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  • #63111
    Just Jack
    Participant

    All,

    It’s 1045 on 4 May 1981.  The members of 2nd Platoon, 1st Company, 33rd People’s Revolutionary Battalion arrived in Luanda, Angola a week ago.  They met with their outgoing counterparts, and were in turn introduced to their FAPLA (People’s Armed Forces of Liberation of Angola, i.e., the Angolan Communists) brethren.  They conducted several patrols in the local area, but then were given word of a UNITA (The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, backed by the US and South Africa) offensives coming out of Southwest Africa (on the southern border of Angola, now known as Namibia).  The UNITA forces broke through the FAPLA lines at the frontier; 1st Company was swiftly loaded up and trucked south to head off the enemy spearhead.  As they arrived on scene, the Cuban/FAPLA counterattack was already occurring.  1st and 3rd Platoons pushed east and south, cutting off the enemy troops in the (fictional) village of Mutanga.  2nd Platoon followed in trace, then turned north to re-take the village.  Here is the plan for the operation to retake Mutanga:


    North is up.  Here is my ConOps for the games; as in real life, this will get thrown off if (when) things go wrong.

    1.  1st Squad assaults the tower and mortar position, taking the bridge over the Bulungtani River.
    2.  2nd Squad crosses the foot bridge and assaults the bunker on Hill 29.
    3.  3rd Squad begins crossing the open ground from the mortar position to the village, but is pinned by enemy fire from the palm grove.  1st Squad reorganizes and assaults the palm grove to clear it of enemy forces.
    4.  3rd Squad continues its assault, securing the village of Mutanga.
    5.  UNITA forces to the northeast counterattack the village, defended by 3rd Squad.
    6.  2nd Squad leaves Hill 29 to mop up the enemy counterattack.

    Well, that’s the plan for Operation Lionheart, the counteroffensive to cut off and destroy UNITA forces north of the Bulungtani River and liberate the village of Mutanga.  Let’s get to the first fight, where 1st Squad has crossed the line of departure and is closing in on the bridge/tower/mortar position.


    Overview of map, with north being to top left.  The Cubans will enter from the southwest (bottom), moving up on either side of the road to the village of Mutanga (off camera to top).  At center is the bridge over the Bulungtani River, with UNITA forces entrenched on the opposite bank, where they have a watch tower at top center left and a sandbagged mortar position at top center right.  At top right is a civilian hut, one of several on the outskirts of the village.  The countryside is relatively flat grasslands, with intermittent patches of dense forest and long elephant grass (which blocks line of sight and slows down movement), and the river is fordable by men on foot.

    The game is being played out solo on a 2′ x 2′ board using Ivan’s “Five Men at Kursk,” modified to make it a bit more modern (more firing dice, each troop in good fighting condition can act AND react in each turn, missed shots on troops in good fighting condition draws ‘free’ reaction fire), and I’m trying out the new “keep’em pinned” concept Ivan and I were discussing.


    The opposing forces, with Cubans on the left and UNITA rebels on the right, ten verses six.  I was going to say good guys and bad guys, but…
    The Cuban forces consists of a single squad of ten men, broken down into a squad leader, an assistant squad leader, two RPG men, two light machine gunners (with RPKs), and four riflemen with AK-74s.  The figures are Battlefront Team Yankee 15mm East German Mechanized Infantry.
    The UNITA rebels, consisting of a boss (center, yellow shirt), an RPG gunner, and four rifleman with AKs of various type and manufacture.  The figures are Rebel Minis’ 15mm African Rebels.


    A quick look at what’s going on from the perspective of the new mods: at left center I’ve got Cpl Lucastro marked to keep firing on the suppressed enemy RPG gunner at top center left.  I’ve got one UNITA rifleman in the mortar position marked to keep firing to keep Cannastria suppressed and Rolando pinned (bottom center right).  On the right I’ve got Sgt Colvasquez marked to keep firing to keep a UNITA rifleman in the mortar position suppressed, and I’ve got a UNITA rifleman in the trees (top right) marked to keep firing to keep Barnejesus suppressed.  As with real life, the outnumbered defenders are quickly running out of people to maneuver, though they can keep up a deadly effective fire from their covered positions, and the Cuban attackers have their right tied down in the gunfight and their unengaged left able to maneuver.  Pretty cool.

