Thursday, July 27, 2017

South Leon - Task Force Razor Fight #3


AKA, Ambush Alley in South Leon #3

It is now 0230 on 5 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...

Yesterday the FLA attacked an SNLP police station, then ambushed the SLA Quick Reaction Force (QRF) sent to aid them.  Task Force Razor was called in to support; Captain Soares and his men were able to save the SNLP and QRF, then return to base, though it cost them: one paratrooper was killed and another seriously wounded.  But not long after Task Force Razor returned to base, they received word the few remaining SNLP officers and SLA soldiers had abandoned the police station.  Task Force Razor immediately mounted up, humped to the police station, and occupied it.

But it's 0230 in the morning now, and apparently the FLA is about to make its second assault on the SNLP police station.

Overview, somewhere in Diwala, north is up.  Nothing fancy, just a 2' x 2' surface with plenty of buildings and walls.

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 opposing forces, with Task Force Razor at left and the FLA insurgents at right.

Task Force Razor: the boss, Captain Soares (Razor 6), and three assault teams (Razor 01, 02, and 03, with 03 led by Lt Hinajosa).

The troops are all Eureka Minis.

The bad guys, AKA, the Free Leon Army (FLA), local insurgents looking to overthrow the democratically-elected government.  There are seven Leaders (Flytrap Factory Taliban, and all the rest of the terrorists are from Rebel Minis), nine RPGs, eight RPKs (Light Support), and eighteen riflemen with AKs.

The map, this time with troops.  The police station, containing all of Task Force Razor, is at center, with bad guys all around.  There are three insurgent groups in the west (left), and three in the east (right).  The mission is simple: hold the police station (already being referred to as "The Alamo") for six turns, or, if you think you can't do that, evacuate your forces off the north edge of the table (top center), though you can't leave until after Turn 3.

The police station: Captain Soares is at center, with Razor 01 at top, Razor 02 at right, and Razor 03 at left.

The southwest, where the bad guys have one team and a hotspot (bottom left).

The northwest, with two insurgent groups and two hotspots (far left and top center).

The northeast, with one insurgent group and one hotspot (top right, masked by building).

And the southeast, with two insurgent groups (right and bottom right), and one hotspot (far right).

All three Razor teams are on Overwatch, and this time I remember to pull a "Fog of War" card at the start of the game (don't worry, we'll be seeing more later): it's the 'wall made of Swiss cheese' card, for the insurgents, so I pick the building at top left, which now is made of straw instead of stone, and provides no cover ;)

Time to fight!

Enemy troops in the southeast move up (top right), and this is immediately picked up on Razor 02 (bottom left).  They check with Captain Soares: "Razor 6, this is Razor 02, we've got movement to the southeast, armed and inbound."  "Roger, Razor 02, weapons free."  The rattle of Cuban small arms broke the still night air.

Four insurgents fell, and the last man standing runs.

As those guys are being gunned down (bottom left), another insurgent group in the east (bottom right) opens fire on Razor 02 (top center).

*Razor 02 failed the Reaction Test, so this group of bad guys will go first, and then I'm playing that they 'fall off' Overwatch.  I didn't use Razor 01 to interrupt the bag guys as I figured Razor 02, in cover with body armor and rolling D8s against D6s, would be okay.  There are still plenty of bad guys out there and I didn't want to risk Razor 01 also failing and falling off Overwatch.

As predicted (strongly hoped for?), the incoming enemy fire is wildly inaccurate (they have no Night Vision Gear, on top of being militia rabble), and Razor 02 returns fire...

Killing one and sending the rest of the group packing.  Bad guys in the northeast (top left) are getting froggy...

Captain Soares and Razor 01 (bottom left) sight in and fire.

*Razor 01 beat the bad guys in the Reaction Test, but didn't pass, so they also have fallen off Overwatch, with three insurgent groups still to activate!

Three terrorists go down, but the remaining two stand and return fire, but it's ineffective.

A group of bad guys in the northwest is getting antsy (top left), and Razor 03 (bottom right, the only good guy team that can still fire) lets them have it.

Two Tangos down, the remaining three stand and return fire, to no effect.

The next insurgent group (bottom left), also in the northwest, opens fire on Razor 03 (top center, with Razor 01 just visible at top left).

Two Cuban paratroopers fall!  Lt Hinajosa and his remaining comrade (bottom left) return fire, but don't hit anything!

What the hell!!!???  We don't take casualties early in the fight!  Now what the hell are we in for?

As Razor 03 (right) is getting beat up on from the northwest (top left), the insurgent group in the southwest moves up to the edge of the police station (center left, from bottom left).

Four enemy reinforcements arrive in the northwest (bottom left).

