The Battle for Kernidad - June 2009

Introduction

The main road from Anbaba towards the North East leads to the only oasis in the dry and arid hinterland of Anbaba. Situated at the edge of the mountain range separating the fertile Northern coastal plain from the population centres of the Eastern coast, the oasis of Kernidad has long been an important waypoint for anyone travelling between the North and East coast, with the most important trade route traditionally going up from Suzman City to Anbaba and then turning away from the coast towards the Northern mountains.

A short history of Kernidad

Despite its importance, the village Kernidad existing around the oasis was always overshadowed by Anbaba and never gained particular prominence. With the rise of the Sultans in Suzman city, a small fortlet was built beside the oasis to control the important route towards the North. During the last decades of the 19th century it was repeatedly the scene of vicious fighting between the Sultan's forces and militia units from the Northern coastal plain. After the First World War Kernidad's importance declined, with the British colonial government concentrating on the development of the coastal area 
between Suzman City and Anbaba. Also, the construction of a railway line connecting the capital with the newly established military base at Point Victoria during the First World War let the old trade route via Kernidad slowly fall out of use. Only after independence, Kernidad again gained some importance, as one of the main roads into the semi-autonomous Northern region followed the old trade route. The central government established a small military presence in a walled compound adjacent to the old colonial fortlet.

Kernidad in the civil war

During the civil war, Kernidad was repeatedly contested between various warring factions. After the Northern region broke away, its newly-founded military arm slowly pushed towards Anbaba after it had successfully occupied the area around Point Victoria; in the course of CUSTARD operations, small forces were sent to Kernidad a couple of times to provide flank guard for the operations nearer to Anbaba. The rise of the PLAoSS resulted not only in the capture of much of central Soeliland but also in several attacks against Anbaba, as gaining direct access to harbour facilities is high up on the PLAoSS agenda. During these attacks, Kernidad served as a staging area.

Operation Spring Pumpkin

Latest developments in the civil war have seen the central government gaining in strength and launching a new offensive aimed at gaining control over Anbaba's hinterland. Codenamed Operation Spring Pumpkin, it resulted in the securing of the coastal road and the railway line from Suzman City to Anbaba; furthermore, the PLAoSS force occupying Kernidad was defeated and a platoon-sized army force located in the old army compound, supported by tanks and armoured vehicles. As was repeatedly practiced during the offensive, mechanized DRS Marines forces are employed as some kind of mobile reserve.

However, while
Operation Spring Pumpkin initially caught the PLAoSS off-guard, PLAoSS high command quickly recovered and began to organize a counteroffensive. In this they secured considerable Libyan assistance.

PLAoSS and Libyan attack on Kernidad and the abortive DRS counterattack

Having assembled a sizeable force and secured not only Libyan assistance but also that of various tribal groups, PLAoSS leadership decided to launch a massive head-on assault aimed recapturing Kernidad. The village would then serve as a staging post for an offensive ultimately aiming at capturing Anbaba.

 

Participating forces

Basically, two sides were involved - DRS Army/DRS Marines and MADOps forces were pitted against an alliance of PLAoSS, Libyans (actually the "Arab Liberation Army") and tribal groups.

 DRS Forces
Alliance Forces

DRS Army inf plt - 2 inf sec (2 rifle team, AT team)

DRS Army tank sec - 2 M-48

DRS Army AC sec - 2 M-8

PLAoSS inf co - 3 inf plt (3 inf sqd - 3 rifle team, LMG team, RPG team)

PLAoSS support plt - 2 x 81mm mortar, 3 Technicals (MG), 1 Technical (AT)  

DRS Marines mech co - 3 mech inf plt (3 mech inf sqd - 1 rifle team, 1 LMG team, 1 AT team, 1 M113)

DRS Marines mech support plt - SP mortar sec (2 M113), SP AT sec (2 RR jeep)

air support available

ALA mech inf plt - 3 mech inf sqd (1 rifle team, LMG team, RPG team, 1 BMP-1)

ALA HQ sqd (HQ, 1 BRDM, 1 BTR-60)

ALA support sec (1 x 130mm gun, 1 truck)

air support available

MADOps - 2 mot inf sqd (2 rifle team, 1 LMG team, 1 AT team)

2 tribal inf plt - 3 inf sqd (3 rifle team, LMG team, AT team)

1 tribal camel plt - 3 camel sqd (3 rifle team, LMG team, AT team)

Obviously, the DRS forces were at a distinct numerical disadvantage, particularly as the Marines and MADOps would only arrive after the initial attack.

 Location and map

The map below shows the main features of Kernidad.

 

The old village of Kernidad is clustered around the old fort (8), while the new military compound (5) is on the other side of the oasis (or rather shallow water hole). Of prominence are the compounds 1, 2 and 3 as well as the house complex 4 and 6. At the beginning of the game a DRS army unit occupies the military compound, while the Marines enter beside compound 1. At the far end of the table the PLAoSS/Libya/Arab Alliance forces enter.

