Thursday, August 3, 2017

South Leon - Task Force Razor Fight #5

All,

AKA, Ambush Alley in South Leon #5

It is now 0330 on 11 July 1990, and Task Force Soares has again penetrated into the Mulan District of the city of Diwala, a particularly troublesome neighborhood known for its hostility to the government of South Leon.  Earlier this week, 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.

The following day 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.  Several hours later the insurgents struck in strength, but the paratroopers accounted themselves magnificently.  Despite losing another paratrooper KIA and one WIA, the issue was never really in doubt.  The Cubans held, and several hours later they were relieved.  They returned to base to rest, refit, and prepare an offensive to take the fight to the enemy, looking to root the enemy out of their base in the Mulan District.  The attack went in on the morning of 8 July 1990, and the Cuban paratroopers literally descended into hell!  The enemy initially gave ground, but put up a ferocious defense in the northeastern corner of the neighborhood; one Cuban was killed and five wounded, including the Task Force commander, Captain Soares.  Ultimately, the remnants of the assault element pulled back, called for help, then watched as a Cuban F-4 Phantom rolled in and dropped a Mk 83 1000-lb bomb directly on the center of FLA resistance.

Then, bolstered by armor, Task Force Razor again went into the assault, but the airstrike had broken the back of FLA resistance, at least for that day, and the Task Force was able to continue its house to house sweep, capturing a few FLA militants and a significant amount of arms, ammunition, and explosives.  And while victory wouldn't have been possible without air and armor, it's very difficult to stamp out a homegrown insurgency, and using air and armor meant there was a certain amount of unavoidable "collateral damage," which only helped fuel said insurgency.

In any case, intelligence sources soon identified the leader of the FLA forces in the Mulan District as "Sheik Khamis," and identified his whereabouts.  Task Force Razor mounted up for an early morning raid, with Lt Hinajosa leading the mission in Captain Soares' absence.  As usual, the first part of the mission went easy: on a pitch black night, Lt Hinojasa and three assault teams calmly walked into the Mulan District and cordoned off Sheik Khamis' home.  Lt Hinajosa and an interpreter simply walked up and knocked on the front door; "You're making a big mistake."  "Don't lie to me, we know exactly who you are."

"I didn't say I'm not who you think I am.  I am simply saying, my young Cuban friend, that you have made a big mistake, coming to my home like this.  And now what?  Now you will just turn around and walk me out?  Good luck."  Lt Hinojasa quickly zip-tied the target, and then formed up Task Force Razor for the exil movement.  "L-T, we've got a lot of movement out here.  A lot, groups in every direction.  Looks mostly like civvies, Sir, but there's a lot of them, and they DO NOT look happy."

"Roger, Razor 01.  Steady boys, it's time to step off," and with that, Task Force Razor began escorting its prisoner south out of the area.

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 fifth scenario out of the book.  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, civvies at top right, and good guy extras at top left.

Task Force Razor: the boss, Lieutenant Hinajosa is leading the Task Force with Captain Soares out, wounded (Razor 6-Alpha), and three assault teams (Razor 01, 02, and 03, with 03).

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 civilians, which are Peter Pig figures.  There will be five groups of civilians on the table at the start of the game, which can get in the way, get dispersed, or be turned into bad guys.

Potential reinforcements for Task Force Razor: there are Eureka Minis snipers and MG team, a Leopard II from Bashytubits, and an AAV from Irish Serb.

The target, Sheik Khamis, looking rather cosmopolitan, and very well dressed for such a late hour.

Overview of the table, this time with troops.  Task Force Razor is at top center, the target in hand, mission to move down south down the road and exit the table with him (bottom center).  There are three Insurgent groups: far left, top left (hidden by building), and center right; and five civilian mobs: left bottom center, bottom center right, top right, left center top (in the plaza), and top left (between Task Force Razor and an Insurgent group.  You can see Insurgent reinforcement "hotspots" at bottom left, left, top left, right, and bottom right.

Task Force Razor, with Lt Hinajosa leading (bottom center), followed by Razor 01 (bottom left), Razor 02 (center), and Razor 03 (top left), which is escorting the Target.

