken WWII US jeep, while the regime has Minifigs Warsaw Pact infantry (with Pendraken Brits from the Falklands range for their command stand) and BMP-2, and plastic Takara T-72s.

Commander, B Co, 3rd Inf Bn: Captain Torrencio

Commander, 1 Troop, 5th Tank Bn: Captain Fordesante, is not counted as Command Stand, just as a tanker, but is in the battle in Tank 1 (T1).  Feels like he's returning to the scene of the crime; last time he was in Artemisa he got his ass kicked; a subordinate tanks was destroyed, then RPG fire drove him from the battlefield, only to return later and get brewed up, becoming wounded in the process.

The CLA force has a Command Stand, four rifle stands (bad things seem to happen when we only have four rifle stands), two M-48 tanks, an M-113 (with M2 .50 cal HMG), and a Jeep representing the Battalion Commander.

3rd Infantry Battalion, Commanding Officer: Colonel Malusio Galban

The regime force has a distinct numerical advantage: a Command Stand, six rifle stands (to the CLA's four), two T-72 tanks (a wash with the CLA's M-48s at such short range), and a BMP2, which is an advantage for the fact the CLA's M-113, armed only with an HMG, cannot defeat tanks, while the BMP's chain gun can.  Lastly, RPGs get 12" range, while the CLA's LAWs only get 6" range.  An uphill fight right from the start.

Overview of map, north is up, CLA on left (west) and regime on right (east).  Hill 30 is at top center, Hill 25 at center right, and Hill 20 at bottom left.

The CLA's armor, with the Battalion Commander, Colonel Galban, in the southwest behind Hill 20.

In the northwest, Captain Torrencio leads the infantry and M-113 forward out of Artemisa's suburbs, towards Hill 30.

Regime forces in the northeast, behind Hill 30.  Commander is at bottom right.

And in the southeast, regime forces behind Hill 25.  Commander at top right.

My usual opposed die roll to see who goes first, and the CLA is up.

Tank 2 climbs Hill 20 and fires on a T-72 in the southeast, but misses...

While Captain Fordesante, in Tank 1 (bottom left), pulls up next to T2 and fires on the T-72 in the northeast, and also misses...

The regime troops call upon their battalion-level mortars to lay smoke on Hill 30 (random event)...

And they move a rifle team atop the hill.

In the southeast, a T-72 goes hull down on Hill 25 and fires on T2, missing.

(Looking east to west) The T-72 in the northeast (bottom right) moves up and fires on Captain Fordesante's T1...

The tank's main armament is knocked out.  The tank is drive-able, but the crew is shaken enough to bail out.  Captain Fordesante sends them to the rear, but he's determined to redeem himself, and so he climbs aboard T2 and takes command.

Emboldened, the enemy BMP moves to the skirt of Hill 25 (far right) and fires on the CLA's Team 1 and 2, but they hit the dirt and suffer no ill effects, while the M-113 (top left)...

Returns fire with a long burst from its M2 .50 cal heavy machine gun...

Which immobilizes the BMP and causes the crew to bail!

Captain Fordesante orders T2 to displace right (bottom left; not a lot of room on a 2' x 2' table, but I try to keep them moving), then fire on the enemy's southern T-72...

Knocking it out!

Things are looking up!

Themselves covered by the smoke, Captain Torrencio leads Team 1 partly up Hill 30 (top center left), where they exchange ineffectual fire with enemy riflemen behind Hill 25 in the southeast (bottom right).

The enemy CO sprints south (bottom right, from top right)...

Then leads a rifle team forward (bottom center, from bottom right), looking to get into RPG range on T2 (bottom left).

While the remaining T-72 darts south across the highway, behind Hill 25 (bottom right, from top center), looking to work with the enemy CO and rifle team (off camera at bottom center) to put the squeeze on T2 (off camera to bottom left).

Seeing the enemy looking to corner T2 (just off camera to bottom left), the M-113 moves forward (top left), drawing fire from the remaining T-72 (far right), which misses.

The track opens up with its HMG again, this time putting heavy casualties on the enemy rifle team their CO led forward (bottom right).

Unable to get a shot at the enemy T-72, T2 looks to finish off the encroaching enemy infantry, and so Captain Fordesante has the tank crest Hill 20 and open fire at point blank range with its main gun...

Finishing off the rifle team (bottom left) and forcing their CO to fall back (top right).

The regime force floods troops onto Hill 30 in the north center, still covered by smoke.

While in the south, the enemy pushes another infantry team forward (bottom center) while the remaining T-72 (far right) goes hull down, staring at T2 (far left), who's kinda caught just sitting atop Hill 20...

So Captain Fordesante has his tank fall back and go hull down on the backside of Hill 20, next to Colonel Galban, who really hasn't found much to do today...

This is followed by T2 and the T-72 exchanging main gun misses again (hull down works pretty well, apparently).

In the north, Captain Torrencio is looking to make things happen, so he sends Team 2 forward (bottom left), looking to maybe take out the enemy's far left unit (bottom right) and turn their flank.  But Team 2 draws fire from an alert enemy rifle team...

Which cuts them to pieces on the open slope of Hill 30.

Captain Fordesante should have moved; he sat tight in his hull down position, but the enemy tank fired...

And finally found the range, knocking out T2.  The crew and Colonel Galban's HQ section helped remove Captain Fordesante's severely wounded body from his commander's cupola.

And then an enemy rifle team opened up such a ferocious fire...

That is knocked out Team 1 (casualty figure at top right, next to the casualty figure for Team 2), and forced the M-113 to fall back (bottom left).

Captain Torrencio's HQ section fell back to his remaining two rifle teams (top center, from off camera to right), while the Track (bottom left) rallied.

But with the CLA tanks out of the fight, the enemy T-72 skirted around Hill 25 (center right), opening up a line of fire to the CLA infantry in the north (top left).  The T-72 quickly let a 125mm HE round fly...

Knocking Team 3 (far right) out of the fight, and forcing Captain Torrencio and Team 4 to fall back (center left).

At that point Torrencio looked south, locking eyes with Colonel Galban, who had only his HQ Section (and even then, they were busy tending to wounded from T1 and T2), and the Colonel nodded.  Captain Torrencio pulled out a white star cluster and popped it, signalling the CLA force to fall back and regroup...

Ouch!  That started off well enough, but the enemy tanks were able to land their punches and leave the CLA force without heavy weapons, essentially defenseless against the remaining enemy armor.  Coupled with the enemy being able to occupy Hill 30 in the north, and gun down two CLA teams in the open, the CLA assault was doomed, and they paid the price.  Poor Captain Fordesante tried, but just can't seem to catch a break, and now he's wounded and out of the campaign.

CLA: ~25 KIA/WIA, two M-48A5 tanks knocked out.
Regime: ~15 KIA/WIA, one T-72 knocked out, one BMP-2 damaged but recovered.

This means the regime's 2nd Armored Battalion not only survived, but was able to push back into Artemisa, setting up more street-fighting in the embattled city.  General Waraldonez swiftly transmitted orders dispatching paratroopers of C Company, 1st Airborne Battalion, supported by tanks of 2nd Troop, 5th Tank Battalion, to stamp out that damned 2nd Armored Battalion once and for all (this will be fight #31).

More to come.



  1. You see, T-72s are supposed to knock stuff out :-)

    1. I disagree, and I'm not a fan of T-72s knocking (my) stuff out.