Operation Hammer of Justice I

Introduction

With the DRS forces' attempt at breaking the encirclement of Anbaba finally failing (read all about Operation Maggot and Operation Maggot Part Deux here and here), initiative has finally passed to the coalition of PLAoSS and Libyan-backed AAF. The battle for Anbaba, code-named "Hammer of Justice" by noone else than General Mahmut himself now begins to unfold.

As its first stage, DRS checkpoint 1 has been selected as the main objective, both for drawing the encirclement of Anbaba even closer and to get a jump-off position for an attack on the centre of the city.

 

Checkpoint 1, an old army compound, was hurriedly fortified after the Kernidad debacle and then saw the remnants of the forces employed for Operation Maggot retreating back to it; in all, barely a company is now responsible for holding the position. PLAoSS is attacking both with superior numbers and with heavy tank support. As this is only the first stepping stone into Anababa, ALA support is confined to a small advisory team. 

Participating forces

Checkpoint 1 is defended by a ragtag PoFF/Army force under the command of Lt Col xy. Some reserves from the local Marines base are available but will take some time to arrive on the scene; they amount to one mechanized inf plt and a jeep AT sec.

 PLAoSS DRS Forces
 Force HQ - HQ, mortar, spotter, LMG team, AT team, AT technical
 Force HQ - HQ, LMG team, sniper
 ALA advisory team - HQ, 2 BMP
 1 Army inf plt - HQ, 1 inf sqd (3 inf team, AT team), 1 supp sqd (mortar, spotter), 1 eng sqd (2 eng team), M-48 (immobilized)
 5 inf plt - HQ, 3 inf sqd (3 inf team, AT team, LMG team), MG technical  1 PoFF plt - HQ, 1 inf sqd (3 inf team), AT team, 60mm mortar, 1 radio jeep, 1 truck (MG)
 3 tank sec - 3 T-55, 2 T-55, 2 T-34
 1 Marines mech inf plt - HQ, 3 mech inf sqd (1 inf team, 1 LMG team, 1 AT team, 1 M113), M 113
 
 1 Marines jeep AT sec - 2 RR jeep

Despite having a fairly defendable piece of real estate to stand on, DRS forces are at a disadvantage, lacking both sufficient numbers and hitting power.

Objectives

 PLAoSS DRS Forces

primary: possession of the compound

secondary: elemination of as many enemy units as possible

note: losses among PLAoSS forces are expected and acceptable, as long as the primary objective is secured; losses among the ALA advisors should be avoided

primary: defence of the compound

secondary: inflicting damag

note: defeat would have grave consequences for the overall strategic situation

Special scenario rules

Once the perimeter has been breached, DRS Marines arrive in three groups (2 M 113, 2 M 113, 2 RR jeeps) on the battlefield at three different locations on a throw of 1D6 at the beginning of every initiative. Reinforcements arrive on 1, 2 and 3; on 4 and 5, reinforcements fail to arrive, while on 6 an aistrike is available (for a maximum of 4 airstrikes).

Checkpoint no 1 - an overview; two barrack blocks, some nissen huts and a guardroom (about which a certain person had nothing else to say but that it rather looked like standard army, uhm, facilities...).

 

Buildings to the rear of the compound - these had originally played an important role in the DRS player's plans for the arriving reinforcements. However, that was not to be ...

 

To the north of the compound lies the area where PLAoSS was to deploy ...

 

... looking down this road towards the checkpoint.

 

Some further impressions of buildings immediately outside the compound.

 Minor road running roughly parallel to the main road.

 

The compound with its meagre garrison in it - troops inside the buildings, three vehicles and the immobilized tank in the open.

 

Some sort of shelter, mainly for one of the two DRS AT teams.

 

The immobilized M-48. Boy, I did have plans with it ...

 

Off it goes - PLAoSS forces deploying to the north of the compound ...

 

... more PLAoSSniks ...

 

... even more ...

 

... will it never end???

 

The first real action - the PLAoSS commander employs an infantry platoon that up till now has not seen combat; hence his conclusion that they should see some action. What's better then than charging headlong over an open road towards a 0.5 cal machine gun mounted atop a jeep that is positioned inside a revetment?

 

The somewhat predictable result - 14 survivors from a platoon of originally 46 men.

 

 However, DRS forces fail to prevent PLAoSS infantry from consolidating to the west of the compound.

