Saturday, July 2, 2016

Royals in Helmand, Fight #3


It's now 12 May 2011, five days from the last fight.  True is still recovering from his gunshot wound, but the rest of the section is good to go and raring for a fight.  This was actually a down day for the unit, pulling rear echelon duties around camp when a local source came in and reported the Taliban would soon be moving on Pasha Gal, the head of the local village of Khowt Gin.  A UAV was dispatched to the area, but nothing out of the ordinary was noted.  However, when another source came in and provided very similar information, suggesting the Taliban wished to convert the nominally neutral Pasha to their side or make an example of him, HQ decided to dispatch Corp and they boys to go and check it out.

The team mounted up in their armored troop carriers (sorry, I don't recall what they are called and I'm too lazy to look it up right now) and headed out the 20-some odd kilometers to see what was up.  About a klick out from Khowt Gin the vehicles laagered and the section dismounted, covering the rest of the distance on foot.

Overview, north is up.  The village of Khowt Gin is at top left, with a craggy outrcop at top right and a river running roughly north south.  The river can be forded anywhere along its length at a movement penalty.  Again the walls are approximately four to five feet high, and the area is covered in crop fields, which the Royals will be coming across.  The Pasha's house is at top right; having heard of the coming trouble, the locals have fled the village except the Pasha and his wife, who have moved to the roof of their home to await their fate.  And they have their trusty goat (provided by Kyote) near at hand.

Looking west to east.

Looking north to south.

Looking west to east.

The opposing forces, with Taliban at top and the Royal Marines at bottom.  The Tangos are coming strong with nine men, including an RPG, two RPKs, and six AK-series riflemen, to face off against the section's six dismounts.

The Royals are, from top left: Corp (leader, SA80), Jonesy (SA80 w/UGL), Knocker (Minimi), Ginger (back from his concussion, SA80), Nobby (LSW), and trusty old Gimlet (the baby of the squad but no longer a rookie, SA80).

Looking south to north at the section spread out across the fields.  In the first line, from left to right, we have: Nobby, Knocker, Gimlet, and Jonesy, while the second line is Ginger and Corp.

A wider shot of the Royals pushing forward towards the ville.

Once again I used Joe Legan's blinds system from Platoon Forward, and this is what turned up.  While you can see Gimlet at bottom left, the Taliban are spread across the map: two near the hill at bottom right (this is looking west to east, so the hill is in the northeast), one above them (a bit obscured by the telephone pole, just below the black car), one atop the building to his left, three above him (one atop the building there, two to his right at ground level), one on the road at top left (behind the two trees), and one below him (at far left, just below the river).

The Talis are kinda caught in the middle; they weren't really expecting trouble from the Royals, particularly not from behind them, so they were mostly focused on moving forward on the Pasha's house (top right).

Another look, from west to east.

So the Taliban is moving northwest towards the Pasha's house, and the Royals show up behind them, moving relatively quickly to cover the open ground there.

Once again the Royals' training and professionalism carries the day; moving forward, Nobby (bottom left) is the first to spot trouble.  He yells an alert and then fires a long burst at two Tangos in the west (top left; one next to tree below river and one between trees across the river).  But he's a knucklehead and only manages to pin the nearest bad guy...  Knocker is at bottom center.

Alerted by his buddy, Knocker (bottom center) spins and fires a long burst.  But he didn't actually acquire the targets, just sprayed a bunch of rounds downrange, to no effect.

Perfect!  Both my squad automatic weapons fire at multiple eligible targets, and all they manage is a single pin...

The Taliban wake up; the Tango on the roof at bottom left returns fire on Knocker...

Putting him out of the fight (bottom center).  Gimlet (right) opens fire on a Tango to the north, near the bridge...

Forcing him to fall back behind the cover of the NE hill (red bead at left, from explosion at right).

"Holy crap, Cow-pril, there's a bloody hell lot of them up here!"

Another rooftop terrorist (bottom left) returns fire on Gimlet (top right, with Jonesy above him), pinning him.

Ginger sprints forward (bottom center), drawing fire from yet another Tango, this time from the north, near the Pasha's house...

Ginger presses through the incoming fire and launches some rounds at the Tango up between the trees in the west...

Forcing him to fall back (red bead at top left, from explosions at bottom left).

Jonesy moves up to Gimlet (bottom right), looking to unpin him while firing on the Tango atop the right-hand building.  The Tango is knocked down...

