Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Team Whiskey - Fulda Gap Batrep 6 Part I


It's 1230 on 6 August 1986, and Team Whiskey is in flux.  The Soviets have sent multiple columns forward, with V Corps having a decidedly hard time in determining which represent the main Soviet effort, largely due to the fact the Soviets have continually pressed forward with very strong (by US standards) reconnaissance elements, degraded US battlefield intelligence (due to casualties, Electronic Warfare by the Soviets, and the NBC environment), and the NATO focus on getting the German populace away from the contaminated areas.  To this end, the West German 5th Panzer Division charged and sacrificed itself, buying time for V Corps to rearrange its defenses and continue to evacuate the civilians.  Amongst this mess of civilians, friendly, and enemy vehicles and troops, Team Whiskey ended up pushing elements forward into Frankfurt am Main to counter an enemy armored formation moving into the urban area, threatening the evacuation.

Team Whiskey pushes forward Captain Keepers' Kilo Company, still under-strength, but only in existence due to the fact 11th ACR has collapsed 3rd and 4th Squadrons together to form one, retaining the name "Team Whiskey" as more of 4th Squadron's officers were still in the field.  Only two of Kilo's three platoons were ready for the fight, and even then they had no vehicles, and were supported by tanks of Lt Sorenson's 4th Tank Platoon, though only a couple tanks were able to make it in time for the fight.

The NATO situation with regards to making up for combat losses, as well as keeping up logistics to support what little is left, has gotten desperate.

The opposing forces, with Soviets on the left and US on the right.  As usual, a whole lot against not quite enough ;)  This is a positional defense game, with the US trying to block the Soviet axis of advance by retaining at least three of five key buildings, and the Soviets trying to take them.

The US force, centered around Kilo Company under Captain Keepers.  They have 1st and 2nd Mech Inf platoons, under Lt Ditteaux and a transplant from 3rd Sqdn, 11th ACR: Lt Rownnan.  The CO has an M577, while both platoon leaders have M-113s with .50 cal HMGs.  Then there are eight rifle teams, two MG teams, two TOW ATGM teams, four 81mm mortar tubes, and an AH-64 Apache.  Coming in a bit late will be two M1 Abrams of Lt Sorenson's 4th Tank Platoon.

The Soviets have four command teams with vehicles, 18 BMPs, 18 rifle teams, four T-72s, a ZSU-23/4 air defense vehicle, and three on-call fire missions from direct support 122mm SPGs (off table).

The table, looking west to east, with Soviet Mech 1 at far left on the road, with Mech 2 above them, then Soviet Tanks (which also have their ZSU and a command stand), then Mech 3.

Looking west to east at 2nd Platoon in the southwest: rifles in the bush (bottom left and top left), PC, TOW, and MG in the buildings at center.  Apache is at top right.

Looking west to east at US 1st Plt, spread west to east (bottom to top) in cover along the right side o the road at left.  You can see BMPs of Sov Mech 3 at top left.

Looking south to north from behind the US 1st Mech Plt at the Soviet right/US left.

And, south to north from behind US 2nd Mech Plt, at the Soviet left/US right.

Wow I took a lot of pics of the table set up...  North to south, looking at northeast corner, so Soviet left and center.

Looking north to south at the Soviet right. with no one (Soviet) west of the main north-south road (center).

A look from northwest to southeast at the Soviet Mech 1 (bottom left), with the crossroads at center right being the boundary between US 1st Mech Plt (top center-right) and US 2nd Mech Plt (off camera to bottom right), with both US platoons have a rifle team in the bush on the south side of the crossroads (top right).

On the far right, with BMPs of Soviet Mech 3 (top right) moving south near elements of US 1st Mech Plt (bottom left, center, bottom right), the call goes out: "Contact!!!"

The fight starts with a rifle team of 1st Mech Plt firing a LAW at a BMP of Soviet Mech 3, looking east to west at the far right side of the table.

