Friday, 24 August 2012

Ambush in Alephstan

On a patrol in the Green Zone, a government patrol has been attacked by the banks of the River Jallenah. Their foes are the Islamist Ansari al-Mawt, who opened fire on the head of the platoon as they approached the bridge that once belonged to the village of Jalleni.

Opening set-up.
Contact! 2 Squad dive into the ruins.

As lead elements exchanged ineffective fire across the Jallenah, Sarjant Ghulwar led 3 Squad to the east, joining up with 2 Squad and Lieutenant al-Mularqi. Al-Mularqi gestured them on to outflank the bridge, only to rue it as the squad were forced to hit the dirt under heavy fire from the enemy.
3 Squad in pain, pinned & suppressed in the open.

Across the river, insurgents moved from the jungle to the ruins. Some of them showed their lack of faith as government fire pinned them. At the same time, Sarjant Ghulwar found it impossible to move his troops while accurate enemy fire still rained down upon them.

Seeing the distress his fellows were in, Sarjant Ulam led 1 Squad into the cornfields, and put down a great volume of fire on the Ansari who had been keeping 3 Squad trapped in the open. As the enemy fire slackened, Ghulwar finally got his men into the eastern jungle.

Encouraged by this flanking movement, 2 Squad – still hunkered down in the ruins – annihilated an enemy fire team foolish enough to move in the jungle opposite. Moving toward the river under cover of this fire, 3 Squad were struck by a torrent of fire from the ruins opposite.
Bravery is not the safest option.

Fresh insurgents arrived on the western hill and were promptly suppressed by 1 Squad. On the other flank, Ghulwar was doing sterling work directing his squad's fire at the Ansari in the ruins.

Despite their strong early position, the Ansari leaders were having little luck rallying their men, and another fire team in the central jungle went down before 2 Squad's pin-point shots.

Lieutenant al-Mularqi came forward to direct 1 & 2 Squads against the insurgents in the central jungle, and with a roar of fire they drove them back into the undergrowth.

As the enemy fire slackened from a torrent to a drizzle, Sergeant Ghulwar charged his men across the bridge ignoring the few bullets that whined from the Western hilltop – and into the ruins on the Ansari bank of the Jallenah. Already suppressed, the insurgents stood no chance, and with a flashing of bayonets, Ghulwar and his men claimed the ruins once more for Alefstan. A quick sortie into the jungle saw the butchering of the last few insurgents to the east, and just like that the battle was all but over.

More insurgents died on the hill. As they tried to retreat, the rest died too.
What is a squad leader without a squad?

With only a few enemy left, and those suppressed in their attempt to retreat, the government platoon advanced swiftly and mercilessly, wiping them off the map. There would be no rebuilding Jalleni today.
End of play.

Victory: Government Forces
Butcher's Bill: 50 insurgents KIA/captured. 6 light wounds among government forces.

This was my first game of Volume of Fire, the major modern adaptation of Crossfire. Like the official WWII version, it plays quickly and smoothly – and like the WWII version, a lack of rallying is deadly.
This was played on a 2x2 board, but with twenty terrain pieces, it didn't feel too forced. I played using my recently finished 6mm Charlie Don't Surf infantry, using the Aussies as government professionals and the 'Cong as the black-clad insurgents.
With a 50% numerical advantage, I thought the insurgents might stand a chance – they were only one rank lower than the government forces – but alas, they failed all but three Rally checks, and were sitting ducks for the G-men once they stopped hiding like frightened little bunnies. Despite a lot of suppressions on Ghulwar and 3 Squad, there were no actual losses, much to my relieved surprise.
I'll definitely be playing this again, and I'm considering starting some dedicated forces for it. Brits, US Marines and insurgents are the first ones I want... You know what they say. If Mohammed (saws) won't go the lead mountain... Oh, and maybe 6mm Crossfire too!