The southwest corner of the board, with an Insurgent group (left), three civilian mobs, and two hotspots.

The northwest, with Task Force Razor at top center, Insurgent groups at center left and to right, civilian mobs at center and left, and hotspots at far left and bottom center.

The northeast, with Task Force Razor at top center, an Insurgent group at bottom left, civilian mobs at center right and top left, and a hotspot at bottom center.

And the southeast, with an Insurgent group at top center, civilian groups at bottom center and left, and hotpots at top right and bottom center right.  Task Force Razor's exit point is the road at bottom left.

I actually remember to draw the Fog of War card: "Dragunov."  A lone enemy appears on a rooftop (bottom left)...

But this is no FLA militiaman.  South Leon has a Marxist neighbor to the north, Fédération Socialiste Nationale de Leon (FSNL), which has long sought to overthrow the democratic government of South Leon.  This is a trained sniper, infiltrated across the border from FSNL into South Leon. 

He fires with 2D8, is TQ8/M10.  The figure is a Eureka Minis' Modern Chechen.

Time to fight!



"Well boys, let's get a move on," muttered Lt Hinajosa (center).  Razor 01 (center top) took up Overwatch as Razor 02 started south down the street (bottom right, with Razor 03 escorting the Sheikh at top left).

A shot rings out as the enemy sniper's (bottom left) Dragunov spoke, targeting Razor 02 (top right).

The round zips by and Razor 02 (bottom center) returns fire, killing the sniper!

*The bad guy only rolled one hit, but it was an 8, so I was sure someone was going down, but the Cubans were rolling five D8 in defense and were able to match it, then made quick work of him.

Razor 03 then leapfrogged past (top right, with Razor 02 just below them and Razor 01 to their left) past Razor 01. Lt Hinajosa (center top) is looking at all the mobs in the way straight down south and is pushing his men left (right in the picture), hoping to put some distance between them and the mobs.

Not pictured, Lt Hinajosa moves over and joins Razor 02.

Razor 01 (top right) watches as an insurgent group moves up behind a mob of civilians in the northwest (left), but they can't fire for fear of putting the civilians at risk.

While in the southwest, another insurgent group (center left) tries the same thing, dashing forward to blend in with a nearby group of civilians (top center).  Razor 01 (top left) spots them...

But they're too slow on the draw and the bad guys are now too close to the civilians (bottom left) to fire on. The bad guys at right, a pretty large group, decide to hold tight and wait to see how the situation develops.

*Well, a lot of good putting Razor 01 on Overwatch did...

In the northwest (top left) and south, the civilian mobs move forward, closing the distance with Task Force Razor (top center).

*I allow the bad guys to move up with the civilians, masking their movement.

Lt Hinojosa is aware of the large bad guy group in the center (left), and he decides it's time to start the gunfight.  The acting commander of TF Razor leads Razor 02 up (left bottom)...

And the Cuban paratroopers manage to surprise the terrorists, opening fire at point blank range.

Four Tangos go down in the hail of gunfire, but the remainder stands toe to toe with the Cubans and return fire, though no Cubans are hit (five hits, five saves!).  Razor 01 moves up to cover them (right), and then Razor 03 moves east (bottom center left, just below Razor 02).

The bad guy leaders get to work trying to rouse the locals to action: in the northwest (top left) they are as yet unsuccessful, but in the south (bottom center) the terrorist leader manages to talk a number of civilians into joining the fight to save Sheikh Khamis; his men quickly hand out rifles and ammunition to the new recruits, adding four more gunmen to their band of merry men.

The civilians in the northwest (top left) move towards Task Force Razor (top center/right), with the northwest insurgent group staying hot on their heels.

While suddenly, in the east two more insurgent groups (bottom center left and center right) emerge square in the path of Task Force Razor's (top right) escape!

Uh-oh...  How's that for bad luck?

Back in the north, the CO and Razor 02 continue their firefight with the center insurgent group, and three more bad guys fall.

Though there are only three militiamen left from the original ten, they stand their ground and return fire!

The acting Task Force Commander, Lieutenant Hinajosa, goes down.

Razor 02, in a desperate move to protect Razor 03 (bottom right), pushes east down the street and engages the next group of bad guys (left)!

