Monday, September 11, 2017

Operation Currahee, Fight #1


First up, let's get an overview of what's going on: South Leon is a (fictional) country on the west coast of Africa, and while no saints are they, they are quasi-democratic and were a lynchpin in Western military outlook of staving off the 'Domino Theory.'  So while Communism worldwide has taken some fiscal hits and Westerners have thus lost their interest in helping out South Leon, who is surrounded by a neighbor, Fédération Socialiste Nationale de Leon (FSNL), which is Communist insofar as it gets them money from Soviet Union in order to carry on their tribal/territorial antagonism of South Leon.

FSNL, in concert with a domestic insurgency fronted by the "Free Leon Army" (FLA), began turning up the heat on the South Leon government and so on 1 May1990, Free Cuba dispatched a Task Group under Major Fulgencio to South Leon.  A company of Marines was sent north to the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) with FSNL, a company of paratroopers was dispatched to the insurgency's hotspot in the east-central city of Diwala, and various other assets were deployed around the country in order to bolster South Leon government and military efforts.  The Cubans began training host nation forces and patrolling, and the Cuban Marines drew first blood in a series of sharp clashes with troops crossing the border through the DMZ in early June.  Things died down again until mid-July when the Cuban paratroopers were flung into a sudden maelstrom of violence in Diwala.  Casualties were heavy on both sides, so the Cuban paras (Task Force Razor) were pulled out of Diwala to rest and refit, and the Cuban Marines (Task Force Redleg) were pulled back from the DMZ in order to cover TF Razor.

Which was a stroke of extraordinary fortune, because on 24 July 1990 the armed forces of FSNL staged a full-scale invasion of South Leon, pouring men and tanks across the border, crushing South Leon Army elements in their way.  South Leon armed forces made their stand just short of the capital of Pendrakenville, halting the Communist advance, but the dagger was thrust deep.  Presidente Waraldonez and Defense Minister Estevante held emergency meetings to decide whether to evacuate Task Group Fulgencio or reinforce them; reinforce was the unanimous decision, and Cuban forces were mounted out immediately.  A mechanized company, a second Marine company, a second para company, and various armor, air, special operations, intelligence, and support elements were immediately dispatched by air (heavy lift capability rumored to be provided by the US Air Force).  But due to the FSNL/FLA penetration of South Leon, it was determined forced entry operations would be necessary in order to secure locations to bring Cuban heavy equipment ashore.

A plan was quickly hatched for an airborne assault, in two pieces: Operation Geronimo, a combat drop by E Company, 6 Para (covered separately), and Operation Geronimo, a combat drop by 1st Lieutenant Villagrosa's ODA 212.  Lt Villagrosa's 20 special forces operators will jump on the city of Gimbala, serving as the command and control center for the FSNL's 3rd Infantry Division, possessing a key bridge over the Ruhala River, and a key crossroads for traffic to and from the port city of Skarsenyi.

It is now 0330 on 27 July 1990, and the twenty paratroopers of Lt Villagrosa's ODA-212 are descending to earth below silk canopies, having just departed a loaner C-130.  Upon landing they will immediately form up and assault any and all enemy positions identified (in the event, it would turn out that intelligence information provided by South Leon government elements, via Task Group Fulgencio, would prove quite accurate).

Overview of the South Leon town of Gimbala, north is right, and please forgive all the garbage I have lying around (I need a bigger wargames room!).  At center, running top to bottom (east to west), is the Ruhala River.

Looking southeast to northwest.

Southwest to northeast, with Hill 60 at bottom center and Hill 57 at top center.

Looking northwest to southeast, with Hill 60 at far right, Hill 57 at far left, and the space I've been playing all my dogfights at top left...

And looking northeast to southwest, with Hill 57 at bottom right and Hill 60 at top center left.

Okay, so I decided to do an actual parachute drop.  I dropped one chit for each of the twenty Cuban paratroopers, fifteen dummy chits, and ten bad guy chits, just to show enemy concentrations (that is, the good guys are each represented by a single piece of paper, while the bad guy chits will help me determine where bad guy defensive locations will be).  This is looking southeast to northwest, Hill 60 at far left and Hill 57 at far right.

The drop again, from northwest to southeast, Hill 57 at far left, Hill 60 at far right.

