Thursday, November 22, 2012

AAR9 - Closing the Gate

This is the second of three after action reports on the Mugabian effort to secure Pettu tribal territory in Uwanda.

The battle took place at objective A58 on the map below.  The river crossing there is the only direct road access to the Pettu territory.  Securing the crossing and village would severely limit Uwanda's ability to reclaim the Pettu territory.  On the map below the solid black line is the border between Uwanda (left) and Mugabia (right).  The Pettu territory is identified by the dashed black line and is currently occupied by Mugabian and ULF (Uwanda Liberation Front) forces.

The river obstacle introduced a problem not previously encountered by Mugabin forces, and despite its small size, only light and amphibious armored vehicles were employed in the attack.  Mugabian forces included a mechanized infantry company in BTR60s, three PT76s, two SA9 air defense systems, three BRDM2s, two towed 85mm guns, more than 50 truck mounted ULF militia lead by Mugabi army advisers, and two batteries of 152mm howitzers.

Uwanda understood the importance of objective A58 and had a significant force holding the crossing and village there.  Forces included an mechanised infantry company in M3 halftracks, a platoon of four Fireflies, three Saladins, four Ferrets, a single M42 for air defense, a battery of 155mm howitzers and as A58 had become a border checkpoint, one squad of National Border Police.  Limited air support was also possible.

The Uwandan view of the battlefield.

The Mugabian view of things.

The Magabian plan was to lead off with an artillery barrage, then attack both Uwandan flanks, the ULF militia on one end, and a force of Pt76s and BTR60s at the other.  Once the flanks had been compromised, The remaining infantry in BTR60 would race into town and overrun any remaining forces.  Artillery would pound the village and surrounding defences the entire time.

Uwanda deployed infantry along the Ukingo River as the first line of defence, with remaining forces positioned to respond as needed, and able to build a second defensive line using the field lines and village.

Typical Uwandan infantry position along the river.

A Saladin waits to spring into action.

As they advanced, listening to the artillery barrage ahead, Captain Bahati had mixed feelings about commanding the militiamen in battle.  He had helped train them, but they were still not regular Mugabian Army soldiers.  They seemed like good men, but would they stand in the face of battle.

The battle started with with a relentless artillery barrage that injured or killed nearly a third of the deployed Uwandan infantry.  The barrage was unlike anything seen previously by Uwandan forces and caused extensive damage and injury to the defenses.

A view of the aftermath of the artillery barrage from the Uwandan left flank.

Mugabian forces moved into position during the barrage.  On the Uwandan left flank, artillery continued to pound the defenses as the Mugabian force advanced.

Uwandan forces at their extreme left simply ceased to exist with HQ not understanding the severity of the situation. On the right flank the large ULF militia force advance under the direction of Mugabi Army leadership.

As the militia began crossing the water, the flank burst into a flurry of small arms fire.  Uwandan forces were already thin due to the barrage, and could not hold for long.  Despite valiant fighting, Uwandan forces had to drop back and consolidate.  Still the semi-trained militia took a long time to cross the river and take advantage of the situation, much to the frustration of the Mugabian army leader.

With both flanks in trouble, Uwanda's HQ began to order reserves into position.  Light armor and infantry hastily moved into a second line of defense.

Armored infantry and Saladins move to reinforce the Uwandan left, as border
police advance through the village to strengthen the bridge defenses.

As reserve forces moved into position, Mugabian artillery moved to the village, destroying many of the reserves before they could get into position. 

The overall situation began to look quite bleak for Uwanda with desperate fighting taking place on both flanks. The Mugabian advance was starting to slow as losses were starting to mount.  For the moment though, Mugabian leadership stood firm, and their troops continued to advance.

The last PT76 crossed the river followed by infantry on the Uwandan left flank, looking for someone to fight, but there weren't many Uwandans left.

Meanwhile , on the right flank, the advance began to bog down, despite light opposition.

The last infantry reserves  and armor were deployed to reinforce the second line that had formed on the Uwandan right..

... and that is when something unique happened.  The ULF militia  taking only light casualties, refused to advance. 

Captain Bahati could not believe what was happening.  Yes, they had taken casualties, but no so many. They had caused far more than were taken, and had forced the Uwandans to retreat.  They could easily continue and push all the way to the village.  As he threatened to shoot the next man who refused to advance, he never imagined that he would be forced to do so.  Surrounded by the sounds of war, surrounded by his men, he never felt so alone.  As the man stood defiant, Captain Bahati pulled the trigger.  Time slowed, Bahati stood and watched as the man fell to his knees.  He watched as seven other militiamen raised there weapons.  Slowly, Bahati lowered his weapon, and then he watched no more.

Though unknown to the Uwandans, the right flank was safe, but the left flank was still in question.

Losses had mounted significantly for the Mugabians, and as the last of their troops crossed the river, the Uwandan reserves got into position.  Only moments after it looked like all was lost, the pendulum was swinging hard the other way.

Though both flank attacks had lost their momentum, the main Mugabian thrust now charged down the main road.  BTR60s advancing at speed in an effort to flood into the village.  With drama unfolding all around, a CNN camera crew ventured out to record the happenings.

At about this time, Mugabian artillery switched back to the village in an effort to support the final thrust.  The CNN crew was not seen again.

With artillery pounding the earth behind it, a Uwandan Firefly saw an opportunity to slow the advancing column, and managed a hit on the lead BTR.

Almost simultaneously, Uwandan artillery started hitting the main road, BTRs unwittingly advanced into it as it hit, and in an instant, the lead platoon was gone.

In rapid succession, the Mugabian battlefield commander lost contact with the troops attacking on his left flank, his right flank, and with the lead section of the main column.  The remaining BTRs broke off of the attack, and in an instant the battle was lost.

Uwandan forces mopped up their left flank, taking a small number of prisoners int he process.

Realizing that the Mugabians had been turned away,  the Uwandan forces consoidated, preparing for a follow-up attack that never came.  Uwandan air forces jets finally showed up ( a little later than hoped) and managed to chase down some of the Mugabian artillery and destroyed it.
The battle was over, the gate had slammed shut, the Mugabians would not advance their interests on this day!
The artillery barrage was very successful, putting the Uwandans on the verge of calapse for the entire game (the Uwandans have a level higher morale than the Mugabians within my rules).  Ironically the ULF force had a catastrophic morale failing at the point where they could have broken the Uwandans.  From that point, their game long dominance failed in rapid succession across the table over the next couple of turns.  It was a very interesting game with major losses on both sides.

Losses were as follows:
Mugabia:                       Uwanda:
85  Troops                     62 Troops
3   PT76                        1   Firefly 
2   BRDM2                    3   Ferret
2   85mm guns              1 Saladin
5   BTR60                      5   M3  
5   Trucks                     1 Universal Carrier

Mugabia also lost two 152mm guns, 6 trucks and 32 crew to air attacks by the Uwandan Air Force.


  1. Inspiring big battle! Very enjoyable.

  2. excellent battle. I, too, love your terrain.

  3. What a blood bath though. Great looking terrain and sounds like you had a lot of fun.