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.
In this session I continue to develop my plan to advance to the cover of some irrigation ditches to the west of the village. My intent is to use these ditches as cover to advance to the canal and eventually to the canal crossing.
The results of trying to move a section too far in a single bound, without a good base of fire set up to cover the move. My first casualty of the fight, and one more than happened in the actual engagement.
There's really only one way to respond to that, and it's spelled "81 mm mortars."
Until the barrage arrives, 9 Platoon HQ section lays down some covering fire. The fact that only the HQ squad was in place to fire on these guys is largely why I took the casualty.
Incoming rounds, from both the 81 mm section and the platoon mortar organic to the HQ section. One thing I really love about playing UK infantry units is that platoon mortar! The mortar fire quickly neutralizes the Taliban and I can continue to advance.
Meanwhile, the FSG continues to ruin the day of the small Taliban units along the canal. I'll want those irrigation ditches clear so I can move my infantry through them soon.
Another casualty from the Taliban hiding in the irrigation ditch that I didn't even notice for a minute. The 9 Platoon mortar is firing in the background as a soldier from the HQ section treats the wounded.
C Company HQ and the journalists move into new cover, well to the rear of the troops who are engaged and protected by 3 Section.
A team from 1 Section scouts toward the irrigation ditches I bombarded in the previous entry to this AAR. Stopping about 30 meters short, they open up on a suspected Taliban position with area fire and grenades...
...and a minute later are able to move into the ditch with the Taliban neutralized.
A second RPG team emerges from the houses by the canal and fires an RPG at the hull-down vehicles of the FSG. The rocket impacts the front slope harmlessly, and the fire of the FSG drives the Taliban back into the house.
I dismount a Javelin team. If necessary, I'll suppress the house with AT missile fire. Turnabout seems fair play!
However, since I know I'll have to advance directly in front of the house with my infantry soon, I decide to be sure to eliminate the threat. A light, short fire mission from a pair of 81mm tubes should do the job.
And the job is done, to the tune of a completely destroyed house. This scenario specifically provides an objective that penalizes the UK player for collateral damage on the village mosque. However, I try and play by ROE that are reflective of the actual ROE in place in theater, which means no firing on houses unless enemy troops have been clearly identified. In this case, the FSG saw the RPG team retreat into the house.
We've made it to the irrigation ditch and start to move toward the canal, a team from 2 Section on point.
Disaster! Point proves terribly hazardous when I don't take the time to appropriately scout and clear a traverse irrigation ditch. AK fire and grenades kill three paras and wound a fourth. At this point I consider the casualties to be too excessive for me to count this as any kind of victory, regardless of scoring at the end. This is a lesson I seem to have to learn in almost every scenario!
After pulling my head out, I have a team from 1 Section pop smoke and then make a rush for the other end of the traversing irrigation ditch, where they should be able to provide flanking fire.
The remaining team from 2 Section also pops some smoke, so that they can move into the kill zone with some cover. 9 Platoon HQ again provides some covering fire. Two teams, one on the flank and the support of 9 Platoon HQ are enough to quickly clear the ambush.
The advance down the irrigation ditches toward the canal proceeds without further incident. Eventually, 1 Section reaches the canal near the point where the FSG eliminated the first RPG team.
The situation at 1735. We've reached the canal. The final phase of the withdraw will be to follow the irrigation ditches that border the canal to reach the canal crossing objective. Hopefully, being under direct support from the FSG will make this part of the advance easier.