Saturday, April 07, 2012

Rakovica - 4 August 1995

Thoughts of anniversaries aside (this weekend marks 20 years since the beginning of the Bosnian War and the Siege of Sarajevo), I had another practice game with the Force on Force rules the other week.  Blessed with very little sleep and nursing a soft head, I'd had no time to prepare a scenario, so I came up with something for me an Rich to play in a hurry on the morning.  I set up terrain with not real idea what to do, but in an effort to create a plausible field of battle:

Thus began the rummaging in the boxes for troops, and my eye was drawn to a model I'd never had justification to use before.

My S-75-Dvina model, or an SA-2 to those of you who'd rather have a NATO designation.  Placing this on the table made a plan spring to mind, a Croatian mixed force was to assault this village with the intent of capturing the air defence station.  The Serbs by turn were using their limited forces plus improvised defences to funnel any attacks in to killing zones.

The Serbs were able to produce road blocks, but these were insubstantial.  However, each was booby trapped with a mixture of land-mines, with the expectation that and Croatian armour would roll right through them.

The Croats had four vehicles and some 30 men.  20 'Regular' Croatian infantry arrived in a BTR60p and a locally manufactured 'Patroller' personnel carrier.  Details of which can be found in this excellent book I managed to pick up from Liberation Miniatures, years ago:

In fact Rich had so little intuitive faith in this vehicle, that he immediately disembarked his troops from it and advanced on foot.  a dozen or so local militia were preparing to advance through the woods on the outskirts of the village.  The lead of the attack was to be undertaken by a pair of T55A's, one heavily modified locally with stand-off armour and an improvised dozer blade.

Rich led the attack with his tanks, whilst his militia got in to position to cover the flank.  On T55 fired on the BTR152 command vehicle acting as liaison for the AA battery, causing it to withdraw to cover.  The other tan moved around to the main street and stooped just in front of the roadblock; where it was struck and immobilised by an RPG round from one of the AA batteries support troops.

This encouraged the Serbs to send their only T55 around the village to try to eliminate the damaged tank.  However it displayed all the qualities of a freshly raised crew.  For in a desultory exchange of fire, they lost no more than the commanders observation block, but panicked and bailed out of the tank.  Around them a fire team of infantry was similarly being kept pinned down with unidentified casualties.

At this stage, only the ZSU 23-3 attached to the AA battery and the section of infantry with an RPG at the main road were holding the Croats back, Croatian regulars tried to rush from the woods to the hedgerow, but their militia support failed to provide covering fire, and as a result they were badly mauled by cannon and machine gun fire.

However Rich chose to respond by advancing with his second T55 - blasting houses to his front and rolling into the AA compound.  Whilst on the right, the BTR60p and its' infantry brushed away any remaining hints of resistance from the tank crew in the fields.

And that pretty much sealed the engagement in favour of the Croats.  It was to be fair something of a walkover for them.  The forces may well have not been balanced well enough, but I hadn't allowed for that with mission points either.  Still I think capturing the Serbian missile and a Tank virtually intact must count as a pretty comprehensive win.

The Serbs were beset by poor command (i.e. me and my hangover) and terrible dice rolls, for example we hit the T55 in the road five times, penetrating on three occasions, but only causing the very lightest of damage.

An entertaining little game, one in which Rich who has played the rules two or three times before felt he was really getting to grips with the mechanics, and despite my state we spent less time than normal referring to rule books.

Force on Force are a set of rules you really have to play several times to get a feel for.  But I'm beginning to feel I understand them.


  1. Fantastic photos and an enjoyable report.