AKA The reduction of Dubrovna, Fight #5
It's 0715 on 2 July 1990 and Battlegroup Elias is inching through Dubrovna, clearing the city house by house. 1st Platoon just completed its mission of breaking into the city, and now 2nd Platoon was passing through them to continue the momentum forward. However, 2nd Platoon was entering Old Town, the oldest portion of Dubrovna, a sniper's paradise of narrow, cobblestone streets surrounded by two story buildings with nooks and crannies everywhere. The Platoon Commander called a halt, established 360 security (there was now a gap between them and the other platoons of Battlegroup Elias), and called out "2nd Squad, you're on point." He gave a quick brief to the squad leader, then 2nd Squad pushing into Old Town, with 1st Squad providing rear/flank security and 3rd Squad standing by to support by fire (an almost impossible task in the densely packed terrain), reinforce, and perform CASEVAC.
2nd Squad's leader briefed his men, finishing with "up and at'em boys."
This fight is going to be played out much differently than the previous and following fights. As usual, the enemy has a total of 8 potential bad guys on table (to the good guys 8 troops), but I'm using poker chips as 'blinds.' There are 8 'real' blinds and 10 'dummy' blinds. I scattered 10 over the board, and the Cubans have to move forward and uncover the blinds, clearing Old Town. I'm using an abstract mechanism for firing for both sides:
-If Cubans are moving where a blind has LOS to them, the bad guys will roll 1K 1S at the Cubans (sometimes I go down to 1S if it's a really poor shot, or up to 2K 2S if it's a really good shot/the Cubans are bunched up).
-The Cubans may fire on blinds, but only with Shock dice, usually just 1S, 2S for the SAWs or if a rifleman is at point blank range.
The Cuban fire may pin or suppress the man, but not the blind. That is, as long as there is a blind there, it will continue 'shooting' at the Cubans as normal (1K 1S). But when the Cubans 'spot' the blind, I'll flip it over to see if it's a real bad guy or just a dummy. If the blind was pinned or suppressed, AND it's a real bad guy (not a dummy blind), the real bad guy will be placed on the board, and he will be pinned or suppressed.
And spotting pretty much equals stepping into the same room as the blind, nothing long range, certainly nothing beyond what would be a few meters in 'real life.' So the Cubans have to move up a narrow street (and through buildings as much as they can, but the area has been smashed by air and arty, so there are buildings/rooms that are not able to be entered) clearing out potential bad guys, and trust me, ten blinds in such a small space is A LOT, particularly when even the dummies are shooting at you!
Also, we pretty much did away with any semblance of a normal activation process and turn sequence. First, the bad guys don't get a turn, they're just using their blinds to fire in reaction to Cuban movement and firing (as you'll see, pretty much all 'real' bad guys are killed immediately, as they are only placed on the board when a Cuban or two are literally on top of them). And with the Cubans, we could have done 'normal' 5Core-style activation rolls, but I figured that would make it too hard (and I was right!), so, in the overall scheme of things, I would activate my four guys, one at a time, then he would activate his four guys, one at a time (or in pairs, it sped things up a bit, though we did it as a 'group activation,' so the pair could only more OR shoot, not both, which made it a bit more difficult), doing a 'normal' activation (i.e., move and fire or fire and move, or self rally, but no 'firefight' or 'scurry' equivalents).
I think the game would have been cooler, more realistic, if there's only one or two actual troops, but I couldn't get my head around the idea that only one or two guys (on the map) were actually covering all that dense, complex terrain by themselves. So we bumped it up; it worked, so think of the bad guys as hardliners that needed to be cleaned out, rather than a sniper.
So stand by, this fight was a real bastard, with an incredible finish!
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
And with that, it's time to get our fight on. Like I said, there's no real turn sequence, just the Cubans moving up and getting shot at. Time ta make da donuts.
Cpl Lira and Salazar try to self rally. The Corporal is good to go...
For Ivan and all you 5Core lovers out there, here's how I did it: normally the bad guy (not pinned/suppressed) would roll one D6 with no modifier in this situation; I stuck with that, used a red D6. Normally the good guy would get a +1 for initiating the assault, but I dropped that since they were surprised to find someone there, so no modifier for the good guys either.
But what I did different was both simple and effective: I gave Galban a white D6 and Aguilar a black D6 and rolled all three simultaneously. The bad guy beat Aguilar, Galban beat the bad guy. Simples. I used this mechanism a couple times this game.
Team 2's SAW team has no suspected targets and decides to sit tight on their side of the street to let Team 1 reorganize and catch up on the north side. Off camera to right, Pvt Solis manages to successfully self rally himself.
*The boy runs Team 2 in all these fights; I was right proud of his patience here, sitting tight, rather than dashing off where I couldn't support them.
Wow. First, I wish the boy had exercised just a bit more patience, gave Team 1 another shot at pinning or suppressing the Church, allow Cpl Lupe to rush in with Solis by his side. Second, this is pretty damn tense, dealing with all these blinds.
*Of all the times the boy and I have fired at enemy blinds, this is the first time we've received an actual Shock result. I put a yellow bead on the poker chip. If an when we actually reach that poker chip, I'll flip it over, and if it's a real bad guy (not a dummy blind), he'll be pinned.
*Even though I've put a pin marker on each of the enemy blinds in view over here, I keep firing because I can still get a 'suppression.'
I'm not big on lit, but there's a little foreshadowing for ya.
*This would be key in just a moment.
It was pretty cool to actually SEE a bad guy this game and be able to engage him from distance, but it wouldn't have been possible if I hadn't held Salazar back. I almost used him to fire with Galban at the enemy blind, which would have added another Shock dice, but I didn't. So when Cpl Lira got thrown back I was able to use Salazar to fire. Not sure what I had planned for Salazar, what I was going to have him do, but glad that's how it worked out ;)
That's four dice so far, no effect.
The boy got fed up with firing and missing, so he charged. As we used to say in the Corps, good initiative, bad judgement ;)
Abrera wasn't actually hit on the way in, that was just for dramatic effect, and The Lion got no modifier while Abrera got +1 for initiating the combat/being super pissed...
@#$%!!! Can nothing kill this guy!!!???
How depressing! What happened is, because of the incredible shot, I gave Cpl Lira 3K 2S. No effect on any of the Kill dice, rolled a 6 on one of the Shock dice, which is what? That's right, if a hunkered target is hunkered again, he falls back, and this time the fall back took The Lion right off the map! @#$%ing incredible!!!
The squad's in tatter's, 1 KIA and 3 WIA. Cpl Lira calls in to inform HQ they've cleared the Old Town, but at quite a cost. 3rd Squad moves up for CASEVAC, while 1st Squad comes up to relieve 2nd Squad, with 3rd Platoon right on their heals, looking to clear the rest of Dubrovna. 3rd Platoon finds the going easy, particularly as they're able to make use of a couple AMX-10RCs in the wider boulevards of the newer sections of town. A couple 105mm rounds into a building makes believers rather quickly, so 3rd Platoon found itself primarily responsible for searching prisoners and shuttling them to the rear. However, as they reached the edge of town the AMXs were called off to deal with some enemy armor spotted to the south, and the Platoon Commander heard a flurry of rifle shots up ahead, from the area of 3rd Squad, the platoon's point element. Seems there were a few hardliners holed up in an old, bombed out industrial plant.
Which just so happens to be the last fight of the Cuban operations to seize Dubrovna. See ya tomorrow.