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Category Archives: Devil Dog Designs [DDD]

Game report USMC Recon vs. Russians

For the first time in a very long time we played a modern scenario. Situations was this.

As part of a general attack on western Europe, Russia also decided to return the Baltic Republics to the fold. Not willing to let this happen NATO has decided to send an US Marine Expeditionary Corp to retake Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. While the initial landings went well against the second and third level units used to garrison Russia’s “acquisitions”, the Marines ran into troubles after a few days when The Russians diverted front line reinforcements to the Baltic, together with a strong anti-aircraft screen.

Against this backdrop, a large USMC Recon patrol stumbles over two Russian T-90 tanks besides a small warehouse. Observations show that the tanks actually are the command tanks for a tank battalion operating in the area. Out of range of the ships heavy artillery and not wanting to risk any of the few fighter aircraft still at his disposal, the expeditionary force commander decides to order the Recon team to attack and take the tankers out before they leave for another attack. But to make matters worse, there is also a Russian infantry detachment to guard the tanks… not an easy nut to crack!

Table set-up [Minis no yet in their starting positions]

Table set-up
[Minis not yet in their starting positions]

This only being a small skirmish game, we only set up a small table. This was divided at roughly 1/3 of the depth by a raised railroad dam. There was also a road parallel to it. On the other side was a small fenced in warehouse compound with a few containers. The table also featured a small field and some woods. The Russians (eight infantry) set up with-in the compound. Both tank crews were still inside the warehouse where they had spent the night. They would only be allowed to leave it, once the Marines were either spotted or a firefight broke out.

Russian starting position

Russian starting position

The Marines split up into two five men teams that would try to sneak close on each flank. Only the M-60 machine gun would remain behind at the railroad crossing to provide covering fire if need be. At first things went quiet well, with the Marines silently crawling up on their target. But then, having gone roughly half way to their assault position, something went wrong with the team advancing through the woods.

USMC advance on the right flank

USMC advance on the right flank

Maybe someone broke a branch or it was the glitter of the sun on a weapon optic, but they were made out by the Russians, who instantly opened up with their LMG. Seeing that things were starting to go south, the M-60 gunner instantly opened up on his Russian counterpart and drove him to cover, but it was already too late… two of the right flank Marines had suffered wounds that turned them incapable to fight on. And now a general firefight broke out between the Marines on the right and the Russians who were starting to scramble to take up defensive positions. In this firefight the Corporal leading the Marines there was killed by a sniper bullet, before the SAW opened up and injured the sniper, taking him out of the fight.

Russians taking up defensive positions

Russians taking up defensive positions

While trying to crawl out from under the M-60s field of fire, one of the Russian NCO´s raised his head a bit too high and received a bullet to the head. At the same time the Russian LMG fired once more, killing another Marines on the right. Plus now the first Russian tankers were leaving the building as well, making for their tanks.

Russian Tankers spilling out of the warehouse

Russian Tankers spilling out of the warehouse

Things were not going well! In this light the Marines on the left gave up their hide. Firing at the Russians closer to the warehouse, they managed to take out the LMG and injure the remaining Russian soldier hiding behind some crates behind by the warehouse. The M-60 ceased its fire and got ready to fire deeper into the compound where the second tank crew had left the building. The remainder of the team split up they. While the recon leader and another of one of his soldiers fired at targets of opportunity, two more soldiers sprinted forward to take the Russians in the flank.

Marines advancing on the left flank

Marines advancing on the left flank

Unfortunately, the first of them came under the sights of the Russians Sergeant who just happened to look around one of the containers. One snapshot and another Marines was down with severe injuries, before the Russian NCO got back behind cover of the containers. The other Marine who had just seen his buddy being felled, got down on his knee and fired his grenade launcher between the containers, eliminating the Russian Sergeant.

Russians taking cover between shipping containers

Russians taking cover between shipping containers

Now the remaining Marine on the left flank (the SAW gunner) shifted its fire to the tankers to its front and together with the Marines from the other flank managed to injure or kill four of them. But only to be killed himself by one of the Russians. Now the firefight between the Marines and the three remaining Russians between the containers intensified. While one of the Russians was killed by a bullet, the others withdrew deeper between the containers, only popping around the corners for some snapshots. The devildogs tried their best to get them with more grenades, but had no luck. At the same time the M-60 had managed to take out all of three second tank crew except for one, who managed to get into his tank and close the hatches.