    To see the whole fight, please check the blog at:
    http://cubalibrewargame.blogspot.com/2017/05/prelude-angola-1980-fight-1.html

    So, a pretty fun fight, relatively quick (though longer than my normal 5MAK fights), and very successful as a playtest.  Everything worked out very well, and I was able to figure out some things I was previously unsure of, though I’m still not sure how to handle the ‘man down’ result.  Another question would be, do you allow a suppressed individual to make a ‘free’ retreat move if he has a covered avenue of escape?  I don’t mind a compulsory retreat, even if it’s an uncovered avenue of escape, so long as there is a very large perceived threat forcing it (something to overcome his fear of running out into enemy fire in order to get some distance between it and himself).

    Next up we have 2nd Squad creeping across the foot bridge and assaulting the enemy bunker on Hill 29 so that 3rd Squad can assault the village, so stay tuned.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #63113
    Just Jack
    Participant

    All,

    It’s 1115 on 4 May 1981.  The members of 2nd Platoon, 1st Company, 33rd People’s Revolutionary Battalion arrived in Luanda, Angola a week ago and are now embroiled in a fight to liberate the village of Mutanga.  Previously, 1st Squad assaulted across the Bulungtani River, seizing the bridge and neutralizing UNITA (The National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, backed by the US and South Africa) forces manning a watch tower and sandbagged mortar position.  Now 2nd Squad is skirting to the left, crossing a foot bridge to assault a UNITA bunker atop Hill 29 on the northern end of the village.  This will serve to eliminate the bunker and any UNITA forces there as a threat, to prevent UNITA reinforcements reaching Mutanga, to prevent UNITA troops in Mutanga from escaping, and to allow 2nd Squad to support by fire 3rd Squad’s assault on the village.


    Overview, north is up, with the bunker sitting atop Hill 29 at top left, some huts from the village of Mutanga at top right, and the Bulungtani River and its foot bridge visible at bottom right.  The Cubans will cross the foot bridge, and disperse into the tall grass at center, where Team 2 will establish a base of fire on the right and Team 1 will close assault the bunker from the left.


    Yeah, it had to happen at some point 😉  To see the whole fight, please check the blog at:
    http://cubalibrewargame.blogspot.com/2017/05/prelude-angola-1980-fight-2.html

    Well, I’m having a great time, hope you are too!  Next up, 3rd Squad begins moving to assault the village, but ends up taking fire from the right flank, in the vicinity of the palm grove.  1st Squad, holding reserve at the bridge over the Bulungtani River, quickly mount up and move to assault the palm grove.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #63126
    Victoria DicksonVictoria Dickson
    Participant

    I’ll check these out tonight – babysitting my grandson and I need to wait till he’s asleep to enjoy these.

    Go on, call the Cubans good guys, or we’ll just complain it gets too confusing to follow the action. :p

     

     

    #63148
    kyotebluekyoteblue
    Participant

    Just read the first AAR and Thanks, but your map and table lay out differ in that the map has the UNITA positions of the wrong side of the river.

    I’ll read the second one later as I have to mow grass right now !!!!

    #63152
    Ivan SorensenIvan Sorensen
    Participant

    If the suppressed guy is in cover and doesn’t have to break it to retreat, I’d definitely allow a retreat move of some sort.

    Could even lift it directly from Crossfire (no reaction shots at the retreating bloke, as long as he’s within the same feature).

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #63153
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Vicki – No sweat, gotta mind the little ones.

    John – Glad you liked the first one, and…

    “…but your map and table lay out differ in that the map has the UNITA positions of the wrong side of the river.”
    I don’t think you’re looking at it correctly.  The maps (photos) for fights 1 and 2 both match up with the overall map (the one I made myself).  The river runs northwest to southeast on the map, left to right on the table (in fight #1 north is to top left).  In fight number two, north is up and you only see a bend of the river, with the bunker at top left and a piece of the village at top right.

    Ivan – Certainly, sounds reasonable to me.  I’m also trying to figure out how/if guys in cover could/should be compelled to retreat if they didn’t have a covered route.

    V/R,
    Jack

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by Just Jack.
    #63156
    WhirlwindWhirlwind
    Participant

    Very nice, really good reports.

    I was interested in the “maintain suppression” mechanism. It seems quite neat, but I had a couple of queries:

    Do you think a single riflemen can keep a group entirely suppressed for long?