All four Tangos go fall and Razor 02 continues its rampage, immediately engaging the next insurgent group in the street!

Only one terrorist goes down, but the remaining four run for their lives!

*Okay, I screwed up again...  I was amazed the bad guys actually failed morale on a D10 check, but they did.  What was supposed to happen was they simply seek cover and drop a morale level to D8, but I was so excited I just had them run.  Actually, I think I like it this way better; if you fail morale on a D10 you deserve to run!

Razor 03 scoops up Lt Hinajosa and moves up (top right) behind Razor 02's protective wall (right).  Razor 03's combat effectiveness is seriously impaired now as they are escorting the Sheikh and having to carry the Lieutenant.

Razor 01, bringing up the rear, dashes over (center right) and opens fire on the enemy's center group (top center)...

Finishing them off, but quite lucky no civilians (bottom left) were hit in the burst of fire.

But the terrorists in the south (bottom center) have no compunction about firing near civilians (center), and so they immediately open fire on Razor 01 (top right).

Razor 01 is unfazed (off camera to top right), but two civilians fall (center) in the hail of gunfire.  Razor 01 is unable to return fire because there is still a civilian remaining in the line of fire.

*This has no effect on the terrorists ability to do anything in the game, civilians are just an acceptable loss.

But I dice it off, and he decides to make a run for it (left, from top center)!

*The bad guys took a chance and it didn't work out.  Now they have one less civilian mob to try and rally to their cause, but with such a large group I was sure they'd score some hits on Razor 01.

In the north, the bad guy leader there (bottom left, with TF Razor at top center/right) still can't convince the local mob to join his ranks.  Perhaps it had something to do with them having just watched their fellow citizens get gunned down by his buddies in the south...

Razor 02 hauls ass to the end of the road (top left, from bottom center right), looking to cut off any enemy reinforcements that might try and stand in the way of their escape route, and Razor 03 follows them (center left).

With the civilians having cleared the lane of fire, Razor 01 (bottom center) opens fire on the enemy group in the south (top left).

But the enemy militia are making good use of the stone wall as cover and none are hit!  They renew their fire on Razor 01 (top center).

*ZERO HITS!!!???

The fire is absolutely, atrociously ferocious, dropping three Cuban paratroopers and one civilian!!!

The remaining civilians retreat to a nearby courtyard (top right, from center).

*Well, the bad guys took another chance, but it paid off.  Sure they lost the ability to mobilize that civilian group, but they just knocked down three of my guys!!!

And things immediately get worse as the enemy leader in the north is finally able to convince the group of nearby civilians to join his men (far left)!  And there's still another civilian mob (center) between them and Razor 01 (far right)!

And then another (large!) group of enemy reinforcements arrive at the perfectly wrong spot (right), on the eastern road between Razor 01 (bottom left) and the rest of Task Force Razor (off camera to bottom center right)!  The big terrorist group that just got mobilized is off camera to left...

Corporal Ortega leans over and checks on Lt Hinajosa; "how bad is it?"  "It's not good Sir, you're shoulder is hamburger."  "I'm fine, help me up!"  And with that, Lt Hinajosa is back in the fight.

The Lieutenant then drags Sheikh Khamis over to Razor 01 and drops him off.

Before rejoining Razor 03 (far left, with Razor 01 at top left) to go save Razor 01 (right), but the newly arrived group of insurgents opens fire on them...

Miraculously the rounds zip by without hitting anyone, and the Cuban return fire is merciless...

*Yeah, I'm cheating a little bit, letting Lt Hinajosa move over to Razor 02 then back to Razor 03 and fight with them.  Get over it ;)

Dropping six of the seven militiamen, though the lone survivor holds his ground.  Oh, and another civilian got whacked, but we've got big problems as this time it was Cuban fire that did it!!!

The Lieutenant then leads Razor 03 up to the wall, trying to get a picture of the current situation.  Lt Hinajosa spots a familiar face, the lone man still standing from Razor 01: "Ramirez, what's your status???"  "I'm okay, El-Tee, but the rest of the guys are all down and I got civilians with LOTS of bad guys closing in on my from the west (top left)!"

