Sunday, November 25, 2007

Blast from the Past: Anger in Katanga, Wars of Insurgency AAR

The Warlords plot their moves in this modern Africa Wars of Insurgency scenario

Here's another blast from the past - a Wars of Insurgency AAR from the early days of playtesting our modern skirmish rules set. This was in the days of limited web space, so I apologize for the scarcity of photos.
Anger in Katanga: Wars of Insurgency AAR
I ran an impromptu scenario using our (Wars of Insurgency) rules for Modern Africa. Three players fielded troops representing the UN-spearheaded invasion of Congo's breakaway province of Katanga. The invaders had one UN force and two ANC (Congolese National Army) forces. The three defenders represented the militia of Katanga, stiffened by white mercenaries hired from Britain, France and Belgium.

It was a bloody battle, with the two Congolese Army groups virtually wiped out: Only the UN force remained relatively intact at game's end. The defenders suffered gravely, too, as the Katanga militia were eliminated, and both mercenary forces suffered light to moderate losses. On the strength of that disparity, the game was declared a narrow victory for the defenders. The invasion would be forced to pull back and regroup, with doubtless more UN waffling on whether to continue participation in a civil war in the Congo.

Closeup of Keith's troopers and "Technical" with HMG
Keith enjoyed the game to email us all his account of the action, which I've taken and published here.

We were pretty angry, as our native Congolese seemed to be taking the brunt of kills on both sides. On one side, we had Congolese Regulars (my troops) in the center, the UN (Joe) occupying part of the town on the right, and a mixed force (Joel) on the left. Pthomas was opposing Joel with some Rhodesian mercenaries, Allen faced me with the usual militia gaggle, and Dave faced the UN in town with some Belgian mercs.

I had a jeep with HMG, a 4WD truck with a recoiless rifle, and two squads of regulars. Allen had three milita squads and a technical with a HMG. Pthom's ptroops seemed to be professionals, and he had a mortar, an armored truck, and a recoiless rifle. I never did quite figure the composition of Joel's force, while Dave and Joe seemed to have an almost identical mix of troops -- all regulars.

Allen and I chewed each other's forces to bits. Noted hits included eight of Allens militia dying from a well-placed recoiless rifle round, and four members of one of my squads dying from a well-placed RPG round. Dave and Joe played Stalingrad in town, although Dave did abandon the direct assault when three of his guys ran into the street on turn one, and two were killed by a recoilless rifle blast!
Joel delayed Pthom's troopers for the entire game, dying to a man. He did make a superb sniper shot, killing the driver of the armored truck, though.

My jeep moved out towards town to get another shot on Allen's immortal technical (his gunners, alas, all too mortal). My HMG gunner killed the technical's gunner, and then succumbed to a perfect storm of RPG, small arms and LMG fire from Dave (hiding in a little window in town, and just waiting for a juicy target).

Unknown to me, Pthom had been moving his mortar in a very stealthy manner, and just before the end of the game, he dropped a surprise mortar round in the midst of my last four healthy troopers - then rolled no skulls for hits! Boy, but those guys dispersed on the next move! 

At the end of the game, the rebel/merc side was deemed to have the advantage. While the UN troopers were solidly fortifed in town, there was very little left to support them. I had two squadlets of three men each, while both vehicles were wrecks. All of Joel's troops were dead. So, Pthom and his heavy artillery (mortar + recoiless rifle) could blast Joe out of town room by room, and Daves mercs would gun down any that tried to flee.

I had 3 BIG SURPRISE hits during the game: The first was Allen's militia RPG getting four of my squaddies in a blast and killing all four; The second was my jeep moving into a place where Dave could take a shot on them from town; And the biggest surprise was Pthom's mortar round from nowhere. In each case, I was concentrating on the battle in front of me, and not observing other places of danger. This is one of the more realistic aspects of the game. I think I inflicted 2 BIG SURPRISE hits - the RR shot into the woods that killed eight of Allen's militia, and the turn one RR shot that killed two of Daves troopers.