Monday, July 10, 2017

Solo Skirmish AAR #2: Storming the Outpost, Part 1

 In the previous installment, a lone Commonwealth officer stumbles upon trouble in the backwaters of a sleepy colonial planet. He encounters a surprising concentration of pirates occupying a valley that is home to a small colonist village and old military outpost for reasons unknown. He discovers that they are searching (at least in part) for a science team that was active in the area recently. In attempting to escape and call for assistance, brave Captain Kiran raised a handful of sympathetic local militia and drove the pirates away from the village - at least for the moment. He then made his way north to call for help in the mountains.

For those of you who are interested in the mechanics, I am playing this game solo as the colonial side using a heavily modified version of Craig Cartmell's FUBAR skirmish rules. They have been heavily tweaked to automate the opposing force.

The respite would not last for long. Soon, the pirates move back into valley.

They set up defenses in the abandoned military outpost.

And they are not alone. Fearsome shock troops from the famed Janissary Mercenary Corps are active in the area. This means that the pirates were probably contracted by the Janissaries. But for whom are the Janissaries working?

The Janissaries keep watch from the outpost ramparts.

The commander of the combined force of occupiers coordinates a search of the area from the outpost.

Meanwhile, the locals have grown bolder, steeled by how Captain Kiran managed to mount a successful defense against pirate patrols. A shadowy figure in a gas mask and bowler hat begins to quietly raise militia force from among colonials in the local villages. 

The militia force begins to grow in size on the outskirst of the valley

Due to some lucky deployment rolls, most of the militia force deploys within the first two turns, all safely beyond the line of sight from the outpost.

But not everything is going the militia's way. There is movement from within the village...

Which appears to be a team of veteran pirate Raiders. Better trained and equipped than the pirates previously defeated by the colonists, these fellows are dangerous. The pirate patrol is right in the heart of the colonial militia deployment, so at any moment they might move and stumble right upon the militia's flank!

The patrol makes an unexpected move right into the flank of the colonial HQ team (visible down the road). Fortunately for the colonists, a militia fire team on overwatch catches the pirates unaware...

...and shreds them with volley.

 What is more, the gunfire goes unnoticed from the outpost. The militia advance proceeds.

Militia fire teams effectively use cover to maneuver closer to the outpost and get into position to attack. Strong leadership from the Man in the Bowler Hat (the militia commander) keeps the milita attack moving forward, in spite of the fact that the militia troops are only seasoned and they are facing veteran operators.

 But the survivors from the ambushed pirate patrol have other ideas. They recover from their shock and rather than stand and fight, they move into LOS of the Outpost and signal that an attack is underway (this was determined by a die roll).  This business is about to get REAL.

 The colonial fire teams open fire on the outpost from rocky cover. They did not get as close as they had hoped. 

The militia troops have virtually no body armor, so it is imperative that they stay in cover as much as possible. Those Jannisary gauss rifles posted on the outpost walls will make quick work of any colonials caught in the open.

The advancing militia troopers manage to take down one of the feared Janissaries on the walls - quite a feat, given that the reinforced outpost walls provide protection both in penalties to hit and to wound. 

 The colonials get bloodied by accurate, disciplined return fire from the outpost.

A militia trooper manages to fire off an RPG round that takes out another Janissary and surpresses two more. Progress!

Meanwhle, another two milita fire teams open up on the outpost from a copse of trees to the south (upper left hand corner of the picture).

 The advance continues...

While supporting militia units hang back and provide sustained cover fire.

 Meanwhile, the few remaining Janissaries who haven't been wounded or suppressed pour withering fire onto the militia troops in the treeline. The trees provide some obscuring cover but no defensive protection against those nasty gauss rounds. The militia troops there are cut to pieces.

 By turn six, the battle appears to have reached a stalemate. Meanwhile, a random event clears the field of wounded. No one had time to try to recover their wounded due to the intensity of the battle. Each side can still recover some of their casualties post-mission. Note to self: set up small triage units in the future that will focus on collecting and treating the wounded.

The militia attack from the south has all but been routed. The survivors hold on and ineffectively pepper sporadic fire on the south wall of the outpost.

From the east, the main militia attack has been blunted by heavy casualties but is still moving. By the end of turn five, all remaining Janissaries on the east wall of the outpost (as well as the enemy commander) have been suppressed. Until they recover, the battered main force of militia troopers has a narrow window of opportunity to charge the battlements!

There are further uncertain factors that could still swing the battle either way. Another veteran pirate fire team in the area has still not shown itself. It has the potential to turn up in a very uncomfortable place for the colonials!

Further, starting in round six, additional reinforcements may arrive to aid both the raiders and the colonials. The raiders have already demonstrated that even a small handful of disciplined troops can hold the outpost, so it is in the colonials' interest to fight their way into the outpost before it can be shored up with reinforcements.

At this point, I had to pause the game to tend to other matters such as sleep, work, and spouse care, and cat wrangling. I will post part 2 soon! 

At the bottom of the fifth (turn), the raiders have sustained 8 casualties but still have four Janissaries, five pirates, and the commander desperately holding onto the OP. The attacking colonials have also sustained eight casualties but still have 20 troopers plus their comander and two unit leaders on the board.

To be continued...

Musical accompaniment for this mission: The River Crossing theme from Zulu Dawn (for some reason, this matches weirdly well with the game in my equally weird mind :-)

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