Saturday, December 28, 2013

Zumbelay Withdraw - The End

This is a continuation of my AAR of the CMSF scenario "Zumbelay Withdraw."  This scenario portrays an historical engagement involving C Company 3 PARA in the village of Zumbelay in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on June 27th, 2006.  The scenario was developed by Karl White, who has authored several other interesting historical Afghanistan and Iraq scenarios for CMSF.  Part 2 of the AAR can be found here.  Part 3 is here.

When last we saw our intrepid C Company, they were maneuvering to bypass a building complex that I suspected was full of bad guys.  I'd taken steps to reduce number of said bad guys through application of a pair of Javelin missiles into one of the buildings.

More Taliban trying to get to the canal and bring the FSG under fire.

The FSG has other plans.  And plenty of grenades for the grenade launchers.

While the Javelins took out one building and probably some Taliban, there's a guy with an RPG next door.  Fortunately all the FSG vehicles are hull down.

Bypassing the compound and concentrating my more vulnerable units behind a screen of troops from 9 Platoon.  There's an irrigation ditch to the northwest I'm suspicious of, so I'm moving the mortar controller up where I can put a barrage along it.

Shortly thereafter, Taliban show up in the suspicious ditch.

Time to take care of that RPG gunner.  This worked pretty well the first time, and I have plenty of Javelins...

The second missile reduces the building to rubble, just like its neighbor.

Revealing the luckiest RPG gunner in Afghanistan, scooting off for cover.

Mortar fire begins to impact in the vicinity of the irrigation ditch.  During the remainder of the scenario I'll end up dropping two barrages on this ditch, and firing a substantial part of my remaining ammunition toward it. The Taliban prove tough to dislodge. I do manage to generally keep them suppressed, but I never do completely get rid of them.

Meanwhile, I've spotted another Taliban command team in a ditch behind the buildings that front on the canal crossing.  These guys could make my movement toward the crossing impossible, so they have to go.  I move a sniper team up to take them out.

The snipers successfully take down one Taliban, but the other has enough cover from the ditch that they can't seem to get him.

The sniper team can at least keep him pinned down.

A few minutes after the mortar barrage, Taliban pop up in the ditch again...

...just in time to catch 9 Platoon HQ section in the open.

I pop smoke to cover treating my wounded while 3 Section and the remaining sniper suppress the Taliban in the ditch.

2 Section A Team has moved into some buildings flanking the ditch where the command squad is hiding. The gap in the wall opens right to the end of the ditch.

With a few grenades they make short work of the remnants of the command team, opening the way to move on the canal crossing. In a few minutes it will start to be dusk.

Seriously man?  Two mortar barrages and small arms fire aren't enough to convince you to go home for the day?

I pop some smoke to provide cover from the Taliban I can't seem to get out of the ditch.  We aren't here to get in fire fights, we're here to get across the canal.  1 Section is providing rear guard; everyone else is in position to move up to the canal crossing.

By 1830 I've secured a strongpoint at the canal crossing.  A sniper and the sections of 9 Platoon overwatch the crossing from the west side, while the FSG provides overwatch from the heights to the east.  The sun is now behind the mountains, and it should start to get dark.

B Team 3 Section cautiously moves to cross the canal.  Despite having torn up a number of Taliban teams in the area to this point, I'm not at all convinced that there aren't more Taliban with guns covering the crossing.

One of whom turns out to be our old friend with the RPG.  The FSG lays down some suppressing fire on the ditch he's sheltering in, while 1 Section assaults.

Again, a few grenades do the trick.

Unfortunately it turns out I'm right, and there are Taliban in the cluster of buildings overlooking the crossing. 3 Section takes a casualty as they reach the east side of the crossing.

A couple more Javelins.  These punch down through the roof, but don't destroy the building.  After a few minutes the Taliban inside pop back up and start firing again.

1 Section, with covering fire from 2 Section and 9 Platoon HQ, pops smoke to screen the other buildings and assaults. I have more Javelins, but can't manage to get them into a position where they can fire on the building. The only choice is to clear the building.

1 Section finds the Taliban already down, hit by the fire from 2 Section.  As they enter the building they take fire from somewhere, leading to yet another casualty.

There is a machine gun team in a building in the compound.  This machine gun team has no LOS to anywhere but the path in to the building I've just assaulted.  This seems a bit gamey to me on the part of the scenario author.

If I had any mortar rounds left or had the anticipated air support shown up, I'd have just safely leveled the buildings.  As it is I have to go in and dig the Taliban out with my infantry, which is dangerous and really not what I want to do.

I also discover at this point that 1 Section is completely out of all kinds of ammo.

2 Section tosses a few grenades and the MG team is history.

With the compound clear, 1 Section can tend their wounded.

By 1853 it is dusk, and all of the survivors of C Company are across the canal. 

The journalists are safe, headed for transport to return to FOB Price. While there are still 37 minutes left on the scenario clock, I choose to end things here. There's really nothing left to do but move a few teams to the FSG position and watch it get dark.

A tactical victory.  As I suspected, luring the Taliban to mortar their own mosque cost me points, and probably the major victory.

Four dead and seven wounded.  In exchange I've taken out almost half of the attacking Taliban and denied them their victory condition.  I didn't do as well as the actual C Company, but I did cause more enemy casualties than their estimate in the actual engagement.

While the four dead were completely avoidable, at least some of the seven wounded would have been tough to prevent when playing in WEGO.  I want to come back to this sometime and try it in real time mode, to see if I can get closer to C Company's actual zero casualties.

This scenario really does illustrate the principle of the modern battlefield that if you can see it, you can kill it.  Had I been a bit more careful in my maneuvers, scouted more effectively and cautiously, not damaged the mosque and not lost track of the mission, a total victory would have definitely achievable.