Sunday, August 16, 2015

Cuba Libre - Liberation Batrep 28


It's 0945 on 4 Feb 1990, and the CLA's K Company, 10th Popular Force is clashing with elements of the enemy's 43rd Infantry Company, 7th Infantry Battalion, in the streets of eastern Havana.  The regime's 7th Infantry Battalion was in the Matanzas garrison, east of Havana, being screened by the CLA's 9th and 10th Popular Force Battalions, but the enemy infantry launched an attack out of Matanzas, sacrificing a rifle company to free the other two to push into Havana to reinforce the depleted enemy 1st Airborne Battalion.  But upon arriving, the regime's 7th Infantry Battalion ran square into strong CLA forces in central Havana (SOF B and 8th Popular Force Battalion), and found themselves trapped between them and the CLA's pursuing 10th Popular Battalion (from the east).

The enemy 7th Infantry Battalion called upon heavy artillery, which ranged in on 10th Popular Battalion, who, in turn, called in close air support from CLA F-4 Phantoms, which raced in to drop strings of Mk82 500-pound bombs on the regime infantry.  The enemy's 7th Infantry Battalion managed to break contact with the CLA's 8th Popular Force Battalion (to the west), but found itself under attack by the CLA's 10th Popular Force Battalion from the east.

So far we've had:
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 3rd Infantry Battalion are stymied by a spoiling attack east of Artemisa by the regime's 2nd Armored Battalion.
28) 10th Popular Force Battalion and the regime's 7th Infantry Battalion trade supporting fires in eastern Havana, then grapple in heavy street-fighting.

The opposing forces in an all infantry fight, with CLA on the right and regime forces on the left.  The CLA is made up of Pendraken Brit and Argentinian SOF from the Falklands range, with Vietminh/VC from Pendraken's Vietnam range as the weapons team.  The regime force is made up of Argentinians from Pendraken's Falklands range.

Commander, K Co, 10th PF Bn, Captain Fulgencio

The CLA force has Captain Fulgencio's Command Stand, five rifle stands, an LMG stand, and single leader figure representing their Battalion Commander.

10th Popular Force Battalion, Commanding Officer: Colonel Willem Elias

The regime force has a Command Stand, five rifle stands, and a MMG team.

Overview of the map, north is up.  CLA is at bottom right (southeast), with battle damage (from enemy artillery and CLA air support) to the streets of eastern Havana readily apparent.  I set the CLA up in their starting positions with the enemy on blinds (poker chips).  I don't usually show this, but this is how I set the game up 99% of the time, which hopefully explains why you may see enemy deployments that you think are kind of silly.  About 60% of the time I also use some sort of random set up for the CLA, though I didn't in this one (I just gave them very minimal space).

The CLA force set up, with the rifle teams in line abreast (left to right, Team 1 to 5), Colonel Elias on the left, Captain Fulgencio on the right, and the LMG in the rear.

The CLA scurries forward to start the game, with the rifles maintaining their order in line, but the LMG moving up into the center (a small, four-walled compartment that can see straight up the street running north-south).

And then I revealed the enemy blinds.

In the northeast you can see the enemy CO and a rifle team at center left, a rifle team at top right, and CLA's Team 5 at bottom right.

In the bottom center (south), the enemy got two rifle teams (left and center, with Team 1 and 2 at bottom right).

I count the enemy as pretty lucky to be evenly spread across their front, with rifle teams at each end of their line that outflank my guys...

In the enemy's rear center they have a rifle team and their MG team (center left), which is at the other end of the street the CLA's LMG team is looking up (at center right, running left-right between the blue and red roofed buildings).

I count the enemy as occupying ambush positions, and so they get to go first.

And they start with their MG team (bottom left) opening up on the CLA LMG team (top right)...

Forcing the CLA machine gunners to fall back out of the line of fire (red bead, from center building).

On the CLA's far right, the enemy rifle team (bottom right) fires on Team 5, pinning them.  Team 4 (behind Team 5, yellow bead) returns fire, but the thick cement walls render the small arms fire harmless.

Colonel Elias goes to check on the LMG team and try to rally them...

