Thursday, December 13, 2007

North of Grand Prairie

Sorry about the lateness of this report, I’ve been a bit distracted lately. This game was my last scheduled Thursday night game in November. I was excited to try some modern tank on tank action as I just finished up re-painting my M1s so I shifted the action back to Northern Alberta for this week. No one actually showed up to play so I soloed the scenario –I can’t blame anyone it was -30C with the wind so I wouldn’t have wanted to venture out that evening either. Being so thoroughly distracted I didn’t even finish the game Thursday evening, I continued to play a bit more Friday evening and then finished off the game Saturday morning…! This gave me lots of time to take notes and take pictures… lots of pictures…

The British and American forces in this scenario are part of a fictional CAN-AM-UK Division that, in my mind’s eye, consists of a mechanized battlegroup from the UK (which were training at BATUS when the war broke out), a battlegroup of Canadians formed from various prairie region militia units, and an independent American mechanized brigade – maybe a National Guard unit from the Northwestern states.

This scenario follows of from a previous scenario set in Northern Alberta: The Bridge at Dunvegan

North of Grand Prairie, Alberta, Canada, 6 September 1988


Elements of the CAN-AM-UK Division have been over run and the whole division is now in danger of being encircled and annihilated. All units have been given orders to attempt to break out and make their own way to an RV point near Grande Prairie, where a new line of defence is being prepared.


This is the “Encirclement” scenario right out of the Cold War Commander book. Because of the size of the table I gave the joint British-American force 15 turns to get their forces off the table.




3x T-72
1x BMP-1
7x Motor Rifles Infantry section/stands
2x Infantry Upgrade (RPG-16)

7x Air Assault Infantry
3x Infantry Upgrades (RPG-16)
1x Spigot ATGW
1x Air Defence unit (SA-7)

British – USA

2x M1 tanks
1x AH-64 Apache
1x Phantom II

2 infantry Companies each with
5x Infantry
1x Milan ATGW


To kick things off I rolled for air superiority; Full Air Superiority for the CAN-AM-UK force! Wow… that’s going to suck for the Russians…

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

The table set-up from the south. The Brits and Americans have to set up somewhere north of the grid road in the distance and make it off the south table edge in 15 turns.

The Brit/American deployment. Each of the rifle companies had their own HQ, the M1s I put under the control of the CO… I guess it worked out I mean it was really a scratch force of whatever was available. I think in the future I would attach them to one of the companies of deploy an HQ of their very own.



The Motor Rifle infantry arrive on the table and start to move into blocking positions. The armour also arrived making two moves. The VDV on the other side of the table failed to arrive – the helicopters that were probably landing them there were harassed by the CAN-AM-UK air superiority fighters.

Positions at the end of the Russians move.


The FAC tried to call in the F-4 on the T-72. The pilot couldn’t find the T-72s he was talking about but he spotted the BMP sans let them have it! KA-BOOM!!! I’m always losing that BMP right off – what’s the point of them?! How are they ever to survive to deliver the infantry to the target?! Numbers… I need to make more of them…

Both A and B Coys made two moves. The armour, under the CO made two moves, then one team fired while the other continued to move. The firing caused two hits on a T-72, one was saved, no suppression.

End of Turn One.



To make up for their late arrival the VDV started off the turn with a command bonus and charged onto the table – setting up their ATGW.

The Motor Rifle Infantry also got a command bonus making a total of three moves this turn.

The tank’s first order had one firing at an M1 (causing three hits, all of which were saved) and the other two moving. One of the British Milan teams fired at a T-72 using opportunity fire causing three hits, two were saved, but the tank was suppressed. On the second order the two remaining unsuppressed T-72s fired on an M1 causing six hits, of which it saved three and was also suppressed.

DAMN! Those M1s are TOUGH!


The infantry and armour both made one or two moves.

The CO also successfully called in the Apaches this turn. 80+cm to target = 5 dice scatter… 7 cm… (three ones and two twos!) BOO-YAH! BLAMMO!! There goes a T-72 team!

Everybody’s positions at the end of turn two.



The FAC actually called in the SU-25s! A combination of AAA and allied interceptor aircraft caused 4 hits on the Su-25s – three were saved, but the flight aborted.

The VDV and infantry both made two moves.

