Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Short Stories from Small Wars II - ArmA 2 - Russian Army Maintenance Platoon Misses a Turn in Chechnya, Spetsnaz Team Cleans Up the Mess - Part 2

Neither the weapons nor the tactics were up to the task ...


This a continuation of a previous entry. Find out what went wrong with this mission.
After a successful infiltration into Mishkino (blue arrow in the map below) with my Spetsnaz team, it was time to open up an exit route for the beleaguered support troops. Not too many options for a general direction of movement: the town is surrounded by woods and the only exit for a wheeled vehicle is through the east. As I mentioned before, Mishkino is in a depression of the terrain and the only way to find out what's waiting for us out there is to get out of the town and seek high terrain with plenty of concealment.

Our previous intel shows enemy troops in the crossroads east of Mishkino. To reconnoiter what's up at that crossroad, there are two possibilities (green dotted arrows, north and south the road that exits from the town in an eastward direction). 
I chose to observe the crossroad from the position south of the road because the woods project a small finger into Mishkino, allowing a covert approach towards the high ground.

Besides my whole Spetsnaz team, I positioned one of the infantry squads close by in case of making contact with overwhelming enemy forces. Mishkino is in the background and towards the left. The slope that leads to the observation point I will be moving towards is on my right. I could not locate the contact reported by my #4 team member.


Not even halfway towards the chosen observation point, I had a very good view of the crossroad, with an SPG-9 waiting in ambush.
A panoramic view of the situation so far. The recent sighting of an SPG-9 at the crossroad is not welcome.
I felt that the crew of the BTR-90 was not up to the task of confronting the SPG-9. Even if I chose a duel between the two, that would mean we dismounts would have to clear the close terrain right and left of the road leading to the crossroad from Mishkino. Not enough troops, not enough quality to do that.

That small fold in the terrain (terrain depression in the above image) was like a siren's song to my tactical wind sails and I fell for it. I decided that the BTR-90 will make a dash towards that fold and that, on order, would exit the area of operations moving south through any clear terrain available. See map above.
But before moving the BTR-9, my Spetsnaz team and I would have to move south through the woods (to the left in the above panoramic view), clearing any enemy patrols.

Shortly after we started moving south and up the hill, an enemy patrol shows up.

I covertly approached the enemy patrol and carefully ordered forward every member of my Spetsnaz team. I had them on "hold fire" orders and prone.
After assigning targets to every member of the team, I ordered fire. The enemy patrol was completely wiped out after a short firefight.
One of the "regular" squads (the dismounts that we were helping out of the grip of the enemy) was ordered to provide flank protection, but ended up lured into the firefight. One casualty for the regulars already.
The cat was out of the bag and the enemy reaction was imminent. After a quick observation all around the terrain depression and finding out nothing I ordered the BTR-90 (red icon in front of my virtual character) in a mad dash towards the safety provided by that fold in the terrain. 
With so many things going on (regular infantry ordered to trail our Spetsnaz team, keep an eye on incoming enemy patrols from our rear and on the left flank of the BTR-90), the last thing I wanted to hear is a contact call from my marksman who was left in front of the formation.

An enemy squad, possibly alerted by the firefight in the woods is advancing directly towards the BTR-90. My team and me are too far away to effectively engage them.
I checked that piece of terrain moments ago, but battlefields change in seemingly capricious ways. The unequivocal sound of a round impacting the BTR-90 followed.
The catastrophic loss of our precious host will not look good in my combat file.
I started pulling the regular Russian troops up the hill, southbound towards safety. There were still rounds flying around, but I'm out of LOS from these poor fellows. I keep ordering them up the hill and then I realized they were also engaged.

I quickly regrouped my team and took up the task of a close assault downward from the hill, across open terrain. Every single gun was employed. I still can't comprehend how we suffered no casualties and wiped out an enemy squad. The regulars could disengage with no casualties.
After reaching the safety of a nearby village (Sosnovka), a quick head count and debrief. One infantry man plus the BTR-90 and crew lost. No casualties to my crew.
Three stray thoughts about this mission:
  • My Spetsnaz team shined when it surprises the enemy at close range. Our light weaponry is not up to the task for long-range firefights, which we avoided at all costs. Even when I knew that long-range shots were not my team's forte, I relied on observing enemy approaches towards the BTR-90 from ... long-range!
  • Based on the above statement about firepower, I am surprised on how well our downhill assault worked out. Reckless bravado or "desperate times call for desperate measures"?
  • As our fellow reader Desdinova commented in the previous entry, the BTR-90 has considerable firepower that could have been used to great advantage. My tactical approach was too short-sighted in its overemphasis on protecting the armored vehicle rather than using it as a firepower-horse.
Cheers,
 

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

great post... question: is this Spetsnaz squad a mod ??.. I have the vanilla ARMA 2 and have not seen these dudes... thanks very much

JC said...

Thanks for your comment.

Likely you have them. Go to the editor and insert group (F2) and then under OPFOR you will see a Spetsnaz squad.

Cheers,

Desdinova said...

Good to see you made it out. I created a rendition of this myself, though I created a seemingly endless twisting synchronized series of waypoints for the AI to follow--not the best idea when HC Module is available.

DC played it, though ACE2 changed our weaponry to AK-107s and AS VALs. I recall most of the infantry being wiped out, but the BTR and two supply trucks making it to safety.

