Saturday, May 30, 2015

Cuba Libre - Liberation Batrep 1


It's 0300 on 1 Feb 1990, and the invasion is set to begin.  A large Cuban Liberation Army (CLA) landing force is approaching the island from the west, and so CLA Special Operations Forces (SOF) B Squadron, previously infiltrated into Cuba, have been tasked to destroy a key radar site at Las Tumbas on the Peninsula de Guanahacabibes.

The forces: the Castro Cubans have a Command Stand, five rifle stands, a general purpose (RPG-type) rocket, an 82mm mortar, and an armored car.  The CLA has a Command Stand, four Special Operations stands, an LMG stand, a Gustav 84mm rocket launcher, and a Jeep mounting a .50-cal HMG.

The Commander of CLA SOF's B Squadron, Captain Villanueva.

Close up of the CLA forces.

The Castro forces, from the 27th Infantry Company, 3rd Cuban Infantry Battalion.

Overview of the table, with right being north, CLA on the bottom (east) and regime forces on the top (west), with the radar site at top right (northwest).

CLA forces in the southeast: the HMG jeep, three SOF teams, and the CO.

CLA forces in the northeast: one SOF team, the LMG team, and the Gustav team.

Regime forces in the southwest: two rifles at top, the rocket team and CO in the barracks at bottom right, and the mortar team behind it.

The regime forces in the northwest: three rifle teams, the armored car, and the radar site, oriented west towards the sea (right).

A shaky photo of the objective.

The CLA start off by moving their HMG jeep up on the far left and taking a shot with the Ma Deuce; somehow they miss (I got two games in on Saturday morning, and my die rolling was atrocious throughout, whilst the enemy managed to pull off some pretty fortuitous rolls).

SOF Team 4 moves up and fires to no effect (bottom right, firing on infantry at center), then the LMG team (just right of Tm 4) moves up and looses a hail of 7.62mm rounds on the barracks (top left).

Forcing the rocket team to fall back and hunker, and pinning the mortar team (their CO is still atop the barracks).

On the southwest hill, Hill 35, the two enemy teams in that area take up defensive positions (one falling back from the white puff at far left, where my HMG jeep fired at it).  The enemy CO falls back and rallies the rocket team (top right), who immediately moves back into the barracks, but he can't manage to rally the mortar team, who stays pinned.

On the right they maneuver into fighting positions.

While the SOF teams on the left move up to the HMG jeep...

And move up a bit on the right as well, with the Gustav at far right, looking to line up a shot on the armored car (top center).

The LMG (bottom right) opens up on the enemy team at center, not effecting them but causing a rifle team on Radar Hill to fall back (top right).

But the damn armored car (top left) returns fire, pinning the LMG and forcing the Gustav to fall back (bottom right)...

The gun truck opens up on the two enemy squads on Hill 35, but only manages to pin them...

I catch a break: the enemy CO tries (again) to rally the mortar, but they run off the table!

But that luck is nullified when a single rifle team on Hill 35 fires on the gun truck, knocking out my HMG...

The enemy fires a rocket at Tm 4, pinning it.  Tm 1 (off camera at bottom left) returns fire, no effect.

Then things really start to suck: an enemy rifle team fires on my pinned LMG team, knocking it out...

And when Tm  tries to move up, snap fire from that same enemy rifle team mows them down (center).  The CO moves over and rallies the Gustav team (bottom right).

And the Gustav team moves up and fires...

The armored car is only immobilized, but the crew bails and two nearby rifle teams are pinned.

Back on the left, Tm 1 moves up and fires, but misses.

On Hill 35 (top left), one enemy rifle team rallies but the other remains pinned.  The enemy rifle team at center right rallies, but the hunkered team at top right only manages to get 'up' to pinned.

On the left, Tm 1 moves up, while Tm 22 sprints up but doesn't quite make it into cover.  The pinned enemy team tried to rally, but failed again.

On the right, CO and Tm 3 move up.

An enemy rifle team moved to the barracks, while another fell back to Radar Hill from the road.  The pinned team at top right tried to rally but failed and ran off the map!

Then the pinned enemy rifle team on Hill 35 trie to rally again, and ran off the map too!  That has got to be frustrating ;)  Off camera, the enemy CO moves to Radar Hill.

Teams 1 (center), 2 (left), and 3 (bottom right) quickly close the distance.

While the CO and Gustav (bottom left) move up, exposing themselves to fire from the right, to get a shot on the barracks.  We had a random event ("lull"), but it had no impact as all my troops are in good shape.

And then the Gustav fires on the barracks...

Making the rocket team fall back, and getting 'men down' on the rifle team.  This should be the break I was needing...

And it is: SOF Tm 1 rushes the barracks, eliminating the enemy rifle team, then the rocket team and capturing the armored car crew.

Tm 2 then charges Hill 35...

 And eliminates the regime forces there.

Which leads to the surrender of Castro's men on Radar Hill as the CO, the Gustav team, and Tm 3 close in.

The radar site is quickly rigged to blow...

And blown, mission success!  The force gathers its gear, casualties, and prisoners, then melts back into the jungle.

Friendly: ~15 WIA/KIA, 1 HMG Jeep
Enemy: ~20 WIA/KIA, ~15 POW, 1 Armored Car knocked out.

A great opening to the campaign.  More to follow.



  1. Digging the casualty figures.

    Still Company Commander?

    1. "Digging the casualty figures."
      Oh stop it. I suppose I should use green for both sides, but I like to be able to tell who's who for the final count of casualties.

