Monday, June 24, 2013

Operation Firefly - Mission 9: Death Valley

EDIT: I´ve just noticed that there´s an error in the numbering - its been battle no 9, not 10. 

Its been a while since I´ve published my last Campaign Battlereport and frankly, I´m not sure anyone of you even remembers anymore how the strategic situation on the campaign map looks. So, to recap on what has happened so far: 

Battles happening in El Qualed, the Hydroelectric dam and in remote greenzone areas along the river.
 US Forces have advanced into the valley after capturing Mayasaf, making headway into Mul Qasr and El Qualeed. Due to several setbacks and Taliban successes, the Insurgents gained lots of popular support and have been raising forces all over the valley to resist the Americans. So far, the loses of American personell have not raised too much public outrage, though questions are beginning to be raised by the Military how a remote little valley has become the graveyard for so many US Soldiers.

The next operation is aimed at capturing the Hydroelectric Dam to secure the power supply of the city and prevent any mishaps...


At the southwestern expanse of the valley, cramped between the slopes of two mounteains, lies the hydroelectric powerplant that provides the district capital with electric energy. Built in the middle of the last century funded by foreign aid, the technology is still ready to go for a few decades, though lacking maintainance has put a strain on the turbines. However, being the single powerplant supplying the city with energy, it is one of the most important facilities in the valley, for shutting down the plant means shutting down the city.
So far, the Taliban have been in control of both the city and the plant, but with US Forces advancing into the capital, control of the plant has to be secured in order to win the hearts and minds of the people.
However, Senior Taliban Leaders have recently announced that the infidel invaders shall never control the plant. Rather, they claimed, they´d blow up the machinery or even the entire dam and flood the southern half of the valley. Though Intelligence dismissed the latter claim as propagandistic threat - as the Taliban would prefer not to threaten the Opium yield and the lives of thousands of potential supporters – intelligence has obtained alarming information. As of late, Taliban have been gathering enormous amounts of explosives in the vicinity of the dam. Some Intelligence analysts theorize that maybe a radical, hardcore Taliban group is organizing around the dam, a group that does consider the potential damage of blowing up the dam worth the ends of expelling the foreigners out of the country.
In any case, before the final attack on the dam can be conducted, the Taliban ordnance must be found and destroyed. Our Intelligence has already narrowed down the approximate location of the explosives, it is likely hidden within a narrow, sparsely populated valley. Search the area, destroy the explosives and proceed to take the dam!
Mission Objectives:
-Find and Destroy the Weapon Caches. (3 caches   x 5 VP)
Deployed Forces:
2x US  Infantry Squad
1x unarmed UAV (aerial reconaissance)

Another Note - We´re playing with some modifications on Force on Force, which leads to different results of the game. Units are pinned (as in unable to move) easier than in standard FoF, insurgent mobs are no longer more powerful than multiple smaller groups and flanking actually hurts the troops. The Houserules are aimed at properly depicting the FFFF-Principles of Modern Warfare. Find-Fix-Flank-Finish. Isolated Troops are killed off easily, as we´re about to see...

Turn 1

Overview of the Battlefield - US Forces start south and have to sweep the valley for Weapon Caches

The US troops are deployed on the southern part of the map, deploying one team on Overwatch to cover the movement of the other elements. 

Team Blue stumbles into a Cache - Contacts are spotted on the ridge of the hill!

Searching the first house, Team Blue immediately stumbles upon a Weapon Cache. Happy about their early success, they prepare to blow it up, which will take them one turn. Red moves along the ditch between the two hills and observes contacts moving along the hill, who are pulling back out of sight.

Turn 2

Team Red comes under fire from unknown contacts in front of them, hiding behind a formation of rocks. One soldier is hit, the team deploys smoke and advances towards the compound to treat their wounded. 

Movement along the hill

Team Red under fire and pinned down behind a smokescreen

On the other side of the Map, Green and Yellow do not encounter any enemies.

Turn 3
 [Sorry, no Overview / Orders-Picture -  Blue advances onto the hill to attack the Taliban who are still firing at Red. Yellow advances towards the compound, Green tries to breach the compound on the right side of the map ]
Checking on their wounded, Team Red finds their buddy dead. Team Blue advances into the enemy flank, while Red attemps to retreat into the compound under the cover of smoke
Blue move into position to fire into the enemies flank...
Red moves into the compound, but finds no cache - Taliban pull back from blue, but get suppressed by Reds Fire.
Green attacks a Taliban Cell hiding in the irrigation ditch...
...but are subsequently attacked by a second group from the fields, taking a casualty.