My plan is to play a series of skirmish fights out using Ivan's new "Unity Field Agent" rules, pretty much as written, though without any Sci-Fi stuff, obviously.  So I did the 'parachute drop,' then I flipped all the chits over, placing good guys in their spots, pulling the dummies off the board, and marking likely enemy positions.  I identified eight likely skirmish fight locations, with four immediate assaults.  I sketched out a map with a plan of attack to carry out the individual skirmish games.  This is probably confusing, so let me continue: I have a single 6' x 4' table set up, and I dropped Cuban paratroopers all over it, then identified enemy defensive positions.  I then moved things around just a little bit in order to create different battle zones on the 6' x 4' table.  I identified eight enemy strongpoints, but only have enough troops to attack four of them in the first set of fights.
Relating to the photo above, five paras will assault Hill 60 (far right), five paras will assault the building at center right (just below the river and stone fountain), five paras will assault the woodline at top center (just right of the river), and five paras will assault Hill 57 (far left).  We'll see how that goes, but there are also enemy positions in both buildings above the river, in the building just left of the bridge, and there is a trenchline in the field at bottom center, so those will all have to be taken as well.  And then there might be enemy counterattacks worked in there as well...

The good guys, all twenty of them.  Due to the strain of multiple deployments, the War of Liberation concluding only months ago, and the pace of expansion of the CLEF, this unit is more akin to a platoon of US Army Rangers than US Army Special Forces, despite being labeled an Operational Detachment Alpha (ODA).  The troops are lined up in teams, with each row (top to bottom) being a team: at far right is the HQ element, consisting of Lt Villagrosa, the Det NCOIC, and two medics, then team 1, 2, 3, and 4, each consisting of a team leader, grenadier, SAW gunner, and rifleman.

I have created a roster for ODA-212 here on the blog, it's labeled "Task Force Dusty," but please keep in mind there has just been a parachute drop and the teams are scattered and mixed together in "LGOPs" (Little Groups Of Paratroopers).

These are Modern US Marines from Flytrap Factory.

The bad guys, of which I'll be using between five and ten per fight.  These are Battlefront 15mm East German mechanized infantry, with two leaders, two RPK LMGs, two RPGs, and six riflemen.

Overview of the entire battlespace (town of Gimbala, with Ruhala River running east to west), north is right.  This fight is taking place at Hill 60, at top left.

Overview of the battlefield for fight number 1, north is right.  Five Cuban paratroopers (bottom left to far right) are assaulting enemy positions atop Hill 60 (top center).

Looking south to north at the Cuban skirmish line moving up Hill 60 (off camera to left).  From to right to bottom left: Sergeant Perena, the Team 4's leader, an eagle-eyed NCO who served previously with the Singaporean Defense Forces; Lt Villagrosa, the commander of ODA-212; PFC Oviedo, Team 2's machine gunner, a former Cuban University student that joined up with the Cuban Liberation Army and fought with the 8th Popular Front battalion during the War of Liberation; PFC Arroyo, a 17-year old high school dropout that joined the CLEF after the War of Liberation, and can only be classified as 'Shady,' as he only looks out for himself; and PFC Gutierrez, a recent university graduate that also joined up with the CLEF following the War of Liberation.

A number of ODA-212's members have traits assigned to them (Lt Villagrosa is "Fearless," Arroyo is "Shady," etc...  I'm really taking a page from Joe Legan's was of doing things to spice things up a bit in this unit.

The FSNL Army defensive position atop Hill 60, oriented southwest, so the Cubans are actually assaulting up the backside of the hill.  The enemy has a rifleman, LMG, and NCO in the emplacement, and flank security (with rifles) at top center and bottom left.

So it's 0330 in the morning, but the FSNL Army troops were awakened by the sounds of prop-driven aircraft very low and very near.  Despite the darkness, the Communist Corporal would swear he could see parachutes drifting to earth.  The South Leonians don't have paratroopers, do they?  The light machine gunner moves over (right) and takes a look: "Boss, I swear I see guys struggling to get out of parachutes, forming up at the bottom of the hill.  The FSNL Corporal peered over the sandbags: "I dunno man, those could be our guys down there."  "I'm telling you Boss, those are bad guys.  They're not speaking any language I've ever heard."

Without waiting for orders, the Commie gunner (bottom center left) rattles a burst off with his RPK, towards a dark mass moving up the hill, one that just so happens to be Lt Villagrosa (top center)!  He flinches as 7.62mm rounds snap by his head!

