Home Forums Modern Cuba Libre – Liberation Batrep 18

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  • #27393
    Just Jack
    Participant

    All,

    It’s 1930 on 1 Feb 1990, and the CLA’s C Company, Unconventional Warfare Group, is charged with blocking east-west running fast routes through the Escambray Mountains (just east of Cienfuegos), the goal being to isolate powerful regime forces at Camaguey, Las Tunas, Holguin, and Santiago de Cuba and prevent them from influencing the fight in the west, with Havana being enveloped from both west (Playa Colorada landing site) and east (Bay of Pigs landing site).

    C Company has spent the past several hours variously conducting reconnaissance to identify enemy columns heading west, and dispersing to dodge harassing regime ground attack aircraft (“I thought our flyboys were supposed to take care of all that…”). In any case, C Company has identified an enemy column of Task Force A, 12th Mechanized Company, sallying forth out of Holguin; the Company Commander quickly issues orders for a hasty ambush. It would turn into what would surely be one of the most ferocious firefights of the entire War of Liberation…


    So far we’ve had:
    1) B Squadron SOF destroyed a radar site in support of amphibious landings at Playa Colorada (5). B Sqdn then egressed and linked up with CLA rotary wing assets for their follow-on mission in Havana (6).
    2) C Squadron SOF destroyed a the Cuban military’s communications center.
    3) 1st Para Battalion dropped in and seized a bridge to screen the landings at Playa Colorada (5).
    4) 2nd Para battalion dropped in and eliminated a Castro-regime garrison to screen the landings at the Bay of Pigs (just west of (4).
    5) 1st Marine Company, 3rd Infantry Battalion, made an amphibious assault at Playa Colorada.
    6) A Squadron SOF attacked a Castro-regime SAM site near Havana, which failed to clear the way for B Squadron’s helo assault into Havana.
    7) 2nd Marine Company, 6th Infantry Battalion, landed at the Bay of Pigs then turned east and ran into a strong enemy force, which it handily defeated.
    8) B Company of the UWG pursued and destroyed an enemy garrison in the Escambray Mountains.
    9) B Squadron SOF conducted an aerial insertion into Havana to seize a radio station and broadcast news of the invasion.
    10) 10th Popular Force Battalion seized and destroyed the Pedroso bridge to protect the Bay of Pigs landing site from the Matanzas garrison.
    11) 1st Airborne Infantry Battalion successfully fought off a regime counterattack near the bridge at Sandino, protecting the western (Playa Colorada) landing site from the Pinar del Rio garrison.
    12) 6th Infantry Battalion fought through an enemy ambush while pushing inland from the Bay of Pigs landing site.
    13) 8th Popular Force Battalion ambushed a mechanized column of the enemy 2nd Armored Battalion, just west of Havana.
    14) 2nd Airborne Battalion engaged enemy armored forces of the 6th Armored Battalion in the village of El Rincon, en route to the Bay of Pigs landing site.
    15) 4th Infantry Battalion’s 1st Air Assault Company conducts an air assault southeast of Sandino to counter enemy mechanized forces of 3rd Infantry Battalion (forcing 1st Airborne Battalion’s right flank).
    16) 9th Popular Force Battalion conducts a spoiling attack on the regime’s 7th Infantry Battalion in the Matanzas garrison.
    17) 2nd Air Assault Company, 7th Infantry Battalion, inserts east of El Rincon to block the escape of the regime’s 6th Armored Battalion.
    18) C Company of the UWG fought a running battle in the Escambray Mountains to delay/halt the regime’s 12th Mechanized Battalion moving west.


    The opposing forces, with regime forces on the left and the CLA on the right. The CLA are Minifigs Australians from their Modern Range, and the regime forces are Argentinians from Pendraken’s Falklands range, with an M-8 armored car and two SU-76s, also from Pendraken.

    The CLA has a Command Stand representing their Company Commander (unfortunately it has four figures vice three, just like the regular rifle stands), six rifle stands, and a single leader figure representing their Battalion Commander. Each rifle team is carrying multiple LAWs, but they have to get to very short range for them to be effective. The regime force has a Command Stand, six rifle stands, an MG team, an 82mm mortar team, a very old M-8 armored car, and two very old SU-76s.


    Overview of the map, north is up. The enemy armored column is on the highway at top right, but they also have an infantry force at bottom right. The CLA is also split into two forces, with Colonel Huistrella and three rifle teams in the north, and Captain Gonzalez and three rifle teams in the south.


    Since they’ve proven so popular, how about another picture of my missiles in action (from “Fight’s On!”)? The lightly armed Special Forces troopers use the rugged terrain to get close and fire a LAW at one of the enemy armored vehicles.

