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After Action Reports => Digital Gaming AARs => Topic started by: IICptMillerII on April 25, 2018, 05:08:23 PM

Title: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: IICptMillerII on April 25, 2018, 05:08:23 PM
Combat Mission D/AAR
Battle of  Arbe-Qimam Airfield
IICptMillerII vs BrotherSurplice
Prepared for Grogheads, Few Good Men, and Battlefront


Introduction
This is a work in progress scenario currently being designed by Rinaldi for Combat Mission Shock Force. Point values, force compositions and other variables may be subject to change for the final version of the mission. Consider this a beta test.

I have taken on the role of OpFor, while my opponent BrotherSurplice has taken the British as BlueFor.

BrotherSurplice is a skilled opponent who knows his stuff. I’ve known him for a while now, but this will be our first Combat Mission PBEM. Regardless of how the battle turns out, this should be enjoyable.

A quick note on OpFor: the battle is meant to be a tactical vignette, so OpFor is more of a generic force rather than a Syrian-specific force.

Situation
“Preceded by a strong air raid, an enemy airborne assault has been launched against the immediate rear of our second line of resistance. The enemy have seized a derelict airfield that had been reinforced as a strongpoint anchoring our flank. Should this enemy presence continue to assault our defenses they risk unhinging our entire defense; already hard-pressed against more conventional assaults to the front.

The enemy is bereft of support, and an opportunity exists to turn a dangerous situation into an overwhelming tactical victory!” (from in-game briefing)

Essentially, this is phase two of an air assault. BluFor is scrambling to consolidate their positions and hold out for relief, while OpFor is scrambling to overrun the enemy before they are relieved. The action strikes me as a modern day version of Robert Frosts doomed last stand in Arnhem, though this is a fairly typical situation for any vertical envelopment operation. The battle is a race. Whoever can assault or relieve the airfield first is likely to win.

Enemy
“The enemy is estimated to be in Battalion strength, though they are known to have taken casualties from surviving defenders. They also report no heavy caliber fire on their current positions. Enemy air power has also been cleared from the skies, follow-up attacks being disrupted by well-concealed ADA.” (from in-game briefing)

Enemy Starting Positions:
(https://i.imgur.com/YkH8fal.png)

During the initial assault, the British were able to seize both the airfield (and its perimeter defenses consisting of a series of trench lines) and one of the ‘Resistance Nests’ on the periphery of the airfield.

A relief force (assumed to be mech heavy) is expected to attempt to reach the besieged airfield, though it is unknown when such force will arrive or its composition. This is the single biggest variable of the battle. If the British can relieve the airfield before I am able to conduct my assault, the battle will be over.

Terrain and Weather
“It is currently 0200 Hours. It is a cold desert night, and a strong wind is blowing from the south. This same wind has kicked up quite a bit of dust, making the night a murky, hazy one.

The most prominent terrain features are four jagged peaks that rise out of the desert, creating a natural bottleneck that serves to canalize our enemy's attacks. We have established a second line of defense centered around this derelict airfield, exploiting the geography. The terrain beyond the peaks is equally complex, with rising mounds of earth that break line of sight and force close range engagements. Our surviving strongpoints are arrayed on top of these mounds, dominating the low ground that runs between them.

The airfield itself had been transformed into a strongpoint by our forces when the political crisis slid inevitably towards armed conflict and military conflict. The airfield was struck hard by the first sorties, damaging several structures and smashing the airfield's magazine.” (from in-game briefing)

(https://i.imgur.com/cQndKaD.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/X9U9Sgg.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/dzWwTz5.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/Qy5UYt1.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/ELDEDHn.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/6HJsfou.jpg)

Friendly Forces
“You are the commander of the 18th Battalion Tactical Group (Mcz.). You are a powerful all-arms formation that is acting as the local reserve in the vicinity. You have released for this mission a company team to relieve the surviving defenders. The team is currently en route to the battlefield. It consists of:

1) A quick reaction force from your B company, sent out ahead of the force; they were delayed, taking cover when the air raids failed to abate. Now that a SAM network has been established, they are racing ahead of the main force and should arrive shortly, from the east.

2) A combat team consisting of the entirety of the 18th Tank Company - your battalion's organic tank unit - and the first company. The CO of the unit broke into two march columns, one armor heavy, the other mech heavy. Attached to both are a pair of self-propelled guns that will, per doctrine, take up firing positions when the units get closer.

3) A nearby 122mm battery in a concealed position has been released to you. They are currently preparing for firing missions and will be able to provide support to the airfield's remaining defenders shortly.

4) Three strongpoints remain under friendly control. The reservist officer assigned this task has done well indeed, and appears to be calm and well stocked. With luck they will be intact and capable of restricting enemy movement when your tasked forces arrive.” (from in-game briefing)

My men are decently trained, led and motivated, to include the reservists on the field. The reservists are holding the Resistance Nests, and are well equipped.

(https://i.imgur.com/13GZMV7.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/gH8ddoF.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/kRus74S.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/k8HAvKZ.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/Focwc6E.jpg)

My tanks are T-72M1V TURMS-T and my IFVs are BMP-2’s.

(https://i.imgur.com/Jt0KubX.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/U68Wyvy.jpg)

Self-propelled guns (122mm 2S1’s) will arrive along with their respective Armor and Mech teams.

While the training and leadership is adequate, the equipment itself is less so. These assets are more than enough to deal with the British infantry on their own but will be hard pressed to handle any British armor forces that may arrive later on.

And herein lies the suspense. The QRF and some of the artillery assets will become available within the first 10 minutes of battle. However, my main assault force, the Mech and Armor teams, do not arrive for at least 40 minutes.