I don't want to spoil this for ya, but this is how things went for me (please recall we're looking for 1s and 6s)...

The US rifle team breaks cover (center left, from bush at center right), trying to get behind the building at bottom left, but since they totally missed the enemy BMP (top right), it gets to return fire with full dice, and it guns the fleeing US troops down.

1st Mech Plt's TOW opens fire on Soviet Mech 3.

From opposite perspective, a BMP and its rifle team are knocked out.

The Soviets (top right, looking south to north) are unable to acquire the firing TOW, so they fall back out of sight (center left, blue bead, from orange-roofed building at center-top).  The rest of 1st Mech Plt goes on overwatch, waiting for the Soviets to close the distance, while Lt Ditteaux (look for the M-113 at center-right, next to the foliage, then follow the foliage up; there's a command stand at the top edge of that foliage, with a purple bead visible) rings the AH-64 Apache for a little help.

Looking south to north at the main north-south road, the Apache begins moving east in response to Lt Ditteaux's call.

The US helo (bottom left) pops up and acquires targets (across top half), while the Soviet air defense vehicle, the ZSU-23/4 (top center right) spots the Apache and opens fire...

But it misses, and the AH-64 fires a pair of Hellfires at Soviet Mech 3 (top right).

A BMP and rifle team are put out of the fight (top left), while two other BMPs kick out their rifle teams.

The Soviet infantry of Mech 3, having just dismounted, push forward, drawing react fire from the US 1st Mech Plt MG (bottom left), which misses (I've not had a lot of luck with US MGs).

The Soviet rifles return fire, pinning the US machine gun team.

Three more BMPs of Soviet Mech 3, including their company commander, push forward, pouring fire into the building containing the US MG, which is forced to fall back (top left, red bead).

As the Soviet Mech 3 company commander dismounts, he gets very lucky and spots a US 1st Mech Plt rifle team (top left), though he fails to spot Lt Ditteaux's command team (far left center, in bush).  The enemy commander fires, to no effect.

Looking east to west at the far right table edge, the rifles and BMPs of Mech 3 that already moved (center left) are joined by the last two BMPs of Mech 3 (center, black beads between two knocked out BMPs, with Soviet Tanks at center right).

Hmmm, kinda screwed up this photo: looking west to east at the US right (1st Mech Plt), Soviet Mech 2 (just off camera to left; not sure why I didn't put any of them in the photo) BMPs move up and fire on two US 1st Mech Plt rifle teams (center), putting heavy casualties on one (white bead amongst the four explosions at center), and forcing an unspotted US team to fall back (center, red bead, retreated out of building).

Looking north to south at the same area, now you can see how Soviet Mech 2's BMPs moved up and fired (US targets at north center, with main road just off camera to right).  Soviet Mech 2 kicks out half its infantry teams.

Just in time, Lt Ditteaux calls in the 81mm mortars (bottom right), who go to work on Soviet Mech 2 (top left, with Mech 3 at top center right).  The mortars only manage to pin two Soviet rifle teams...

Looking south to north, 2nd Mech Platoon's TOW (bottom left), with nothing else to do, launches a missile at Soviet Mech 2, across the main north-south road (with Mech 1 BMPs just visible on road to top center).

Somehow the US missile only manages to pin the target BMP, meaning he must have popped smoke, busted some crazy evasive action, and returned fire close enough to make the sissy-ass Army TOW gunner miss.  I only have two TOWs, so that really hurts.  One knocked out a BMP/rifle team, but didn't get negative morale effects (pin/hunker) on any other Soviet teams.  The other TOW didn't even knock anyone out, just pinned one BMP...

TOW2 falls back out of LOS on the US left.

Back on the US right, Captain Keepers hops in his M-577 and hauls butt up to a hunkering 1st Mech Plt rifle team (red bead at top, from purple bead at bottom left) and tries to rally them...

