Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Operation Hyrdos - a Wars of Insurgency AAR from 'Down Under'

    Troops mass along the river in an 11-player (!) Wars of Insurgency game in Australia

As the rules author to the modern skirmish rules, Wars of Insurgency, I am very lucky to have an avid group of players in Australia called the Nunawading Wargames Association. They are in the midst of an Imagiafrica campaign where they have divided up the continent and created their own independence era nations. I have posted Facebook links to their battle reports on our First Command Wargames site from time to time, but not everyone has Facebook. So, I am going to start re-posting them here on my Lead Legionaries blog.
All of the photos and text come from the NWA members. There are many, many more they took that I could not include. Go to Facebook and join their group and the BushwarsNWA group to see their reports! This report comes from Mike Fly Goldyn. Thanks, Mike, for letting me share it! 
Defending aircraft were the real killers of the game repeatedly causing damage to the bridge builders


Or..."It is going to get wet!”

Early on the morning of Saturday, 9th July, 1979, the combined forces of the Quatro Alliance (Mdrongo, Omovo, Umgawaland and Vlessadwassa), along with a support contingent from Brimibian, rumbled down an isolated dirt road heading towards a site for the construction of a pontoon bridge for a river crossing.
Puerta Docielo was being destabilised by the increasingly agitated political situation in what was once Tikada. The newly declared independent ’Ard AlJamal was descending into tribal inspired violence. The Quatro Alliance was asked to provide peacekeepers. Leaving their assembly area in western Vlessadwassa, the column was cutting a shortcut through Puerta Docielo to West Tikada.
Apparently, most of the western Imagiafrican nations objected to what they perceived as interference by the Quatro Alliance into their sphere of influence. These nations banded together and sent out a blocking force. Reconnaissance flights conducted by the Allergerian Air Force spotted the Quatro Allies approaching a river. It was decided to send out some ground reconnaissance units to verify the location and the intentions of the Quatro Allies. Units from New Guernsey and PKL converged onto the location provided by the Allergerians.

Nunawading Wargames Association has tweaked my rules to make them friendlier to larger games

Cautiously driving closer to the river, the PKL unit tried to radio in their positive identification of enemy units attempting to build a pontoon bridge across the river. However, they also discovered that their radio batteries were completely flat. Someone had left the radio on listening to Dulocean singing bowl and ukulele music all night.
The New Guernsians experienced a similar problem, but not as severe. Atmospherics were interfering with signals and the transmissions were either garbled or static. They also found that this incessant use was depleting the battery charge. Fortunately, the NG platoon commander wisely stored away fully charged batteries on one of the transports. Communications were restored. The NG troops even left some batteries for the PKLers to pick up and install in their radios. This positive situation wasn’t completely satisfactory as the Allergerians were still receiving gobbledygook. A change in location soon fixed that. Something to do with radiation from a previous UFO crash site.
    They regular players are involved in a campaign, each creating their own nation and force in Africa
The message was sent: “Enemy located”! Coordinates were transmitted. Reinforcements were on the way - ground troops from Allergeria; the TOFU contingent from Tarzania (in western Imagiafrica on a goodwill visit and now joining in the fun) and a completely lost Kalemnitkan rifle squad (?!?? - go figure!)
PKL troops were the first to engage, shooting at Mdrongoan troops dug-in across the river. The Mdrongoans replied. Slight casualties taken on both sides.
On the other flank, the Umgawans took the opportunity to fire some long range recoilless rifle shots at some NG recce vehicles. Losses on the NG unit were heavy. Then the Umgawan artillery of four 25 pounders added their weight to the fight. First, PKL vehicles were turned into scrap, followed by salvos aimed at the New Guernsians. Losing an M113 APC with all it passengers and crew was a severe blow - 16 men in total!
    The central position for the attackers who were attempting to bridge and cross the defended river
The Vlessadwassan engineers, with feverish activity, erected the pontoon bridge, initially hampered by a truckie’s hitch that refused to untie. One knife later and the elements of the pontoon bridge were launched onto the river. The Vlessadwassans had taken some casualties from PKL fire but still managed to complete the bridge. The signal to the Brimibians and Omovans to cross was dispatched.
Just at this moment of success, a flight of two Allergerian F-4U Corsairs dived in from the sun, aiming for the bridge. Firstly, the Vlessadwassan Shilkas opened fire, followed by a hail of Umgawan HMG bullets. But the first Corsair made it through the curtain of lead, fired two rockets and started to weave away. Bang! 23mm AA shells from a Shilka cut the the tail off the aircraft. With the pilot dead at the controls, the plane dove straight into the lead section of the bridge. Along with the two rockets fired, this left the forward section in itsy-bitsy pieces.
    A strafing run looks like it will be deadly to any troops exposed on the bridge!
Clearing the dead and wounded, fresh Vlessadwassan engineers rushed forward with new ramps and other bridging equipment to repair the damage. This is when the second Corsair flew in, releasing two of its own rockets towards the next section of the bridge. The ensuing carnage killed more engineers and put another hole in the bridge. Vlessadwassan AAA retaliated in revenge shooting the Corsair down into the river. The pilot parachuted to safety, landing on the other side of the river. But he didn’t get far. He was obliterated by a burst of fire from the second Shilka.
After dropping mortar shells on random targets on the far side of the river, the Omovan and Vlessadwassan mortar teams received new orders to drop smoke on the far end of the bridge, hopefully providing cover for the Vlessadwassan engineers desperately trying to bring the pontoon bridge into use.
In the meantime, the Allergerian, Tarzanian and Kalemnitkan forces had arrived and were converging on the bridge. Sporadic gunfire was erupting all along the line.