Russian Tankers trying to get to their ride

Russian Tankers trying to get to their ride

Seeing that the firefight was getting them nowhere, the remaining three Marines charged. When the team leader ran into the first Russian, they got into a bitter hand to combat, which the Marine ended in his favor. Now the sole remaining Russian infantryman surrendered. At first the tanker refused to do the same but being shown the C4 that was about to be attached to his tank, he chose to surrender as well. After blowing up the T-90s, the Marines left with their two prisoners, dead and wounded… too high a price to pay, but still a victory.

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Bundeswehr

Bundeswehr

All the posts showing off special forces over the past couple of days have led to some requests for pictures of the remaining NATO force I have miniatures for… the Bundeswehr. While I had planned to postpone this until I had the last vehicles finished (3 Transportpanzer Fuchs and a CH-53 still left to do) I am going to show them anyway. Fist up the vehicles:

Bundeswehr Kampfpanzer Leopard II A5 (KWS II)

Bundeswehr Kampfpanzer Leopard II A5 (KWS II)

This is the mainstay German MBT in current use. The A5 model is the result of the KWS II package (Kampfwertsteigerung II or combat upgrade program II) giving it stronger armour, better electronics and targeting systems. The main gun (120mm smoothbore) and targeting system see use in most other NATO MBTs as well.

Bundewswehr Flakpanzer Gepard

Bundeswehr Flakpanzer Gepard

The Flakpanzer Gepard is reputed to be the best cannon armed air defense tank world-wide. With its twin 35mm autocannon (ROF 550 rounds per minute) it is able to lay down a massive volume of fire both against air as well as ground targets. In 2000 it was decided that the German army no longer needed close air defense of this type and that these tanks would be phased out and mothballed in favour of the Patriot system until the year 2015. With the new reforms in 2010 the remaining 90 tanks were phased out completely though. Not that this matter since me games are set a couple of years before that!

Bundeswehr Marder A3

Bundeswehr Marder A3

These two IFV´s represent the latest version of the Schützenpanzer Marder with a turret mounted (dismount-able) Milan launcher on the turret. A Panzergrenadiergruppe (more on that later) will be spread out amongst these two tanks. The models are actually some cheap RC tanks. They required a lot of conversion work to get them here since they represented the A1 version. Which meant moving the roof mounted, rearward firing MG to the turret (co-ax) and the addition of the Milan launcher. Armoured boxes were added to the sides, spaced armour to the front and roof using plasticard.

Bundeswehr ABC Spürpanzer Fuchs

Bundeswehr ABC Spürpanzer Fuchs

This is a model of the ABC Spürpanzer (NBC detection tank) Fuchs. Some of these were lend to the US for Desert Storm since this is the most advanced vehicle for NBC detection available. Both the US and the UK have since bought vehicles using it under the English translation Fox. There is also a troop carrier version available and I still have three models in storage where I will have to modify the rear hatches to use them as troop carriers.

Bundeswehr Unimog

Bundeswehr Unimog

Last vehicle is a Unimog, serving as a light truck for my forces. This is a repainted die-cast model.

Up next are the infantry.

Bundeswehr Scharfschützen

Bundeswehr Scharfschützen

These are some Scharfschützen (Snipers) based on the old TO&E. The new organisation calls for two men teams armed with bolt action sniper rifles (G22) or an anti-material rifle (G82). The old organisation had two snipers with G3 rifles. These G3 were the most accurate assault rifles from a batch, remastered and equipped with scopes. They were accompanied by two men to provide them with security. These men were armed with machineguns, usually MG3s. In this case the man on the right has the newer MG4. Minis are from Devil Dog Designs and mostly converted.

