It's 0645 on 5 April 1990, and Task Force Trojas has conducted an administrative move (clandestinely) into northern Italy or Austria (sorry, OPSEC rules prevent us from sharing the exact location ;) ), staged its gear, and is infiltrating by team into Cronistria. Each team is crossing at a different location, with a different objective rally point and different partisan contact on the other side. All teams successfully crossed the frontier without incident, until it was GySgt Dos Santos' Team 6-3's turn (if you're wondering why he's a Gunnery Sergeant, it's because in the CLEF, Special Operations come from any of the four branches of service).
Team 6-3 moved to the border, and had just crossed when things started to go wrong, which is why we're here, right?
The opposing forces: Team 6-3 (top) has five special forces troops, while the enemy has seven men and an Armored Personnel Carrier with roof-mounted machine gun.
Team 6-3, from right to left: Turk (team leader, Gunny Dos Santos), Rock, Willow, Panda, and Bolt. Turk has an HK416, Rock has the SAW, Willow has a suppressed SCAR, Panda has an M-4, and Bolt has an accurized M-16, which is suppressed.
Yes, I know these weapons and gear were not around in 1990; as I've mentioned, my Cuba Libre project is a way for me to get some Ultramodern gaming in without dealing with real-life politics. And to play with whatever toys I feel like playing with ;)
The enemy's patrol comes from Brigadier Dragomir Jadranko's Cronistrian National Guard, which is the military element in Cronistria serving the Cronistrian Communists, whom TF Rojas is here to help overthrow. TF Rojas will also face remnants of the Frederal Republic of Yugoslavian Army, Cronistrian Communist militia, and special forces troops dispatched by Serbia to counter the Free Cuban presence.
In any case, the Cro Nat'l Guard patrol has seven men: five with AKs, one with PK MG, and one with UGL. They are riding in and crewing an APC.
Overview of the table, north is up. The table is about 3' x 3', with the frontier wire running north-south) at left. Team 6-3 will enter at left and must destroy the enemy patrol and/or exit ALL men off the right board edge. There's a burned out house in the northwest, a small residence in the southeast, several patches of rough, rocky ground, several haystacks (concealment, not cover!), and a couple rocky outcroppings.
Turk leads his team up to the frontier.
They're through, and Turk, Rock, and Willow head left to the cover of a rough patch (center left) for a security halt and to shoot their azimuth to the objective rally point, while Panda and Bolt move right, looking to get to the high ground at far right.
And here you see Turk, Rock, and Willow laagered up at left, and Panda and Bolt atop the rocky outcropping. Turk calls in 'Boxcars' on the Execution Checklist to let HQ know they're safe across the border, while Willow checks his map, compass, azimuth, orienting himself. Bolt and Panda, atop the outcropping, are busy glassing the nearby terrain, looking for any signs of hostiles.
Yes, that's ridiculously close, but it's a skirmish game ;)
Bolt and Panda (bottom) look on as the enemy APC creeps along the road. They call out the APC's actions/movement as it stops in front of a local residence.
Bolt: "Turk, looks like a junior NCO just hopped out of the APC, moving up to the, wait, got a male civ coming out, they're talking. Hey, that mother@#$% is pointing right at where we crossed." Turk: "@#$%!!!"
The civilian moved back to his home, while the Cronistrian NCO moved back to his vehicle.
Bolt (outcropping at top center left, with Turk, Rock, and Willow just above and to the right): "Turk, we've got four dismounts (center, coming right at you, and the APC is moving around our right (far left)."
Bolt (center): "Turk, dismounts (far right) are still coming, APC just halted at our four o'clock, three tangos just dismounted."
Turk: "Roger. All stations, Bolt and Panda have the eastern dismounts, Turk, Willow, and Rock have the southern dismounts and APC. Weapons free, light'em up boys."
Then Turk (bottom left, center figure) took a shot, but air-balled it...
Willow (top center left): "Moving!" But an enemy trooper (far right) spied the movement and opened up.
Bolt and Panda are on the outcropping at top right
But Willow (bottom left) is unfazed, and returns fire, also missing.
Looks like my SF guys need a little more range time...
Looking east to west (CLEF across top center/top right), the Cronistrian dismounts in the east (bottom) begin pushing to their right (north), which has them looking at Turk, Rock, and Willow's flank. But the hostiles don't manage to spot Bolt and Panda atop the outcropping.
In the west, the two hostiles in good shape fall back to take cover behind their vehicle, while the pinned guy successfully self-rallies.
With all the commotion, they too fail to spot Panda and Bolt (top right).
Rock (bottom left) moves over to face up on the threat to their flank, while Turk and Willow (center right) move forward (right) towards the enemy APC (off camera to right). Turk and Willow are just below Panda and Bolt.
Looking to seize the initiative in the south, Panda (center) leaves Bolt (far left, with Willow at bottom left) to move on the enemy APC (top right).
But CLEF fire hasn't had much affect on the enemy, and, realizing he's caught in the middle ground, Panda falls back to cover.
**What happened is, the bad guys rolled a scurry, so Panda moved up aggressively, anticipating a normal activation which would allow him to act decisively against enemy troops at the APC, but then the CLEF rolled a damn scurry, so he fell back so as not to get caught in the open, assuming the bad guys' next activation was a normal one or a firefight.
