AKA, Ambush Alley in South Leon #2
It is now 1730 on 4 July 1990; two days ago militia members of the Free Leon Army (FLA, the bad guys) ambushed a South Leon National Police (SNLP) patrol. Task Force Razor, a Cuban paratrooper company led by Captain Soares and his trusty sidekick, Lt Hinajosa, moved out smartly, rescuing the SNLP officers, but at a cost of 1 KIA and 4 WIA to themselves. Everyone on the Cuban Liberation Expeditionary Force (CLEF) and South Leon government side were shocked; the FLA insurgency had been but a rumor of war for years, with various low-level bombings, assassinations, and sniper fire, but nothing anywhere near the size and ferocity of the attacks on 2 July. And now it was happening again...
Captain Soares was relaxing in the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) when the radios jumped to life. Before he could even discern what was happening, a South Leon Army (SLA) liaison officer burst into the TOC: "Sir, we need your assistance right away!" The stuff was going down again, right here in Diwala. More than 50 FLA insurgents were assaulting the 2nd District SNLP station in eastern Diwala; a SLA quick reaction force (QRF) was dispatched, but then they were ambushed! Task Force Razor is tasked with escorting a three-man sniper team into an overwatch position to deliver precision fires in support of the QRF and the SNLP station. Task Force Razor will deliver he precision fires then fall back; Captain Soares does not want to close with the SLA QRF or the SNLP station during the fight for fear of friendly fire incidents.
As Captain Soares and Task Force Razor mounted up, the SLA liaison officer informed him FLA insurgent activity had been noted in and around the designated sniper position; "to late to change the plan now, looks like we're fighting our way in boys."
I'm playing this out in 15mm using the old school "Ambush Alley" rules, as written. The is the first scenario out of the book, "Contracting Trouble," a classic of modern wargaming. My intent is to play out all five scenarios in the book in a row, to learn the rules, put them through their paces, and see if I dig'em.
The AAV is from Irishserb, while the troops are all Eureka Minis.
I'm about to start the fight, and I'm supposed to draw a "Fog of War" card at the start, but I forgot. And just like last game, the boy and I are playing co-op against the bad guys, and we didn't fail any reaction tests with a '1,' so no Fog of War cards this game.
Let's get it on!
*Sorry, I screwed the photo up: I marked the good guys as firing, but I was just supposed to be showing them and the bad guys coming face to face. No one has fired yet, it's time to test to see if the Cubans or the insurgents will fire first.
*Yeah, I'm still screwing up, rolling D6 for enemy morale instead of D8...
*Razor 01 hopped onto the hotspot, and if they can spend all of next turn there, it will be eliminated.
Lt Hinajosa of Razor 03: "well, ready boys? This is it."
*That was kind of cheating, I guess. In real life, Razor 03 had no idea what's on the other side of the wall, in the plaza, but I let them move up into the perfect position to engage one enemy unit while being masked from the other. It would have been more realistic to move onto the building at far right, which left them open to having to deal with both bad guys. In real life we'd have probably walked around the corner, on the street (bottom right).
For the first time this fight, the bad guys fail their reinforcement roll, NO SOUP FOR YOU!
Swampy 66 and Jupiter 31, top right, are both on Overwatch, with nothing to do but gun him down if he steps out from behind cover.
With the way things are shaking out, it's appearing the insurgents will not be able to keep the Cubans from accomplishing their mission, that their only hope to score any kind of victory is to wait patiently in the southwest and hit the Cuban Task Force as its leaving the area (which will be just off camera to top right, the same spot they entered).
The terrorists will have a much more difficult time bringing reinforcements on if we can shut down two of their five hotspots.
We tested, bad guy against Razor 02 (top left) and Razor 03 (top right): he did as good as he could, a six, but the boy rolled a 7 and an 8 for the good guys.