"Oh, and I still got this one @#$hole in the east!"  Ramirez turns and guns down the last bad guy.

Before dashing around the corner to join the acting CO and Razor 03, dragging one of his comrades with him (center right, with casualty figure, from center left top).

While the fight rages in the north with Razor 03 trying to save Razor 01 (top right), Razor 02, despite having the Sheikh with them, decides they need to do something, so they climb up on a roof in the south (center bottom)...

Where they come face to face with the large group of bad guys in the south (top left), and they immediately open fire.

Three more bad guys down (bottom left), but the terrorists cowboy up and return fire...

And Razor 02 sees its numbers immediately cut in half!!!

What!!!???

In the north, the large terrorist group becomes a huge terrorist group as they move up and radicalize the last remaining mob of civilians (right, with Razor 03 at left)!!!

And a single insurgent, armed with an RPG (far left), arrives at the scene of the battle in the southwest (Razor 03 is at top right).

The two remaining men of Razor 02 (bottom right) find themselves facing off against the large insurgent group in the south (center) and the newly arrived RPG gunner (top left); their plan is to cut loose, then grab the Sheikh and one of their comrades and back down off the roof, then make a play to get their other comrade.

The Cubans open fire on the southern group of bad guys first...

They only manage to hit one enemy soldier, and they are immediately subjected to enemy return fire.

But they (bottom right) shake that off and engage the enemy RPG gunner (top left), gunning him down.

Before falling back, off the roof.  Sheikh Khamis: "You're making a mistake my friends.  Let me go and I will see that your lives are spared."  "Shut your face, old man!"  "And what of your friend?  Will you just leave him there, lying, bleeding on the roof?"  "I said shut up!" WHACK.  The Sheikh is silent as blood trickles from his brow...

Back in the north, Ramirez checks his comrade, but he's seriously wounded and will need to be treated and carried out of the fight.

While Lt Hinajosa directs Razor 03 to fire on the absolutely GIANT insurgent group in the north: "Dammit, we still have men lying out there!  Fire!"

Only three Tangos go down, and they return fire...

But the Cubans shake it off; "Follow me men, CHARGE!!!"  The Cubans leave their wounded man in the relative safety (bottom right) of the stone wall, and charge into close combat with the enemy group!

The melee is vicious, with neither side expecting quarter, nor giving it.  In the end, three more Cubans fall, while only a single insurgent survives by running away (top left)...

*Wow, that was bloody, and took a total of four rounds of close combat to finish.

The situation is dire; the Cuban force of thirteen men currently has eight of them down, one of which is seriously wounded, the other seven needing to be checked, though the enemy is not much better, down to only five men left in the fight.  But they've got three things going for them:

1) They don't have to worry about taking care of casualties.

2) They stand a good chance of receiving reinforcements each turn.

3) The Cubans have to take care of their casualties, and unless the casualty checks go exceedingly well, they won't have enough men to even move all their casualties, much less fight AND move their casualties.

The two remaining members of Razor 02 lean over and check on their buddy, and he's good to go, just a flesh wound (that's for you, Phil).  "We gotta get up there and get Pena!"

Razor 02 drags Sheikh Khamis back up onto the roof (right), again facing off against the enemy soldiers in the south (left).  The two groups of heavily armed men shoulder their weapons...

*Good grief, the Cubans roll a '1'!!!  The good news is, the bad guys failed their roll, so the Cubans will still fire first, but the bad news is, a Fog of War card is on the way...

The Cuban paratroopers open fire...

But only one man falls as the bad guys return fire!

Dropping two more of the Cubans, leaving only PFC Olejandro still in the fight!!!

*The Fog of War card is "The Colonel Said What?"  The Cubans can't move this turn.

Chaos reigns; Task Force Razor's commander is down, and it's shot to pieces with its remaining units separated from each other and fighting for their lives.

In the north, Razor 03 tends to its casualties in the wake of the bloody melee, and it's horrendous.  The valiant Lieutenant Hinajosa is dead, as is another paratrooper, while two are seriously wounded.  Only one of the five casualties is able to get to his feet and continue the fight.

