Friday, 26 September 2014

Black Dust - A Force on Force After Action Report

Last Thursday at our club Doug bought in his 15mm D-boys and al Qaeda. As I had played Scenario 1 the week prior against dead1, Doug suggested Scenario 2 from Enduring Freedom - "Black Dust".
Two teams of elite Delta Operators (D12/D12) are tasked to engage and eliminate a HVT (High Value Target) - this being Osama Bin Laden himself! It won't be easy as the HVT is protected by trained Black Guard forces (D8/D10) and his personal bodyguard (D10/D10). Delta has only 6 turns to finish the job but thankfully do have air support.
After randomly rolling to see who would take control of what force, I set up my al Qaeda and waited to see what Doug's Delta wold do.

15mm Delta Force, painted by Doug Colbeck.
15mm al Qaeda troops, painted by Doug Colbeck

Delta has initiative. The two teams advance rapidly along the hill on the left flank but keep clear from enemy sight.
The al Qaeda troops mostly hold their positions except for the small cell on the far left which leaves the safety of its hovel and approach towards Delta - they go to investigate reports of incoming U.S. troops!
The HVT, having finished talking with a villager, meanders to the centre of the village, his bodyguard detail in tow.

Bin Laden is in sight!

Although Delta has two D12 dice, al Qaeda win initiative with their three D8 dice!
Most of the Cells go on overwatch, while Cell 2 continues to move forward.
The HVT feeds a goat in the village centre and continues his trek, taking him further away from Delta.
Patrol Callsign Kilo take cover by the light woods on the hill, with their JTAC operator preparing to use the SOFLAM.
Patrol Callsign Indigo ventures forth in a rapid advance and engages the approaching cell. However overwatch fire from other al Qaeda cells drops all three operators!

Current Delta Situation: FUBAR

Al Qaeda continue to hold initiative. The HVT has heard the gunfire and his Bodyguard detail pushes him towards the designated escape point.

The cells start firing on Kilo but the team slinks off in the shadow of the hill, with one operator rushing to provide first aid to Indigo. Also, the JTAC separates himself in the process and successfully calls in for an air strike.
Cell 4 takes cover in a dip in the mountain, within rapid distance of the injured Indigo team.

Air strike inbound!

Al Qaeda still hold the initiative but the air strike makes its attack approach. Some minor casualties are suffered by two cells in the village but more importantly the HVT and his bodyguards are hit in a bad way. There are fears the HVT is a casualty.*
Further good news for Delta is that all three operators are only lightly wounded and so they get back on their feet.
Al Qaeda Cells in the village provide overwatch whilst the cell by the woods on the right flank engage Kilo team in a round of fire. An operator is hit and Kilo return fire and the cell suffers a couple of casualties.

Hearing the explosions of the air strike echo across the mountains, the cell closest to Indigo prepares to rush the infidels. As they approach, running up in their sandals, al Qaeda in the village provide covering fire. All three operators are hit so by the time the charging cell arrives, all they have to do is execute the helpless Delta operators. Al Qaeda score 9 victory points.

All operators from Team Indigo  are declared KIA.

"Good strike, I repeat, good strike!" JTAC Operator

The HVT - Osama Bin Laden - is indeed dead, the air strike leaving nothing except some bloodied rags! 15 victory points scored by Delta.
Despite the loss of their leader, the enraged al Qaeda retain initiative.
An operator from Kilo checks his buddy for injuries and finds that the soldier has been shot in the head. Al Qaeda now have a total of 12 victory points.

The cells in the village attempt to engage the surviving operators however Kilo reacts first and falls back out of sight, just behind small hovel.

The cell that just executed the Indigo team members try to follow up their success and advance towards the hovel. Before they open fire, Delta engages and takes all but one tango down.
Meanwhile, a rag tag bunch of al Qaeda reinforcements arrive who run to the bloodied remains (or smear) of their fallen leader.

Kill confirmed - Bin Laden is dead!

There is little that can be done except that the lone survivor of the cell closest to Delta attempts a final suicide charge but he is shot before he does any harm.
The al Qaeda forces back the village can do little but howl and yell insults to the retreating operators.

Team Kilo prepare for extraction.

