Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Team Whiskey - Fulda Gap Batrep 3 Part I


It's 0930 on 3 August 1986, and the Soviet 8th Guards Army is taking an operational pause, i.e., going over to the defensive temporarily, due to heavy casualties laid on by 11th ACR and 3rd Armored Division.  Of course, NATO forces are fairly beaten up as well, and air superiority, upon which so much of NATO's operational plans are dependent (to have close air support and middle-interdiction to off-set the Soviet advantage in men and material).  V Corps decides to take a gamble in its sector to help get its air support back on track.

The Soviets, largely due to the traffic jam ensuing in the wake of an unplanned operational pause (and which they are working on clearing up), have wound up with considerable air defense assets pushed far forward in Team Whiskey's sector.  And so V Corps has ordered Team Whiskey to conduct a local counterattack on 8th Guards Army forces, with the primary mission to identify and destroy Soviet air defense assets in the objective area, and the secondary mission being simply to punch Soviet armored elements in the mouth to help keep them off-balance.

Team Whiskey is launching its counterattack with both Mechanized Infantry Companies (India and Kilo), though only part of its Tank Company (Charlie) will take part.  Kilo has yet to see action, and so is still at nominal strength, while India (nearly destroyed in the previous two days' fighting), has been reconstituted in men and Infantry Fighting Vehicles.  The M2/3 Bradleys came from salvaged various maintenance areas, headquarters elements, and training units all over Europe, and maybe even some scrounged from other US units ("borrowed").  The men came are cooks, mechanics, clerks, and the sick, lame and lazy, with Team Whiskey cleaning out its rear echelon elements to man the ramparts (and it's only Day 3).  However, three of four of Team Whiskey's tank platoons have been detached for another mission, so only one platoon of Charlie Company's tanks will take part in this fight, though rotary attack units are available for support, as well as Team Whiskey's 81mm mortar section.  Also, once again, teams from 10th Special Forces Group are present as reconnaissance elements to help identify enemy defensive positions.

The opposing forces, with US on the right and Soviets on the left.  Being a counterattack, this is that rare game where the US outnumbers the Soviets.

The US has two companies of Mechanized Infantry (in Bradleys), a tank platoon (M1s), four command stands in an M-577 and M-113s, a mortar platoon of 4 x 81mm tubes, two 10th SFG teams, and an AH-64 Apache.

The Soviets have a reinforced tank platoon, eight rifle teams, four machine gun teams, four ATGMs (Spandrels), four 120mm mortars, four MANPAD SAMs, and four SA-9 Gaskin vehicle SAMs.  The Soviet infantry begins the game dug-in.

The table, with north being up, the US baseline at left (west), and the Soviet baseline at right (east).  You can see the Team Whiskey Mech Inf companies spread out at left, while the Soviets are spread across the board on the right.  The US SF teams are in the forest at top center left.

The US plan is to push ahead to get into the first 'band' of trees (center), dismount their infantry, then push for the second band.  The two SF Teams are charged with spotting the eight Soviet air defense units (four x Manpads, four x SA-9 vehicles), then relay that info to the armored elements to whack them, thus allowing the Apache to enter unmolested and help the Mech Infantry push to wipe out the Soviets on the board.  Following this, the US forces will fall back off the map via their own baseline.

For their part, the Soviets are seriously outnumbered but well prepared.  At bottom right they have some infantry with two MGs and two ATGMs, while in their center (in the second 'band' of trees) they have their remaining infantry and MGs, and the other two ATGMs, while their tanks are spread across the entire front.   Their plan is basically to punch at long distance with their tanks and ATGMs (while the US Bradleys are still loaded with infantry), then constantly displace to keep the Americans off-balance and keep them from being spotted and targeted by the overwhelming US numbers.

The table, looking west to east from behind the US baseline.  The two SF teams are in the forest at far left center, while India Company is at bottom center (atop a small rise) and Kilo is at bottom right, pushing hard for the first band of trees.

