This is the second part of Scenario 4, Team Whiskey's desperate rear-guard action to cover the withdrawal of 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. To refresh your memory, in Turn 1 the Soviets came on the table with a large armored force (Soviet Mech 1 of 6 BMPs and infantry, Soviet Tank 1 of 6 T-72s, Soviet Mech 2 of 6 BMPs and infantry, and Soviet Tank 2 of 6 T-72s) travelling at speed down the road. I small US infantry detachment was dug-in in and around the village of Bad Stulz, and let rip with five TOW launchers, causing heavy casualties. In Turn 2, the Soviets were able to reform, begin pushing forward, causing quite a few casualties among the severely outnumbered US troops. But, just when things looked really dark, a platoon of M1 Abrams came on the board to even the odds a bit.
Back to the action, picking up at the start of Turn 3.
And that's how Turn 3 ended. Moving on.
At far right, in the treeline, you can just see two little blue beads, which mark the unloaded status of two TOW1 anti-tank missile teams. The enemy tanks are now well inside the minimum engagement range of their missiles, so that kind of sucks. What doesn't suck is the fact their third team is sitting in the treeline at top center, unspotted and ready to fire.
But I've got a bit of a gamble here: I can have the TOW at top center fire on the enemy, but with less dice than normal due to react firing. Or I can have him wait until he can activate and shoot with full dice. But before that happens, the enemy tanks will have a chance to spot him, and if they're successful they will surely have three tanks fire on him.
I decide to have him wait, and the Soviets are unable to spot any of the US TOW teams.
Capt Lemmey's round knocks out the BMP, while the pinned M1 tries to self rally, but stays pinned...
Soviet Mech 2 is now fresh out of BMPs, and down to only two rifle teams, one of which is hunkered (top center, and red bead at top center-right).
Thus ends Turn 4. Wow, it's been crazy, and I still don't know how this is going to turn out. Both sides have taken horrendous losses, but are still standing toe-to toe like gladiators.
Well, I apologize, this sucks: I apparently forgot to take a photo of what happened next. The US rifle team, having bested the BMP, then moved into close combat with the Soviet rifle team that used the RPG to knock out the US tank. The Soviet team didn't get to react fire as they were facing the opposite direction, but the close combat roll was pretty damn close because the Soviets weren't pinned/hunkered/men down. The US rifle team again won the close combat.
The Soviet Mech 2 formation has now been totally destroyed, With no enemy nearby, the US rifle team goes back to being hidden (you can see enemy infantry of Mech 2 and the enemy CO at top center, but their attention is elsewhere).
There's a hunkered M1 at bottom left, and Lt Roberts' immobilized M1 at center (white bead). Capt Lemmey's M1 is off camera to right (with the two knocked out M1s).
The Soviet CO quickly takes stock of the situation: my XO is dead, Tank 1 has lost 2/3, Tank 2 has lost 1/3, the BMPs of Mech 1 and 2 are gone, and so is my infantry. He lifts his R/T and gives the order to fall back as the first rounds of supporting 120mm mortars begin raining down to cover the withdrawal.
Seeing the Soviets begin to fall back, and with mortar rounds getting closer and closer, Captain Sighe gives the order for the US force to fall back, having accomplished their mission of blunting the enemy's advance in this sector long enough for Team Whiskey's main body to re-form and fall back. The only additional bad news at this point is that there wasn't time to recover Lt Roberts' immobilized tank, so it was blown in place.
1 x Command Vehicle (M-577)
3 x Rifle Team
1 x TOW Team
4 x Machine Gun Team
3 x M1 Abrams
1 x Command Team
6 x T-72
13 x BMP
9 x Rifle Team
So the US accomplished its primary mission and won the victory points battle with a slight edge. Another positive is that Sergeant Stone, of India Company's 1st Mech Platoon, won the Silver Star for valor for leading the counterattack that stabilized the line in Bad Stulz by destroying an enemy BMP and knocking out an enemy rifle team, and 1st Lt Roberts won the Bronze Star with 'V' for staying in his immobilized vehicle to blunt the enemy thrust through Bad Stulz. He also received the Purple Heart for being lightly wounded during the fight.
So, wow, what a fight! I was so sure I'd screwed up with the TOWs and that I'd never get them back into action in time; in the event, I didn't need to, all I had to do was get them ready. And destroy the enemy center position, which I hung onto by my finger nails. Of maybe a finger nail (one rifle team, one MG team, and one TOW team left there). Hell, I was down to two functioning tanks, one of which I couldn't get rallied back into the fight. The narrow corridor of advance certainly hurt the Soviets, but hey, that's why Team Whiskey's rear-guard chose that location, so no excuses there. And every time I run into close terrain (the treeline and village in the center), that's where the Mech Infantry are going, and the tanks are going around, so that does make the Soviets a bit predictable, but that's doctrine. And for anyone thinking the Soviet Mech Infantry should have by-passed the village/treeline in the center, there simply wasn't room, and that's not battle rill for reaction to a close ambush front. A very near-run thing, and a whole lot of fun, but I was only able to get one game in this weekend.
More to come, I can't wait to get to the next fight. Four games in, and each one has been an absolute blast.
In the big picture, Team Whiskey re-formed and fell back with the rest of 11th ACR to its next defensive line near the major city of Frankfurt. The 11th ACR (hell, all of NATO probably) has taken hellacious casualties, and the Regiment Commander is in the process of re-organizing his force (consolidating Troops** that have taken too many casualties) when something terrible happens... Stay tuned!
**Am I screwing this up? I've been calling Team Whiskey "4th Troop," though it is battalion strength. But now it's seeming to me that cavalry units that are battalion-level should be Squadrons, not Troops. But I'm also using the term "Team," but I don't mean Company Team, I mean Battalion Team, if there is such a thing. I mean, I know you can cross-attach different companies to make battalion-level teams, I just don't know if they would then be called a 'Team.' I know I've heard the Army use the term "Battalion Task Force," so is that what I should be using? Certainly Team Whiskey sounds better than Battalion Task Force Whiskey. I hate the Army ;)
The Marine Corps is so much simpler: platoons, companies, and battalions. A company or battalion with supporting tanks is not a "Team" or "Battalion Task Force," it's a company (+) or battalion (+).