Friday, December 28, 2012

Korengal Valley Ambush - A-Stan

I played the "Korengal Valley Ambush" scenario from the Force on Force "Operation Enduring Freedom" campaign book.  This is the battle where Staff Sergeant Sal Giunta received the Medal of Honor for fending off numerous taliban close assaults.  (You can read SSG Giunta's Award Citation here)

The twist?  I used Iron Ivan's "Disposable Heroes" skirmish rules and their modern companion, "Seek Out, Close With, and Destroy."   Here's how it turned out:
Taliban in the blocking force position.  SGT Giunta's Fireteam Alpha is in the valley below

CONTACT FRONT!  ONE HUNDRED FIFTY METERS!  Alpha team lays down a heavy volume of fire

the small specks on the ridgeline are well-concealed taliban fighters.  this was a pre-planned ambush.

Alpha team immediately takes casualties.  The red bead means they're pinned.  the yellow bead means they're activated for this turn.  This isn't going to be an easy day...

One of the taliban assault teams makes its presence known.  they now open fire on SGT Giunta's team and receive a healthy does of return fire.

Turn 2 sees the arrival of the rest of first platoon.  Almost immediately, the lead fireteam with the platoon leader assists by bringing fire on the taliban assault force with telling results.  The muhj team had moved down to attempt to kidnap a wounded GI
The lead fireteam from second squad's view.  You can see the taliban assault force running down the hill.  The muhj to their left have not yet fired...

meanwhile SGT Giunta's team is fighting for its life.  Snap-fire beats back a taliban close assault.  they fail a morale check for another attempt.

SGT Giunta banging away with his M4

First platoon's M240B's have a say as well...

man alone rule in effect.  this PK gunner beats feet.

Platoon leader is directing fire - "thanks for the assist, boss"

The sole surviving taliban commander.  he would live to fight another day...

A team is 90% out of commission.  

The battlefield after the ambush.

My "Give War a Chance" coffee mug. 
The verdict?  Mission Accomplished.  Everyone knows I like Disposable Heroes and there isn't much I can say about the rules that I haven't said already in previous posts.  This does, however, mark my first truly "modern" game with the SOCWAD supplement.

I followed the scenario from the Force on Force scenario book.  If anything, this game should tell you that DH is perfectly suited for scenarios from other rules sets.  You can tweak "local" rules in DH perfectly and seamlessly without much of an affect on the game.  It's one of the subtleties I enjoy about the Iron Ivan family of rules.

So you want an AAR?  Well I followed the playbook pretty closely on this fight, with all participants acting closely to how they behaved during the actual fight.

The initial ambush element was wiped out when those beautiful M240 machine guns came online.  I had the second taliban assault force hold back to deal with the follow-on US infantry but they ended up trying to further suppress SSG Giunta's fireteam.  The trick almost worked and the last turn it forced SSG Giunta into a "fall back" move where he had to leave the fireteam's wounded by 6 inches.  Luckily the rest of the platoon came online and defeated the taliban.  But it was a close-run thing.  each activation someone was shooting or going down.


For modern battles, not much is changed save for body armor saves and extra lethal LMGs at the fireteam level.  the M249 gives the US fireteam unprecedented firepower so that 1 squad is a powerhouse.

And another first?  I actually scored a casualty with a grenade launcher this time...

MASKING: Remember when you are moving into a battle to not mask your fireteams.  Use 1 team to lay down suppressive fire and another team to bound around to the enemy.  If you're hiding 1 fireteam behind the other, you are not only an attractive target for mortars, but you can't properly return fire when the crap hits the fan.

IRREGULARS: If you're playing the rabble or insurgency, remember to keep plenty of extra LMGs on your teams.  Use all of your firepower immediately as soon as you can.  ambushes need to be violent.  If the muhj guys would have knocked out 1 more US soldier from the beginning of the game, the game would have ended differently.  Bottom line?  don't hold anything back.


  1. Thanks Steve. Terrific AAR. Don't mess with US infantry is a definite takeaway. I really liked the use of perspective in the initial photos.
    Thanks for the link to the CMH citation- Specialist Giunta is an amazing soldier.

    1. Mike,
      GI's definitely have some awesome tools at their disposal.
      It was such a small game, comparatively, that I wanted the perspective photos to give an idea of where the actions were taking place.

      Thank you for reading SSG Guinta's citation. If I had a bad day at the office, I would read it and remind myself there were guys in my Army that had far worse days than I was having , simply because the commo guys didn't get my laptop back to me in a timely manner, or a project deadline was off-kilter.

  2. Nice report, its good to see the moderns in action again! I read that story in the FoF book as well but hadn't set it up yet.
    Oh, I love the coffee mug :D

  3. Ben,
    Thanks I decided after reading "A Hot Afternoon in Baghdad" it was time for me to break them out once more. That and I've been doing alot of WWII gaming lately at platoon scale 1:4. It's good to broaden our horizons!

    It's a very easy one to game, that scenario.

    If you like the coffee mug, they have them on cafe press :) also in t shirt and bumper sticker. Cheers!

  4. Great AAR! Glad you like the rules!