But Gimlet's not feeling so hot and falls back (red bead at bottom right, next to Corp, from Jonesy at top left).

With things falling apart, and not entirely sure what his best course of action was, he did what you do when all else fails: push forward aggressively.  He sprints forward, ending up in some bushes at center left.  At bottom left are Nobby and Ginger, with Knocker down, at center right is Jonesy, and at bottom right is Gimlet, suppressed.

The Tango atop the building at top left opens up with a long, rattling burst on Ginger and Nobby (bottom right)...

Nobby (far right) falls, out of the fight, and then the near Talib (bottom left) fires on Ginger, knocking him to the deck.

Holy @#$%!!!

An RPK gunner moves south (down, bottom left), while the guy next to him successfully self rallies, and the Tango boss moves atop the building next to one of his riflemen (top right).

The other enemy RPK gunner sprints up on the bridge, but Jonesy (bottom right, with Corp to his left) draws a bead on him and fires...

Knocking the RPK gunner down (bottom left) and forcing a rifleman to fall back (red bead at top right, from center).

The Tango RPG gunner moves up, looking to send a rocket the Royals' way, but Corp (bottom center) spots him and cuts loose, pinning him.

Jonesy (bottom right) sees trouble coming and bloops a 40mm grenade their way (top left)...

But it goes a little long and only manages to force one of the bad guys to fall back (red bead).

Jonesy's (right) is thinking to himself, what the hell is Corp (right, in bushes) doing charging ahead like that?  We've got men that need looking after!  So Jonesy sprints up towards Ginger, who's lying on the ground, to check on him, but one of the Tango's on a building spots the Marine and opens up, pinning Jonesy.

With a plethora of targets available to him due to his advanced position, Corp (bottom right) decides on targeting the RPG gunner, so he takes another look and fires, knocking him (top right) to the ground.

Well, I'm committed, Corp thinks to himself, so he dashes forward to a copse of trees (bottom center) and lobs a grenade (blue bead) onto the nearest rooftop...

One Tango is out of the fight, and their leader is knocked to the ground by the blast.

With one rooftop clear (top center), Gimlet (bottom center), still unwilling to move up, but able to fire, sights in on the other rooftop and cuts loose, though he only manages to pin the Tango there (top left).

Gimlet did his best, but the Tango is still in the fight (far left); he spots Corp (right) sheltering in the trees and opens fire, but doesn't hit him.

And Corp returns fire, forcing the Tango off the roof (red bead at far left).

Things are looking up; while we've taken two casualties and have a few more guys in bad morale shape, the enemy had a boatload of guys in the same condition.  Everywhere you look there are white and red beads (simulating guys on the ground that may be out of the fight or may just be cowering, and guys that are suppressed, meaning they will shoot but not move).

A Tango off camera to top right self rallies, as does the terrorist at top left, while an RPK gunner moves up (far left).  Jonesy (bottom right, yellow bead) sees him and fires, but misses... but so does the RPK gunner!

And then, miraculously, so does another Talib (bottom left)!!!

Corp (far right) fires on the RPK gunner (far left)...

Putting him out of the fight (bottom center left) and forcing his buddy (who just self rallied) to fall back (red bead at top left).

And then Corp sprints south (down) to Jonesy to rally him, but he stays pinned!

Gimlet (bottom center) fires over Ginger's prostrate form, at the Talib on this side of the river, and he finally hits something, knocking the bad guy to the deck.

Jonesy (yellow bead) is still shaken up, but he creeps forward and checks on his pal, Ginger.  Ginger ain't feeling so hot, having taken two rounds on his chest plate, but he's up now and back in the fight.

A Tango at top right moves up to the edge of the NE hill, looking to get up and check on the downed RPG gunner, while the two Taliban at bottom left self rally.  One is good, the other is 'up' to pinned.

But the Tango that moved up to the edge of the NE hill (top right) stops and takes a look around.  He thinks, man, there's a lot of them still out there, looking to shoot me.  Rather than go check on Ahmad the RPG gunner, I think I'll hang here awhile.  He sights his AK in on Gimlet (bottom left) and fires...

And trusty old Gimlet is out of the fight...

Having just been revived by Jonesy (bottom center, yellow bead, with Corp at bottom right), Ginger sprints ahead to a knocked down Talib (top left) and dispatches him.

Jonesy (yellow bead at bottom center) spots the guy (top center) that just whacked Gimlet and sends a 40mm grenade his way...