Another look at the US baseline, with Kilo at far right, India at far left, and the 81mm mortars deployed at bottom center.

In the north, the two US SF teams (far left center and far right top quarter).

The southeast corner, showing the Soviet set up in the bottom right corner.  Two ATGMs are at far left, with infantry in the center, a couple tanks at top right, an MG in the building and at center right, and Manpads at bottom right and next to the center tank.  The green beads are slit trenches (sorry, it's the best I could come up with).

Looking south to north at the Soviet center.  You can see two SA-9s at top right, rifles and MGs dug in, with two ATGMs at top left.

In the north, the Soviet right side.  The green beads that don't have infantry on them are pre-dug fall back positions.  The idea being, the US will have a hard time spotting dug-in infantry in the woods, so the Soviets rifles will wait until the US troops/vehicles are at point-blank range, open up, then fall back.

It wouldn't work out as planned...

Looking north to south at the top right (northeast) corner, where the Soviets have their mortars and two more SA-9s.

It's time for some fightin'.

The Americans start it off with their SF Team 1 (bottom right, looking down from north to south on the northeastern corner of the board) stealthily moving up and spotting an SA-9 (top left, next to the mortars, but only 1 of the two SAMs) and the two Manpads (center right, not dug-in).

A closer look (SF Tm1 at bottom right), with Manpads at top left.

Then SF Tm2 moves up (far right), and they spot the other two Manpads in the southeast (top center, this is looking north to south), but there are three SA-9s still out there unspotted, and even so it took some great rolls to spot the Manpads at top center.

A south to north look at the Soviet southeastern corner, where the two Manpads were somehow spotted (purple beads).

But then it was the Soviets turn, and they set about wreaking some havoc.

The Soviet ATGMs in the southeast (bottom right, looking SE to NW) launched their missiles at Bradleys of Kilo Company's 2nd Platoon...

Two US Infantry Fighting Vehicles, their crews, and their transported infantry were put out of the fight.  The Platoon Commander, Lt Webster, saw his vehicle fall back and hunker (red bead at top left).

And then the two Soviet ATGMs fell back (center right, with black beads, from the blue beads) before the stunned Americans could return fire.

Kilo's 1st Platoon (top right, under 1st Lt Ditteaux) and 3rd Platoon (center, under 2nd Lt Tinman) push ahead, but have no targets.  Team Whiskey's Executive Officer (XO), Major Kavscott, moves up and rallies Lt Webster's vehicle (bottom left).

But then Soviet tanks react to Kilo's movement.  In the southeast, a T-72 fires on a Kilo's 3rd Platoon (top left; please forgive the stuff at bottom left, which are forces that haven't come on the board yet...).

The 125mm round strikes the Bradley, achieving a mobility kill.  The rifle team and crew bail out.

While the other enemy tank in the southeast (far right) fired on Kilo's 1st Platoon (top left center, with K/2 and K/3 at top left).

Kilo's 1st Platoon also suffers a mobility kill, with crew and rifle bailing out.

And then Lt Webster moves hit Bradley (bottom left) forward and launches a TOW at one of the southeastern T-72s (top right)...

Another game of hot dice: in 5Core, 1s and 6s are money.

Retribution: the T-72 becomes a smoking hole in the ground, while the Manpad next to it is knocked out by the secondary explosions, an MG suffers heavy casualties (white bead at center left), and the Manpad at bottom right runs off the board!!!

At bottom left, Kilo's 3rd Platoon tries to spot the two fleeing ATGMs (top right), but fail...

Then the US mortars (bottom left) get going, raining death on the the two Manpads spotted by SF Tm1 (top right).  If this strikes you as strange, please recall that the priority mission for the US is to sweep away all Soviet air defense assets.  This will not only aid the AH-64 coming soon, but is the purpose of whole counterattack, the goal being to sweep a line for NATO Close Air Support and Medium Interdiction aircraft to be able to strike 8th Guards Army.

