I wanted to try an airborne assault scenario as well as the night fighting rules so I moved the Third World War action back to Scotland for Thursday evening’s scenario. Carrying on with the narrative established at Dunny, I thought I’d have a whole battalion drop at night at another, more important, bridge further down the Black Dunny Water. Also carrying on with the toilet humor I broke out my Scotts Gaelic/English dictionary to look up the word for toilet as inspiration for a Scottish town name on the Black Dunny Water. There wasn’t one. I tried to look up every word I could think of along that line – water closet, outhouse, crapper, biffy, dunny, shithouse, excrement, defecate, urinate… you name it – not in my dictionary… Mind you it is a small dictionary probably for travelers. You’d think that an important thing for travelers, should they run into someone in Scotland that ONLY spoke Scotts-Gaelic, and really needed to… well… anyway… The, rather uninspired name for this evenings scenario was…
Dunnymuir, Scotland, 0200GMT 5 May 1988
While the 1st Company, 2nd battalion, 119th Parachute Landing Regiment, 106th (Tula) Guards Airborne Division was landing further down the road, virtually unopposed, at Dunny, the entire 1st battalion was landing at the more vital bridge/crossroads at Dunnymuir.
While this was a surprise attack, the worsening political situation with the Soviet Union prompted the MOD to up the readiness status of the armed forces – TA units found themselves regularly being called up for “readiness exercises” (with live ammo!). The Dunnymuir just happen to be on one such exercise, holding the bridge and crossroads at Dunnymuir, on the night of the invasion.
The VDV would have ten turns to secure two objectives – the bridge at Dunnymuir and the high ground on Ben Dunny, over looking the bridge. For each objective held at the end of the tenth turn the Soviet player would score a minor objective (two minor objectives=one major objective). The British minor objective would be to prevent the VDV from taking either objective, the major objective would be to break the invading force.
1st battalion, 119th Parachute Landing Regiment, 106th (Tula) Guards Airborne Division
2x Air Defence Unit (SA-7)
2x Support Unit (ATGW-Spigot)
1x Aircraft Unit (SU-25 Frogfoot)
3x Parachute Companies, each with:
8x Infantry Unit
2x Infantry Upgrade (RPG-16)
P Company (RHR), 5th Battalion, 51st Highland Volunteers (TA)
8x Infantry sections
1x Support Unit (SF-GPMG)
2x Aircraft units (Harrier)
I then game the British an optional reinforcement either:
B company, 3 Para
9x Infantry (Paras)
3x Infantry Upgrade (Carl G)
1x Support Unit (SF-GPMG)
1x Support Unit (ATGW-Milan) – not that they were allowed to fire on the towns buildings….
5x Transport Unit (UH-1 Iroquois) – borrowed from the Americans and ready to air assault
C & D Coys 42 Commando
2 companies each with:
9x Infantry (Marines)
3x Infantry Upgrade (Carl G)
1x Support Unit (SF-GPMG)
1x Support Unit (ATGW-Milan)
Gary was the only one who showed up and so we diced for sides – Gary ended up with the British again and myself with the VDV. We then diced for air superiority and I won… HUZZAH! …for all the good it did me… I did only have PARTIAL air superiority…
(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)
(Sorry about the quality of the photos, it WAS at night so I had to use night-vision equipment…)
The peaceful town of Dunnymuir at last light, 4 May 1988, just before the Black Watch TAs arrives for their town defence “exercise”.
0200GMT Soviet Russian Air Assault troops have landed on the nearby moors.
3rd Company with the battalion HQ and support group landed Northwest of town with orders to take the bridge.
1st Company landed Southwest of town with orders to take the highgroung atop Ben Dunny.
The Scottish TAs in Dunnymuir. They weren’t allowed to initially deploy in the buildings as…welll.. there were people still living in them and there wasn’t yet a war going on when they arrived. Beyond the town, to the east, the Soviet’s 2nd Company was landing.
2nd Company, landing there to try and take the other side of the bridge.
Beyond landing the 1st company did three moves towards their objective, the 3rd company made one. The Battalion HQ and support group were busy sorting out their equipment and getting their bearings and there was some confusion as to what or where the 2nd company was as contact with them could not be made (they didn’t move either…).
The Scotts took no action this turn. At least that’s what I wrote down. I think they made no successful command rolls. I seem to recall the TA’s MG section firing upon my 1st Company, but I can’t remember if that was opportunity fire or if it was initiative fire…?
