NATO Italians:- Richard Phillips & Jamie Crawley
Mujahideen:- Stuart Adams
1 Iveco LMV
2 Ariette MBT
1 Ariette MBT
1 Centauro TD
1 M113A3 APV
1 Land Rover
1 Ariete MBT
1 Centauro TD
1 M113A3 APC
1 Land Rover
The game was fought on a 6' x 6' table with the Southern Highway running north on the western edge of the table with the Southern Hills stretching away to the east with a couple of small villages in the NE and SE corners of the table.
The Italians began by moving up the Southern Highway. Battlegroup 'Ragu' continuing north towards the NATO observation post in the woods in the top left of the picture and Battlegroup 'Dolmio' leaving the highway and heading east towards the first of the villages in an attempt to locate two missing SAS troopers who had gone missing, believed captured, in a previous operation in this area. Battlegroup 'Ragu' was lucky as the British Forward Observer team located in OP had spotted an IED and managed to detonate it safely before the Italians arrived. This meant the Italians could advance along the Southern Highway in safety up to the OP.
As Battlegroup 'Dolmio', under the command of my good self, continued east the commander of the lead Ariete tank spotting a lone civilian wandering the hills. Was this a threat to the Battlegroup or was it a harmless goat herder going about his business. The tank commander decided to proceed with caution as reports were coming in of more civilians being spotted in the hills.
Battlegroup 'Ragu', under the command of Jamie Crawley, head for the OP. Their orders were to leave the Southern Highway and head for the village in the distance to also search for the two missing SAS men. Secondary to this mission was to seek out any insurgents in the area that may threaten the NATO supply route along the Southern Highway.
After the reports of locals being spotted in the hills the Italian CO decided to dismount some troops from Battlegroup 'Ragu' and Battlegroup 'Dolmio' and patrol the hills and forests in search of insurgents. Troops from 'Ragu' climbed the nearest hill to set up a look out and troops from 'Dolmio' headed east to patrol the forest edge.
As the Italians from 'Ragu' reached the top of the hill they came under fire from a group of insurgents hiding in a nearby wood.
A small group of insurgents, commanded by Stuart Adams, ambush the Italians and the RPG gunner lines up a shot at the lead tank.
The insurgents celebrate as the RPG hits its target and destroys the Ariete. All the crew manage to get to safety but this is not a good start for NATO.
While the Italian infantry are delayed in a firefight with the local Mujahideen the armoured vehicles of Battlegroup 'Ragu' reach the OP and prepare to leave the highway and head east towards the village.
A random event on the Mujahideen side saw the arrival of an 'Heroic Medic' who assisted in treated the insurgents wounded. The RPG gunner can be seen preparing for another shot. He didn't live the make the shot as he died under a hail of machine fire from an Italian Centauro.
One of the Italian infantry is killed taking the hill and another is wounded and the Italians also lose a man patrolling the forest edge. Fire support from the .50 cal on the armoured vehicles supports the small arms fire and gradually the Italians begin to take control of the situation. But they have been badly delayed by this ambush and time is crucial if they are to find the two missing SAS troopers!
The insurgents fight to the last man as they continue to delay the Italians. Fanatical morale kept them fighting!
While Battlegroup 'Dolmio' was held up by the ambush, the CO decided there was no time to waste and took and pair of Ariete tanks and began to advance towards one of the villages hoping to find the hostages. Again the advance was slowed by another local wandering the hills.
Throwing caution to the wind the Italian CO continued on and was happy to find out that the local was just a goat herder and posed no threat. The CO ordered the tanks on at full speed. A lot of time had been lost and now speed was of the utmost importance.
After the initial delays Battlegroup 'Ragu' finally reached the OP and left the Southern Highway only to come under heavy fire from another groups of Mujahideen hiding in the woods. Although the Italians didn't sustain much damage, they were again delayed and had to halt to deal with this new threat. At the same time a Mujahideen HQ unit revealed itself from its hiding place and poured machine gun fire into the Italian infantry still recovering from the initial assault on the hill. The Italian CO was now in the position that he had to choose which village to head for as it was obvious that no other Italian units would reach the villages in time.
While Jamie continued the firefight with the Mujahideen in the woods I made a decision to race to the nearest village with the Italian CO and two tanks to attempt to locate the hostages. Again Stuart conspired to delay us with an attack from a technical and a Humber a/c which caused no damage and then with an air attack from an Hs-126 complete with an RPG gunner in the rear seat. Stuart chose to target the Italian CO's LMV and managed to immobilise the vehicle causing the occupants to dismount and continue on foot. Yet another delay!
Frustrated by the continual delays the Italian CO called in some air support in the form of a Mangusta Attack Helicopter armed with Hellfire missiles. Its first target was the Humber a/c closely followed by the Technical.
The Mangusta launches its Hellfire missiles.
Both vehicles burn as the Hellfires slam into their targets. The sole survivor of the attack looks on as his armoured car burns.
On the last turn the Italians finally reach the first village only to find it empty. No hostages in sight! Not good news!
Meanwhile on the other side of the table a small group of insurgents make their escape from the other village with the hostages. As they do a huge explosion is heard and as the smoke and dust clears the OP on the Southern Highway can see a huge crater in the middle of the Southern Highway. A parting gift from the surviving Mujahideen!
A great game, with Stuart delaying us at every turn. The Southern Highway is safe for now although it will need some repairs before the NATO supply convoys can resume and the two SAS hostages are still in the hands of the Mujahideen. Thanks to my fellow commander Jamie and our dogged opponent Stuart who made it a thoroughly enjoyable Day One to Crisis Point IV.
Now what on earth was happening on the other two tables...........