Sunday, December 22, 2013

Siege of Firebase Francoise!


Well, we find ourselves once again in the harsh environs of Perplakistan.  After the previous fight, in which the enemy sprung a trap, with armor on "Lend Lease" from neighboring Tumoria, the French expected the insurgent armor to make a run for the border.  So Legion recon teams were helo'ed out to the border for picket duty, and two Legion light armor columns were sent out to look for the enemy.

But the enemy pulls a fast one! Relying on intel provided by anti-French locals, the enemy consolidates its remaining armor, marshals a bunch of infantry, and advanced on the nearby French base. Using terrain to hide the vehicles and civilians to cover the infantry's approach, the enemy closes with the small French, colonial, and local force garrison.

 Overview of the table, looking from south to north.  At bottom center to bottom left is the French base, Firebase Francoise.  Bottom right is the eastern canal, where an insurgent 'hotspot' is located.  Center to center left is the western canal, where another insurgent hotspot is located.  Immediately to its right is the village of Turncoatville, where the final insurgent hotspot is located.  As the road heads north it splits, to the right (NE) and left (NW).  Once the enemy attack begins, Major Lapieux's task force of two mechanized columns out looking for the enemy armor will be recalled to assist the garrison; one column will enter from the NE and one from the NW (should they pass their reinforcement roll); each column will roll at the end of each turn after the first one, needing a 6, the following turn a 5, etc...

 The French base, looking north-northeast to south southwest.  The three sandbagged positions are, from left to right, Post 1, Post 2, and Post 3, with Post 1 being the main gate.  The two helos (left to right, H1 and H2), are in Revetments 1 and 2 (again, left to right).  For buildings, do not count the small out-buildings, only the three larger ones, which are (l to r) 1, 2 (top), and 3.  There are 3 men in Post 1, and 2 each in P2 and P3.  R1 and R2 each have one man, and the buildings are holding several men each.

 The nearby village of Turncoatsville, with a bunch of happy civilians lounging/milling about.

 The table, looking north to south, with the French base at the top.

 Major Lapieux's two armored columns, top in NW, bottom in NE.

 Looking west to east, village at top, French base at right, showing western canal hotspot at bottom center, Post 3 at bottom right.

 Looking east to west, showing east canal hotspot at bottom left, Post 1 at top left, and village hotspot at center right.

 The insurgents want to hammer the garrison, but particularly they want to embarrass the French by destroying their multi-million dollar Blackhawks they recently purchased from the United States.

 It all starts at approximately 1930 local time; the sun is going down, and a large group of villagers approaches the main gate (Post 1).

 And in a flash there are insurgents inside the French perimeter.

 Simultaneously two T-55s and a BTR-60 swing out from behind the palm groves and into view (top center, opposite Post 2).  The French got very lucky here; I grabbed four poker chips; two were dummies, one had a T-55 and two BTRs, and the last had 2 T-55s and a BTR.  I shuffled them up, then placed three of the four on the table.  Once the insurgents at the main gate uncovered, I turned over the three poker chips: two were dummies, as opposed to one dummy and two 'live' ones, with 3 T-55s and 3 BTRs total.

 Another shot of the insurgent armor, looking east to west, with Post 2 at center left and Post 3 at top left.

 So, let's get it on!  The insurgents have a leader and four rifle teams at the main gate, and easily eliminate the three sentries at Post 1.  Initially Post 2 can't engage because of civilians in the line of fire, but on of the insurgent teams moves into the open next to the wire and quickly receives a hit and gets pinned.

 Looking east to west, one of the insurgent teams moves up to Revetment 1, trades fire with the sentry there, and eliminates him.  They then quickly put an RPG into H1, blowing it sky high!

 Another shot of the insurgent team at the wire (center left) shooting it out with Post 2 (center right), with Post 1 at top left and Revetment 1 at top center.

 Looking west to east, all three enemy armored vehicles fire at Post 2, managing only one pathetic little hit, though it did pin them as well (the yellow bead, bottom right).  The BTR then moves to its left to the edge of the ville.