Time
I have 1 hour (with some variable time) to reduce the airfield.

Final Notes
This is a beta test. Point values for objectives, scenario balance of forces, etc may be off and subject to change.

Warning in advance, I will be travelling for some time in mid-May and will be unable to post updates during that time. This battle will likely not be concluded before my travels, so expect a gap in updates around that time.



Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: JasonPratt on April 25, 2018, 06:02:56 PM
 O0 :coolsmiley:
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: Sir Slash on April 25, 2018, 09:32:17 PM
OK, I'm following you Cpt.Miller. Just let me get my Flak Jacket on first.  O0
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: IICptMillerII on April 26, 2018, 05:34:42 PM
The Plan

The plan is simple: I must overrun the airfield before the British relief force gets to the airfield. This is greatly complicated by my reinforcement schedule, as most of my combat power does not arrive until 40+ minutes into the battle.

The Big Picture:
(https://i.imgur.com/Cb6sw1D.png)

Scheme of Maneuver

QRF – The QRF force will arrive in 10 minutes. They will immediately proceed through a gully towards the control tower on the airfield and establish a support by fire position. The gully will provide good defilade all the way to their SBF position and should prevent any interdiction by the British. Once at the SBF, the BMPs will pour direct fire into known and suspected British positions along the airfield perimeter defenses. If the situation allows, the infantry will conduct a dismounted assault against the periphery defenses and attempt to establish a toehold on the airfield for follow on forces to exploit. 

Composition:
-x3 BMP-2s
-x2 rifle squads
-x1 platoon command element

(https://i.imgur.com/s2CuLuW.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/1T8Z2g7.jpg)

Armor Team – The Armor Team will arrive in approximately 40 minutes. They will advance forward and establish a Base of Fire position to put direct fires on the British defenses while providing overwatch for assaulting forces. They have the additional task of reacting to any British relief force that may arrive. If the situation allows, the tanks will assist the assaulting elements in conducting a close assault of the airfield. While this will place the tanks at increased risk from handheld AT weapons, I view this as a necessary risk. It is imperative that the airfield defenses are reduced as quickly as possible. A section of x2 122mm 2S1’s will arrive on station with the Armor Team.

Composition:
x10 T-72 tanks (x3 platoons of x3 tanks, with x1 command tank)
-x2 122mm 2S1 self-propelled howitzers (off-map)

(https://i.imgur.com/5MP4bpT.jpg)

Mech Team – The Mech Team will arrive in approximately 40 minutes. This is my primary assault force and main effort. They will advance forward and under cover from the Armor Team, will conduct a deliberate attack against the British defenses. The BMPs will close on the enemy positions, putting down direct fire as they move. Then upon reaching a position close enough to the enemy positions (terrain dictates the specific positioning) the infantry will dismount and conduct a close assault of the trench lines. After clearing the trenches on the perimeter of the airfield, the infantry will continue to execute a dismounted assault of the airfield itself, to include the hangars and any occupied buildings. The BMPs will move behind the infantry and provide direct fire support. A section of x2 122mm 2S1’s will arrive on station with the Mech Team.

Composition:
-x12 BMP-2 IFVs (x3 rifle platoons with x3 BMP-2s, x1 weapons platoon with x2 BMP-2s, x1 command BMP-2)
-x2 company command elements (CO/XO)
-x6 rifle squads
-x3 platoon HQs
-x2 machinegun teams
-x1 weapons platoon HQ
-x1 forward observer
-x2 120mm mortars (off-map)
-x2 122mm 2S1 self-propelled howitzers (off-map)

(https://i.imgur.com/EvUBGQR.jpg)

Fires Plan

The initial fires plan has all 6 82mm mortars firing suppression missions against the British defenses. These missions are low rate of fire, long duration. This will allow me to keep the British positions under fire for an extended period while preserving ammunition. The goal of these fires is not to produce mass casualties, but to keep the British pinned in their trenches, unable to observe or fire on my units.

(https://i.imgur.com/wJiKq99.png)

(https://i.imgur.com/kmNAFBa.png)

(https://i.imgur.com/iJp0QWi.png)

At T+5 minutes 2 D-30 howitzers will become available. These will be tasked with suppressing the British positions around the control tower. The mission will be the same as the mortars, a low rate of fire at long duration. These fires may allow the QRF to conduct a hasty attack against the positions surrounding the control tower.

(https://i.imgur.com/SKHIBuc.jpg)

At approximately T+40 minutes 4 2S1s will become available. These will be used in support of the main assault. Targets will be determined by the situation as the assault develops.

Composition:
-x6 82mm mortars
Reinforcing:
-x2 122mm D-30 howitzers (T+5)
-x2 120mm mortars (T+40)
-x4 122mm 2S1 self-propelled guns (T+40)


Note: The battalion FO starts the battle on-map and is directing all initial fires.

Blocking Positions

The blocking positions are the resistance nests that remain under my control. These are resistance nests 2, 3, and 4. These positions are fixed defenses with fortifications (trenches and bunkers) manned by the airfield reservists with heavy weapons. Their primary mission is to hold in place and act as an early warning to any British relief attempt. In the case of a British relief force attacking, they will act as the initial screen against such an attempt. As a secondary objective, they will put fires into any observed movement on the British occupied resistance nest 1. These positions are not expected to hold out long against a determined attack. If they can buy time and delay the enemy long enough to allow for the airfield to be reduced, they have done their job.