    Do you think a group can be suppressed in the open?  I’ve never thought about this much because the importance of cover is so well-drilled, but I wonder if a group is contected in the open, then that kind of forces the contacted group to fight.  Against another group, that means a short and exciting few seconds, but against a single enemy…not sure.

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #63159
    Rod RobertsonRod Robertson
    Participant

    He’s back and the Cuban’s are in Angola but for a completely different reason. Oi-vey! I will read this over the weekend and then begin to torture Just Jack with pesky questions.  Good to see you back Jack and in fine form too! Oh, and these Cubans are ‘the good guys’. It’s the Cuba Libre types coming in a decade or so that you have to watch out for.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #63160
    Ivan SorensenIvan Sorensen
    Participant

    Without a covered route, would they retreat?

    If they did, it’d be a turkey shoot no?

    Free shot at double Kill dice by the guy maintaining the fire.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #63163
    Victoria DicksonVictoria Dickson
    Participant

    Read them both, what can I say?  Jack, these are the best reports you’ve done.  The changes somehow make the tactics seem more real, not that I’m qualified to judge, but they FEEL more real.  Leaving markers showing ongoing fire makes the action much easier to follow.

    I really like where you went into your thinking behind the rule changes, I’m a bit of a rules tinkerer so it’s great to see how someone else does it.

    Love the look of the game too, that’s an impressive number of trees you have there.

    In summary, I think you set the Gold Standard for AARs. 🙂

    #63165
    Ivan SorensenIvan Sorensen
    Participant

    Yeah, they make it immediately obvious what is happening.
    Combined with a pretty dense terrain setup and its a great looking AAR.

    I’ll email tomorrow with comments on the rules.

    Nordic Weasel Games
    https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/

    #63178
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Whirlwind – “Do you think a single riflemen can keep a group entirely suppressed for long?”
    The short answer is, “it depends.” 😉
    If the situation is right, absolutely.  A group is nothing more than a number of individuals lumped together, meaning each is a man under fire and will react in his own way.  If we’re saying a group is suppressed, that means someone fired at them, and each member of the group decided to be suppressed (i.e., the weapon was allotted enough firing dice to permit suppression of each individual, and the dice scores were sufficient to rate a ‘suppression’ result for each individual).  My experience is that once you have someone suppressed (my definition= the weight of fire is such that he is unwilling to move or stick his head up to return fire), they remain suppressed unless and until the source of suppression is removed, or something bigger, badder, and more scary comes along.  Furthermore, it typically takes less weight of fire to keep someone suppressed than to make them become suppressed in the first place.

    So one rifleman with a 30-round magazine could suppress a squad of enemy soldiers by firing on them at relatively close range at a high rate of fire.  They hit the deck/scramble for cover in the immediate area, he reloads, and all he has to do is fire a round or two every five seconds or so and he could conceivably keep them suppressed indefinitely.   Please read the indefinite part as ‘possible but not probable;’ the whole point of small unit leadership is to get that squad of enemy soldiers back on the firing line (in my terms, ‘back to pinned,’ where they are still not willing to move out of cover, but they are willing to return fire), amass fire superiority in order to win the firefight, where the lone AK-armed soldier is now himself suppressed, while one team of the squad maintains suppressing fire on him and another team maneuvers to envelop and eliminate him.

    “Do you think a group can be suppressed in the open?”
    Absolutely, though I’m not sure it matters (more on that in a moment).  But let’s say there’s an enemy LMG on a knoll, and a squad of our troops in staggered column 400 yards away.  We’re in perfectly tabletop flat desert, minus the knoll, of course 😉  So, by definition, there is no cover, not even a fold in the ground.  The LMG opens up; what real choice does the squad have but to hug the dirt and try to hide behind its packs?  Now, as above, the initial reaction is probably going to be suppression, but the small unit leaders should immediately be going to work to ‘get them up to pinned’ so that they are returning fire.  Obviously, different levels of training and motivation are going to respond differently.  But there are plenty of cases of units of troops being suppressed in the open, laying there for hours, hoping for some sort of external assistance (another unit, air, arty, mortars, armor, etc…).  Even well trained/motivated troops might return fire, but if it’s ineffective because the enemy is bunkered up and your casualties begin building up, there’s not much incentive to continue trading fire.

