Monday, November 13, 2017

Operation Currahee, Fight #8


It is now 0435 on 27 July 1990, and the twenty paratroopers of Lt Villagrosa's ODA-212 have descended to earth below silk canopies from a loaner C-130 as part of Operation Currahee, the Cuban operation to secure space for Cuban reinforcements to enter South Leon following the full-scale invasion launched by Fédération Socialiste Nationale de Leon (FSNL).  Upon landing they formed up and assaulted 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).  This is the eighth and final fight following the drop, and the enemy is alert and expecting trouble, though there aren't many of them.

Overview of the entire battlespace (town of Gimbala, with Ruhala River running east to west), north is right.  This fight is taking place in the east (bottom center right), and this time the Cubans are defending!  An enemy counterattack is developing, led by armor, coming from the east (just left of the farmhouse at bottom center right) and pushing west to retake the town.  Cuban stay-behinds at the former enemy defensive position in the east (bottom center left, just left of the river) and on Hill 57 (bottom right) will try to halt the enemy thrust.

Fight #1: Lt Villagrosa leads a team to take Hill 60 (top left).
Fight #2: SSG Tomas leads a team to take the southern emplacement (bottom center, just left of the river).
Fight #3: SFC Medina leads a team to take a building on the northwest corner of Gimbala (top center), enroute to his primary objective of taking the enemy trenchline in the northwest (top right).
Fight #4: SSG Ruiz leads a team to take Hill 57 (bottom right).
Fight #5: Lt Villagrosa leads a team to clear the buildings at the southern end of Gimbala (center left).
Fight #6: SFC Medina leads a team to take the enemy trenchline in the northwest (top right).
Fight #7: SSG Miranda (atop Hill 57) and SGT Bautista (southern emplacement) fight off an enemy counterattack (bottom center, just right of the river).
Fight #8: Lt Villagrosa leads a team to cross the bridge and secure Gimbala (center).

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.  These are Modern US Marines from Flytrap Factory.

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).  The Cubans are:

Det Commander: Lt Villagrosa (SS/V, WLC, SLC, 2 x Combat Jump - WLC, South Leon)
-A former US Army Special Forces NCO with combat experience in Central America during the 1980s, he is thirty-one years old.  He joined the Cuban Liberation Army (CLA) as a Sergeant, jumping into Cuba during the War of Liberation with A Company, 1st Airborne Battalion, becoming its Acting Commander when the Company Commander was killed in action, for which he was decorated with the Estrella de Plata.  Following the War of Liberation, he accepted a commission and became the commander of ODA 212.  He is FEARLESS.

Rifleman: PVT Romero (SLC, 1 x Combat Jump - South Leon)
-Recently graduated from high school, he is eighteen years old.  He joined the CLEF after the War of Liberation, graduating Boot Camp and immediately applying for Special Forces Selection.

Rifleman: PFC Arroyo (SLC, 1 x Combat Jump - South Leon)
-A high school dropout, he is seventeen years old.  He joined the CLEF after the War of Liberation, graduating Boot Camp and immediately applying for Special Forces Selection.  He is SHADY.

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 battle area, north is up.  The Cubans are at bottom center, attacking north across the bridge to secure the town of Gimbala.  They are faced by a few holdouts, survivors from the Cuban assault on Hill 57 (fight #4) that fled into a nearby building on the northeast side of Gimbala.

The Cuban starting position, with Lt Villagrosa in the lead, Pvt Romero following him, and Shady taking up tail-end Charlie.  Nothing fancy about this, hey-diddle-diddle, straight up the middle.  More of an Old West gunfight at high noon than a real firefight.  The Cubans are going to rush the bridge and whack the last few Communist troops on the north side of Gimbala.

And on the north side of town we have the three bad guys, cowardly taking cover (center top right, bottom left, and a wounded guy with red bead at top left).  How unsporting...

Lt Villagrosa saunters straight up Main Street, nothing but shadows in the pre-dawn darkness.  Romero flanks him to the left, Shady to the right.  Shady whispers: "Boss, I got a helmet peaking up over the wall at 1 o'clock (top right, obscured by the gray building at center)."

As the LT moves up (center) he spots the unmistakable shape of a helmet (top center left) and fires...

Romero moves up (corner of the red building), kneels, and fires.  Shady (corner of gray building) looks in the direction of the bad guys, looks in the direction of the LT, and kinda just sits back.  I did my job, Shady thinks to himself, I spotted the bad guys, not them saps can go get them.

Saps...  Like that?  That was in a 1930s, Jimmy Cagney voice.  There's Commies over there, see.

On the west side of the road, the bad guy near the fountain (bottom center; the other two are off camera to left and bottom left) spots Shady (top left, with Lt Villagrosa in the street next to him) and fires.  7.62mm rounds shatter the stone above his head, spraying rock fragments down on him.  Yeah, I'm good to go right here, Shady thinks to himself.

As the bad guy at the fountain is firing (right, near the top of the telephone pole), the wounded bad guy (red bead at bottom center, last bad guy just above and left of him) sights in and fires on Romero, who stands firm as bullets snap by his head.

And the nearest bad guy (bottom left) has got the Boss dead to rights in the street, but he's shaking from the Cuban rounds zipping by and smacking into the wall he's hiding behind, and he's a little intimidated by the giant hulk of a man so brash and bold as to stand in the middle of the street, calmly strutting towards the bridge, firing every time his right foot touches the ground.

