A night under a roof, dry clothing and the frugal breakfast of hot cocoa and saltines were to be the only high points for the men of the 1st Section, 602 Commando Company. Embarked in a deep recon and interdiction mission, the section of Argentine special forces had a miserable evening descending from their observation post at Mt. Simmons towards their extraction point near Fitz Roy. The combination of the equipment plus ammunition weight's was unbearable. They would take turns to carry the machine gun while slogging through the damp, soft patches of peat-like terrain.
The decision to spend the night at a house near the Malo River was a fateful one. Argentine sources cite that the previous night the section had to endure a snow storm without proper polar equipment and that they decided to take shelter in the house because of an incoming second storm.
The snow stopped at 3:00 AM and the men were uneasy about being confined within walls, but exhaustion caved in.
The game's briefing follows:
After the British broke out of the beachhead at San Carlos Water, the Argentine command moved their special forces forward to try and gain information on British movements. Plans also included the possibility of using man portable AA missiles to try and down the helicopters that were supporting the advance. One such unit was Captain Verseci's 2nd Assault Section of the 602 Commando Company. Captain Verseci's unit established an observation point on Mount Simon, near the center of East Falkland.
602 Commando Company had just arrived on the island and were not yet acclimated to the weather. Rain and snow showers pelted their hideout. They listened to their comrade's fight on Mount Kent to the east, but were unable to do anything to assist. They could see helicopters in the valley below them, but their radio transmitter failed and they could do nothing about it. Captain Verseci elected to try and return to the Argentine positions on foot and his unit headed east, towards the abandoned buildings at Top Malo House. The commandos were cold, wet and miserable after fording the waist deep Arroyo Malo. Verseci decided to house his troops inside for the night so that they could warm up out of the wind.
However, the commandos had been spotted by an Arctic and Mountain Warfare Cadre patrol. This was the Royal Marine unit that taught cold weather survival and tactics to the Marines for their possible deployment to Norway as part of their commitment to NATO. The war had started just as their leader course was winding down and the final exam was a deployment to the Falklands. Brigadier Thompson used the cadre as a brigade recon troop and had them patrolling across the island. Lieutenant Haddow, the commander of the patrol, initially thought that his unit's hide had been compromised and the Argentines were there to assault his position. However, it soon became clear that the Argentines were seeking shelter rather than a fight. Haddow radioed for assistance. There were no Harriers available for an airstrike and Top Malo House was out of range of the artillery. The only military unit available was the Cadre itself. Captain Boswell, the unit's commander, gathered nineteen men and arranged for a helicopter to fly them in. He split the men into a seven man fire support group and a twelve man assault unit. At 0830 the next morning then were flown in and Boswell deployed his men on the low ridge above the abandoned buildings. The fight started when the support group fired LAW rockets into the house, catching the defenders at breakfast and a bit surprised.
And this is where I intentionally stop history and start the game. I can put a name into each of those green icons in the game, but I will leave it as it is.
This is the tactical situation, the equipment and order of battle in this scenario.
|Skirmish at Top Malo House. The men and their guns. You will need to click this if you want to see it decently.|
Stay tuned for an AAR of this scenario.