Bundeswehr Fallschirmjägergruppe

Bundeswehr Fallschirmjägergruppe

This is my Fallschirmjägergruppe (minis from Devil Dog Designs). The Gruppe is the smallest tactical infantry element in the German Army, be it airbourne (like these) or Panzergrenadiere (below), Jäger, Infanterie and so on. A Gruppe consists of 12 men. One of them is a machinegunner, the rest are armed with G36 assault rifles, the Gruppenführer (section leader) usually has and underslung AG36 grenadelaucher. Special weapons like man pack anti-tank or anti-aircraft rocket launchers can be distributed as need be. [These Fallschirmjäger have now been sold and are on their way to a good new home in France.]

All the minis below are Eureka.

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 1

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 1

Now this first Gruppe is similar in organisation to the Fallschirmjäger above, except that two of the men also have the Milan launchers dismounted from the Marder along. They have often proven useful in games, especially one where the Russian tanks chased after the Marder tanks, missing the dismounted Grenadiere at the forests edge that hit them in the flank with their Milans.

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 2

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 2

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 3

Bundeswehr Panzergrenadiergruppe 3

While these two Gruppen also represent Panzergrenadiere they have no Milans but one Panzerfaust 3 each instead. As I said the Marder were a hassle to convert and I was in no mood to do that 4 more times to get a full Zug (platoon). Now in some units only the first Zug is equipped with Marder, the rest rides Fuchs. I just decided to mix this within the Zug, assuming that the commander had distributed the Marder amongst his Züge to given them all an even punch.

Now a few more words on the machinegunner (for all types of Gruppen). A little over a decade ago it was decided that the MG3 would be phased out and replaced with the MG36 (essentially a G36 with heavier barrel and if lucky with a drum magazine). Just like the SA-80 LMG in the British Army this met little approval by the soldiers. They already felt weaker due to the reduced calibre of the G36 when compared to the old G3 and with just one LMG to 12 men (other NATO forces have one LMG per 4 men squad). So commanders found all kinds of excuses to store the MG3s they had and simply handed them out when troops were deployed. So a couple of years ago the MG4 was introduced, which solved the problem since it was at least a proper SAW type of weapon. I have decided to stick to the MG3, since it gives me the most firepower and my games fall into the transitionary period anyway.

Last are the force multipliers.

Bundeswehr forcemultipliers

Bundeswehr force multipliers

To the left is a medic with a MP7 PDW (you can also see this on some of the NCO´s and radiomen above). In the middle is a dog handler. Military dogs see more use in the Bundeswehr these days, especially for house clearing. To the right is a GMW 40 automatic grenade launcher. This is about all I need. I just hope Eureka releases a tri-pod mounted MG3 one day… otherwise I will have to do one from a WWII MG42 and convert some crew for it.

The big beauty with the German army is that soldiers wear no unit patches in the field and that the equipment is vastly similar. So I plan to use these men as Panzergrenadiere for the 21. Panzerbrigade, Fällschirmjäger for the Saarlandbrigade or Jäger for the Deutsch-Französische Brigade.

 

SpetsnaZ

To finish off last weeks special forces posts, here are some who will face those already posted on the styrofoam fields of glory… Russian SpetsnaZ.

Now it is hard to write something about these units like I did on their NATO counterparts. For one the term SpetsnaZ refers to all the different units the Soviet Union (and now Russia) had. [EDIT: SpetsnaZ stands for Otryad Spetsialnogo Naznacheniya, meaning: troop for special purposes / functions in English.] All the branches of the Russian military, the police and secret services have at least one unit and western literature frequently mixes them up.

The unit I have gone for is modeled on the GRU GSh (Glavnoye Razvedyvatel’noye Upravleniye Generalnovo Shtaba, meaning: Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff in English). Their primary missions are sabotage, assassinations as well reconnaissance and direct support for regular forces. Especially the former two were what attracted my attention. In my hypothetical WW III setting Russian attacks Europe and a unit like that would be needed to attack force multipliers behind NATO lines. This is only underlined by the fact that this unit was tasked with taking out nuclear first strike weapons even inside the US.

The unit itself was created in 1949 and there are currently nine brigades and one battalion attached to various military districts. Exact numbers are hard to establish, especially since these men wear regular uniforms (usually airborne) to make sure they do not blend in. This is not only done in an attempt to confuse other nations intelligence, but also to keep them secret within their own nation and military. In combat these men have full choice of weapons and equipment (even western).

