AKA, the 14th fight of Operation Payback
It's 0534 on 20 July 1990, and the invasion of Avalor, a small Caribbean island-nation near Cuba, upon which Castro-regime holdovers have been organizing, training, and launching attacks on the homeland, is underway. Previously three Reconnaissance and Surveillance teams from 10th Special Forces Group were inserted to support the invasion; one is in position in OP India, but the second team was compromised and extracted, and the third team (Rebel 33) was ambushed and wiped out. Now 1st Lieutenant Huerta's 18th Grenadier Guards of the 6th Parachute Battalion are jumping from C-130s onto three separate Drop Zones (DZs) in the pre-dawn darkness. They will immediately form up and march on their objectives, the terrorist training areas and barracks on Avalor, manned by terrorist trainees and their Venezuelan and Iranian trainers.
In the last two fights we saw Lt Jaramiho's 1st Platoon successfully seize DZ Crow and Lt Escobedo killed in action while trying, unsuccessfully, to secure DZ Bluebird. Here we pick up the action at DZ Albatross, where bad guys alerted by the earlier firefights are watching paratroopers of 2nd Lieutenant Reyna's 3rd Platoon descend and crash to the earth.
Time to fight! So far we've had four fights: in the first two, Cuban Special Forces teams were ambushed and 1) forced to flee and 2) wiped out. In the second two, Cuban paratroopers 1) secured the first drop zone, and 2) were forced to flee from the second. The invasion of Avalor, with its goal of destroying the joint Venezuelan/Iranian training base, is not exactly going according to plan. We really, really, really need to secure DZ Albatross in this fight.
But right away the enemy troops are running into more trouble; the guy at top left...
The bad guy tried to self rally but failed and left the map.
The LT fired, missed, then the bad guy returned fire, also missing.
That was a pretty fun fight, not least of which is due to the fact it provided a badly needed win! This means the mission can go on with a decent chance at success; if this fight failed, I was really wondering about how I could pull off the narrative of going after the enemy barracks and training camp. I suppose I would have had to call in the reserve, probably have them insert via helo into the one DZ we were able to secure. In any case, that is not necessary now as the Cubans have two full platoons available for the assault on the objectives, a single R&S team available to provide situation awareness and help control the battle space until a Command Post can get up and running (they had to jump in also), and ODA 525 to provide Direct Action support to the assault. Somewhere in there, Lastly, Unit 101 will be floating around, looking to police up two High Value Targets (HVTs) believed to be on the island.
Lt Huerta, the paratrooper Company Commander, is already on the deck and has established comms with his two remaining platoon commanders, Lt Jaramiho (1st Plt, DZ Crow) and Lt Reyna (3rd Plt, DZ Albatross), and he's sent his 1st Sgt out to try and round up stragglers from 2nd Platoon after the debacle at DZ Bluebird. Captain Wallestre and his team from ODA 424 are in position and have checked in on the network now that radio silence is off, and Lt Estevez's ODA 525 (the shooters) is inbound in helos, having completed their QRF mission in support of the R&S insertions. No one has heard from Unit 101, but their primadonnas, they'll show up when and where they want ;)
I took a bit of extra time to go back and name (or at least ID) all the Cuban troops, hopefully it made for an easier read. I'm looking at about four more fights to seal up Operation Rush Deliver: two platoon+ sized fights, one to take each objective, and two small SOF hits (Unit 101 taking down the HVTs). Coming right up!