(https://i.imgur.com/EkpcI5a.png)

Composition:

Resistance Nest 2
-x1 platoon HQ
-x2 rifle squads
-x1 recoilless rifle
-x1 RPG team
-x1 MMG team

Resistance Nest 3
-x1 platoon HQ
-x2 rifle squads
-x1 RPG team
-x1 ATGM team (AT-4A)
-x1 recoilless rifle
-x1 MMG team

Resistance Nest 4
-x2 Company command elements (CO/XO)
-x1 weapons platoon HQ
-x1 platoon HQ
-x2 rifle squads
-x2 HMG teams
-x1 ATGM team (AT-4A)


To reiterate, the only chance I have at success is to capture the airfield before the British relief force is able to break through. Unless the British relief force has no tanks (which I highly doubt) I will be completely outmatched.

The stage is set.




Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: IICptMillerII on May 03, 2018, 03:56:15 PM
Opening Turns

The beginning of the battle will be rather slow for me. As stated previously, most of my combat power does not enter the battle until the 40 minute mark, and the QRF does not enter until the 10 minute mark. We aren’t quite there yet. However, I suspect that once the battle does start, it will ramp up rapidly in intensity.

As the battle begins, the preparatory mortar fire begins to fall.

(https://i.imgur.com/wHL5uDk.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/1Njd17V.jpg)

Unfortunately, the mortars have limited ammo. Even though the fire mission was set to a low rate of fire, the mortars are soon out of ammo.

At T+5, the mortar mission on the Resistance Nest begins to fall.

(https://i.imgur.com/tgJJhGf.jpg)

Also at the T+5 mark is the arrival of the D30 howitzers. In order to employ them, I need to move my Battalion FO team up.

(https://i.imgur.com/ljiB6sR.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/uEApmm2.jpg)

They will move into a position overlooking the control tower and surrounding defensive positions.

That’s all for now. In a few more turns the QRF will arrive, and things will start to heat up.

Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: Sir Slash on May 03, 2018, 09:10:10 PM
Any Combat Mission game I can get to Turn 5 without the AI handing me my spleen is a good one for me.  O0
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: JasonPratt on May 06, 2018, 10:17:44 AM
Heh, it helps to choose a mission where the first five minutes is positioning.  :D
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: IICptMillerII on May 20, 2018, 10:41:46 PM
Ballad of the QRF

The forward observers crawl into their positions overlooking the control tower and surrounding defenses.

(https://i.imgur.com/f7ViPrR.jpg)

They are unable to spot anything on the airfield, even after a few minutes of observing. No matter, as they can call for fires on the airfield, which is precisely what they do.

(https://i.imgur.com/GIlw0Sj.jpg)

The fire mission is a low rate of fire, long duration, HE. This will allow me to keep the target under fire for a long time while conserving ammunition. However, there is a catch; the fire mission will take 12 minutes to arrive. This is a painful delay that will put both the FO team and the QRF at increased risk.

Meanwhile, the QRF has arrived.

(https://i.imgur.com/d1cdXwR.jpg)

No time is wasted as they are immediately ordered to move along the ravine providing defilade into their support by fire position.

(https://i.imgur.com/qEf5qbf.jpg)

As the QRF moves into position, enemy spotting rounds begin to land near my FO team.

(https://i.imgur.com/P2VuxUl.jpg)

Shortly after a second spotting round falls, this one even closer to the FO team.

(https://i.imgur.com/x6X7Dxn.jpg)

Time to displace. I am concerned by the fact that the enemy is able to observe my FO team in this position, while I am still unable to observe anything on the airfield. Fighting this action at night as the Syrians (who lack night vision devices, BMPs included) is going to be very difficult.

At the same time, the BMPs roll up into their support by fire position. They immediately begin firing 30mm into the control tower, as this is a likely enemy observation post.

(https://i.imgur.com/x1ce8zF.jpg)

The FO team displaces.

(https://i.imgur.com/ZgPD1HM.jpg)

Its just in time. Right as they go to ground at their new position, an airburst mortar barrage lands where they were only seconds before.

(https://i.imgur.com/drtZIFr.jpg)

The airburst shells creep closer to my FO team, and for a moment I worry that I may lose them. This would be a massive blow to my efforts, as it would essentially remove my ability to call for fires. Without fire support, I have little chance of taking the airfield.

(https://i.imgur.com/ChppBiF.jpg)

Luckily, the barrage ends. No one is killed or wounded.

(https://i.imgur.com/r2WMeJz.jpg)

That was too close. Note the incredibly fast time on target the British mortars have compared to my fire support assets. This is one of the chief advantages of NATO forces, their ability to call for fires and get fire for effect extremely quickly on a given target. The amount of time that passed between the first spotting round landing and the first round of the barrage was roughly 2 minutes.

The BMPs have been pumping 30mm into the control tower for a minute now, but their rate of fire is very slow. I believe this is because of the low light conditions and their lack of proper night optics making it hard for them to see what they’re shooting at. So, I decide to move two of the BMPs up the ridge a little more to allow them to fire their ATGMs at the building. The leftmost BMP has a large enough target to engage with his ATGM from where he is.

(https://i.imgur.com/VdiRfe4.jpg)

At the same time, I order a headquarters section from the anti-tank units occupying the resistance nests up to get more eyes on the airfield.

(https://i.imgur.com/cFSQDUt.jpg)

The leftmost BMP fires its ATGM at the control tower.

(https://i.imgur.com/wyfPeEU.jpg)

Which promptly falls out of the sky hundreds of meters short.

(https://i.imgur.com/9MleykC.jpg)

Bad luck. This is either operator error, or the missile’s motor failed.

