AKA, Unit 101's 7th Fight of Operation Payback
It's 1025 on 14 Jul 1990, and Unit 101 is heading into action outside Langkawi, Malaysia. Following the successful raid in Lebanon which captured "The Mayor," intelligence information was discovered leading the team to its next target: "The Persian" is a Shiite Muslim born of Iranian parents in Lebanon in the mid-1960s, true name Ali bin-Schwammy-Roksamshammy (we'll stick with "The Persian"), and he's rumored to have details regarding the brokers of the ambush in Algeria. The Israelis were very helpful in assisting with logistics for the Unit to get to Langkawi in a speedy and clandestine manner.
Towards the end of the flight to Malaysia, the Israeli liaison officer leading the efforts to assist Unit 101 casually mentioned to Major Villanueva that the Cubans have many friends and supporters, and life might be easier if they made use of these relationships. He even pointed out some friendly faces in the Lebanese government that likely would have been more than happy to assist Unit 101 against The Mayor. Upon arrival in Malaysia, Major Villanueva reached back to headquarters in Havana, and was surprised to be put on the phone with the Minister of Defense, Generalissimo Cledado Estevante.
Following Major Villanueva bringing him up to date on events and plans, Gen Estevante mentioned the Lebanese had privately contacted him to ensure the Cubans knew they had friends, and the Italian government had called El Presidente directly to inform him they were less than pleased that Cuban operatives had entered their country clandestinely, then not-so clandestinely shot up the streets of one of its villages and killed a citizen. A bad guy, but a citizen nonetheless. With that, Major Villanueva felt compelled to offer up the Israeli officer's comments regarding Unit 101 operating unilaterally, and there it was decided this operation would be bilateral. While operational security was an issue (the fear that someone on the Malaysian side would alert The Persian and he would escape), there was more to the decision to go bilateral: first, Unit 101 was getting a bit frayed at the edges after six intense firefights in three different countries, with casualties, to boot. Second, the Israelis and their own intelligence folks stated all indications were that The Persian had quite the secure compound outside Langkawi, with plenty of hired guns and a cadre of hardcore lunatics. So going bilateral would not only 1) make everyone feel better and 2) make logistics considerably easier, it would also 3) allow Unit 101 to bring more guns to the fight. And they'd need them!
Gen Estevante contacted his Malaysian counterpart directly, and that evening Major Villanueva was put into contact with Captain Bok Choy of the Malaysian Special Forces in Kuala Lumpur. Major Villanueva and Capt Choy went over the details, formulated a plan, worked through the plan, and took it to the troops for some ad-hoc rehearsals. The Cubans wanted to get on target ASAP, and during the hours of darkness if possible, but it proved impossible to get all the troops and gear into place in time, and the Malaysians balked in any case, not wanting to go tearing through their own countryside in the dark, potentially putting their fellow citizens at risk, and not wanting to try to work with a foreign military they hadn't exercised with in the dark.
The plan was simple: Major Villanueva's second in command, "Rake," would take three other Unit 101 members and attach themselves to Capt Choy's platoon. Capt Choy's platoon would push northwest to The Persian's compound, which covered approximately three acres of land, escorting Major Villanueva and five Cuban shooters straight to The Persian's house, where they would perform the takedown, hoping to take him alive. The last three Cuban operatives had already infiltrated onto a hill northwest of The Persian's house, where they'd set up a hide and were conducting surveillance.
In place since approximately 0330, the three Cubans got into position, set up their gear, then took up one hour shifts with one man on watch and the other two sleeping. The sun came up at about 0600, and The Persian finally stepped out into the sunlight to stretch at approximately 1015. The surveillance team called it in to Major Villanueva and Rake, who immediately informed Captain Choy there was positive ID of the target at his home. The orders were passed and Capt Choy's platoon moved out.
The table is 4' x 4' on a new mat I bought, played out solo in 15mm using Ivan's "5Core Company Command" rules, though with "Five Men at Kursk"-style activation (each team and vehicle gets an activation dice, each team and vehicle can act and react once per turn).