 Post 2 (center left) sentry moves to his right (behind an outbuilding, center), and engages the insurgent team at Revetment 1, getting two hits in two rounds of fire.  They return fire, but miss!

 Looking w to e, Post 3 (bottom left) fires past the recently vacated Post 2, at the pinned insurgent team at the wire.  They get twho hits, but in two more rounds of fire they get no more hits...  On the two rounds with no hits I had to test to see if Post 3 hit any of the civvies, which luckily they did not.

 The lone sentry in Revetment 2 (bottom left) fires at the insurgents in Revetment 1 (off camera to right), but miss.

Colonel Pous-Pous, who was located in building 3 (center), puts out a distress call to Major LaPieux, ordering him to return his task force to the firebase as quickly as possible.  Then the brave Pous-Pous exited the building and set about the task of organizing the defense.  You can see French garrison personnel pouring out of every building.

 More garrison arrive, a couple from Building 1 (top center), bldg 2 (left center), and the small outbuilding at bottom center.  The lone Frenchmen at top left is the sentry that abandoned Post 2, with the insurgent team that just destroyed H1 (off camera to left) just below them, and insurgents at Post 1 at far right.

 A couple garrison members join the lone sentry in Revetment 2, and fire on the insurgents in Revet 1 (top).  The French roll boxcars, and thus get two actions, which allows them to eliminate the insurgent team.

 A very confused firefight occurs between buildings 2 (top) and 3 (off camera to left), and the insurgents at/around Post 1 (right).  The French get a couple hits and a pin, though the insurgents get a hit as well.

 Two men joined the sentry that abandoned Post 2 (center left), and fired to the right at the insurgent team pinned at the wire near Post 1, but missed.  For their troubles, one of the T-55s fired and got a hit.

 A team from bldg 3 sprinted to reoccupy Post 2, though they took a hit from the other T-55, which also pinned them.

 Immediately after that, Col Pous-Pous (top left, gold base) led the Anti-Tank Missile Team to Post 2, trying to get at the two T-55s in the field, though they couldn't get the launcher into action.

Meanwhile, enemy reinforcements arrive...

 At the western canal hotspot (bottom left), opposite Post 3 (center right), a leader, two rifle teams, and a 'Technical' mounting a 106mm recoiless rifle.

 At the village hotspot, the only reinforcement was another Technical, this one mounting a 12.7mm HMG.

 At the eastern canal hotspot, with Post 1 at top, a leader and three rifle teams arrived.

 Back at Post 1 (right), the insurgent leader was able to unpin the team there, then move to the pinned team at the wire, though he was unable to unpin them.  The team at Post 1 fell back behind cover and unleashed on the garrison team (bottom left), getting two hits.  The garrison's return fire also achieved two hits, but then another insurgent team (bottom right) moved up and eliminated the garrison team.

 That same team then rolled boxcars (two actions), so sprinted forward (left) with one action, then pivoted and fired at the French next to the outbuilding (top left, just below Post 2), but missed.

 Then the reinforcements from the east canal moved up (far right).

 Followed by the HMG Technical and the BTR moving up.  Other than the boxcars, which helped give that one team a total of four actions, insurgent and French command rolls have been pretty poor, giving only one action for unpinned units and not allowing pinned units to get in the game at all.

 'To Hit' rolls were pretty poor too; both T-55's go after Post 2, getting only two hits (on 12 dice, hit on 5+, target save on 5+), but pinning both the rifle team and the AT team.  But Col Pous-Pous unpins the AT team, who promptly bounce a missile off the front glacis of the right-hand T-55 (3 hits, 3 saves).

 The western canal force moved up to the canal, fired at Post 3 (one hit), crossed the canal, and fired again, no effect.  Return fire accomplishes nothing (2 hits, 2 saves, in the open!!!  I.e., hit on 4+, save on 6!!!).

