AKA The reduction of Dubrovna, Fight #1
It's 0725 on 1 July 1990 and Battlegroup Elias is moving up to the line of departure, preparing to jump-off into yet another attack. It's been a busy few days, but if today goes well, enemy forces on the west side of the capital city of Miran will be totally eliminated. Thus begins the first of 6-10 modern skirmish fights; I'm playing with my 7-year old son, and we're playing co-op, so that each of us controls a 'good-guy' fireteam of four men against the enemy squad of 6 to 8 men (depending on a die roll).
If you're a loyal follower of Cuba Libre, go ahead and skip down to the last bullet-paragraph before the map. If not, and you're bored:
It's recently come to my attention that not all of you out there in wargaming land have bothered to read every single one of my batreps, thus you may be confused about what the heck all this talk about Cubans, Cronistrians, Miran, etc..., is about ;)
So, for the uninitiated, here's a synopsis:
-In Feb 1990, Cuban exiles, with substantial support from several Western nations, staged an invasion of Cuba to depose its dictator and install a constitutional republic. The invasion was a roaring success, and the war was over after five days of heavy fighting (32 tabletop fights can be found on this blog under the label "Liberation").
-A transition government was put into place, elections were held, and a new government was quickly established. The Cuban military was essentially split in two: a Home Defense Force (about 75% of the military), which never leaves Cuba, and the Cuban Liberation Expeditionary Force (or CLEF; about 25% of the military), which is an all-arms, air-ground force deployable to all corners of the globe, fighting for the cause of freedom.
-There have been some minor operations, but the first sizable deployment was of a Cuban Special Forces A-Team to the (fictional) Balkan republic of Cronistria. It's 1990 and the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia are falling apart; Cronistria has declared independence and is striving to become a democracy, but Communist hardliners and Yugoslavian federalists are actively opposing this. Fighting broke out between the Cronistrian Democratic Militia (or CDM, the good guys) and Cronistrian Communist Army (or CPA, the bad guys); the Cuban SF troops were deployed to support and train the CDM. The Cuban SF (designated Task Force Trojas) performed their mission very well, surpassing expectations, to the point Cuban leadership began to believe they might actually succeed in helping Cronistria become an independent, stable, and free state. With this realization, the Cuban leadership deployed additional, conventional forces to Cronistria (reinforcing success). The Cuban element in Cronistria is now known as Task Force Galban, a roughly battalion-sized element composed of three mechanized Battlegroups (Aguilera, Caballero, and Elias), and Lt Trojas' SF detachment.
-CDM and Cuban forces had been marching on the Cronistrian capital city of Miran, but had become stalled by heavy fighting in the village of Brezno, just southwest of the capital (see map, below). Upon arrival of the mechanized elements of TF Galban, they were immediately thrown into battle. Two days ago they conducted a series of lightning quick attacks to encircle Miran from the west (eight fights in "Operation Chokehold," on this blog they are Cronistria fights 14-21, and 24, with 22, 23, and 25 being a Special Forces operation gone wrong).
-So, this blog concept, 'Cuba Libre,' is really nothing more than a vehicle for me to play out whatever modern ideas and scenarios I feel like playing, in the overall concept of a single 'history,' if you will, as I follow the exploits of the various units and leaders of the Cuban Liberation Expeditionary Force. To illustrate, I felt like playing some skirmish-level games using my Peter Pig US Marines and my Eureka Russians. I didn't really care about climate, so I used Cronistria. If I wanted Arctic or desert, I would have just made up a new operation somewhere in the world (like I just played out Operation Pay-Off because I wanted to play Special Forces against terrorists in the Middle East). It's great!
-I'm a big fan of Ivan Sorensen's "5Core" series of rules, having played Five Men in Normandy (skirmish), 5Core Company Command (company/battalion-level), and 5Core Brigade Command (brigade/division-level). I love the activation process, which puts limits on what I'm able to do and forces interesting decisions to be made, and I love the combat processes, which are simple, quick, and to the point. Most recently, Ivan put out a new/updated/modified version of 5 Men in Normandy, known as Five Men at Kursk (5MAK). I modified these slightly to play out modern games, and that's what I'm using for this set of skirmish fights.
-CDM forces currently have their hands full clearing Brezno, and have asked for Cuban assistance. Colonel Galban acquiesced to this request, sending Battlegroup Elias to aid their allies. Battlegroup Elias left Stanje (see map, below), heading south to attack the rear of the Communist defensive positions, located atop Hill 489 and in the town of Dubrovna.
The Cuban mission is to defeat the enemy patrol in order to clear the path to this morning's first objective, the enemy defensive line atop Hill 489.
Team Leader: Corporal Lira
SAW Gunner: LCpl Galban
Assistant Gunner: PFC Aguilar
Scout: Private Salazar
Team Leader: Corporal Lupe
SAW Gunner: LCpl Garcia
Assistant Gunner: PFC Abrera
Scout: Private Solis
What the hell!!!??? Four times a man has fired at point blank range, and four times he's missed.
The boy and I are quite pleased with ourselves, getting away with 7 bad guy KIAs and 1 EPW for only two WIA. Not just winning, but winning in style, accomplishing the objective of defeating the enemy patrol to clear the approach to the defensive line atop Hill 489. Which, as luck would have it, is the next fight, so stay tuned ;)