Spetznav

Spetznav

The minis above all from Devil Dog Designs, the sniper being a slight conversion. I feel these were some of the finest DDD did back then and they are not that far behind some of the minis produced today. But I painted them nearly a decade ago and one can clearly see how much my style (especially with the skin) has changed since then.

 

SAS & KSK

SAS & KSK

OK, today I finally ran out of bad puns, so without much further ado… here are the SAS and KSK.

SAS:

The Special Air Service (SAS) or “The Regiment” are widely regarded as the oldest and most experienced SF unit world-wide. They were created in Juli 1941 to sabotage the supply routes of the German Afrika Korps. The British choose a name to confuse the Germans… L Detachment, Special Air Service Brigade. The term air did not refer to any special mission of theirs and with just 66 men they were far too small for a brigade, but the name stuck. They caused havoc on the German lines and were expanded to 5 battalions during the war, with the third and fourth being made up of French and the fifth of Belgian nationals. These 3 foreign battalions were incorporated into their own nations forces after the war.

After the war they saw (controversial) use  in Northern Ireland, prepared the Falklands landings, hunted Scuds during Desert Storm and war criminals on the Balkans. They freed hostages in Sierra Leone, fulfilled all kinds of missions in Afghanistan and Iraq and acted as advisers and target designators in Libia last year. But still they are best known for their action during the storming of the Iranian embassy in 1980.

Amongst the Special Forces they have a very special role, since they work in close conjunction with the UK´s police forces. In this role they do not only provide SWAT type teams or bomb disposal experts, but also advise, planning and surveillance, something that would be illegal for a military unit in many other western nations.

Today the SAS consists of three Regiments (one active, two reserve). The active 22nd Special Air Service Regiment consists of 4 Squadrons (A, B, D, and G), with 4 troops each. Each troop consisting of four four-men teams. Each troop has a speciality be it either as a Mountain Troop, Mobility Troop, Air Troop (HALO drops) or Boat Troop. All Squadrons rotate special training, so that all are kept on edge for any type of mission. Every six to nine month a different Squadron becomes CRW-Wing (Counter Revolutionary Warfare), essentially providing the counter terrorism forces.

Their abilities are underlined by the fact that other nations turn to them when they raise new special forces units. The US did so when it created Delta and Germany when it created the KSK.

SAS

SAS

The minis above all come from TAG´s SAS range. Again not the best minis, but about the best that were available when I painted them a couple of years ago. Back then I planned to wargame Afghanistan (an idea I have dropped since) so they are kitted out to represent a four men patrol in the mountains of the Hindukush. The wear Jungle DPM jackets and Desert DPM trousers. This could be seen a lot with British soldiers during the first months of operations in Afghanistan. I am not too sure why this was done, but I assume to better blend in with the terrain, which can be strange at times. Since my wargaming is just set in Europe these days, I have often contemplated repainting them, but can not get around to it. But maybe this troop has itself geared for a mission in the Lüneburger Heath were green over sand would be useful as well. 😉

KSK:

The German Kommando Specialkräfte (KSK) is maybe youngest of NATO´s special forces. For years logic had dictated that Germany did not need special forces of their kind. Due to the lessons learned during the 3rd Reich where the military had been used to suppress the population, German law absolutely forbids the use of the military in police actions on German soil. So the federal police fulfilled this role with the Grenzschutzsondergruppe 9 (GSG 9 / made famous by the storming of the Lufthansa jet “Landshut” in Mogadishu). Offensive operations by the German army were strictly forbidden by German law and for the purely defensive operations of the Cold War the existing Kampfschwimmer (roughly equivalent to the UDT´s) and the Fernspäher (long-range scouts) were deemed sufficient. Then came the end of the Soviet Union and the Cold War and along with it more German effort worldwide and missions existing forces could not handle. This reached its climax in 1994 when Germany found it had no forces (the GSG 9 was too small and no German military forces had the training) to deploy to rescue German nationals from Rwanda and had to turn to Belgium to do that. The embarrassment was only made worse by the fact that 12 Belgian soldiers lost their life during the mission. In the same year the German High Court decided, that peace keeping and even offensive operations outside NATO boarders where legal under certain conditions. The road was clear for the creation of the KSK in 1996.

