1st and 3rd Platoons pushed east and south, cutting off the enemy troops in the (fictional) village of Mutanga. 2nd Platoon followed in trace, then turned north to re-take the village. Here is the plan for the overall operation to retake Mutanga:
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.
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 Andrade (Sqd Ldr), PFC Habanera (RPG), PFC Ermera (RPK), Pvt Olejandro, and Pvt Elias.
Top is Team 2, from left to right: Cpl Galban (Asst Sqd Ldr), PFC Perez (RPG), PFC Fordesante (RPK), Pvt DeNostro, and Pvt Carreno.
Overview, this time with troops. You can see the Cubans spread from bottom left to center, while the UNITA rebels occupy the bunker at top left and have three men in the village at top right.
Here you get a look at 2nd Squad rushing towards the bunker (off camera to left), with Sgt Andrade leading Team 1 at bottom left, and Cpl Galban leading Team 2 at center.
And it's game time! I've already rolled to see how far the Cubans will get before contact begins (as per the pictures already shown), now I roll to see who starts the fight; the brother Dengue and Tengue are busy fighting over their last cigarette, when Dengue notices movement to their south. He leans forward and peers, straining his eyes to make out what exactly is going on. Slowly camouflaged helmets and uniforms begin to come into focus: "T-T-T-Tengue, I think we have a problem, brother. I think that's the Cubans." Tengue leans forward and takes a gander; the cigarette falls from his mouth: "Dengue, shoot!"
We're in business!!!
*As Dengue and Tengue are in a bunker, presumably lying on their faces and therefore pretty much invulnerable to Cuban fire, I have decided I will allow them to attempt to self rally at the end of the bad guy phase. However, in order to begin firing on the Cubans they will have to stand up and present themselves as targets via the firing port, and will be subject to Cuban react fire.
Anyway, just as things are looking up for the Cubans (classic fire and maneuver there, bust the bunker with an RPG then close assault), it stops...
The Cubans previously pinned/suppressed by the bunker attempt self rally: Cpl Galban, PFC Perez, PFC Ermera, and PFC Fordesante are all good, but Elias (red bead at bottom left) and Carreno (red bead at far right) remain suppressed.
I check LOS and figure he can't really see the guy at top right for all the grass...
Cpl Galban (bottom center, next to Pvt Carreno) and Pvt Elias (off camera to bottom left) mange to self rally, but Carreno is still digging for worms.
Dammit!!! I had the Cubans in great shape, both bad guys in the bunker suppressed, pushed up, then get the enveloping element suppressed, Team 2 in a knife fight in the grass/trees on the right, and the base of fire is now suppressed by the bunker, who's back in good shape!
Well, that fight was brutal, and just when it looked like everything was going to plan, the bad guys showed up on the right flank and ruined it. The Cubans quickly ended up in a very bad way, and if I'm honest I'll admit that for a moment there I quit thinking about how the Cubans might accomplish their mission and began thinking about how the Cubans might break contact to save the rest of the squad. But the gambit on the right flank, with Fordesante laying down covering fire and Cpl Galban rushing ahead to roll up the right flank, worked like a charm, saving the day.
The Cubans lost one man KIA and one WIA, never to return during their tour in Angola (they may receive replacements, we'll see how it goes), while killing five UNITA rebels, capturing five AK-series rifles, and accomplishing their objective of seizing the bunker on Hill 29. This fight saw a considerable amount of personal heroism from the members of 2nd Squad, and three were singled out for decoration:
Cpl Galban was awarded the Revolutionary Star, 2nd Class, for valor in establishing a base of fire, then charging two enemy soldiers to break the right flank of the enemy attack, then charging the enemy bunker and eliminating the remaining rebels.
PFC Fordesante was awarded the People's Cross of Gallantry, for demonstrating personal bravery by fearlessly exposing himself to the intense enemy fire from two directions, fighting the enemy's incursion on the right flank to a standstill, then working to subdue the enemy bunker by fire until he himself was stricken down.
PFC Hermera was awarded the Revolutionary Star, 1st Class, for gallantry demonstrated in charging through enemy fire to deliver two rocket propelled grenades into the enemy bunker.
Having said that, there were three soldiers that didn't exactly cover themselves in glory, remaining shaken for far too long after enemy fire was diverted off them by the heroic actions of their comrades: Private Elias, Private Olejandro, and Private Carreno, who will see an increased chance of them continuing on their cowardly paths in future fights.
Well, I'm having a great time, hope you are too! Next up, 3rd Squad begins moving to assault the village, but ends up taking fire from the right flank, in the vicinity of the palm grove. 1st Squad, holding reserve at the bridge over the Bulungtani River, quickly mount up and move to assault the palm grove.