However ground forces had held, and now British forces had the opportunity to take back ground from the Soviet aggressors.
Andrew, Keith and I had got together for our first Modern Spearhead game for - well, we were almost too embarrassed to be too precise but it had certainly been some time.
The game was constructed using Keith's scenario generation system, and die rolls had placed me in the rare position of putting in a deliberate attack against a Soviet defence.
My attack list had the usual two mechanised infantry battalions and one tank regiment, with the tank regiment and one of the infantry battalions cross attaching to provide combined arms maneuver units. The tracks and boots on the ground were well supported with a Lynx helicopter flight, and plentiful artillery, including two M107 battalions tasked with counter battery missions. The RAF had promised plentiful support from its harrier squadrons, with an AGC embedded with the ground troops.
I opted for a left flank attack, keeping one mechanised infantry battalion in reserve behind my centre. Division had made it clear that the small towns in the area were to be taken at all costs in order to unhinge the Soviet defence. The Lynx flight was to arrive as the attack progressed, with a pre-planned waypoint ahead of the attacking armour in order to support the armoured push around the Soviet right flank.
|The battlefield, with the BAOR attacking from the left.|
|The two attacking battalions, the tank heavy battalion on the left.|
|Soviet defenders had occupied the high ground and sat waiting - here|
|- and here|
British electronic counter measures immediately located soviet AA assets, first a Sa-2 battery well back behind Soviet lines, well out of reach of the supporting M107s.
The British advance began but quickly came under heavy fire from a battalion of Soviet 152 mm howitzers. Two Mechanised infantry platoons were immediately put out of action. However British counter battery assets were quickly on the job, locating the Soviet guns. With a devastating barrage the Soviet battalion was destroyed.
The British strategy of taking control of the battlefield progressed, with ECM locating the first of the Soviet on-table AA assets. The M107s were quickly on the job eliminating the AA platoon.
|As the British armour advanced the Lynx flight arrived at its preplanned waypoint and found soviet armour waiting on high ground.|
Pressure was mounting on the Soviet right, and commanders committed their reserve, a T62 battalion.
|First T62 falls victim to the Lynx crews|
The right hand British attacking battalion advanced on its objective.
Pressure lead the soviet commander to withdraw it's right flank defending battalion, preferring to leave the job to the advancing T62s
|Advancing Soviet armour|
The British battalion assaulted its objective but was repulsed with losses. Meanwhile the Lynx flight shifted across its waypoint to support the right against defending armour. The battalion itself pulled back to regroup after its failure to take its objective.
|More losses inflicted on Soviet armour|
The Soviet commander now changed orders to redirect its left flank battalion to counter attack the British right.
|The Soviet left flank battalion pushing at full speed towards the British right.|
The British Chieftains on the heights began to engage the advancing T62s with effective AT fire.
|The threat to the British right grows.|
|The Chieftains cause sufficient casualties to force a morale check on the Soviet tank battalion. It passes!!!|
The Soviet left is hanging on by the thinnest of threads. The British right flank battalion alerts its attached AGC who contacts the airbase to call in the first of three Harrier strikes, and the reserve battalion prepares to advance in attack against the flank and rear of the soviet counter attack.
At this stage we ran out of time. The Soviets still commanded the objectives, but their line had reached breaking point. British air assets were intact, the Soviet air defence had been seriously degraded, and their artillery all but silenced. Their on table armour had taken serious losses.
As I said this was our first MSH game in several years. It reminded us of how good the games are. I harp on about the fantastic challenge and satisfaction I find from the 'multi -layering' of weapons systems that the games system presents. It is the challenge of putting together a plan, coordinating those weapons systems, and fighting a clever opponent, that make this such a satisfying game system.