Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Hornet's Nest

I hosted a Force on Force game with the Colorado Springs Gamers Association on Saturday, playing a scenario from the Road to Baghdad supplement, "The Hornet's Nest."  The scenario description:
Objective Pistol, Outside As Samawah, March 22
On March 22, 2003, a Hunter Killer Team (HKT) from C/3-7 CAV "Crazy Horse" approached a canal bridge at Objective Pistol.  Based on reports from an SOF unit in the area, the team expected to be greeted by Iraqi regulars eager to surrender.  Instead, they became embroiled in a fierce firefight with irregular Saddam Fedayeen troops.  This would be the Cav's first encounter with fanatical irregular troops in civilian garb, but it would be far from their last.

The US player starts with an M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) that has just followed an Iraqi insurgent truck into a courtyard, only to discover that the courtyard is was the center of an insurgent headquarters.  An M1A1 Abrams tank backs up the BFV, though it starts the scenario outside of the courtyard.
View of the board from the side with elements labeled.
As with other Force on Force scenarios, this one was exceptionally well balanced.  The scenario lasts 8 turns.  US victory points as follows:  10 points for keeping the BFV in the courtyard for 4 turns, 5 points for the BFV and the Abrams withdrawing from the table via a marked exit direction.  Insurgent victory points as follows:  3 points per US Soldier seriously wounded or KIA, 5 points per US Soldier captured, 5 points if the BFV is immobilized or destroyed, 10 points if the Abrams is immobilized or destroyed.

Turn 1:
The view from the US edge of the board at scenario's outset.

The situation from the Bradley IFV's point of view.

The Bradley opened fire on the insurgents n the courtyard, pulping three insurgents from Cell 1; return RPG fire proved ineffective.  Cells 2 and 3 opened fire with their own RPGs, but all missed, and the Bradley inflicted 3 more casualties.  The Abrams tank moved forward, but Insurgent Cell 4 held its fire, hoping for an easy shot on the tank.  All of the insurgent elements made their morale checks.

Turn 2:
The insurgents received reinforcements with both a leader and a Heavy RPG, which allowed them to both move without rolling to activate and bring a big stick to the fight.

In the courtyard, the Bradley was still taking on the world, dishing out three more casualties on Cell 1.  The Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT) moved up even with the opening to the courtyard.  The tank had line of sight on the building housing Cell 3 and opened fire with the intent of dropping the building.  The building did not drop, but the tank shell killed one insurgent.
The Americans continue to slug it out with a horde of Iraqi insurgents.

The insurgents in Cell 4 had a deck shot on the Abrams, and let loose with two RPGs.  Both bounced harmlessly off of the tank.  The tank swiveled its turret, returned fire, and dropped the building.  All of the insurgents inside, save one of the RPG gunners, were killed in the building collapse.
That used to be a two-story building.  Used to be.
The insurgent from the hot spot made a rapid move and entered the fray, but ended up adding little to the insurgents' cause.

The insurgents from the hot spot showed up just in time to bounce an RPG off of the Bradley IFV and get shot up.
Turn 3:
The Bradley pivoted back to the wall on its left and continued pouring fire into Insurgent Cell 1, causing 3 more casualties.  One was the RPG gunner, but he would shake off the wound in the casualty check at the end of the round.  Most likely a rock that hit him when a 25mm round pinged off of the ground.  The cleared line of sight allowed the Abrams MBT to level the building housing Insurgent Cell 3, causing 3 insurgent casualties, including the remaining RPG gunner at that location.  The insurgents attempting to return fire, and losing, drew a Fog of War card - the Golden BB.
The M1 Abrams blows up the building housing Insurgent Cell 3.
The remaining insurgent RPG gunner from Cell 4, who survived the building being dropped, passed his morale check after his harrowing experience.  He now rolled for initiation, passed, and played the Golden BB card.  The Abrams erupted in a ball of flame.
Ouch.  That hurts.

View of the Abrams' destruction from the RPG gunner's vantage point.  Holy smokes!

Two of the Abrams crew members survived (two were crispered) and dismounted to the left rear of the vehicle and sought cover.  The Abrams wreck was blocking the Bradley's planned route of egress out of the courtyard, so the situation had suddenly become quite dire for the Americans.

Turns 4 and 5:
Insurgent casualties showed up again at the Hot Spot, but would fail to activate because they didn't have a leader.  The turn ran rather uneventfully, with the Bradley exchanging fire again with Insurgent Cell 1, inflicting one casualty, and receiving ineffective RPG fire.  The insurgents that previously ran into the courtyard from the Hot Spot attempted to close assault the Bradley, but failed the necessary Troop Quality roll and chickened out.
Come on, guys, let's assault the Bradley.  Guys?  Guys?

Insurgent Cell 2 rolled successfully to activate and move into the middle of the courtyard.  They won initiative, fired an RPG at the Bradley, missed, and saw the Bradley's return fire reduce the RPG gunner to ground chuck.

The insurgents from the hot spot, however, activated and moved to the courtyard.  The Bradley reacted to their attempt to open fire and pulped two cell members.  Even with the penalty for rapid movement, the Heavy RPG gunnery in the cell, who survived the Bradley's salvo of fire, launched a round into the front of the Bradley and rolled a catastrophic hit, causing the Bradley to brew up, killing 4 of the 5 Soldiers in the vehicle!
This is going to hurt the American victory point total.  A lot.
The surviving Soldier dismounted out the back of the Bradley.  He decided to make a rapid move out of the courtyard and off of the map.  As he sprinted out, he came in view of every insurgent element in the courtyard and beat all but a couple in initiative rolls.  In one, he drew a Mad Minute card from the Fog of War deck and laid low one of the insurgents.  This entails emptying most of your available ammo supply with increased firepower.  Not being sure whether the card required him to remain stationary, we rolled a Troop Quality check to see if he could continue his movement out of the courtyard.  He succeeded, and ran off.
"Say hello to my little friend!"
As the turn wrapped up, the two tankers who escaped the burning Abrams exited the board.

Turn 6:
The remaining Bradley crewman continued his flight off of the board, making an amazing number of save rolls as a group of five insurgents shot at him. 
Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor.  Especially when you've had your teeth kicked in.
We called the game at this point and tallied victory points.  The Americans had 7 (10 for remaining in the courtyard for 4 turns, 3 deducted for a Fog of War card based on bad press from unit actions); the Iraqi insurgents had 33 (10 for destroying the M1 Abrams, 5 for the M2 Bradley, and 18 for the 6 x US KIA).  Decisive victory for the Iraqis.

On a closing note, the scenario was actually very well balanced.  The Bradley lasted four turns in the courtyard before it finally succumbed to RPG fire.  Had the Golden BB card not killed the Abrams and blocked in the Bradley, this could have been a totally different story...


  1. Thoroughly enjoyed reading that! Thanks for posting it, and the wrecked building looking actually wrecked was really cool.

    1. Glad you liked it. More where that came from in this AAR: