Sunday, December 20, 2015

Cuba Libre - Cronistria Fight #3


It's 1700 on 10 April 1990, and Team 6-2 has been lying in ambush for over twelve hours.  Recently the Cronistrian National Guard (CNG), the communist armed forces in Cronistria, have stepped up patrolling on the northern outskirts of the capital.  Lt Trojas, the Cuban Liberation Expeditionary Force (CLEF) Task Force commander, met with MSgt "Tico" Benitez, leader of Team 6-2, to discuss, and they decided to ambush a CNG patrol.

Tico moved his team to the northern outskirts and they took up ambush positions, lying in wait for a CNG patrol to show up.  At long last one of Tico's men called out on the intra-squad radio: "contact, enemy infantry, 12 o'clock, 150 meters."  Perfect!  The enemy patrol was walking directly into 6-2's kill zone.  But Murphy made his appearance, and just as the CNG's point man entered the kill zone from the north, a group of approximately a dozen civilians entered the kill zone from the east.  "@#$%!!! Stand down, DO NOT engage."  Terse moments passed the CNG patrol hailed the civilians, halted them, questioned them, searched them, then allowed them to pass.  But as the civilians moved west out of the kill zone, the CNG patrol moved east out of the kill zone...

SPOILER ALERT: an alternate title for this fight could be "TF Rojas' first ass-whoopin' of the campaign."

Overview of the map, north is up.  There is a stream running from the left (west) to center into a marshy area; the stream provides cover due to its banks, and can be crossed with a movement penalty.  There's also a hardball road running north-south, which branches off to the east.

The opposing forces, five CLEF troops and seven CNG soldiers.

The CLEF's Team 6-2: bottom left is Skate, center is Blue, bottom right is Hammer, top right is Bear, and top left is Tico.

The enemy team, with a Dragunov, a PK, an AK with UGL, and four AKs.

Looking south to north, Tico's Team 6-2 is in ambush position at bottom left along the south bank of the stream.  The kill zone is at center; the CNG patrol had walked from the top of the photo to the center, but the ambush was preempted when civilians appeared at far right.  The two met in the center, then the civilians moved off table to far left while the tail end of the CNG patrol can be seen on the road at far right.

6-2's ambush positions: from left to right you have Bear, Skate, Tico, Hammer, and Blue.  Blue called out: "Boss, they're leaving."  "Roger.  Dammit!  Okay, here's what we're gonna do: We're gonna sit tight for five mikes, then we're up and following that CNG patrol.  We'll see if we can head'em off on a turn, get back into ambush position, or at worst we'll start a running gunfight with their tail end Charlie."  "Roger."

Five minutes passed, and the team got to its feet and began moving east in trace of the CNG patrol.  They're in a hurry due to trailing their target, so they rush things a bit and don't have a good peel, meaning they're all up and moving at the same time so there's a lapse in their 360 observation.  Only for a few seconds, but there's a lapse.

And the team becomes acutely aware of the lapse as a 7.62mm round zips in and whacks the turf next to Skate; "Contact left!"

While 6-2 is getting to its feet and just starting to move east, a second CNG patrol has come on, following the tracks of their first patrol.

Here you see the whole table, with the enemy patrol in the north (top), firing on Skate (bottom center right, with explosion).

Being that it's far contact, every member of Team 6-2 drops to a knee and returns fire.  Skate (bottom left, with explosion next to him an Bear to his left) fires on the enemy soldier that shot at him, putting the guy 'man down' (top right).

Then the last guy in line, Bear, fires on the enemy PK gunner.

Forcing the PK gunner to fall back (bottom right, from explosion at center). The guy Skate put 'man down' is at top center with white bead.

The team leader, Tico (bottom center), opens fire, but misses.

Hammer (far left, on road) goes next, firing on an enemy rifleman.

Forcing him to fall back (top left, red bead, from explosion at center).

And then Blue (bottom right) cuts loose a torrent of fire.

Putting a guy 'man down' (center, white bead), and forcing another to fall back and hunker (top left, from red bead at far left).

The bad guy at bottom left fires on Tico (top right), but misses.

And then the enemy's marksman fires on Skate...

But only pins him.

A CNG soldier moves (center, from bottom left) to help his 'man down' comrade recover.

But Bear (bottom center left) sees this and opens fire.

