Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lenkova Campaign - Mission 1

Pre-Mission Setup

So for the first mission of the campaign I roll up a Terminate mission. Pretty straightforward, I also roll a 2 on the monthly assets, not much since it's still the first round, but enough to purchase a UAV that can identify some unknown contacts.

I select one of my squads to go on the mission, with the Platoon Sgt.in command and the medic attached in case of casualties. No need to fatigue everyone in the first round, if they run into anything that they can't handle then I can send reinforcements in the form of the Quick Reaction Force. What bothers me is that I won't have any air or heavy artillery support for this operation, although I should be able to call on the company mortars if things get hairy. Anticipating the possibility of close quarters, I also rearm one of the riflemen with a combat shotgun.

Now comes the part where I need to cross fingers, rolling for ambush. One of the features of the Year in the Valley system is that based on your Popular Opinion you have a chance to be ambushed or even attacked at your base of operations. Fortunately for me, I rolled low and avoided that for this turn. 

Next I roll up the location according to the Terminate scenario. 
Hills - Water - Water
Hills - Building - Hills
Rough - Open - Hills

So it's a small valley opening up on one side to a water source, possibly a lake house that has been converted to a command center. Or the vacation mansion of a crime lord. I imagine that there's probably a roadway on that one open sector, and with this much water and hills, I'm going to say that the rough area is covered with trees and thickets. (Note: each grid square translates to about 2 inches across on table)

To put the finishing touches on the mission I roll for complications and get Bad News from Home, one of my teams is going to be at a lowered morale for this month. Not good, but manageable, if I make sure that the Plt. Sgt. is in command of that team, they'll roll his morale die instead. Also, I roll for unknown contacts and place them. These will be resolved during the game and if I'm lucky, they'll be nothing more than a few goats that have wandered into the AO. If I'm unlucky they can be guard units or local militia attempting to interfere in our operation. 

Mission Briefing
Intel suggests a Colonel Nakov formerly of the Kirov Regime's Internal Security forces is hiding out in a compound on lake Rigal, your orders are to terminate or apprehend this individual. Initial reports suggest that only his personal bodyguard is in the area, however he may have the ability to call in reinforcements if spooked. The Colonel has been an elusive opponent, escaping several previous attempts to capture or eliminate him and his bodyguard, proceed with swiftness before he is able to escape once again.

Initial Forces

-Warlord and Bodyguard
Colonel Nakov D8/D10
    3x Bodyguards D8/D8 Rifles
    1x MMG gunner D8/D8

HQ Section - Attached to Fireteam Alpha
1x Platoon Sgt. Commanding - D8/D10 Rifle
1x Medic - D8/D10 Rifle

Rifle Squad
Fireteam Alpha
    1x Squad Leader - D8/D8
    1x Grenadier - D8/D8
    1x LMG Gunner - D8/D8
    1x Rifleman - D8/D8
Fireteam Bravo
    1x Team Leader - D8/D10
    1x Grenadier - D8/D10
    1x LMG Gunner - D8/D10
    1x Rifleman w/Combat Shotgun - D8/D10
Fireteam Charlie
    1x Team Leader - D8/D10
    1x Grenadier - D8/D10
    1x LMG Gunner - D8/D10
    1x Rifleman - D8/D10
    1x Mechanical Mule

 Initial Setup
I decide to deploy my forces on the east board edge. Most of the Unknown Contacts are on the west, and if we can avoid any complications, all the better. The enemy leader is known to be elusive, so I need to move fast, otherwise he's likely to make a run for it. My plan is to use the North-Eastern hill to screen for Alpha and Bravo's advance, while Charlie takes up an overwatch position on the South-Eastern hill to lay down suppression and covering fire. Once set, Alpha and Bravo can assault towards the house, perhaps even laying down smoke to cover their advance. Bravo has the shotgunner and will be great in close assault, but they need to get close enough to use it.

Turn 1
I win the initiative and rush Charlie up towards the hill, it's a bit farther than I thought so I have to double move them into position. The crest of the hill is providing cover for them, so I'm not too worried yet. 

The Warlord activates next and does something that I did not expect, a fire and move to flank action. I roll to determine which way they go, and they're going left relative to the force they can see, that's Charlie. They rush out of the house and take up position on the stone fence outside, which due to the curve of the hill, eliminates Charlie's cover advantage. 

They fire, and the Colonel himself scores the only hit(they're outside of optimal range so they take a penalty to all their fire actions, it was pretty lucky for him to hit even that one, also the MMG isn't properly set-up, but if they decide to stand and fight it could be a problem as it can make as many attacks per turn if it doesn't move as the rest of the bodyguards combined). It hits Charlie team's Grenadier, fortunately it's just a glancing blow and doesn't penetrate his body armor. 

Alpha and Bravo make their dashes to the safety of the hill.

Due to the rules of this particular scenario, the unknown contacts represented by the white dots  move towards the sound of gunfire. 

Turn 2
I win initiative again this turn, and use it to move Charlie into slightly better position. Because of the Mechanical Mule, I am able to give the LMG gunner a bit of cover, at this range they're probably the ones that are most important. Instead of direct fire, I decide to use Charlie to suppress the enemy positions, it uses up ammo, but with the Mechanical Mule there, they can resupply easily. Due to the range, only the LMG and the Squad leader are make a meaningful impact, the others are off target. The enemy now has to pass a morale check or be suppressed. Two of the bodyguards fail their morale checks. 

On the Warlord's activation, one recovers and one remains suppressed. Again they and move to a flanking position and fire. The one that is suppressed tries to keep up with the team, but cannot fire. Between the range and the suppression fire, none of their shots hit Charlie. 