    To see the whole fight, please check the blog at:
    http://blackhawkhet.blogspot.com/2015/07/cuba-libre-liberation-batrep-18.html

    Well, that’s 18 fights in the books, and that’s just D-Day! Of course, the following days will feature only a few fights each, and I can’t see the War of Liberation going on for more than a week, there are simply too many other projects I need to get to. Tomorrow or the next day I plan on posting a Situation Report (“SITREP”), outlining what exactly has happened so far in the overall scheme of things, and the operational plan for the next day (from the standpoint of the Cuban Liberation Army, of course).

    I hope you’re enjoying them, it’s really been a lot of fun for me.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #27394
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    That was great, last man standing !!!

    #27395
    Norm S
    Participant

    These reports have been really entertaining. I just love the fact that so much game can be got from such a relatively small gaming area, plus the subject itself has been really fresh.

    The effort of getting this stuff out to us is both impressive and appreciated.

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 8 months ago by Norm S.
    #27415
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Kyote – yeah man, a real back and forth pounding, and there’s another one coming up (have to write it).

     

    Norm – Thank you Sir, it’s been a lot of work, but a labor of love. The 2′ x 2′ has done exactly what I wanted it to. The extremely short ranges have certainly meant it’s not the most realistic of war games, but that was never my goal.

     

    I wanted short, sharp fights that were quick (so I could play a lot of them), very focused on infantry, even at the expense of the vehicles, though I will point out the ‘real life’ issue of vehicles being very vulnerable if they get too close to the infantry.

     

    In any case, I wanted it more ‘Hollywood,’ with lots of close combat and heroics, to help build up characters to follow through multiple campaigns, which has really become my passion in wargaming.

     

    In fact, I’ve got more campaigns and potential campaigns running around in my head than I’ll ever have time for in real life!

     

    V/R,

    Jack

    #27417
    kyoteblue
    Participant

    Just keep writing them up Just Jack!!!

    #28077
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Just Jack:

    Mmm, Monica Bellucci! Good stuff!

    Well, where to begin? Ahh! Su-76’s! Really? In a close assault role? A novel idea to deploy 48 year old and lightly armoured, self-propelled artillery, at very close range and unsupported by arty, against well trained infantry in rugged ( and ruggie) terrain who are festooned with AT weapons!?! Seems like a modern day version of the charge of the light brigade! Distance is the only protection that these lightly armoured vehicles have and shoving them to the fore all but doomed them, no?

    The Regime plan seemed a little …. dumb. Why did they split their forces? Why not focus on the hill in the north and sweep it clean and then attack the hill in the south. Set up your M-8, your mortar and your HMG to make a KZ between the hills putting maximum distance between these assets and the CLA. Then sweep the hill and north of the hill with six infantry squads/teams and the two museum pieces. Overwhelm the CLA to the north and force them to cross the KZ between the hills to reinforce their comrades to the north. If they do, they die. If they don’t, they are defeated in parts.

    Given the small size of the playing area, the LAW’s of the CLA should be able to hit anything on the board from anywhere if they have a LOS. So, what was the range of the LAW’s in this game?

    However, a great report conveying exciting action and hold your breath suspense until the last shot was fired. You do write great narrative, Jack. Well done!

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #28082
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Rod,

    “Well, where to begin?”
    Wherever you like.  Regardless, I’m sure it’s gonna be fun 😉

    “Su-76’s! Really? In a close assault role?”
    Yes, really, but we’ve been through this before, too.  You keep forgetting this is a 2nd, maybe 3rd line military, so they use whatever they have to hand.  And I’ll also point out that having an armored vehicle beats not having an armored vehicle, and it’s even better when it has a 76mm gun firing HE, facing off against very lightly armed infantry that have no armored vehicles.  It seems you’re not willing to fight unless you have every advantage 😉  I agree with the sentiment,; in real life you’re looking for anything but a fair fight.  Having said that, it doesn’t really work out in real life either.  I heard someone once say “you go to war with the army you have.”  Regardless of what one may think of the overall geo-political aspects of that administration and situation, that part was right; you don’t get to not fight because all you have are SU-76s  available 😉

    “Seems like a modern day version of the charge of the light brigade!”
    Are you telling me that you looked at that battle set up and thought the regime, which matched the CLA in rifles then added three armored vehicles, an MG, and a mortar, was charging into a hopeless situation???  I sort of felt the opposite was true, and couldn’t believe it when I was able to fight it to a draw.

    “Distance is the only protection that these lightly armoured vehicles have and shoving them to the fore all but doomed them, no?”
    Brother, how many times do I have to tell you, there is no hiding on a 2′ x 2′ table.  In scale, that’s 120 yards by 120 yards.  It’s going to be bloody, and the only answer is what we used to refer to as ‘violence of action.’  So pushing them to the fore did not doom them, it was the best opportunity to make best use of their weapons given the tactical situation (you get a pretty good bonus to your firepower at very close range).