Forcing the enemy soldier to fall back (far left, from center right).

Nice shootin'!

The last enemy troop in fighting shape moves over (far left) to help a hunkering buddy rally.

But on the CLEF right, Hammer sees it and opens up.

Which forces the CNG soldier to fall back and hunker (far left, from center).

Wow!  Some decent shooting; not great, but pretty good.  Not a single bad guy is out of the fight, but every single one of them is in a bad way, either hunkering or man down.  The key issue here is that the CLEF team is so far away from the bad guys, unable to take advantage of the enemy's weakened state.  I.e., the CLEF has won the firefight, and the enemy is ready to be close assaulted, but none of the CLEF guys are in position.

The CLEF rolls up a random event ("Spooked"), but it has no effect.  On the left, Bear moves to Skate to help him rally, while simultaneously opening fire.  The rounds miss, but Skate is good.

With Bear laying down cover fire (bottom left), Bear and Hammer sprint forward on the far right (top right).

For the CNG, the 'man down' troop at top right successfully recovers, while the machine gunner at bottom right rallies up to pinned.

Tico (bottom right, with Bear and Skate at bottom left) takes a shot at the guy that just recovered,but misses again...

And then he takes off (on road at right, from black bead at bottom center left) towards Hammer and Blue.

With Hammer covering at bottom left (and Tico, Bear, and Skate off camera to left), Blue sprints forward (far right, between chicken coop and tree, just right of road).

Back on the left, Bear (bottom left) opens fire.

Putting an enemy soldier out of the fight.

And then he splashed headlong into the stream, looking to close with the enemy while they're beat up.

But the enemy rolls up a random event ("Ouch"); apparently one of Bear's rounds ricocheted and put the guy at top left 'man down.'

The enemy MG (bottom center), still pinned, opens fire on Bear and Skate (off camera to right), but misses, while the rifleman at bottom left rallies.

The CLEF continues to press forward: Bear (bottom right, behind bush) gets out of the stream and moves forward, while Skate moves up into the stream.  They both fire on the enemy machine gunner (top left), but both miss...

On the right, Hammer moves up (center right, behind haystack, with Bear to his right, Tico at bottom left, and Bear at far left), but he's got no shot.

And then disaster strikes: I'd prefer to keep with the narrative and keep the rules out of it, but the bad guys caught a break (which, really, was inevitable given the distance the CLEF had to cover).

Narrative: As the CLEF teams presses forward, there is a lull as their fire slackens and becomes less accurate.

Game: The CNG rolled a scurry and everyone got the opportunity to rally and get back in the fight.  The two 'man down' soldiers (white beads) both recovered successfully, one of the hunkering soldiers (red bead) rallied up to bead, while another hunker and the pinned MG rallied successfully.  Additionally, no one moves, so the CLEF guys don't get to do anything.  But then the CLEF rolled scurry, which kind of sucks.  When you're outnumbered and in the open you really like to shoot as much as you can.

Either way, they've got one man laid out, but the other six are now back in the fight.  Dammit!!!

Skate and Bear both move up on the CLEF left (bottom right), but they're really caught in some bad ground, no cover.

Tico (center right, with Skate at far left) moves up in the center, also in the open, also without cover.

Looking southeast to northwest (Tico at far left in field, Bear and Skate above and to the left of him), Hammer and Blue sprint ahead on the right (Hammer is on road at center right, Blue further right behind a bush).

The bad guys form a skirmish line on their left (three guys, from tree at far left, tree at bottom left, and guy in rough ground at bottom center).  Blue is at top center right, Hammer at top right.

And they form a skirmish line on their right (three guys at bottom left).  Bear, Skate, and Tico are at top right, with a lot of open ground between them and the bad guys.

Another game note: best thing possible for the bad guys, they roll up a firefight.  So, they just got all six of their guys on line, my guys are are in the open, and now all of them get to shoot.  It wasn't all roses for them: the CNG rolled a random event, and the guy at far left (blue bead) has his rifle malfunction.

But the enemy has formed a base of fire, and now they are gonna lay it down.

They start with their marksman (bottom left) firing on Tico (top right), but he misses.

The enemy MG opens fire (far left) on Bear and Skate (far right, above stream), pinning Bear.

An enemy rifleman (bottom left) fires on Skate.

