Sunday, October 6, 2013

Back in Action: Just Around the Bend

My new gaming rig is mostly set up and I can get back to playing.  It's been an interesting exercise seeing what games I re-installed, and which I haven't bothered with yet.

Combat Mission: Shock Force went back on right away, and is one of the first games to be played on the new system.  This afternoon I felt the need for some LAV action, and so jumped in to a scenario called "Just Around the Bend."


Our briefing.  As LAVs should be, we're the tip of the spear.


An overview of the battlefield.  Only one way through, and lots of opportunities for an ambush.


I can already see entrenchments.  Being an American, I'm going to drop artillery on those before I stick my nose too far out.


Dismounted scouts out, to get a look around the bend.


This is why the recon guys get the hazard pay.  Yes, the enemy is there, dug in, and one of my scouts takes a hit.


Having located the enemy, I move up more dismounts and two LAVs to provide fire support.  AP 81mm mortar rounds are starting to impact on the trench line.  It looks like that trench is empty, but better safe than sorry.


My dismounts are take casualties until LAV fire suppresses the enemy infantry. The LAVs seem to have killed or driven off enough enemy troops that I'm able to leave the dismounts in place to tend to the wounded.


I move the other two LAVs of 1st Platoon up and call another 81mm strike on what looks to be a trench line full of Syrian troops.


I should have advanced some dismounts to be sure the nearest trench was empty before moving that LAV forward.  The remaining infantry had an RPG.


They didn't live for long, and the dismounts took them out.  Meanwhile, 81mm AP rounds air burst over the distant trench line.  I've learned to use artillery to suppress and kill the enemy in the CM games.  Artillery and CAS used well keep friendly causalities to a minimum.  I've also learned the hard way to keep my distance - friendly fire causes painful loses.


The second LAV on the right takes an RPG.  I'm sitting still too long.  Fortunately it's only a mobility kill.


The Syrians don't just have infantry defending this valley; a platoon of T-55s rolls out of a side canyon.  Not the most modern of tanks, even modified, but they still mount heavier armor and a much bigger gun than my aluminum-hulled LAVs!  My cannon shells don't seem to be making much of an impression on the T-55 armor at this range.  This could get ugly...


Fortunately, 2nd Platoon has arrived with the company CO, four more LAVs, and a pair of TOW vehicles.  Unfortunately, the road is mined, as the platoon leader of 1st Platoon discovers.  Another mobility kill.


The TOW ATGM carriers move up.  The one to my right launches on a T-55, killing it, but takes a return round at the same time and is killed.



I move my remaining ATGM carrier into a better position, and fire on a second T-55, taking it out.



A few seconds later, the third T-55 dies.


Burning Syrian armor.


2nd Platoon advances to cover as the remaining dismounts from 1st Platoon take up positions in the trenches in front of their vehicles.  With two mobility and one hard kill, 1st Platoon is out of this fight.


The platoon leader of 2nd Platoon calls in more artillery on suspected Syrian positions.  I've taken anti-tank fire from the trenches on the right, and the trenches on the left sit on the objective.  I suspect they're full of Syrian infantry.  The LAV's of 2nd Platoon begin hosing down any visible trenches with machine gun and cannon fire.


3rd Platoon, the XO, and two more TOW carriers arrive.


Anti-tank fire against my hull-down LAVs is ineffective.


3rd Platoon leapfrogs past 2nd Platoon as mortar rounds air burst over the trenches.  I'm going to use the artillery barrage as cover to get a platoon of LAVs in close enough to put cannon fire on the objective.


Evidently, the sight of 3rd Platoon charging down on them combined with the mortar attack was enough for the Syrians, and they surrender.  Despite the numerous soft kills I stumbled into, my actual casualties are low - the five KIA are crew from the two vehicles that were hard killed, along with one of the wounded.  Three of my first group of dismounts were wounded, also.

Syrian casualties are characteristically heavy for CMSF.  Most of these are probably artillery kills.  While probably representative of what a USMC recon unit could do in this situation, this scenario is illustrative of how unbalanced CMSF scenarios can be when gaming conventional engagements.  I find that infantry operations against unconventional forces are generally more challenging - but sometimes, there's nothing like the rush of an LAV recon attack!