Alpha and Bravo come over the hilltop, ready to relieve the pressure on Charlie. Alpha splits its action, throwing smoke for Bravo's assault, and firing on the Warlord's position. The low stone wall saves them(the dice gods were not on my side, not only did I roll low, but I rolled several 1's, which lowered the ammo level of the grenadier and rifleman). 

The Unknown contacts continue to advance, but my men are too preoccupied with the battle to try and positively ID them. Thankfully, I can use that UAV I purchased before the mission to ID one of them at least. It's two insurgent teams! One of 4 riflemen and an RPG and one of 2 riflemen and an RPG. 

Turn 3
I continue to get lucky on the initiative rolls. I really want to bring Bravo(Yellow) in for a close assault, but if I do so now it will leave them pretty vulnerable to counterattack.  Instead I just fire with Alpha, seeing as they've the best chance to actually hit. I decide to use up an equipment point to fire a rifle grenade as well. It fails spectacularly(I rolled a 1 on the aim roll, and near maximum on the deviation), thankfully it doesn't hit Bravo team, but it comes pretty close. I can only assume the Grenadier tripped over a rock as he was firing it. 

 Alpha and Bravo teams about to assault the compound

The Warlord's bodyguard recovers from suppression. And the Warlord decides to put their MMG into use. They attempt to suppress Bravo team as they are the closest. Thankfully, the smoke helps to prevent any suppression. Unfortunately, they're not so lucky as the rest of the Warlord's men open up on them, scoring FOUR! hits despite the smoke! The entire team is downed! (The dice gods hate me. They rolled max or near max for both aim and damage)

This just went from well under control, to very dangerous and possibly very costly. 

Thankfully, due to the fact that the enemy reinforcements are irregulars, they fail their activation rolls. Charlie can act freely now. Seeing Bravo get decimated, Charlie attempts to call in a mortar strike and succeeds. The Team Leader is acting as spotter and cannot fire, but the rest of the team fires away. They score two hits, one of which downs the enemy MMG gunner.

Turn 4
Again, I'm lucky with the initiative check, and doubly lucky with the smoke remaining for another turn(each turn there's a check to see if it dissipates, with a max of 4 turns). I split Alpha into 2 teams, with the Plt. Sgt. and Medic headed to check on Bravo, and the rest continuing to pour fire onto the Warlord. I manage to down 3 of the 4 remaining units, only the Warlord is left standing.

It seems that the dice have finally decided to be on my side, as I check Bravo and find that none of them are dead or injured, only shaken. 

The Warlord activates. First he has to pass a morale check due(Bravo squad would have had to do the same if any of them had stayed up during that last turn) to casualties, and after passing it with a lucky roll, attempts to check on his downed men. One of them is obviously dead, another wounded, the rest are shaken. 

The North-Western insurgent team fires at Alpha and moves forward, but the range is such that their fire has almost no chance of hitting. 

Charlie activates and the mortars land right on target. The Warlord is down, repeat, the Warlord is down!(Along with everyone else there. Mortar support, if it lands on target, is deadly).

The South-Western insurgent team fails to activate, and the remaining Unknown contacts continue to close. I get a free chance to ID one of them as it's moving in the open, but fail. 

Turn 5
Irregular troops without leadership are notoriously hard to control, and it seems that these simply don't have the fight in them, the NW group fails to activate again and I move my Command group to check on the Warlord and his bodyguard. Two of the bodyguards survived and I take them captive, the rest are dead. 

The SW group of Insurgents fires ineffectively at Alpha. I activate Bravo and manage to get everyone except the Shotgunner unshaken, our main objective here is completed, so I see no reason not to extract. 

Turn 6+
Turns out that one of the Unknown contacts was a group of lost hunters, and the other was another team of Insurgents, but they're well out of range. The other Insurgent groups fire ineffectively as we withdraw from the AO, using the hills as cover. Nothing to see here really, I fired some suppression from Charlie to cover Alpha and Bravo, but the ranges were far enough that it didn't have much impact coming or going.

After Action Report
Good job men. Not only did you terminate Colonel Nakov, you managed to capture several of his bodyguard. Intelligence will want to talk with them. 

This was a Major Victory and Popular Opinion for our operation has risen throughout the region. Good Job Tramplers. 

Platoon Development:
Bravo Team Leader and Charlie LMG Gunner both earned development traits. I think the Bravo Team Leader is going to get Battle Buddy which help in First Aid checks, seeing his entire team go down is likely a good incentive to go to some extra first aid courses. Charlie LMG gunner is going to grab Gunner in order to help with their suppression fire. 

Since it was a major victory, I give can give Alpha team a commendation for their participation in the assault.

Post-Battle Summary
That could easily have gone badly, especially after the Warlord managed to nearly wipe out Bravo. My plan to close assault them went out the window and overwhelming firepower in the form of Mortars was what saved the day. My suppressive fire was not as effective as hoped due to the range, but I didn't expect them to stand and fight. Because the Warlord's personality was 'elusive' there was about a 1 in 3 chance each turn that he would break contact and run for it, into the arms of those unknown contacts, and if that happened, then the battle would likely have turned into a much riskier affair. 

I am very glad that I brought that medic, as I could have ended up with a full team wounded or dead otherwise. The Mechanical Mule was slightly less helpful, since I used Charlie LMG mostly to suppress, I wasn't really gaining as much as I could have from it. If the firefight had gone on longer though, the extra supplies would have been very helpful. Fortunately, since it doesn't gain fatigue, I can keep bringing it along to see how best to employ it.

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