    Attackers massing on the banks, hoping to get a chance to cross safely - it is a long way across!
Just as the Vlessadwassans were gaining in repairing the bridge, an Allergerian Mirage thundered in from the west and launched another two rockets at the beleaguered bridge. Fortunately for the Quatro Allies, one rocket completely missed and the other only caused minor damage. For the Mirage, it suffered the same fate as the previous two Corsairs. As it was now hurtling towards the earth, the pilot ejected successfully whilst the navigator was not so lucky, breaking his neck on the canopy which did not detach in time.
As the Mirage swerved to port and plummeted into the ground, the pilot floated down by parachute. Everyone held their fire as the pilot headed gently towards the river -- the crocodile infested river! With a splash, the pilot landed in the water, immediately struggling from his parachute harness. Within the blink of an eye, he was assailed by two hungry crocodiles. Miraculously, he managed to fight one off, but sadly, not the second one. He was pulled underwater, never to be seen again.
    A pontoon bridge is assembled by very brave engineers in the face of determined attacks
The report from the Vlessadwassan engineer commander was not very positive. The bridge was repairable but would take time. And with the enemy approaching rapidly, the ongoing repairs might be too hazardous. New orders were sent to the artillery battery to drop a smoke barrage just ahead of the bridge. Hopefully this would provide sufficient cover.
The bridge was still under threat from another air strike. The decision was made to dig-in along the river and wait for dark. Whilst these decisions were being made, the West Imagiafricans were coming closer.
With the setting Sun, hostilities eased greatly. Both sides were taking stock of the day’s combat, making plans for the following day’s operations - a river crossing probably in the face of a counterattack.
    Thanks again to the players of the Nunawading Wargames Association - I am a lucky rules author to have you guys as fans of the game!

Cast of Playing Characters

The Quatro Alliance (Blue Team - Attackers)
  • Mdrongo - James Booth
  • Omovo - Jasper
  • Umgawaland - Alan Newman
  • Vlessadwassa - Esteban Blanco
  • Brimibian - Brian Roberts
The West Imagiafrican Coalition (Red Team - Defenders)
  • Allergeria - Russell Charles
  • New Guernsey - Aaron Mauger
  • PKL - Piotr Kaczmarek
  • Kalemnitka - Geoff Kelly
  • Tarzania - Andrew Waligora