Friday, 1 June 2012

Saving Private Smith (and Corporal Brown)

It is early April 2007. For two weeks, no usable trace of Private Smith and Corporal Brown of the RSR has been found. But now, thanks to French UAV assets, they have been located in the isolated hamlet of Tel Ame. The prisoners' compatriots in the Royal Sherwood Rangers claim right of assault and 3 Platoon, Coruna Company drives out from Talavera Base to rescue them. Due to the presence of civilians, heavy air and artillery assets are restricted, so it is down to these light role infantrymen to save their friends from further mistreatment at the hands of the Milice Internale.

As the assault is about to begin, two pieces of information come through from Talavera: a civilian convoy has arrived at the hamlet, clearly bringing supplies for the insurgents; and more importantly, Commander Bartholomew Fasiq has been spotted. Such a high-ranking MI officer can only be present to interrogate the captured British – here is the Coalition's chance to turn the tables...

Victory Points
+5pts per prisoner rescued
+3pts per leader killed
+5pts for Fasiq's death
+10pts for Fasiq's capture

Milice Internale:
+5pts per prisoner led off the board.
+3pts per British death
+2pts per British heavy wound
+1pt per British light wound
+2pts for each civilian casualty

The Battle
On viewing the ground, Lieutenant Konwe decided on a "sneaky-beaky approach". Leaving the Land Rovers behind for the present, two fire teams encircled the buildings, approaching through the surrounding woods.
The Brits entered north and south respectively.
The northern fire team edged up to the nearest building, intending to swiftly overcome the occupants. It was a textbook entry, but little did Corporal Stone know that the enemy had seen him leave the woods. As the fire team entered the room and began to sweep it with fire, a hail of bullets came back at them, and within seconds, three British lay dead on the floor, a fourth wounded and prisoner at the enemy's feet.
The ill-fated assault.

The hamlet came alive with voices and gunfire, and at the LT's command, Land Rover WMIKs swept in from the south, spraying the buildings with gunfire. Williams led a large aggregate team against the closest building, swiftly overcoming the occupants.

Too swiftly...

As they searched the building, Williams realised that the enemy was retreating, prisoners in hand. The Land Rovers were shooting past the hamlet now, over the heads of the cowering traders, mowing down the Milice trying to make it up the hillside. They were taking fire in return, but the swaying corn they'd parked among was throwing off the enemy's ill-trained aim.

It was a chase now for the British, and a race against firepower for the Milice. Fasiq too was fleeing, acutely aware of his own sense of self-importance and kicking a hooded figure in battered fatigues in front of him. It was to be his last act of cruelty. Fire came from the hamlet, fire and lead and death, and the last thing he saw was his bodyguard melting away around him.

The other squad of Milice lasted longer, the last man getting halfway up the hillside with his prisoner before he went down, but his escape was not to be.
It was a case of mopping up now, and quickly. The initial firefight had taken minutes, but the weight of it would attract the enemy. They were already arriving in dribs and drabs, here and there on the battlefield, slowing the evacuation. A sudden screaming RPG round blew out the engine on Konwe's WMIK, and he scrambled from the driver's seat to take the main gun.
A man was injured in the hamlet, severely so. His squadmates tended to him as they waited for the fire to die down, then ran him and the newly freed Private Smith to the Land Rover where Brown was waiting for him.
A charge was laid on the immobilised Land Rover, and the whole party, some onboard a battered WMIK, some escorting it on foot, made their way east towards the extraction point, where more vehicles waited to take them to Talavera. 

Today in a daring assault, the Royal Sherwood Rangers rescued their companions, lost on the 19th of March this year. Though casualties are yet to be confirmed by the MOD, they are thought to have been light compared to the enemy's, whose losses apparently number over seventy, including wanted Milice Internale officer Commander Bartholomew Fasiq and several of his local lieutenants. This will surely be a great blow to Jonathan Nbeke's fading resistance movement to the legal government of Jebel Hadr. More on this story as it comes in.
BBC News, 4th April 2007

This game could have gone either way, despite the steep MI death toll: just a few pips more during any of the hits on a Land Rover would have made a massive difference, as would have skating off the board with a prisoner, which nearly happened several times. The final score was 36-11 to the RSR, but was very nearly the opposite. Iskander was very pleased to get his men back, if a little gutted at the result of the first contact/melee of the game.

A thoroughly fun game, and Man of the Match I think goes to Sergeant Williams, who led his men with superb aplomb within Tel Ame and led them out again with both prisoners and the wounded member of the first fireteam.

The Royal Sherwood Rangers will be known now in Jebel Hadr, and 3 Platoon is now at around 60% effectives, so will probably be rotated home for a while. But no doubt Konwe and Williams will be back, ready to fight the good fight wherever Her Majesty should need them...

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