    But it’s still a choice.  We might make the choice to remain suppressed, not moving or returning fire, so long as we’re not in worse danger.  But let’s say the enemy has the ability and begins to move to higher ground, where they can fire down upon our unit.  Well, that changes the calculus: a minute ago I could lay here and have a reasonable expectation of not being hit.  But now he’s going to move up above me, and it’s going to be akin to shooting fish in a barrel.  So even though I’d rather lay here, I need to get my ass up and do something as it’s only a matter of time before I get popped anyway.  Same thing if the enemy moves to close assault us.”

    “I’ve never thought about this much because the importance of cover is so well-drilled,…”
    Hmm, that’s a tough one.  For me, first this gets to the issues of macro-cover and micro-cover.  It’s one thing for the company commander to say ‘move along this route, it’s a covered and concealed route to the objective.’  And that’s true at the macro level, moving an entire platoon or company, it’s reasonable to assume the company or platoon won’t be seen until it’s on the objective, and if it is seen, it’s reasonable to  assume the enemy is unable to deliver effective fire on the covered/concealed route.  But at the micro level, if you’re the point man of the lead team of the lead squad of the lead platoon of the company, you’re in a sunken lane five meters wide and 500 meters long, thick trees and underbrush to either side, the entire company behind you.

    So the company is in an excellent covered and concealed avenue of approach, but that pointman (and quite a few of his squad or even platoon) are stuck in a deadly fire sack when a single enemy rifleman pops up twenty meters in front of him, in the sunken lane, firing down the length of it.  Now, at the individual level, you’re stuck in an alley with no real cover.  Decisions are: hit the deck and curl into the fetal position, assault through, or run.

    “…but I wonder if a group is contected in the open, then that kind of forces the contacted group to fight.”
    To me, that is an issue of threat; you can talk about immediate action drills/battle drills.  Most folks talk about range to enemy, and that’s certainly a factor, but in my opinion, it’s really an issue of death ground.  Are you in death ground, or are you not?  Being on death ground means you have no other option but to fight, as all other options lead to death.  There can be no seeking cover or running, you must expose yourself and fight back.  Sure, you may still die, but you’re certainly going to die if you don’t.

    “Against another group, that means a short and exciting few seconds, but against a single enemy…not sure.”
    I dunno man.  If we’re talking a well trained rifleman in cover with a reliable weapon and appropriate level of ammunition (let’s say engaging six targets with a full magazine of 30 rounds), the enemy is in plain view at 50 yards or less, my money is on the single enemy.  If the six enemy troops have cover nearby, he doesn’t even have to hit all six, he probably only needs to hit one or two and the rest are going to dive behind the cover, suppressed.

    Rod – “He’s back and the Cuban’s are in Angola but for a completely different reason.”
    Whaddaya mean, ‘a different reason’?  They’re there to help the MAPLA/FAPLA, just like real life.  I must be misunderstanding.  Ahh, the ‘guys coming in ten years’?  Yuk yuk yuk….

    “Oh, and these Cubans are ‘the good guys’.”
    You’re despicable 😉

    Ivan – “If they did, it’d be a turkey shoot no?”
    Yeah, man.  On the one hand, that’s what they mean when you read ‘the enemy broke and ran.’  Nothing really changed in the tactical situation, but due to the strain of being under sustained fire, a knucklehead(s) lost his nerve and bolted for it.  The other option is the more normal, the ‘risk equation’ aspect.  That is, if the tactical situation changes, and something worse comes along.  You and I are sitting in a bunker, enemy MG and small arms fire busting open sandbags all around us, and we watch a friendly bunker 50 yards away get lit up by a flamethrower.  There’s a trench running from that bunker to near our bunker, and now we can see enemy helmets moving down the trench towards us, with no way for us to get at them (from inside the bunker).  We’ve got two options: 1) pop out of the bunker, get into a firing position on the flamethrower team and light them up, knowing that we’ll probably be killed by the enemy MG and small arms fire coming from the other direction, or 2) make a run for it.  All thing being equal, if the tactical situation is “I can stay here and die, or run and only maybe die,” most guys are going to run.

    But it’s still a turkey shoot.  There’s a great video of US Marines on Tarawa; they rush a bunker, use satchel charges and flamethrowers on it.  The Japanese pour out the back side and are absolutely mowed down by the Marines.  I gotta figure they reckoned staying in there was going to get them blown up and torched, while running might get them a hail of bullets, but there’s at least a possibility of survival, no matter how slim.

    I’ll keep an eye out for your e-mail.