But the good Captain (top left) fails, and the rifle team falls back (red bead at left center).  At bottom right you see the 1st Plt TOW team (blue bead), a rifle team that has heavy casualties (white bead) at top center, the hunkered rifle team, and the US Company commander (top left).  The three pink beads mark the objective buildings on the US right side.

Looking north to south at Soviet center, with BMPs of Mech 2 at bottom left (including the one pinned vehicle from TOW2), Soviet Mech 1 moves up, pushing one platoon up the road (center), and another moving right (bottom right).  They don't spot anything (2nd Mech Plt at top right and top center, 1st Mech Plt at top left).

On the Soviet left (Mech 3 at bottom left, Mech 2 at bottom right), the Soviet Battalion Commander (bottom center) moves his BTR-50 up, dismounts, then moves into the building there, while the Soviet tanks push forward, firing on a US 1st Mech Plt rifle team (center) and Captain Keepers (center right).

The rifle team (top left) is knocked out, while Captain Keepers' vehicle (far left) is disabled and his command team is pinned (yellow bead).  There was a rifle team hunkering just above the helicopter, but the tank fire forced them to fall back again (red bead at bottom center).

That's the end of Turn 1.

Looking east to west at the far right side of the table, the Soviet CO (top right) marks targets (green bead atop building at top left) for his two direct support 2S1 (122mm self-propelled guns, off table), while infantry of Mech 3 push forward.  They discover Lt Ditteaux's command team lying in wait in the bush (far left), and so the Lt orders his men to fire, but they only manage to pin one enemy rifle team (yellow bead).

Lt Ditteaux is on the R/T with the battalion mortars, "Danger Close, say again, Danger Close!!!"

And the US mortars (bottom right) fire again, this time on infantry of the Soviet Mech 3 (top right).

But all they manage to do is pin a second team (yellow bead; Lt Ditteaux's men pinned the other one) and force a team to fall back (bottom center, red bead).  No kills...

The heat is on the US right, and so the AH-64 hangs around to make another pass, firing on the Soviet Mech 2 (top center, with enemy T-72s just right of them, Mech 3 off camera to right, and Mech 1 off camera to left).

The Soviet ZSU (bottom left) returns fire, but somehow misses a second time, while the results of Soviet casualties of the AH-64 come in, and they're not good: one BMP has its turret knocked out, but the crew remains in the vehicle (far right, red and white bead on BMP), another BMP is pinned (yellow bead), and a single enemy rifle team is forced to fall back (red bead at bottom center).

Two runs, and the Apache has only knocked out one BMP and one rifle team (which was in the BMP)...

While the Soviet artillery lands, causing heavy casualties on Lt Ditteaux's command team (white bead, far left) and pinning his M-113 crew (yellow bead, top left, with Capt Keepers' command team pinned at bottom right).

On the Soviet right (looking north to south), the Soviet Mech 1 pushes forward.  They run into a rifle team from 1st Mech Plt (far left, top left of crossroads) and a rifle team of 2nd Mech Plt (left center, top right of crossroads), which both open up with LAWs.

And I'm slipping, missed the photo of the rockets coming out...

But looking west to east, you can see the US rifle teams at top right, smiling over the wrecks of two BMPs (at crossroads), which cost the enemy a rifle team and a company commander.  A BMP was pinned (yellow bead), and a rifle team forced to fall back (top left, red bead).  But the BMPs further west (bottom center) kick their rifles out.

They open fire, missing the 1st Mech Plt team and pinning the 2nd Mech Plt team (yellow bead).

On the Soviet far left, the BMPs of Mech 3 move into action: one moves over to rally a hunkering rifle team (bottom center, red bead), but they fail.  At far left, a BMP moves up past the building, but doesn't spot the US MG team hunkering nearby, while another BMP pushes forward (top center left) and captures Lt Ditteaux and his command team.  Then the rear BMPs (bottom right) move forward...

Into the center, and fire on Captain Keepers' command team (top right)...

