Wednesday, January 29, 2020

AAR34: The Big Clash (African Imagi-Nations)

His very presence indicated the importance of the upcoming battle to his men, General Mnyama would lead the fight directly.  Word had spread among the troops about how devastating the Uwandan forces had been, reinforced by the fact that they were already this deep into Mugabia after only four days.

The General inspected the emplacements built by his men.  They had worked hard, and he was proud of them.  He had been born for this, to lead men into battle and do what man did best... War!  He had no doubt that he would win this battle, for he was General Mnyama.  It was his destiny to be a great soldier, a great general, and in time, a great president.

The battle for Objective B30 is probably the most important battle to date, and certainly the largest, involving approximately 150 vehicles between the two forces.

Objective B30 is to the right of center on the map above.

The Uwandan view, looking East

The Mugabian view, looking west, with trays of Mugabian equipment 
and infantry on the table edge

Mugabian Forces:

HQ:               1x BTR152, 2x Jeep
Tank Cpy:     10x T34/85
2x Inf Cpy:   21x BTR152 w/18 Inf Squads
2x Inf Cpy:   21x Truck w/18 Inf Squads
3 Recce Sec:  2x BRDM2, 4x AML90
1 Mortar Btty: 6x 122 Mort. w/truck
ADA:            2xZU23/2 w/Truck, 2x SA9

The Mugabians are set up along the western edge of the town with multiple lines of defense intending to draw Uwanda into a tangled and costly infantry fight.  SA9s are on the rise south east of town.  The mortars are set up to the northeast of the town.  The Mugabian HQ is set up in a large two story building in the center of town.

Uwandan Forces:

HQ:         2x Saracen
Tank Cpy: 13x Firefly
Tank Cpy:  8x Firefly
Tank Cpy:  8x Vickers MkIII
2 Inf Cpy:  26x Saracen w/24 Inf Squads
1 Inf Pltn:  4x Saracen with 3x Inf Squad
1 Inf pltn:  7x Saracen with 6x Inf Squad
Recce Pltn: 5x Saladin
ADA Pltn:  4x M42
Arty btty:   4x 105mm How. w/truck, 1x UC
Arty Btty:  4x M7, 1x UC

2x F5E
2x F5A
8x Strikemaster

The Uwandans attack from the west edge of the table, broken into two forces.  The first consisting of the Firefly company and the short Infantry company attacked south of the main East/west road towards the Mugabian main line with the intent of drawing in the Mugabian forces.

The second Uwandan force, consisting of the two full infantry companies and the Vickers MBT company attacked through the rough ground north of the main road, generally north of the stream, planning to circle around the town to the north and cut off any retreat.

A reserve force consisted of the short Firefly company and the remaining infantry platoon

The Battle

The attack started more or less as planned, with Saladins searching for the Mugabian lines.  To the south both sides found each other at about the same time, with the Saladins taking mortar fire, soon after reporting contact with the Mugabian line to the south.  It took somewhat longer for the center and northern recce elements, but both eventually found the Mugabians.

Uwandan Saladins of the "northern" force look for their enemy.

The initial Uwandan force attacked south of the main road, lead by the Fireflies, witch began taking fire from T34/85s at around 1000-1200 meters.  The T34s scored a few of early hits tracking and destroying Fireflies, with only a single loss.  The advance continued until the forward-most Mugabian infantry were able to score their first hit with an RPG.

The Uwandan "southern" force begins to take losses.  
A Mugabian T34 can be seen smoking on the road near the town.

Over the next several turns, the Shermans took a beating while while destroying few infantry and another T34.  Artillery was called for, but had little effect.  Eventually the reserve was sent bounding down the road at maximum speed, and a flight of Strikemasters were called on to try to silence the t34s.

The Ugabian reserve force has started up the road, and air support 
has been called in.

As the first Strikemaster lined up its bomb run, the SA9s both launched a single missle at  the pair.  The first strikemaster was critically hit and went down somewhere east of the town.  Additionally, one of the second pair of planes was damaged by a ZU23/2, and the second of the lead pair was damaged by an SA9 after dropping its bomb, which did destroy some infantry, though not the intended T34.

The Strikemaster was hit by the second of two SA( missiles.

All of this time the northern force advanced, somewhat slowly, but mostly without menace.  Unfortunately this left the southern force to take its pounding, as the T34s had outstanding luck for quite some time.  Just as the southern force was about the break, the reserve came up the road, and saved the day, at least for awhile.

The Uwandan reserve force attacks from the road.

T34s started to take losses, as did Mugabian infantry.  More Fireflies were also hit with some destroyed and others tracked.  The Northern force made contact with the Mugabians, finding that they had not been drawn off, and started taking a few losses of its own.

Mugabian forces starting to be overrun.

The Uwandan northern forces closes with the first line of Mugabian defense.

To the south, the Mugabians simply ran out of T34s, before the Uwandans ran out of Fireflies, and the remaining Uwandan armor started to kill Mugabian infantry, forcing the Mugabians to pull back.  The northern force benefited from the advance of the Vickers MBTs, whose modern 105mm guns finished off the northern T34s without loss, and then began to pick on the Mugabian infantry along the main north/south road.