But they inform them the gun is out of action (a Random Event) and fall back (failed morale roll)...

They will now be treated as an 'auxiliary team' (or whatever the correct term is from the rules, I can't remember), meaning they're a light rifle team, firing only with one Shock dice, so pretty useless in the overall scheme of things.  It's nice to lose you're only support weapon...

On the far right, Teams 4 and 5 open up, managing to pin the enemy rifle team (far right, yellow bead).  Captain Fulgencio tries to rally Team 5 (bottom left, yellow bead)...

But they fail and fall back (top left, from bottom right).

On the far left, Team 1 cuts loose and pins the enemy rifle team there.

While in the center, Team 3 (far right) and an enemy rifle team (top left) trade ineffectual fire.

On the far right, the enemy CO sprints over to his pinned flanker team (bottom right, from top center left) and tries to rally them...

But they fail and fall back (top center, red bead, from bottom right), stranding their CO alone on the flank.  The enemy team fell back so far because I play they have to break LOS to the unit(s) that fired on them.

In the center, an enemy rifle team (top left) moves up, drawing fire from Team 2 (center right), but they shake it off...

And open up a torrent of close range fire, forcing Team 2 to fall back (right, red bead).

And on the far left, the enemy team there, though pinned, also opened up a furious fusillade, this time on Team 1...

Crumbling the CLA's left flank as Team 1 falls back next to Team 2!

But while Team 3 (center) opens up on an enemy team, the CLA's leaders get to work, rallying all their stricken teams (1, 2, 5, and LMG)...

And Team 3's fire chalks up the first enemy casualties!

On the right, the enemy CO falls back and tries to rally his hunkering rifle team, but only gets them up to 'pinned' (top center, yellow bead), while one of their rifle teams (top left) fires on Team 3 (bottom right)...

Forcing them to fall back and hunker (red bead).

Having cleared out the CLA's center (lower right), the enemy pushed a rifle team (center left) forward to cover the street.

Colonel Elias sprinted over to Team 3 (top right) and rallied them, while Team 1 (bottom center) moved back into the line on the left flank and opened fire, but didn't hit anything.

I'm not sure what happened, but apparently I cheated, as I let the Battalion Commander move again...

Colonel Elias (center) leads Team 2 forward, and they open fire on the enemy rifle team on the CLA's far left, but miss.

So I guess my accidental cheat didn't really have any effect.  I really didn't mean to do that, guess I just lost track of things and just realized what I did as I was typing up the report...

On the CLA's right, the enemy CO rallies his rifle team (yellow bead)...

Then he moved up (center, next to a rifle team), while the just-rallied rifle team sprinted back into position in the building (top center).

On the CLA's left (oddly, looking from left to right this time, at the CLA position at top), the pinned enemy team on the CLA left flank (bottom center) rallied, while the enemy's rear rifle team starts moving towards him to reinforce (far left).

On the CLA left, Team 2 moves up to get a line on the enemy, but exposes themselves to enemy fire and get pinned (center, yellow bead, with Team 1 at bottom right).

So Team 1 moves up and opens fire at close range...

Forcing the enemy rifle team to fall back and hunker (bottom left, red bead, from right side 2nd floor).

Looking to get into defilade, the enemy rifle team on the far right (far right) moves up, drawing fire from Team 4, but it misses.

The enemy fire, coming down on Teams 4 and 3, is ferocious.  Team 4 (white bead) takes heavy casualties, while Team 3 (yellow bead) is pinned.  Team 5 (center left) is out of the line of fire and okay, and Captain Fulgencio's HQ Section (center right) is handing tough.

But the enemy is feeling froggy!

The enemy CO and a rifle team, taking advantage of the CLA rifle teams being beat up, dash across the street!  Team 5 snap fires, but misses!  Surprised by the enemy's violence of action, Captain Fulgencio's HQ Section falls back (top left, behind Team 5).

Team 5's miss has immediate consequences, as the enemy CO and rifle team crash into Team 4, who are busy trying to stabilize their casualties and reorganize to get back in the fight...

Team 4 (bottom center, casualty figure) is easily dispatched, and the enemy CO and rifle team close with Team 5; Captain Fulgencio throws in with this fight...