But it's not so great: one falls back (far left, red bead, next to T-72), while the other is pinned (center, yellow bead).

But then the norther Soviet ATGMs (center right) fire their missiles at Kilo's 1st Plt (far left)...

In foreground, there is a massive explosion which claims the lives of the crew and rifle team, while at center right the Brad is immobilized and the crew and rifle team bail out.  At center left is the M-113 of Kilo's Company Commander, Captain Keepers.  Don't just stand there, do something!  Did I make it clear your job is on the line???

Looking east to west at the Soviet center, these ATGMs also fall back before the US can respond (black beads at far left and bottom right, from the blue beads marking their firing positions).  Aside from Lt Webster's amazing TOW shot, things are going swimmingly for the Soviets: four ATGMs and two tanks have knocked out six Bradleys and a few rifle teams.

In the Soviet center (again looking east to west), their tanks maneuver forward, making great use of cover (nullifying US react fire ability), then cut loose at Kilo's remaining 2nd Platoon vehicle.  Only the far left has line of sight to fire.

And Lt Webster's Bradley (far right) explodes, taking the rifle team with it.

Kilo Company has been reduced to its Company Commander (in an M-113), 2 Bradleys, and five rifle teams, from one M-113, nine Brads, and nine rifle teams.

In the southeast, the Soviet commander there moves up and tries to rally the MG, but they remain 'men down.'

Having watched Kilo take the brunt of the enemy's defensive fires, India Company moves up.  At far left is their CO, Captain Phillips, leading 1st Platoon (under Captain Sighe) up in column.  In the center is Team Whiskey's CO, Lt Col Lacy, with India's 2nd Platoon (under Lt Ensmith), and at bottom center is India's 3rd Platoon, under Lt Macot.

Lt Ensmith's 2nd Platoon is able to spot enemy tanks in the center and launches two TOWs.

Scratch two tanks!

Moving the center tanks forward was a bit of a gamble, but the spotting rolls for 2nd Platoon were absolutely fantastic, so it was really just a bad break for the Soviets.

In the Soviet northeast, their commander (bottom left) moved over and rallied a Manpad SAM, while a rifle team (top center) made a miraculous spotting roll and ID'ed SF Tm 1.  The enemy opened fire but missed.

Hard to see as they're so spread out, but Kilo's infantry (two near orange building, one at bottom left) sprint ahead, trying to get to cover.

And that's the end of Turn 1.

Turn 2 starts in the Soviet southeast, where their two ATGMs (black beads at center and top center) move into their new firing positions, unspotted.  However, they both still need to spend a turn to reload.

Looking west to east at the US far left, Captain Phillips drives India's 1st Platoon (far left) forward, where they drop their rifle teams.  The lead Bradley fires its chain gun at a Soviet rifle team, but they're dug-in and suffer no ill effects (they were spotted by SF Tm1, but didn't have to relay as India's lead vehicle saw the enemy open fire on the SF team.

In the US center (I/1 at top left, I/3 at bottom right, and the remnants of Kilo at center right), India's 2nd Platoon pushes forward (top center, near orange building), and drops its infantry.

From the southeast, a T-72 (bottom right) react fires at them (top left).

The Bradley is knocked out, but the PC, Lt Ensmith, launches a TOW in return.

The anti-tank missile actually strikes the building, but it forces the T-72 (bottom right, red bead) and the MG (top center) to fall back and hunker (red beads).

On the American right, India's 3rd Platoon (bottom left) moves up, drawing react fire from a T-72 (top right), but it misses!  That's the first Soviet miss of the game (by a tank or ATGM).

I/3's targeted Bradley returns fire with a TOW.

And smokes the T-72 (top left).

The Soviets have now lost four of their five T-72s, with the last hunkering in the southeast, needing to be rallied.

