On Sunday 28 June, most of the usual suspects (being Rick, Mark. Chris, John, Paul and me) gathered at Barry’s place for a game. A fortnight ago, Rick had requested we reprise the game I arranged for our annual wargaming week at Lake Tarawera, a couple of years ago. This was a multi player skirmish set in Afghanistan where all players are on the Coalition/ISAF side, and a simple mechanism provides the opponents. It was a special day too, as it was our host Barry's 83rd birthday - happy birthday Bazza!
The rules used are a set I found on the Free Wargames Rules website, called Mog 93, and are actually intended for “Blackhawk Down” type scenarios. As such, they are not really ideal for Afghanistan or Iraq, as they are intended to create very large mobs of poorly trained Somalis who are very poor shots – which doesn’t quite gel with the experience of fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan circa 2000-2015. I had already realised this was the case but had not been motivated enough to think about how to improve things – so we just went ahead with minor changes.
The basic mechanic of the game is that every time one of the “playing” figures moves (each player had a unit of four infantrymen) the activated figure calculates how many opponents are in range, tots up a score based on that number, then rolls on percentage dice to see if they have been “hit”. In the rules as written, each armed Somali within range is worth 1% and support weapons add 5% (I think) So you can see, the intention is that there will be 30 or 40 armed Somalis firing, to make it a reasonable chance that an American gets hit every now and again (the % is halved if the target is prone or in cover etc.
I altered it to 5% per firer and 10% for support weapons, but with fewer figures, but it needs more refinement. Generally, the Coalition (they were NZ Soldiers in this scenario, who I created using 20mm Australians by Wartime Miniatures, as they use the same Steyr assault rifle as the NZDF)) were rolling at a 15% or less chance of taking a hit, and they needed to lose 6 hits in total to be put out of action – PLUS there were two medics (one on loan from the British army, an Elheim figure) who could restore up to 3 points of damage, which seemed to make it pretty hard for the Taliban to cause much damage – although there were a few of the Kiwis carrying 3 or 4 hits by the end of the game. On the other hand, the coalition troops hit on a 7+ on a D10, dropping to 6+ if they spend one action point aiming. With six action points each per turn, they can kill a lot of the enemy and LMG, HMG, UGL etc get more than one die roll per AP.
We kept recycling the Taliban so that each of the figures must have been put out of action half a dozen times each at least, but it didn’t really feel right – more work required by me to give a more realistic simulation – however, I think all the guys enjoyed cooperating and all being on the winning side, so cant knock it too much and from my perspective, it was nice to get a small portion of the modern “War on Terror” collection out on the table, as they get very few opportunities to ply their trade. The figures and vehicles are from a variety of sources and manufacturers - basically, if you make 20mm Modern British and/or Taliban, I probably have some of your figures in this collection!
Following are a few images taken during the game – some descriptions are added but the asymmetric nature of this type of engagement made it hard for me to umpire and keep track of what was happening everywhere!
Overview of part of the battlefield.
Local women collecting water
Another group pf villagers before things kick off
The first squad occupies a partially walled garden
The locals start to make themselves scarce
First opposition appears on a rooftop
Another coalition squad takes cover behind a ruined building
Another bunch of Taliban appear on the right flank
A view from the coalition starting line
A Taliban technical makes an appearance
A British WMIK Landrover mounting a 50 cal and 7.62mm GPMG sits in overwatch
NZ troops inspect a parked civilian vehicle - is it an IED?!
More local fighters line the edge of an irrigation ditch as the coalition troops advance
And yet MORE Taliban fighters appear
Fighting In Built Up Areas (FIBUA)..the "tactical" markers indicate these guys are prone, so twice as hard for the Taliban to hit. In the rear, the burning remains of a Taliban technical, taken out by a Kiwi UGL
The same squad advancing cautiously through the village
Allied air support - half way through the game, the coalition succeeded in calling in air support in the form of this US Blackhawk bristling with chain guns and snipers. With 8 x d10 per side (port and starboard) and only requiring a 6 to hit, it made mincemeat of the Taliban fighters lining the twin irrigation ditches
Another technical joins the fray
Taliban motorcyclist uses his cell phone to report in a sitrep
And STILL they keep coming!
This group of Taliban had filtered in to the rear of the advancing troops
A couple of Kiwi troops light up a Taliban position
General view from the other end of the table - the coalition patrol had successfully patrolled through the village, engaging multiple Taliban units and neutralising most of them
EndEx - the last two Kiwis moving off the field of battle
The view we have from Barry's gaming room - out over the Waitemata Harbour on Auckland's west coast
This was a very small scale action came compared with our usual fare but kept us amused for about six hours....its not all about size you know! Its actually inspired me to think I may do a War on Terror parade later in the week....stay tuned!