It's 0130 on 7 August 1986, and Team Whiskey is in dire straits. Following the crushing defeat of Kilo Company yesterday in Frankfurt-Am Main, V Corps has been tossing ad-hoc units into the fray to stem the flow of blood as various NATO forces fall back and herd civilian refugees across the last bridge still standing (in the Frankfurt area). As dusk on the 6 Aug 1986 falls, the two sides retract from each other to lick their wounds and reorganize, with NATO stepping up its withdrawals to the south/west bank of the Main river.
However, by approximately 2130 on the 6th, deep reconnaissance noted Soviet armored elements forming up, and by 2300 they had broken through the thin outer line manned by West German Territorials. V Corps, in the midst of evacuating itself, as well as supervising the evacuation of various severely beaten NATO units as well as civilians from a number of European nations, is very disorganized. As a last ditch effort, 11th ACR's commander turned to Lt Col Lacy and begged him for units to stuff into the breach.
Lt Col Lacy immediately dispatched his Executive Officer, Major Kavscott, with Lt Lamanchew's 3rd Mechanized Infantry Platoon of Kilo Company, Captain Sighe's 1st Mechanized Infantry Platoon of India Company, and Lt Dillon's 1st Tank Platoon of Charlie Company. The Brigade also provided a single AH-64 Apache as air support. Lt Col Lacy's last words to his XO were "Major, every second you hold the bridge open is another soldier or civilian saved from the Red horde."
**In the photo you'll see an M577 for the XO and two M-113s, for the platoon commanders (Lt Lamanchew and Capt Sighe). But these vehicles are not in the OOB; I justified having them by saying that they were for the two PCs, but as I set up the defense I was becoming way too tempted to strip them from the platoon commanders and use them to move the US TOWs and MGs about the battlefield. Ultimately I decided that that went against the order of battle for the game, so I took the M-113s out. I really wish I hadn't ;)
I've got a bad feeling about this...
I played out a scenario in my head in which US forces were converging on these defensive positions from varying points of the compass, and being thrown in. In my mind, the tanks arrived last and on the right side, and so they were thrown onto the far right side of the defense, which is not a good spot for them. The fact the infantry are without their vehicles also played into this; putting them on the right flank would keep them out of the fight as 1) they only have very short range anti-tank weapons, and 2) there's no way they'd reach the bridge area on foot in time (i.e., the Soviet tanks and BMPs would simply speed past them. Similarly, the TOWs, without vehicles, couldn't be put out there as they'd have nowhere to displace to, and if they stayed in place they'd be pummeled by Soviet guns and/or arty.
Just remember this: putting the US tanks on the far right was a bad idea, you heard it hear first. They should have been in the center, where they could pop back and forth between the center and far left to chew up enemy armor while staying on the move. On the far right the only options available to the US tanks were 1) advance towards the attacking Soviets, or 2) shoot then move left towards the US center, leaving your flanks open to Soviets in the northeast.
So all you amateur strategists take note: I did that part right, despite totally screwing up the deployment of the tanks. Well, I was a grunt, not a tanker...
Hopefully in this photo you can see that the US left side of the line is on a hill (from the highway-left), descending down to the water.
Sorry for the groups of infantry on the right edge of the table; that's my 'admin' area, and it's holding the Soviet infantry that are currently mounted in their BMPs.
Well, it's time to get my ass whooped again ;)
So, the total miss by one TOW means the Soviets have acquired and will be able to engage the US anti-tank teams.
Not bad; imagine if both TOWs had hit something.
But one of the BMPs at bottom left returns fire with its 30mm gun...
1st Turn: Shoot and fall back out of sight.
2nd Turn: Reload.
3rd Turn: Sneak into new, hidden firing position.
4th Turn: Rinse and repeat.
But these guys are suffering, so now they're going to have to be rallied, then move to a safe location, then reload, then move back into position, then fire again, which puts them firing again in Turn 6, rather than Turn 4. There are ways to speed this up: you can move other friendly units over to rally them, speeding up that process, but those friendly units have their own job to do, and don't really want to expose themselves next to two teams that have already been spotted by the enemy. On the backside, once the TOWs are reloaded, you can have them move into position and fire in one turn, but that means they won't be able to move until the next turn, so they're exposed again. It's far better to spend a full turn sneaking into firing position, then shoot and fall back out of LOS the next turn.
In any case, these two teams getting suppressed right off the bat, coupled with the Apache missing everything with his missiles, means this may be a real short fight...
With missiles flying about, several of the BMPs kick out their infantry to keep them from being cooked in case of a direct hit. Makes good mortar targets if they can't get moving to disperse in time.
Pathetic! I've fired two Hellfires and four TOWs, and I've got one BMP knocked out, two damaged and needing to be rallied, and one BMP hunkered. It's not entirely unreasonable to have expected six missiles to have knocked out five or six BMPs, and pinned/hunkered a couple more.
I've had better...
But with all that's going on their gunners' aim is thrown off and they both miss!
And with that, Turn 1 is in the books. We're still alive.
And then the fight I'm not looking forward to arrives at my doorstep...
Well, as you see above, I wasn't willing to wait and try to weather the storm, so all four US tanks fired.
Meanwhile, a Soviet T-72 moved up the road and tried to rally a BMP, but it failed and fell back off the map (that's the second one)!
And just like that, the US tanks are gone. I told you the tanks should have been in the center. This mission was going to be rather difficult to begin with; with my tanks gone, and my shootin' dice gone cold, I'm not sure I'm up to the task. I finally understand what it's like to be Army ;)
That is not good enough, @#$hole...
That's not going to cut it either. What has happened to my dice?
Truly I have a dizzying intellect...
Pretty cool, but now those two rifle teams are out of LAWs, and can only destroy enemy armor by close assaulting it, which is not nearly as cool as it sounds...
Now, that's what I'm talking about! Leave it to the machine gunners.
Wowzer... So Turn 2 ends with action in the center.
Dammit!!! I really need to get that MG out of there, which causes me to get a little irrational...
So the just-rallied US rifle team also fires on the Soviet rifle team at bottom center, but they miss!!!
This is such bull@#$%!!!!
You can see one of the fall back positions at bottom right; but I don't have any troops left to fall back...
This was probably a really bad idea; the blue beads mean they still need to reload, so they won't be firing for two more turns, if all goes well. They'll probably be overrun by that point. I'm going to have to pour helo rockets and mortars in there to keep Soviet Mech 1 and 2 off them, so they can launch their missiles and fall back. It's gonna be close...
You read that right. All the mortars accomplished was to pin a single Soviet rifle team. I don't mean to sound like a @#$%, but this is really starting to hurt me deep down inside...
If you look for the orange roof at top center, then come right to the minefield, just right of that is Captain Sighe's three teams.
I hope my post doesn't seem to negative for you guys; it's all tongue in cheek, it's just a game! Okay, maybe it's pissing me off a little bit ;)
Well, that's all for now, turns 1-3 are finished. This is going to be very interesting. Assuming the Soviets don't simply crush me, and I start scoring some kills, it's all going to come down to how many Soviet tanks cross the bridge, and how many BMPs cross the bridge or swim the river. This brings up a weird situation with regards to victory point counting, I need to check the book. Black and white is Soviet vehicles that exited vs Soviet vehicles knocked out. But what about the Soviet vehicles immobilized but not knocked out, or the two that fell back off the map? Very interesting.
More to come, so stay tuned guys.