    “The Regime plan seemed a little …. dumb.”
    Now you’re just being mean, and it’s once again a result of you not understanding the situation.  I hated to right that, you sounded so sure of yourself 😉

    First, there are things that are out of your control (I’ll address in a minute).  Second, your plan sounds absolutely fantastic, if the enemy sits there and watches dumbly while you maneuver about into best position to carry out said plan.  I only bring it up because I want to show that it is, in my view, a positive of these rules that you don’t get to do everything you want every turn.  In modern warfare, leaders talk incessantly of seizing the initiative and dictating the circumstances to the enemy.  With command and control mechanics that don’t allow to do everything, you (as the player) must choose where to focus your efforts, and so it’s a constant issue of dictating or allowing yourself to be dictated to.

    “Why did they split their forces?”
    See, you don’t understand the situation, so you’re putting the cart before the horse.  The ‘regime commander’ didn’t come up with a plan to split his force and carry out; what I do is I roll up (using charts and dice) to see
    1) what the table is going to look like;
    2) what the size and composition of the forces will be; and
    3) what the initial deployment positions of each force will be.

    So the ‘regime commander’ didn’t decide to split his force, the dice did, and so the ‘regime commander’ came up with the best plan of action given the force and dispositions provided.  I don’t doubt the ‘regime commander’ is dumb, but splitting his force wasn’t his idea 😉

    On a side note, I still think you (and probably others) don’t understand, conceptually, what is happening on the table top.  What I’m gaming is the point of decision, the last fifty yards.  Before we move to the table top, the forces have already found and fixed each other.  They’ve not only decided to lock horns, they’ve already begun!  Air and artillery (as appropriate and available to the scenario in the campaign) have already had their say; all the long range weapons (vehicle mounted guns, HMGs, battalion mortars, etc…) have already fired, minefields have been negotiated, yada-yada-yada.  Now we are are the point where the opposing forces are standing face to face and are going at it, to the death.

    “Given the small size of the playing area, the LAW’s of the CLA should be able to hit anything on the board from anywhere if they have a LOS. So, what was the range of the LAW’s in this game?”
    You’re absolutely right, for most weapons, if you can see it you can shoot it.  But I will tell you, just to make things more difficult for the CLA, I made the effective range (and I only fire from within effective range) of the LAWs 6″, so the CLA was going to have to get really close, and the 6″ meant the regime vehicles would get to Snap Fire (a type of reaction fire in the rules).

    “However, a great report conveying exciting action and hold your breath suspense until the last shot was fired. You do write great narrative, Jack. Well done!”
    Thanks man.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #28087
    Rod Robertson
    Participant

    Just Jack:

    I get that these are close-range knife fights and everybody is going to get cut, but that doesn’t mean the Cuban Regime commander has to accept the maximum number of cuts. Randomly deploying the Cubans may be necessary from a gaming stand point but if their initial deployment is so bad (unmanageable) as to almost ensure defeat then maybe there is another way to go. Why was that deployment chosen by the Cubans? What advantage accrued to them from that deployment? Why was a platoon of infantry (three squads) so far removed from the main body of the attack? Deployments cannot be totally random or they don’t make any sense at all. If a commander does not have sufficient control of the troops under his direction, then he should not initiate the assault, because once the [email protected] hits the fan there is no way he’s going to improve his command and control while forces are committed.

    The Cuban Regime troops were in convoy along the road, right? How difficult is it to dismount the MG and Mortar and deploy the M-8 into some type of cover near where the road enters the board in order to provide flank security, while you shunt your infantry and SU-76’s towards the northern hill. It’s easier than infiltrating three squads around the right flank of the CLA, no? If the Cubans were advancing in line of march, how did the three squads get so far ahead of the line of march? If anything should have been forward certainly it would have been the M-8 and not PBI hoofing it.

    The Cubans are already disadvantaged by having fewer command elements to keep the momentum of their attacks going forward. Spreading out infantry only serves to weaken their capacity to rally troops and serves to allow the friction of combat to have the maximum negative impact on the Cuban attack. Keeping all six squads near the command element in an attack seems to me to be a necessity, no? Hiding behind the hill with the SU-76’s and firing support for the infantry as they advance along the hill makes more sense to me than driving into a kill zone with all guns blazing and exposing your vehicles to AT fire from the maximum number of CLA stands possible.

    What am I missing here?

    Cheers and good gaming.

    El Rodrigo!

    #28091
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Rod,

    “I get that these are close-range knife fights and everybody is going to get cut, but that doesn’t mean the Cuban Regime commander has to accept the maximum number of cuts.”
    Agreed.

    “Randomly deploying the Cubans may be necessary from a gaming stand point but if their initial deployment is so bad (unmanageable) as to almost ensure defeat then maybe there is another way to go.”
    As a solo gamer, it’s absolutely necessary, but I disagree that it was unmanageable and guaranteed defeat.