It's a little long but does the job, knocking the Tango rifleman out of the fight (center).  On the Talib right, all they've got is the RPK gunner on the bridge (bottom left) and the RPG gunner (next to the body), both of whom are on the deck.

Corp, seemingly overly concerned about the enemy RPG gunner (top right), sprints ahead (bottom center) and fires at the Tango, missing.

The pinned Tango at center (yellow bead) tries to self rally, with an RPK gunner looking on (left)...

He fails and falls back (red bead, just visible at left end of building), while the RPK gunner (bottom left) pops over the wall and unloads at Ginger (far right), knocking him down (again).

With Ginger down at far left (white bead), Jonesy (yellow bead at bottom center) tries to self rally, but again stays pinned...  Meanwhile, in the north (top), Corp sprints forward...

And finishes off the RPG gunner.

And then charges onto the bridge, where he finishes off the RPK gunner!

Corp then hops the bridge rail and catches a breather next to a stone wall (between the tree and bridge at bottom center).  The Tango boss is atop the building, still knocked down.

The Taliban at bottom left (red bead) rallies himself, while the remaining RPK gunner (bottom center) fires on Jonesy, missing.

While Corp scales the wall, coming face to face with the Taliban commander...

And finishing him off, with the just-rallied Tango rifleman peeking around the corner (top center) to see what the commotion's about.

Jonesy (bottom right) pops another grenade at the Talib RPK gunner (top left)...

But the round misses (bottom left), detonating harmlessly, while the RPK gunner (explosion at bottom center left) returns fire on Jonesy, knocking him down.

The Talib RPK gunner, having just knocked Jonesy down (off camera to bottom right), looks to move up and finish off Ginger (white bead at bottom center), so he moves up to the river (center left, explosion), but Corp (atop building at top right) spots him and fires, knocking him down!

With the RPK gunner (bottom left, white bead) down, the last remaining Talib that can act (top center) moves up and firs on Corp (atop the building)...

But he misses!  Corp is out of ammo, so he jumps off the roof, tackles the terrorist, and uses his combat knife to eliminate him!!!

Corp draws a deep breath, then bends over and collects the dead terrorist's weapon...

Which he uses to finish off the enemy RPK gunner.

Corp then falls back across the river to check on Ginger and the rest of his men.  The mission is to save the Pasha, but he'll be all right, Corp needs to check on his boys.

Reinforcements arrive, and once his men are seen to and the area policed up, Corp moves up to meet with Pasha Gul and his wife, who are overjoyed to have been saved from the Taliban.  A job well done, Corp and the rest of the Royal Marines return to their base, where Corp instantly collapses and sleeps like a dead man.

The butcher's bill is steep; the section has suffered its first fatality: Private "Nobby" Hayes will be returned to the UK and buried with full military honors.  But he's not the only loss; Private "Ginger" Holmes was severely injured.  Ginger took several rounds in his leg, which required amputation at the nearby field hospital.  He, too, is returned to the UK and medically discharged.  Remaining in theater, Gimlet was hit pretty bad in the thigh and looks to be out about a month (estimated return is 5 June 2011), while Knocker took a round in the hand and is out about a week (estimated return is 18 May 2011).  The Taliban suffered 11 killed in action, and have taken heavy casualties over the past week, but no one thinks they're done.

And for his incredible show of gallantry at Khowt Gin, Corporal Andy "Corp" Choudhry is awarded the Victoria Cross, and spot promoted to Sergeant.

Another fantastic fight, and yeah, sure, the ending was kind of sappy, but it's my version of a Hallmark moment ;)  The games have been great; with all the early problems I had, I can't believe I was able to pull out the win.  And I only cheated once; I let Corp fire, then move up and throw a grenade.  Technically, he should have only been able to fire or throw the grenade, but what the hell.  He was going all heroic, so who am I to hold him back?  After three games I can say the rules are working like a champ, no holes and nothing unbalanced.  Can't wait to play more.

So stay tuned.



  1. Excellent report, thanks for that. And tbf, it did sound like a VC-level of heroism...

  2. That is a great game report- a very hard fought battle.



  3. Looks to have been a great game. Love these AARs. A real adrenalin rush.

    Cheers, Andy

  4. Thanks fellas, I appreciate the kind words. Sorry, no Royal Marines games this weekend. Somehow this has turned into a painting weekend. But don't worry, I'll get back in the saddle soon! Part of it is for the Royal Marine fights; I have some 'proper' Taliban from Flytrap Factory, and I've just about got them finished.