This battle is a part of a sandbox campaign, which can be found here; 2004 Iraq Campaign
I am using Force on Force as my miniature rule set with some added house rules, the game is played in 15mm. This is the first tabletop battle of my campaign from the Their Side of Town pack. Threat Generation System with significant modification is used for the Insurgent Forces to allow for solo play. These resources can be found in the link above.
“It’s the first ‘real’ day of the deployment. The Transfer of Authority is over, the ride alongs are done; we’re on our own now.” the Platoon Leader explains as his platoon is standing around him.
Today’s mission is simple enough for a day like today, though. There’s a man in sector F8 we need to talk to, should be easy enough.”
3rd Platoon Attack Company, along with dedicated air support, are tasked with conducting a knock and talk on a compound in Sector F8 no later than Turn 10. The plan is broken down into three phases; Infil (blue), Knock and Talk (green & yellow), Exfil;
Phase 1; Platoon enters the area from the south on turn one.
Once the platoon reaches phase two, 1st Squad and Alpha Team of 2nd will remain mounted and continue to the target compound. Command elements, a gun team and the remaining team from 2nd Squad will dismount and escort their vehicles down a side road to engage with the civilian populace. 3rd Squad is on driving and gunning duties.
3rd Platoon rolls into the neighborhood, hitting Phase 2 without issue…
“Hey LT,” the 1st Squad Leader in the lead vehicle blurts out over the radio “I’m not seeing any civilians around…”
Dismount elements get their bearing (above), while mounted units (below) continue to the objective.
Location of the units during turn 3.
The Platoon Leader is approached by an Iraqi store owner who emerged from an adjacent building. He’s screaming in arabic and making shoo’ing motions with his hands.
“I need an interpreter…” the PL mutters to himself while trying to calm the man.
Shots ring out, Bravo Team of 2nd Squad is engaged by small arms. Rounds plink the side of the HMMVV, the team leader looks around frantically;
“Troops in contact!” he screams into the radio.
Surrounded by tall apartment buildings and walls, no one is able to determine where the shots originated from. They believe it came from a southern rooftop but fail to spot any enemy.
3rd Platoon A Co reacting to contact.
Hearing the frantic radio chatter from their platoon mates in contact, 1st Squad and Alpha Team 2nd Squad, try to keep calm. They arrive at the objective and soon hear the LT over the radio;
“Hey 1st squad, higher command has given us the order”
“to take and clear the compound, no need to knock, how copy?”
“Roger that sir” he responds getting out of his HMMVV, signaling the other dismounts to follow suit
1st Squad dismounts (above) and prepares to enter the objective compound and an adjacent building (below)
Location of units during turn 6. Up to this point, enemy action was minimal. The little fire that was sustained was ineffective and quickly over. I drew a lot of blank cards during the early turns.
Fire again erupts in the neighborhood, an Insurgent Squad has maneuvered to the east and reengaged the US platoon. 2nd Squad Bravo this time is able to identify the location of the enemy unit.
An exchange of fire results in four insurgents sustaining injuries and the unit breaking contact (Mk19 is deadly).
More fire erupts on the street the Americans are on, another unit of Insurgents have joined the fight.
Three different US units fail to spot where these new rounds are coming from. They determined it was from the SW but can’t identify exactly where, a problem that is becoming detrimental mission success.
The dust settles and two infantryman are down.
Meanwhile, a block over, 1st Squad pushes into the objective compound with no resistance. Hearing the call of friendly casualties over the radio, they frantically kick the door down to the house and begin clearing. This was a risky move but thanks to a lucky roll it worked out for the US Infantrymen, saving substantial time.
“Objective secured” the 1st Squad Leader relays to the LT over the radio.
“Begin phase three!” he replies, heavy fighting can be heard in the background of the transmission.
Unit locations at beginning of Turn 8.
The Platoon Sergeant sets up a Casualty Collection Point (CCP) in the lot of a gas station; the RTO and a riflemen are the casualties (Above, both casualties ended up being return to duty, lucky!). 2nd Squad Bravo along with the gun team, move to enter and clear the building next to the CCP to provide overwatch (Below). Admittedly, this action should have been taken at the beginning of the mission but the US would have taken a bigger hit to their Hearts & Mind campaign score for forcibly entering a building unwarranted.
As the fire team stacks up against the building, the point man sees an object zip by them…
“RPG!” he yells as an explosion behind them is heard.
The RPG strikes the side of the Platoon Sergeants HMMVV, destroying it. Miraculously no one is hurt, the gunner and driver passed their quality checks and soldiers around it were not hurt from the blast.
Yet again the soldiers fail to identify where the enemy fire is coming from, they are quickly becoming overwhelmed.
On the other block, the vehicles are engaged by an Insurgent Squad. The entire platoon is in contact at this point and I was honestly thinking this might turn out real bad for the Americans.
Map showing the sectors of fire the Insurgent Forces were enjoying this turn (8), all three went unspotted;
Feeling the situation creeping out of control, the LT orders 1st Squad and their elements to mount their vehicles and link back up with the platoon.
1st Squad begins loading back into their trucks (Above), while still taking fire from an Insurgent RPG Team (Below).
Elements that entered the building next to the CCP last turn found the roof access and started providing support by fire (Above). They easily (rolled a 100) spot the RPG team hammering their mates and engage them. US fire accounts for a casualty to the Insurgents and the RPG team breaks morale and runs (Below).
End of Turn 9 Sitrep;
Explosion = Sent Fire
Smoke = Received Fire
One of the Insurgent Squads to the south disengaged at the beginning of the turn (which was a huge game changer), leaving only one other to the south. It only accounted for 4 firepower though and was still considered unspotted by the end of the turn (these rolls were pretty unlucky all game for the US).
Mounted elements moving back to the rest of the platoon for Phase 3, exfil.
Smoke from the flaming HMMVV still fill the air as they come into view of the gas station, the food stand it was next to is destroyed.
The overwatch breaks down their rooftop position and start mounting their vehicles. Enemy fire is still sporadic and ineffective (4 firepower total shot at the Americans this turn).
With all units accounted for and mounted, the platoon returns to base.
“Good job boys,” The LT stammers into the radio exhausted. He can’t help but hope they’ll always be this lucky, what should have been a very bad day for the Americans was saved by some crucial rolls!
Overall a good game to start the campaign off with. The card drawing system for activating enemy units lends itself to some interesting story telling with just enough rng to keep you on your toes. The middle of the game could have spiraled out on control for the Americans, taking the building to provide overwatch was a huge momentum shift within the mission. Yet it’s going to cause more damage than it was worth (by losing campaign H&M points) in the long run, which is exactly what I am trying to accomplish. COIN is about walking a thin line and being disciplined enough to stay on it.
Thanks for following along, hope you at least enjoyed the pictures. Have a good one.
For the Campaign Recap for Day 1 which displays the results of this battle and more, click here.