It's 1815 on 29 June 1990 and Battlegroup Aguilera is taking up defensive positions near the Cronistrian town of Pisa. Earlier in the day Battlegroup Aguilera seized Pisa and held open the corridor as the rest of Task Force Galban (Battlegroups Caballero and Elias, as well as the HQ and Service Support elements) passed through. Battlegroup Caballero completed TF Galban's mission to encircle the Cronistrian capital of Miran by seizing the city of Stanje, and Battlegroup Elias moved up to them as Battlegroup Aguilera began moving east to catch up.
However, at 1710 local time, Team 3 of ODA 626, under GySgt "Turk" Dos Santos was settled into its hide atop Hill 781 (screening the left/northern flank of the Cuban advance) when it spotted Communist forces and called it in to TF Galban headquarters. Not only was the info immediately relayed to TF Aguilera, who immediately set about preparing a reception for the incoming Communists, but Cuban F-4 Phantoms were sent in, arriving on station at 1730 and making several runs, devastating the Communist armor.
**Team 3 was compromised atop Hill 781 by enemy radio direction finding; its fights for survival are numbers 22, 23, and 25. That may not seem to make sense, but I'm posting these in chronological order.
Team 3's hill, Hill 781, is off camera to top, directly above #6, Pisa.
The Cubans all start the game hidden, with the Communists rolling to spot, unless the Cubans move or shoot, at which time they are auto-spotted.
The enemy not having a lot of troops/vehicles makes sense in light of the Cuban air strikes having decimated them on their way in (on account of the recon team spotting them and calling in fast movers).
Of course, the HMMWV can be ripped apart by the two enemy vehicles as well...
Time to fight! This will all be over in a minute.
The Cubans roll up a firefight, which is exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time for the Communists. It was bad enough that the force rolls meant the two forces were almost equal regarding numbers, and bad enough that the support rolls didn't come up with anything heavy, and bad enough the bad guys had to attack hidden enemies over open ground, but then I roll a firefight, allowing all the Cuban units to fire at the Communists, who are pretty much all out in the open.
If the enemy can pin or suppress 3/3, they're in a great position to close assault them and then 2/3. Definitely not good for business, and really the bad guys' only hope to try and turn this thing around.
The bad guy dice have been atrocious. Hard to complain about, I guess, but damn...
I don't usually allow guys to shoot at the CO, but if you're just gonna hang around, with no other targets in the area, and I can get away with knocking out a vehicle without killing the command team, why not?
Dammit!!!! I was gonna see to it the leader of that squad got a medal for knocking out the enemy commander's vehicle, then defeating him and a squad in close combat, but now they lost a close combat??? For shame!
That's two enemy squads that ran off the map this game.
Well, that was quite a bit easier than expected. As I mentioned, some of it was the force strengths, some of it was the force compositions, some of it was the terrain and the fact the bad guys were attacking, but a lot of it was just very poor dice rolling! For example, the bad guys never spotted a single hidden Cuban unit, every single Cuban unit was spotted when it opened fire on the enemy, sometimes at absolutely point blank range. Mais, c'east la guerre...
In the overall scheme of things, Operation Chokehold is finished and has been a roaring success. Task Force Galban started in the southwest, then dashed north and cut east to encircle the Cronistrian capital city of Miran, taking five enemy-defended towns along the way, then throwing back a (weak) counterattack. There is still one more fight to go in Operation Cro-Wings, which is Recon Team 3's fight for survival in the hills north of Pisa. Also, the Cronistrian Democrat forces are having a bit of trouble clearing Brezno (the town that started all this conventional fighting and convinced the Cuban President to allocate more forces to Cronistria), and Dubrovna, the town just north of Brezno, is still in enemy hands as well, which puts it in the bag, but a thorn in our side and a danger to try to break out of the encirclement. If I have time I may have Battlegroup Elias take the town.
This fight saw the Cubans suffer a total of 10 casualties, while the Communists lost an MTLB, a BMP, a Type 63 APC, 35 casualties, and 10 captured. Total casualties for Operation Chokehold, which consisted of nine tabletop battles:
180 KIA, WIA, and MIA personnel
2 x AMX-10RC destroyed
2 x HMMWV destroyed
1 x Scimitar destroyed
1 x Stryker destroyed
270 KIA, WIA, and MIA personnel
55 captured personnel
5 x MTLB destroyed
2 x T-62 destroyed
1 x ZSU-23-4 destroyed
1 x BMP destroyed
1 x Type 63 APC destroyed
1 x BRDM destroyed
Additionally, members of Task Force Galban were awarded the following decorations during Operation Chokehold:
1 Cruz Servicio Distinguido
1 Estrella de Plata
4 Estrella de Bronce
Like I said, I may play another couple fights to take the city of Dubrovna just to eliminate a pocket of enemy resistance and help out the Cronistrian Democrats, but Operation Chokehold is officially concluded. For me it was a pretty cool concept, a lot of fun in the vein of my War of Liberation campaign (which, so far, is kind of the pinnacle of fun for me in wargaming). The games were small and quickp; while the tables were nothing to look at, they took only minutes to set up and take down, and were serviceable, as were the 6mm troops, vehicles, and aircraft. I can definitely see myself doing more of this.
I've played the last fight of Operation Cro-Wings, still need to write that up and post it. After that, not sure what's up next. A few ideas:
1. With the capital encircled from the west, I'm considering some larger-scale armor fights using Cold War Commander on the east side of Miran.
2. I'm thinking about doing some platoon-level stuff back with in South Leon, my Imagi-nation stuff that's really USMC vs North Vietnamese Army.
3. I'm thinking about starting my WWII USMC series of campaigns at the platoon level, beginning in the Philippines.
4. I played out Operation Pay-Off, where Cuban SOF escorted The Ambassador to Morocco to make a ransom payment, then got ambushed. I need to get around to Operation Pay-Back, which is exactly what it sounds like, retribution.
5. I need to get back to KG Klink to finish up Fall of France, then figure out what to do with them. That thing is really a bit too ambitious (following a company of armor, a company of infantry, a company of recon, and assorted heavy weapons through the entire war (already did Poland, played four games of France).
6. I need to get back to Hakuna-Matata, my African Imagi-nations. The hang up here is that I based them individually, which looks great, but I wish I'd have based them three vehicles to a stand. For me, so much of wargaming campaigns is 'feel,' and playing this with individually-based vehicles just doesn't feel right.
Well, that's it for now. Last fight of Operation Cro-Wings coming up, then more games next weekend, just not sure what yet.