While members were recruited from all units of the Bundeswehr, the Fernspäherkompanien were dissolved and incorporated into the KSK. The initial training was heavily supported by the British SAS, after which the KSK was to be modelled. Formation was completed in 1997 and the first missions conducted the following year, when they began the hunt for warcriminals in the Balkans. The same year saw them expand to their current strength of around 1100 men. They saw action in Afghanistan when they conducted scouting missions and provided flank security during the assault on Tora Bora and Operation Anaconda. It has been estimated that at least 100 KSK men are on constant deployment in Afghanistan in since 2001. This also includes their highly controversial use in the Task Force 47.

The airmobile and special operations capable Saarlangbrigade is their dedicated combat support units much in the way the PARA´s are to the SAS or the Rangers to Delta.

KSK strike team

KSK strike team

KSK support team

KSK support team

The above minis are from Devil Dog Designs, both from the KSK pack as well as the normal Bundeswehr pack. Some of the minis (namely those sporting MP-5s and MG-3) were converted using 1:35 scale weapons. Back then these were the best minis one could get, but unfortunately they show some minor deficits when it comes to equipment details.

KSK sniper team

KSK sniper team

Now these minis are from Eureka miniatures and show the clear evolution modern miniatures have gone through over the last decade if you compare them to both the TAG and DDD minis above.

What is next… tomorrow will see their opposition… Russian Spetznav. So stay tuned!

 

Delta Dawn or the ACE up your sleeve

Delta Dawn or the ACE up your sleeve

Today it is time for another modern Special Forces installment (and another bad pun)… 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Airborne) or as they are known since their (second) re-christening in 2010: Army Compartmented Element (ACE).

They were created 5 days before I was born in 1977. Far smaller than the SeALs with about 1000 men they are one of the US Armys contributions to the US arsenal of special forces. [EDIT: I have been contacted by a friend who served with Delta. As of last year that are three operational Sabre Squadrons with 40 to 60 operators each. So the figure of 1000 men includes AFO personel as well as AVN troop members.] If you look at the story of their creation, their main goal was the use in hostage situations and they saw frequent use on US soil until the Depart of Justice deemed this a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act. Back then their organisation was modeled along the line of the British SAS which took a large part in their training. Their first big mission was the freeing of hostages from the embassy in Teheran in 1980 (Operation Eagle Claw) which never got to their target due to a refueling accident in the desert.They hunted Iraqi Scud launchers during Desert Storm, are reputed to have shot Pablo Escobar, had the largest part in the SF operations in Somalia and sabotaged Iraqi command and control installations around Bagdad in 2003. Along with DEVGRU they are the only unit today that has it´s primary mission in counter terrorism.

Army Delta

Army Delta

The minis here are geared up for their primary mission… the freeing of hostages and are clad all black. Bottom left is a mini from the Infinity range. Bottom middle is a special mini from TAG´s SWAT range. All the others are Devil Dog Designs. The black uniforms were highlit using black mixed with dark blue.

What else? Now since this is only a single mini and one that is near impossible to photograph I decided to include a USAF PJ as well. PJ stands for Para Jumper. They are Air force Medics that get additional training in combat first aid to the level that their skills can even compete with some doctors in a normal hospitals ER. A good number of them are special operations qualified and accompany other special forces on their missions. They are a very old unit by SF standards since they were created 2 days before the D-Day Invasion in 1944.

PJ

PJ

The mini is a converted Infinity mini. Unfortunately the extreme pose makes him near impossible to photograph, so sorry for the poor shot. His trousers are meant to be Digital Tigerstripe ABU´s, but again… due to the pose it hardly shows.

UP next (tomorrow) are the guys Delta train with… British SAS and German KSK.

 

Modern Marines Part 3 (Infantry Squads)

So, on to the next batch. This time it is the infantry squads or fire teams. I assume everyone knows what they do, so I will mostly let the pictures do the talking. The minis are either Devil Dog Designs (DDD) or Black Scorpion (BS, yes I know about the double meaning of tis abbreviation). If a squad has minis from different manufacturers, I will list them left to right.

