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 (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
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.
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.
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.