Tuesday, 8 January 2013

AAR - Retaking the Airport Gate

Major Heidi Clare visited the US Lieutenant early in the morning to reiterate the importance of his mission: the capture of the Malika City Airport.  He did not need a reminder, it was obvious, without the airport in UN hands Malika City would probably fall before UN reinforcements could land to the south east and push to relieve the city.  The Major emphasized the importance of the attack by supporting the attack with her only main battle tank, a Challenger II, which had just arrived in a transport convoy before the war started.

Mark went schizophrenic and played the insurgents (he commands the UN force in the campaign), while Kevin and Shane took the UN forces. It was a pleasant game with lots of jibes!

Turns: 6
Objective: Attacker must push the defender out of two thirds of the board measured from the attackers friendly edge.

UN Forces involved (ATTACKER):
US Infantry Platoon (INI8 TQ8 MOR10)
South African Infantry Platoon (INI8 TQ8 MOR8) Minus one infantry section
One Challenger II (INI8 TQ8 MOR10)
81mm Mortar Battery Support

Hotakistani and Haqiqa forces involved (DEFENDER):
Hotakistani Paratroopers (INI8 TQ8 MOR10) minus one infantry squad
Haqiqa Insurgents (INI6 TQ6 MOR12)
Ground Attack Fixed-Wing Aircraft (TQ8)
Sniper Team

The field of battle - The Malika City Airport Gate Area - View from the South
The plan was to relieve the UN defenders at the airport, who were starting to show signs of cracking under the strain.  The first bound of the plan was to retake the airport gate and administration complex.  The lieutenant had a full platoon of US Infantry and three quarters of a South African infantry platoon.  The only transport available was a dozen Jingly Trucks.  The troops mounted before dawn and drove towards the airport on the back roads.  Dismounting in the dark they approached the outer chain-link fence, cleared the mines and cut-back the razor wire.

Surprise was 100%.  The Hotakistani paratroopers were enjoying a stolen breakfast outside the main canteen building near the gate when the first US troops were spotted by the JTAC in the Customs and Excise building.  The US soldiers had cut through the outer wire fence and then proceeded through the fields within the security zone of the airport.  Using the ditches they were able to move to within 100 yards before they were spotted.

Meanwhile to the left of the US advance the South African's moved to outflank the Hotakistani's and approached the gate directly and from the south.
The US attack bumps into the Hotakistani Paratroopers who are enjoying breakfast "liberated" from the UN Canteen
Within moments of being discovered a fierce gun battle erupted.  The Hotakistani paratroopers had a field day with the US having to traverse open ground to get to the safety of the effluent filled drainage ditches.  A fire team of Hoatakistani's entered the canteen to deny the UN the building, however, they ran into the combined fire power of half the US force, and then fell to an assault.  The South African's had meantime arrived and engaged the paratroopers near the bunker, the South African GPMG gunner was hit, and would be wounded 5 more times before the day was out, but kept on fighting throughout the day.
A fierce fire fight erupts.
The US found they could not move without sustaining casualties, and as the US assaulted the canteen building and despatched the defenders a bomb dropped from an Hotakistani SU-25 Frogfoot.  The bomb all but demolished the buildings, and the more US soldiers were wounded.  The building began to collapse.
The firefight escalates, with the arrival of a captured T-55 and a Frogfoot dropping bombs danger close to the Hotakistani Paratroopers.
Before the T-55 caught do much damage the Challenger rumbled into the battle and without fan or fare destroyed the T-55.  The paratroopers had realised it was a no win situation and bailed out before the vehicle was destroyed.
Challenger destroys the T-55 while the canteen continues to collapse.
The first insurgents began to arrive, a technical with a ZPU-2 and a RPG tank hunter, after a few exchanges both were destroyed.  The RPG gunner fired his RPG into the front armour of the Challenger from behind a Land Rover, the man was peppered with the co-axial MG and he slumped to the ground, dead.
Meanwhile along the wall the Hotakistani's were beginning to suffer casualties, once they were suppressed, killed and wounded the US was able to advanced.  The Hotakistani's near the bunker now manned the bunker and it began to look like they were invincible.
The US assault the down paratroopers and finish them off.  Insurgents surprise the South African reading themselves to assault the bunker.
The bunker was suppressed and then covered in smoke by UN 81mm mortars.  The insurgent technical was then destroyed by the Challenger.  Just when the South African's were about to finish off the bunker they were surprised by insurgents, but lucky the insurgents seemed to have been trained in the Marx brothers school of insurgency, and failed to do much, initially.  Eventually reacting to the South African's they managed to kill two of the South Africans.  The Hotakistani JTAC continued to direct the SU-25 which hit the canteen building three times, resulting in the building collapsing further and wounding more Americans.  The JTAC was eventually neutralised by a US fire team which moved around the ruined canteen and brought fire to bear on the observer in the top storey of the Customs & Excise building.
The end - The bunker was down, the insurgent reinforcements were down.  The final insurgent Hoorah! is ended by the combined fire of the US, South Africans and tank.
Eight UN soldiers were killed and over a dozen wounded.  The Hotakistani's lost nearly every man except for the one team of snipers.  The South African's complained that the US had dropped a smoke grenade on their position resulting in a shift of fire from the US to the South Africans!

By the end of Turn 6 the UN had pushed the Hotakistani's off 2/3 of the board and had obtained 43VP. Nearly double that of the Hotakistanis.  So I decisive victory for the UN without losing 25VP

Fatigue: +1 for UN, +3 for Hotakistani forces

The tank was useful, but other than destroying the enemy vehicles was rather useless against the infantry.  The two attempts by the insurgents to destroy the tank with RPGs was laughed off by the Challenger's frontal armour.

Lessons applied:
1) Finally using suppression fire more often, though against MOR12 insurgents...
2) Finally using smoke!  Grenades, 60mm mortar and 81mm Mortar Battery

Lessons learnt too late (UN):
1) Failed to have a reserve to exploit their successes: Squandered Opportunity!
2) Air attack, no matter how pathetic the TQ, is always dangerous when it has a AP10 bomb!
3) The field was far more open than first assumed!  The US battled to move without taking hits

Figures used: Peter Pig for South Africans (using PP Israelis) and US Infantry, Eureka Miniatures Russians for the Hotakistani paratroopers, and a mix of sources for the insurgents.  Buildings homemade, or from Gamecraft (including the HESCO).  Utes by Peter Pig, other vehicles 1/87.  I believe the Challenger is QRF.  Pre-fab buildings are GZG.  Sand bag emplacements are Battlefront NZ.  The T-55 is Skytrex. And the Articulated Dump truck I believe is CAT.

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