With all these failed command rolls on the first turn we were starting to wonder if anyone would be able to do anything. I was still wonder at the end of the game…
During the Initiative Phase infantry sections of the 1st company returned fired on TA’s SF-GPMGs, silencing them. Then took no further action this turn.
The 3rd company took off towards town. One their first orders a number of them moved, other fired on and caused some casualties within one of the sections of TAs along the riverbank. The second order saw move moving and occupying the buildings on the Northwest corner of town, while firing from others finished off the section of Scotts. A third set of successful orders saw VDV troops assaulting out of the building and wiping out another section of Scotts behind a barricade on the edge of town before retiring back into the building to take stock of the situation and consolidate their hold on the buildings.
3rd Companies approach to the town from the Northwest.
The 2nd Company got themselves together and made two moves to the tree line opposite the village.
The Battalion HQ and support section were still sorting out their equipment and so remained static once again.
No reinforcements arrived this turn.
The FAO called in some Harriers that were on standby and bombed the 1st Company as they tried to advance. Some causalities were taken and two sections suppressed.
The CO then rolled a command bonus and did some shifting of troops within the town – mostly occupying buildings where practicable. The platoon on the East end of town then started pouring fire down on the 2nd VDV Company knocking on section out of action.
Those of the 1st VDV Company not suppressed by the Harriers continued to make their way slowly around Ben Dunny to find a scaleable slope. Both the 2nd and 3rd VDV companies took no action at all this turn. there was some confusion among the ranks as all tried to assess the situation and enemy strengths in the dark.
The Battalion HQ and support section finally got underway, though not in a great position one of the SA-7 sections set up where they landed to help cover the force against any further Harrier attacks. The other SA-7 section and the two Spigot sections began making their way towards the town.
The first company of Marines (J Coy) arrived. This caused some worry among the VDV support units!
The FAO called the first flight of Harriers in on target. The SA-7 fired (along with the 1st Company’s HQ) and scored three hits! HUZZAH! Blew them out of the sky! …. No, wait, the Harriers get a 4+ save and saved ALL THREE. Well….
So they strafed the VDV causing more casualties but nothing significant enough to slow down these elite troops
The second flight however was a bit off target (BLUNDER!) and dropped bombs on the village causing hits on the CO, FAO, one section and a building! Only the CO, however, was suppressed by all this!
My FAO was finally in a reasonable position with a nice juicy target (J Coy, RM) – but he was unable to get any support. The air force was busy up and down the glenn and indeed all over northern Scotland.
The 1st VDV Company continued to make their way slowly (1 move) around Ben Dunny. There was something seriously wrong with the 2nd VDV Company because they continued to take no part in this action. The 3rd VDV Company did some firing and repositioning of troops on the Northwest end of Dunnymuir, suppressing some Scotts.
The CO issued one order. Move the support units! This drew opportunity fire from J Coy which KOed the SA-7 and suppressed the two ATGW sections. Having no further units to issue orders to the Russians called it a turn.
More Marines arrived (K Coy). They charged on to the table and made two further moves beyond that, seriously threatening the 1st VDV Company’s position.
J Coy assaulted forward twice taking out the remaining SA-7 section and finishing off the ATGW sections. This brought them startlingly close to the back end of the 3rd VDV Company!
Some very effective coordination between ground and air elements saw the 1st VDV Company take further casualties from some extremely accurate Harrier attacks. They lost their HQ and had 4 sections suppressed. (We realized afterwards that we had forgotten that HQs were only hit on sixes…. Whoops…)
The TA got another command bonus and tried to leave the bridge (they had moved there during their previous command bonus on turn two). Opportunity fire KOed one section and suppressed the other. At the other end of town the TAs made better use of the command bonus by taking out another section of the 2nd VDV Company. They probably would have killed more but there was only one left within LOS as the rest were still sitting in the woods or beyond hedge rows having done nothing for the last couple of turns.
The 3rd VDV Company did some initiative fire on TAs in the village. That was it for action taken by ground forces this turn. None of the CHQs or the BHQ(CO) successfully issued any orders this turn. (The HQ for the 1st VDV Company was being replaced… so... he had an excuse..). I think it’s time to start incorporating some NKVD Commissars into my Russian units to execute inefficient or ineffective commanders…
The FAC, however, did his job this turn. A flight of SU-25s were called in on the advancing K Coy and caused some disruption in the unit.
The British FAO was unable to call any air strikes in. Probably all the Migs escorting the SU-25s chased them off.
In the wake of the air strike K Coy’s rapid advance stalled – while they took stock of the damage and prepared to evacuate casualties.
