Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bridge on the River Ulfhednarelven

Well, Last Friday’s Game got me totally pumped to play some more Cold War Commander, so I thought I’d carry on with the Northern Front campaign in Norway.

Ulfhednarbygd, Norway, 30 August 1985


Because of the daring action of the Royal Marine Commandos and the Canadian Parachute Regiment, the NATO forces had time to form a second line of defence. As the unrelenting soviet juggernaut rolled further south an Air Assault was executed well behind the NATO front lines to disrupt the flow of reinforcements and supplies. A battalion of the 76th Guards Air Assault Regiment was dropped at the small village of Ulfhednarbygd, a sleepy little community on the Ulfhednarelven River.

Stationed in the town was a company of Norwegian Infantry Reservists. A second company of mechanized infantry was stationed a few kilometers south in the next town.

The Canadian Airborne Regiment, the “Fire Brigade of the North”, still recovering from it’s two actions in the previous week or so, waited further south to ready to react to anything.


The scenario was based on the Air Assault scenario out of the book. The NATO forces would only have one company of Norwegian reservists starting on the table. The Norwegian Mechanized Company could deploy using mobile deployment on the second turn on the road on the south edge of the table. The Canadian Airborne Commandos could deploy on any table edge starting on the third turn.

The major objective of the Soviet Air Assault troops was to take the village by turn eight, but also had to hold it until turn eight.

I had considered not allowing the NATO forces to call in air strikes on the village, but then didn’t. I had also thought I might give the Air Assault troops some scheduled air strikes, but also didn’t.


Soviet Air Assault Troops – 1st battalion, 76th Guards Air Assault Regiment

CO (CV10)


3x Air Assault Companies, each with:
-6x Infantry (Air Assault troops)
-2x RPG-16 upgrades

Additional Support:
2x SA-7 SAM teams
2x Spigot ATGW teams.

1x SU-25 Frogfoot



CO (CV9)

Reserve Infantry Company
-6x Infantry (Reservists)
-3x Carl G upgrades

1 Reserve Mechanized Infantry Company
-6x Infantry (Reservists)
-3x Carl G upgrades
-3x M113


2 Companies Canadian Airborne Regiment (1 and 2 Commando), each with:
6x NATO Elite Infantry
3x Carl G Upgrade
3x M72 Upgrade


1x CF-18


Mr. Miller Showed up and took the NATO command of the NATO forces.

NATO had Partial Air Superiority

Col. Millaar deployed his Norwegian Reservists in the village.

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

A view of the town from the north.

A view of the town from the south. Not so many defenders pointed that way….



I landed my VDV companies to the east, southeast, and southwest of the village without mishap.

The First Company (to the southeast) fired on the defenders in the village and moved up cautiously.

The Third Company (to the southwest) stormed into the village. They eliminated sentries guarding the road to the south and assaulted into the village finishing of the platoon and occupying the southwest quarter. Some acceptable casualties were taken in the process.

The Second Company also fired on and assaulted into the village. They knocked out a section in the Northeast Quarter of the town and occupied it, and took considerable fire from the rest of the Norwegians, but not so much as to render any elements combat ineffective.


Fire from the Norwegians picked up suppressing a platoon (two stands) in the Second company.



There was some confusion amongst the ranks of the Third Company – apparently word started spreading about that they were to fall-back as reinforcements were sighted approaching from the south. (Command Blunder)

In the house-to-house battle raging in the northern half of town, the Second Company knocked out another section of Norwegians in an increasingly violent exchange of small arms and AT weapon fire.


The Norwegian Reservists pinned some VDV troops out in the open but failed to suppress those actually in the town.

The desperately needed reinforcements failed to materialize…



Orders from the Third Company’s headquarters continued to be confusing and contradictory (failure). Later in the turn, the CO, now IN the village himself, stepped and sorted the situation out, getting the Third Company moving again.

The Second Company continued to exchange fire with the remaining platoon of Reservists in the northwest corner of town.

The First Company failed to feel a sense of urgency about the situation and slowly made their way into town and began organizing themselves to set up some defences…


The Norwegian Reservists in the Northwest corner of town continued to hold on, suppressing a section of the Second Company. The mechanized force continued to stall, however. It would take fiery words from Col. Millaar himself to get them on to the table at the end of the turn! Their lack of faith in their armoured transport was apparent whent hey arrived dismounted. Their feelings were not unfounded as a VDV ATGW section tried to light up one of the platoons of M113s with Op-fire. It must have blown one vehicle to smithereens and sent the rest of the platoon scattering into evasive action (three hits, suppressed…)

One commando of the Canadian Airborne Regiment arrived (having been dropped just off the eastern edge of the table. The First Company’s lackadaisical attitude the previous turn cost them dearly as nearly an entire platoon was wiped out by the sudden violence perpetrated on them by the murderous Canucks.



Soviet air support was successfully called in; a flight of SU-25s ran the gauntlet of NATO interceptors and AA ground fire to take a run at the Canadians. Their course was a bit off, however, and, impressive though the attack was, it only managed to suppress one section of Canadians.