The other two BMPs get into position and begin firing their autocannons. I was hoping they would fire their ATGMs instead, but in Shock Force there is no way to order a unit to use a specific weapon system. I’ve given all three BMPs ‘Target’ commands, which generally prefers heavier weapons, but this time it didn’t pan out that way.

(https://i.imgur.com/eOXIMPW.jpg)

These BMPs were given pause commands of 20 seconds. This is because the position they are in is more exposed, and I don’t want them sitting there long enough to be engaged by the dug in Brits. The idea is for them to move up, fire an ATGM, then fall back into better cover and reload.

Both BMPs fire off a few rounds of 30mm, begin reversing, and…

(https://i.imgur.com/ZcuGyr1.jpg)

Javelin. The best laid plans…

 Once again, the speed of NATO forces shows. The Javelin operator likely only had 20 seconds, or less, to acquire and lock the target. A few of the infantrymen in the back spill out of the burning vehicle, the only survivors.

(https://i.imgur.com/tqlLAeS.jpg)

Its worth noting that a fair few of the infantrymen, including one crewman, survived the initial hit. However, as they are evacuating the vehicle, a secondary explosion goes off, killing close to half the survivors. This infantry element is now combat ineffective.

After seeing this and kicking myself for making the mistake of not dismounting sooner, I order the rest of the infantry out of their tracks. I also ensure the BMPs are in proper hull down positions relative to the control tower defenses.

(https://i.imgur.com/LggLCH2.jpg)

The HQ section arrives at their observation point, and immediately take fire.

(https://i.imgur.com/TV2jwJb.jpg)

Its machinegun fire from the looks of it, probably an M240, coming from the barracks on the airfield. The fire causes no casualties and doesn’t really cause any suppression effects either. Despite this my men are unable to get a solid spot on anything on the airfield, even the enemy shooting at them.

As this is happening, the FO team comes under spotting fire again. They’ll have to displace again.

(https://i.imgur.com/4Ch6nTy.jpg)

This has been a tough, though not unexpected start. The QRF is doing its job. I have a rough idea of where some of the British strongpoints are, and I know they have Javelins. I also know that these British paras must be set to very high training and motivation levels based on the quick spotting and firing times thus far.

Right now, my single biggest problem is my lack of offensive combat power on the field. Indirect fires can help make up the difference, but with a 12-minute call-in time and my FO team being harassed by enemy artillery, the advantages of indirect are pretty well negated. Add on to that the fact that I have yet to get a solid spot on any British positions, and the advantage disappears.

I still have plenty going well for me though. I still hold the initiative as the attacker, I know I have more combat assets on the way, and I’m developing the battlefield and getting an idea of where the enemy strong points are. I am in no way close to being down and out.


Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: Sir Slash on May 22, 2018, 08:12:04 AM
Great AAR CptMiller. Combat Mission in all it's forms has made a mess out so many of my best laid plans that I can't count them. I'm surprised too at the speed of the enemy forces reacting to you.  :o   And cudos to you for playing the Syrians instead of the easier pick NATO.  :clap:
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: IICptMillerII on May 22, 2018, 09:00:39 PM
Great AAR CptMiller. Combat Mission in all it's forms has made a mess out so many of my best laid plans that I can't count them. I'm surprised too at the speed of the enemy forces reacting to you.  :o   And cudos to you for playing the Syrians instead of the easier pick NATO.  :clap:

Thanks for coming along for the ride! I love Combat Mission, both the modern and WWII titles. Been on a bit of a modern kick recently, and Shock Force has so much to offer, even in its engine is dated compared to the other games.

I actually really like the premise of this scenario, mainly because I get to play as OpFor with decent training and motivation. Playing as the Syrians certainly is a good exercise though.

There should be another update coming soon, where the Ballad of the QRF will continue to unfold. Should be good!
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: JasonPratt on May 24, 2018, 07:33:23 PM
I always forget how great the Soviet APCs and scouts have been. We didn't have anything comparable until the Bradley IFV.
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: IICptMillerII on May 25, 2018, 01:03:31 AM
I always forget how great the Soviet APCs and scouts have been. We didn't have anything comparable until the Bradley IFV.

Unfortunately I don't get any proper recon units in this mission, such as BRDMs and scout teams. I don't think having these assets would change anything, but it would be fun to give them some time in the limelight.

One of the reasons I like to play a beefed up OpFor is getting to play with all the equipment. Unfortunately for me, all of my equipment is essentially 80's vintage, whereas the Brits get truly modern toys. My inability to see anything on the airfield, even though I'm taking accurate fire really helps illustrate the disparity. At the risk of derailing my own AAR, this is one of the many reasons why I would love to see a Combat Mission: Fulda Gap. Something set during the 80's with a showdown between NATO and Warsaw Pact. Its an era of military history that I am very interested in, and the relatively similar capabilities of each side would make for a competitive game. Its likely not going to happen anytime soon, if ever, but it's fun to dream.
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: IICptMillerII on May 28, 2018, 03:35:58 PM
Ballad of the QRF (Cont.)

My lack of developed intel on the enemy defenses is a real problem. Despite multiple sets of eyes, from multiple locations, and even taking fire from enemy positions, I have yet to get a solid or possible spot on anything. With most of my combat power still over 20 minutes away and given the threat of enemy javelins and my own inability to see any enemy positions, the mission of the QRF now changes.

The QRF’s new mission will be to conduct a probe towards the airfield defenses in order to gain some intelligence on enemy positions. As the infantry move closer to the trench positions, they will conduct a reconnaissance by fire. To be clear, I’m not expecting them to discover much, and they will likely take high casualties. This is necessary given the situation. If I had better optics, I could play this more conservatively, quietly moving around the perimeter and observing from a distance. As I do not have that capability, I will have to do this the old-fashioned way, advance to contact, which is just a fancy way of saying, “move forward until you get shot at.” While that is the simplification, there is more nuance to the actual procedure. The infantry elements will bound forward, one covering while the other moves. Syrian squads cannot be split up like NATO squads can, so I have to move in squad sized chunks instead of team sized ones.