 Col Pous-Pous can't unpin the rifle team at Post 2.  The AT team fires at the right-hand T-55, getting a hit and immobilizing it.  Both return fire, getting three hits (eliminating the pinned rifle team, and leaving only the AT gunner and Col Pous-Pous in  Post 2), and pinning them.  The AT gunner manages to unpin, and slams a missile into the left-hand T-55, destroying it!  Not pictured, a garrison member who found himself all alone near bldg 1 joined the Colonel and AT gunner in Post 2.

 The three garrison members in Revetment 2 decide to move to their front left and get into bldg 3 (top left), drawing ineffective fire from the insurgent team at bldg 2 (bottom right).

 The garrison team in Post 3 opens up on the insurgents at the west canal, getting a hit and pinning one of the teams, though the combined return fire from the recoiless rifle and the other rifle team reduces the garrison team to one...

Turns over, now for some admin: the friendly reinforcements failed their rolls, so they don't arrive yet (needed 6, next turn will need a 5).  There are no enemy reinforcements because they haven't lost any rifle teams, so they currently have eight rifle teams on the table.  Lastly, in Revetment 2, H2 has its blades turning, so it will be eligible (contingent on command rolls) to escape next turn.

 To start the next turn, the remaining T-55 fires at Post 2, getting one hit, but return fire from the AT missile knocks out the T-55's main gun!

 The west canal insurgents get two rounds of fire on Post 3, but get no hits.  Return fire gets one hit and pins an insurgent rifle team.  Meanwhile, the Technical gets three rounds of fire on Post 3, but manages only one hit, and it was saved!

 Looking west to east from Revetment 2, an insurgent team moves up (top center) and fires at the garrison team in bldg 3 (top left), getting one hit, then fail their command roll (CR).  Keep in mind, the idea for the insurgents is to push hard in order to get H2 before it lifts off and gets away.

 The east canal reinforcements continue their crawl forward (center right), using their 'free move' to move up, then all three teams failing their CRs individually...  The HMG Technical (center) moves up, all the way from outside the perimeter, and gets set to take a shot at H2 (off table at left), then fails its CR.

 So, this is literally the last chance for the bad guys to get the second helo.  The BTR moves up to get a clear LOS to the target, then opens up with its 14.5mm heavy machine gun; a single hit is enough to pin the crew.  Yes, I allow vehicles to get 'pinned,'  It might seem strange to you, but I think it's rather appropriate, when playing at skirmish level, for a significant event to screw with the crew.  That is to say, if a tank has an anti-tank round bounce off it, or if a thin-skinned helicopter has a bunch of HMG slugs punch through and rattle around a bit, I think that should negatively impact the crew's ability to do what they want to do.

So, the next moment of decision: H2 attempts to take off, and... fails its command roll.  Before the BTR got it's lucky hit, it looked like H2 was destined to get away.  Now, not so much...

 The lone sentry at Post 3 opens up on the bottom insurgent team and gets a hit, pinning it!  The Technical returns fire, 2 hits 2 saves, again!

 The team in bldg 3 (center left) fires at the insurgent team in Revetment 1, getting two hits and pinning it.  The HMG Technical (center) returns fire, getting a hit.  The garrison team then turns on the Technical and cuts loose, immobilizing it, though the fanatical crew decides to stay with the vehicle.  The AT gunner at Post 2 (top center) fires at the BTR (top center right), and destroys it, though the remaining T-55 (off camera to top, immobilized with KO main gun) returns fire with its AA Mg and eliminates the AT gunner, leaving only Col Pous-Pous in Post 2.

 Major LaPieux's Northeast force arrives (top right), with the KO and surviving T-55s at bottom left).  No enemy reinforcements arrive as, again, they haven't lost any rifle teams.  H2 is eligible to depart this turn, but will find it difficult to pass its command roll as it's still pinned.