The T-72s continued to engage the M1s. The first round of fire caused four hits, all of which were saved. Round two caused six hits, of which only two were saved and the tank team was suppressed. Round three scored SEVEN hits, four of which were saved – but that wasn’t enough – the M1 team was KOed! A fourth round saw the T-72s split their fire between the other M1 team and an ATGW team – the tank saved all hits, the ATGW was suppressed.


The FAC called in the Phantoms again, but the pilots couldn’t make out the targets for all the smoke from the burning wrecks (scattered too far in the wrong direction!).

Decision time… which way to go? I figured it would make the most sense to head towards one side or the other and hopefully the Russians on opposite side might not make it across the table in time to help block their way…. The armour would move quick enough that is will get in the way of the British/American forces – however the route of their side of the table was mostly open ground where the infantry would just get murdered. The route towards the VDV at least had some cover… Thought they’d be some tough bastards for the Brits to fight their way though… To the southwest it is! Fight through the VDV!

A Coy got going (for one move...) but B Coy stalled.

The M1 team fired on the T-72s a couple times and took out one team. The CO also called in the apaches but they likewise couldn’t find the targets. The Co then tried to get B Coy moving but failed to get them off the ground.

End of Turn Three.



The BRDM Recce tried to do their job, but apparently couldn’t see anything.

The VDV made one move.

The Motor Rifles infantry started making moves across the table in dashes from cover to cover. The armour also got moving, taking opportunity fire from a Milan – which the T-72s easily dodged.


A Coy moved twice. B Coy moved FOUR times, tripping on A Coy’s heels!

The FAC forgot to move last turn so had no real targets.

The CO was likewise in a bad position to call in the apaches. He did get the M1 team firing, twice, at a VDV section causing 5 hits and a fallback into the woods.



The BRDM Recce tried to do their job again, but still couldn’t see anything. Difficult to do with their heads up their ass I suppose.

The Motor Rifle Infantry charged across the table with three moves.

The VDV decided to move back from the front edge of the woods and wait for the Brits and Americans to come closer. Their SA-7 team deployed and got ready to shoot down some aircraft!

Everyone then sat and waited because there wasn’t much else to do…


The FAC decided to call the phantoms in on those annoying (though useless) Russian recce troops hiding out in the pasture. 16 dice, 1 hit, saved. They may have their heads up their asses but they sure know how to conceal an armoured car in tall grass!

Feeling the pressure from B Coy behind them it was now A Coy’s turn to charge ahead for four moves! They may get off this table yet! B Coy was a bit tired after their mad dash across the prairies and only moved once.

The CO, for lack of anything better to do, also called the Apaches in on the BRDM recce team. The BRDM successfully did some evasive action to dodge the Hellfires, and all the other weapons the Apaches tried to bring down on them…! Truly these reconnaissance troops are Heroes of the Revolution! …or motherland.. or whatever…

It was getting to darn crowded behind the woods so the CO took a calculated risk and sent the M1 team out and around the woods – hoping the VDV Spigot team wouldn’t suppress them… Gambled and lost on this one – the Spigot scored 4 hits, 2 saved, and the tank team was suppressed!



The Russian Recce sure didn’t like those tanks being so damn close, suppressed or not – even if they weren’t shooting themselves they’d sure be DRAWING FIRE! So they used their initiative to high tail it out of the tall grass and head for the cover of a hill.

The Motor Rifle Infantry moved up another two moves.

The VDV moved back to the front of the woods, thinking they might dash out from cover with their RPGs and try and take down that tank while it was suppressed. They weren’t feeling all that motivated.

The Soviet FAC actually got a command bonus!!! They came rolling in right on target –M1s in their sights – then the 11 dice combined of Ack-Ack and Air Superiority came their way and they had to abort once again! DANG!

The CO sent the remaining T-72 team after the suppressed American tanks – they made a single move into the tall grass and then stopped. Not pointblank side shot this turn!! DAAAAANG!


Now here’s what I did: The M1 used it’s initiative to make evasive action and get out of the way of the T-72. But look at that picture above. The T-72 is actually not in the M1s LOS being behind the front edge of the tank… so technically I don’t think I should have been able to do an initiative action with the M1s as it is supposed to be in reaction to an enemy unit…. Is that right…? Hmmmm (look at me being a big cheater in a solo game, how lame is that!?).

A coy made two moves and B Coy only one.

The FAC called in the Phantoms on the VDV. The SA-7 tagged it twice but they pressed on with the attack. I can’t remember the outcome. I think a couple of stands were suppressed.

