It's 0530 on 1 Feb 1990, and A Airborne Infantry Company, 1st CLA Airborne Battalion, has been dispatched to seize a key bridge east of Sandino (on the western end of the island), held by elements of the 24th Provincial Militia Company, 3rd Cuban Infantry Battalion. The regime forces are occupying emplacements on both sides of the river, and the CLA Airborne troopers are attacking from all points of the compass.
In the overall scheme of things, CLA SOF Squadron B took out a radar site on the west end of the island (1) to help screen the advance of the troopships carrying 3rd Infantry Battalion, 4th Infantry Battalion, and 5th Armored Battalion, scheduled to land on the western end of the island in the La Fe area. Almost simultaneously, CLA SOF Squadron C took out a Cuban military communications center (2) on the eastern end of the island, in order to hamper C4ISR for the Cuban military. Now 1st Parachute Battalion is dropping east of La Fe in order to screen the landings in the west from the Cuban garrison at Pinar del Rio. In this fight, A Company, 1st Abn Bn, is attempting to seize a key bridge in order to block Cuban Army forces from Pinar del Rio attacking the beachead, and then to enable 5th Armored Battalion's route of attack on Havana.
Colonel Bartolo Lucastro, Commanding Officer of the CLA's 1st Airborne Infantry Battalion. His figure will basically be treated as a second command stand, able to assist any friendly unit on the table.
The CLA forces have two crew-served weapons that can't move and fire in the same turn, but don't have LOS to targets at the start, so I opt to use a 'Scurry' for the first turn, which allows all my units to move but none to fire (and they also don't draw reactive fire.
More in a minute, the Castro commander decided to try to shore some other areas up before continuing this fight.
In the northeast, Bunker 3 fires on Tm 3, to no effect.
Back to Bunker 1...
As a side note, the CLA troops were +1 for better quality (Airborne vs Provincial Militia), +1 for having a Leader, but -4 for being 'men down,' while the regime troops were +1 for initiating the assault, for a total of +3 for the enemy. The die roll was a CLA '6' and Castro '1.' Shazaam.
This broke the back of organized resistance at the bridge.
Friendly: ~15 KIA/WIA.
Enemy: ~25 KIA/WIA, ~15 POW, and one HMG gun truck destroyed.
Three fights in and we're rolling. Just so you know, I have a total of 18 fights scheduled just for Day 1 of the invasion. They're going quick, but I don't know if they're going that quick ;)
Also, Colonel Lucastro was decorated for valor for his part in eliminating Bunker 1 and the Barracks, opening the way for the seizure of the bridge.
What a fight! The fight at Bunker 1 was ridiculously intense, and I was sure Team 5 and the Bn Cmdr were going to be eliminated, and by all accounts they should have been. But when they successfully fended off the enemy coming out of the bunker into close assault, then the Bn Cmdr charged and put out the hunkering Cuban troops next to the barracks, it was all over but the crying. It was very much a back and forth affair, with the situation in doubt and, if anything, actually looking like the paras would have to fall back, regroup, and launch another attack.
More to come.