Last night I hosted a great Gulf War game, a fictional Search and Destroy scenario with British forces attempting to locate pockets of Iraqi resistance in a hilly region.
First off I want to make some apologies (or excuses!). One, I broke my Sigma 500 DG Super flashgun so have had to resort to on board flash for these pics, hence why they look pretty terrible. Second, I am yet to get round to buying a desert terrain mat, so lets pretend this is a particularly fertile part of Iraq and third my printer ran out of ink so hence the strange shade to the Iraqi flags I used as blinds. With that out of the way lets introduce the forces.
Brits- Led by my mate Jamesy, who is fairly new to CWC and is in the process of sorting out his own Israeli force.
3x Scorpions (recce)
18 infantry all with LAW
2 FV432 mortar carriers
2 AVRE Centurions
3 155mm M109 artillery
Lynx attack chopper
2x AML60 (recce)
9 x Militia with RPG 7s
3 ATGW Saggers (deployed as ambushes)
I also had 4 minefields and a plethora ( great word) of anti tank ditches.
The board looked like this-
The South of the board saw a small town nestled in a valley with a industrial area to its West. The town was heavily fortified with minefields to its south and it was almost entirely ringed by anti tank defences and hills. The north had another small town surrounded by fields of crops and wooded areas. It was also defended by mine fields.
The Iraqis mission was to basically cause as much damage to the British as possible. I deployed using hidden set up and had 10 blind cards, enough each for all the CO and HQ units, the recce units and some spare to confuse and confound Jamesy! If you look carefully in the pic you can see the hidden markers which I used Iraqi flags (printed in the wrong colour) for. I spread them across the board, fortifying both towns and some int he wooded areas to the east of the board.
I had no idea where the British would deploy from as they could choose any board edge. Jamesy chose the West edge (long edge) and using mobile deployment spread his HQ units wide. The British mission was to search out the Iraqi forces and do enough damage to break them while taking as little damage as possible- they vastly outnumbered the Iraqis but had no idea where they were likely to spring from.
The Brits cautiously deployed in the south west corner, behind a large hill , 2 companies of Challengers, a AVRE Centurion engineering squad and 4 platoons of infantry is Warrior IFVs. They slowly rolled over the hill and straight into an ambush as a unit armed with Sagger ATGW, hidden in a derelict factory complex opened fire, suppressing a Challenger squad. The return fire from the other Challengers saw no damage dealt and as they rolled nearer the town an Iraqi militia company was revealed in the buildings all around them. RPGs rained down and a Challenger squad was annihilated as well as a Infantry platoon and their Warriors.
The British traded fire with the well dug in Iraqi militia suppressing some platoons and destroying a Shilka that was hidden in he streets behind the factories. The Brits took the worst of it though and 2 other platoons of Infantry found themselves in disarray and suppressed.
It was looking good for Iraq, and the Brits had learnt the foolhardiness of AFVs trying to move into a built up area.
To the north, a cautious probe by the Brits revealed 2 companies of T62's dug in at the edge of a (very tall) field of crops. Artillery immediately rained down on the tank group suppressing their HQ and one of the T62's. This was immediately followed by an attack by a Lynx chopper that which suppressed two more T62's. Liking the odds more, an under strength company of Challengers and a company of dismounted infantry and their IFVs in support, cautiously rolled on skirting the woods to the north and thanks to some great command rolls from Jamesy, opened fire repeatedly on the hammered T62's in the cornfield. 2 T62s were reduced to smoking wrecks and a further 1 was driven back out of the field. Things were looking bad in the north, but what other surprises were in store?
In the centre of the board a company of Swingfire ATGWs deployed but within seconds a sagger from the own to the south flew with unnerving accuracy at such a range and left 2 Swingfires feeling vulnerable.
To the south the British armour continued to get punished for its foolhardy advance and another Challenger was lost to a hail of RPGs from the industrial estate.
It was turning into a game of two halves to use a footy cliche. In the south the bulk of the British forces were being repeatedly punished by a foe that they were struggling to inflict any damage on, while in the north the Iraq tank group had been pretty much neutralised. Now was the time for the Brits to take revenge on the Southern town. An artillery strike was called in, in the hope of flushing out the Iraqis, but a well timed blunder saw the FAO taking friendly fire and aborting the strike. A hail of tank shells into the factory saw the loss of some Iraqi infantry, but the Brits were still failing to make any advance into town and things were further complicated by the detection of a T72 company supported by another well dug in company of RPG armed militia in the town itself. The T72s seemed hesitant to engage and skulked behind the town out of site as the brave Iraqi infantry held off the armour alone. The unit of infantry with the Saggers took out another Swingfire and withstood a huge amount of return fire from the Challengers and Warriors, unlucky rolling from Jamesy (something like 32 dice and no hits) saw to that!
In the north the Brits continued there advance now supported by 8 platoons of infantry who had been dropped into the town by a Chinook.
The Brits frustrated by the inability of their armour to put paid to the hail of RPGs from the factories used a good old fashioned bayonet charge and flushed out a platoon of Iraqis and the heroic Sagger team, who found themselves now outside looking in, and in the aim of 2 challengers, who quickly took them both out. Despite starting to take infantry losses in the Southern town things still looked good for the Iraqi held South. The T72s decided now was there time to support their struggling brothers and began to flank round the town to engage the British, but as they went behind a large cornfield confusion reigned and they ground to a halt unsure how to proceed.
In the north as the British rolled East towards the small town, confident that it was theres, 2 companies of T72s appeared from the north east of the town. Jamesy cleverly opted for spreading his fire amongst all the T72s in the hope of causing enough suppression to cover their advance, but hit by bad rolls again, he only managed to suppress one squad. This apparently was enough though as the T72s seemed in disarray and were unable to return fire at the advancing Brits, losing the advantage in a dramatic fashion.
Although the Iraqis were holding bravely things were beginning to look dodgy as they began to near their breaking point. In the north a lone HQ was over run by British infantry but luck was still on the Iraqi side as another artillery blunder saw the poor FAO killed outright this time, and an attempt to bring in a Lynx to further suppress the T72 companies in the north failed. In the south the Iraqis took a few more casualties in the factory district, and the damage began to tell on their morale, as the Iraqi CO decided now was the time to call their retreat, having pulled off a huge amount of damage to the advancing infidel British.
The game ended in a Minor Victory to the British who had managed to break the defending Iraqis but who in doing so had taken 2025 points worth of casualties for the Iraqis 1335.
A great game and a good learning experience for both of us.
Jamesy learnt that AFVs and heavily built up areas are a very bad ideas- like real life infantry with AFV support are definitely the way to go, and I learnt about the dangers of trying to use troops who have a 15cm initiative range in an ambush when they carry a weapon with a minimum engagement range of 20cm. Very dumb...
Hope you enjoy the read, its long and the pics aren't as good as they should have been, but it was a very fun battle.