(https://i.imgur.com/9aHjbZW.jpg)

The spotters have come under artillery fire again but had even less time to displace. They were still running to their new position when the British mortar barrage began. Unfortunately, this time the barrage causes a casualty. The silver lining is that the casualty is only wounded, and he is the radio operator, not the FO.

(https://i.imgur.com/k5UQhBB.jpg)

The airburst barrage is on target, and I cringe through several close calls.

(https://i.imgur.com/5NOf61S.jpg)

Despite the numerous close calls, no further casualties are inflicted on the FO team. They will be displacing again as soon as the barrage lifts and they are no longer pinned down.

Unable to spot anything on the airfield, and with the incoming machinegun fire slackening off, I decide to move the HQ section overlooking the airfield up to the next terrain feature.


(https://i.imgur.com/BKjNg2T.jpg)

Upon arriving, they come under fire again. This time it appears to be a mix of rifle and light machinegun fire, including a marksman rifle. This fire is effective, and casualties are caused.

(https://i.imgur.com/6XFqrGC.jpg)

Unfortunately, the first man hit is the platoon leader. This immediately pins the HQ element, and they remain stuck in this position. To add insult to injury, no one is able to identify where the fire is coming from.

The FO team displaces, just in time to dodge yet another mortar barrage.


(https://i.imgur.com/A6afTkr.jpg)

Elsewhere, things are beginning to look grim for the QRF.

The infantry has infiltrated as far forwards as they can. They begin to take sporadic fire. I still do not have any spots on the British positions. I order my men to lay down fire on the suspected positions and have them bound forward in teams.


(https://i.imgur.com/X6xMqlG.jpg)


(https://i.imgur.com/KUVyEYS.jpg)

This immediately goes to hell in a hand basket. Within moments, I’ve taken scores of casualties.

(https://i.imgur.com/HdICEgh.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/AqZzr2B.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/yvOxheS.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/IzDs61m.jpg)

The propaganda ministry will report this attack as a resounding success. The cowardly British hiding in their positions were probed. Our courageous soldiers have shown the imperialist invaders that our resolve is strong, and they cannot hide from us forever!

In reality, the probe has been resoundingly repulsed. Any hope I had for securing an early foothold on the airfield is now gone. The entire battle is now in the hands of the main force, which should be here within the next 20 turns or so. At the very least, I have a rough idea of where the British strongpoints are on this side of the airfield. Keep in mind, I still do not have a solid or tentative spot on any British position.

If there is good news, it is that the D-30 fire mission is finally falling. Too late to help the QRF, but it should help to shake up the British for the main attack.


(https://i.imgur.com/JOuULq4.jpg)

Having completed their mission, and somehow managing to dodge multiple British fire missions aimed at them, the FO team is able to fall back.

(https://i.imgur.com/YSoVAaL.jpg)

This result is not unexpected. It was unlikely that the QRF would have been able to achieve a toe hold on the airfield, but it was worth a try. At the least, they have given me some intelligence on the British defense. I know roughly where some of their defenses are, and I know they have Javelins. These are all things that will aid the main force when they conduct their attack. Further, there has been no sign of a British relief force though it is possible they have slipped past the fortified hills in the dark. For now, that will remain an out of sight, out of mind problem.

Unless something unexpected happens, this signals the beginning of a lull in the action. In the meantime I’ll be sitting tight, waiting for the main force, and watching for the British relief force.

On an administrative note, I haven’t gotten any turns from my opponent in a few days. I believe he is away on holiday, and turns should resume sometime this week. Either way it is likely to be rather slow for a bit. Hang in there though, I have a feeling the finale is going to be quite explosive.

Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: Sir Slash on May 29, 2018, 08:27:55 AM
OUCH CptMiller. That's gotta hurt! But way to hang in there and anything can still happen.  O0
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: Pete Dero on May 29, 2018, 08:34:54 AM
Great AAR (as always).

Are you using some mods (don't recall seeing those icons before)
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: IICptMillerII on May 29, 2018, 01:40:04 PM
Great AAR (as always).

Are you using some mods (don't recall seeing those icons before)

Thanks!

I am using mods. The NATO icons are made by IanL over at the CM forums, who also goes by "A Canadian Cat" on the Few Good Men website where many of the mods are hosted. Here is a link to his mods: http://cmmodsiii.greenasjade.net/?author=8

I'm a big fan of these icons for the modern CM games. For the WWII games I prefer the period correct (pre-NATO) symbols made by Bil H. I'm running a large sound overhaul mod that changes most sound effects in game, as well as a collection of other visual mods that changes things like unit skins and such. The OpFor skins seen in the pictures were made by me and modeled after the OpFor from Call of Duty 4. A bit nerdy I admit  ;D. I haven't released them for public download as I made them as a flavor mod for myself, and the quality could be better.

OUCH CptMiller. That's gotta hurt! But way to hang in there and anything can still happen.  O0

Thanks for the encouragement! The fate of the QRF was unfortunate, but not unexpected. I like to think that this battle is unfolding exactly how Tom Clancy would write a battle like this happening. So far we've had a fairly typical Soviet-style probe of the dug in defenders, and now we're waiting for the big push.