Razor 01 (top center) and Razor 02 (right) go on Overwatch, as Lt Hinajosa and his buddy drag their two Razor 03 casualties to cover (bottom left).

Bad guys in the northwest (top left) spot them moving (bottom center left), but Razor 02 (bottom right) is able to step up, opening fire.  Three bad guys go down, allowing Razor 03 to move unmolested.

Captain Soares and Razor 01 (bottom center, Razor 02 at bottom right) then engage a group of insurgents in the northeast (top left)...

Only one bad guy survives, but he (bottom right) stands and returns fire with his RPK, though no one is hit.

The rounds zip overhead (top center) as Captain Soares hops down to go and help out with Razor 03 (bottom center).  The CO is able to check one of the casualties: he's good to go, back in the fight!

In the northwest, the bad guys had intended to reinforce the group on the building at bottom center, but they were the ones that went after Razor 03 moving its casualties and got gunned down.  With the good guys in a fishbowl (everybody can see them), the bad guys want to have more groups, so rather than have the four reinforcements join the group at top left, they come atop the bottom center building.

Insurgents can either move or fire; having moved, they can't do us any harm, so we decide not to take a shot at them and risk falling off Overwatch with so many other enemy groups out there.  We'll have to deal with those guys later.

And, as expected, the other enemy group in the northwest (top right) is getting into the fight.  Razor 01 (bottom left) hops in and works them out.

Two Tangos fall and the other four have lost their taste for the fight!

*Again, that's me playing with D6 morale (D8 for the leader)...

In the southwest, the bad guys there hop up on the western end of the police station compound (bottom left), overlooking Razor 03 (center)...

Razor 01 (bottom center) turns and fires.

Only one bad guy goes down (top center); the remainder stand.  Two more troops come on in the southwest (bottom left) as reinforcements, one with an RPG.

Lt Hinajosa and two of his men lay down fire as Captain Soares checks the remaining casualty: he's okay, back in the fight!  Pretty lucky, two walking wounded!

Razor 01 (bottom right) and Razor 02 (bottom left) are on Overwatch, and so when the bad guys in the west (top center) push forward, Razor 02 lights them up.

Two bad guys fall, but the remainder stand and fire down on Razor 03!

But no one is hit, and Captain Soares and Razor 03 return fire...

All bad guys on the roof are down, and Captain Soares leads Razor 03 onto the roof.  Things are looking up!

Two bad guy elements react (bottom left and bottom right) to Razor 03 (center) getting onto the roof; Razor 01 (top center left) is on Overwatch and hops into the mix...

And this is what the boy threw!  The bad guys fail to succeed, but Razor 01 and Razor 03 just rolled 1s, so we're finally going to see some Fog of War cards come out during the game...

The bad guys in the northwest (bottom left) are the first to fire on Razor 03 (top right)...

Razor 03 (left, with bad guys above them) doesn't suffer any casualties, while Razor 01 (bottom left) returns fire...

*We had to roll another Reaction Test, and failed that with a 1, too!  A third Fog of War card is on the way...

One bad guys falls, the other three run away!

And then Razor 03 fires on the bad guys in the southwest...

But doesn't hit anything!  The bad guys stand and return fire.

An RPG manages to set the outbuilding on fire!  Captain Soares and Razor 03 fall back (right).

That was a Fog of War card; the bad guys didn't hit anything, but the card was for a fire.

And the other card is "Crosstown Traffic."  An unknown vehicle (top left) approaches the police station from the northwest; Razor 01 and 02 (bottom right) as the fire blazes at bottom left.

The vehicle gets closer, but Razor 01 still can't determine its intent.  Is it friendlies, civilians, bad guys, or worse: a car bomb?

Finally Razor 01 is able to positively identify the occupants of the vehicle: "Skipper, it's some civilians trying to get away from the bad guys!"  Just then, everyone cringes as they hear a loud rumble, a sound that could only be the sound of...

A tank!  But it's a Cuban tank, the good guys!  This was the third Fog of War card, which turned into a friendly tank. 

Very interesting; I think that about seals the game.  I'm not saying bad things can't happen, but I was doing pretty well without the tank, particularly when the enemy scored two hits but they turned out to only be walking wounded.  There aren't any bad guys left on the table (okay, maybe a couple, but nothing crazy); I was already feeling like I could hold the police station for six turns, and now that the tank is here, I don't see the terrorists dislodging Task Force Razor.

*The tank is one of the 15mm 3D-printed Leopard IIs from Bashytubits.

In the northeast, a single insurgent remains on the a rooftop; while Razor 01 is busy dealing with the pickup truck full of civilians, he takes a shot...