The enemy's left-flank man moves up to a tree (bottom center right) next to the sandbagged position, sights in, and fires at Sgt Perena (top left)...

Lt Villagrosa (bottom left) sees Team 4's leader go down (center right)!

The FSNL NCO steps out and takes cover behind the tree (bottom center), then sights in on PFC Oviedo (top center right), and fires a burst from his AK, nicking the young machine gunner.

Then the rifleman in the sandbagged position (bottom right, next to the LMG gunner) sights in on Lt Villagrosa (top center right) and cuts loose, nicking him too!

Wow.  This game is card activated, and that was four straight bad-guy cards...

With the Cuban right (center/top right) taking heavy fire, PFC Gutierrez dashes up the left side (bottom left, from bottom center right).

Gutierrez (bottom center) spots the enemy's right-hand flanker (top center left), raises his rifle, and fires, but he's out of breath after dashing and his chest is pounding, throwing his aim off, so he totally misses...

The bad guy spins and returns fire, pinning Gutierrez (top right).

The enemy flanker moves down the hill, firing from the hip as he goes (left,, from bottom left).

Old "Shady" Arroyo could really be brave and dash out into the field to help some of his comrades that aren't having such a good time, but instead he decides to move up into the trees (center left, with Oviedo and Lt Villagrosa above him, in the field), and he doesn't move too quickly, neither.

But he (bottom center) does manage to spot the bad guy (top center) that's got Gutierrez (far left) pinned down, and he raises his rifle and fires, dropping the bad guy in his tracks!

So shady, but a good shot?

Lt Villagrosa (center right, with the machine gunner, Oviedo, at bottom center, and Arroyo in the bushes at bottom left) raises his rifle and lays down fire on the enemy sandbagged emplacement, suppressing the enemy machine gunner.

The CO then dashes over to check on Sgt Perena.

As Oviedo (bottom center) opens up with his M-249, hosing down the enemy sandbagged position (top center).

Pinning the enemy's left-hand flanker (top left) and pinning and nicking their NCO (left).  You can see the LMG gunner suppressed at right (two yellow beads).

Oviedo then takes the opportunity to fall back out of the field, into cover.

Where he (bottom center) immediately sights in again and opens fire on the sandbagged position (top center)...

Knocking the enemy machine gunner out of the fight!

The enemy NCO is nicked and pinned; he tries to get himself back in the game, but he's just not feeling it, so he falls back (bottom left, from the right side of the tree at top center).  The two rifleman (top center left and far right) see their Corporal fall back...

And they figure that if he (far left) isn't going to hang around, then neither are they, so they both fall back too, leaving the sandbagged emplacement empty!

With Oviedo (bottom right) continuing to lay down fire, with Gutierrez (far left) having a hard time shaking off his near miss, and having seen the enemy gunner go down and the other three bad guys fall back, Shady Arroyo figures now's the time to move up and play the hero, so he dashes forward (left center, from bottom center).

As Shady draws near (bottom right), Gutierrez (left) spots one of the enemy riflemen that fell back (top left) and opens fire with his rifle, and he totally misses again!!!  That's 0 for 2...

On the right, Lt Villagrosa is totally out of the fight, trying to take care of Sgt Perena, who's been hit in the head and isn't breathing.  The CO is doing everything he can, but nothing's working so far, really wish one of the medics were here...

Back on the left, Gutierrez' (top right) rifle fire zipping by snaps the enemy rifleman (bottom left) out of his funk; he swings his rifle and fires, but misses the young Cuban.

As the rifleman on their right (top right) is exchanging fire with Gutierrez, their far left flanker gets his head back in the fight and moves up to the sandbagged position (center top, with their Corporal at bottom center) to see what's happening...

But raising his head over the sandbags (top center) is the wrong thing to do right now, and Oviedo (bottom center) lays him down.  You can see Arroyo to the left of the tracer and Gutierrez at far left, with the Lt Villagrosa treating Sgt Perena at far right.

Over on the left, Gutierrez pushes forward, firing as he goes, missing again!

As Gutierrez is spraying and praying (far right), the bad guy Corporal patches himself up (Oviedo had slightly wounded him) and moves back up to the crest (top left)...