    Vicki – You are far too kind, and I’m glad you enjoyed them.  The funny thing is, this was Ivan’s idea.  I was perfectly happy playing the game as it was, but he wanted to go and make it all ‘realistic.’  I told him I can see playing some games like this, and others going back to the Hollywood stuff, which I love 😉

    V/R,
    Jack

     

     

    #63179
    kyotebluekyoteblue
    Participant

    Grass mowed and AAR read, where did the bunker come from ?? I like the look of it , did you build it your self Jack ??

    Thanks for explaining the new rules you and Ivan are working on .

    #63182
    WhirlwindWhirlwind
    Participant

    Hi Jack,

    Thanks very much for your replies.  I think I agree with pretty much all of that.  My only comment – quibble? – would be that I think a single rifleman against a group falls into the situation you mentioned on the TMP thread about the proximity of fire.  Unless the target group is: a – small (2-3 guys), and/or b – close together, like in a small-ish fire trench, then at least some of the group are going to work out relatively quickly that the rifle fire is further away than your 5m-ish rule of thumb and become unsurpressed on that realization.

    And that ties in to the last bit –  the group in the open.  If forced to fight in the death ground, then my normal reading versus a single shooter (with a rifle) would be that the group in the open is reasonably likely to take 1 – 2 casualties but then is likely to become surpressed himself as the remainder of the group open fire.

    Anyway, thanks again for the replies, and for the interesting AARs

     

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #63213
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Kyote – Thanks man, and no, I didn’t build the bunker, I bought it.  Can’t remember from whom…  I have a couple, used them back in January for some skirmish fights in Cronistria.

    Whirlwind – My pleasure.  Regarding the quibble, for me that becomes an issue of how much ground can the lone rifleman cover; if the targets are relatively tightly bunched, he doesn’t need to do much manipulation of the weapon and thus can deliver accurate fire against multiple individuals, even on semiautomatic.  The further apart the targets are, the more difficult that should become, to the point some guys in the ‘group’ will probably figure out he can’t cover all of them.  But who wants to be the guy to give it a shot? 😉  Again, in my opinion, there are far too many factors to take into consideration, so I’m kind of bunching some things.  I just looked where the shooter was, where the targets were, and kind of eyeballed how much ground I thought he could cover by himself.

    And I agree with the last part about death ground.  The issues in that type of situation are 1) do the guys being fired at grasp the tactical situation (that they are in death ground), and 2) can they then react in the appropriate manner (knowing they’ll likely still get whacked)?

    V/R,
    Jack

    #63323
    kyotebluekyoteblue
    Participant

    Wish you knew who made the bunker, with a different paint job and more foliage it would work well for the Pacific.

    #63360
    Rod RobertsonRod Robertson
    Participant

    Jack:

    I have to agree with others above. These two Bat. Reps, are among the best you have done to date (at least the ones I have read) and I am very impressed. Well done! Thank you for these outstanding reports and for being generous enough to take the time and make the effort to share them with us. They are very cool.

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod (Despicable Me) Robertson.

    #63511
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Kyote – The bunker is from Miniature Building Authority, though I think they recently got rid of their 15mm line…

    Rod – Thanks man, I appreciate it, but…  that’s it!!!???  YOU don’t have ANY questions?  😉

    V/R,
    Jack

    #63545
    kyotebluekyoteblue
    Participant

    Bummer about the bunkers, but I think I could scratch build some of my own.

    #63561
    Rod RobertsonRod Robertson
    Participant

    Jack:

    No questions. I know, weird innit! It’s the Endtimes I tells ya! Great reports though and looking forward to more about this batch of Cubans! 

    Cheers and good gaming.

    Rod Robertson.

    #63683
    Just Jack
    Participant

    Rod,

    Sounds like a trap 😉

    So, whaddaya think?  You’re always yakking at me because I’m playing ‘Hollywood’ games, this seems to be a step in the right direction for you guys (I say you guys because I’ll play some like this, but most of my games will still be played Hollywood-style).  Are you going to try it?  While it worked well in a skirmish game, I think the concepts will really shine in larger echelon games, maybe platoon level, certainly company level.  This should finally force a no kidding, 3-1 ratio in favor of the attacker, so that you have units to keep the enemy suppressed while others maneuver.

    V/R,
    Jack

    #63684
    kyotebluekyoteblue
    Participant

    Hollywood is good too….Pacific is better.

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