J Coy, however, carried on over running one unit from behind (above) and carrying on further towards the town to relive the TAs valiantly defending the village and bridge.
Some of the TAs in town tried to move again – The section on the bridge was suppressed again but the one behind the barricades in the street opposite the buildings occupied by the VDV successfully made it into the better cover of the adjacent building.
Three sections of the 3rd VDV Company attempted initiative moves to either turn around and/or move into cover. Because I am an idiot and forgot that they COULDN’T – the marines of J Coy suppressed all three of them with opportunity fire! DOH! That might have changed things a bit as they would have all been able to fire on the advancing marines and hopefully suppressed some of them and blunted their onslaught. Also one would have been in hard cover instead of the open on the British end of this turn. Ah well, live and learn – won’t forget that one again.
The 1st VDV Company finally dispersed a bit, to hopefully limit the effectiveness of further air strikes. They also started picking up the pace a little (2 moves), making their way up Ben Dunny to join the FAC who had been already been there for a couple of turns.
The 2nd VDV Company finally got moving (one move) which got some more of their sections up to the front edge of the woods where the Scottish TAs could then kill some more off one by one and the VDV would be unable to reply (they were within the initiative range of the “flexible” British – but the British were not within their initiative range… Perhaps once K Coy was dealt with and the 1st VDV company was securely on Ben Dunny I could shift the attacks of the SU-25s to the east side of the village to soften them up for the slow motion assault the 2nd Company was sure to carry out…)
The only unsuppressed section in the 3rd VDV Company shot up the Scotts still stuck out on the bridge, suppressing them once again.
I some how didn’t manage to get a picture of it, but the Russian FAC called in another strike on K coy still all bunched up – 9 hits, 5 suppressed, 2 KOed, including the HQ (again I think we forgot about the only hitting on sixes for HQs here – comes around, goes around I guess…).
Despite being all nice and dispersed, and the air being thick with Russian aircraft, those maniac Harrier pilots got a couple of runs in on the VDV climbing Ben Dunny suppressing three sections.
J Coy started the turn with a command bonus. Supremely controlled and aimed firing KOed three sections of the 3rd VDV company. Then the marines moved. Then they did more firing KOing another section. Then they rolled ANOTHER command bonus 35 firing dice only managed 4 hits and no suppression, so they just ran in and assaulted anyway, taking out yet another section of VDV.
Here’s where everyone was when the dust settled after J Coy’s amazing assault. That’s the VDV’s CO and the 3rd VDV Company’s HQ with their cheese hanging out in the wind there… All that remained of the 3rd VDV Company were two sections of infantry, which were on the other side of the building….
If that weren’t enough the TAs then went KOing one of those remaining sections of the 3rd VDV Company – which was in a building!? They also suppressed two sections of the 2nd VDV company – you know, those guys creeping around in the bush, in the dark, east of town that hadn’t fired a shot all game….?
Things were looking pretty grim and Gary had to skedaddle so we called it a night. I thought about playing out another turn or two just to see, but things were looking rather hopeless for the VDV at this point so I just packed things up…
The overall situation at the end of turn six.
The town, as seen from Ben Dunny.
Another view of the town, still, more or less, securely in the hands of the defending Scotts.
I thought the -1 command penalty for darkness created an acceptable amount of static. Sure makes you appreciate well trained units with experienced and competant commanders. The limited visibility worked out okay too. I thought perhaps it could be limited a bit further, or perhaps there could be an additional penalty for shooting at units particularly at longer ranges. Gary and I thought perhaps a -1 die for shooting at targets over half range…? Maybe artillery and air strikes could add an extra deviation die at night?
If I were to do something similar again I would have given the Soviets ONE objective with 8 turns to take it or a major victory and 12 for a minor victory (just as suggested in the book). I’m also not sure I would give them the option of two reinforcing battalions – maybe just one which may or may not be airmobile…
As this was the first time I was using air strikes with gen-u-ine AAA on the table I went through the procedure step-by-step the first time Gary called in his harriers – it was only then did it occur to me that the SA-7 had to DEPLOY before being able to fire… whoops… I should have also spread the SAMs and ATGWs out among the companies instead of keeping them grouped with the CO… ah well, live and learn.
The first of my BMDs arrived Thursday - they immediately went to the top of the “to be assembled” pile! Expect to see them dropped on Scotland soon!
I also want to make some terrain. More hills and mountains, and a bunch of houses with removable roofs and room inside for stands – just so it’s a little more clear who is in what building and facing which direction, for the purpose of firing out and assaulting in… also ruined versions for when they get destroyed by guns and bombs! HUZZAH!