Dead1 and I recently played a mission where his Aussie relief column had to make it through a village infested with Evil Taliban. However the story that unfolded was a tragic one with the Australian troops mostly being blown up. You can read all about it here.
As is the usual case when Dead1 and I play Force on Force, we generally organise a rematch of a scenario but swap sides. So let us see how things pan out for the Australians this time!
You'll see some new props - terrain I recently got via S&S Models and painted up, including the shot up HiAce, the skips, assorted crates and a shipping container! Great service from S&S Models and most of the items were cast well.
A note about the terrain placement - we replaced the hill near the jingle truck with more buildings. The map on the photos has not been updated to reflect this.
PRE-GAME THOUGHTS BY CAILUS
Dead1's push through the village was slow and this is not a mistake I want to repeat.
Most likely the initial mine strike will see the Bushmaster in flames (unlike our last game where the mine failed dismally). They will need to mash in one of the ASLAVs with haste. If it survives however, I will activate it last and hopefully by then the Taliban have reacted elsewhere or are pinned.
With only eight turns to get all my units to the exit zone, the convoy will need to be on the constant tactical move. I could move the column off the road and around a flank but I won't simply because it's not in the spirit of the mission!
If I lose the initiative in later, my reactions will still focus on moving.
Any fire on the Taliban will be concentrated fire in an attempt to destroy their units in the hope of reaping a few additional VP.
The rest is in the hands of Lady Luck.
AUSTRALIAN FORCE COMPOSITION
Australian forces are well-supplied and have high confidence (TQ D8 / Morale D10)
2xInfantry Sections of an NCO and two three- man fire teams (1x F88 Austeyr, 1x F89 Minimi, 1xF88 GLA)
TALIBAN FORCE COMPOSITION
All Taliban forces are Local. They have normal supply and have high confidence (TQ D6 / Morale D8)
3 identical groups with a Leader & Group of 9 (1xRPK, 1xRPG, 7xAKs)
1 x Heavy Mortar team with Spotters
The Taliban set up as described in the scenario and we agreed that they should get the same asset of heavy mortars that they got in the previous game. The only difference was that they didn't get a DsHK Machine Gun team. On further review after the game I think Dead1 may have forgotten to deploy this for whatever reason!
However the free mine strike on the Bushmaster was successful and blew it up before the game even started but thankfully for the Australians, the two crew members survived without any harm.
The Australians started with the initiative.
TURN 1 - THE PUSH
The Bushmaster crew embarked into the rearmost ASLAV 2. Because of this the vehicle would not be able to move but could still provide overwatch. Both ASLAVs concentrated fire on the Taliban team by Hot Spot 4. The insurgents couldn't get into the cover of the Scrap Yard building fast enough and were cut down by the impressive firepower. Only four of the ten remained.
The Taliban by Hot Spot 3 took positions within the Compound. The RPG gunner tried to hit ASLAV 1 but reactive fire by both IFV first caused three casualties. In return, the Taliban with the RPG failed to score a hit.
Elsewhere the mortar spotter advanced into the Spotter's Building, which gave him a good field of vision along the road.
The Taliban near Hot Spot 1 slowly pushed their way through the woods and were reinforced by half a dozen of insurgents.
TURN 2 - A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY
The Australians sought to continue a constant drive forward, so no units went on overwatch.
ASLAV 1 declared a Move & Fire order with the Taliban in the compound as their target. The Taliban unit decided to react fire but on the subsequent Opposed Reaction Test the Australians won. This meant that the Australians would move and fire first and if any Taliban survived (and passed their Morale Test), they would be able to return fire.
Having rolled a "1" on for the Reaction Test, Dead1 gained a Fog of War card, one he did not need to declare and thus one that could hamper the Australian forces in the future.
The ASLAV's cannon and MG fire was not hugely effective and only caused a couple of casualties. The survivors held their resolve and then Dead1 cackled as he unleashed the Fog of War card he had received moments before - "The Golden BB". This card automatically destroys a vehicle with no rolls required!
ASLAV 1 blew up but as the Australians bailed out of the wrecked vehicle, they were extremely fortunate that only one member of a Fire Team appeared to be wounded! They were however pinned, unsurprisingly.
ASLAV 2 advanced forward reaching the Scrap Yard and with another nearby Taliban team armed with an RPG on its immediate flank, proceeded to obliterate the insurgents. A roll of another "1" by Dead1 generated the "IED Contact!!" Fog of War card, which injured the Heavy Mortar loader (must have accidentally dropped a shell!).
The Taliban spotter took the initiative to relocate in the Spotter's Building while the Taliban team in the woods advanced to the edge of it. Their RPG failed to hit ASLAV 2.
The two Taliban teams in the woods advanced towards the enemy.
Three Taliban insurgents with a RPK machine gun arrived at Hot 5, near the heavy mortar team.
TURN 3 - THE ADVANCE CONTINUES
At the start of the Turn, we rolled to see what happened to the casualties. The Australian trooper dusted himself off and was back on his feet!
The downed mortar loader also found all his body parts intact.
