10th April 2009 and A Company of 1 West Sussex Regiment have completed their handover from the Loamshires. The West Sussex Battlegroup is deployed in Dastarkhan province with A Coy in FOB Cawnpore in the area of Bore Pallaw. Major Zac Burton-Taylor has sent out a multiple from Lieutenant Ian Jefferies 1st Platoon with an interpreter to patrol the locality and establish contact with the local population to do some basic human terrain mapping and to try to find out who the local movers and shakers are. With Lieutenat Jefferies are Sergeant “Rod” Stewart and two sections under Corporals “Huey” Lewis and “Jacko” Jackson. Lewis’ section has an additional GPMG and a couple of men who have been added to create a decent base of fire in case the patrol runs into trouble.
We used the terrain generator for a Green Zone area, so what resulted was fairly rural. With a few walled compounds set among fields. We rolled for this scenarion and that resulted in five groups of civvies being present in the fields with more possibly within the compounds. Here’s the table with the British Patrol Marker starting point shown in blue, the insurgents shown in red. The five groups of civvies are show with black circles.
The patrol phase saw the British sush forward to try to secure the area around the civilians as talking to and protecting them is their primary reason for being 0ut on patrol. The insurgents, who opted to use just three patrol markers attempted to get forward to keep the British away from the locals, but without much luck. Here’s how it looked when all the insurgent patrol markers were locked down.
The insurgent jump -off points were located as shown here. The British jump-off points are shown below that. As can be seen they really are right in among the population, ideal for a bit of intelligence gathering.
The British had the firts phase and a decent roll saw them deploy Lieutenant Jefferies and Ahmed the “terp” who began questioning the locals while the two other sections deployed to cover them.
The insurgents responded by deploying a Dicker in among a group of civvies who were serving as a human shield.
With Huey’s section on enhanced overwatch, Jacko moved his section forward to extend the screen covering the Lieutenant as he chatted with the locals.
The reception was mixed, with some good intelligence being gained, but these ladies were less than happy to see ISAF forces in the area.
Jacko moves his Delta Team into an orchard on the right…
…while Lt. Jefferies continues with his work.
But the peace is broken as an RPG sails across to crash into the ground in front of Jacko’s position….
…followed rapidly by the detonation of a remote control IED which sees two men go down.
Sergeant Stewart rushes forwards to see what damage has been done. With two men down this could spell disaster.
An insurgent PKM team opens up, pouring fire into Jacko’s Charlie Team, driving them to ground. By the time Stewart gets there it is too late. Private Rogers is dead, but fortunately for Private Jones his body armour means he is just winded. However, what is clear is that the lads are in shock and Sergeant Stewart sends them to the rear with their dead mate.
Meanwhile Hakim Khan, Community Leader, emerges to take control of the action. His orders are to fight a destabilisation battle; this is not about going toe to toe with the colaition forces, but about causing them sufficient political discomfort to keep them penning in to their FOB. Khan was a professional soldier originally, fighting with the regular Army and their Soviet allies against the Mujaheddin. His present allegiences are unclear.
After the initial shock of the ambush, the Gimpys of Lewis’ section put down fire and scythe down the RPG team on the roof of the grape store.
But the PKM team slips away only to re-appear on the roof of a compound before again slipping off.
Sergeant Stewart leads Jacko’s boys back to safety. The ladies in the field are actually grovelling in the dirt and screaming, not still stood their discussing the price of tea!
On the right Lance Corporal Price puts his team on enhanced overwatch. The boody Taliban seem to have slipped away as a lull ensues.
Lieutenant Jefferies gets Corporal Lewis to go through his compound clearing drill, going in Green with a soft knock approach. Nobody is home.
However, the British have had a big win. One of the locals have informed them of the presence of another remote control IED, this is amjor blow for the insurgents who were literally just about to deploy this. The British are not sure what support the insurgents have, but this actually leaves the insurgents with no more IEDs. However, at this stage the Charlie Foxtrot rating which determines how much political damage the insurgents have done, stands at three. The insurgents need to add just one more point to that and they will have done enough to get a win. Hakim Khan, community leader, can almost taste the kebab of victory!
With a cry he deploys two of his RPG teams and the missiles streak towards Lance Corporal “Geordie” Price’s team, showering them with shrapnel and stones.
Sergeant Stewart runs forward and gets the GPMGs firing in the middle…
…killing two men and sending the third “squirting” out of contact.
On the British left, Lewis’ Charlie Team run forward to establish a new base of fire.
With them in place Lieutenant Jefferies sends forward the base of fire team to occupy the orchard. This will allow Lewis to then work his way forward covered by their suppressing fire.
But they move too far forward and from the ruins of an old compound, ten insurgents rush forward to engage them in close combat.
Caught on the hop, the GPMGs cut down the lead ranks and the remainder withdraw, but not before a man goes down. Private Andrews has been shot through the head, immediately it is clear that he is dead. Lt. Jefferies runs forward to control the fire of the GPMGs as they mow down the retreating insurgents, but he knows that two men dead is a distaster for his platoon on their first patrol.
Sergeant Stewart seizes the opportunity. He can see that with the losses they are suffering the insurgents must be close to breaking. He rushes forward with Geordie Price’s team.
The suspected Dicker is arrested and the insurgents rout in the face of Lance Corporal Brown’s gimpys.
But Hakim Khan knows he has the victory he wants, albeit at a cost in lives. Using his mobile telephone he signals a withdrawal, robbing the British of the opportunity to gain a military victory.
As it stands, the insurgents won a political victory whilst narrowly avoiding being beaten militarily. The British were frustrated, back in FOB Cawnpore 1 Platoon are not feeling great about two of their mates getting killed. However, an aggressive peformance nearly won them the day and they all showed how resilient a small but well-led force can be. They gained intelligence which helps them better understand their operational area and detaining the dicker gained them more intel as he sang like a canary when told that he may be handed to the ANP for questioning. However, one civilian was killed and two British soldiers are KIA, neither of which are good results. The insurgents have lost seven men dead and four more are being treated for their wounds. However, the action resulted in three new volunteers for the jihad and the local population are wary of the ISAF forces presence.
A very interesting first game in the campaign. The result was on a knife edge and for a time the insurgents were disparing of every being able to get the body blow in which they wanted. The insurgent player very nearly pulled the plug just before the close combat, recognising that assaulting the British team was a very risky option. As it was it was sufficient to tip the scales and secure a win. This keeps the initiative in insurgent hands and stops the British expanding their area of control out side of their FOB, something they need to do before they can bring in reconstruction teams to start improving the lives of the local population. Whether the insurgents actually use that initiative after such painful losses is another matter.
We returned to our play-testing for our Boer War lest evening with the battle of Belmont. Historically this battle was the first real action in the attempt to relieve Kimberly, and saw a British night attack go astray due to lack of maps and misjudgement of distances, and resulted in a frontal attack on two