Sunday, 23 June 2013

AAR - I thought this was the desert

When platoon sergeant Chanetelle [sic] looked through the VAB's window she wondered, "I thought this was the desert".  It was the desert, but a river in the desert.  The few local Malikastanis in the area eked out living on the fall of the river flood plain, between the canals and anastomosing channels.

In this "idyllic" spot a battle was to be fought over an abandoned UN bunker.  Why it became a central point of this battle is hard to understand, it had been built in the wrong place, pointing the wrong way and...well...that was actually it, less said about said bunker the better...okay I will shut-up about now [who controlled the bunker at the end of turn 8 received an extra 10VP]

Contact mission.  Both side enter from an edge.  10VP bonus for holding the bunker.  Treelines with bushes blocked LOS.  Vehicles could see over corn, but not men.
French entered from the left and the Hotakistanis from the east, the bunker is in the centre
The campaign info:
French unit BBX and Hotakistani unit AZ2 fought it out in Attack 1
Hotakistani Force
One Mechanised BMP platoon
One 4-barrelled 14.5 HMG

French Force
One Mechanised VAB platoon
120mm Mortar
Apache air support
155mm Heavy Artillery Battery
+1 DShift to Morale

Lieutentant M'karrakm ordered his men forward, his BMPs rumbled over the rough field and entered the orchards.  Some of his men had dismounted and walked-in.  The crew of the AA gun pushed their gun across the ploughed field.  No Franj to be seen.  That would soon change.
A BMP moves up, while the Hotakistani infantry move to the abandoned checkpoint
The French advanced cautiously, though more than half the force arrived late.  The French VABs were to suffer several bogs as they traversed the river, ditches and hedges.
A Ratel 20 subbing as a VAB
The French and Hotakistani's advanced through the fields with poor LOS to the enemy, eventually they made contact at spitting distance.  A French section reached the bunker, but fell back to the ditch when two BMPs approached the bush line.   That was the closest the French would get to the bunker.
Inevitably a VAB bogs in a drainage ditch.  The French see two BMPs move into position near the bunker.  The section in the centre fell back from the bunker under fire from a BMP.
The Hotakistani fire proved too heavy and the fire team went down, one dead and three seriously wounded.  Not a good start.
Hotakistani fire drops the lead French Fire team
The French bogged VAB was hit by a 73mm shell and was destroyed, the crew, however, bailed.  The French moved up a 300m fire team and fired on the BMPs, destroying one and causing the other to bail.  They, however, took two casualties.
The bogged VAB explodes, but the two BMPs are knocked out by AT-4
The French tried desperately to bring down artillery fire, but due to the proximity of the enemy to their troops they were always in "Dangerous Close" and on most occasions decided not to bring in fire.  Eventually they made contact with the Australian 155mm battery in Bahijindal and the first stonk arrived.  The Golden Holden took the first hit becoming a mangled mess of steel.  The other shells overshot the bunker but caused a few wounds.  Around this time Hotakistani Lieutenant M'karrakm felt through share willpower he would carry the day [random event: No Morale checks for the Lt and his attachment].  Blood would overcome steel!  He inspired his men in the bunker to withstand hellish fire throughout the French onslaught.  They would not give up the bunker until they were all dead or beyond medical help.
The first four 155mm shells land.  But Hotakistanis in the ditches and bunkers survive.
The 300m section falls under heavy fire, while the Hotakistani rush the French in the ruin.  
The Hotakistanis now charged across the narrow open ground and took cover in the drainage ditch near the ruin.  The French in the ruin knew they were in trouble, if the Hotakistanis assaulted the French stood little chance.  The French fired everything their had, but to no avail, the Hotakistanis fired back causing a few wounds.

The French now fell back to the first ditch and ordered an Apache in "danger close".  The Hotakistani's in the ruin were a hardy bunch.
Keeping low the Apache fires on the ruin.
The French overcame their fear of "danger close" and brought in a second stonk on the bunker.  The shells once more overshot the bunker, but did some damage to the infantry.  The rear BMP was also destroyed by French flanking through the orchards [the game was very close in points, but the bunker had become central as the +10VP would lead to an Hotakistani victory, the French now turned all their attention to the bunker]
The 2nd stonk (red circles) lands.
With the Hotakistani BMP down and their squad in the ditch adjacent to the bunker down the French could not move in at the bunker.  It became a slow attrition, the VAB moved up to the hedge and sprayed the bunker, a few Hotakistani's went down, and the RPG missed.  The second 300m fire team came up, but the last survivor in the bunker fired an RPG at them, knocking two down, the last Frenchman attacked with a AT-4, but could not touch the last man in the bunker.  A VAB that was flanking on the French left moved into LOS and downed the last man in the bunker from the rear.

Down to the wire! With the last man in the bunker down at the end of Turn 8 it was all over.  Instead of the Hotakistanis having 20VP vs. French 16VP, it ended then with 10VP for the Hotakistanis and 16VP for the French.

This was a hard, but fun, game.  The French had lots of support, but found it difficult to bring in the fire due to "danger close".  The large 7-man Hotakistani teams laid a lot of fire.  The French double AT-4 teams were hard-hitting as well, though they needed to replenish missiles from the VABs.  The French had more initiative dice, but I think in the end the two forces had an even amount of initiative.  Fun.

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