After Action Report - US vs. Russia in Estonia

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Neal5x5
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After Action Report - US vs. Russia in Estonia

#1 Postby Neal5x5 » Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:17 pm

I ran a solo game of Showdown over the weekend, only my second, and found that it really helped scratch an itch I've had for miniature gaming.

The setting was inspired by comments in September by a Russian elected official (presumably a hardline one) that suggested that if the United States intervened in the Syria civil war, Russia would feel free to intervene in the Baltics.

In this fictional setting, a Russian Federation force had crossed the Narva River and into Estonia. A column of Russian armor is advancing west toward the capital of Tallinn. NATO forces were caught off guard and few resources were immediately available to assist Estonia. The US provided the 22nd MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit) and the US Marines were only barely able to deploy east of Tallinn as a stop-gap measure.

The specific encounter was the first meeting engagement between a lead element of the Russian column and a reconnaissance squad of US Marines on the Estonian Highway 1.

The Marines had an officer, an NCO with a 3-person HQ unit, and two MEU fireteams. I stiffened them up with an HWWMV with a TOW launcher (regular quality crew) and an AT-4 with one of the fireteams. They also had a HWWMV and a 2.5 ton truck for transportation.

The Russian advance group was similar to the MEU, with an officer, an NCO and HQ unit, and three fireteams, all motorized. In addition, the group had a T-72 MBT to provide some real punch.

The area is heavily wooded and swampy, and I consequently I declared anything not a built-up road to be difficult terrain. Russian air power had already struck the area, leaving several vehicles and a home burning. The MEU forces were hastily assembled in a group of trees on either side of Highway 1, with the TOW MWWMV in back. Across the battlefield (a clearing with ponds), the Russians emerged from a tree-line to the east, with the infantry on foot, advancing from cover to cover.

Turn 1 – The Marines held their fire until after the Russians came westward down the road. The Russian NCO and a fireteam were on the south side of the road and advanced to an overturned SUV. The Russian officer and a fireteam ran to cover in a damaged house. The initial volley of fire from the US forces did relatively little damage and the TOW vehicle was exposed while the crew aimed.

Turn 2 – The Russian tank acted first, moving further down the road and it’s 125mm cannon destroyed the TOW vehicle, taking out the MEU’s most potent weapon. However, the tank commander’s fire from the 12.7mm MG was ineffective. The Marine’s fire became more concentrated on the Russians south of the road and a pair of well-placed M203 grenades kills all but the NCO and another soldier, causing them to flee. The Russian officer and his fireteam remain in place and fire on the Marines across the battlefield, killing one Marine.

Turn 3 – A volley of M203s hit the T-72, killing the exposed commander. However, the tank continues to advance and its coaxial MG hits the Marines to the south of the road, killing one. The Russian officer and his fireteam move out of the damaged house and take cover following behind the T-72, firing on the Marines to the north of the road, with little effect. At the end of the round, the Marines hit the T-72 in the front with the AT-4, which penetrates the armor and causes one wound to the tank. Unfortunately for the Russians, the wound is to the crew, all of which are killed. On a small positive note, the NCO rallies the only other survivor of his group and they retake a position behind the overturned SUV.

Turn 4 – With the T-72 out of business, the remaining Russian soldiers (the officer and a fireteam) behind the tank are forced to flee to cover behind a burned-out car, but they are whittled down by Marine fire. Another well-placed M203 round shatters the fireteam, killing three of the four soldiers and leaving the remainder Shaken.

Turn 5 – The last turn was the Russians trying to escape to the eastern edge of the battle while under fire from the Marines. Only the NCO made it out alive.

Final Outcome: The Russians definitely lost the encounter, losing every man except the NCO, as well as the T-72 being knocked out. The Marines had few casualties among the fireteams but due to the loss of the HWWMV and TOW and using the only AT-4, I judged that they would have been forced to retreat unless reinforced due to a lack of heavy weapons.

Overview: The initial advances by the Russians and the destruction of the HWMMV with the TOW made it appear early on that the Marines were going to be hammered. However, the M203 grenade launchers really made a difference, removing half the Russians from the board. Also, the Marines got lucky with a good roll on the AT-4 and the damage roll on the subsequent crew hit. Had it been a chassis or other location, I doubt the Marines could have stood up to the MBT over the next few rounds.
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sablemage
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#2 Postby sablemage » Wed Oct 23, 2013 1:33 am

Good report, thanks... When playing solo, how do you decide what each side or group will do next? Homebrew rules, actual tactical doctrine, whatever makes sense to you?

Neal5x5
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#3 Postby Neal5x5 » Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:06 pm

Each side has a simple order that should be carried out, such as Hold, Advance to Contact, etc., and these are part of the larger narrative. In this case the Russians want to get as far west as possible as fast as possible so they can get out of the swampy terrain before they get bogged down, as the did in 1944. For the Marines, thier objective was to hold the road. Once combat was under way, the Morale tests did a lot to decide what choices were available to the officers and NCOs.
"Neal, Your cock game is AWESOME!" - Clint Black, Genghis Con '12

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#4 Postby sablemage » Thu Oct 24, 2013 2:12 pm

Hmm. I'll have to try this. Thanks!

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#5 Postby cdude93 » Thu Oct 31, 2013 5:44 pm

Nice, that was a great read, thanks! Did you use Modern Ops at all for this?
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Neal5x5
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#6 Postby Neal5x5 » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:24 pm

I pulled ranges and damages for weapons from Modern Ops, as well as stats for soldiers. I used the Troopbuilder for calculating a point cost in Showdown aftef I entered the troop values into the spreadsheet. The actual rules and order of play was all Showdown.

I'm working out a way to call in off-board fire support using the token system from Wierd Wars, but that's a little way off. I'm currently adding a greater number of armored vehicles to the spreadsheet, as well as PLA troops, as China seems to be the up and coming world power du jur.
"Neal, Your cock game is AWESOME!" - Clint Black, Genghis Con '12


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