There he (bottom center) sights in on PFC Oviedo and, hoping to silence that damn machine gun that's causing his men so much trouble, opens fire, nicking Oviedo.  But that's the second time he's been touched by enemy fire, and he's starting to feel a bit woozy...

Arroyo (far left) sees Oviedo )bottom right) get hit again, and he decides to return fire on the Communist Corporal (top left).  Not because he's worried about Oviedo, but because he realizes that if Oviedo's gun goes out of the fight, old Shady stands a good chance of getting caught with his ass hanging out.  Note to self: next time, don't get so far ahead, let those other suckers be the heroes.

The rounds miss and Arroyo dashes forward (center left, from bottom left) to hide in the dense foliage, rather than stand to and shoot it out with the enemy NCO.

On the far left, the enemy rifleman (bottom left) is terrified at the sudden appearance of an enemy soldier so close, blasting away at him.  The Communist haphazardly returns fire, spraying AK rounds all over the place, everywhere but into Gutierrez...

Still freaked out, the Commie charges Gutierrez!  The two bodies slam together in the dark, jabbing, wrestling, gouging at the other.

On the Cuban right, as Gutierrez is fighting for his life (top left), Lt Villagrosa (bottom right) has to halt working on Sgt Perena to pick up his weapon, sight in, and fire on the FSNL Corporal (top center right) but he misses.

With Lt Villagrosa (far right) firing on the bad guy leader (top center), Oviedo (bottom center) does too, but he's weak from loss of blood and misses too...

Lt Villagrosa (bottom center right) reloads and fires another burst at the enemy Corporal (top center), nicking him again.

Before turning back to Sgt Perena: he's got him breathing, but can't seem to get the bleeding stopped.  Dammmit, I need a Doc over here!!!

Absolutely atrocious dice rolling!!!

Back on the left, Arroyo can hear the scuffle of Gutierrez and the enemy rifleman in hand to hand combat (far left), so he creeps forward (left, from bottom center) to figure out what the hell is going on...

And Shady once again lives up to his moniker: he raises his rifle and fires into the mess!!!

"You mother@#$%, you almost killed me!" screams Gutierrez.  "Oh, kiss my ass, I just saved your life!"

Wow.  I had Shady fire into the close combat, rolling two dice, he scored one hit, I rolled to see the result, it was 'dead,' and then I rolled to see which guy was hit, and it was the bad guy!  Had a 50/50 chance!  Well, more than that, because if both shooting dice would have hit I'd have had both Gutierrez and the bad guy get hit.

Gutierrez is clearly shaken by the close combat and then Arroyo shooting the enemy soldier he was entangled with, so he grabs his gear and begins walking back down the hill (bottom right, from far left, with Shady at center top).

But it's okay that Gutierrez (you can just see his yellow bead at center right, with Oviedo at top center and Lt Villagrosa at top left, treating Sgt Perena) is pulling himself out of the fight, because the only surviving bad guy is their Corporal (bottom center left), and he's had enough.  Nicked twice already, he hauls ass downhill to the southwest (off camera to bottom right), getting the hell outta dodge.

The Cubans move up Hill 60 and consolidate in the enemy's former defensive position, redistributing ammo and treating the wounded.  Sgt Perena, now that Lt Villagros is able to get some better medical help for him, is stabilized and should survive, but he's out of the fight (ultimately he'll be out of action for about a month), and there's still lots of fighting to do this morning.

Lt Villagrosa laid it out: "Alright boys, we need to stake this area down, and we can't move Sgt Perena anyway, so we'll leave one man here with him and the rest of us will move north to continue the fight, work to secure the bridge and the town, then up to that trench in the northwest and Hill 57."  Shady Arroyo volunteered to stay behind on Hill 60 with Sgt Perena; "negative, you're with me, where I can keep an eye on you.  Besides, Gutierrez looks a bit shook up, he could use a break."  And with that, Lt Villagrosa led Oviedo and Arroyo down the hill, looking to link up with other Cubans and take their objectives.



  1. This is epic! It looks fantastic too.

    1. Duc,

      Don't know if it's epic, but it's something! ;) And lots of fun so far. Thanks for the kind words!


  2. Yeah, epic is a good word for it! Very nice, Jack, this board is particularly great looking.

    1. Thanks Guy, I appreciate it, and I'll be as epic as I can be! ;)