This battle has an American force moving into the northern part of Amarah to seize "martyr's square" a park area where they will set up operations and hold any detainees. The main objective of the op however is to seize the small "government building" and hold it from the Mahdi Militia.
Make no mistake about it - this was high intensity combat and the US took alot of casualties before declaring northern Amarah "secured."
|Squad of American Infantry waiting to move into Al Amarah. I gave fireteams 4 fire dice and with the M203 GL, American fireteams ignore all but the hardest cover modifiers.|
|also, a departure from regular Crossfire - I added M249 and PK or RPK squad automatic weapons modifiers to the mix, giving them extra chances in close combat.|
|Another American squad on the rooftop to provide overwatch.|
|A Bradley getting into position to support the advance. there is a fireteam inside I kind of forgot about...|
At this point, an American fireteam on the left side of the road moves up to the first building and is ambushed by a small insurgent fireteam inside who miraculously wins the close combat and eliminates the fireteam hence the Striker moving up the road to support. At the same time, a large, heavily armed militia team emerges on the "Government Building" and opens fire. The battle begins for real at this point and the US Platoon Leader is screaming for help from his vehicles...
|Militia fireteam. Note the PK dudes. I gave this team the ability to ignore some cover modifiers since they are armed to the teeth also.|
|Winners of the first close combat fight. Note the team on the building in the background-left.|
|Troops in contact. There was attack aviation present during the real operation.|
|Mahdi reinforcements moving in.|
|The terrorist ride.|
This operation is proving alot tougher than the Americans originally thought, with 1 squad (2 x fireteams) non mission capable. The Americans bring in the heavy firepower and move their Bradley up to the road from behind cover.
|Note the striker up the road engaging targets on the roof. While I desperately needed dismounts to sweep the buildings, it was way too dangerous to dismount them in the middle of the road in this heavy fire.|
|Finally the Striker makes it up to the building to dismount the infantry - who are immediately pinned down!|
|Mahdi fireteam pinned on the road.|
|Fireteam in Martyr's park, shooting at the Mahdi command element.|
|Mahdi Command Group bugging out!|
This was a hard-fought battle and while the Americans did occupy the objectives at the end of the game, I'm not sure the platoon is even close to combat worthy. The militia put up a good fight and knew when to mass their fires.
SEND OUT THE TANKS: Here's a tip for combined arms in Crossfire - use your AFV's to head out first. Moving the infantry forward when the vehicles weren't in position to support was a fool's errand. I lost 2 fireteams to enemy fire before the vehicles were in a position to use those beautiful .50 cals or M240s!
IF YOU'RE THE "WESTERN" PLAYER, USE RECON BY FIRE: If your squad has the burden of attack and you have no need to stay hidden, recon by fire is an excellent way to legitimize opening fire on the muhj bastards. You'll get them to reveal themselves, at which time you can "atomize" them with your superior firepower.
IF YOU'RE FACING REGULAR OR VETERAN TROOPS, ADJUST YOUR PLAN ACCORDINGLY: I gave these "Sadrists" a rating of Regular, which in my opinion is a high honor for insurgent cadres but represents a group of men who have either been in battle with western regulars or have trained with men who have. They actually rally quite quickly from Suppression and Pinned and if you're counting on that suppressed team to stay suppressed while you calmly move your troops into position, you could be mistaken...
Final thoughts? well everyone who reads my blog knows I love Crossfire. I also love that it's so adaptable to a modern setting without losing the flavor of the game. You can easily assign firepower values to teams without tipping the scales. Even though Western Armies are lavishly equipped and trained to a high standard, the AIF (anti iraqi forces) were able to give them a tough fight by task-organizing properly and having the discipline to either stay in position and keep shooting, or to remain hidden long enough to defeat follow-on US forces.
For the next round, I'll include rules for RPG fire against US vehicles, as well as US bunker-busting medium anti-armor weapons, snipers, Improvised Explosive Devices, Explosively Formed Penetrators, Attack Aviation Rules, Artillery, and precision guided munitions.
I think the Rules of Engagement rule worked out well and not allowing me to use the Bradley's chain gun without 1D6 approval put a nice restriction on the US player. Huzzah!
PS I'll also snip the coconuts off the trees for all you rivet-counters!