A large group of hostiles move back up the mountain and open fire on blue, who are fortunate enough to spot the flanking move in time to prepare for it. They shoot three Taliban, but one of the remaining enemies tosses a grenade down into Blues covered position. The fragmentation causes two casualties among the team...

Turn 4

[Again, no Orders Pic]
Blue checks their wounded and has one Serious injury and one lightly wounded to take care of.
Yellows casualty is found to be lightly wounded, easily patched up and ready to go.
Red leaves the compound and advances  into enemy territory after silencing the two Taliban hidden by the rocks.

Blue suffers another casualty in the firefight with the Taliban at the hilltop.

Green breaches into the compound! But no weapon cache is found...

Yellow splits fire between the surviving Taliban in the ditch (two got back on their feet) and the enemies in the field.

Turn 5

The US Troops lose initiative and are forced to react.

Red suppresses an enemy group in the treeline ahead, killing several enemies in the process.
Blue is attacked into the flank by a small group with an RPG...
Due to its superior training, Team Blue is able to spot the movement in the field before they are able to lay down significant fire. They identify them as hostile and open fire, killing one of them. A badly aimed RPG swooshes in, but explodes on the rocks nearby without doing damage. The US team takes no casualties, but hunkers down and is unable to move off the spot.
Meanwhile, Team Red receives aimed Rifle fire from its flank, pinning them down along the wall. It takes a while until they spot the single surviving taliban in the rocks that takes shots at them, but they finally manage to take him out by a serious barrage
While fighting off the Taliban push, Blufor continues to advance on the right flank,  where things are more silent... up to now. Green checks the second building in the compound, Yellow advances into the field to shoot at enemies on the hill far north.

Turn 6

Order pic again - yay!
Red continues to push forward, Blue advances to the hilltop, attempting to charge enemy fighters. However, as they are not pinned in position, the Insurgents simply retreat from the charging forces and take a new position further down the hill. Taking cover behind the rocks at their new position, Team Blue spots a small tunnel entrance...

On the other side of the battlefield, team Yellow runs into serious trouble as they are advancing out of the field, into the firing zone of Taliban inside the compound up ahead. Two Soldiers are shot, a hasty smokescreen is deployed....

....but suddely, more Taliban troops emerge from the fields and start shooting into the flank.

Turn 7-9

Trying to disengage and retreat from their perilous situation fails, as Team red is pinned down by more fire. Two soldiers are by now seriously wounded, and one by one, the Insurgents pick the remaining soldiers off. Slowly the gunfire ceases over the field...

Later, after driving off Taliban forces in a struggle against the clock, Team Green finally reaches the fields... 

...finding only one survivor, critically wounded. 

In the meantime, Team Blue is still engaged in the battle with two small Taliban cells who have surrounded them. In the firefight, another soldier of Team Blue is shot dead. Subsequently, Blue disengages and retreats into the house where they found the first cache.

Team Red - after paying a visit to the house (finding no cache) - tries to cross the open ground, but gets shot to pieces from two directions after reaching the pickup:

In a final attempt to neutralize a second cache, Team Green attempts a close assault against the enemies in the white compound ahead. The Taliban simply evade again, as there´s nothing worthwile to defend in the building. 


After that, as time and ressources where exhausted, we called off the game with a Taliban victory. 
The US Forces lost half of their squads, suffering a total of: 
- 6 KIA 
-4 Seriously Wounded
-1 Light Wounded
On the upside (if there is any) the Taliban also lost most of their available forces - six teams count as destroyed, which equates to four cells on the campaign map. The entire Taliban presence on the dam is thus gone, disorganised and dispersed.
 However, the War Exhaustion has now significantly risen, as newsreport about 10 dead and critically wounded are appearing in the newspapers... 
Unfortunately, part of the disaster was the timelimit, which was set much too low for the distribution of objectives (both undetected caches where in the far north of the map) and not accomodated to our houserules, which extend the game somewhat. Under pressure to find the caches, the US troops where dispersed too much and subsequently picked apart by the Insurgents. So now we´re working on some method to adapt scenario time limits... which is why the next repot might take some more time! 
So far, so good. More sculpting coming soon!

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