The dice (black is CLA, red is, well, the Commies)...

Both sides recoil, with Captain Fulgencio and Team 5 hunkering at top left, and the enemy CO and rifle team hunkering at top right!

Back on the left, Colonel Elias rallies Team 2 (top right), then moves forward with Team 1 (bottom left center), going after the hunkering enemy rifle team (red bead, bottom left)...

They easily put them out of the fight (casualty figure at bottom center), then the Colonel and Team 1 ascend to the second floor.

On the right, Captain Fulgencio rallies Team 5 (bottom right, red bead, with Team 2 at top right and enemy CO and rifle team at top left)...

Then the Captain leads Team 5 out into the street (far right).  Intent on getting after the enemy CO and hunkering rifle team, they run into Guard fire from the enemy's flank rifle team...

But they dash through the fire into close combat with the enemy CO and rifle team, with a huge advantage owing to the enemy's 'hunker' status (CLA +1, Regime -2)...

Once again, the dice...

And both sides once again recoil!  The fight was at dead center, with the enemy falling back to top left, and Captain Fulgencio and Team 5 falling back to bottom right...

The enemy CO's blood is hot!  He rallies his rifle team (red bead)...

And leads them forward (bottom right) once more, where they fire on Team 5, but miss.

The enemy rifle team from the building (off camera to right) follows them (center), and opens up on Team 3, but they also miss!

Team 3 (bottom left, yellow bead) lays down covering fire while Captain Fulgencio rallies Team 5 (center left, red bead).

And then Team 5 opens fire at point blank range...

Forcing the enemy riflemen to fall back (top right, red bead, from flash at center right, with enemy CO and rifle at bottom right)!

Captain Fulgencio's blood is up too, and so he leads Team 5 forward at the enemy CO and rifle team, but the enemy riflemen open fire, and Team 5 receives heavy casualties (white bead)!!!

Looking to immediately capitalize on this, the enemy CO once again leads his steady riflemen into close combat with Captain Fulgencio and Team 5, who are in bad shape owing to their casualties!!!

Once more, the dice.  The CLA is -3, while the Regime is +1, leading to a final tally of CLA=3, Regime=2...

Captain Fulgencio and Team 5 somehow fought off the enemy CO and rifle team, putting them out of the fight!!!

Fulgencio spies the hunkering enemy team just across the street...

And charges them as well.

The Captain and Team 5 moves forward (top left), leaving carnage in their wake (casualty figure at center, two at far right).

With that, Colonel Elias (bottom center) leads CLA troops forward, and the remaining enemy rifle team and MG team surrender!!!

Holy @#$%, what a fight!!!  The back and forth fight on the right flank between Captain Fulgencio and the enemy CO is one for annals, wargamers should be singing songs about them ;)  It was funny, because the dice were strictly and definitely against whomever had the advantage, so that every time I thought it was a pushover, the exact opposite happened.  That was a whole lot of fun!

Regime: ~25 KIA/WIA, ~10 POW

Gotta have some decorations for valor coming out of this one, right?  You better believe it.

Captain Fulgencio, Commanding Officer of K Company, 10th Popular Force Battalion, was awarded the Cruz Servicio Distinguido for beating back the enemy's attack and launching the counterattack.  He also received the Corazon Purpura for being lightly wounded.

Sgt Soares of Team 5, K Company, was awarded the Estrella de Plata for his heroism and leadership accompanying Captain Fulgencio.

Colonel Elias, Commanding Officer of 10th Popular Force Battalion, was awarded the Estrella de Bronce for his combat leadership.

One more to write up and post, so stay tuned.



  1. Got a bit of tropical Stalingrad going on towards the end.
    I like when the game ends with lunch boxes and hand grenades in a big mash up in the middle :)

    THe table looks fantastic, but that's a gnarly table to attack across. Reminds me of some Squad Leader scenarios.

    Would double as a good skirmish table too, actually.

  2. Ivan,

    Yeah, it felt good to get my town sections out and do a little 'bombed-out Havana.' The back and forth on the right side was legendary. And I'm sure it will double as a skirmish table, for 15mm guys, at some point.

    Thanks man.