Got my first Soviet-Afghan War game in today. It's April 1987, the war in Afghanistan is not going well for the Soviets, but they've put out a request for forces and it was answered throughout the Soviet Union, with point being to throw the fresh troops into a spring offensive for one last, all-out attempt to defeat the Mujahadeen. One of the many units to answer the call was the 99th Independent Mechanized Brigade from Ukraine. Not only the 99th from Ukraine, but it is a "Territorial" unit comprised of officers and men from the Odessa region of Ukraine. The 99th arrived at Bagram in March 1987 and began conducting local security patrols to get acclimated and accustomed to combat in Afghanistan. The Soviet commanders are in the process of ratcheting up the level of responsibility and opposition in preparation for the offensive scheduled for May 1987 to finally conquer the Panjshir Valley.
Battlegroup Aronofsky has been tasked with clearing the small village of Namiyan northeast of Bagram. Mujahadeen resistance is expected to be light, but they are expected to put up a fight. What they don't know is that the Mujahadeen has recently been infiltrating units into the villages near Bagram in preparatino for their own spring offensive.
Badger 2 is on standby should things get out of hand...
Quite fortunately, the BTR and the ZU-23 BMP both react to this and rain down hell on the Muj team at canal2, reducing their number by three and putting a pin on them.
Wow, okay, so that was fun. And quick. But let me tell you what led up to that. I set the table up and started playing with one set of rules at 1530. At 1730, after pretty much nothing happened, I took a break, reset the table, messed with the rules a bit, and went at it again. At 1830 I was really frustrated and ready to quit, but I figured NO, I owe you, my loyal readers, a report, and dammit that's what you're gonna get ;)
So I reset the table, drastically reduced the size of the forces, went back to my tried and true "Insurgent Commander" rules (Blitzkrieg Commander modified for skirmish gaming), and had a helluva game in exactly one hour! Now that's what I'm talking about. Oh, one more thing: usually (that is, until today, always) when playing Insurgent Commander I continuously introduce reinforcements for the bad guys at the end of every turn, but I didn't do that today as I was wore out. But it is my plan going forward, and it's also the reason I bought a Hind, in case stuff starts to get out of hand ;)
So the game was fun and quick, and the rules are good to go (though I am pondering the morale system as units almost always get eliminated vice driven off). The game was smooth and quick with so few friendly units, but that is going to cause me to have to do a re-write of my Odessa 99th Brigade roster as the force I started with was way too big. Here's what I started with:
Commander: Captain Aronofsky
1st Plt/1st Tk Co., Lieutenant Oleynik (3 T-55)
1st Plt/1st Mech Co., Lieutenant Sharapova (2 BMP, 2 Rifle Teams)
2nd Plt/1st Mech Co, Lieutenant Dyachenko (2 BTR, 2 Rifle Teams)
1 ZU-23 (BMP)
And here's what I eventually got to:
1 ZU-23 BMP
4 Rifle Squads
I like playing with smaller forces, as OFM recently pointed out on TMP, it makes you more careful as it hurts a lot more when you lose one, and it makes the game go a lot faster. But it does seriously distort the force structure; I'm calling a BMP and two five-man teams a platoon; hell, I'm calling a five-man team a squad! I can live with that for the sake of quick games I suppose, I just need to figure out what it means in the overall scheme of things for my campaign. If it makes you feel better, think of the distortion as good, old-fashioned "bath-tubbing." One final note: I'm making all, or at least most, of this up, from the "Odessa Territorial Brigade" to the "last, all-out offensive in spring 1987." Some of it is real: Afghanistan is a real place, Massoud really commanded the Northern Alliance, but I'm really taking a lot of leeway for my gaming and just wanted everyone to know so they're not wondering if there really is a village of Namiyan or a Captain Aronofsky.
Stay tuned, I should have another report posted tomorrow. It's not the same campaign though, I'm play-testing some skirmish rules for a gentleman using singly based figures and individual activation. It should be a good time.