The CO called in the Apaches on the T-72. The pilots couldn’t find the T-72 – but they did spot some infantry in the woods and let them have it! 5 hits and suppressed!

Then the M1 team started firing; 3 hits, 2 saved, suppressed – 1 hit, saved – 1 hit, not saved, fallback 2cm.

The General situation at the end of Turn Six.



Comrade-Colonel Brownovich surveys the field of battle, looking somewhat unimpressed by the rather lack-luster performance of his troops thus far…

The VDV did one move. I’m not sure where. Probably back into cover. The SA-7… uh… limbered up? Un-deployed? Broke down their kit and prepared to re-locate… but didn’t.

The Motor Rifle Infantry did some maneuvering in the woods.

The FAC was unable to call in the Su-25s and the CO got the Recce to move out of harms way.


Major Brown, US Army, wonders how he can out-fox these wily commie bastards with his M1 tanks and help these damn limeys get off the damn table… During the initiative phase the M1 team opened up on the T-72 team causing one hit, which was saved.

Then the FAC called in the Phantoms on the T-72 team and that caused 3 hits and suppressed them.

There was some confusion in the ranks of A Coy. One section though they were being flanked in the woods and started shooting on what turned out to be their CO (Command Blunder, CEASE FIRING! 5 attacks, 2 hits, suppressed, -1CV next turn…).

B Coy made three moves.

If the tanks and jets weren’t enough the poor T-72s had the apaches to deal with next! That proved to be the end of the Soviet armour in this engagement.



Well the soviet recce finally unstuck their heads – perhaps they were shaken loose during their flight from the American tanks – and started doing their job! +1 to the VDV HQ this turn. The VDV made a couple of moves and got their SA-7 moved and redeployed.

The CO got the Motor Rifle Infantry moving around in the woods and out into the tall grass to menace the British flank after their HQ stalled – probably shaken from watching the last of their armour support go up in smoke.


Despite the reduced CV, A Coy charged forward (four moves!) with B Coy trying to keep up (two moves). Small arms and Carl G fire from A Coy also took out the Spigot team and caused hits on the BRDM team.

The Apaches were called in by the CO to fire on the Motor Rifle infantry, causing three hits on each – but no suppression! The CO then ordered the M1 team out into the tall grass to root out the infantry. This drew some opportunity fire from the Soviet’s RPGs – which caused one hit! That was the end of the turn!

The general situation at the end of Turn Eight.



The BRDM recce team retired under their own initiative.

The VDV decided to hold their position and wait for the British ot come to them.

The FAC, MR-HQ, and CO all failed command rolls… end of turn.


The M1 team opened up on the Motor Rifle infantry with initiative fire – 2 hits, no suppression.

A Coy choked. There was confusion at the CHQ about which batteries to use in which radio sets and subsequently no orders were issued, and everyone went to ground.

B Coy did some reluctant maneuvering – wondering why A coy had just stopped out in the open and wasn’t talking to them….

The CO first brought in the Apaches who fired on the Motor Rifle Infantry in the woods – with little effect. Then the plan was to get the M1 team firing to finish off the RPG team directly to their front, and then get A Coy moving again before they got slaughtered. There was some confusion in the issuing of these orders and the M1 team got caught up in a crossfire with some of the sections in B Coy (Command Blunder – CROSSFIRE!). there was little actual damage caused by this but the British and Americans lost precious time and the initiative getting it all sorted out!



Some Motor Rifles Infantry men did some moving on their own initiative – if that can be believed – if I recall this was the RPG team in the tall grass with the tank maneuvering to get a better (SIDE!) shot. The Recce was a little too rattled by the aggressive advance and attacks of A coy to poke their heads up and actually DO their job.

The VDV were still waiting patiently like the professionals that they are… They know the Brits will have to come to them, and they have limited time to do so before the rest of their regiment arrives and finished closing the gap…. So they waited…

The rest of the soviet command elements, once again, failed to issue any orders this turn.


During the Initiative Phase the M1 team simply had enough of chasing these RPG teams around in the grass and drove away!

A Coy’s HQ was still having communication troubles and once again failed to issue any orders! B coy made some ponderous moves, again, probably wondering what was holding up A Coy…?

The CO decided to let the M1 get moving before the American commander staged another revolution – and move they did! Command Bonus! The M1 team charged through the gauntlet and started firing on surprised VDV teams skulking at the rear of the woods!