But the reason the bad guy is shooting first is because we failed ANOTHER reaction test with a 1, so another Fog of War card is coming!

One of the Cuban paratroopers goes down (bottom left); his comrades turn and fill the Tango full of holes...

As another unidentified vehicles approaches the police station, from the southwest.

Yep, another Crosstown Traffic.

The vehicle moves north (top left), but Captain Soares and Razor 03 (bottom center) get a good look.

It's bad guys!  The truck screeches to a halt and three insurgents pop out. Razor 03 immediately goes to guns...

Putting two down and forcing the third to run (bottom right).  To add insult to injury, the bad guys don't receive reinforcements this turn.

On the rooftop, Razor 02 (right) is on Overwatch as Razor 01 (left) checks its casualty: our luck is running strong, another walking wounded!

In the south, Captain Soares and Razor 03 fire on the two bad guys in the southwest.

Eliminating them (bottom left), then moving back into the courtyard of the police station (top right, from right).

The enemy receives but a single RPG gunner as reinforcements, in the northeast (bottom left, looking southwest to top right), and he is the only bad guy on the battlefield at this point.  They're going to have to save up reinforcements a couple turns (if they get reinforcements), but they have to strike soon, this is the end of Turn 4 of a six-turn game.

Captain Soares checks out the civilians and lets them enter the compound, as Razor 03 sets to trying to put out the fire.

And then the bad guys get some luck: time is running out, but they just got a big batch of reinforcements, again in the northeast.

The tank has moved up into position in the southwest and Razor 03 keeps trying to put out the fire, while everyone else is chilling out, watching for bad guys.  The sky is starting to gray.

And with that, the bad guys make their desperate last attempt at hurting the Cubans in the police station: they move up in the northeast (bottom center left).

Razor 01 spots them and engages...

Two gad guys fall as Razor 02 (bottom right) joins the fight.

Another bad guy goes down, and one runs away, frightened, but the remaining seven terrorists stand and fire on Razor 01...

Knocking three Cuban paratroopers down! 

Every damn game, Razor 01...

Captain Soares gets on the radio and summons War Pig, which promptly rolls up, and with the sight of the lumbering steel beast, the remaining insurgents run for their lives.

*That was the end of Turn 6, game over, the Cubans held.  I even cheated a little bit for the bad guys; that last burst of enemy fire shouldn't have happened, they are only allowed to move or shoot, and they had just moved.  But I figured it was the end, plus they'd stood up to the combined fire of Razor 01 and 02, so what the hell...

But there is one more item to tend to.  Razor 01 still has men down.  Captain Soares and Lt Hinajosa move up onto the roof to aid in casualty collection, and that one last push cost the Cubans.  One paratrooper was able to get back on his feet, but the next was badly wounded, while the last casualty's wounds were fatal.  So, 1 KIA and 1 WIA stacked against thirty casualties for the Free Leon Army.  But we'll see how it goes in the future, once I start playing the morale rules correctly for the insurgents and they quit running away so much.

In any case, Major Fulgencio, the Task Group Commander, called Captain Soares personally, congratulating him on a job well done and thanking him and his men for their dedication and sacrifice.  Several hours later, Task Force Razor was relieved by South Leon Army forces, and the tired, dirty Cubans returned to their base to rest and refit.  Major Fulgencio visited the company, and informing the paratroopers they were about to go on the offensive, looking to sweep the Mulan District of Diwala, a particularly troublesome neighborhood.  "I'm not going to lie boys, I expect the fighting to be pretty intense, so get your gear ready and get your minds right."

And with that, Captain Soares sat down with his command group and began planning the assault.



  1. Very nice as always ! Your games really "capture" the spirit of what I consider war games with minis ! It is exemplary !

    1. Thanks buddy, I appreciate it. And if you don't mind, do me a favor and tell the guys posting on this thread on TMP that they have to leave comments here if they want me to respond as I'm no longer able to since I was kicked off TMP...


  2. Hello Jack,

    up to number 3, two to go to read. Another great report. Iy was a bit tense in the early days with a few casualties and lack of overwatch but you seemed to recover OK, and then the tanks. After the tenseness of the first few turns and then seeing that you were definitely on top of it, it would have been a good feeling to know the tank turn up so you can cruise the rest of the game, knowing it was likely to be a cruise anyway. and knowing you had already had a fun and interesting game already (during the first few turns) - who needs more excitement after that :-)

    1. Shaun,

      Well, take your time Sir! ;) Yeah, it was a bit squishy early, but it didn't seem to last, I really (probably wrongheadedly) felt like it was going to be a walkover, and it was. Which is cool, I need that kind of fight every now and again!

      Just wait until you see the next two! Not for the faint of heart!