USMC squad (DDD, 3x BS)

USMC squad (DDD, 3x BS)

USMC squad (all DDD)

USMC squad (all DDD)

USMC squad (all BS)

USMC squad (all BS)

USMC squad (all DDD)

USMC squad (all DDD)

USMC squad (DDD, 3x BS)

USMC squad (DDD, 3x BS)

USMC squad (all BS)

USMC squad (all BS)

USMC squad (all BS)

USMC squad (all BS)

Now the next squad is a bit of an oddity. A couple of years ago I painted up the whole DDD range of Marines in woodland BDU´s. Just after I was finished, the Corps changed to MARPAT, which I found much cooler. So I sold my painted minis off and started anew. With the exception of the minis below. These are wearing NBC suits, which were still in a 4 tone woodland scheme, which is why I kept them. Gas masks were sculpted on by me. I recently got a Marine in NBC suit with a Stinger launcher from Eureka. He will act as a replacement for the soldier with the AT-4 in games where I need a little anti-aircraft capability.

USMC squad (all DDD)

USMC squad (all DDD)

USMC squad (all BS)

USMC squad (all BS)

The squad leader (guy with the cigar) in the next picture won a price in a Black Scorpion painting competition a couple of years ago for the rendition of MARPAT.

USMC squad (all BS)

USMC squad (all BS)

So this is it. I shall try to take some pictures of my Marine vehicles, to post those, too. But if the weather remains as poor as it is right now, that may take a while.

 

Modern Marines Part 2 (Command and force multipliers)

So today it is time for the next installment of Marine minis. I am going to focus on command and force multipliers.

First up is the command. These are just two minis that are meant to represent platoon or company grade officers. I have not made them part of a squad. I am rather going to attach them to one of the infantry squads I am going to show in my next USMC post. Now the mini on the left is from Black Scorpion, the one on the right from Devil Dog Designs. You can see, that I have painted my Marines over a longer period and that my style of painting flesh has changed during that time. I have no big problem with it since these two will probably never be side by side on the table.

USMC officers

USMC officers

Obviously one of the biggest force multipliers since the introduction of the rifled musket have been sharpshooters and snipers. So my force can not do without them. The two minis on the flanks are BS, the two in the middle are DDD. Now the later two can double as recon snipers, too.

USMC snipers

USMC snipers

Up next is the infantry part of the Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) platoon. The Corps uses the LAV-25 as a light scout tank, with the Marine squads aboard acting as… well… scouts. Now these minis are all DDD. First squad are the minis from the Canadian set (with the squad leader converted to a shotgun). I think I will need to do camo make-up on the second squad, too.

First scout squad

First scout squad

 Second scout squad

Second scout squad

One thing that should not be missing is a medic or in this case a Corpsman. Technically he is not a Marine, but a sailor. The USMC does not have medics of its own. That role is filled by troops from the USN. But they dress like the Marines and become part of their structure while on the ground. The mini is a DDD marine converted with a back-pack full of medical supplies, a red-cross armband and an MP-5, since I wanted him to stand out a bit.

Corpsman

Corpsman

Last but not least is a FAST or alternatively SRT team. These are not actually a battlefield asset, but I once needed them for a scenario. So what is a FAST or SRT team?

FAST stands for Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team. Technically they provide security for high value Naval installations, but mostly on a need be, quick deployment basis.

SRT stands for Special Reaction Team. They act like SWAT teams for the USMC´s military police. While both the FAST and SRT have different missions, their equipment can be close, especially when providing security. So i chose to use the same minis for both functions. These minis are from the TAG SWAT range. I converted their base caps to the iconic USMC garrison caps and that was about it.

FAST / SRT team

FAST / SRT team

So… this is it for today. Next post will show the infantry squads!

 

Modern Marines Part 1 (Force Recon)

Again this has been an awfully quiet month so far. Why? Well I had to work long hours a lot lately and during the summer my painting is geared to be done outside on the balcony. Except that the weather has been bleeping poor lately and I was in no mood to set my stuff up in the kitchen. So essentially I hardly got anything done lately. Well this is not completely true, since my Brandenburg Uhlanen are about half-finished, but they are nothing to show yet.

But I decided to take out some of my old minis again to keep you entertained. In this case my modern USMC. Since I have quite a large force there, I am going to split this into 3 posts and I will later follow-up with vehicles and choppers. So first up are my Force Recon Marines and ANGLICO.