Causing heavy casualties.  That white puff on the M-577 is not smoke (though the vehicle is disabled), that's Captain Keepers' beard after six days without shaving...

Looking south to north at the US right, the US right side is collapsing; Capt Keepers (top left) tries to rally his command team, but they've taken too many casualties and melt away.  Last anyone saw, Captain Keepers went down swinging, .45 in hand...

That leaves a TOW that needs to be reloaded (center, blue bead), a pinned M-113 (center right, yellow bead), a hunkered MG team (top right, red bead), and a hunkered rifle team (bottom left, red bead).  There is actually one more rifle team at the crossroads, off camera to top left, but he's got his own problems with Soviet Mech 1 up there.

In any case, the TOW team, instead of reloading, decides to put more distance between itself and the encroaching enemy BMPs and infantry (spread across the top), so he sprints to the hunkered rifle team at bottom left and successfully rallies them.  The M-113 and MG team self rally, and are now in fighting shape.

While the rifle team, recently rallied, charges to the center (from bottom left, where the TOW team is sitting) and fires a LAW at a BMP.

Looking east to west at the same scene (US rifle at top left), the LAW destroys the targeted BMP (center, with US MG at bottom left).

In the Soviet center, Mech 2 is kind of a mess, so they set about rallying it back into fighting shape.

All infantry and BMPs are good to go but one rifle unit that failed and fell back (bottom center, red bead).  Please note there are three BMPs and two rifle teams without black beads; they have not activated yet (didn't need to rally).

So those BMPs push forward (crossroads is just off camera to right, US rifle team that knocked BMP out with LAW is at top center-left) and target the US 1st Mech Plt TOW team (top center, below the helicopter).

But somehow they totally miss!  The TOW team can't return fire as it's not loaded, so I let it move slightly to get behind cover (bottom left center).

And then, looking east to west at the Soviet center, the rifle teams of Soviet Mech 2 move up (left, crossroads just off camera to top left).

And then the Soviet tanks get in on the action: two T-72s dart left (left center), while the other two go straight up the middle, firing their main guns on the US rifle team in the building at top center (M-113 in bushes just to his left).

From opposite perspective, US rifle team is eliminated (building at center left), while the M-113 is forced to fall back and hunker (bottom right, red bead, with US MG at far right, black bead on edge of foliage, with Soviet BMP very close, and Soviet tanks about to come his way).  The TOW is off camera to left, but that's all that's left on the US right: the hunkered M-113, the TOW off camera, and the MG at far right).

Looking south to north on the US left (crossroads is just off camera to right), Lt Rownnan's M-113 (far left) pulls forward and opens fire with its M2 HMG, knocking out a BMP!  Finally some nice shooting!  MG is at bottom center, with TOW (unloaded, blue bead) just above it.

The US MG (bottom center) lays down fire while the TOW reloads for another shot.

The MG fire (MG at far right, looking west to east) drives back one enemy rifle team (far left, red bead), so Lt Rownnan, letting out a hearty yell, leads his men forward (he's at center, on road, with a rifle team just to his left, another at bottom left, and another that moved into the building he just departed at bottom center).  They open fire at close range on the enemy troops.

One enemy rifle team is knocked out (top right), one is pinned (yellow bead at center), and one takes heavy casualties (white bead at bottom left).

While things are going to hell on the right, things are looking up on the left.

And then, on the US left (reinforcing success), two tanks of Lt Sorenson's 4th Tank Platoon show up (bottom center left, with Soviet Mech 1 at top center/top right).

The two mighty Abrams push forward and fire on enemy BMPs.

And Turn 2 ends with some not-so fancy shooting: Lt Sorenson's round forces a BMP to fall back and hunker (red bead at far left, from center), while the other M1 manages to pin a BMP (yellow bead at center).  Nice shooting, @#%-holes...

Well, that's all for now kids, stay tuned for the stunning conclusion!