Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lenkova Campaign - Mission 2

Pre-Mission Setup
I roll a rescue mission. If I had any troops that had been captured by the enemy it would allow me to liberate them, but since I don't, it's going to be an 'allies in trouble' mission. I roll up the forces that are being rescued and come up with 4 unarmed civilians. A news crew in trouble.

Since I had a major victory in the last battle, I have a few extra assets that I can spend for this month. I request a sniper team, a VTOL Gunship and a Medivac Airship in case things get hairy. I'm would have liked a Forward Observer team and heavy artillery as well, but it's probably best that I'm not throwing around heavy artillery danger close to unarmed civilians. Hopefully the sniper team can make up for it.

I decide to bring Second and Third squads, as well as the Lt. and Mechanical Mule. I debate about bringing the medic on this one, but I don't want to over fatigue him, the Medivac airship should keep me covered for any mass casualty event, and I'll be relying on overwhelming force of numbers to sweep the field.

Of course, all this planning can go out the window in a heartbeat, and as I roll an ambush, it does.

Since I have almost all the terrain needed, I'm going to do it totally on board this time. I roll up a urban area on the southern end, with some houses on the SE side and some bushes on the SW side. The center and NW side are dominated by a series of hills, and there's forest on the East side of the road. Pretty much ever piece of cover outside of the southern end has an enemy team behind it. 

Since there's more than one squad in the fight, each fireteam is going to be an element, Alpha, Bravo, and Charlie for 2nd Squad deployed in the SW corner, and Delta, Echo, and Foxtrot for 3rd Squad. My command element including the Platoon leader, sniper and Mechanical Mule(whose part is being played by a paper camel) are going to start attached to Alpha. 

Our forces are strung out along one edge of the table and on the road, and it seems that a our opponent is a highly aggressive enemy leader. With at least one Warlord on the table, and multiple enemy teams in cover, this first turn is going to be crucial.

Since they're ambushing us, they automatically win the initiative and don't have to make activation checks for their irregulars the first turn.

3rd Squad Advances along the road.
The Warlord and his bodyguard waiting for the perfect moment to strike.

Turn 1
Immediately the Warlord and his bodyguard open up, and Delta team is combat ineffective, with 2 down and 2 suppressed in the middle of the street. Echo also has one suppressed, they obviously weren't watching their spacing as well as they should have.

Caught in the crossfire. Delta in the Center, Echo on the Left, Foxtrot on the right

Generally with an ambush, your best bet is to aggressively lay down fire and smoke. I move up Foxtrot past their comrades who are down or suppressed, and start returning fire with all except one who is going to pop smoke. The LMG and team leader's rifle are ineffective due to the enemy's cover in the rocks, but the grenadier manages to get a rifle grenade off. It is on point and Warlord and his entire team is downed.

The enemy next enemy team to activate moves up and checks their comrades. Two are dead and removed from the table, one is wounded, the Warlord and one other are shaken. Since they took position behind the hill to check on their downed men they don't see anyone immediately, and so go on overwatch.

Speaking of recovering casualties, it's time to try and recover mine. I activate Delta and recover the men from suppression.They pass their morale test and I also check the downed soldiers. The team leader is wounded, the other casualty just shellshocked. They move into the shelter of an alleyway, with the last man in trying to suppress the enemy. Between the smoke that's now between them and the enemy and the cover that they have, it would take a miracle to hit.

The next closest group activates and fires on Foxtrot, scoring 1 down despite the smoke.

In response I move up my command element attached to Alpha team and start returning fire. I use the Mechanical Mule(played by paper camel stunt double) to stabilize the LMG so I get an additional shot. I roll a lot of dice, and all come up just under what I need, except for the 1 that drains my ammo.

The enemy activates a team that charges out and throws grenades at poor Foxtrot and the entire team is down.

Echo activates and tries to break suppression on its one man still suppressed and fails, but the rest of the team can act. Time to call in the mortars. The rest of the team moves to cover and fires on the Warlord's group as that's all they can see.

On the far end of the board an insurgent group takes potshots at my command group, but due to the range and cover of the brush it misses completely.

I have two units left, Bravo and Charlie teams, I activate Bravo and move them up to place them on overwatch. While Charlie moves into cover of a building and fires, scoring 1 down on one of the groups to the east of the road. Another Insurgent team on the far side of the map activated and fired pretty ineffectively due to the distance and smoke.

Turn 2
Checking the smoke lets me know it's staying for another round at least.