    “Why was a platoon of infantry (three squads) so far removed from the main body of the attack? Deployments cannot be totally random or they don’t make any sense at all.”
    In my mind (and I need to check the write-up, but I think I described it in there), the Regime had actually been pounding the CLA UWG all day with indirect fire and aircraft, chasing them all over the mountains, though the UWG had managed to pull off several ambushes.  So the Regime troops are fanned out trying to avoid ambushes; the vehicles are necessarily road bound in the mountains, but the infantry are spread out off the road (that’s what we do in real life too).  So again, this tabletop fight represented the chaos of a lot of stuff happening and coming together at this one place and point in time, not a perfectly aligned, well manicured formation that occurred in a vacuum.  If you take a look, both sides are caught in pretty goofy initial deployments.

    And this addresses your whole 2nd paragraph.
    “If a commander does not have sufficient control of the troops under his direction, then he should not initiate the assault, because once the [email protected] hits the fan there is no way he’s going to improve his command and control while forces are committed.”
    Brother, I agree, but I can tell you that you don’t get to choose, the enemy gets a say in what happens.  Nothing ever works the way it’s supposed to; we have a saying: plans are worthless, but planning is indispensable.  This means that your plan is going to go to sh!t as soon as, if not before the shooting starts, but the planning you did to rehearse immediate action drills and execution checklists, bump plans and CASEVAC, will carry the day if executed with violence of action, i.e., faster than the enemy can respond.  I.e., it doesn’t matter if you’re doing the right thing, as long as you’re all doing something in concert.

    “The Cubans are already disadvantaged by having fewer command elements to keep the momentum of their attacks going forward.”
    Indeed, but let’s not get too carried away, it’s 2 to 1.  Nothing to sneeze at, but if you shoot well, rallying don’t matter, and I’ll be the first to admit: the CLA’s dice haven’t always been good, but the regime’s dice have pretty much never been good.  That’s not my fault, that’s just the dice.

    “Spreading out infantry only serves to weaken their capacity to rally troops and serves to allow the friction of combat to have the maximum negative impact on the Cuban attack. Keeping all six squads near the command element in an attack seems to me to be a necessity, no?”
    That’s a tough one; in my mind you’ve got to spread out as much as possible, just like real life, and we’ve seen several times now when not spreading out absolutely killed the regime force.  It’s happened several times now where they get bunched up, take fire that weakens them (pin, hunker, men down), and the CLA is able to roll them up in close combat like a game of Checkers.  So there’s the downside of getting bunched up.  Hell, I’m trying not to bunch them up, and it still happen, usually because they’re moving the CO or other units over to help rally.

    I don’t know if you have the rules or not, but if you don’t, for the record: there are other ways to rally than with the leader.  The stricken unit can spend an activation point trying to rally, or another unit can spend an activation point to move into base contact with them and let them attempt to rally.  The point of the leader is his move/help rally is free, not costing an activation point.

    “Hiding behind the hill with the SU-76’s and firing support for the infantry…”
    What do you mean?  The vehicles couldn’t go hull down on the hills as there was too much vegetation (they had no field of fire), and it was too close to go indirect fire.

    “…and exposing your vehicles to AT fire from the maximum number of CLA stands possible.”
    You’re killing me!  The CLA only had six rifle teams on the table, and while each had LAWs, the LAWs only fire 6″, so the CLA team was going to have to run out in the open, risking reaction fire, to get at the regime vehicle.  And even then, in a given turn, the CLA team, and again, the CLA only had six teams, could only fire one LAW at one vehicle, or one round of small arms fire, in a single turn.  So the Regime opted to put riflemen in place with fields of fire to engage CLA runners (trying to get close to the vehicles), and move the vehicles up to get the max firepower out of them (but not within 6″ so that the CLA troops didn’t have to expose themselves to fire a LAW).

    “What am I missing here?”
    I’m not sure, I think you just like to argue 😉

    In all seriousness, I think the issue is that you have a solid grasp of tactics and doctrine in certain circumstances, and you’re looking at my table and applying them, but those are not the circumstances on my table.  And I don’t mean that anything odd is happening on my table, I’m just saying you have to know the specifics.  For example, some people will play on a 2′ x 2′ table and say the ground scale is ‘x:x,’ so those 24 inches represent a kilometer, in which case the stuff you’re saying makes a lot of sense.  But I’m saying no, on my table those 24 inches are only 120 meters, so that totally changes the dynamic.  Just like in the other batrep you looked at the railroad embankment and mentioned hulldown, when I’d already set the embankment as being too steep for that.

    I’d say, you’re either going to have to trust that I’m not an imbecile (like I wouldn’t skyline a tank if the possibility was there to go hull or turret down), or just ask how I was handling something, and I’ll tell ya.

    V/R,
    Jack

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