So the sniper keep firing, MISSION COMPLETE. Precision fires by Jupiter 31 have broken the back of the terrorist assault on the SNLP station and the ambush of the SLA QRF. The insurgents fall back and the QRF is able to reach the police station. Everyone else in Task Force Razor sits tight, on Overwatch.
*They used the same hotspot as the lone RPG guy in the plaza; you don't have to land on the hotspot, just within 6 or 8 inches. When the lone RPG guy came on, Razor 02 was at left center, close to where the reinforcements are, so there was just nowhere to go with the lone RPG guy. But putting this group in the alley at least cuts Razor 03 out of the picture, only Razor 02 (well, and the snipers, off camera to top right) can see them.
The enemy rolls for and receives reinforcements, but they are lost when they roll to land on a dead hotspot.
Time to test, see who gets the first shot off...
I'm really not enjoying losing these reaction tests to the enemy, but I'm playing it right now, allowing insurgent groups with a D8 leader to test using D8.
*It really aggravates me now, as I'm typing this, that I've been screwing up the morale rolls. That fight was pretty easy, right up until the dramatic finish here, which should have been more dramatic as a whole bunch of insurgents ran that shouldn't have.
It turns out that two of the paras were only stunned by the RPG, but one was killed and another severely injured. Captain Soares quickly got the four members of Razor 01 loaded into the track, and Jupiter 31 came down and loaded as well, helping to carry the casualties.
Again, mission accomplished, with a very easy first half, and then getting really ugly at the end. And only not uglier because I've been screwing up the insurgent morale rolls; one more game of screwed up morale rolls, then I finally get it right in game #4.
The game felt really good, I think I've got a firm handle on the tactics now, getting troops into Overwatch, forcing the insurgents into bad situations, and, in turn, I'm learning to have the insurgents marshal their strength a bit more, build up for that one shot at causing some real problems. But it's difficult; you don't want to just sit back and let the Regular player cavort around the battlefield as he pleases, easily accomplishing every mission. So you've got to be measured, take high-percentage shots when you can. Well, with the insurgents, high percentage is not the right term, but higher-percentage, times when hopefully you can overwhelm the Regulars with numbers. Though, to tell you the truth, it hasn't been the numbers that have been causing Regular casualties, it's been that lucky roll once or twice a game, that sees the Regulars lose the Reaction Test, or win and fire but miss, and then that fantastic firepower roll by the Insurgents and then the Regulars fail to match.
So I dunno, I'm a bit torn; if it's a matter of getting lucky, then that dictates you don't hold back for one big attack, you take as many small shots as you can, hoping one gets through an causes some casualties. Because once the Regulars suffer some casualties they really bog down, having to pull other units out of the fight to see to their casualties, which is when it would be the perfect time to strike with a large force. Fun stuff.
In any case, Task Force Razor again accomplished its mission, escorting the snipers in and back out of the battlespace, saving the South Leon Police and Army. In the process they caused the enemy 38 more casualties, though they suffered a second fatality and their fifth wounded (one and one in this, the second, fight).
Coming up, it turns out the South Leon Army and South Leon National Police at the police station suffered a lot of casualties. Most of the police and soldiers were required to help evacuate the wounded and dead, leaving precious few men back at the police station. Their morale low from the ferocity of the enemy's attack and the tremendous casualties, it didn't take much to push them over the edge, so the minute they felt like they were isolated, abandoned, and left to die, they all decided there were better places to be than the police station.
Not wanting to sacrifice the police station (and the weapons, equipment, comm gear, and ammunition it contained), the South Leon government again reached out to Task Force Razor for help, and once again Captain Soares responded in the affirmative. Task Force Razor had returned to base, dropped off the snipers and track, had its wounded seen to, then loaded up on water and ammo before moving out on foot towards the police station. It was nearly 2230 before they arrived; they immediately set about organizing the defense, then went to 50% to get some rest. Several hours later the sentries began sending in reports of movement at all quarters; the Free Leon Army was about to make a second all-out assault on the SNLP police station.