The four Cuban effectives are burdened with four casualties, and there is still another casualty from Razor 01 on the east side of the wall (off camera to bottom right).  Corporal Ortega once again finds himself in charge, and is calling out on the command net for help.

The enemy does not receive reinforcements, but Razor 03 is combat ineffective with five casualties in the north (top center right), and Razor 02 finds itself down to one man, PFC Olejandro, guarding the Sheikh and gawking at his three wounded team mates (center bottom right), still having to contend with the remaining insurgent group (left).

*I call the game at this point.  I suppose, in game terms, there is still some way I could win.  Maybe I could check casualties with Razor 02 and get very lucky and get those three guys back in the fight (I'd have to roll three 5-6s), and then maybe I could fight off the last, weakened, group of bad guys AND the bad guys don't receive any significant reinforcements, and then I could spend twenty turns using the able-bodied paratroopers to ferry casualties from the north down to the south end of the board and off the table, but that would require a whole lot of luck, and the fact is, if a unit found itself in this situation in real life, it's all over.

Corporal Ortega and PFC Olejandro find themselves unable to communicate effectively, both exhausted and practically hysterical on the radio, and so for the second time in as many fights, Corporal Ortega is forced to switch to the command net and declare "Broken Arrow, Broken Arrow, troops in contact and in danger of being overrun, send the QRF!!!"

Somewhere along the line, in all the confusion of screaming into the radio at headquarters and Corporal Ortega and frantically trying to treat his broken and bloody comrades, PFC Olejandro's inattention allows Sheikh Khamis to escape...

He immediately links up with the nearby insurgent group and is whisked away to safety.

Task Force Razor goes firm, keeping their heads down while awaiting the arrival of the QRF.

Once they arrive, the Cubans rapidly collect their casualties and move them to the QRF's vehicles to effect the evacuation.  With tears in his eyes, PFC Olejandro regretfully informs Corporal Ortega the Sheikh got away.  With tears in his eyes, Corporal Ortega regretfully informs PFC Olejandro that the Lieutenant is dead...

From the safety of a nearby balcony, Sheikh Khamis watches the Cubans load their casualties aboard their vehicles.  "It is such a shame, it didn't have to be like this.  That poor young man; I told him this was a mistake.  This is not your war, go home Cubans..."


The remnants of Task Force Razor limp home empty-handed, their morale in the dumps.  Both sides suffered horribly: 39 insurgents were killed, while the Cubans had three men killed in action and another three wounded.  Both sides pulled their troops in to lick their wounds, reconstitute their combat strength, and figure out a way forward, and so, at least for a short while, there was peace in the streets of Diwala.  The five battles cost the Cubans a total of seven dead, fourteen wounded, while the insurgents lost 241 fighters.

Lt Hinajosa was posthumously awarded the Medall de Honor for his leading the charge into close combat against a larger enemy force in order to rescue the members of Razor 01.

Thus ends my five-game mini-campaign using Ambush Alley, and holy crap, that was intense!!!  I'm very pleased with the rules; while the games are longer than I generally like, each and every fight forced constant tactical decisions, were extremely tense, seemed pretty realistic to what they're trying to accomplish, and were a lot of fun.  Further, they work well solo (or, actually, tandem with my little boy), and there's only one little change I think I'll make (I like the idea of bad guys failing morale = running, rather than simply bumping down a level and seeking cover).

So I can definitely see myself playing more Ambush Alley, and I've got plenty more scenario fodder (I bought each and every one of them Ambush Alley mini-campaign books), so stay tuned for more violence on the streets of Diwala!

V/R,
Jack





6 comments:

  1. A brilliant report...what a cracking game!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jim, glad you liked it!

      V/R,
      Jack

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  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Legion, glad you liked it!

      V/R,
      Jack

      Delete
  3. Even though you lost you still enjoyed it. That is the son of a good set of rules. They take too long for me though...

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    Replies
    1. Shaun,

      Yeah man, I had a great time, and the rules are pretty cool too, just need a little work on morale rules (as discussed in my reply to another of your posts).

      I'm also modifying them to do some other stuff I want to get into, you'll see soon ;)

      V/R,
      Jack

      Delete