So what kind of units are these anyway.

Now the Marine Corps has two kinds of soldiers refered to as Recon by the public. One is the Force Recon. They are a platoon of Recon Marines under the command of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force [MAGTF] commander, they are employed with a focus on the MAGTF area of interest. As a result they are usually tasked with the SpecOps style missions or act as a general reconnaissance support to the force commander. Since their parent command is Marine Expeditionary Force [MEF], this platoon is commonly referred to as the “Force” recon platoon. And this is the first unit I want to show today:

Force Recon Marines

Force Recon Marines (Eureka Miniatures)

Force Recon Marines (Eureka Miniatures)

Force Recon Marines (Eureka Miniatures)

Force Recon Marines (Devil Dog Designs)

Force Recon Marines (Devil Dog Designs)

Marine Force Recon Sniper

Force Recon Marines sniper (Eureka Miniatures)

Now the other unit is a small ANGLICO detachment. ANGLICO [Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company] is a Marine unit that specializes in coordinating artillery (both ground based as well as naval gunfire) and close air support [CAS] for the USMC, Navy, Army and foreign allies. Whilst a separate unit, they are an asset available to the MAGTF commander.

ANGLICO (two minis on the left are Devil Dog Designs, the one on the right is a converted Infinity miniature)

ANGLICO (two minis on the left are Devil Dog Designs, the one on the right is a converted Infinity miniature)

Now that is it for today. I will try to post the next installment ASAP. Those will be command as well as other platoon or above assets.

 

Post Crisis AAR

As I said yesterday… we did a slight variation of a the Crisis game a few weeks later. We had to make some changes. While my table is quite large (2m x 3,5m at maximum expansion) it was not quite large enough to fit the whole Crisis table. So we traded the river for a railroad cut. The Russians were allowed to deploy far closer to the Recon/ANGLICO detachment. The Marine reinforcements had a longer way to go, but were allowed to deploy with their Abrams tanks on table. I deployed the Recon/ANGLICO Marines inside the railroad cut where they had good cover. My tanks started at full speed to reach them as fast as possible.

USMC Abrams and Amtracs charging

USMC Abrams and Amtracs charging

The Russians made a slow and meticulous advance, keeping the T-62´s behind providing covering fire for the rest of the troops, while they advanced.

Russian start line

Russian start line

Now this time the Recon/ANGLICO troops proved their worth. As elite troops they picked their targets carefully. Virtually every sniper, NCO or light machine gunner that came into sight, fell prey to their fire. All the while they were quite safe. Their position gave them good cover and their losses where extremely light. In the end this frustrated the Russians so much, that they charged their BRDM ahead trying to run them over. Fortunately most of them were able to jump out of the way. Before the BRDM could turn around for another run, one of the Marines fired an AP-grenade at the rear of the vehicle, hitting its engine and setting it on fire.The resulting disorder inside the railroad cut did not help, the Russians too much, since the LAV´s had reached the bridge to give their comrades the necessary support.

BRDM-2 trying to run over the Marines

BRDM-2 trying to run over the Marines

All the while the Russian tanks were paying a heavy price, too. The T-62´s were easy targets for the Abrams tanks. With their modern targeting systems the stationary T-62´s were sitting ducks and their weak armour provided no protection against their 120mm rounds. At the same time the TOW Hummer took care of the T-72 trying to block to bridge over the railroad cut.

Burning T-72

Burning T-72

By this time the Amtracs had reached the railroad cut as well and started discharging their troops. The Russians saw hat their time had run out and began to withdraw, which eventually ended the game.

Russian troops

Russian troops

American losses were minimal, so eventually this was a clear Marine victory.

LAV-25 Callsign "Scimitar", Imprint models with Mongrel Miniatures Crew

LAV-25 Callsign "Scimitar", Imprint Models with Mongrel Miniatures crew

Russian grenadier (TAG Miniatures)

Russian grenadier (TAG Miniatures)

 

Crisis 2010

I know it has been quite a hiatus lately, but life has been somewhat hectic. Nothing new to present from the painting front (painted less then one hour over the last two weeks) so I thought I should show you some pictures from the game we presented at Crisis in Antwerp last year.