And he (left, white bead) goes man down, with Bear pinned next to him.

I'm having second thoughts about charging across an open field...

Enemy on their left open fire, with the guy at bottom left firing on Tico.

Forcing him to fall back to cover (okay, concealment behind a haystack, but it's all I've got).

And the guy in the rough ground (bottom left) cuts looses, pinning Hammer (top right, with Blue at top center).

Blue returns fire (the only CLEF guy still in fighting shape, bottom center)

Forcing an enemy soldier to fall back and hunker (red bead, from explosion).

And then Blue (bottom right) swivels and engages another CNG troop (top center).

What happened is, CNG had a firefight, roughed me up real good, then the CLEF just rolled a damn firefight too.

The communist goes down in a hail of 5.56mm rounds.

At least someone is getting something done...

On the left, Bear is pinned (bottom right, next to Skate, who is man down), but he pops up and fires on the enemy MG, putting him man down.

Bear peeks over his shoulder to check on Skate, but he's gone unconscious (failed recover roll).

Hammer (bottom center, with Blue at far right) is also pinned, but peaks over the bushes and cuts loose, hitting absolutely nothing.

While the team leader, Tico, tries to rally, but is not feeling it and falls back again (bottom right, from red bead at far left, with Hammer at top right).  That sucks...

A bad guy (bottom left) returns fire on Hammer (top right), but misses.

While the enemy marksman (bottom left) fires on Bear (top center).

Forcing him to fall back (far right, from far left, with Skate down at center).

At bottom left, a CNG soldier moves over to help his PK gunner recover, but Blue (top right) sees it and Guard fires.

Forcing the enemy rifleman to fall back (bottom left, from center explosions, where machine gunner has a white bead).

But the enemy marksman moves over and rallies a hunkering buddy (center left), and takes a shot at Blue (top right).

The rally fails and the enemy soldier falls back (bottom left, red bead, from marksman at center right).

But the enemy marksman's aim is true, and Blue goes down (center right, with Hammer pinned at bottom left).

Uh-oh, that's two out of five down...  For the record, the enemy has two down out of seven.  The CLEF rolls ANOTHER firefight, can't seem to move anywhere; makes sense, they're beat up and under heavy fire, not really looking to move anywhere I guess.

Hammer (bottom center) fires, pinning the enemy marksman (top left), while Tico (off camera to bottom) self rallies.

At top right, Bear rallies, but an enemy rifleman (bottom left) sees him and takes a shot.

And puts him on his back, next to Skate.

3 of 5 are out of the fight...

The enemy marksman is pinned (bottom center), but peaks around the rock and takes a shot at Hammer (top right), missing.  So the enemy troop at far left...

Moves up (far left, marksman at bottom left) and fires on Hammer (top right)...

Putting the Hammer down.

4 of 5 are down, only Tico is still on his feet.  Well, this is unexpected.  Now what do I do?  I'm facing the very real possibility of one of my SF teams being wiped out wholesale.  I could, or course, be the coward and have Tico run for it.  My best option is probably to have Tico try to get some guys withdrawn off the table, but the enemy's weight of fire is sure to get him.  Damn...

Time to roll activation for the CLEF; now, I'm not going to say I didn't cheat, I absolutely did, but there's the God's honest truth: I rolled a scurry for the CLEF, which is fantastic (move without drawing fire, although the enemy gets to move too).  I also rolled a random event, and this is where I cheated.  I rolled the random event "Bravery," where a guy gets to shake off a pin or hunker.  But I don't have anyone with a pin or hunker, I've got one guy that's good to go, and four guys that are out of the fight.  So I changed the random event from "Bravery" to "Just a Scratch," which is where one guy that's out of the fight gets to come back (it actually happened for the bad guys in my last fight, if you recall).

And the cheating was completed with me just carrying out the rest of the actions, rather than actually play them out.  So, the rest is purely for the story of the campaign, and if you can't stomach it I understand.  Ya gotta give me some credit, I could have not told you ;)

So here's the narrative.

On the CLEF left, Bear, who'd been knocked out by enemy fire earlier, comes to.  He quickly checks himself, and, as he gets his bearings he hears Tico yelling "fall back!" in the radio.  So Bear gets to his knees, tosses a couple smoke grenades, crawls to Skate, grabs him, and begins scurrying to the rear.

