Sunday, 30 December 2012

Contact! AAR

I played out a Falklands War scenario using Cold War 83 rules yesterday. I’ve been working on a set of scenarios that I’ve adapted from Rules of Engagement so they would work with the Falklands and Cold War 83 rules. This has meant I’ve had to produce Army Lists as the scenarios allow the players to choose a value, generally an understrength platoon, force which has a ‘combat effectiveness’ and then strengthen it using additional ‘support points’. The principle is that the better quality the force is, as expressed through its ‘bottle’ value, the fewer troops you get. There are also deployment, game length and victory criteria rules for each scenario.

The simplest scenario is ‘Advance to Contact’ as it doesn’t involve any ‘extras’ like hidden deployment, supporting artillery or fortifications. The premise is that two opposing patrols have bumped into one another in no-man’s land and win by inflicting enough casualties on the other side to break them before they reach their own break point.

Here’s the table I used.

  For my game I pitted a platoon of British Paras against Argentinian Commandos. The idea was that this could be the sort of encounter that could have happened just after the British landing at San Carlos with the Paras probing out of the beachhead and Argentine Special Forces reconnoitring to try and assess the strength of the British presence.

Both sides were of good quality with base bottle values of 8 although the British did have the advantage of 3 GPMGs and 24 men as opposed to 1 GPMG and 21 men for the Argentines, although the latter did have a sniper and a couple of grenade launchers.

The British had the initiative and got to choose which table edge they would deploy on and also whether this was a day or night action. They elected to deploy on the top table edge in the picture above and went for a daytime patrol. The roll for weather indicated this was a clear day but the roll for time of day gave me 12 turns to dusk. Given that the scenario is 12 turns long if the opposing forces deploy on the short table edges that fitted with a late afternoon encounter that would end with reduced visibility allowing one or both sides to slip away.
The Argentines had one full strength section of ten men, armed mainly with G3 Rifles and Grenade Launchers, together with a GPMG. The HQ group (commander, NCO, sniper and radio operator) was supported together with an understrength section armed mainly with SMGs. The lack of long range firepower and the terrain were to be the Argentinian’s greatest handicaps. To close with the British they had to bunch in the dead ground in the lee of the central hill in the picture, which meant that once the paras started getting rounds down from their GPMGs the risk of suppression was increased. This is exactly what happened – a few failed bottle rolls for movement meant one of two Argies got caught by GPMG fire crossing open ground with the result they became casualties and the men in proximity were suppressed.

In the picture above all the figures with a red band are suppressed and two have reduced bottle values, as denoted by the dice. The figure in the foreground has been hit so badly that any further reduction will mean he’s removed from play. In reality he’s probably severely wounded and about to die…sobering thought.

It wasn’t all one sided though. The Argentinian sniper killed one para outright with a single shot at long range and a couple of others fell victim to ‘double taps’ from commandos with G3s who got themselves into good firing positions.

Weight of fire told in the long run however and by the end of turn 7 the paras had gone firm on two pieces of high ground that dominated the battlefield and had effectively pinned down their opponents who were steadily taking more casualties.

In the above picture, taken from behind the Argentine position, the funnelling effect of the dead ground can be seen. With exception of the figure with a double 5 die next to it, all the figures with dice next to them have suffered a reduction in bottle, either because they were caught in open ground by British fire or because they were close enough to a comrade who was hit by GPMG fire. Senor Double Five has had his bottle increased as a result of a clean kill at extreme range. All the figures with a yellow marker are prone. In the background the British dominance of the two hills on the left and right respectively can be seen.
The Argentinians had taken seven casualties removed from play by turn 7, meaning they’d reached their break point (one third of starting strength rounded down) and had to dice against the commander’s bottle to see if they fought on. He was still on his starting value of 9 and easily passed. The paras had eight men removed from play but their break point was at half strength rounded down.
I’d been playing for a little over two hours and couldn’t see much happening for the remaining turns. To cross open ground to try and close in daylight was suicide but the long range firefight was proving inconclusive as nearly everyone with a clear line of sight had gone prone and/or had lost a point or two of bottle. The Argentine GPMG was out of action and neither of the grenade launchers had been able to get within range.
Accordingly, I took a decision to end it there as a draw. The encounter had been violent and bloody with lots of fire and movement to begin with and then everything slowing down as the troops became more cautious.
Lessons from this are that machine guns in daylight quickly close down a battlefield and that Argentine Special Forces are more than capable of giving a good account of themselves.


  1. Interesting battle report and I really like your terrain! I'm sure you say so somewhere in your blog but what rules did you use for this game?


    1. '...Cold War 83 rules [Wessex Games].... I’ve been working on a set of scenarios that I’ve adapted from Rules of Engagement so they would work with the Falklands and Cold War 83 rules.'