Callsigns are as follows:
Captain Choy's team: Red Dog 6
Rake's Cuban team: Blue Dog 33
Malaysian Rifle Team 1: Cobra 11
Malaysian Rifle Team 2: Cobra 12
Malaysian Rifle Team 3: Cobra 21
Malaysian Rifle Team 4: Cobra 22
M-113 1 (carrying Cobra 11 and 12): Twister 31
M-113 2 (carrying Red Dog 6 and Blue Dog 33): Twister 32
M-113 3 (carrying Cobra 21 and 22): Twister 33
Land Rover w/HMG: Mamba 10
The Malaysians are Flashpoint ARVN troops, the Cubans are Flashpoint Aussies.
The troops are all Peter Pig NVA/VC.
It will never be as peaceful again as this picture ;)
With that, it's time to get this party started!!!
I roll to see if the bad guys open the ambush now, but no luck, they hold their fire.
I roll the dice to see if the fight starts...
Rake gets on the radio and calls for close air support. He screams "minimize, minimize!" into the handset, but the Malaysians are under too much pressure and traffic calling out statuses, enemy and friendly locations, and casualties overwhelms the net.
I'm rolling to see if the good guys will get through to an on-station gunship. If the call is successful, the helo will show up at the end of the following turn, and must be called up again after successful gun runs, so don't expect the CAS to be all that powerful.
And thus ends Turn 1.
The guys in the field have gotten the 'men down' or 'taking casualties' combat result, so they can only be rallied back into the fight by a friendly team making contact with them. Being trapped out in the open like that is quite the precarious position; we'll see if the bad guys can sneak a rifle team up there to get those guys back into the fight, or if I'll get lucky and manage to whack two for the price of one ;)
Rake still can't get the damn gunship to come up on the net!!!
The Malaysians are pummeled by 82mm high explosive rounds: Mamba 10, the Land Rover, is knocked out, and Cobra 11 is suppressed!
Wow, that was classic! All that time the bad guys are 'men down,' laying out there in the field and I can't get to them, and the bad guys actually manage to get another team up there to check on them, and they roll a '6,' out of the fight. Bonkers!
Slate calls out to Rake: "Boss, I think we've got the wrong fill (encryption) to talk to air! You'll have to talk in the clear, but roll to the Air Guard channel!"
Rake dials the new frequency into his radio and, voila, he's got comms with the orbiting gunship!!! He immediately runs off a 9-line to the pilot, who replies: "what??? I can't tell what the hell is going on down there, there's fire coming and going from everywhere. Just tell me where you want me to shoot!" Rake directs him onto the enemy mortar position, which he figures is the most dangerous enemy element out there.
The helo will show up at the end of next turn.
This is killing me! This fight is teeter-tottering on me, both sides fighting through heavy casualties, and we're about to start Turn 5, which means...
Well, that didn't work out very well...
Uh-oh... With Blue Dog 33 and Red Dog 6 both 'men down' there is no one to control the incoming gunship. Not to mention there's no leadership. Not to mention we've got other guys 'men down' and suppressed all over the place.
Well, at least that is taken care of, someone can control the incoming gunship. However, as this is a different controller, I'm going to roll to see what target he chooses (Blue Dog 33 wanted the enemy mortar).
That's good news, but here's even better news.
Sorry, don't mean to sound depressed, but I was hoping for a bit more than one target being suppressed....
I was amazed at how many times HMG fire was exchanged ineffectually between the Malaysians and the bad guys.
Rake immediately gets back on comms with the gunship: "you need to hit that damn mortar position!!!"
"Roger, I'm coming back around from the south, standby."
Turn 7 is here...
"Over there, @#$hole!!!"
This fight is won, but Rake and Captain Choy immediately set about reorganizing the platoon to push on to the the northern end of the compound. Blue Dog 22, which is Major Villanueva and the five shooters designated for the takedown of The Persian's house, come up in an M-113, leading several more vehicles to carry the Malaysian platoon and Rake and his team.
The Malaysians carried the day in a VERY hard fought battle. The enemy suffered approximately 25 casualties and 15 captured, while the Malaysians suffered one Land Rover destroyed, one M-113 destroyed, two M-113s damaged (though Twister 32 was quickly able to be put back into action), and 12 casualties (including one Cuban lightly wounded).
So, the combined Cuban/Malaysian task force is pushing forward to secure the north end of the compound and then The Persian's house. Which is the next set of fights, working on getting them written up.