Well, it has started, my campaign in the fictional African nation of South Leon. For background, please check here:
In May 1990 Cuba sent a task force to South Leon in order to prop up the democratic government there against its Communist neighbor, the Fédération Socialiste Nationale de Leon, or FSNL, and against the Marxist domestic rebel group, the Free Leon Army (FLA). Task Force Fulgencio, named for its leader, who is also the commander of the 8th Commando Battalion, is comprised of one company of Marines, one company of paratroopers, and various intelligence and special operations troops. The parachute infantry company has been sent to the center of South Leon, to the capital city of Pendrakenville, to quell the growing insurgency there. Meanwhile, the company of Marines has been dispatched to the northern border with FSNL, a Demilitarized Zone (DMZ, created following their war in 1949), to stop the infusion of men and equipment across the border into South Leon.
**Okay, I'm not gonna hide it. The part about the Marines heading to the DMZ to stop infiltration of South Leon from FSNL is a poorly disguised attempt at some Vietnam-era gaming. While I'd probably be better off just doing some 'straight' Vietnam gaming, many of you know I have somewhat of an aversion to gaming real life stuff, preferring to make up places and names, or at least units. The other reason I'm doing it this way is that it allows me to keep my Cuba Libre series of wars/campaigns/deployments moving forward. So two birds with one stone, if you will. I hope that doesn't raise anyone's hackles. But for all intents and purposes, my war on the DMZ of South Leon is USMC on the DMZ in Vietnam. Hell, for that matter, my paratroopers in South Leon's capital are probably going to look a lot like Israel's war in Lebanon circa 1982.
In any case, the company of Marines (officially the 24th Seaborne Shock Infantry Company; they're quite esoteric/eccentric about their unit names in the Cuban Expeditionary Force) under 1st Lt Ordonez (he and most of his men are veterans of the War of Liberation) arrived in South Leon on 3 May 1990 and soon thereafter moved to their Area of Operations on the DMZ. Lt Ordonez immediately set his three rifle platoons (under Lt Peres, 1st Platoon; Lt Lupe, 2nd Platoon; and Lt Rodriques, 3rd Platoon) on an aggressive schedule of daytime combat and reconnaissance patrols, and nighttime ambush patrols.
It is now 3 June 1990, and to date contact has been minimal, though casualties have not. There has been a rash of Marines lost to the occasional sniper, booby trap, non combat injuries, and the worst offender: disease. The Marines, still becoming acclimated to the wilds of Africa, have suffered from various ailments such as malaria, dengue fever, Ebola (sorry, couldn't help it), dysentery, and jungle rot. On an average day the rifle platoons are down 15 to 20% of the paper strength, but the patrols continue.
At approximately 0600 this morning, Lt Peres led 1st Platoon out on patrol. The aim of the patrol is to hump all day, visiting a number of villages, before holing up at approximately 1730 in a platoon-sized night defense position. The day has been long and hot, the Marines toiling under the weight of their gear and anticipation of enemy contact, and twice the column has already halted to perform MEDEVAC: once for a Marine that stepped on a toe-popper near an abandoned village, and once to evacuate two Marines with heat exhaustion. Peres' platoon is now on the cusp of entering what looks to be another abandoned village.
A quick word on rules: as always, I'm using Ivan's excellent 5Core series. I'm basically running "Five Men in Normandy" activation, but with full firing dice on reactions.
These minis are all 15mm US Marines from Jimmi's excellent Flashpoint Miniatures, resplendent with their M-14s. I went with all the riflemen having M-14s as I was shooting for some very early Vietnam War (1965) feel, facing off against the Viet Cong.
So we've got the Lieutenant (bottom left, the knucklehead brandishing a .45 pistol), his Radio-Telephone Operator (RTO, just above him), seven riflemen with M-14s (one is the squad leader, a Sergeant, rifleman in 2nd row at far right, and one is a Corporal, rifleman in 2nd row, 2nd from left), an M-79 grenadier (2nd row, 2nd from right), a two-man M-60 machine gun team (top row, two on right), and the platoon Corpsman (top row, far left).
So not even a full rifle squad (casualties, remember?), but this is what I needed to do to scratch my itch for some immediate Vietnam gaming. There will be much more to come, and the fights will probably get larger. Actually, I promise the fights will get larger.
I didn't in this series of battles, but I may work towards having the VC have some off table mortars in the future. Or I may just make the table bigger and have on table mortars, let the Marines use 60mm mortars as well. We'll see...
I'm going to call the Corporal Benavides, and the Sergeant Garcia; don't get upset if use those two names over an over.
There's a recoiless rifle in the trench at top right, an NCO and RPG in the trench at top center left, and two AK-47-armed riflemen in fighting holes at top left.
I'm sure you noted that all the enemy troops are dug-in.
Nice shootin', Tex!
*I rolled up a random event that allowed him to recover.
*I don't know what's wrong with me; usually I'm super aggressive and would have stood there and shot it out, but I actually decided to do the sensible thing and get him into cover. Baby's all grows up!
Then I made a tactical error...
*I tried to rally those two idiots and rolled boxcars, so they both fell back!!!
*You probably see a lot of movement and no shooting. This is because the Marines rolled a 'scurry,' allowing them to move everyone, but the enemy has responded, which allowed them to get into position to seal off their right AND fire straight down the stream from a covered position...
Another damn blurry pic...
And then the moment I've been dreading...
The LT, RTO, and -60 gunner are just to his left, while the grenadier and a rifleman are at bottom right.
I rolled a D6, gave 50-50 odds the enemy would fire. You see what happened...
The Marines see this and are beside themselves with rage!!!
I gave him a +1 in both close combats for going crazy after watching Doc get hit.
No +1 there, that was all him.
Wow, what a fight! That @#$% had me puckered, wasn't sure I was going to be able to pull that off. Was I playing too conservatively at the start? ;)
The final tally: Marines had 2 KIA and 4 WIA, with two of their three leaders and the Doc being casualties. LCpl Moreno was awarded the Bronze Star ("Estrella de Bronce") for his actions in defeating the enemy positions on the left flank. Lt Peres wasn't much of a factor in the fight, which will be reflected on his FITREP. The Communists suffered 4 KIA, while two of their men escaped the ambush with their recoiless rifle to fight the Marines at a later date, which is no small feat in an insurgency...
Well, I hope you liked it as much as I did, I've got two more fights just like it to write up and post. And I hope the Vietnam/South Leon thing doesn't bother you. Like I said, time is at a premium, and so being able to do Vietnam gaming and knock out Cuba Libre campaigns is really a great deal for me.