The action

As the action was for a big game pretty straightforward, the battle report comes in form of a couple of pictures with suitable captions.

 

tres chiques - barracks block inside walled compound

 

Kernidad - the old village and the old colonial fort in the centre

 

looking down the main road towards Anbaba; note compound 1 in the background

 

the oasis - or rather smallish water hole

 

PLAoSS appearing on the scene...

 

... assaulting the two tanks guarding the compound. Many of the PLAoSSniks get mowed down, but some make it into the compound.

 

Having angry guys with RPGs in your rear is never a good idea...

 

The Libyans arrive. First thing that happens is their command vehicle gets immobilized by a lucky shot of one of the tanks (which should have been put out of action by that time by the PLAoSS forces...).

 

PLAoSS infantry inflitrates the old village.

 

MADOps sections arrive in two Russian APCs.

 

Ok, so if the dudes with the RPGs all fail, then perhaps the truck with the big gun will kill the tank?

 

Well, no, it doesn't - and at that moment the cavalry appears in form of a mobile Marines company.

 

They occupy compound 3 and learn the hard way that proper protection was not high up on the agenda of those designing the M-113...

Marines company HQ and mortar section occupy compound 1.

 

Meanwhile, further PLAoSS infantry infiltrates the village...

 

... letting roll in further technical support.

 

During a lull in the fighting, some hippies appear in a VW bus and take a bath in the water hole.

 

With the battle raging around the barracks block - and the two tanks still not out of action! - another wave of evildoers appear, this time Arab Alliance forces.

 

Again it starts getting crowded inside the army compound...

 

... not that anyone actually manages to do something against the darned tanks. We stopped counting the RPGs that, fired at point-blank range, either went wildly missing or simply went "boink".

 

Meanwhile, Libyan air support manages to flatten one house of compound 3...

 

... eliminating about a squad of Marines in the process.

 

The situation after the airstrike - the military compound is still contested, but house complex 4 (behind the left-hand tank) finally has been occupied by PLAoSS forces.

 

The wider battlefield - more Arab Alliance troops preparing to push into house complex 6.

 

Unfortunately, DRS forces have air support as well...

 

... and they know what they do - up in flames goes house complex 4!

 

On the other side, another air strike by a Libyan MiG against compound 3 does not produce any meaningful results.

 

Having endured a couple of airstrikes and seeing that the exchange of fire goes nowhere, the Marines commander takes a bold decision - attack with all the forces available in and around compound 3!

 
So, let's go...
 
 
... off they are ...
 
 
 
... leaving about a squad or so of infantry and vehicle crews behind ...
 
 
 
... and actually making it to the rear entrance of the barracks block.
 
 
 
The firefight around compound 3 gets more intense by every initiative, and slowly the Marines are whittled down...
 
 
 
... while finally, finally someone manages to take out one of the two tanks.
 
 
 
Still new forces appear on the PLAoSS/Libya/Arab Alliance side - Camel riders to the front!
 
 
 
Marines in a tight corner - compound 3 is increasingly difficult to hold.
 
 
 
Arab Alliance forces attack - on the right hand side a Libyan BMP-1 that strayed into the gun optics of the remaining tank - which should have been a blazing wreck since about 100 initiatives ago!
 
 
 
DRS Marines CO trying to reform his troops, mobilizing even the crews of broken-down vehicles.
 
 
 
The camel riders enter the compound. And guess what? They don't manage to kill the remaining tank!
 
 
 
Instead, they get a considerable beating, though they manage to secure the barracks and push back the Marines outside the rear entrance.
 
 
 
Frontal PLAoSS assault against compound 3!
 
 
 
About half of the attacking platoon doesn't even make it close to compound three, but the rest engages into fierce short-range combat with the Marines.
 
 
 
The PLAoSS forces are on the point of overwhelming the Marines, as these two nasty vehicles appear...
 
 
 
... lurking behind a building ...
 
 
 
... and then opening up on the PLAoSSniks out in the open. 14.5mm against infantry without cover at point-blank range ...
 
 
 
... produces a predictable result - the PLAoSS platoon evaporates.
 
 
 
Undaunted, the PLAoSS  CO throws another platoon into the fray, attacking compound 2.
 
 
 
Although not many actually make it to the houses, this finally outflanks the Marines in compound3 and makes their position untenable.
 
 
 
The Marines commander decides to call it a day, pulling back what is left of his company (more or less fitting into two M113s...).
 
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Post mortem

Well, what a huge battle it was. For once, the result was pretty obvious - while the PLAoSS/Libya/Arab Alliance forces lost perhaps two companies or more of foot soldiers, they not only occupied all their objectives but also beat back the Marines attack inflicting serious casualties on them. Any attack on Anbaba will meet only weakened Marines forces. Brownie points go to the Army for resisting so long around the barracks. 

As a result of the battle PLAoSS/Libya/Arab Alliance forces are now pushing towards Anbaba, trying to gain footholds around the city and to prepare for what will eventually be the battle of Anbaba!

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