August 11, 1993: Major Louis-Louis called Captain LaPieux into his command post: "Captain, we believe the Sirellists (rebels, named after their commander Colonel Sirel) are encamped northeast of Talinn, in some very rough ground, very swampy. I need you to conduct a route reconnaissance, and secure for the task force a means through the marshes. Take a look at the map. You'll see here (pointing to the map) is probably the most likely spot, with a semi-improved road crossing two fords through the marsh, as well as a railroad line on a raised embankment with its own bridge. Take your task force and secure our route through the marshes!" "Oui, Major."
The table is 3' x 3', top is east and is the 'bad guy' baseline, bottom is west and is the 'good guy' baseline.' You can see the road leading right through the two fords, the railroad on the left, and a small hamlet in the center. The 'rivers' are actually streams which can be crossed by infantry (at a small penalty) but not vehicles, which must use the fords or the railroad bridge.
Let the games begin! Actually, before we do, a quick comment: I wanted to try something a little different, so I created a very board with close terrain, then threw a bunch of armored vehicles on it, and a lot of troops in general. I figured this would get real hairy, and it did, and was a lot of fun.
A quick note: the French decisions (good and bad) are all mine, whereas I use die rolls to help the bad guys out in their decision making. I also rolled for 'temperament,' and I rolled up 'aggressive,' so that should help to explain some of the stuff that probably has you wondering, "why the hell did they do that?" These Sirellists aren't the best troops and don't always have the best equipment, but apparently they are quite devoted to their cause.
Doc drags the casualty back to the Land Rover (bottom center). Then the enemy BMP activated; he took a shot at Sgt Cheauvront's men, but missed, then decided to hightail it by reversing away from the French.
Finally a black card comes out. Once again the bad guys had quite a run, going 5 red cards, 1 black card, then 6 more red cards before this black card...
4 casualties from Sgt Adrien's squad
1 casualty from Sgt Oran's squad
1 casualty from Lt Harpin's squad
1 casualty from the mortar section
The three men of Cpl Faurot's Panhard were killed.
Light Tank Platoon vehicles - Lt Patrie's Panhard was damaged but can be fixed, and the same goes for Sgt Bernier's Panhard, though Cpl Faurot's was a total loss.
Mechanized Vehicle Platoon vehicles - All three vehicles were damaged but can be repaired.
**Quick note: you can probably tell I've modified the rules a bit. A big difference is that I'm not really playing one man is one man, which is why you see me referring to five-man elements as squads. For what I'm doing, I figure each figure is representing two actual men. This change has nothing to do with the rules, it's simply to facilitate what I want to represent in my campaign, which is the French "Sous Groupement" (two infantry platoons and a light tank platoon), not just a rifle platoon.
29 casualties (~58 KIA)
3 T-72s (one destroyed, two damaged and captured)
6 BMPs (one destroyed, five damaged and captured)
I'm not sure how the game looked to you guys, probably kind of crazy and hectic, and it was, and I had a really good time. If you've not noticed, I'm about as far from a 'simulationist' as one can get; I'm in it for entertainment, drama, decision-making, and a good story.
I was a little aggravated about losing the initiative, that is, the two long runs of cards for the bad guys. If you look at the pics, it should really tell that the French barely moved off their starting positions, whilst the bad guys covered quite a bit of ground. I'd have preferred it the other way, but ces't la guerre, and in a perverted sort of way, I'm proud the Legionnaires were able to hold their ground then fight their way out of the bag, ultimately turning the tables and accomplishing the mission.
Along those lines, Lieutenants Harpin and Bisson will be recognized for valor. Harpin eliminated two different enemy infantry squads in close combat, while Bisson led the charge onto an enemy tank, and disabled it.
Stay tuned, my plan is to get in another game tomorrow (Sunday) morning. Next up is a 'drop everything and get your butt over there' mission, in which the French have discovered the Sirellists have positioned/are working to position a SAM near the Talinn International Airport. Bringing down an airliner would suck for Colonel Pouspous, but bringing down a French C-130 would be a disaster!
On a side note, if you've been paying attention here you've probably noticed I've been anguishing about an Imagi-Nation-type situation to serve as a background for another campaign in which I'll bust out my 6mm and 20mm forces. I'm starting to think it will spring from this campaign; the French are here to protect the liberal government from regressive, Soviet/Russian leaning forces. I'm thinking that Poland, Estonia, and Latvia begin banding together as a means to stave off Russia (whom they know will return to power at some point in the future) as well as the Sirellists. So my Legionnaires come in, do their job, and leave, and NATO begins pumping arms and equipment into Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia, but the Sirellists become stronger and stronger, until ultimately a 'civil' war erupts. Voila, a decent amount of land to work with, and WarPac and NATO equipment on both sides, with qualitatively similar forces. Pretty clever, no?