Despite the sudden loss of their second vehicle, the Australians were driven to get through the village but took a detour. In order to limit incoming fire from the Taliban, they would advance off the road via the Scrap Yard and nearby hovels.
The remaining ASLAV turned a number of Taliban by the woods into red mist and pinned them. It then gunned its engine and sped through the Scrap Yard.
The two fire teams, one supported by the NCO, engaged and neutralised the remaining Taliban in the Compound and then made their way through the Scrap Yard.
Meanwhile the crew from the ASLAV rushed forward and tried to locate the spotter but failed.
A paltry reinforcement of three Taliban arrived from the Compound and although barely a team, they did have a RPG.
TURN 4 - WHERE ARE YOU GOING?
Of particular note, the RPG casualty at the Compound got back to hit feet without a scratch.
Australians continued to hold the initiative but with troops on foot it would be a slow advance to pass through the village.
With the threat of heavy mortars, the two crew members from the brewed up ASLAV advanced at point blank range of the Spotter. The small three man Taliban team by Hot Spot 5 reacted to try protect their friend but were too slow. The Spotter also wasn't quick enough to call in a mortar strike and the Australian crew spotted and then peppered him. The Taliban team then opened fire but without effect.
The Fire Team led by the NCO rushed over to the cover by the hovel near the jingle truck but had no targets to engage.
The ASLAV also advanced near the NCO team and engaged the smaller team of Taliban by the woods, who were all torn apart.
Having seen their comrades shredded, the larger Taliban team by the woods advanced into the Spotter's Building and engaged the ASLAV crew. The Australian's reactive fire downed two of insurgents but the following return saw one of the crew fall to the ground with a serious injury.
The rearmost Fire Team then broke into the small hovel and hosed the lone RPG gunner by the Compound, knocking him back down. However the Opposed Reaction Test saw Dead1 draw another Fog of War card, being "Where Are You Going?", whereby the player chooses an opponent's asset to roll on a specific table. Deaf1 picked the remaining ASLAV but thankfully for the Australians the result was to stick around for one more turn and then roll gain.
The Bushmaster's crew disembarked and took the corner of the Jingle Truck hovel.
Four Taliban arrived in the woods.
TURN 5 - CONSOLIDATION
The annoying Taliban with the RPG in the Compound got up yet again!
With the ASLAV about to leave any minute, its Fire Teams disembarked and entered the building by the Jingle Truck. They engaged the Taliban in the spotters building and downed them all. The Bushmaster crew then rushed the building to ensure none of these Taliban would get back up, but the small three man Taliban team with a RPK by Hot Spot 5 engaged them with reactive fire. The crew were slow and received a Fog of War card which "Caught Napping" the Mortar Team.
Although one of the Taliban was killed in the firefight, the RPK managed to cause a serious injury to a crew member. Enraged, the other crew member completed his task and mercilessly ended the wounded Taliban in the Spotter's Building.
The Fire Team in the small hovel finally killed the Stubborn Taliban in the Compound and then proceeded towards the hovel by the Mortar Team. Meanwhile the ASLAV engaged the Mortar Team but a pitiful display saw no casualties incurred. The vehicle did however decide to stick around for yet another turn.
The Taliban in the woods made their way through it whilst a lone Taliban arrived at Hot Spot 4.
TURN 6 - SPORADIC FIRE
The Australian crew members loaded up their buddies into the ASLAV. The ASLAV engaged the mortar team but after their nap these insurgents were quick enough to abandon their weapon and seek shelter behind the nearby hovel.
The Fire Teams in the hovel by the Jingle Truck engaged the remaining units near the woods and Compound and destroyed all but a single gun man. However during this firefight the NCO was killed!
The ASLAV also decided to leave the battlefield to his new mission.
TURN 7 & 8 - BUNKER DOWN
The final few turns saw the Australians form a perimeter and hunker down. A sandstorm suddenly swept across the area reducing field of vision. Despite this the Australians managed to finish most the Taliban in the village, although the Fire Team engaging the mortar crew and RPK team suffered a casualty, being a serious wound.
By the end of the game, the Australians had Destroyed seven Taliban teams and left no casualties behind, thus earning a total of 10 Victory Points.
Taliban destroyed two vehicles, caused three serious wounds and two kills, earning a total of 15, securing a small victory!
POST GAME THOUGHTS BY CAILUS
Although a loss, my Australians fared much better than Dead1's performance in the previous game, being a 6-26 loss!
The Fog of War Cards brutalised the Australians, especially that the first one gave a free kill to the Taliban, ensuring that the rest of the game would be dramatic. That the second ASLAV was also mitigated by a Fog of War card was the Taliban's icing on the cake.
Despite this, it was a very memorable game and that is what Force on Force is all about.
Unfortunately I wrote this AAR a month after the actual battle. I can't account for the second Australian that died but it did happen somewhere!
Also, the map is meant to be played on either a 3x3 or 4x4 board, but we played on a 6x4, making it harder for the Australians to reach the exit point unless all vehicles survive and they mostly rapid advance.
Dead1 did forget to field his DsHK MG as well!
Thanks for reading. Appreciate your feedback, good or bad!