Anon, look for RU, then the unit type drop down. It should be Men (Spetsnaz) right next to Men (MVD).

Arma 2 does have skill levels for the units right off the bat, making Spetsnaz on level with any other SF unit in the game in terms of skill (Accuracy, target acquisition times, audacity/aggressiveness, and fieldcraft.) They're second only to Force Recon (Due to the firepower they carry) and MVD (Spetsnaz get a 90% skill rating, while MVD get 100% and plenty of medium to long range firepower).

The Russian Army, mostly being conscripts really have to rely on suppressive fires, since they're not incredibly accurate or aggressive.

I recall our BTR having a few close calls, in one case an RPG flying a foot or so over the turret and hitting the ground behind it.

If you're alright with it, I'd like to record a playthrough (With some tweaks based on your AAR here) and give it a go (This time with the power of High Command at my Team Leader's disposal.

Beyond that, excellent content as always, JC.

Forward!

Desdinova said...

Also, are those Insurgent/ChDKZ troops you were fighting? Not many people know how to switch the in-game factions like that. Kudos.

Phaeden said...

Awesome AAR

How long did the whole mission take you?

JC said...

Thanks for your comments, gentlemen.

Desdinova: that's an awesome idea. I would like to see the pros doing it (you meant coop?)

Phaeden: How are you? Started at around 0520 and ended at 0740ish. Yeah, I'm that slow. :p

Cheers,

Desdinova said...

Pros we definitely are not. We can run a coop run as soon as I we get six guys free, which shouldn't take long. If you're willing to give me a rough idea of how many combatants each side has, I'll be able to better replicate your mission. Or you can e-mail it to me (you can find the e-mail address in one of our old e-mails or by checking my blogger profile) and I'll rip it apart and just edit in more player slots.

When are you planning to try another one of these small wars missions? If you're willing to test the Operation Arrowhead editor and do a bit of scripting, you can replicate an interesting action from the Soviet Afghan War. I replicated the combat action at Kirgak once (Map 12 if you have the book by the Russian General Staff) by scaling it down to about a platoon sized engagement.

JC said...

OK Desdinova. I will post here the OOB for both enemy and own forces when I get home tomorrow (business related trip)

Cheers,
-Posted from my tablet-

Desdinova said...

Ready and waiting, JC. Looking forward to it.

JC said...

Hi Desdinova,

Own forces:
-Spetsnaz team
- 2 X Russian Infantry Squad: (-) SL, R, MGer, Gren
-Russian Infantry Squad (-): SL, R, 2 x MGer
-BTR-90
All the above except for the Spetsnaz team are commanded using the High Command (subordinate and commader) modules. The squad of infantry with two MGers simulates MGs taken from the maintenance convoy assets.

Enemy Forces:
- 6 x Insurgent teams, distributed around the positions shown in the intel template of the first post entry. I used a placement radius of 500 meters for each team to add variability. Wondering if using the "urban patrol script" would have made the mission more interesting/challenging.
- SPG-9 mounted in UAZ. This one pretty much in a fixed position at the crossroads.

Cheers,

Anonymous said...

Could you post this scenario up somewhere? It looks most interesting.

JC said...

Hi anonymous,

Are you willing to deal with such an incomplete/unpolished throw of units? :)

Cheers,

Desdinova said...

Done some tweaking with the Urban Patrol Script, doubled the enemy force, standardized the Spetsnaz weaponry to four AKS-74Us, one RPK-74, one SVD. Turns out giving UPSMON to the defending Russians wasn't the best idea--The BTR likes to disobey high command orders and drive into the woods to chase down guerrillas.

Expect a video of DC doing a playthrough soon.

Thanks, JC!

Anonymous said...

JC, I have no problems with a lack of polish. Like you, I make my own scenarios, and run them out of the editor; I do not bother with intro scenes etc..

JC said...

Challenge accepted! :)

JC said...

@ Desdinova: looking forward to your video, sir.

Cheers,


JC

JC said...

To the brave soul above who wants the scenario file: please e-mail me at realandsimulatedwars at gmail dot com. I will get back to you with the scenario file.

Cheers,

JC

Desdinova said...

Played through and recorded--but Fraps seems to dislike me. It only recorded in-game audio and my outbound mic transmissions, none of the other five players are audible through the half hour long mission (Or maybe I was just imagining them there)

I may upload another playthrough assuming I can fix the sound issue. As for the mission, the AI seems to be the FBI to my local law enforcement, and only followed my orders when they felt like it. UPSMON script is not useful for High Command, though the guerrillas did well enough and ended up killing off every russian soldier in the town.

The russian infantry anchored themselves in the town and spewed fire at anything that moved for a while, the BTR crew disembarked and charged into the woods west of the town. We commandeered the BTR and walked it east, took one casualty clearing the SPG technical when enemy forces further east filled the trees with automatic fire. The AGS-17 swept them out before we rushed south.

I have to admit, my tinkering didn't amount to a better mission, but it was still a blast. You do bring up some quality scenarios, JC. My apologies that I bungled replicating it.

Forward!

JC said...

Hi Desdinova,

Video, or it didn't happen ... :)
Just kidding. No need to apologize, man. Take your time and fire a flare so we can share the video here in the blog.


Cheers,