The Second Company kept the Norwegians busy with their exchange of fierce fire, which gave elements of the Third Company an opportunity to maneuver around their flank and assault. This action cleared the village of Norwegian Reservists. Only one small section of the company remained, holding a trench dug in just north of town to cover the approaches by road.


The Forward Air Controller that arrived with the Canadian Airborne called in the CF-18s that had been waiting in a holding pattern to the southwest. As they roared in for the attack they flew into a startling amount of ground fire which knocked them right out of the sky (BOO-YAH!!! One CO, Three HQs and an SA-7 stand all within range…).

The last of the Reservists refused to go down and sold themselves dearly – suppressing another section of the Second company!

Their Mechanized brothers slowly began to advance. Fire knocked out one section of VDV ATGW, but Op-fire from the other wiped out a platoon of APCs.

The second Commando of Canadian Paras arrived and together the two advanced and fired on the VDV of the First Company still skulking around outside the southeast corner of the village. The fire now reduced the effectives of First Company to half-strength.



Fire from the First Company (initiative and ordered) shot up a platoon of Canadian Paras, rendering half the platoon combat ineffective and suppressing the other half.

Air Support was then called in on the same commando. Now used to the harassing interceptors and ground-fire the Frogfoots were a bit more steady in their approach. Fire from the SU-25s knocked out another half-platoon, suppressing the balance and set the remainder of the platoon into a temporary flight (for the first time in the year or so that I’ve been playing this I actually had to look up if it’s “10cm or more” or “more than 10cm” that causes a falling back unit to be removed – it is the latter; they fell back their 10cm, but stayed on the table!!).

Fire from the Second Company finally finished off the last of the Norwegian Reservists and elements of the Third Company began maneuvering back to the south end of town.


The Canucks continued their advance towards the village, bombarding the First company with fire from their Carl Gs, reducing them to platoon strength.

The Norwegian mechanized company maneuvered and fired on elements of the third company. They scored some hits, but not enough to make anyone duck.



Fire from the remaining platoon of the first company suppressed a platoon of Canadians and caused a few to fallback. Fire from the Third Company suppressed a platoon and a half of the mechanized forces.


Both the Canadians and Norwegians pored fire into the southeast corner of town, reducing the First Company to half a platoon.



For the third time this game the VDV ATGW fired on a M113 platoon and caused three hits and a suppression (one hit shy of knocking them out!?)

The shattered remains of the First company held their ground, continuing to fire on and stall the Canadians advance… how long could they hold on.

The third Company did the same, though their situation wasn’t quite so desperate…


The Norwegians had a moment of extreme confusion, not even the screaming and ranting of Col. Millaar could get them moving this turn.

The Canadians, however, continued to pour fire from small arms, M72s and Carl Gs into the southeast corner of town… platoon commanders called for their men to cease firing when they realized they were no longer taking fire themselves. When the dust settled it became apparent that the First Company of the 1st battalion, 76th Guards Air Assault Regiment had effectively ceased to exist.

It was apparent by this time that, despite the gains they were making, it was incredibly unlikely that the NATO forces would be able to take the town in the next turn. Mr. Miller had some time before he had to go out and catch the last bus back to his end of town so we played out the next turn. Indeed it would have been interesting to play it right out to the conclusion and see how long it would take for the NATO forces to clear the town entirely, but we just didn’t have the time for that.


Thrid Company knocked out half a platoon of Norwegians.

A flight of SU-25s approached the area, but were chased off by “Enemy Fighters” (Command Blunder).


The Company Commander for the Norwegians was clearly cracking under the pressure and failed to issue any orders once again. Or at least any coherent ones.

The Canadians charged forward and knocked out half a platoon of the Third Company, and nearly broke another (five hits… suppressed…). They advanced close to within Close Assault range, but couldn’t keep up the momentum. This brought the VDV force to it’s break point. The game surely wouldn’t have lasted too much longer.

Col. Millaar personally took command of the Norwegian mechanized Company and got them moving!

They too got just close enough to close assault before they lost the initiative…

Another view of the final dispositions of the forces involved.

Technically the VDV scored a Major Objective, as originally set out in the scenario – they took the village within 8 turns and held onto it until the end of turn eight. Thinking over it some more it should have been a major objective to take it within eight and hold on to it until the end of twelve, or a minor if taken by eight, but not held for the duration OR taken after eight, but held on until the end. Not that we would have had time to play out twelve turns…

Total Losses

7 Norwegian infantry stands (6 of these were he company of Reservists initially holding the village)
1 Norwegian M113
2 Canadian infantry stands

9 Air Assault Infantry stands
2x ATGW (spigot) stands

Realizing holding this town just wasn’t in the cards I imagine the commander of the Air Assault forces would probably got the remains of third company to fall back across the river to the north and left a platoon as a delaying force while the rest of the battalion (really only at company strength now) made for the hills.

Maybe next week I’ll have to play this out; some sort of pursuit scenario – either with Cold War Commander, or perhaps just a skirmish scenario using Savage Worlds (since I do have some fine looking 28mm VDV that are looking for an excuse to get on the tabletop!)

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