This is a custom-made, single player scenario played in ArmA 2 modified with the Georgian Armed Forces mod and the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation mod. The real location of this firefight is somewhere in Bukovina, the intention being to portray a location a few kilometers south of Tskhinvali. The narrative is in the first person, so brace yourself for some cheesy literature and an ESOL downfall.
The only Russian Army personnel on the south side of the Caucasus were the "peacekeeping" forces in Tskhinvali, although we heard that a company of paratroopers have landed near the city of Poti. As part of the forward elements of the forward elements of the 51st Light Infantry Battalion, Georgian Land Forces, we entered South Ossetia a few hours ago, our destination some patch of woods near an underground cable inspection station. Inconspicuous, dilapidated and unworthy of attention or repairs. We never thought we would be defending and losing lives to this installation.
There is nothing comparable to the excitement and the cockiness a soldier feels during the first hours of a military operation, more so if no bullets have flown over his head yet. It was strange that the fresh memories of the defeat during the first war were not kicking in.
With our objective in sight, we started taking positions and waiting for orders. We were just three fire teams and two DShK heavy machine guns. I was in command of the only fireteam that had a light machine gun.
A few tank rounds sounded off on the other side of Tskhinvali. As a veteran of our ways of war I hoped that our company commander would not forget and leave us behind.
A few minutes later, I had no reason to worry anymore. At a distance, I could distinguish that trot only scouts have. No gear bouncing up and down (they strap it as if is part of their bodies), moving at good speed but defiant of what is pushing them back, taking turns to turn around and look at the enemy they just broke contact with. A group of four Georgian scouts was just moving through our objective and into our rear area.
Hidden as we thought we were, I hesitated about how to approach the scouts without spooking them into a friendly fire incident. There was no need to even talk to them. The oldest scout turned his body 180 degrees and while continuing his trot (now backwards) and raising his two arms on the direction they were coming from, shouted at the bushes between us. Platoon of dismounted Russian infantry coming that way, likely to the cable station!
Super! Our concealment skills suck. I felt more mortified about that than agitated about the Russians coming our way. The scouts passed by and disappeared on a patch of woods, not an extra single word said.
The two sergeants in charge of the DShK heavy machine guns took control of our nimble detachment, arguing that the enemy could be defeated by implementing an engagement area centered around their weapons. There was no argument about their weapons being the most important. But I remembered our engagement area training telling us something a tad different from what they were talking about.
|Tactical sketch showing our assets (three fire teams, two HMGs), the enemy's avenue of approach, the cable inspection station (objective Spartaki) and the planned engagement area (EA Dinamo).|
|The view from one of the HMG positions. This position provides fires with an enfilade overtone, but the lack of defile would likely defeat its purpose.|
|My fire team, located near the cable inspection station, took positions at the cable inspection station itself. In this image, our LMG (right), taking advantage of the defile provided by the small building.|
What a badly conceived EA! The enemy would unlikely walk the open terrain and we have no means to canalize them onto it, neither with obstacles, mines or fire. The main weapons had no defile. There were no TRPs, even with friendly forces positioned forward from the HMGs. The two forward fire teams had no clear mission (were they for flank security or for delivering fires on the depth of the EA?). Who provides fire coordination? My fire team ... What was our mission?
I suddenly remembered the first war's day of defeat.