And Free Cuba responds! This is the scenario background for my next campaign in the Cuba Libre series. This will be a (an as yet undetermined number of) skirmish fights in a campaign to aid a foreign entity attempting to establish a democratic state, which is in the process of breaking away from Yugoslavia. The fight will be conducted in 20mm with individually-based figures from Elhiem; each fight will feature between 2 and 9 figures per side, and I have available exactly one vehicle, a Revell kit (which gave me fits) of a West German Fox, 6-wheeled armored car. The rules will be 5 Men in Normandy, the 5Core Skirmish variant.
Situation: the time is April 1990, and The Wall fell only five months ago, but the reverberations are being felt throughout the Soviet Union's sphere of influence. Yugoslavia, with a multitude of varying artificial and real nationalities, ethnic groups, and religions held together by the iron fist of Communism, is now being torn asunder. Suddenly, overnight, the world became aware of Serbs, Montenegrins, Bosniaks, Kosavars, Croats, Slovenians, Macedonians, etc... Into the ring another group threw its hat in the ring: the proud people of Cronistria.
Along with various other ethnic/religious groups, the Cronistrians have formally seceded and declared themselves a sovereign state. The territory is slightly smaller than the US state of Connecticut, with a population of approximately 650,000 persons. The territory is largely ripped from the Slovenes, with borders with Croatia, Italy, and the Adriatic. The terrain is supremely rural, forested, and mountainous, with the only real city being the capital of Miran (fictionaly, came up with from a random name generator).
The good news is that Cronistria is an ethnically and religiously homogeneous tract of land with no natural resources of note, so the Slovenians aren't particularly interested or troubled by the loss of territory (and they have their own problems in any case). The bad news is that Yugoslavia, really the Serb president Slobodan Milosevic, is very keen on maintaining the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), and the very people of Cronistria, while seeing eye to eye on cultural and religious issues, are of two minds regarding the system of governence. So the Cronistrians are fighting two wars: one to break away and become a state separate of the FRY, and one to decide the path of the nation.
Declaring independence was the easy part; immediately the Serb president began threatening the life of the fledgling nation, and shortly thereafter it became obvious there were two Cronistrias: one dedicated to the freedoms of a constitutional republic and its free-market underpinnings, the other still grasping to the cold yet familiar trappings of communism. Previously a semi-autonomous province, the local government was swiftly cast aside by the commander of the National Guard, the hard-line communist General Ambroz Zlatan. The fact Zlatan commanded roughly a brigade of troops made him the de facto leader of Conistria. But many in the country aspired to something greater, or at least to something different, and they came to be led by a former FRY Navy officer (but ethnic Cronistrian), Andraz Gregor, and so Gregor and Zlatan immediately found themselves at odds, and it quickly became apparent that only a military solution would suffice to decide the matter. Though many argued the two factions should join together in order to deal with the Yugoslavian issue, as these things often go, passions ran hot on both sides of the aisle and the prospect of cooperation disappeared amidst shouted threats.
We must also deal with the issue of the FRY Army; the six constituent socialist republics (Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Bosnia/Herzegovina), as well as several of the autonomous/semi-autonomous regions/provinces maintained their own militaries, commonly referred to as National Guard (in Western parlance, and please keep in mind I'm making most of this up just to fit my scenario needs), while also being levied to provide troops for the FRY military. The FRY Army has a barracks in Miran, and several outposts across Cronstria, for a total of approximately 2000 troops. But, owing to the fact the FRY is rapidly dissolving morale is low and there have been many desertions as FRY soldiers return to their homes to fight for independence, or, in the case of Serbians, to fight to keep the country together. But a great many Serbians in the FRY military see it as their duty to remain at their posts, and substantial numbers of other ethnic groups do as well, for various factors such as loyalty to Yugloslavia, fear of the unknown, simply needing a job, etc...
So the overall situation is that Cronistria has seceded from the FRY. The Cronistrians find themselves looking at armed conflict between Communists led by General Ambroz Zlatan and Democrats led by Andraz Gregor, with both having to deal with FRY and Serbian attempts to reign them in by force. Here is the ledger:
Cronistrian Communists: (led by General Ambroz Zlatan)
Cronistrian National Guard (Cro NG, ~3000 men, led by Brigadier Dragomir Jadranko)
Cronistrian People's Army (CPA, ~1500 men, led by "Colonel" Anej Urh)
FRY Army in Cronistria:
13th Infantry Regiment (~1200 men, led by Colonel Nikola Valter)
Serbians en route to Cronistria:
4th Special Forces Battalion (~400 men, known as Damjanovic's Tigers, led by Major Mirko Damjanovic)
versus the Cronistrian Democrats (led by Andraz Gregor)
Cronistrian Democratic Militia (CDM, ~2500 men, led by former FRY General Miroslav Denis)
Andraz Gregor appeared before the United Nations Assembly to seek assistance from the freedom and peace-loving peoples of the world, and was ignored. Except for Free Cuba; El Presidente, Jericho Waraldonez, believes it is Free Cuba's destiny to stand with freedom loving people in peril, no matter where, answers the call and provides promises of support. But Free Cuba is not yet a world power, and so they're offerings are humble, but President Waraldonez meets with his Minister of Defense: Generalissimo Cledado Estavante, and they decide to deploy a team of special operations soldiers.
The Cuban Liberation Expeditionary Force prepares to deploy Lieutenant Trojas' Operational Detachment Alpha 626 of Major Talamantes' 10th Special Forces Group. Lt Trojas is a veteran of the Campaign for Liberation, decorated with the Cruz Servicio Distinguido. Due to operational requirements/restrictions, Lt Trojas' entire ODA will not be deployed in country. Lt Trojas will a detachment of 20 soldiers into Cronistria (ODA 626-), with another detachment standing by (covertly) in Italy to reinforce (ODA 626 Forward), and the remainder in Cuba on 72-hours notice (ODA 626 Rear).
Mission: conduct Unconventional Warfare activities to ensure the survival of the Cronistrian state and its governance in accordance with Free Cuban principles, i.e., a western-style democracy.
Forward deploy to a covert location in Italy
Infiltrate operational area
Affect link up with CDM
Establish life support systems
Conduct route reconnaissance/area familiarization
Infiltrate echelon B personnel
Conduct foreign internal defense training (echelon B)
Conduct Unconventional Warfare with CDM (echelon A) and Direct Action missions in order to defeat Serb SF, nullify FRY, and eliminate Cro NG/CPA (echelon A)
Exfltrate to covert location in Italy
The campaign will pick up with Step 3 of Phase III, UCW and Direct Action to knock out the Serb "Tigers" and Cronistrian Commies, and to keep the local FRY elements at bay. Echelon B is part of ODA 626, but they are there only to train, not to fight. Not realistic, but I didn't want to get bogged down with 'how are these 20 guys fighting AND training all these CDM troops?' So I've got unnamed guys doing training behind the scenes, while the twenty guys I follow (plus reinforcements from Italy, i.e., 626-Fwd, when I get guys killed and wounded) will do all the fighting.
For those familiar with the five-paragraph operations order, please forgive me as I'll be skipping the the rest, just wanted to set the table for the campaign. Additionally, here's my disclaimer: on the political front, I don't care. This is not a political statement, and I have nothing against anyone on any side in the Balkans, I just wanted an interesting backstory to my campaign. Regarding historical accuracy, I only care a little bit. That is, I've made up a country, have purposefully not nailed down its exact geo-location, have mixed around certain timeline and political/military facts to meet my needs (mostly to simplify). This was done because I'm a wargamer, not a Balkans specialist, I just want to play games in a semi-plausible environment.
Games coming right up!