 The insurgent team in Revet 1 (bottom left) manages to unpin, and launches an RPG at H2 in Revet 2 (off camera at bottom left).  The helo is damaged, making it harder to get off the ground.  The insurgent team fires another RPG to no effect (1 hit 1 save, on a 6!).  The HMG Technical (center), though beat up a bit, open up on the French team in bldg 3 (top left), eliminating them.  At center, the east canal reinforcements finally get into action.  Two rifle teams get on line and fire at H2, further damaging it, while one team faces north (top) at Post 2 (top center), and fires at the sole survivor there, Colonel Pous-Pous.  But the Colonel's lucky rabbit's foot is working, and nary a hit is scored on 5 dice, needing 4+ to hit!  Of course, his return fire misses also...

The insurgent team at the wire (far right) should be recognizable by now; they were pinned in the initial exchange of fire, and have been unable to unpin this entire time.  The other insurgent team in the vicinity moves towards Post 2...

 Then charges into close combat with Colonel Pous-Pous!  It's not as dramatic as it looks; Pous-Pous is all alone, but so is the insurgent that attacked him (a rifle stand takes five hits, and you can see by the red dice the stand already has four hits).  Nevertheless, the Colonel acquits himself well in the ensuing fisticuffs, and subdues his attacker.  Pous-Pous' elation is short lived, however, as the T-55 sees this and opens up with its AA machine gun, mowing down the French commander.

 Looking north to south at the west canal, from behind the recoiless rifle Technical: the Technical uses its first action to put a round into H2, finally destroying it, then pumps another 106mm round into Post 3, finally killing the sentry there...  This means that both helicopters have been destroyed, and every member of the French garrison has been eliminated.

 LaPieux's NE column mounts the hill, and the Panhard bounces a 90mm shell off the nearby T-55 before realizing it's been abandoned...

 LaPieux's NW column comes on the table.

But it's too late.  The enemy had a T-55 and a BTR knocked out, then abandoned its other T-55 and a Technical, both immobilized.  But the other Technical, near the west canal, promptly departed the area, while the enemy infantry either sprinted away or simply concealed their weapons and blended in with the local population.

 Major Lapieux stands over the body of his friend and former commander, Colonel Pous-Pous...

And surveys the human carnage wrought by the enemy, right here, at the French safehaven.  LaPieux mutters something under his breath regarding retribution...

Another really fun game.  This one was a bit different as there were no real master plans or complex schemes of maneuver; the insurgents wanted to bring their armor firepower to bear to allow their infantry to break into the French camp and wreak havoc.  The French garrison wanted to hold on until the Legion mechanized columns could return to save the day.  The Legion was unable to save the day, but I didn't feel like I 'lost' the fight; I really feel like I did the best I could.  Maybe if one of the columns would have come on one turn earlier, but even then I'm not sure that would have changed the end result much.  At best, the garrison would still have been eliminated, but the Legionaires could have trapped and eliminated the bulk of the enemy, as opposed to them escaping.  But I don't really see that as a big difference; there's no shortage of enemy infantry, to the point that eliminating the infantry in this fight would negatively impact them in the campaign.

The rules are working well, though I was a little rusty as I haven't played in awhile, and I don't have everything written down.  I intend on putting them together and posting them here.

I apologize, I'm still using those hideous hills.  I have a new rug I intend on cutting up; it won't look fantastic, but it'll be better than the one's I'm using now.  I also apologize for the French garrison figures; I didn't have anyone else to use!  I hadn't really thought about it this weekend (and even if I had, I haven't had any time), but I couldn't use my modern French because the Legionaires could have made it back, so I ended up using some Pendraken Argentinians that are singly based, with long grass!  Obviously I need to finish basing some figures I've got lying around...

I've gotten a bunch of scenario ideas that I intend on trying to string together to continue the campaign.  That, and Joe Legan needs to hurry up with publishing his asymmetric stuff for Platoon Forward!



  1. Excellent job Jack....great AAR as always...keep em comin

  2. Thanks Johh, I appreciate it! I promise to keep the AARs coming, but I can't promise what it will be as I've got a million different projects going on and want to get all of them on the table at some point.

    Having said that, I've been using TMP lately to solicit what people want to see, and what the scenario should be, so keep an eye out.

    Take care,