Speaking of the big push, now is a good time to mention my rough idea for the main efforts attack. I'm thinking of going all out and conducting a fast, all or nothing mechanized assault of the airfield. The reasoning is simple: by the time my main effort arrives, I'll only have 20 or so minutes left in the battle to achieve my objectives. Add to that the fact that my night optics are just not up to the task of a long, drawn out probing action, and the threat of a British relief force arriving. A ballsy Soviet-style attack of the airfield will (if it works) allow me to close the distance with the defenders rapidly, reducing the amount of time they have to engage me with Javelins as well as getting onto the objective before the British relief has a chance to arrive.

If it works, it will be spectacular. If it does not work, the results will be devastating. Either way, it should be explosive and entertaining for all!

A quick note on the scenario itself. As I mentioned I am beta testing this for the designer, who I'm friendly with. My two main suggestions to him are to reduce the amount of time it takes for OpFor forces to arrive (have the main force arrive around 30 minutes, not 40) and to give OpFor the T-90. Giving OpFor the T-90 will make them very competitive against the British relief force, and will give the OpFor commander more options in the battle. While the T-90 is just as vulnerable to Javelins as any other tank, it carries better sensors and most importantly better main gun ammo that allows it to go toe to toe with British tanks.

The scenario as it is right now is more than playable, and I've been enjoying both the battle and writing up the DAAR a lot. As I mentioned (unless something unexpected happens) we've hit a bit of a lull in the battle, but the finale should more than make up for it!
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: JasonPratt on May 30, 2018, 05:48:00 PM
Man, the FO team in that last snap, I can hear Robin Williams: "WE'RE ALIVE! WE'RE COVERED IN OUR OWN $#!+ BUT WE'RE ALIIIVEE!"  :hide:

The lesson here, as always, is: don't fight head-to-head against the West. Even at night. Maybe especially at night. We learned a lot from Vietnam.

Not sure what else you could have feasibly tried before your main force arrived, though. Screened against British reinforcements on ambush opportunities maybe?
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: IICptMillerII on May 31, 2018, 02:00:53 PM
Man, the FO team in that last snap, I can hear Robin Williams: "WE'RE ALIVE! WE'RE COVERED IN OUR OWN $#!+ BUT WE'RE ALIIIVEE!"  :hide:

The lesson here, as always, is: don't fight head-to-head against the West. Even at night. Maybe especially at night. We learned a lot from Vietnam.

Not sure what else you could have feasibly tried before your main force arrived, though. Screened against British reinforcements on ambush opportunities maybe?

The FO team will definitely need a few days in the rear with hot food and a cot to recover. That is, if they end up surviving the battle.

The Army (the rest of the US military as well) has a saying: "We own the night." Vietnam heavily influenced this. During the day the US would reign supreme, but then would have to retire to the FOBs and bases at night, which was when the VC would come out and do their dirty work. The lesson was taken to heart, and ever since the US (and other NATO nations) have put a premium on developing good night optics. Being able to fight at night as if it were day while your opponent is essentially blind is quite the advantage, as we are all seeing in this D/AAR. Still though, playing as OpFor is always fun for me. It presents its own unique problems and challenges, plus the equipment is a lot of fun to play with.

As to what I could have done differently, I suppose I could have broken from standard OpFor (Soviet) doctrine and placed more emphasis on infiltration, as well as sitting back and screening until I had all of my combat power on the field at once.

The issues with this are numerous though. For one, it is entirely possible that the British relief force is able to reach the airfield without me even knowing it. Given how I have still yet to spot any British positions, despite them shooting at me, is a pretty good indication of this possibility. Two, the terrain really doesn't allow for proper infiltration. The terrain is wide open all around the perimeter of the airfield,and there isn't even any vegetation to use as concealment on an approach. That, and even if there was vegetation I doubt the British would have trouble seeing my men trying to crawl up on them. It is also never a good idea to concede the initiative. Remember, the British need to hold out here, which means they need to buy time and survive until the relief shows up. I don't want to help the enemy by obliging him and sitting back myself.

All things considered I think a probing action with the QRF was the right decision. The results of the probe have informed my plan of action for when my main force arrives, which is exactly what a probe is supposed to do. The casualties suffered were unfortunate, but very much within acceptable doctrinal levels.

A quick admin note: I haven't received a turn in a week now. My opponent is having a busy week at the moment. The next update likely will not be until next weekend. The finale of the battle should more than make up for the lulls though.
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: IICptMillerII on June 25, 2018, 03:38:15 PM
The AAR isn't dead, nobody panic!

My opponent has been very busy this past month or so, so rate of turns has been very slow. Further, I had nothing to do for the past 10-15 turns or so besides adjust a fire mission, which occurred without incident. There has been nothing to report on.

There is good news however. It is now the 44th minute of the battle, and my combat power has finally arrived!

Later this week I will post a proper AAR post detailing my current situation and my plan for assaulting the airfield. Hang in there, the battle is in its final phase!
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: Sir Slash on June 26, 2018, 09:01:24 AM
Still here Cpt. and still wide awake.
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: IICptMillerII on July 20, 2018, 07:28:37 PM
Finale Part One

Apologies for the long delay between updates. The rate of incoming turns slowed down for a few weeks. The good news is that in this past week we were finally able to finish the battle. It has quite the ending.

As I mentioned in my previous update, there was a long period of inactivity between my QRF’s failed attack/probe and when my main combat power arrived. 20 or so minutes passed with nothing happening, aside from the slow drumbeat of my artillery falling on the airfield.

Then, around the 43rd minute of the battle, incoming small arms fire begins to hit my positions on Resistance Nest 2. The source of the firing is not observed, and a casualty is taken.


