For some time I’ve been wanting to put a game of Fighting Season on Lard Island News, yet somehow all sorts of things had conspired to stop Nick and I getting together for a game. That is until now. We thought that to demonstrate the rules it would be a good diea to keep things simple, so we fielded a reduced platoon, a “multiple” of two British sections under the platoon headquarters and supported that with an off-table Fire Support Group armed with a 0.50 calibre HMG and a sniper team dedicated to support this action. The British objective was to do some human terrain mapping at the start of their tour; making contact with the local population and attempting to glean any useful information, so to that end they took an interpreter with them. Facing them was a relatively small insurgent force made up of three rifle/LMG teams, one belt fed machine gun team and two RPG teams. To support them they had two IEDs triggered by pressure plates and a sniper. The game was set in the Green Zone in Helmand province.
The game began with the patrol phase, the system being the same as in the WWII rules and ended with the British gaining a real advantage getting a foothold in Compound 31, somewhere they could deploy to and form a good base of fire off which to manoeuvre. Meanwhile, the insurgents were able to spread themselves on a broader front, so in many respects it was a phase which left both players not unhappy. Here’s the positions of the patrol markers…
…and here are the jump-off points.
The game began with the British rolling 55441 and deciding to do nothing other than add +2 to their Chain of Command total. This was followed by the insurgents rolling 65433, a decent roll, but with no British on the table they decided to keep their powder dry and sit tight. As a force of local insurgents they knew the ground well and had begun the game with a full Chain of Command dice plus a further two points to reflect this. So now they were half way to a second full dice, handy indeed.
In phase 3 the British player rolled 65221 and deployed his first section into compound 31. It is worth saying here that better comms mean that a single 6 adds one point to the Chain of Command total so is no longer a “wasted” roll for the coalition player.
Phase 4 saw the insurgents roll 64421. However, at this stage they were playing a waiting game anyway, so nothing lost.
Phase 5 was a coaltion roll of 54331 and saw section 1 move onto the roof of compound 31 and go onto overwatch while section 2 deployed into the compound, ready to manoeuvre forwards.
In Phase 6 the insurgents rolled 64441, not ideal as they have just one senior leader and one junior leader, but they did deploy a sniper who missed but caused two shock on his target unit. The British, despite being on overwatch, failed to identify his position.
Phase 7 saw the coalition roll 64321, a great roll. The Lieutenant deployed with his radio operator and put section 1 on enhanced overwatch, ready to deal with any insurgents who poppoed up. Section 2 puts their Delta Team on overwatch and then moved the Charlie Team out of the gate, triggering a minor IED which they failed to spot or identify with their Barma drills. It was a dud device, but caused two points of shock and stopped their movement for the phase. Number 1 section’s Corporal rallied the shock off his men as they watched out for the sniper.
Phase 8 the insurgents rolled 54221, deploying their Senior Leader with the belt fed MMG and a teamn of riflemen/LMG. Seven hits resulted in four shock over the two teams in Number 2 section.
In Phase 9 the British rolled 65542 adding three points to their Chain of Command dice. The Lieutenant rallied shock off Number 2 section and pulled them back into the compound, slamming the hefty gate shut as they withdrew.
Phase 10 saw an insurgent roll of 65543 and they senior leader began withdrawing the rifle team into the orchard from where he planned to withdraw them from the action, slipping away to re-emerge later.
Phase 11 saw the British roll 43221. On the 1 the FSG were contacted and the 0.50 cal was asked to brass up the insurgents making for the orchard. The gunner had eyes on and sent a well aimed streal of heavy rounds to kill two men and add two shock. With that, Number 2 section opened the gate and Delta Team opened up, killing a further two men, pinning that team, and wounding the Senior Insurgent Leader. The insurgent force morale, so high at the outset, dropped to 9. The insurgent belt fed MG broke and fled at that point and the Force Morale dipped again to 8.
Phase 12 the insurgents rolled 66541 and the Senior Ledader used a single Chain of Command point to slip away and leave the table via a jump-off point but ready to return. The next phase was theirs as well, rolling 54432 but with their force so depleted for so little gain at this stage they decided to let the British commit themselves further before deploying any more men.
Phase 14 and the British roll 65443. The Lieutenant rallies Charlie Team in Number 2 section and puts down fire to rout off the insurgent rifle/lmg team, but it failes to affect the insurgent force morale. With the ienemy routed, Delta team moves into the alley, vallon to the fore.
Phase 15 and the insurgents roll 55321. The sniper fires and misses but isn’t spotted. Nothing deploys as they allow the Brits to come onto them.
Phase 16 and the coalition roll 54421. The Lieutenant moves 2 section forward, Charlie Team moving tactically to deploy forward while Delta Team covers the jump-off point in the orchard on enhanced overwatch.
Phase 17 the insurgents roll 44442 (a rubbish roll) and do nothing.
Phase 18 the British roll 44221 and Number 2 section moved up Barmaing its way up the alley. The Lieutenant moves up slightly behind them.
Phase 19 54111 for the insurgents and they keep their powder dry.