Looking west to east, at bottom center the battered remnants of Kilo Company have re-organized themselves and skulk forward, unable to spot anything (that's an India/3rd Plt Brad at far left).

The US 81s (bottom left) again target the two Manpad SAMs in the north (top right).

The enemy SAM and commander at bottom right are knocked out, while the other SAM (far right, yellow bead) remains pinned.

Looking east to west at the Soviet center, they're two ATGMs there (blue beads), having reached their fall back positions last turn, hastily re-load.

And then tragedy strikes: India's 1st Platoon (top right) just dismounted its infantry, and they are still clumped together, getting organized).  The Soviet mortars (bottom left) are called in...

As I mentioned, 1s and 6s are what you're looking for.

One rifle team is knocked out, one suffers heavy casualties (center, white bead), one falls back and hunkers (top center, red bead), and two Bradleys are pinned (bottom center, yellow beads).

At far left, the Team's XO moves up, while Kilo's infantry move forward (top right, some off camera to top center and bottom right).

In the southeast, the Soviet commander there rallies the MG (bottom center, white bead), then moves right and rallies the hunkering T-72.

A shot of Kilo infantry and India 2nd Plt's infantry intermingled in the US center, but moving forward.  Just visible at top left is India's 1st Plt.

On far left, India's 1st Platoon rifles try to rally.  The 'men down' team (white bead) has suffered too many casualties and melts away, but the hunkering team (red bead) is good.  They are the only I/1 rifle team left.

Looking at the US center, SF Tm2 sprints right (center) looking to get into the orange building and continue spotting enemy elements.

And then I get a little too froggy: on the far left, I really want to get the enemy Manpad SAM eliminated (he's already pinned, just off camera to left), and I need to get the rest of the SA-9s spotted (off camera to top left), so I get pretty aggressive with SF Tm1 (bottom right).  They move up and fire at the enemy rifle team that spotted and fired on them previously.  The enemy team is eliminated, but please note the two enemy rifle teams above them...

They (center, far left) open fire on SF Tm1 (top right), putting them out of the fight (the pinned Manpad SAM is at center right with yellow bead).  Then the SAM rallies...

And then 1st Lt Travers' tanks come on, led by their Company Commander, Captain Lemmey (bottom left).

Capt Lemmey leads three tanks left (center left, behind all the knocked out Bradleys that are burning), while Lt Travers leads two right (bottom right).

Thus ends Turn 2.

Sorry everyone, I've got a ton of stuff going on in real life, and these batreps take a lot of time to write up (this fight has 145 pictures).  So please bear with me, more to follow as soon as possible.



  1. I can totally understand where you are coming from in terms of time commitment. Saying that, I look forward to the rest of the story.

    I will have to re-read the rules again, but I like that the ATGM units can fire and then fall back. Your AARs are making more and more sold on these rules.

    1. Chris,

      Yeah man, lots going on and these take quite a bit of time, so I thank everyone for their patience (not Kyote, of course).

      And 5Core is pretty much how I'm running everything now, from skirmish to battalion (and Brigade/Division if I ever find the time). I just love the friction and the simple movement/combat/morale. Please do understand that I've modified them some for Cold War, and I'm keeping notes. I'll talk to the author (Ivan) when I'm done with these ten games and see what he wants to do with them. If he's not interested, I'll just e-mail them to whomever is interested, or maybe hang them here on the blog.



  2. Thanks Jack, these reports are excellent. Really enjoying them.

    Cheers, Andy

    1. Andy,

      Hey, my pleasure man, and I'm glad you're liking them. I can't wait to see your Hannover game.


  3. So Kyote and I are on the table at last! I was curious as to spotting rules - Company Command has none but I note that you mention spotting (rules). One of the mods or something from the expansions?

    1. Yeah, and you two could have done better!

      I think spotting is in there somewhere, but I may have just made that up ;) I just break into 'bad' spots (the normal 1 and 6) and 'good' spots (reverse it).