Sunday, 24 March 2013

A Clear Victory - Now the People Demand Investment in Infrastructure!

We played a game of AK47 Reloaded yesterday and for the first time ever I managed a clear victory in a cross border incursion. My combined FAPLA-Cuban force successfully defeated a largely infantry SADF force despite losing two of the three objectives to the enemy.

The South African Paras were very professional, quickly occupying their objective, a built up area near a road entrance, without casualtiesand digging in. This deterred a Cuban tank unit from trying to take them on at close quarters. A good tactic for infantry faced with tanks in AK47, as in real life, is to hunker down inside built up areas so the armour has to close with them, allowing the footsloggers to close assault.

In the above picture you can see the Paras deployed in the built up area with the tanks approaching. The South Africans have just called in an airstrike, hence the explosion near the T-34s.

Elsewhere, a big unit of FAPLA militia successfully destroyed an SADF infantry unit in close combat although a second SADF unit secured the objective (the built up area with the crashed Mercedes objective marker). The destruction of this South African unit was to make a big difference to the Cuban-FAPLA victory points total.

In the above photo the marauding Cuban T-34s have just seen off a unit of SADF armoured cars. The vulnerability of armoured cars against tanks was underlined in this encounter. The South Africans were very brave in that they closed quickly with the tanks in order to maximise the effectiveness of their firepower. Unfortunately for them, this wasn't enough to knock out the  Cuban armour. What followed was swift and deadly - professional units get a re-roll when firing and armoured cars are not very well protected against high velocity armour piercing shot.

The game ended shortly after this with FAPLA having secured only one objective, digging in on the reverse slope of the gentle hill in the centre of the photograph. Communist casualties were light though and it was the body count that made all the difference in the end.

The upshot was that the SADF retreated back across the border at nightfall and the locals welcomed their liberation with calls for the Cuban engineers to sort out the roads and water supply!

Friday, 22 March 2013

Reports of Heavy Fighting in Southern Angola

'Flight Leader, I have you on my screen. You are cleared for auxiliary runway number two. Don't screw around, we have more hostiles on the way.'

'This is Three Five Zero. Roger. Auxiliary number two. Coming straight in."

'Watch for smoke Flight Leader, we have burning fuel.'

'With me Fifty One?'

'Roger Five Zero.'

'You're in first. Number two's longer than it looks, but it comes up suddenly behind the trees. Don't flare early. You'll be fine.'

'Flight Leader, this is Control, I have you visual'

'I'm rolling out, my wingman's coming in first.'

'Roger. Do you need assistance on the ground?

'Negative. Not unless we fuck it up.'

'Your runway'


'Talk to me Control, where are we going?'

'Proceed to taxiway four, crescent B'


'Just take take the first open bay, this is war my distinguished Comrade Aviator'

Operation CROSSBOW continues. The South Africans have committed their air force in numbers. Cuban and East German pilots are flying multiple sorties in support of FAPLA and Cuban ground forces. The South Africans are sending in the ParaBat.

A game of AK 47 Reloaded is scheduled for tomorrow.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Fulda Gap Plugged

My first attempt at playing through SPI's game NATO has reached a point where I,m thinking about contriving a diplomatic solution and ceasing hostilities. Twelve days after the outbreak of war, matters have reached a point where the protagonists either  get bogged down in a stalemate, go nuclear, or extricate themselves with a diplomatic solution.

The photo above shows the situation east of Frankfurt in the area known as the Fulda Gap. The Soviet penetration is only 32 km at it's greatest extent, and second category divisions are now bearing the brunt of the fight..US V Corps  has taken a hammering but has been reinforced by the 82nd Airborne which is consolidating on the Inner German border. To the north of the US corps the West Germans have a strong corps of four divisions holding the line and mopping up Soviet airborne troops that have been dropped behind the NATO lines.

The situation in NORTHAG is not as favourable for NATO. Hamburg is the scene of bitter urban fighting where Dutch troops and West German territorials have fought the invaders to a standstill. AFNORTH has managed to secure Denmark with the West Germans providing a strong panzer division to reinforce the Danes.

The British have taken a battering however, losing two divisions in fighting around Hanover and the forces that are left are severely depleted. Hanover is in Soviet hands and a substantial bridgehead has been carved out on the west bank of the Weser. The Belgians remain neutral and the US has been forced to commit reserves airlifted in from across the Atlantic in order to shore up the front. Category 1 Soviet tank divisions are pressing the NATO defenders.

That said, the Soviet offensive is beginning to lose impetus. In the last 48 hours Allied air forces have hammered the Soviets both at the forward edge of the battlefield and in the rear. The uprising in East Germany has been put down by Soviet troops but the cost has been heavy and Warsaw Pact supply lines are by no means secure, unlike NATO's which appear to be working well. It looks like the Warsaw Pact's strength has peaked.

Perhaps the discussions between Washington and Moscow will enable the world to step back from the brink. 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Once Upon a Time on the Steppe AAR

Well perhaps not so much on the steppe but rather amongst the farms, woods and orchards of the district around Belgorod...

The above picture shows the Red armoured train 'Proletarian Hammer' about to roll across the table to pound the White troops in preparation for a Red cavalry thrust on one of the objectives in our game.