Phase 20, the British roll 54311 and No.2 section’s Charlie Team enter compound 32 intent on making contact with the locals.
Phase 21. 66533. A double 6 at a key moment. An insurgent junior Leader deploys with an RPG and a rifle team and fires through the family being used as human shields. The British take shock and one man goes down. The cry of “Man down” sees British morale hit for the first time, falling to 6 from the starting point of just 8. To make matters worse some civilians are killed and two collateral damage points incurred on the “Proverbial Happens” table. On overwatch No. 1 section have two men who can see the insurgents clearly and open fire killing one man and putting shock on, but the GPMG has its line of sight blocked by the civilians and sticks to the principle of courageous restraint and holds its fire.
Phase 22 and the insurgents roll 66643. However, the British player interrupts with a Chain of Command dice and No.2 section withdraws from the compound dragging their casualty with them. The insurgents under the junior leader mass in compound 32, ready to emerge and the civilians attempt to hide b ut don’t run. Nevertheless the turn end sees the man down die (had a medic been able to attend the chances are the man may be wounded but survive), but the turn ended at precisely the wrong time. British Force Morale drops again to 4!
In the 1st Phase of Turn 2 the insurgents roll 65532 and deploy a rifle team in the irrigation ditch with a clear shot on Number 2 section’s Charlie Team. They fire poorly but succeed in driving off the British who drag their dead comrade with them into the alley but with a large amount of shock (6 points on the trhee remaining men) they are momentarily combat ineffective.
In Phase 2 the Lieutenant rallies three shock, knowing that a roll of 6654 will give him the next phase. He then plays a Chain of Coommand dice to end the turn. With just three shock they can now operate effectively again.
In Phase 1 of Turn three, a pooor roll of 6651 allows the FSG to interdict the taliban in the irrigation system, killing one man, but the key next phase is British.
Phase 2 sees a roll of 5542 (the British have lost a command dice by now) sees the Lieutenant bring No.2 Charlie Team into compound 31. By now their Force morale means that the original objective of the mission has been abandoned, the objective now is to exfiltrate the area with no further losses and no more bad things happening. The “Proverbial happening” tally is at three, very close indeed to the British Force morale.
while Delta team cover their withdrawal.
Phase 3, the insurgents roll 65422 and depoly a rifle team and an ROG team in the orchard in the hope of hitting hard before the British can escape.
Their fire is not accurate, however, only shock is inflicted.
Phase 4 and the coalition roll 5441. The FSG is contacted about the newly emerged in the orchard but fail to identify their target. Sergeant Prescott emerges and rallies Delta Team from No2 section and they fire, killing two insurgents. Meanwhile the Lieutenant gets No.1 section to drive off the insurgents in the irrigation ditch. They route, but the insurgent force morale fails to fall.
Phase 5. On 65433 the insurgent senior leader emerges in the orchard to take command, ralling some shock and send ing another RPG and 7.62 heading towards Delta Team, seven hits but incredibly bad rolling sees that convert to just three shock.
Phase 6. 6442 sees Prezza rally shock and Delta Team returns fire killing three. Meanwhile Lieutenant McLaughlin withdraw No.1 section from the roof of compound 31.
Phase 7, an insurgent roll of 53321 sees the senior leader rally and try again. But again poor shooting sees little effect. Meanwhile the junior leader is looking to use speed to move round to threaten the British withdrawal attempt. Tense stuff!
Phase 8 sees Charlie Team from No.2 section move through the breached compound wall to try to withdraw through the orchard. Delta Team are still locked in their firefight and see the insurgent senior leaders killed, the RPG team wiped out and the remaning rifle team routed off the table. The insurgent morale collapses to 1 and the insurgent player calls it a day.
At the end of the game the British Force Morale is down to 3, matching the “Proverbial happens” total. Local civilians have been killed, adversely affecting the trust of the local population and the political implications of another ramp ceremony will not be appreciated by the soldiers in the company or their leaders. This is slightly off-set by the fact that a local insurgent senior leader has been removed. Only time will tell how that, and the death of around a dozen fighters, will impact on the support that the insurgents can garner from the local population.
It is remarkable how relatively few tweaks to the rules can see a game with such a different flavour to WWII. The implications of losses on the coalition really hits home, as does the importance of attempting to protect the local population. Not firing the Gimpy when I could have hit the insurgents hard was a painful decision, especially as I was attempting to cover the withdrawal of friendly forces with a man down. However, with the “proverbial happens” tally running high it was not a risk I felt I could take. “Courageous restraint” is not a concept most gamers are familiar with, but what working on Fighting Season has taught me is how realy this needs to be.
Again, the British will put pressure on the insurgents when they work through their skills and drills and use enhanced overwatch to protect their advances. However, the insurgents benefit from being fleet of foot and able to hit hard and slip away. Only when they attempt to stand toe to toe (which they did here in the hope of just tipping the scales) do they get truly hurt.
Apologies for the less than perfect photography.
It was towards the end of the second week in May when I received the communication from Sir Roger at the Residence, brought by a galloper who had sustained several wounds in his attempt to locate my outpost and deliver his message; a message which only served to confirm what we had been already told