Saturday, October 6, 2012

Operation Firefly - Mission 4: Combat Patrol

After my small Solo Adventure I finally received another order-mail from my friend and we were finally able to end this game, which had been dragging along since August...
I don´t know if it was the relatively boring mission or other circumstances that kept him from participating with more enthusiasm.

April 21 - 17:20.

Its late afternoon in the Lagashkar Valley. The sun is still blazing on this unusually hot spring-day. The soldiers of Alpha Platoon are already exhausted, but their command is neither able nor willing to give them a break. The entire day they´ve been patrolling the area on the southern side of the river, looking for influx of Taliban into the region that might threaten Mayasaf. Some unusual activities have been spotted and the troops have been put on alert.
This evening, more combat patrols are about to be sent out into the Greenzone to investigate the area and report any enemy activity back to the HQ.
One of these groups is Alpha 2, one of the Squads from Alpha-Platoon stationed in the area. Their route has already taken them along a farmroad through clusters small settlements and farming compounds. They´re halfway back to base when they suddenly come under fire - it´s only light rifle fire, cracking through the vegetation from one of the treelines, but it means trouble. After a brief consultation with HQ, Alpha 2 is ordered to push towards the enemy position to get a better picture of their numbers and enemy activity in the area.
Their advance behind the treeline leads them towards a number of compounds surrounded by fields. The enemy is probably hiding somewhere here.
"Your task is to conduct a combat patrol to assess enemy numbers and their organisation to prepare further steps. Don´t get bogged down into heavy fighting - and, as usual, don´t harm any civilians. Gather information and get back to base safely!"
-Suffer no KIA
-Assess enemy numbers (Points awarded for every 2 enemy units sucessfully spotted & PIDed by your soldiers)
-Investigate and mark enemy infrastructure  (Points awarded for every Hot-Spot discovered - destruction is not necessary)
Your Forces:
1x US Infantry Squad

Additional assets requested:
1x medium mortar battery, callsign Wormtooth.

The Area
This mission takes place in the greenzone-sector 3 of our campaign map (Look here for more information). With two insurgency cells and two squads in the area, the area is pretty much dominated by the US troops. So they are out sweep this small farming area behind the treeline to gather intel on the enemy.

As Taliban player, my task is to prevent the US Teams from advancing too far (which enables them to discover more Hot Spots) while on the other hand keeping my units hidden from him (as he will get victory points for units that are discovered). That way, I decided to play rather defensively, keeping the troops hidden as long as the US troops don´t get close to my Hot Spots [Spoiler warning - only read this if you want to know where the Hot Spots areHot Spot locations are at: B4, F6, C9, J8 and H11 according to the map-grid

Turn 1

Orders for Turn 1
"Maaan, its soo hot!"
"Stop whining, Jackson!"
"Heh, Welcome to hell..." 
"Enough, lets get rollin´!  Cpl. Fricks, your team will secure the compound to our right, while we provide cover. Let´s get some smoke on the road to protect us from potential sniper fire from further down the road. Any questions? Okay, then get to work!"
"Wormtooth, this is Alpha 2. We need a smokescreen at grid 041-302."
"Roger that, Alpha. We´re checking your coordinates."
"Load is on the way!" 
Smokescreen from the Mortar Support
 Turn 2
 No orders-picture for Turn 2, as it doesn´t reflect what finally happened. Team Blue move towards the white house, while Team Red asks for more smoke but fails its request. Nothing dramatic and not worth the pictures or the space ;)
Turn 3

Turn 3 - Orders
Without the cover of smoke, Blue makes its entry into the building while red stays on overwatch. Nothing happens though, until...

"Sarge, I got something! Looks like a plastic bag or something..."
"Careful guys! I want a positive ID on that thing before anyone gets closer to it."
A strange plastic bag is deposited next to the building...
"Jackson, give me an assessment of th...."

"Sarge, that looks like a bag full of weapons. RPGs, AKs... even some old M16s."
"Well, here we go... that´s what we´re looking for!" 
So that´s it for my first Hot-Spot. But at this pace, I´m very confident that I can protect the other places, as they are hidden and dispersed. 

Turn 4

This was the plan - but Red is only allowed a Tactical Move when leaving Buildings! They get to the edge of the field
After the fire died down, Team Blue was kept on the lookout while red began to advance into the courtyard. 

Turn 5

Orders for Turn 5

Team Blue advances under the cover of smoke grenades

Team Blue conceiled by smoke

As does Team Red.

Somewhere along their path towards the house, bullets crack through the air. Someone is shooting from the compound! The soldiers quickly put some rounds into the windows before the full weight of the enemy firepower comes to bear. A young Talib with twitchy trigger-finger has spoiled the ambush his group has set up. Now, the Mujs hunker down and try not to get hit, unable to lay down effective fire on the US Soldiers that are moving closer. 

Team Red detects an ambush!

Two Taliban are killed and the rest is pinned!

Turn 6

No orders picture for this turn, but here are the instructions:

"Blue conceals itself with smoke, while ordering the mortar to fire upon the building containing the hostile forces. The squad will then proceed to secure or destroy the weapon cache near the house.

Meanwhile, Red is put on Overwatch. Use smoke if possible."

Both Blue and Red determine that it might be wiser to save some smoke grenades for later.

Mortars are ranging in on the enemy position!

As Blue calls in the Mortar Battery, shells begin raining on the house. The shells strike dangerously close to the position of Team Red, filling the air with deadly shrapnel. Fortunately, noone is hit by friendly fire, but neither does the strike seem to have any effect on the Taliban in the building. After watching the show, Blue moves back to the weapon cache to secure it. 
Team Blue securing the bag full of weapons

Meanwhile, Red is still locked in a firefight. Though they kill several enemies that have resumd their attacks from the houes after the barrage ended, the resistance is fierce. One of the US Soldiers is hit by incoming fire and the Team decides that they are too exposed, retreating behind the nearby rocks.
Bad defense die...
... causing a casualty and a run for cover
Fortunately, the wounded soldier is still combat effective, though he´ll definitely require treatment once back at base. 

"Don´t worry, it´s just a fleshwound!"

On the upside, a casualty transport is organised, which spares the team the long walk home.
With more time available you could continue the mission longer than expected before retreating or abort the patrol and head to the rendevous.
"Abort mission, I repeat: abort mission. Disengage and establish a secure perimeter until the relief arrives. Secure the weapon cache and disable it, if necessary" 

Roger that! Securing perimeter and waiting for evac.
Mission Accomplished.
-Suffer no KIA  (5 VP)
-Per Hot Spot discovered (2 VP)  x1
-Per 2 Units spotted & PIDed (1 VP) x1
Total: 8 VP
-Conceil at least 3 Hot Spots from the enemy (5)
-Per enemy KIA (3)
-Per wounded American Soldier (2) x1
Total: 7 VP
Score:  8:7
COIN generated:   2
COIN expended:  3 (Medium Mortar)
Net COIN Loss:  -1
Total COIN score: 74-1 = 73
Though the patrol was able to detect the enemy in the area, information about their numbers and organisation remain sparse. The patrol was not able to disrupt the enemy presence in the area in a significant way. However, the combat experience of your troops indicates that they were up against disciplined fighters and more resistance might flare up in the area if the enemy is left to organise himself.

Soo - we´re back on the campaign map for the next turn! Stay tuned for the next turn!


  1. Nice game, and blog! I only do plastic 20mm but still appriciate your figures, they look nice! Good work.