(https://i.imgur.com/AItUYNH.jpg)

The volume of fire ramps up. First with what appears to be autocannon fire at a slow rate of fire impacting:

(https://i.imgur.com/ZzSvsQq.jpg)

Followed by a javelin that takes out the bunker:

(https://i.imgur.com/pvjrW4N.jpg)

It’s not all bad news though. Finally, at the 44th minute of the battle, with only 16 minutes remaining for me to complete my objectives, my main force arrives.

Part of the Armor Team:

(https://i.imgur.com/46wLqtO.jpg)

Part of the Mech Team:

(https://i.imgur.com/1zd9x2h.jpg)

Armor/Mech elements mixed together:

(https://i.imgur.com/YT9AHCG.jpg)

Unfortunately, they did not all deploy in the same place on the battlefield, but instead are spread out. This complicates my options for attacking the airfield. At the least, it means I have to maneuver some elements into position before the main attack can kick off. This maneuvering will take time, something that I am beginning to run out of.

(https://i.imgur.com/mBYEFzT.jpg)

The two groups to the left will maneuver forwards first, staying in defilade the whole way. Once they’re in position, which will be where the remnants of the QRF are holding, the entire force will assault the airfield as one. It’s an all or nothing gamble but based on the limited amount of time I have left, my inability to spot any of the British positions, and the unknown status of their expected relief force, this is the best plan of action available to me.

The Assault Plan:

(https://i.imgur.com/391TBur.png)

The tanks and BMP’s that are out of position will take a few minutes to get into position to make the assault. I want to attack with all my combat power at once, not piecemeal.

While my assaulting elements are getting into position, things really begin to heat up on the Resistance Nests:

(https://i.imgur.com/R2LSkvc.jpg)

Action shot! Our first solid spot on our enemy. This British para is literally running, gun blazing into my position. Unfortunately, this awesome display of Rambo emulation was so powerful it stunned my infantry into inaction, resulting in all of them being gunned down.

Things quickly escalate. British mortar fire begins landing in the low ground between the Resistance Nests:

(https://i.imgur.com/STLiD5I.jpg)

It appears to be a smoke mission. Odd, considering it’s falling in relative dead ground, and my men can’t seem to spot anything until its 5 meters in front of them anyways. I suspect this smoke will have little effect on the battle.

With some British forces spotted, and their attack obvious, I decide to get my men into the fight. Heavy machine guns area fire on the ground where the British are advancing over, and infantry squads begin spraying the area with fire as well.

(https://i.imgur.com/X2jyG2J.jpg)

(https://i.imgur.com/IFq6mYj.jpg)

My men put up a valiant fight, but they are essentially fighting blind. The outer positions are quickly overrun.

(https://i.imgur.com/57tiXRG.jpg)

Then, heavy artillery begins to land on the Resistance Nest.

(https://i.imgur.com/X4FutxZ.jpg)

These blocking positions are starting to take a ton of fire, while being assaulted. Despite the seemingly dire circumstances, they are doing their job. Delay any enemy attacks and divert attention away from my main effort. All I have to do now is conduct my assault before all of the Resistance Nest positions are overwhelmed.

As my tanks are moving into their assault position, something nasty happens:

(https://i.imgur.com/tP1U4fE.jpg)

The Armor Team Company Commander gets knocked out. Worryingly, the shot comes from the right-rear of the tank. It would appear that the British relief force is here, and they occupy positions on higher ground that are able to observe part of the defilade I’m moving through. This also means I could get caught in a cross fire when I make my assault on the airfield. The situation is becoming more tenuous by the minute.

The indirect fire on the Resistance Nest being assaulted grows yet more intense. There are airbursting 155mm shells, with HE mortar shells landing as well.

(https://i.imgur.com/FTj5fiX.jpg)

The good news is that all of my assaulting forces are now in position and ready to attack the airfield.

(https://i.imgur.com/zmfoIs3.jpg)

With only 13 minutes left to seize the airfield, a determined British attack underway on the Resistance Nests, the British relief force on the field, and my assaulting forces finally in position, the assault on the airfield begins…

(https://i.imgur.com/JBzrRGV.jpg)
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: JasonPratt on July 22, 2018, 07:43:41 AM
Phew, it's like an Airfield Too Far! -- where it wasn't quite too far after all!   :wow:
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: IICptMillerII on July 22, 2018, 10:29:19 PM
Phew, it's like an Airfield Too Far! -- where it wasn't quite too far after all!   :wow:

It's starting to look like an airfield too far to me. The rear flanking fire is very concerning. As I mentioned in the update, I'll likely get caught in a cross-fire once I hit the open terrain. With my already limited spotting capability, I'll be hard pressed to identify what's engaging me, let alone shoot back. Even if I could shoot back, it likely wouldn't cause any damage. Challenger armor far outmatches the sabot shells my tanks carry.

The bad news for me is that I am likely in for a quick, explosive slaughter.

The good news for everyone else following along is it should be an explosive finish, and the playtest has been successful. I've been told that I've provided enough information to the scenario designer for him to be able to tweak it for a proper release once CMSF2 comes out. Based on that alone, I'm prepared to preemptively declare this an OpFor strategic victory! ;D

I wasn't able to get the next update finished this weekend, but it should be out soon.
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: IICptMillerII on May 08, 2019, 05:20:25 PM
Apologies to everyone, but I was not able to finish this AAR. Between being on the move for the entire month of August and having to rebuild my computer, I just wasn’t able to finish this. I also can no longer locate the final turn files on any of my hard drives.

