My regular opponent, John, and I played out a fairly brutal Fistful of TOWs scenario last night.
I recently assembled and painted some city buildings purchased from Gamecraft Miniatures a while back, when they first released their new 1:600 terrain line. These are very nice laser-cut card-stock buildings, which look great, but more on these another time!
Needless to say, I wanted to set up a table to try out a city-fight of some sort. The battlefield was as shown below:
|the battlefield - view from the south|
This time, the scenario was to be a "deliberate attack", with the Aussies (BLUE) defending against the RED attackers. The REDs would have 10,000 points and the option to take pre-planned artillery and airstrikes, whilst BLUE would have 5,000 points with the option to buy prepared defences.
In line with the scenario description in the FFT3 rulebook, the scenario objective was a suitable feature within the defender's deployment zone. I had one of the Gamecraft buildings that fitted the bill - a very large bombed-out factory, which I decided was a key munitions factory to be captured by RED.
|The BLUE pre-battle sketch plan.|
Strong defences in the town, oriented W and SW.
Some minefields (about 800 x 100m in ground scale),
some entrenchments and several wire emplacements
|the plans super-imposed on each other... should be interesting...|
|Aussie Platoons deployed on the W city outskirts|
|...and more, facing SW|
|Aussie Rifle Company dug-in (in light woods), to the S of the city|
|Aussie Cavalry Reconnaissance Vehicles ("Goanna" CRVs in my campaign setting) in over-watch on the east flank|
|Two RED Mech Battalions advance up the lightly wooded valley, approaching the city.|
A company of Mi-28s accompany the advance.
|RED T-90 battalion (with a Tunguska Platoon) approach the city through the woods from the West|
|T-90s move into column to stay in cover...|
|Mi-28s cross over the ridgeline to the west...|
|...and get spotted and pinned by artillery!!|
|The lead RED battalion of infantry dismounts and advances.|
Covering smoke-screen from the battalion 120mm mortars.
All going well so far...
|the Aussie reserve company deploys to the threatened area...|
|...still going nicely for the REDs, continuing to advance through the wooded valley...|
|...until a sloppy platoon-commander allows his men to break cover!|
The company on the battalion's right flank gets pinned by 155mm ICM Artillery.
|The Aussie CRVs continue to wait...it's too quiet on the eastern flank?...|
|The REDs keep stoking the smoke-screen with both Infantry Battalions' Mortars.|
View of the Aussie defences through the smoke screen.
The reserve company has arrived to stiffen the defence.
|...meanwhile, on the western flank, |
the T-90 battalion shakes out into a lovely assault formation...
|...cops an incoming Javelin...|
|...returns fire and clears out the offending BLUE platoon...|
|...then gets a FASCAM artillery-delivered mine-field dropped on it!|
|This picture provides an idea of the threat these M1A1's pose. |
South of the ridge is my T-90 battalion bogged in a FASCAM minefield.
To the north of the wooded ridgeline in the Aussie tanks approaching their flank at speed...
|The T-90 battalion advances out of the minefield, leaving some more burning wrecks behind.|
One company peels off to the north to offer some flank protection from the approaching Oz tanks...
|The CV-90s follow across the river...|
|The T-90 battalion fights into the city. |
Tanks with no infantry support against defending Infantry - this is not going to be pretty...
|The M1s get closer...|
|...followed closely by the CV-90s...|
|The Aussies fall back, and consolidate their position in the city...|
|...while the Aussie M1 and CV-90 combat-team ploughs into the T-90 battalion's flank.|
The M1s quickly dispatch two platoons of T-90s, but the third miraculously survives!
The Aussie infantry dismount in the woods...
|The 2nd RED Mech battalion moves into the assault, from the west of the city...|
|...taking some heavy casualties from ICM artillery missions in the process...|
|...to add insult to injury, |
the surviving T-90 platoon destroys the second M1 platoon with close range gunnery...
|...before getting destroyed by a Javelin...|
|...meanwhile, in the south-east, the T-90 battalion advances and dispatches a CRV...|
...the second CRV troop withdraws into the city...
|...the T-90 battalion moves towards the city, from the south, at high speed along the road...|
|...the Aussie survivors pull back and consolidate around the Munitions Factory...|
|...and the second CRV troop gets smoked by volley fire from a battalion of T-90s!!...|
The city fighting had been brutal. I had lost most of my two infantry battalions, and my western T-90 battalion had also suffered heavily (unsupported against infantry) in the city fighting.
I couldn't see anything (bad visibility in the city), so no spotters to call my Artillery in. And my troops were moving too slow after the rapidly retreating Aussies ("there's no shame in a tactical withdrawal", says John!) to conduct a coordinated assault into the factory and hold it on turn 10.
My only chance was to assault with my intact T-90 battalion into the city, unsupported by infantry (again!). I had seen what had happened when I did that and didn't fancy it. So I conceded that I couldn't take my objective and withdrew, handing the Aussies a narrow 1-0 scenario win.
If I had been more alert, I should have counted how many casualties I had inflicted. After the game, I realised I only needed to destroy one more platoon to force a quality check (on 5+, for two-thirds of the formation destroyed) to see if they quit the field. I should have sent in my T-90 battalion, which would have suffered but had a good chance of causing at least one casualty.
All up, it was very close, and a great game!!
What did I learn?:
1. Helicopters are useless on a battlefield dominated by complex terrain (mine did absolutely nothing, except for one getting shot down by an RBS-70...).
2. In a deliberate assault, have the engineers on hand to breach unexpected minefields!
3. Masses of Artillery doing a rolling prep fire barrage works quite nicely in a deliberate attack.
4. ICM is brutal when you bunch your forces up too much.
5. The Mechanised Brigade (2 Mech Inf, 2 Tank Battalions) is probably not the one I should have used. I needed the "right tools for the right job"?! Of the formations at the disposal of the RED Expeditionary Army commander, a Motorised Brigade (3 Motorised Infantry, 1 Tank Battalions) probably would have been more suitable for an Urban assault. For the same points, I could have taken a reinforced Motorised Brigade, with 5 Motorised Infantry Battalions and the Tank Battalion (with companies allocated in close support of the infantry battalions). I think that may have been better for the close infantry assaults required in this scenario.
Lots more, but too much to cover!!