Also visible are some Red infantry, assembling at their start line in readiness to advance on the small hamlet (and objective) that can be seen in the right background. Unfortunately for them, a unit of White officer cadets are going to beat them to the objective.

The game ended in a Red marginal victory after they secured two of the three objectives and managed to destroy a White militia unit. The armoured train did dominate the battlefield, despite the best efforts of White aircraft and on and off table artillery. Nevertheless, it was a good game, with plenty of action until the high casualty rate on both sides led everyone to start to seek cover and dig in.

So the spearhead of Denikin's advance has been blunted. For now.

We used an adapted form of Peter Pig's AK47 Reloaded rules that I've christened 'Comrade Komissar!'.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Once Upon a Time on the Steppe II

'What does that say?', Boris Alinsky pointed to the writing daubed on the armour plate that protected the locomotive.

'"Proletarian Hammer" comrade.' the locomotive engineer's voice was barely a whisper...

'At least he can read', thought Alinsky.

'Yes comrade, "Proletarian Hammer", and tomorrow that's exactly what you're going to be you miserable little shit, you're going to drive this fucking train right into the middle of that bunch of cocksucking bourgeois born to rule pricks and blow them into the next world, not that any of us believe in a next world comrade, because this is the age of materialism...understand?'

'Er...yes comrade,' said the hapless the locomotive engineer, although clearly he didn't. 'Mother of God, this one is madder than any of them...', he thought, but then when when you're staring down the barrel of a Mauser 9 mm it doesn't pay to think too much does it?

Alinsky turned to the commander of his CheKa detachment, 'we're not fucking around tomorrow, speed and aggression will win this war, and I'm relying on you to ensure our comrades have plenty of socialist zeal.'

The CheKa officer nodded...

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Across the Weser...

Ten days after the outbreak of a rebellion in East Germany and six days after an exchange of fire across the Inner German Border between nervous Soviet armoured troops and a West German Panzer Grenadier formation full scale war has broken out in Europe.

By nightfall on 4th May 1981, the Soviet leadership had authorised its armies in East Germany and Czechoslovakia to invade West Germany in response to what it perceived as a NATO offensive taking advantage of the unrest across the Iron Curtain.

Soviet airstrikes quickly established local air superiority in the first 24 hours of the invasion, but the ground attack did not go according to plan. The East German Army had collapsed as disorder spread through the DDR and six Soviet divisions of Group of Soviet Forces Germany were fully occupied in suppressing the unrest and securing supply lines.

Consequently the planned blitzkreig by 2nd Guards Tank Army and 3rd Shock Army across the North German Plain had degenerated into a confused slugging match. The Soviets had establised a foothold in the eastern suburbs of Hamburg and had finally taken Hanover after two British divisions of BAOR had been destroyed in a brave but hopeless counter-attack.

NATO forces had retreated to the line of the river Weser which was only forced after the Soviets used airborne forces to establish bridgeheads behind the British and West German positions.

Further South, the US V Corps had managed to hold the Fulda Gap and VII Corps had delayed a Soviet thrust aimed at Nuremburg although at least one US armoured divsion had been wiped out by a series of hammer blows from Soviet mechanised and airborne forces. Nuremburg remained in NATO hands however, held by a brigade of the West German territorial forces, and a line had been established by the Bundeswehr along the Danube with the assistance of French troops.

To date, neither side had employed nuclear or chemical weapons and the advantage in the air war had see-sawed from one side to the other. Frantic attempts to broker a ceasefire had proved fruitless, NATO ground troops were under strict orders not to cross into East Germany although their air forces were making every attempt to hammer the Soviet supply columns across the border.

Soviet losses were heavy but not precisely known, and whilst no Polish or Czech troops had been encountered fighting alongside the Russians, at least three Hungarian divisions had been postively identifed by NATO.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Once Upon a Time on the Steppe...

Colonel Anatoly Borisivich Stevany groaned inwardly, his adjutant had just told him that the officer cadet company attached to his command were grumbling, they believed that they could lead this force better than him.

'They're probably right' said Stevany, and poured himself a generous measure of cognac. 'Not much more of that left,' he thought, 'still life is short...and cheap.'

His adjutant, Major Levanich was a good officer, hard working and dedicated to the White cause. More importantly, his cousin ran the 14th Supply Depot, and had 'diverted' supplies of tinned food to Stevany's little army as the advanced along the railway line that led, eventually, to Moscow. Apart from the officer cadets, the men were happy - they had vodka and full bellies. Levanich was happy because they had plenty of rifle ammunition.

Stevany considered his postion. Since the Kornilovsky Division had run amock and burned three villages in this area the whole oblast had risen against the White army. The peasants were no lovers of the Bolsheviks but now they hated the Whites more. The advance had slowed down to the pace of a donkey.

His cavalry were out scouting. A report came in late last night that Red troops were moving south to meet them. Stevany's detachment was right in their path. There would be a battle. Men would desert, guns would not work because too many shells were duds, men would die.

'It's going to a long war,' said Stevany to no one in particular, and drank his cognac.

By request of my regular opponent we're planning a game of 'Comrade Kommissar!', my Russian Civil War adaptation of AK47 Reloaded this week If I can finish my Peter Pig Railway Station and Water Tower we may feature an armoured train...