We presented something from a period we like to play from time to time… hypothetical WWIII. Now I think this needs a few words to give you a perspective. I like (ultra) modern warfare, but I feel that wargaming things like Somalia, the Balkans, Chechnya, Iraq or Afghanistan is simply too close to home. So I felt that pitting Russia against NATO is a good alternative. The setting is somewhere in the earlier half to middle of this decade, with a Russia that is starting to prosper due to the rising prices of oil and gas and that has been able to rebuild its military. NATO has expanded to the east, taking former Warsaw Pact members up. But NATO is also committed on its missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nuclear arsenals have been reduced and neither side can hope take out the others arsenal with a nuclear strike.

In this situation someone sets up Russia and NATO against one another. Yes I know… Tom Clancy has had the same idea, but one can always borrow a good idea! So Russia decides to avenge itself and launches an attack at Central Europe, where forces are stretched thin due to the War on Terror. Poland and the Baltic Republics are the first to fall.

The only NATO nation that would be able to send forces to help Poland would be Germany, but the right-wing government on Warsaw fears a repeat of 1939 and refuses help. After having dealt with the Poles, the Russian forces push the German vanguard back to River Elbe, where they are stopped with the help of British, French and US Army forces.

The Baltic Republics had to fall, since Russia could not ignore a threat in its flank. Being isolated they did not have the forces necessary to put up resistance for long and were invaded.

With the Russian troops being stalled and in places being pushed back inside Germany, NATO decides to open a second front and sends II Marine Expeditionary Force to liberate the Baltic Republics.

And this is when this scenario takes place. A Force Recon unit together with an ANGLICO squad had infiltrated during the night to secure a bridge over a river until relief arrives from the beachhead. Shortly before this happens, they come under massive attack by a Russian force consisting of tanks and lots of infantry.

Now the Russian force 2nd or 3rd tier force dedicated to garrison duties. There is a high number of recruits amongst their infantry, they lack APC´s or IFV´s (the best they have is a BMP-1 and a BTR-80 and their tanks are outdated (T-62´s and T-72´s without major technological updates).

The Marine relief units consist of two scout LAV-25´s, two Amtracs and two Hummers (one with a .50cal, the other with a TOW). There are two Abrams that will arrive later, since these have been held up clearing some resistance along the route.

Our table Crisis 2010

Our table Crisis 2010 (viewed from the USMC side)

Now as you can see from the picture, we played this on a massive 4,5m x 2m table, with the river alone being almost 1 meter wide.

Victory conditions were quite bloody. One point for every soldier killed or incapacitated or vehicles put out of action. The Recon and ANGLICO soldiers were worth 3 points though. Even though players knew this and even though they were allowed to deploy them inside the buildings or on the rear of the river bank, the Recon/ANGLICO detachment was mostly deployed in the open, which meant they took a heavy toll from the very beginning.

The Russians tried to keep their force on the move to reach the river as fast as possible. They soon found out, that their T-62´s were no good at shooting on the move, so most of the firing was done by the T-72´s.

Part of the Russian force

Part of the Russian force

In the meantime the LAV´s sped across the bridge to give support to the troops on the other side, destroying the BTR-80 on the move. Unfortunately there was not that much they could do. Due to their poor position, most of the Recon/ANGLICO detachment had already been wiped out by the time the LAV´s rolled into the village.

Scout LAV-25´s

Scout LAV-25´s

All the while the Hummers had taken up position behind the bridge and the TOW armed of the two was exchanging shots with the T-72´s. It took out one of them, before it was destroyed itself. Meanwhile the Russian infantry suffered a lot from the Amtracs. These had entered the river on the left flank and were swimming over to the other side firing their .50cal / MK19 combinations on the move. A lot of the Russian infantry was crossing the ridge of the small hill at this time and were subjected to this fire.

Amtracks crossing the river

Amtracs crossing the river

After some skirmishing we got lost in talking to the players and eventually called the game a draw. While the Russians had lost more men and vehicles, the Marines had lost just too many men from their Recon/ANGLICO unit.

We played a variation of this game a few weeks later and I will try to get some shots up tomorrow.