Trainwreck waiting to happen - September 2009

Introduction

Guided by their Libyan advisors PLAoSS high command decided to postpone their all-out attack on Anbaba and to try to cut it off from the remaining territory under DRS control. To achieve this, the coastal road and particularly the coastal railway line have to be permanently cut. The railway line crosses the coastal road a short distance to the South of Anbaba, and it is at that point that the PLAoSS forces intend to strike.

 Fig 1: PLAoSS strike at railway crossing

 

The purpose of this particular game was twofold - on the one hand we wanted to test some of our rules which we have reworked considerably, so a small, infantry-heavy battle came in handy. On the other hand this game was to determine some of the basic settings of our next big game, which will be the first part of the battle for Anbaba. Therefore the outcome of this battle will have some direct influence on the way the Anbaba battle will be run.

Participating forces

Two played the attacking side - a PLAoSS infantry force of a company of three platoons and a mobile force of one platoon loaded onto five technicals and a section of two tanks (which for a change proved to be battlefield deciders). The DRS defender had one PoFF platoon at his disposal and the prospect of getting some DRS infantry in two VABs later in the game.

 PLAoSS Infantry
PLAoSS Mobile Element
DRS PoFF Platoon
DRS Army Reinforcements
inf plt 1 - 3 inf sqd (3 rifle team, LMG team, RPG team)
mobile plt 1 - 3 inf sqd (3 rifle team, LMG team, RPG team), 5 technicals
PoFF plt 1 - 6 police sqd (3 police inf team), AT team, 60mm mortar, 2 HMG jeep, 1 radio jeep, 1 truck (MG)
mot plt 1 - 2 mot sqd (3 inf team, AT team, 1 VAB 20mm, 1 VAB MG)
inf plt 2 - 3 inf sqd (3 rifle team, LMG team, RPG team)
   
inf plt 3 - 3 inf sqd (3 rifle team, LMG team, light mortar team)    
  tank sec - 2 T-55
  

In its first ever battle, PoFF units were faced with a massive disadvantage - having only one single AT asset and one 60mm mortar available, they were also pitted against four times as much infantry. Things did not look good for the PoFF, and the eventual outcome was probably inevitable.

 Location and map

A small depot beside the railway line is guarded by the PoFF platoon. The main road separates the depot from a small - and unnamed - complex of buildings, which are mainly used to house the PoFF soldiers (actually, given that they are members of a paramilitary police unit, "soldiers" is probably the wrong term - we tend to call them "PoFFniks").

The situation before the arrival of the PLAoSS attackers. On the right hand side the compound, the coastal road running north-south; on the left a motley collection of houses. Originally we had planned to have an actual intersection of road and railway, but time - or rather lack thereof - prevented us from preparing the necessary groundwork. Also, the street is simply some bit of gravelled sheet scotch taped to the board tiles, which is not a particularly clever way to do it.

The action

So it began. The following report is essentially a collection of pictures, but it shouldn't be too difficult to follow what happened.

 The compound at the beginning of the action - Nissen huts accommocate one PoFF squad each.

 

 PoFF command element with 60mm mortar and AT team - the mortar was going to get busy...

 

 

 PoFF squad and HMG jeep guarding the entrance to the compound.

 

PLAoSS rolling into town - actually only about half of its infantry force here (one infantry platoon and another one in the technicals).

 

 PLAoSS occupying important positions with opposition coming from inside house 3 (which had no window or door facing the enemy - arrrgh); after a vicious exchange of hand grenades the PoFF squad was oblitterated.

 

 

PLAoSS moving forward; a lesson learned: technicals are indeed vulnerable to everybody wielding a weapon.

 

 Hero moment no 1 in the game: the only PoFF asset moves up to the roof top of house two, takes aim and ...

 

... fires away, killing a T-55! Seconds later, every bloke with an AK and LoS to these two brave policemen emptied his magazine - with predictable results: no AT asset any more for the PoFF commander...

 

 

Hero moment no 2 in the game: an already badly-mauled PLAoSS platoon runs straight towards a PoFF HMG jeep, who proceed to cut down more than half of their number. Suprisingly, four chaps actually make it to the Nissen hut on the right of the picture.

 

At last, reinforcements arrive - two VABs arrive with one squad each in them.

 

Just a wee bit later the first VAB is already burning...

 

 

 PLAoSS pushing forward towards the compound.

 

 

PLAoSS squad and tank in good position to control most of what happened between house 1 and 2.

 

 

PLAoSS tank taking out the HMG jeep guarding the entrance to the compound. Note the PLAoSS foot soldiers already inside the compound!

 

House 3 very firmly under PLAoSS control.
 

 

General overview over the situation before the final PLAoSS push. 

 

 

The last DRS counterattack - trying to get to the rear of the PLAoSS forces. Predictably they got shot to pieces.

 

 

 Four got away - the platoon HQ and the 60mm mortar managed to get away, jump into the sole remaining jeep and speed away towards Suzman City. Despite losing the battle, the PoFF captain in command of the platoon got a promotion as well as a medal for his heroic attempts at stemming what was objectively a vastly superior force.

Post mortem

Well, what can be said about it? Our rules worked well - perhaps the most important result. As for the actual game, there was a general feeling that the PoFF made a good first impression, even if they were nearly wiped out. They inflicted considerable damage on their opponents and actually were within a dice's throw of causing a major uproar, had they managed to kill the second T-55. The army reinforcements on the other hand were not particularly effective - in fact, the PoFF commander privately remarked that he had rather had more PoFFniks at his disposal...

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