A small unit of Neo Colonial Commonwealth Marines has established an observation post in a small compound. With rumours of AFCFA forces gathering in the area, the local commander has made the decision to pull his men out before the situation degenerates into open fighting as happened a few weeks ago. An APC and an MBT have been dispatched to the village to cover the withdrawal of the observation unit. NCC observation post forces: 4 power armoured troopers, 4 marines, 1 Goanna scout car. Relief force: 8 Marines, 1 Glaive grav APC, 1 Sabre grav MBT. All are confident, TQ8, morale 10, equipped with light armour (+1D defence), GPMGs (med support +2D firepower), LAWs (med support +2D firepower). Powered armour carry light support weapons/grenade launchers (+2D firepower)
Armed Forced of the Charity Freedom Alliance commanders have been building their forces and feel that the time is right to take on some of the NCC troops. When news of the relief force's approach reaches them, they rush to launch their attack on the observation post before their entire force is in position. AFCFA assault force: 3x 4-man fireteams deployed by die roll close to the reinforcement markers. Reinforcements arrive at the end of each turn, 1 fireteam on turn 1, 2 fireteams on turn 2, 3 fireteams on turn 3 etc. Once all spare fireteams have been used up, weapons teams will be deployed instead. All are confident, TQ6, morale 10, equipped with hardsuits (+2D defence), light support weapons (+1D firepower), light missile launchers (+1D firepower). Weapon teams include ATGMs, light support weapons, snipers, light missiles.
|AFCFA troops receive their first of many casualties.|
The APC hurtled on towards the observation compound. Seeing it approach, the marines and powered armour moved down into the compound where they would be hidden from view until the transport arrived. The MBT slowed, the turret traversing towards the nearest of a group of buildings with several AFCFA troopers visible inside. With devastating accuracy the tank's main gun sent a shell straight through the front windows, the resulting explosion causing the entire building to collapse into a dusty heap of rubble. The remaining AFCFA troopers kept their heads down, waiting for better targets to present themselves.
|Marines de-bus to cover extraction from the observation|
compound as the Goanna roars past.
|Powered armour marined prepare to move to the APC.|
|AFCFA weapons teams (ATGM team on right).|
At the wrecked Goanna, the survivors desperately fought for their lives. Time and again them somehow avoided serious injury whilst taking down enemy troopers, but it was only a matter of time before weight of numbers overwhelmed them.
As the MBT searched for another target, a second ATGM team crawled into position in the rubble of the first house that the takn had destroyed. Luck was with them as their missile soared above the tank and a jet of fire streaked down through the armour and into the power cells. 2 crew managed to clamber free of the blazing tank but their comrades succumbed to the fire. The isolated squad by the meeting house moved quickly to the tank crew and they stumbled off towards the firefight near the wrecked Goanna. As they moved, they exchanged fire with the growing number of AFCFA troopers in the rubble and succeeded in silencing several of them, including the ATGM team which had destroyed the tank.
|The bailed-out tank crew and survivors of a fireteam make a break for it.|
The APC swished past the Goanna and its survivors, the automated machine gun turret spewing shells into the AFCFA troopers nearby. The ATGM team frantically tried to reload their launcher but their inexperience showed, and they were unable to get it ready to fire.
|As the APC skims past, survivors from the Goanna try to deal with their casualties.|
Then things got worse for the NCC marines. A chem alert was sounded and they immediately started to don their protective equipment. Already burdened with wounded, the marines now found their effectiveness further degraded by their chem suits. Finding themselves on a more even footing, AFCFA troops started to inflict greater damage on the struggling marines. The marine APC's machine gun mount was destroyed and rather than risk further loss of life, the driver carried out his orders and whisked his passengers out of the village and to safety.
Despite this, not everything was going AFCFA's way. To add to the confusion, a dust storm blew up, then an AFCFA unit away from the main battle area decided to lend some indirect fire support. Their mortar fire landed on one of their own units, causing severe casualties. The main building overlooking the exit to the village was being used as a strongpoint by several AFCFA squads but they now realised the error of this choice when it became clear that the shoddy construction of the building gave them no protection from enemy fire ("What's this wall made of, Swiss cheese?").
|AFCFA armoured infantry fireteam with wounded.|
|Overwhelming AFCFA firepower brings down the already injured marines.|
Having seen all their squadmates cut down around them, the surviving three marines decided that they could do no more, it was time to cut and run. Throwing caution to the wind, they sprinted in the direction the APC had taken. Luck was with them and only a single squad of AFCFA troopers were able to fire aftetr them, missing with every shot.
The battle was over. The NCC marines had extracted their powered armour team and ¾ of a fireteam from the village, but at what cost? A scout car was easily replaced but the loss of the MBT would be felt. Including the vehicle crews, 14 marines were either dead or wounded and captured by the Charity Freedom Alliance. Some of the AFCFA troops had obviously had cameras recording during the battle because footage of the NCC MBT destroying buildings quickly found its way onto the news networks, as did additional footage of the destruction of the tank and the battered and bloody marines being led into captivity.
Many AFCFA troops had been killed or wounded.
I had forgotten to set victory point criteria before the game began, but with fog of war cards giving a -3 penalty to the NCC and a +3 bonus to AFCFA, I think I know who won! The loss of ¾ of their vehicles was clearly not good for the NCC marines.
The battle was certainly going the NCC way for the first 2 or 3 turns, they wiped out entire AFCFA squads without taking any casualties of their own. As reinforcements started to build, the situation started to change. On some occasions towards the end of the battle, marine units were taking so much incoming fire that they actually ran out of return fire dice! What really swung things in the AFCFA's favour was the fog of war NBC warning that caused the marines to drop to TQ6. Very lucky rolls by the 2 AFCFA ATGM teams also made a big difference. Until that point, all ant-tank fire against NCC vehicles had bounced off, but good rolls by the missile teams and unbelievably bad rolls by the tank (the Goanna scout never really stood a chance anyway) followed by an outstanding roll on the damage table meant that the MBT's fate was sealed. The off-board sniper team also had an extraordinarily lucky shot against the missile carrier.
A fun game and what effect the bad publicity will have will be interesting to see. Incidentally, it was the NCC marines who fired first in this battle - but only because they won the TQ roll against the AFCFA squad who were trying to shoot at them! There is also the question of the marine prisoners who could probably do with rescuing, preferably before they get subjected to a show trial by the Charity Freedom Alliance...