Sunday, 13 January 2013

AAR - Ambush at Bab al Harra

View of the British positions from the Hotakistani viewpoint

From his position on the low rise between the houses, Sergeant Limbrick peered across the shallow valley in front of him.  The stream bed was mostly dry, small pools of crystal blue water indicating where it would run when the rains came.  The beautiful azure water never ceased to amaze the Sergeant, it seemed to be an intrusion on this stark and dry land.  A few semi-ruined buildings stood on the other side, scattered around the empty fields; the civilians had fled the area months before, when fighting between UN forces and the insurgents around Patrol Base 55 had grown too intense.  Then, the enemy had been hard to find, and avoided stand up fights; today, however, would be different.  As it had been a week ago when an Hotaki armoured column had tried to force its way through the British mechanized infantry screen, the arrival of the Challenger's had been decisive.

He had been observing an approaching dust cloud for the last half hour, its source hidden by the undulating ground - but he knew from the increasing clattering noise that it was enemy tanks moving up.  The Hotakis had overrun everything in their path since their sudden strike over the border, and the only thing that stood between them and FOB Breakbone was this small force of Brits dug in on the ridge.  This would be the second thrust at the British line in a week.  The British had one major advantage - although the Hotakis outnumbered them and had air superiority, the British forces were carefully concealed and would be able to strike the first blows.  In a newly built bunker in front of his tank a team of infantry brewed tea.  One of the troopers was about to bring him a mug of tea.
The bad start to a bad beginning, the first T-72 burns, while the religious commissar exhorts the crew of the third T-72.
As the first of the Hotaki tanks came in sight, Limbrick barked an order; the turret of his Challenger II tank traversed slightly, and then recoiled as the 120mm round left the gun.  Tea would have to wait. There was virtually no delay before the T-72 exploded; Limbrick wasted no time, instantly scanning for more targets; another T-72 nosed around a building, but quickly reversed out of sight, its commander suddenly aware of the threat in front of it.  Over the intercom, Limbrick could hear his platoon commander, Lieutenant Howard, engaging a hull-down Hotaki tank to his right; Corporal Hills was also reporting a contact.  From the building to his left, a Javelin missile arced out over the valley. The infantry supporting his tank were also opening up with AT-4's and LAW's, targeting enemy that he couldn't see.  Suddenly, a shot struck the front of his tank, and ricocheted away - the cautious T-72 had re-emerged when he had been distracted; his gun was, however, still laid on to where it now stood, and seconds later it, too, burned.  'Two out of two', he thought, and hunted for more targets.

'Bravo Two, Bravo Two. Infantry report hostile eight o'clock, your position. Engage and destroy'.

Limbrick's Rampage.
Limbrick guided his driver into reverse, and then to the left of his original position. Only then did he notice that the building next to him was burning, and 'his' infantry dragging their wounded to the rear.  A Warrior IFV was also on fire, its rear hatch hanging open.  As the Challenger moved up, a T-55 appeared through the smoke; Limbrick's gun recoiled again, and the Hotaki was no longer a threat.  Limbrick noticed the crew bail out, all of them wounded, some still on fire.  He ordered the tank around the corner of the building, and was surprised to see another T-55 on fire - but not as surprised as the crew of that tank, who instantly surrendered to him.  A third T-55 was a smoking ruin in the stream bed. Artillery rounds from the FOB were dropping on a compound to his right, but it was clear that the Hotaki attack had failed, and the survivors were falling back in disorder. The brief battle was over; however, Limbrick suspected it wouldn't be the last, and that it would be some time before he and his colleagues would be able to return home from this hostile land.
"It's not the end of the beginning, it is the end of the end!"
The Hotakistani's had sent in a mass of tanks, with no infantry support except for some dispirited militia.  The plan was to smash the British position with two rocket batteries and fighter-bombers.  But throughout the fight not a single Hotakistani observer or commander was given the opportunity to bring in fire. Once again the Hotakistani's have found their tanks not to be up to frontally taking on British tanks.

Decisive Victory to the UN
British casualties - 2 dead, 8 wounded; 1 Warrior IFV destroyed.
Hotaki casualties - 4 captured, 3 dead, 12 MIA presumed dead; 3 T-72's and 3 T-55's destroyed.

Mark and Shane took the British, while Mark and Kevin took the Hotakistani's.  We played at a balmy 33°C (feels like 36°C) at the club.

Mini's: T-55's a mix of Peter Pig and Skytrex.  Challengers are QRF (I think).

No comments:

Post a Comment