The CO then called in the Apaches to block the Soviets attempts at menacing B Coys flank as it advanced. Finally The CO got on the horn and personally got A Coy back in the game and moving forward (twice).

General situation at the end of Turn Ten



The VDV, which weren’t suppressed, moved up to the front edge of the woods – away from the American tanks to wait there instead.

More Motor Rifle infantry moved out of the woods, this drew some opportunity fire from B Coy, which suppressed some Russians. The Russians kept coming and started firing knocking out on of B Coys sections.


The M1 team fired on the remaining VDV section, under it’s own initiative, keeping them good and suppressed.

A Coy began it’s main assault; They moved once, drawing some opportunity fire from the VDV. This knocked out an entire section and caused casualties in another (2 hits). The British kept going. Further opportunity fire caused more casualties and suppressed two sections. Then the British started firing, suppressing some of the VDV and Carl G fire knocked out the BRDM recce team.

Then it was B Coy’s turn. Some moved while other fired. The fire caused severe casualties in one Russian section suppressing it, and further casualties in another, but not enough to keep them from returning some inconclusive opportunity fire. Again some move while others fired. One soviet section was finished off while the second was now suppressed. The motivated Brits carried on! More fire finished off the second Motor Rifles section, while the movement now drew opportunity fire from the VDV, which knocked out one section of the Brits!

The Russians are now at their Breakpoint.

The CO tried to call the apaches in on the VDV in the woods but the pilots couldn’t be sure of the targets amid the chaotic maelstrom below.

The M1 team pummeled the VDV some more forcing them to fall back into the woods and cause further confusion among the rest of the VDV there!

General situation at the end of Turn Eleven.



Pass their break test! The rest of the division is on it’s way, we only have to hold on for a couple more turns comrades!

Pretty much everyone used opportunity fire last turn so there was no initiative fire.

The VDV were then commanded to continue with their firing causing a total of three suppressions over the two rounds of firing, this drew a small amount of ineffective opportunity fire.

The Motor Rifles did nothing.

General situation at the end of the Russians turn


The M1 team knocked out the SA-7 team – which had been trying to look really small, sting next to them in the field, for the last turn or so…

The FAC called some air support in REAL CLOSE – hitting the VDV in the woods, suppressing two sections.

A coy fired on and suppressed on section of VDV as well, but that was all. B Coy also achieved limited goals – only making a single move to get all their lads in the cover of the tall grass.

The CO then also called in the Apaches REAL CLOSE! The Apaches rocketry finished off one section and caused another to fall back into the VDV’s HQ in their tight cramped positions in the small stand of trees…

The M1 then fired twice at some Motor Rifles infantry, the first salvo suppressed them, the second scattered them (fallback = 13cm!)



Pass their Break test again!

Initiative fire KOed one British section, suppressed another, then caused it to fallback into their HQ – causing it to be suppressed as well!

The CO, being on hand there and the VDV HQ being suppressed and all, took direct control of the VDV, directing murderous fire on the Brits in the open. One section in A coy was finished off, and another in B Coy suppressed, Then another was suppressed and the suppressed section in B coy fell back into the CO, suppressing them!


B Coy HQ failed to give any orders, all other command elements were suppressed.



Passed their break test… again!

The writing was on the wall, there was no way the British were going to get off in the next turn but I decided to play it out…

Initiative fire from the VDV knocked out two more sections of British. The British and Americans are now at their Breakpoint. I decided to call it a day.

General situation at the end of the game.

Total Losses

6x Infantry sections
1x M1 tanks team

3x T-72 teams
1x BMP team
6x Motor Rifle Infantry sections
1x VDV infantry sections
1x VDV Spigot ATGW team
1x VDV SA-7 Team
1x BRDM Recce team (which doesn’t count towards the breakpoint… but their still gone!)

The Air Superiority helped the British/American force quite a bit. Not enough however….

M1 tanks are TOUGH!!

Coming soon on Tim’s Miniature Wargaming Blog:

I think that’s it for my regularly scheduled Thursday night games for this year. People are just too busy with x-mas parties and the like… Once Christian is on leave I’m sure we’ll have a couple pick up games and there was the weekend of gaming madness (which will be the next report posted). Savage Saturday will rage ahead – though there won’t be any blog posts/reports from those. I think I’m going to get cracking on my stalled October project of taking stock and also get to work on my GAME PLAN for 2008!

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