While on the right Tico moves up the road, grabs Hammer, and drags him behind the chicken shack (bottom right, with Blue at far right).

Tico then sprints to Blue, emptying an entire magazine on full auto.  He hits the deck next to Blue, sees he's still breathing, then tosses some smoke.

(damn, what a terrible picture, sorry everyone) Concealed by the smoke, Tico drags Blue back to the chicken shack, next to Hammer. At this point Tico realizes Hammer is gone; he quickly sanitizes the body, then grabs Blue and hauls him to the rear, dodging 7.62 rounds the whole way.

DAMMIT!!!!!!!  The ambush got blown, we're gonna follow them, another patrol shows up, we rough them up with our initial burst of fire, but then they recover and knock the dog crap out of us.  Sure, I had to cheat a little, but I didn't cheat to win, I cheated just to survive!  Here's how it shook out:

The Cronistrian National Guard suffered two casualties.  Meanwhile, here's what happened to Team 6-2:
Sgt "Hammer" Escalona, KIA
Sgt "Blue" Beltran, WIA return 15 Apr 1990
Sgt "Skate" Corrello, WIA return 3 May 1990

Bear is fine, just a concussion, ready for action, but he's none to happy with Master Sergeant Benitez (Tico), whom Bear believes not only made some egregious tactical errors (the only move out of the ambush site should have been to go home, you don't chase a patrol on their home court; and Bear and Skate should have been a base of fire for Tico, Hammer, and Blue to move up on the right, where the only cover was), he also didn't account himself very well.  He did pull it together at the end and get Blue out of there, but he spent a lot of the fight hunkered down.

Bear even heard Mikey (Lt Trojas, the Task Force commander) ripping Tico's ass, 'reminding' him we are only equipped with light, short range weapons, and we give up our considerable advantage in Close Quarters Battle if we 1) let the enemy get the drop on us, and 2) engage at anything beyond point blank range (where the CLEF SF guys are getting 2K 2S dice!).

Of course, Tico is not happy with Bear.  Bear was, after all, Tail End Charlie, responsible for security as the team un-assed the ambush site, and should have seen the commies before they saw us.

Not a good situation in Team 6-2, and TF Rojas is getting whittled down faster than I expected.  It's true that Det B is currently training up soldiers for the Cronistrian Democratic Militia (CDM, and they will add weight to the CLEF's small numbers, but those troops will be nowhere near as capable as the CLEF Special Forces.  But with their losses, Team 6-2 is looking like a prime candidate to serve as cadre for the first operational CDM unit.

So, that's game 1 of 2 from this past weekend, I'll post the other as quick as I can.  On a down note, I wasn't able to start my 15mm campaign in South Leon; on a different note, I ended up on the couch watching "The Battle of Britain," and now I've got an itch for some Bag the Hun (just placed an order for some Hurricanes, Ju-87s, Do-117s, BF-110s, and Ju-88s to go with my Spits, Me-109s, and He-111s), starting in France then rolling into BoB.



  1. None of us like to see you side lose in one of the engagements of the campaign. I am sure there are a lot of people out there sharing your misery.


    And it happened on game 3 too, normally we have to wait a bit longer.

    Great report and you can feel the love in the CLEF team :-)

    I find watching war movies bad for extra side projects too. I resist most of them by waiting a week before doing anything.

    1. Look at you; where's your humanity! I get that you're upset that my made up country is beating up on made up Commies, but relax man, it's just a game.

      And I may cheat, but at least I can lose. I can't recall you losing any games, and I just read where you gave your Brits an extra barrage, just for the fun of it ;)

      Yeah man, Battle of Britain was the wrong thing to watch at the wrong time. I've got a bunch of stuff, and more is on the way ;)

      Take care man, talk to you soon.


    2. I don't lose as I generally don't choose sides! And I was careful not to accuse you of cheating - as you say, I can't be throwing stones.

      Have a good Christmas and New Year break; over here in the Land of Plenty it is pleasantly hot and full of table spreads of fresh seafood.

    3. Don't choose sides!!?? Weirdo ;)

      Merry Christmas to you and your family as well!

      Normally I'd accuse you of rubbing it in, but it's been unseasonably warm here (75 degrees today), so I can't complain. Well, I can; no spreads of seafood...