 

 Ok, so there was this jeep - which is why now PLAoSS tanks trundle along ...

 

... drawing fire from DRS AT teams - alas, ineffectual!

 

Meanwhile, Colonel Nububu arrives on the scene - as this is the first big push into Anbaba, he will oversee it in person.

 

 The two tanks had already made a good impression - so why not simply send in some more?

 

These two blocked the minor road outside the compound ...

 

... while another three arrived on the scene, straight from the PLAoSS Tank Warfare Academy ...

 

... where highly sophisticated tactics are taught - like the mad charge ahead ...

 

... resulting in DRS AT teams firing back again, this time immobilizing the leading T-55.

 

 PLAoSS then returns fire and wipes out the DRS infantrymen around the shelter ...

 

... and uses the remaining two T-55 to block the main road.

 

 Meanwhile, PLAoSS troops were gathering for an assault outside the compound. Luckily, the DRS commander rolled a strike element for reinforcement - dropping Napalm bang in the middle of the assembled PLAoSSniks might actually turn the tide. Or so he thought.

 

 In went the jet, dropping the nape ... 

 

 ... and up in flames went one barrack block, forcing the DRS forces inside it out in the open. Great $%&%$ aiming ...

 

 But hey, that's what changing initiatives are good for - again the DRS commander rolled a strike element, this time trying to attack the tanks at the entrance to the compound. Good plan, but AA fire persuaded the pilot to break off the attack.

 

 Time for some heroics! After what seemed to be an enternity and some, the DRS commander finally rolled some ground support. Instead of the sorely needed infantry, an AT jeep section appeared. Oh well, you have to make do with what you have, so boldly the jeeps entered the map ...

 

... posed for a direct shootout with the T-55s blocking the main road!

 

The T-55 fired first and missed. Phew! One of the jeeps returned fire - and scored! Up in flames went the first PLAoSS tank.

 

Regaining the initiative, the PLAoSS commander let an AT team climbing to a rooftop and put an RPG round into the M-48, that was waiting to open fire on anything entering the compound. Up in flames went the most important element of the DRS defence - without having fired even a single shot! 

 

 With the M-48 out of the way, PLAoSSniks started swamping the compound ...

 

 ... and DRS tanks entered the compound.

 

Another platoon-sized mad charge aimed at storming one of the barrack blocks.

 

Inside the barrack block - I need to do some interior decoration... - waited a surprise for the PLAoSSniks: Engineers with flamethrowers!

 

Using these inside the building had two effects - it nearly wiped out the attacking platoon (as if that mattered given the resources the PLAoSS commander had at his disposal) and it instantly put the building on fire. The engineers barely managed to escape through an hole they had made in the side wall of the building ...

 

... only to be caught in the open by more PLAoSSniks who had sneaked around the building. A hand grende arched through the air, exploded in the midst of the engineers, detonating one of the flame throwers. Result: end of engineers...

 

 The last straw: yet another airstrike. In true Platoon style, the overall DRS commander demanded to have everything droppable thrown onto his position. In came the jet for a last time ...

 

... and managed to explode one PLAoSS tank. Most of the remaining DRS troops perished together with their commander, only a handful of soldiers trying to escape. This however was not to be - they were cut down in a last crossfire.

 

 With the compound firmly under PLAoSS control, Colonel Nububu inspects his successful troops.

 

In theory, we could have continued a little bit with the DRS commander trying to get the %$&§§§& Marines onto the table, but with PLAoSS forces properly entrenched, the eventual outcome would have been predictable.

Post mortem

A stunning victory for the PLAoSS commander. Losses amounted to the better parts of three platoons and three tanks, but in the grand scheme of things these were negligible. What counted was the fact that checkpoint 1 now was in the hands of the PLAoSS - and their ALA allies, who soon began to fortify it.

On a strategic level the DRS defeat has wide-ranging implications. PLAoSS now has a jump-off base for attacking key positions inside Anbaba, and DRS confidence was deeply rattled, mainly due to the abysmal performance of the Marines rescue force - who told everybody that they encountered heavy resistance and managed to kill several dozen tanks, but who in reality probably simply got lost. 
 
As a result, the commanding officer of the DRS navy units in and around Anbaba decided for himself that there might be a better option than relying on the Marines for guarding his shore installations - that is, raising his own guard units. We'll see what will eventually come out of this.
 

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