Monday, 28 May 2012

AAR Casalalata

The first direct confrontation between Cuban and South African armoured forces takes place at Casalalalta on Angolan independence day, 11th November 1975.

On the eastern side of the river, Lieutenant Romero's platoon of T34s are being shot up by the 90mm guns of Task Force Zulu's Eland armoured cars. Meanwhile a column of South African APCs is driving hell for leather for the ruined river bridge which is being simultaneously assaulted from the western bank by South African troops in a textbook attack.

The Cubans think the South Africans are maintaining their offensive, when in fact the assault is a desperate attempt to secure a crossing for their forces that have had the order from Pretoria to pull back but who are on the wrong side of the river.

Demonstrating true socialist zeal, Captain Sanchez rallies his recon troops and flanks the South African APCs with half a dozen jeeps armed with heavy machine guns. The resulting firefight is brief and bloody. Three  APCs are riddled by heavy calibre, high velocity rounds, turning them into death traps for the troops within. One blows up spectacularly when a tracer round ignites the fuel tank, incinerating a full squad of troopies. The South Africans dismount what's left of their infantry and take cover in thick scrub, just as a large approaching dustcloud  heralds the arrival of a full company of truck borne Cuban motor rifle troops.
The South Africans recover their composure and open fire with both small arms and hand held anti-tank rockets. Half a minute later and the Cubans are in reverse gear, three of their trucks smoking wrecks.

The T34s are beginning to get the measure of the South African armoured cars and although Romero fails to raise the promised BM 21 MRL support on the battalion net his gunners manage to pick off several Elands.
As dusk falls the firing dies down. The South Africans have secured the crossing, although the bridge is impassable to vehicles. One company of armoured infantry has taken a mauling and they've lost half a dozen armoured cars holding off the Cuban armour. They begin to withdraw on foot across the wrecked bridge, booby trapping any vehicles they leave behind.
The Cubans are also counting their losses. Six tanks are out of action, a motor rifle company has lost one in three of its effectives and Sanchez's recon detachment has been decimated. They fear a renewed South African attack at first light, not knowing that their adversaries are in fact withdrawing.

A fun game played solo using AK47 Reloaded Rules resulting in a clear South African victory - although they don't appreciate it as such!
The crossing has been captured and the Cuban recon detachment that was holding it is in full retreat. Abandoning any semblance of order a Cuban infantry platoon scatters and South African armoured infantry mount a pursuit, shooting up Cuban technicals as they advance.


  1. I am having a hard time understanding how the Cubans failed to achieve anything other than a crushing victory when you played this solo. I mean what will Moscow be thinking!

    1. Almost half the Cuban armour presumably got delayed because it never arrived on table. The South African armoured cars got off some good early shots in their exchange of fire with Romero's tanks.

      The Cuban recon outfit that was holding the damaged river bridge didn't dig in and was uncermoniously ejected from its postion by two companies of Boer infantry.

      None of this was in the script. Neither was the successful ambush of the Cuban motor rifle company as they roared across the savannah in an attempt to rescue their comrades.

      For thier part the Cubans successfully blew up half a dozen South African armoured cars and knocked seven colours out of an APC borne infantry company.

      Moscow is probably rolling its eyes at the performance of the Cubans - there's no way the Soviets wna to get further involved in Angola. They probably see this as something like Mussolini's invasion of Greece.

      For their part part, the South Africans just want to withdraw without sustaining any more casualties.

      Wait 'till you find out what the CIA and the Bulgarians (yes... you read it right) are up to...)