1. 1st Squad assaults the tower and mortar position, taking the bridge over the Bulungtani River.
2. 2nd Squad crosses the foot bridge and assaults the bunker on Hill 29.
3. 3rd Squad begins crossing the open ground from the mortar position to the village, but is pinned by enemy fire from the palm grove. 1st Squad reorganizes and assaults the palm grove to clear it of enemy forces.
4. 3rd Squad continues its assault, securing the village of Mutanga.
5. UNITA forces to the northeast counterattack the village, defended by 3rd Squad.
6. 2nd Squad leaves Hill 29 to mop up the enemy counterattack.
Well, that's the plan for Operation Lionheart, the counteroffensive to cut off and destroy UNITA forces north of the Bulungtani River and liberate the village of Mutanga. Let's get to the first fight, where 1st Squad has crossed the line of departure and is closing in on the bridge/tower/mortar position.
The game is being played out solo on a 2' x 2' board using Ivan's "Five Men at Kursk," modified to make it a bit more modern (more firing dice, each troop in good fighting condition can act AND react in each turn, missed shots on troops in good fighting condition draws 'free' reaction fire), and I'm trying out the new "keep'em pinned" concept Ivan and I were discussing.
The squad is broken into two teams:
Bottom is Team 1, from left to right: Sgt Colvasquez (Sqd Ldr), PFC Barnejesus (RPG), PFC Bronchovio (RPK), Pvt Cannastria, and Pvt Rolando.
Top is Team 2, from left to right: Cpl Lucastro (Asst Sqd Ldr), PFC Calderon (RPG), PFC Solar (RPK), Pvt Guerrerro, and Pvt Bustamante.
I've already rolled to see how far the Cubans get without being spotted; this occurred before the pictures, so what you're seeing are the results of those rolls. Now I roll to see who gets the drop on who...
Well, that was easy.
The bad guy doesn't roll for activation unless he changes his mind and decides to do something other than shoot at the guys he has pinned/suppressed. If he was shooting only at suppressed enemies, I'd say he doesn't need to roll anything, unless I thought there was a chance they could be forced to run, then I'd roll 1S per suppressed target, and they run if you roll a 1 or 6 (and you should let people shoot at them if they don't have a covered means of escape, though I would be very judicious with this as most guys without a covered route of escape would simply go prone). If the bad guy is shooting at pinned troops, or troops within his field of fire not yet affected, he should get normal firing dice, probably bumped up for targets being grouped. It's not possible to hit a suppressed guy (unless you're right on top of him), but guys not affected but in the field of fire, and pinned guys can be hit.
You can use more than one troop to 'keep' an enemy pinned/suppressed. This does three things:
1) if enemy troops in the target zone are unaffected or only pinned, it adds more shooting dice to the auto-fire during your phase.
2) this adds more shooting dice to react fire if a leader/buddy tries to move into the field of fire to rally folks.
3) this keeps more guns on target in case the enemy manages effective return fire, or to bring other troops into the fight, to hit/pin/suppress the guy(s) you had keeping someone pinned/suppressed.
I think pinned and suppressed troops can be rallied, not sure if it should be leader only, or a buddy, but they have to move into base contact. When they do so they are subject to react fire by every enemy soldier that is firing in that field of fire. For example, if the Cubans had suppressed all three bad guys in the mortar position, they could have one rifleman keeping the three UNITA guys suppressed. The enemy Boss moves into the mortar position to rally his troops; he is subjected to 1K 1S from the Cuban rifleman keeping the UNITA guys suppressed. But let's say the Cubans have two rifleman and an RPK keeping the mortar position suppressed; I don't have exact numbers figure out (that's your job!!!), but I'd probably give the Cubans 1K 3S to fire at the Boss when he moves into the mortar position (assuming they've got LOS to him before he reaches the cover of the mortar position itself). If the Boss makes it, he can roll to rally all three of his suppressed dudes.
So, back on track with how keeping pinned/suppressed guys pinned/suppressed, above I've got one pinned and one suppressed. I'm not worried about the suppressed guy as he's not going anywhere, so no shooting dice at him, but the pinned guy gets 1K 2S (one kill because the pinned guy is still presenting himself as a target in order to return fire, and two shock because the shooter is kind of already zeroed in on the pinned guy, and because it should be easier to push the pinned guy to suppressed than a guy so far unaffected by fire). If there were unaffected targets in the field of fire, I'd add 1K 1S for them, too. If you look at the pic, you can see Sgt Colvasquez and PFC Barnejesus are just to the right of the field of fire; you've got to figure out how wide the field of fire can be for various weapons (I ruled they were outside a single UNITA rifleman's capability), but if I thought they were in I'd make it very deadly, adding 1 or 2 more Kill dice and definitely two more Shock. So, during his next phased fire, the single bad guy rifleman would get either 2K 4S or 3K 4S by those calculations. Being that it's a rifle (AK), I can tell you I'd probably give him 2K 3S, or 2K 4S if it's a really good shot (targets easily seen, really bunched up).
I'm trying to figure out if 'man down' is still relevant; in this game I just treated it as suppressed, until the very end when I decided to create a couple wounded guys, just for fun. And I didn't do it, but I was thinking about a pinned guy getting pinned again becoming suppressed.
Sorry if my explanation is all over the place, hope that makes sense. This is exactly what I was describing in the "suppression" thread on TMP. For what it's worth, the modes added some time to the game, but it felt pretty damn good, and should port straight over to 5Core Company Command.
Speaking of the unengaged guys on their far left, the Cubans have an ace up their sleeve...
I allowed Cpl Lucastro to order Guerrerro to take over firing on his suppressed target in order to free Cpl Lucastro up to begin maneuvering again. It made sense to me as he's the team leader.
Off camera on the Cuban right, Cannastria and Rolando both successfully self rally and are back in the fight.
FOR IVAN: I rolled another man down; it didn't make sense to me just have him stay suppressed, but I didn't roll a kill, so I counted him as wounded. During his next phase he can roll to try and get back in the fight. But if he did, wouldn't he just remain suppressed? Or would the reaction of an enemy so close trigger him to act? I dunno, it's getting squirrelly now...
So, when the RPG hit the mortar position earlier, I actually rolled one suppression and two 'man down' results, but counted the two 'man down' results as suppressions, where the enemy Boss and a rifleman were suppressed, and a previously suppressed rifleman fled the emplacement. At this point I decided to leave the Boss suppressed, but retroactively made the rifleman in the mortar position wounded.
FOR IVAN: So, a pretty fun fight, relatively quick (though longer than my normal 5MAK fights), and very successful as a playtest. Everything worked out very well, and I was able to figure out some things I was previously unsure of, though I'm still not sure how to handle the 'man down' result. Another question would be, do you allow a suppressed individual to make a 'free' retreat move if he has a covered avenue of escape? I don't mind a compulsory retreat, even if it's an uncovered avenue of escape, so long as there is a very large perceived threat forcing it (something to overcome his fear of running out into enemy fire in order to get some distance between it and himself).
Next up we have 2nd Squad creeping across the foot bridge and assaulting the enemy bunker on Hill 29 so that 3rd Squad can assault the village, so stay tuned.