Monday, 10 June 2013

AAR - The battle for Budgy Smuggler Hill

The hills real name was Bahijindal Hill, but to the Aussies dug-in on the low rise it became known as Budgy Smuggler Hill.  If the Hotakistani's had known what a Budgy Smuggler was, they may have nodded in agreement, as the three spurs did have a passing resemblance to said smuggler from down in the valley.

The battle started a week before when the now deceased Heidi Clare ordered that the units at FOB Jifa move ASAP to Malika City.  Australian infantry, artillery and armour headed north, joined by a Malikastani tank platoon and a newly arrived UN AA platoon.  The Hotakistani's were hot on the heels of the UN force.  The Australian commander decided it prudent to take up a defensive position and blunt the northward thrust of the Hotakistani's.  He selected Budgy Smuggler Hill.
Khurasan's new M1 Abrams get their first day out
The double bridge at the little MANPOL checkpoint seemed an ideal defensive position, but the Hotakistani's had already crossed the Bahijandal stream to the east.  Below the Aussie and Malikastani position were two hamlets, one to the east, the larger of the two and the outskirts of the second on the western approach.
A platoon of T-80's approach Bahijandal Hill
The Australians and Malikastani's did not have long to wait, the hum and clank of armour soon could be heard.  From within the hamlet they could hear Hotakistani troops organizing themselves and moving forward.
Hotakistani infantry dismount from the T-55 to the east
To the west the T-80 column became a tad overzealous and moved forward to engage the dug-in tanks.  This proved to be an unwise move and they should have waited for the east column to engage.  The lead T-80 was destroyed by an Abrams, the second had its exposed commander killed when a 120mm AP shell destroyed the tanks barrel.  A third T-80s engine caught fire when hit by a 155mm artillery shell.  A fourth T-80 which tried to move forward got stuck on a wreck of an IED victim.
Burning T-80s
Meanwhile to the west the Hotakistani;s moved carefully through the abandoned hamlet.  The infantry commander on the Hotaki infantry climbed on the roof on a building to find a clear view to an Abrams and a T-55.  He soon was on the radio to the rear and was able to call in a barrage of 220mm rockets.  The rockets were to prove an ongoing threat to the Australians and Malikans.
Hotakistani infantry moving forward with tanks in support
Eventually the western column started to engage the Australians and Malikastanis.  A combination of RPGs, T-55 and artillery fire was able to wear down  the western defenders.  The last surviving T-80 saw its chance and drove forward firing at a Abrams which had just been hit by artillery (and unfortunately the Abrams had suffered a friendly fire incident which had damaged its optics).  The T-80 slammed a 125mm APFSDS-T into the hull-down abrams setting it on fire.  The crew bailed, smoking but largely unhurt.
A very rare sight - a burning Abrams and a non-burning T-80
The Fickle Finger of Fate pointing to the FUP
The T-55s now bravely engaged the defenders, losing one of their number.  Another rocket artillery barrage landed on the hill inflicting casualties on the Australian infantry.
The Hotakistanis continued to trade fire with the defenders and slowly pushed forward.  Eventually getting into charge range, a team of Hotakistani's followed a barrage and charged into the Australian infantry position.  The Hotakistanis found the Australians either dead or dying, but before they could do anything a 120mm HE shell exploded in the position fired by an Australian Abrams.  No one knows if the Australian infantry were already dead or not, but the footage of the moment ended up on Australian TV and was received very poorly [random event card].
And then the wind came up from the west and with it the sand.  Visibility across the battlefield reduced to very close range.
A dust storm blows in.
Only the best optics could see through the dust.

Hotakistanis moving up to a T-55 (sub'd with a Cromwell)  This was the last hurrah 

With the heavy tank losses and the dust storm the Hotakistanis called it a day, they would fall back to lick their wounds and attack again, this time possible with air support.

The Hotakistanis had lost five tanks and had another two damaged and abandoned in no-mans's land.  The Australians had lost one tank and two damaged.  The Hotakistani infantry had suffered several casualties.  Surprisingly few casualties for such a hard battle.

After the battle the Australian tankers painted little blue budgy's on their tanks to the amusement of their Malikastani allies.  They asked what was so scary about a small bird.  The Australian tanker began to explain but then decided that it would be too difficult, "In Australia the Prime Minister's personal budgy smuggler has caused much fear!"  The Malikastani commander nodded, and wandered off shaking his head, he mused that he would never understand westerners.  In Malikastan the president's brother was a smuggler, in Australia the Prime Minister himself was a smuggler!

Australian/Malikastani Victory - 33 VP (Malikastani: 14VP?)

Lessons Learnt:
1) Me again!  I commanded the east flank attack and should have waited for the west flank attack to mature before heading in so hard.
2) Abrams and Challengers are the king of the battlefield, with hard-hitter and Death-trap targets combo and the extreme armour they are a nasty beast.  This was the first Challenger/Abrams destroyed in the whole campaign!
3) We rolled more 1s in reaction tests than in 2-3 games!  Best-laid plans are foiled by the fickle finger of fate!
4) Instead of firing HE the rockets should have fired smoke barrages!

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