Surplice and I were able to finish the battle just before I left for the rest of the summer. He was victorious. My attack on the airfield failed, though I do think I gave him a good fight there at the end. My vehicles and infantry were able to get onto the airfield, but had suffered too many casualties to be able to exploit and overrun the British defenses in the airfield buildings. Most of my BMPs and tanks were destroyed, and my infantry had taken too many casualties to remain combat effective. Further, Surplice's armored QRF was beginning to close in and finish off what forces I had left. Even if I had somehow managed to establish a foothold on the airfield, his QRF would have made short work of it.

Hats off to Surplice for holding on till the bitter end and successfully holding the airfield. It was a good fight through and through, I only wish I could have captured the last battle to share with everyone. Apologies again.

However, to make up for the lack of a proper ending to this (and because the battle turned out to be pretty exciting) I have started a new AAR. This time it’s a proper AAR, as the battle was concluded a few months ago. It follows an armored US Task Force engaging a dug in, well equipped OpFor along an MSR through temperate, rolling terrain, featuring a few villages as well. It can be found here:

http://grogheads.com/forums/index.php?topic=23532.0
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: JasonPratt on May 08, 2019, 07:54:26 PM
I was never sure what the expected victory condition would mean for this game on your side. There was no way you were going to hold the airport against the rescue force, so at best it seemed like you could only harass the enemy and leave with heavy losses (after the final turn).
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: IICptMillerII on May 08, 2019, 10:25:08 PM
I was never sure what the expected victory condition would mean for this game on your side. There was no way you were going to hold the airport against the rescue force, so at best it seemed like you could only harass the enemy and leave with heavy losses (after the final turn).

In the state the mission was in when I played it, I agree. My main assault force arrived too late for me to seize the airfield before being interdicted by the British armored QRF. That said, the mission was in beta, and I was effectively play testing it. I'm not sure if there are plans to finish it and bring it to Shock Force 2 (I'm not the scenario author) though I would imagine it would be relatively easy to do. A few equipment/timing tweaks and I think it would be a great scenario. It was plenty of fun to play, and I think with a few small tweaks it could be even better. Plus, OpFor would have a better chance of winning. A chance to redeem myself!
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: JasonPratt on May 09, 2019, 12:39:31 PM
Perhaps a little angulation on the OpFor goals would help a lot, assuming the basic action flow of the scenario should be kept: the goal is to shut down operations on the airport for a little while (to reduce or eliminate air support elsewhere temporarily), and/or perhaps even to draw off the rescue team into this area where they won't be active somewhere else! -- and then to retreat as safely as possible, the challenge being to balance tying down the airport (and/or the rescue party) with acceptable casualties of men and material among the OpFor.
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: IICptMillerII on May 09, 2019, 01:57:37 PM
That's an interesting idea, changing the mission of OpFor from a seize mission to a raid meant to interdict the airfield. I'll mention it to the scenario designer! I do agree that the QRF is a bit of a problem with the current force build. I think OpFor would likely benefit from a larger force, with the main assault element arriving on the field earlier. It is worth mentioning that now that SF2 is out, the gear the Syrians get access to has been slightly updated to more accurately reflect the reality on the ground back in 2007. For example, the Syrians now get access to the T-72AV TURMS-T, which is a very capable tank against many of the Western MBTs in game. For example, it can go toe to toe with the US M1A1HC, being able to both spot quickly and frontally penetrate at combat ranges. Granted, the British Challenger 2 is a more modern MBT (the M1A1HC is the earliest MBT the US can get and represents an Abrams from the early-mid 90's, whereas the Challenger 2 is more similar to the M1A2 of the mid 2000's. The T-72AV is comparable to a top of the line Soviet MBT from the late 80's such as a T-80BV) so there is going to be more of a discrepancy in capability between OpFor and the British. Still though, with SF2 and some of the lessons learned from the playtest, I think that the scenario can be tweaked here and there to be a very competitive battle for both sides.
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: JasonPratt on May 09, 2019, 05:51:01 PM
I used to help edit the early unpublished novels of an author before she got picked up by Warner Aspect (and then onward up to TOR). Both of us being fencers, we liked looking for "angulation" -- slight adjustments to the thrust to hit the target -- rather than having to re-plot things extensively.

So naturally I thought in terms of reverse characterization: if you want the fight to be like 'this', and one side's motivations (on defense) are clear enough, why would the other side narratively get into that kind of fight?
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: IICptMillerII on May 09, 2019, 06:27:41 PM
IIRC the original story behind the fight over the airfield was; the British had conducted an air assault onto the airfield and seized it. In the mission, you are playing the second phase of the battle, the British airborne have dug in and consolidated on the airfield, and the OpFor are rushing forward to recapture the airfield before British reinforcements show up. Kind of a modern day Market Garden type, except on a much smaller scale.

I agree that it only needs tweaking as opposed to a complete re-write. No one likes doing that!  ;D I think the biggest tweak would be to the timing of BluFor and OpFor reinforcements, and then as I mentioned maybe beefing up the size of OpFor's force a bit as well. Another idea would be to have OpFor come in at a steady trickle. That way, pressure could continue to mount on the British defenders on the airfield, and when the British QRF does arrive, OpFor would likely have most of its force on the map at that point, allowing for a larger climactic fight.
Title: Re: Combat Mission D/AAR Battle of Arbe-Qimam Airfield
Post by: JasonPratt on May 10, 2019, 07:07:41 AM
Ah, right; yes I had forgotten that.

In that case either, yep, the Syrians need more punch to recapture and keep the airfield; or their mission still needs redesigning. Perhaps something along the line of an opportunity strike against the elite paratroops, concentrating available force to schwerpunkt them for casualties and then retreating off the map before the followup occupation team obliterates them!