I regain the initiative this turn, and most important is probably getting that mortar strike off before the Warlord moves. It's not going to land right on target, as my spotter in Echo fails his deviation roll, but it deviates minimally and still manages to down the Warlord's group as well as the group that arrived to check on them.

Apparently seeing their leader go down was enough for them. The group to the east of the road that ran into the open to grenade Foxtrot has decided to turn tail and skedaddle back to cover.

Bravo takes an overwatch attack at them, there's intervening cover at the start, but they're passing through an open area and and one is downed in the open, the rest make it to the cover of the bushes.

Alpha with my commander is able to move up almost to the hill that the enemy Warlord was sheltering behind, it gives them some cover, but more importantly, allows them to get a flank on an enemy team on the east side of the road. They manage to down the entire Insurgent team!

The enemy response is swift. One of the groups that had been sheltering in the back moves up and fires at my command group. Bravo takes an overwatch shot, taking one out, but they manage to get good hits on Alpha, taking half the unit out. 3 good men down. I'll have to make a morale test next turn for them, but with my leader there they should do okay.

With the smoke still up, I feel pretty safe moving Echo up to check on Foxtrot, as they manage to break suppression on their rifleman as well. The results are pretty grisly, three wounded, one dead.

The last enemy team on the board decides to charge in on Echo and Foxtrot...fortunately they are not quite in range and end up in the open.

Delta is in pretty bad shape as well, with one wounded and one still shaken from their experience. The shaken man uses up his action to recover, and have the rest fire on the enemies in the open that just tried to charge us, taking two down.

Bravo moves up and fires as well, downing one.

Charlie goes on overwatch.

Turn 3

The smoke grenade dissapates this turn. I win initiative and rally Alpha with my commander. I regret not taking the medic now as all three casualties are dead when I check them.

The first enemy group to activate is the one out in the open that attempted to charge. They check for casualties and end up with one dead and one wounded.

Foxtrot moves back into cover. With all three of them wounded, they are totally combat ineffective.

The next insurgent group decides to....Charge my command group! Fortunately Charlie manages to get some overwatch shots off. nothing due to poor rolls.


Both sides fix bayonets, except for the sniper who will be doing this with just a pocket knife. It comes down to hand to hand combat, and although my Platoon Leader shows them how it's done and takes one down with him.....The rebels have overrun my command element!

Now, I've got enough firepower to gun that group down, but they're down two men and I think that my men are ready for some revenge. I counter-charge Bravo into them. It's a bloody hand-to-hand fight and the Insurgent group is down for the count.

The enemy team on the far east hiding behind a bush do very little, failing their activation roll.

Echo engages the enemy team in the open. Downing them.

Give 'em a tast of cold steel!

A Southbound View near the end of the battle. Ignore the WIP buildings and casualties taken off the board to the left. 
Charlie moves up and finishes the job with the last two enemies hiding behind a bush on the far east on the table downed. The ambush is over, and I use the Medivac that I purchased in order to check on my command group. My platoon leader is wounded, the sniper and his spotter is okay, and the team leader is dead on arrival.

Post-Battle Analysis

The enemy casualties amounted to about 21 killed, wounded or captured, including one of their leaders. I ended up with 5 dead, 4 wounded. The entirety of Alpha team wiped out. A short, sharp battle, that goes to show just how deadly an ambush at close quarters can be. Even though I hold the field, I don't really feel like this was a victory.

I've lost over a third of the strength of my strike team, and I haven't even begun the main mission for the month. My Platoon leader is going to be in the infirmary for who knows how many months, I guess it'll give him time to write those condolence letters. I pretty much had to sacrifice Foxtrot in order to get the rest of 2nd squad out of the killing ground. I suppose I could have fallen everyone back to the village, but if Delta had failed to rally, they would have been stuck out on the street and it would have been a long protracted shooting battle which could have caused just as many casualties.

I was again surprised at how aggressive the enemy was, even though I knew it was a "fanatical" commander in charge. It turned out to be pretty effective for them, between twice attempting to charge my positions and moving out into the open to throw grenades, I think it was a wake-up call compared to the relatively static enemy I faced on my first mission. I still think that advancing Alpha to make the flank was the right idea, but it could easily be argued that I lost more than I gained in hindsight.

As we saw with the first mission, fire support is deadly. Without those mortars, the battle could easily have gone the other way.

The question now on how I'm going to approach the Rescue mission, if I decide to approach it at all, is going to be a tough one, seeing as it has the potential to be a pretty tough mission as well.