Shady (bottom center, and sorry for the combat correspondent shot) again decides to not advance, but at least this time he bothers to toss some lead the enemy's way, though he fails to hit anything.

Lt Villagrosa moves right (right, at the corner of the gray building), thinking to himself, damn, Shady needs to be a bit more disciplined with his fire lanes, he almost @#$%ing hit me.  The Detachment Commander slaps in a fresh magazine, sends the bolt home, and fires on the bad guy at the fountain (top left)...

One down...

Taking his boss's lead, Romero moves up the left side of the street (left, near the red building), firing as he goes.

Shady finally begins to timidly move up (bottom right), while Lt Villagrosa dashes up to the bridge (center) and fires.

Romero joins the Lieutenant at the bridge, firing all the way.

Romero lays down covering fire (bottom center left) as Lt Villagrosa dashes onto the bridge, firing...

And a second enemy rifleman goes down in a hail of bullets.

And then it's over: Romero dashes past Lt Villagrosa, takes a knee, and squeezes...

Putting the last Communist fighter down.

Romero moves up to the corner (bottom center) and Lt Villagrosa moves up the street.  "Clear!  Shady, get off to the... Shady!  What the hell are you doing?  Get your narrow ass up here!"

The three Cubans quickly scope out the nearby buildings and find no more active enemy troops, Gimbala is secure.  "Romero, you get to high ground and keep an eye to the west, Shady and I are going up ahead, time to get all of our guys linked up, see where we stand."  "Roger that El-Tee."

The entire battlefield, one more time, looking south to north.  This last fight may have seemed a bit cheesy, and maybe it was, but I'm really happy with how the whole mini-campaign went down.  That was a lot of fun, setting up the table and fighting a bunch of skirmish fights on it.  I can definitely see myself doing this again, maybe bigger.  This is 6' x 4', and I've got room and mats to cover 8' x 6'.  I don't think I have roads, rivers, fields, trees, and buildings to cover 8' x 6' though...

On Hill 60 in the southwest, Gutierrez stands watch next to the wounded Sgt Perena.

In the east, at the southern emplacement, Doc Eusabio sits with several wounded Cubans and a captured FSNL soldier.

Looking west to east at the center we've got Lt Villagrosa with Romero and Shady.  At top center you can see the burning BTR, and at top right is the southern emplacement.

At the enemy trenchline in the northwest, SFC Medina has a team dug in, along with two enemy prisoners.

In the northwest, atop Hill 57, Doc Miranda, the newly promoted Cpl Sanchez, and SP4 Altuve watch over four EPWs and several wounded comrades desperately needing evacuation.

Another west to east look, with Hill 57 at top left and the southern emplacement at top right, Lt Villagrosa and friends at bottom center.

A short, sharp fight to end Operation Currahee, just a little bit of fun for me, and pretty lucky with some very handy shooting by the Cubans.  During the Operation, ODA 212 killed or captured approximately sixty enemy troops and one BTR, pretty impressive for a group of twenty guys dropped in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night with no support and only hand-held weapons.  Quite amazingly (some incredibly lucky casualty rolls), the unit did not suffer any combat deaths during Operation Currahee, though they did have one member wounded bad enough to be shipped home and medically retired, and another seven men injured badly enough to miss between one and four months of duty.  For their combat leadership during the operation, Lt Villagrosa and SFC Medina were both awarded the Estrella de Bronce (Bronze Star w/V).  Sgt Bautista was also awarded the BS/V, while Pvt Sanchez was awarded the BS/V for his first action and the Estrella de Plata (Silver Star) for his second!  Lt Villagrosa was subsequently promoted to Captain, SFC Medina to Master Sergeant, and Pvt Sanchez to Sergeant.

So, in the overall scheme of things, ODA 212, AKA "Task Force Dusty" (which is a joke, a shortening of the military term 'dust-off,' which is the nickname given to medical evacuation helicopters and/or the act of conducting a MEDEVAC) accomplished its mission of securing Gambala and its key bridge, neutralizing enemy forces in the area, and holding its positions until relieved by Cuban follow-on forces landed by sea.  The detachment doesn't have much time to relax; following their relief they have been tasked by Brigadier Habanera to move out of I Corps up to the DMZ in support of offensive operations to eject the FSNL Army from South Leon. Task Force Dusty's mission will be to conduct long range reconnaissance, surgical strikes, interdiction, and to call in precision fires on FSNL headquarters, communications centers, and troop formations in support of Task Force Hammer's mechanized and airmobile offensive operations striking north.

So, I want to get to that, but I also need to fight out some actions involving Task Force Hawk, which is Lt Espinale's E Company, 6th Para Battalion, which also parachuted into South Leon on the  night of 26/27 July 1990.  So stay tuned, something is coming right up.  Oh, and I've got some WWII Dutch East Indies stuff to post, too.



  1. Good ending and I really liked the way you set up the campaign on one table and fought out smaller battles on it. It did work really well!

    1. Thanks buddy, and I'll definitely be doing the 6' x 4' table set up to play multiple micro-fights again. It was fun and made things pretty easy in that I wasn't constantly setting up and tearing down the table.