Delta scores 15 points to al Qaeda's 12, just securing a minor victory in game terms but a major blow to the al Qaeda operation, having lost Osama Bin Laden (unless he was a clone...?)
Was it not for that single  air strike, Delta would have been in big trouble.
As I write this, I realise that Osama's Cell is rated D10, not D8... That could have changed things up a bit when rolling defence against the air strike! Oops!
Nevertheless it was a fun game, albeit a fair bit of rule checking was done as both Doug and I are still learning the rules. The Force on Force game is good but the book is organised haphazardly and missing a fair few clarifications*.
Well done to Doug for winning the day.

*When exactly does an air strike occur? We played that it happens before any other unit take actions.
*If during an opposed Overwatch test both the attacker and defender fail their reaction test, what happens? We played that the overwatch unit still fires first but falls off Overwatch.

Friday, 19 September 2014

The Battle for the Arghendab Bridge

So having painted a few U.S. Special Forces, Dead1 invited me to use them in the scenario from Force on Force's Enduring Freedom. 

Scenario 1, "The Battle for the Arghendab Bridge", saw seven operators (ODA 574) supported by some Eastern Alliance guerrillas facing a considerable amount of Tier 1 Taliban fighters. They would need to defend the bridge on their right flank and attempt to keep the left flank near the dry river clear as well if possible, for 6 turns. Air support in the way of Strike Eagles, Predators and B-52 would be available, called in by one of the ODA JTACs.

Bull and his Bravo team kept an eye out on the bridge, using the village buildings as cover. They were supported by some eager guerrilla fighters by the jingle truck. The JTAC was in Bravo Team and as a secondary mission was to organise an air strike in the far distance (off board) to dissuade a growing number of Taliban forces from reaching them.

In the village proper, Ginger Megs and his two other team mates formed Alpha, supported by more guerrillas, including a PKM team. Alpha would deploy and set up fire sectors down the two streets.

5 cells of Taliban of various strength started on their battlefield and had the initiative. Majority of the cells used Out of Contact* rules to quickly move into position on the left flank Alpha was guarding. A single but large cell moved to engage Bravo near the bridge.
Alpha and their Eastern Alliance spread out and took cover in the nearby buildings.
Bravo took some pot shots at the approaching Taliban but cause little damage.

Taliban held initiative and their assault began in earnest. The amount of firepower thrown at the Eastern Alliance was significant and the PKM team was quickly dispatched and the other team took heavy casualties. Alpha returned little fire in fear of a close combat assault which was not to eventuate just yet.
The fight for the bridge was mostly uneventful. Bravo caused some minor casualties whilst the Eastern Alliance on the right failed to do hit anything.
Substantial Taliban reinforcements arrived to support the attack on the bridge.

Taliban again held initiative, further hampering ODA's ability to prove overwatch.
On the left flank, with the EA all but gone, the Taliban turned up the heat on Team Alpha. Ginger and his teams failed to cause many casualties but in return the sniper was killed and Megs himself was seriously wounded, despite Advanced First Aid training.
On the right flank, Taliban engaged the EA but all in all not much happened.
Meanwhile Bravo wad engaged by the single cell but opted to use the JTAC to call in an air strike off board.
A trickle of reinforcements arrived for the Taliban but were barely needed. 

Taliban continued to hold initiative.
Things were going from bad to worse for Alpha. The remaining EA on their side were either killed or captured. Whilst two cells provided covering fire, the other two would try to assault Alpha's position. However the covering fire caused the lone ODA to hit the dust but the two Taliban assaults failed to gather enough courage**.

Fortunately, the air strike called by ODA was successful and their secondary objective was complete - now they just had to hold off over thirty Taliban.
The Taliban on the right flank kept the pressure on Bravo and the remaining EA. Another ODA fell with a serious injury - it looked like the Advanced First Aid instructor for these guys didn't have a clue. However the JTAC called in an air strike, ETA turn five.
A Taliban sniper team arrived to cause further grief.

