SSG Jones was angry. His scouts had been roughly handled at the river. Eaker and Davis were dead, and Baker was wounded. They were still trapped inside the Soviet encirclement and it was only a matter of time before they were captured or worse.
Salvation would come with the discover that CPT Jenkins, his company commander, was still alive and had managed to organize a platoon sized group of survivors. After SSG Jones debriefed his boss on the situation and the events of the previous day, he was shocked when the boss told him he wanted to try another break out at the same place. Apparently things were worse to the West and the company had lost an entire squad trying to break out through the forest. He'd tried to convince the old man the risk was too great since there was obviously more armor waiting for him, but that only earned him a pep talk and a Dragon ATGM for his troubles.....
For me second test of my solo rules, I decided to plus up the American side a little bit with three fire teams. This time the Squad Leader would have an Anti-Tank team with a Dragoon wire-guided ATGM and a couple LAWs. The other survivors formed a three man team around an M-60 MG and I added a third fire team with an LMG (M60) and a Grenadier (M203)
|The Stinger would have to fill the role of ATGM for now.|
For the Soviet side, I again went with the same random selection of forces as part one:
8 White chips with a Soviet Unit written on the back and 8 blanks.
- Fire Team 1 - 3 Figures w/ AK47
- Fire Team 2 - 3 Figures w/AK 47
- Fire Team 3 - 2 Figures w/AK47 1w/PKM
- Fire Team 4 - 2 Figures w/AK47 1w/PKM
- AT Team 1 - 2 Figures w/AK47 1w/RPG
- AT Team 2 - 2 Figures w/AK47 1w/RPG
- SQD LDR - 3 Figures w/AK47, can call for fire on a 10
- Sniper - 1 Sniper w/SVD
I then randomly selected 9 White Chips and 3 Reds, and set them on the table in three groups:
- 3 White Chips in forward positions as LP/OPs (stationary positions)
- 3 White Chips and 2 Red Chips in blocking positions near the crossing points (stationary positions)
- 3 White Chips and 1 Red Chips in patrols positions. (Random motion along patrol routes for each activation.)
|Blocking positions (R) and OPs (L)|
|one mounted and one dismounted patrol north of the river.|
SSG Jones sketched out a hasty plan on the side of a burned out farm house. "Kawalski, I want you to take Able and Baker and clear the building on the right. I will take the missile team up to the third floor of the building where Davis bought it and see if we can get eyes on the road block. SGT Chen will take his team up along the side road an check out the ford. Do you understand?"
Both men nodded in the fading light. SSG Jones was hoping this would go better, but he was convinced that lady luck had abandoned him. He had already decided he wouldn't bother trying to learn the new guy's names just in case this went south.
"Also, we are supposed to be scouts, try not to get spotted....:
That thought evaporated as the air around him filled with steel and noise.
The first activation pulled was for the fire team on the right. Opting for conservative play I had them low crawl out and try a stealthy approach. They were within view of two enemy tokens, but there was only about a 10% chance they would be spotted.
So once again, the Soviet side had an awesome spotting roll right out the gate. I overturned the two markers to reveal the same AT team from the first game and a fire team. Things would be tough right out the gates with a massive firefight erupting on turn one. Things were looking bleak for battle number two as the covert part of the plan was blown. It would be up to the dice and the some lucky blank markers for any degree of success at this point.
Down the street SGT Able had decided he was done with being a scout and done with being around Jones. Bad luck seemed to stick to the guy and he needed to get free. He knew the only way to do it was to make the break out. He crawled forward to a debris pile and then let loose with his M60. A steady stream of fire poured into the building across the street the fire started to slacked. Kawalski had managed to scrounge a few rounds for the M203 and turned into a damned sniper with the thing. His first round plopped through the second story window and all fire ceased.
Baker spotted the motion first and sent a snap of fire at the Russians trying to flank them on the right. Able tried to bring the LMG on them, but Jones was faster hefting a grenade out into the street that dropped two of them. He was feeling a little more confident about things. And then first mortar round hit road outside.
The next several rounds developed into a desperate fight to extract Kawalski's fire team. The AT team had them pinned and the other fire team moved around to get a flank shot. (They had not yet spotted the SSG Jone's team in the middle.) Some exceptionally lucky rolls resulted into two KIAs against one soviet group and the others were suppressed. At this point I flipped the chips at the Check Point since they would have line of sight. This turned out to be a BTR-60 (thankfully not the tank) and the platoon leader with his radio. The BTR started a sustained barrage of suppressive fire against the American position, and the officer started directing his mortar onto the target.
|Kawalski's team is pinned in the building|
|Soviet soldiers try to outflank Kawalski's group and run into SSG Jone's line of fire.|
|The check point is occupied and under observation.|
|Things are going better for the Americans at this point.|
|Both Soviet teams break and run.|
Since the objective of the game is the destruction of the Soviet armored vehicles, I had the ATGM team continue to climb the building rather than get involved in the fire fight. Two additional Soviet markers turned out to be blanks, which allowed some breathing space for the American side. The two Soviet teams in contact failed their morale tests and broke and ran back towards the river.
With the detonation of the second mortar round on the roof of the building, there was no need for discussions. SGT Kawalski simple said "&*%-this, we're leaving", stood and started moving back towards the jump off position. Able and Baker didn't even question it, they just turned and followed. This mission was a bust.
The US Fire team was not going to accomplish anything against the BTR, so I opted to have them pull back rather than risk a lucking hit from the mortars. The other team had confirmed that the ford was empty, so it looked likely that there was only going to be the one vehicle.
|US Troops pull back under fire.|
His question was answered by a blast of fire and smoke followed by the popping of the missile guidance rockets. The missile streaked over the ruined buildings to impact in the engine compartment of the BTR. There was a loud explosion, and oily black smoke began pouring out of the back of the vehicle. The ATGM gunners brief shout of joy was cut off by a burst of LMG fire as it seemed every gun in the city was now aimed at his little window. He dove for the floor as a round impacted the side of his helmet knocking him for a loop. His assistant grabbed him by his harness a started dragging him back towards the stairs. SSG Jones emerged in the stair well wrapped a hand around the wounded man's shoulder and helped drag him the rest of the way.
One dead BTR was going to have to do, he was leaving before someone else got hit.
|The Dragon ATGM takes a shot.|
|The immediate counter fire puts the gunner down with a light wound|
|The remaining Americans opt to pull back.|
Overall another fun game, though I think I need to work on the spotting rules. Using the blind chits works really well for Solo play as the uncertainty makes for a unique experience. That said, I would like to try at least one iteration where the mission isn't compromised on the first roll of the dice.