The formerly pinned hostile rifleman (bottom left) moves into the APC and mans the MG.
Which promptly opens fire, sending a stream of tracers in Turk and Rock's direction. Turk is pinned.
Then the eastern hostiles finally got in the game; the PK gunner opens fire on Willow...
And Willow (bottom right, with pinned Turk at bottom center) goes down in a heap. Rock (bottom left) returns fire, pinning the enemy machine gunner.
Turk fires on a hostile taking cover at the rear of the APC, putting him on his back ('man down,' so not permanently out of the fight, like Willow...).
With Turk (top center) laying down cover fire, Panda (far right) begins working his way down the outcrop again.
Panda promptly breaks out a LAW and sends a rocket at the enemy APC!
The vehicle is badly damaged, and the MG gunner bails out and hunkers (left, red bead).
Bolt (bottom left) is in prime position to deal with the enemy troops in the east, and an enemy rifleman moves up (top center), but Bolt can't get a shot off (enemy random event, "Hiding Spot").
And that enemy rifleman takes a shot at Rock...
Forcing him to fall back and hunker (bottom right, from hit marker at center left).
The hostile at the front of the APC fires a burst at Turk...
The rounds miss, but the bad guy moves over to rally his hunkering comrade, which succeeds.
Bolt finally joins in on the action, targeting a nearby enemy rifleman...
The hostile goes down, and his partner returns fire, to no effect.
While Turk (bottom left, with Willow down to his right, and Bolt just to his right) turns to his left and opens fire on enemy troops in the east.
It's a pretty rough fusillade, putting two enemy troopers 'man down' (white beads at bottom right). The enemy rifleman at far right returns fire, but misses.
Apparently it was at this point that Turk saw his friend Willow down, and noted how badly he was hit.
Rock (far left) self-rallies up to pinned (Turk at right, still pinned).
The recently rallied enemy rifleman at the APC moves over to check on his 'man down' buddy, but the guy is gone (actually failed the buddy roll and stayed man down, then tried to self rally and failed, out of the fight).
In the east, an enemy rifleman falls back to help a comrade recover from man down, and he's good (far right).
And then that guy moves over to help the other man down troop, but he's out of the fight (center right, guy at left was taken out by Bolt).
Panda leaves the outcropping, sprinting for the APC (center), while Turk (top right) tries to self rally...
But he's losing it due to Willow being down, and he falls back to hunker (far left, red bead, from tree at far right). Rock (bottom left) self rallies.
And then Panda zaps the guy at the back end of the APC; the bad guy had seen Panda sprint forward, but then lost sight of him. I guess the guy couldn't take the suspense, so he leaned out to take a peak, and WHAM! Panda put him down.
**This was actually a very cool sequence: see, the bad guys had just rolled a scurry and moved around a bit, rallied some guys, and Panda was pretty aggressive in moving up in reaction, but he was careful to move to where he and the guy at the back of the APC couldn't see each other. The CLEF rolled up a firefight, but also another random event, which was "I see you," meaning a guy in cover can suddenly be seen.
The real effect of the fire: the guy Panda shot is at right. He took some rounds, but went 'man down,' not out of the fight, while his buddy got freaked out and ran off the map (far left, red bead).
Back on the CLEF left, Rock (bottom center) lays it down with his SAW, while Turk (center left) tries again to self rally.
But he's not having a good day, and falls back once more (bottom right). But neither are the bad guys, as Rock's bullets put one man out of the fight and pin another.
Bolt doesn't have a great shot, but he fires on the hostile just pinned by Rock (yellow bead at top center) and gets 'man down.'
Bolt (far left) covers as Rock (far right) moves up and checks the bad guys in the east, capturing a wounded man.
While Panda moves up in the south and captures the wounded guy he just shot in the face.
With all bad guys down/secured (well, one did manage to escape by running off the map), Turk moves to check on his friend Willow. But his worst fears are realized, TF Rojas has suffered its first death of the campaign in Cronistria.
With that, the team marked Willow's body, treated and restrained the two wounded enemy soldiers, then called it in so that a team from the patrol base (on the other side of the border) would come retrieve them. Then Team 6-3 pushed on and successfully made their rendezvous, linking up with the rest of TF Trojas several hours later. By 1700 that evening, Lt Trojas was in the capital city of Miran, meeting with Andraz Gregor and General Miroslav Denis to get a current situation brief and discuss strategy.
Cuban - Sergeant "Willow" Caballo, KIA (C1)
Enemy - CNG 4 KIA, 2 POW, 1 APC KO
Sergeant "Panda" Catalan recommended for Estrella de Bronce with 'V' device,' for valor in eliminating an enemy armored vehicle and supporting infantry.
Wow, what a fight! And what a way to start off the campaign in Cronistria. The only thing I'm not happy about is my casualty roll; the way it's set up in "5 Men In Normandy," it's actually pretty hard to end up with a KIA result, you have to roll a 91 or higher on a 100 percentile dice. But wouldn't you know that that's exactly what I did... The fight was fun, quick, plenty of drama and decision making, and things never go as you planned. I really wanted to have Turk be a hero, but he just wasn't to it. Luckily Panda and Rock were solid and held the line.
One more fight to write up and post, stay tuned!