      "Still Company Commander?"
      But of course, they are my favorite rules after all ;)


    2. I wasn't being facetious :)
      I used to use casualty figures when playing Crossfire.

    3. Yeah well, stop it anyway! I thought you were poking at me for using German casualty figures for the regime forces. I'm using 'green' ones for both sides now.

      I try to always use them, looks good on the tabletop.


  2. Great report. I really like what you've put together. Good idea to use 10mm figures and a compact terrain area. I'm looking forward to the next one!

    1. Thanks Boggler, and welcome! I'm glad you liked it, and I've got four more to get written up and posted, hopefully this week.


  3. Exciting batrep! I look forward to seeing the next installment.

    1. Thanks Chris, and it's coming right up!


  4. Hello Jack!

    Firstly i will apologise for taking so long to get around to even the looking at the first Cuban Batrep. My excuse is two fold - my old laptop is dying and I got a new one last weekend and it has taken a few days to setup and copy files. And I have a new roles at work and it has taken up more of my time this week. Anyway, enough on me!

    A great battrep and a great read! Congratulations on the 2'x2' - I think I may have said this before but welcome to what is really meant by gaming on a small table :-)

    It is strange that you keep using the word enemy for the Castro Cubans, the CLA are the invaders after all, so would not make the CLA the enemy? I had to keep translating "enemy" to "the good guys" in my head :-) And I thought they would win (it seemed that way midpoint in the game) so it was a disappointing end for the team I was rooting for :-(

    A few questions comparing Klink on 3'x3' to Cuba on 2'x2' (the latter with less forces). and also note I have not read the remaining battreps either. Is is more fun or different fun? It definitely seems faster (so that was good) but do you find the shortened game with less decisions (but still with interesting decisions) to be made just as interesting? I do, but that is me! The rules seem suited to 3'x3' with around 6-10 units. So how did it go with the 6-10 units on a 2'x2' ? Did you change the movement rates (I would be tempted to reduce everything by 2/3rds as 6" on 2'x2' seems a lot). Anyway, I really like the 6-10 units on a 2'x2' table and that is exactly the direction I am heading with my company rules (albeit with 6mm rather than 10mm).

    Here is to the remaining battreps being just as interesting - no pressure :-)

    1. Mr. Travers,

      No problem on the delay, it seems you've always got new roles at work ;)

      It is not strange that the Castro regime is the enemy; what is strange is that all my internet wargaming buddies are pulling for the communists. I expected that with Ivan, but you and Rod are killing me! Or were you just going with them because it looked like they were going to win? ;)

      Regarding 2 x 2 vs the bigger stuff I've been doing with KG Klink, I'd say they are both fun, just different fun. I will admit that I felt like I started getting bogged down with KG Klink; the rules work fine with bigger games (I had been doing large fights, like 17 units vs 20 units), but it was just taking a three hours to set up and play. Nothing wrong with that, but me,personally, I'm generally looking for a quicker game.

      So I'll get back to KG Klink, and probably slim down the orders of battle a bit to get back to quicker games, but I want to run with Cuba Libre for awhile (this was the reason I even started a blog). Regarding the rules, I haven't changed anything; the movement rate may seem kind of high, but to me, if you want dramatic, decisive results than there has to be the ability move rapidly. I want/like games with (potentially) big swings, so it suits me.

      I'm sure your personal rules are brilliant, but you need to give 5Core Company Command a try, I bet you'll like it. And then take some things from it and incorporate them in your own rules ;)


    2. I had not thought of it, but you are right - in the last 12 months I have had a major change in my role at work 4 times :-) At least I am still working.

      i am with you - I am so used to aiming for fast games that a game that takes over an hour on a small board does not seem right anymore, I do get the difference, and I think longer games do have a different type of fun. But until I have more time, faster is better.

      A 6" move for infantry is certainly going to make the game move fast. don';t feel bad about finally getting around to what the blog is about. I started my blog to replay ancient battles with different rules. I have not played and blogged a new ancients ruleset for nearly 2 years now :-(

      When I finish off my current 6mm game with some other rules (only been 6 weeks (elapsed!) playing), I am going to play a game with five core. I don't know if my rules are brilliant, but I do like reactions as per two hour wargames, and my rules are full of them! I still vacillate between card activation and dice activation. I think I will just have to learn to like both equally and move on :-)

    3. Amen to faster! And stop vacillating and get to gaming, I'm looking for more Operation Jupiter in particular ;)

      And I'm with you, card activation was always the way for me, but now I'm pretty taken with Ivan's die roll. Quick and easy. Unlike 6 weeks to play a single game ;)

      Hope all is well.


    4. TW&T got me unto cards as a mechanic. Though they had too many fiddly ones in that one but that's easily remedied.

    5. Yeah, I didn't like that style. As you said, too fiddly, and, for me, too restrictive from a gaming standpoint. I was using more of a Bolt Action style, i.e., one card per unit, but player gets to pick which unit.

      Where's my Napoleonics? ;)


    6. There's a sticky note on my laptop that says "whenever Jack asks about something, tell him you're working on a fantasy game or something with spaceships" ;)

    7. You need to put away your unicorns, trolls, blasters, and light sabers and get to work, Sir ;)


    8. Operation Jupiter is not likely until 2016. Also I have lost the space where I used to set it up. Luckily I have a backup place :-)

      Today I am liking cards. Tomorrow may be different :-) I use them just like Jack does, except with an end of turn card. The dice mechanism I like is FUBAR-like, and have used something similar for an older version of my ww2 rules. But the random activation sequence via the cards, to me, is hard to beat to really capture the WW2 chaos of battle. Damn, i may go back to cards!

      6 weeks is not a record for me to play a game. And that 6 weeks has had an intense 30 mins of play in it :-)