Thursday, March 15, 2012

Banovici - 6 August 1991

Despite my reservations from the last game I went back to Force on Force, had another read of the main sections and had a rethink of the scenario I'm hoping to run at Partizan.

Part of the problem, although I didn't initially recognise it, was that the defenders had been far too effective.  So for this third game I decided to try the Croats as a purely irregular militia force.  With that in mind the Serbian forces were ramped up too.

Al took command of the Serbs, with a task of getting his column of armour off the opposite end of the table by the road.  To make life harder I declared the ground of the roads was unsuited to the M84's high ground weight, especially once the road became an embankment.  and so they had to remain on or as close as possible to the road.  The lighter T55's and M60p were free to roam, but no tank was deemed capable of smashing through the large hedgerows*

Croats meanwhile occupied the three largely intact buildings and the walled field, with several further points of entry (hotspots) for reserves.  They had a couple of RPG's amongst them, and an agenda not only to stop the Serbian advance, but to capture enemy equipment if possible.

The Serbian advance began with the approach of the armoured column.

Ahead of it, it could initially see little:

As a result it tried to engage the houses with HE fire, but thanks to the sturdy construction of the houses, little damage was done.  In reply the Croats fired one of their RPG's, and were lucky to render the lead T55's 100mm gun inoperable; its' crew were stunned but remained in place for now.

The Serbs pushed forward with an M84, whilst other armour neutralised the threat from the first building.  However, unbeknownst to them another group of Croatian ZNG militia had arrived and as the tank crested the embankment the fired.

A lucky shot passed through the hedgerow, hitting the tank in its' tracks rather than its' formidable armour.  The tank slewed to a stop, blocking the road.  the tank crew bailed out in a panic.

This left the rest of the Serbians committed to manoeuvring around the house, the M84 hugging the gardens and pavements in an effort not to slip down the slope.  Further Croats had arrived, but with only the M60p's machine gun operator to engage, they were on the receiving end of a losing fight with only hedges for cover.

A,l sensing his armour was becoming vulnerable to infantry in the buildings deployed his one squad of men from his personnel carrier, and used them to attack the other house on the embankment, and to contain the Croats in the fields.  This cost them relatively few casualties and allowed the remaining mobile M84 to region the road, and ultimately aided the T55's in a safe escape.

Indeed at this stage things were progressing well for the  Serbs as more of the Croatians were contained or eliminated.  Even their tank crew on foot were making way.

But more reserves of the ZNG militia were closing in, desperate to stop the Serbian battle tank.  dozens of RPG rounds were fired at it, and finally one struck a telling blow.

The engine was badly damaged, with one bank of pistons ruined, and the tank stalled.  The crew bailed, ironically to be replaced by the crew from the other immobilised tank.  The Croats were risking moving into the open to get as many shots on target as possible.  Another round hit home and reduced the tank to a crawl, but moreover the new crew decided to evacuate.  Wisely as it transpired; when another round smacked in to the now ruined rear of the tank and found its way in to the ammunition.

The tank crew made a dash for it, leaving the burning hulk in the hands of the militia.

Clearly the Croats should have been militia all along, this game was much more balanced and resultantly more fun than the previous one.  When we looked at the mission points I'd set the Serbs won 19-17, having exited three armoured vehicles from the table and reduced two units of enemy by over 50%.  Croatian losses amounted to 3 dead and a dozen or so seriously injured; though the fatalities would have been more if Al had been able to storm the buildings as he'd wanted to.

Conversely the Serbs had only one fatality, a wounded tank crewman didn't make it out of the second M84, and two or three light or serious injuries.  But with the loss of their two best tanks, it was a Pyrrhic victory at best.

Plenty more to learn and try, but this is both closer visually to what I have in mind for my game, and played more believably.  Something of a relief!

*I have no grounds to believe the plausibility of the hedgerows, or M84 tanks mysteriously not being able to travel terrain a t55 can, but they made the scenario less of a romp for the Serbs so I'm satisfied with the spurious inclusion.

1 comment:

  1. Great AAR. I've been slowly collecting forces for the conflict but have yet to have a game with the. Thanks for the inspiration.