Taliban severely outnumbered the ODA and of course held initiative.
The injured survivor of Team Alpha somehow got to his feet. He fought bravely surrounded by Taliban but was ultimately killed.
Some of the cells on the left flank turned their attention on the bridge. Surprisingly, the sniper team was taken down by the EA.
The closest cell rushed by Bravo's position and started gunning down the remaining EA point blank. Bravo attempted to dislodge the cell from their positions by engaging in close combat but two of their number fell to the defensive fire. Bull continued his charge and fought bravely until he was captured.

Initiative didn't really matter anymore but yes, the Taliban held it!
All that remained active was a single Eastern Alliance gunman by the jingle truck. A flanking cell poured their fire into him, splattering the jingle truck with blood and gore.

The air strike peppered the Taliban and caused some casualties but they cared little, screaming their victory in guttural exclamation.

Damn, the Special Forces must have been "special" indeed!

Absolute victory by the Taliban with no actual cells being a hundred percent destroyed, except for the pitiful two man sniper team. Meanwhile ODA or EA had not a single person standing.

I didn't expect much from the EA apart from drawing fire but the ones on the left flank died very quickly. Their sacrifice was in vain as the ODA couldn't take advantage of this any way.

A mix of bad luck, never winning initiative (so no overwatch), not splitting teams and reluctance to fire caused the defeat.

*Early on commented to Dead1 that the use of Out of Contact movement seemed a bit too much in this mission. His units crossed right over in the left flank, far past one of the objectives I was to defend. My guys would need to clear 4 cells in the village plus any reinforcement by the river!
Dead1 the next day found that this rule can only be used if the Taliban do NOT hold initiative. They had it the entire game so really their approach would have been significantly slower.

**I later found that if an entire unit is down, there is no need for an opposing unit to pass a TQ test to assault. They simply walk over and capture them!

We also forgot about a few other rules such as ambush and the like.

So what we decided is for a rematch next month.  Let's hope the Spec Ops do something for a change!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, 13 September 2014



I've heard of them over the years but wondered who reads these things anyway? We will wait and see! Seeing as it is my first blog post it is perhaps fitting to share with you my first experience in tabletop wargaming.

I've been into tabletop wargaming since the late 90's (early High School), starting when I visited a friend's place and saw his older brother's collection of models. I was especially awed by the model of a Goliath (muscly punker dude with a mowahawk). I was also shown some other mean looking blue and armoured guys (Ultramarines) plus a horde of green monsters (they were Orks).  We then proceeded to have my first tabletop wargame - GW's Warhammer 4o,ooo. As a 13 year old I was very impressed and in turn hooked! 

I was kindly given 5 unpainted Space Marines, some spare black and red acrylic paint and off I went. Having never painted anything before (apart from finger painting in kindergarten) and only having tooth picks for brushes, the end result of the Blood Angel Space Marines looked like a piece of aborted artwork by a cerebral palsy victim. 

One of the old 2nd Blood Angels. If only my first few were painted even half as good as this one!

With a strange mix of pride and failure in my creation, I went on to improve myself. Using money from my paper run, I bought my mate's box set of Warhammer 4o,ooo (2nd Edition), which included a plethora of Space Marine (15 plus the other 5 I already had) and 20 Orks, 40 their smaller and more cunning kin, Gretchins and a cardboard cutout of an Ork machine - the Dreadnought.
More money went to Birchalls for paint and actual paintbrushes (a local bookstore here in my town, apparently the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere).

The Warhammer 4o,ooo 2nd Edition box set provided countless hours of entertainment and stories that we recall even today. I still have it stashed somewhere!

More importantly, I started playing the game on a more regular basis with my older brother so in turn he got hooked as well. Hours and hours of assembling, painting, list building and actual gaming accrue. Dice are thrown, measuring tapes snap, yells of frustration or victory - all part and parcel of tabletop wargaming.

Years pass and we heard about a local group of war gamers and joined them, offering opportunities to test ourselves against others. 

17 years have passed since my first painted model. I've improved in my painting somewhat  and changed interests to a variety of different gaming systems. My mate and his brother lost interest in it all very shortly after showing wargaming to me. I've had other friends take interest in wargaming and fork out a bucket of cash only to forget about it months later. But thanks to my own older bro and the local group, I keep going (much to the disgust of my wallet!).

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. Hope the dice gods favour you!