After Action Report: Russian VDV vs. US Army Airborne

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After Action Report: Russian VDV vs. US Army Airborne

#1 Postby Neal5x5 » Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:49 pm

I did another solo Showdown game over the weekend (or, as my wife and daughter like to say, I played with myself) and ran another scenario from a hypothetical Russian invasion of Estonia and the NATO response. This time, I put the Russians on defense instead of offense.

I’m using the current rules of Showdown with stats and units from Modern Ops. The opposing forces are not balanced when it comes to points - I don’t use the Showdown point system as I’ve found few real-life encounters are balanced. Instead, I prefer to set what I believe to be reasonable objectives for the opposing sides.

With the Russian juggernaut rolling into Estonia, the authorities are hard pressed to evacuate essential civilian personnel. NATO command dispatches two squads of US Army Airborne to retrieve four valuable pipeline engineers located at an important gas line junction in the path of Russian tanks. What the Airborne troopers do not know is that a section of VDV soldiers has been airlifted to the junction and is holding the engineers prisoner while they await the advancing Russians.

A pipeline runs across the table with a ‘T’ junction. A pumping station workshop and platform lie at the junction. The private vehicles of the engineers are there as well. An unpaved road runs parallel to the pipeline and another road meets the pipeline road near the workshop.


Russians: 1 VDV NCO w team (1 AK/Radio, 1 AK,1 RPG), 1 VDV fireteam (3 AK, 1 RPD)
US: 1 Airborne NCO w team (1 M4/Radio, 1 M16/M203, 1 SAW), 2 Airborne fireteams (1 M16/M203, 2 M4, 1 SAW), 3 HWWMVs (unarmed)

Russian Objective: Hold the workshop and the four pipeline engineers until the end of six rounds of play.
US Objectives: Retrieve the four pipeline engineers and retreat off the board by the end of six rounds of play.

En Media Res Start
The Russians must have a fireteam in the workshop with the prisoners. The other fireteam must be within 6” of the workshop. The US teams start out in three HWWMVs on the road approaching the works shop, no more than 18" from the east side of the table. A HWWMV (not part of the listed US forces, no morale test required) has been destroyed by the defending Russians and the driver of each following HWWMV must make a Driving test as part of their first action. The Russian RPG figure may not fire the first round as the figure just destroyed the lead HWWMV.

After Action Report
R1: The Russian NCO & team run behind the workshop to take up new positions. The fireteam in the workshop fires on the lead HWWMV, scoring a hit to its engine. All the US fireteams pass their driving test, but the now lead HWWMV turns off the road into a swampy area and becomes stuck. The other two HWWMVs pull off the road toward the cover of some trees. The US soldiers dismount and take cover.

R2: The Russians in the workshop fire at the cowering Americans but to no effect. The Russian NCO & team move to a position south of the workshop and fire on the stuck HWWMV, destroying it. However, the US NCO & team using the vehicle for cover successfully cross the road to join up with another fireteam. The third fireteam advances through light trees to take up a firing position.


R3: The Russian fireteam in the workshop draws a Joker and lays down fire on the US fireteam in the trees, killing one. The US soldiers respond but it's ineffective. The Americans catch a break when the RPG fired at another HWWMV misses (I bennied the roll and still missed). At the end of the round, the US fireteam that took a casualty failed their morale test and ran almost to the edge of the board.

R4: The US fireteam that was running away must have had a change of heart because they got an Ace and a raise on their Spirit roll to return to the fight. This round, the Americans consolidated and got into position to advance on the workshop using a heavy stand of trees as cover.

R5: The US fireteam that was down a man moved behind a HWWMV for cover and fired on the Russians that were prone in front of the workshop while the other two US fireteams leapfrogged forward on the other side of the trees. An M203 round aced and landed right in front of the workshop and a high damage roll left the entire Russian NCO & team dead and two of the Russians inside Shaken. One of the Russians who was not Shaken got a lucky hit on the US NCO, leaving him Shaken, but a benny from the US pile took care of that.


R6: The two Shaken Russians in the workshop get unshaken and fire on the Americans crouching behind the HWWMV, but even with a benny, it has no effect. The two fireteams hiding behind the trees move forward on either side, shooting as they go. One Russian is killed and another Shaken. The Russians fail the Morale test and go squirting out the back.

R7: At this point the game was effectively over. The Americans went to the workshop while the Russians failed to reorganize and continued off the board. Two of the engineers were killed by friendly fire in the engagement (Murphy's Rule of Combat: Friendly fire isn't) and the remaining two were rescued.


The Russians did not achieve their objective due to the lost Morale test on round 6. However, neither did the Americans, as they did not enter and possess the workshop until after round 7. Also, with two of the engineers killed from friendly fire, any victory is muted at best.

Although the casualty list doesn’t show it, the game was a close-run thing until the single M203 wiped out the entire Russian NCO & team in round 5. The Russians finished with two healthy figures and one shaken figure and five dead or incapacitated. The US lost one soldier and one HWWMV (not counting the losses at the En Media Res start).

I'm seriously thinking of lowering the damage on the 40mm grenades used in the M203 and the Mk 19 from 4d8 to 3d8 or 4d6. They seem overpowered and the adjusted damage would be more in line with the 3d6 damage done by a traditional hand grenade.
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#2 Postby ValhallaGH » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:43 pm

4d8 for a 40mm grenade? That is overpowered. In the Savage Worlds core rules, weapons need to be at least Bazooka level to deal 4d8 damage (and all of the rocket launchers deal either 4d8 or 4d8+2 with varying levels of AP).
Even the Claymore anti-personnel mine is doing 3d6 (in a medium burst template that moves along 12" of the battlefield, but that's because claymores are terrifying).

I'd go with 3d6 in a Medium Burst Template (and have done so on the several occasions I've had to provide stats for the 203).
In fact, the Tour of Darkness (PEG setting) stats for the M79 deal 3d6 damage (medium burst) for the explosive shell.
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#3 Postby sirdrasco » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:45 am

Nice report, this has inspired me to finish my Zombie run game and get it going at the game shop.

Do you have the templates for common soldiers and wildcards pregen'd?
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"Why yes it is Mrs. Monns."
"Well guess we should get ready to receive it."
"Blast I hate squid for dinner."
"But the cook has a new recipe.."

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