Monday, December 12, 2016

Cuba Libre - Cronstria Fight #24


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.

North is up, the village of Brezno is at bottom right, the capital of Miran is off map to the right, directly east of #5 on the map.  Each number is a village/town; you can see buildings (black boxes), roads (tan lines), rivers (blue lines), lakes (blue circles), hills (green humps), bridges (gray pairs of lines), and forests (green shaded areas).  TF Galban will enter the tactical area of operations in the southwest (bottom left) corner.
1: Brezno
2: Kacak
3: Premja
4: Abrvo
5: Dubrovna
6: Pisa
7: Stanje

Team 3's hill, Hill 781, is off camera to top, directly above #6, Pisa.

Overview of map, north is up.  The Cubans will occupy positions in the bottom half of the board, the Communist counterattack fore will enter from the top (north).  Hill 45 is at top right (northeast), and Hill 50 is at bottom center (south).

The opposing forces, with Communists on the left and Cubans on the right.  All models and troops are 6mm from GHQ, with infantry based on pennies.

The Cubans have two rifle platoons (2nd and 3rd), Lt Aguilera, the commanding officer, in his LAV, and a HMMWV with .50 caliber Heavy Machine Gun.

The Communists have seven rifle squads in two platoons, a BMP modified with a dual 23mm gun mount, an 82mm mortar, and their CO riding in an MTLB.

Overview, with troops.  You can see the Cuban 2nd Platoon on a knoll at far left, 3rd Platoon directly to their right, in and around Pisa (center and right), Lt Aguilera's vehicle in a field just below them, and the HMG HMMWV at bottom center on Hill 50.  The Communists have their maneuver elements at top center, with their mortar at top right, on Hill 45.

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.

Close up of the Cuban positions, 2nd Platoon at left, 3rd Platoon at top center and top right, HMMWV at bottom center right.

The Communist 1st Platoon at top center, with the Cuban 2nd Platoon at left and bottom right.

The Communist 2nd Platoon at top center, the Cuban 3rd Platoon at left and bottom right, and Lt Aguilera to bottom left.

View north from behind the HMMWV, the Cubans' only heavy weapon.

The Commies spread across the top.

I felt bad for the bad guys, like they didn't have much firepower, so I rolled them up another support, but all the got was a stinkin' Chinese-made Type 63 APC.  It has an HMG, but no real armor.  As it is, the bad guys have this and a modified BMP, both of which can be ripped apart by the Cuban .50 cal.

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...

One last shot of the bad guys, this time with their Type 63 on the board (top center right, with BMP at far left).

Time to fight!  This will all be over in a minute.

On the Cuban right, an enemy rifle platoon moves up on foot (center right), right up to 3rd Platoon (left and bottom center).

2nd Squad, 3rd Platoon (2/3, bottom center) opens fire, pinning an enemy squad.

The Type 63 (top left) moves up to support the pinned squad (yellow bead; 2/3 is at bottom right, 3/3 is at center right).

From back on Hill 50, the HMMWV (bottom left) cuts loose with its .50 cal on the Type 63 (top right)...

The enemy armored personnel carrier is immobilized and its crew bails out, and the Communist squad that was pinned is forced to fall back (red bead at bottom left, from explosion at bottom right).

In the center, the other enemy rifle platoon pushes ahead very aggressively (left), right up to 1/3's nose (in building at bottom center).

1/3 (far right) opens fire at point blank range.

The target squad is knocked out (explosion).  The enemy BMP moves up to support (left), not realizing...

The Cubans have another rifle platoon on the knoll to the west!  2/2 launches a salvo of LAWs at the BMP.

The BMP is also immobilized, and its crew bails out.

Back on the right, the enemy CO moves up and rallies his suppressed squad (red bead).

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.

The HMMWV (bottom right) starts it off, its .50 cal thumping out tracers at the left-hand enemy rifle platoon (top center), knocking out a Communist rifle squad.

From the western knoll, 1/2 (bottom left) and 2/2 (bottom right) open fire on that same enemy platoon, now down to a single rifle squad.

Which is sent scurrying for cover, suppressed (red bead at top center, from explosions at bottom center).

In the center, 3/2 (bottom left) and 1/3 (in building at top center) open fire on the enemy right-hand rifle platoon, pinning a squad.

3/3 (bottom right) opens fire at point blank range...

Forcing two enemy rifle squads to fall back suppressed (red beads at top center and bottom center,; the red bead at far left is the last enemy squad left from the left-hand enemy platoon).

2/3 (bottom center) fires past 3/3...

3/3 (bottom right) misses, but the enemy returns fire and they miss too.

The enemy CO tries to rally one of his suppressed squads, but they fail and run off the battlefield!

The Commie commander moves over and tries to rally another suppressed squad...

But they fail too, and fall back (top left, from bottom right)!!!

The enemy mortar team finally gets in the fight (top left), and they fire on 2/3 (bottom right), suppressing them.

With 2/3 suppressed (bottom left), enemy infantry go to work on 3/3 (center right).

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.

But they miss, and 3/3 (bottom center) returns fire, putting heavy casualties on them!

The bad guy dice have been atrocious.  Hard to complain about, I guess, but damn...

Back on the left, the enemy squad suppressed at center bottom (with 1/3 at bottom right) tries to self rally, but only gets up to pinned.

Staying on the left, 2/2 leaves the knoll (bottom center), dashes across the field and takes cover behind the immobilized BMP, where it opens fire.

The bad guys that just rallied themselves up to pinned are forced to fall back (right, from bottom left, next to a suppressed squad from their sister platoon).

1/3, still sitting tight in the center (bottom left), launches a salvo of LAWs at the enemy CO's vehicle.

The MTLB is knocked out, and the enemy CO and his command section bail out, a bit woozy.

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?

1/3 follows up its rocket salvo by charging a suppressed enemy squad; the enemy CO dahses into the fracas.

1/3 knocks out the enemy squad and their commander, then moves up to take on another enemy squad (center)....

But 1/3 is repulsed in close combat!!!  The enemy squad (left) is rallied, while 1/3 falls back between two buildings, suppressed (red bead).

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!

On the left, 1/2 comes down off the knoll (left) and opens fire, trying to protect their suppressed brothers in 1/3 (red bead at top right, with 2/2 at center, hiding behind the BMP).

The enemy squad that threw 1/3 back (bottom right) takes heavy casualties, while a squad of nearby comrades (top left) panics and runs off the map!

That's two enemy squads that ran off the map this game.

On the far right, 3/3 moves up into close combat with a suppressed enemy squad on Hill 45.

The bad guys are knocked out of the fight (explosion at bottom left).  3/3 moves up (center); the enemy mortar team (top right) sees them coming and decides discretion is the better part of valor, withdrawing off the map to save their hides.

Leaving but a single enemy rifle squad on the map (white bead at top center), and they're in a bad way, disorganized from taking and having to treat quite a few casualties.  Lt Aguilera (hadn't heard that name all game; guess we hadn't really needed him) pulls his truck up to 1/3 (bottom center) and rallies them, but they only get up to pinned.

But pretty much the rest of the Cuban force moves up and captures the last enemy rifle squad (white bead at center top).  The enemy counterattack is thrown back at Pisa, Urrah!

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.



  1. You needed a win like this after all the other games.

    Go with what you want to do, so long as you write it up. But if you want my preference - 5. KG Klink as I really like WW2 company and battalion level, then 4 - Operation Payback and then maybe 2 - South Leon. But really go with want you want, not what we want! We will devour the AARs regardless!

    1. Yeah, the next one doesn't go nearly as well...

      Thanks for weighing in, and sage advice! ;) Thanks man, time to get to work.