Operation Maggot Part Deux - May 2010

Introduction

During the first part of Operation Maggot (read all about this operation here), DRS forces managed to push south from Anbaba; despite considerable resistance in the southern outskirts of Anbaba, which had been infiltrated by PLAoSS forces, the DRS army made its way out of Anbaba and towards the main PLAoSS staging area near a small railway station south of Anbaba. 

Travelling further down the coatal road the leading elements of the DRS task force entered one of the villages between Anbaba and the capital. According to DRS army intelligence, the village was free from enemy forces; the DRS forces were therefore headed by a PoFF unit, as no resistance was expected. As usual, the quality of intelligence if graded on a scale of 1 to 10 came in at a solid -37 - the village turned out to be a veritable PLAoSS fortress!

 

The developing encirclement of Anbaba and the DRS attempt at a breakout

The scenario was a logical sequel to Operation Maggot; its outcome would decide whether the DRS forces could stage their attack on the railway station in the next scenario, or whether initiative would pass to the PLAoSS, resulting in a PLAoSS push towards Checkpoint 1.

Participating forces

The DRS task force this time consisted of army as well as police elements, a weak army company (two rifle platoons and a support platoon) with armoured vehicles being supported by a reinforved PoFF platoon. This force equalling roughly five platoons infantry crushed headlong into a roughly similar-sized PLAoSS force of  about four infantry platoons supported by a tank and a couple of technicals.

 PLAoSS DRS Army
 4 inf plt - 3 inf sqd (HQ 3 rifle team, LMG team, RPG team)
 2 inf plt - HQ, 3 inf sqd (3 inf team, AT team or mortar team), LMG team, sniper
 terror plt - 2 terror Sqd (rifle team, LMG team, RPG team)  support plt - HQ, mortar, eng sqd (2 eng team), spotter, sniper, VAB/20, VAB
 tank sec - 1 T-55, 1 T-34  tank sec - 2 M-48
 2 technical sec - 2 Technical
 PoFF plt - 6 inf sqd (3 inf team), AT team, 60mm mortar, 2 HMG jeep, 1 radio jeep, 1 truck (MG)

On the whole the army was at a considerable disadvantage, as it had only a marginal numerical advantage, if any, over a well-entrenched enemy.

Special scenario rules

The army starts with sending PoFF units down the main road. Army units enter between houses 1 and 3; which units arrive is determined by throwing 1D6.

 Location and map

At a bend in the main road lies this village, with a larger ruined feature at the far end of the map.

 

DRS forces evidently have to push through and secure the road, preferrably by eliminating any PLAoSS resistance. PLAoSS forces on the other hand have to hold whatever they can.

The action

Mostly pictures, but the general course of action should be clear.

 

A scenic shot of some parts of the map; note in the distance PLAoSS fighters on rooftop.

 

Looking into the same direction as above, but from a point to the right of the main road; PLAoSS positions evident in the distance.

 

 Closeup on PLAoSS roadblock; note technical mounting RR gun lurking behind a building in the middle of the picture; he was to have a heroic moment later in the game.

 

 Key PLAoSS position at the bend of the main road; MG technicals to the left, in the distance to the right the RR technical that can also be seen in the previous picture.

 

PLAoSS T-34 up to no good near the bend of the road.

 More prepared PLAoSS positions; T-55 on the left.

 

General overview over PLAoSS positions beyond the bend in the road.

 

Key house complex - full of PLAoSSniks.

 

 So off we go - PoFF forces entering the village totally unaware of any PLAoSS presence...

 

... only to have their jeeps shot to pieces by combined tank and infantry fire (you can see a burning jeep in the upper right corner of the picture). Getting away from the vehicles might be a good idea - so off into houses 1 and 2.

 

PoFF fire base - 1 60mm mortar team...

 

Time to get to the really important objectives - .like the only portaloo in the village... In the distance is a PoFF about to enter house 2.

 

 House 2 - the chaps outside the doorway in the centre of the picture are the PoFF commander and his sole AT asset, a WW2-vintage bazooka; the whole situation started to look rather, well, suboptimal pretty soon...

 ... as two PLAoSS squads were assembling to charge headlong into the PoFF positions ...

 

 ... and the T-34 suddenly decided to have a go at sightseeing; after an unsuccessful attempt at firing a Bazooka into it from perhaps 3 meters away (oh the incompetence...), its commander suddenly decided to turn the turret to the left - and lookie, all those guys with blue uniforms suddenly clutter the gun optics!

 

Seconds later all is left is a litle crater.

 

 Finally, the army appears - to exert instant revenge!

 

 Up in flames goes the T-34, and the M-48 rumbles on, only to be stopped in its tracks by an RPG round (I so hate these things....).

 

 An overview over the action at that time - burning PoFF vehicles on and beside the road, burning T-34 to the left, house 5 on the right hand side, from which the RPG was fired.

 

 And of course, if you happen to lose your initiative and the other guy has RPGs, one round rarely goes out a-flying alone. The second one knocked the M-48 out for good. Although a second M-48 appeared at that moment, DRS performance so far has been close to abysmal.

 

However, that was to change, with army infantry to appear on the scene.

 

 House 6 still dominates the battlefield...

 

... but that's not a problem a well-placed 105mm round can't solve (in fact, there are few if any problems a well-placed 105mm round can solve - the main issue always being getting the round where it belongs, but I digress...).

 

 Of course, slamming HE rounds into adobe huts is a game two can play...

... unless there are some folks with a super bazooka, hehe - bang goes the T-55!

 

 In the meantime on the other side of the battlefield, it was showdown time - M-48 versus technical, 105mm rifled gun versus 106mm RR gun! You wouldn't believe how often one can miss at that distance...

 

 Of course, in the end you can always call the crunchies, who then blow up the nasty technical with rifle fire. Note T-55 burning on the far left.

 

High water mark for DRS forces - and just at that moment RPGs were again flying around and slamming into the M-48. There goes the last tank...

 

PLAoSS forces consolidated in house complex 7 for a final stand.

 

 Meanwhile, attempts to get some DRS armoured vehicles into the table had resulted in more blazing wrecks,and to the left of the main road PLAoSS infantry was entering house 2.

 

 DRS infantry trying to clear houses 6 and 7.

 

 PoFF pulling out of its positions.

 

 The central building complex defended by PLAoSS forces - still loads of folks and heavy weaponry in evidence.

 

When the last armoured vehicle went up in flames, the DRS assault was effectively stalled. While PLAoSS did not have enough assets left to recapture all of the village, DRS forces had insufficient infantry power available to clear the remaining  PLAoSS positions - or heavy artillery or air support to flatten the place. We therefore at that point called it a day.

Post mortem

Tactically it was probably a draw, given that DRS forces had been at a disadvantage from the outset, having to commit its forces piecemeal and with only a marginal superiority (if any) over the PLAoSS forces. In retrospect concentrating on the left flank may have been the better option, as it could have made it easier to play out the strengths of the armoured vehicles. Well, it was not to be.

On a strategic level the operation was a grave setback for DRS forces - the attempt to break open the encirclement of Anbaba had failed. Furthermore, PLAoSS command now decided to act against Anbaba; while an all-out attack requires considerable coordination with PLAoSS' Libyan allies, checkpoint 1 - an army base that had been used as a staging point for Operation Maggot - is well within PLAoSS' capabilities.