Meanwhile, the three Fireflies that had destroyed a small number of enemy infantry in the center of town, noticed the activity on the big two story building and relayed that they thought they had found a Mugabian command center.  Shortly afterward, both Uwandan batteries squarely hit thier target for the first time all day, silencing the Mugabian headquarters, which began an avalanche of chaos for the Mugabians.

The plume from Uwandan artillery hitting the command post can 
be seen in the distance.

General Mnyama was mostly pleased with the battle so far.  The Mugabians had inflicted significant losses, and if his infantry could withdraw in an orderly fashion, while maintaining the figh.  Maybe the Mugabians could possibly bleed the Uwanadans to a stop.
Just as the general commanded his mortars to move fire to the Uwandans to the North, there was a tremendous sound of thunder, and then the world went dark...

As the Mugabians to the north began to fall back, Uwandan aircraft appeared from the north, leaving potholes in the road and withdrawing Mugabians.  Other aircraft hunted down the relocating BRDMs and destroyed them, though one did fly directly over a ZU23 and take damage from it.

By this time the battle was over, retreating Mugabians were shot to pieces and many were captured.  Both sides had a similar amount of  heavy equipment destroyed.  The difference came in loss of men and captured equipment, where Uwanda was much to the good.  Still, Uwanda's force would be much harder pressed to win a second battle of this size.

Mugabian infantry attempting to escape.  Most were captured or killed.

When the general came too, there was a Uwandan medic crouching over him, telling him not to move.  He was in the rubble of his headquarters building, and immediately felt terrific pain all over his body.  The medic tried to comfort the General, who bared the pain as best he could.  After a moment, the pain began to subside, "the medicine must be working"' he thought. The medic looked up and shook his head, as the General became confused, not understanding why he heard his mother tspeaking to him.  The general's face softened, he smiled slightly, and closed his eyes for the last time.

A final view from the Mugabian perspective.

The curious thing about this battle is that it was almost a Uwandan loss.  The southern attacking force was at the breaking point with the early loss of Fireflies, and barely made their last morale roll, before the reserve force arrived.

In the end though, the Mugabian infantry had to get inside of 600 meters range of the Uwandans to have any affect on them, and they just couldn't quite hold on long enough to get into range before taking casualties and being forced to fall back.

Once the HQ and the general were lost, everything fell apart.  The general afforded a morale bonus that held the Mugabians together prior to that.  At the point where they needed it the most, they lost it, and then lost everything.

The Vickers Mk IIIs performed better than I expected in their first outing, never actually being hit  by anything.  They outranged the few T34s that they encountered, and then diced up retreating infantry and APCs.  I feared that their thinner armor (than the Centurions that they are replacing) might result in some loses, but it didn't happen.

The loss of the Mugabian General was one of those surprises that happen in games like this.  I roll up leaders for the various units, most are average and yield no advantage by their presence.  By chance, he was a superior leader that gave his troops a number of advantages through his presence.  Given some of the other things going on in the game, his loss probably eliminates what might have been an interesting story line farther into the campaign.  

Losses were as follows:

Uwanda Losses:

10x Firefly
6x   Saracen
3x   Saladin
1x   M42

1x Strikemaster jet

25 KIA

Captured from Mugabia
20x trucks
16x BTR152
2x   ZU23/2

81 POW (48 WIA)

Mugabia Losses:

10x T34/85
9x   BTR152
2x   BRDM2
3x   AML90
2x   SA9
1x   truck
2x   GAZ69

I need to get back to the strategic map, and figure out what is next.  There are several things going on that may soon come in to play, so it should be interesting to see where the campaign heads.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Slow Start for the New Year

While I had all sorts of big  ideas about building, painting, and playing over New Years and through January, I've mostly been working long hours and fighting with the flu for the last couple of weeks.  As a result, not much has happened on the gaming front.

I have managed to get a couple small terrain projects done for 6mm Africa though.   I finished a bunch of stands of trees, and made some stands of bushes.  These will help fill out my table little faster, and the bushes will make set-up and clean up faster and easier.

The trees are from the Woodland Scenics with small bits of foliage clusters mounted on flocked styrene bases.  I might still need a few more stands, but will see in the next battle, which I might try this weekend if I'm feeling up to it.

The bushes are Woodland Scenics clump foliage mounted on flocked styrene bases.  I had just been using loose clump foliage for the bases, but it was a pain to clean up, plus tended to get caught in tufts of smoke and cling to tanks during movement, so this should fix those problems.  I'll probably need more, but again, the next game will give me an idea of how much more to make.  

The only painting I've been able to do is to base coat a few of the wonderful Army's Armies Chieftains and Scorpions that I picked up before he sold the line.  I'm hoping that Scotia gets them in production soon, so that I can add some more armor and infantry to my forces.

The M60A2 to the left is one of my own models. The Chieftains are beasts, making the M60 look kind of small.  I'm still not sure if I'm putting the black camouflage on them or not, as I can't figure out when it went into use, and most of my battles will be in the 1977-1982 time frame.