Fighting on Charity stepped up a level last week when the Armed Forces of the Charity Freedom Alliance mounted a major armoured attack on a Neo-Colonial Commonwealth supply depot. This was the first engagement to feature the opposing forces on an equal footing and casualties were high on both sides.
|The battlefield - objective compounds marked A and B.|
A small supply base in the equatorial village of Gnissig was the focus of the battle. Two compounds were in use by NCC troops for storage of supplies. AFCFA mounted a two-pronged assault to try and seize these depots.
Defending the depot was a platoon of Sabre MBTs, 3 Lancer heavy IFVs, 4 Outrider scout vehicles, a Claymore heavy APC plus a couple of unarmed Badger liaison vehicles.
Several fireteams of NCC marines were scattered through the settlement, both in the supply compounds and waiting in the Lancers ready for deployment. Reports of the AFCFA column closing on the village led the Sabre crews to move their tanks into partial cover, main guns ready to engage any targets appearing near the main road into Gnissig.
|First casualty - AFCFA Warhammer goes down!|
AFCFA was fielding a strong force, 3 Warhammer attack Mecha, 2 Rifleman air defence mecha and 2 Longbow missile artillery mecha, re-equipped with anti-tank guided weapons. A pair of Kamodo heavy IFVs transported 2 squads of hardsuit infantry, with 4 Stoat armoured cars carrying another squad. A Kamodo fire support vehicle with a heavy autocannon provided additional anti-tank support.
|Second casualty - another AFCFA Warhammer is lost!|
The attack started badly for AFCFA, 2 Warhammer attack mecha on the left flank falling to the Sabre autocannon fire in quick succession. Confusion on the AFCFA command channels led to their losing the initiative [Fog of War card "Wait, the General said what?!"] and they failed to regain it at any point during the course of the engagement.
|Sabre MBTs prepare to inflict more casualties...|
Things went little better on the right flank, an anti-tank missile destroying the lead Stoat with another being immobilised nearby. Crew and infantry spilled out of the wrecked vehicles and dashed for cover in the nearby buildings. Unfortunately, the large building into which most sought cover turned out to be a very flimsy structure which provided no cover whatsoever [Fog of War card: "What's this wall made of, Swiss cheese?"]. 2 squads made the dash across the main road seeking better cover but
both sustained severe casualties from machine gun and main gun fire from
2 Sabres. The uninjured troopers managed to drag their wounded
comrades into cover and set about delivering first aid.
|Stoat destroyed! Luckily all aboard manage to scramble clear.|
The left flank was getting congested! 2 Rifleman mecha moved up to support the remaining Warhammer, but wreckage was leaving the AFCFA troop carriers confined, with little space to manoeuvre. The infantry hastily debussed and took cover amongst the storage containers, leaving the IFS ready to reverse to find better positions. The remaining Warhammer concentrated fire on Compound A, destroying the larger building at the nearest end.
|2 'Mechs down and serious injuries in 2 infantry fireteams.|
Those AFCFA troops remaining in the indefensible building pressed forwards into a smaller but sturdier building, then used this to launch an attack on Compound B. The Stoat crew went first but both fell to NCC marine fire before making it to the building. The fireteam following had more success, downing 3 of the NCC defenders and dashing to the cover of the compound wall.
|Stoat crew are down but return fire from other AFCA troops eliminates 3 NCC marines.|
Forcing an entry into the building, their luck ran out and the AFCFA troopers now succumbed to overwhelming fire from the surviving NCC marines. The attack on Compound B was a failure.
|One AFCFA fireteam succeed in entering Compound B but are overcome by the defenders.|
Now the tables started to turn. A shot at one of the Sabres resulted in only minor damage to the sensors, but the crew panicked and bailed out. "What the Hell are you doing? Get back in that damned tank!" Gun camera footage captured the entire episode [Fog of War card "That won't play well on Youtube!" means -3 victory points), the jittery crew diving
for cover behind the Sabre before realising their error and clambering sheepishly back in.
|A jumpy NCC tank crew bail out of their virtually undamaged Sabre.|
Right back at the outskirts of the village, the Kamodo FSV risked edging forward to take a shot at one of the Sabres covering the main road.
|AFCFA fire support vehicle takes out a Sabre at long range.|
Success! The resulting explosion destroyed the Sabre, the crew managing to bail out before it brewed up.
|Sabre destroyed - but the crew all make it out alive.|
2 more Mecha had moved in, Longbows which were usually equipped with artillery missiles but on this occasion carried anti-tank missiles instead. One moved to support each flank of the AFCFA assault.
|NCC armour masses near Compound B.|
They now faced a build up of NCC armour on the right flank, 2 outrider Scout vehicles, 3 Lancer IFVs and the temporarily abandoned Sabre MBT.
|AFCFA infantry assault captures Comopund A.|
The left flank was not as heavily defended and the AFCFA troops mounted an assault on Compound A. The first fireteam balked at the command and hunkered down in cover outside the building. "Come on lads, shoe 'em how it's done!" cried the leader of the second fireteam and in they went, clambering through the rubble left from the Warhammer's destruction of the main building. Vicious hand to hand fighting resulted in one AFCFA casualty but the entire defending NCC fireteam was taken out of action. Compound A had been captured!
|Warhammer particle cannon destroy a Sabre.|
Moving forward in support, the Warhammer pressed home an attack against a Sabre, destroying the tank.
|Sabre destroyed - but the Claymore fights on undeterred.|
Despite the destruction of an MBT within feet of their more lightly armoured vehicle, the Claymore crew remained unshaken and prepared their heavy autocannon.
|Return fire destroys the Warhammer, but at least the pilot survives this time.|
Their fire proved just as accurate as the Warhammer's and the disabled Mecha keeled over backwards. The pilot dragged himself from the wreckage and sought cover nearby. Missiles streaked in towards the remaining Mecha but the combination of their detonation fields and countermeasures meant that the fire did little more than minor damage to weapon systems.
|Longbow Mecha also falls.|
Autocannon rounds and anti-tank missiles continued to flash back and forth on the right flank and finally the Longbow went down - but at a cost to the NCC defenders.
|NCC troops reinforce the defences of Compound B.|
One Lancer sat smashed, leaking black smoke, another was damaged and unable to fire its weapons. There were casualties amongst some of the supporting infantry.
|Sabre crew pile into their ride home.|
One of the Sabre crews scrambled into a Badger. They couldn't contribute anything more to the fight but at least they could get home safely!
Overall, this game was a narrow win for the Neo-Colonial Commonwealth. One supply depot was successfully defended, the other was captured. 5 Mechs were destroyed but the NCC lost only 2 Sabres and a couple of Lancers. The bad publicity video of the NCC crew abandoning their tank wasn't enough to swing things completely in AFCFA's favour!
Of concern to the NCC now is the fact that AFCFA appear to have access to vehicles and large combat Mecha from the Guavan Defence Force. The GDF have not been kindly disposed to the NCC since the fighting on Libelula, when Assault Cyborgs were used against regular GDF troops
, followed by a special forces raid on a GDF outpost
Casualties from both sides were repatriated quickly at the end of the battle, NCC analysts now wish they had been given the opportunity to question some of the AFCFA troopers. The ease with which they operated with the Mecha and their higher than usual standard of marksmanship and training has raised suspicions that these were really GDF troops in disguise. AFCFA have claimed responsibility for the attack, so any GDF troops must be operating with their blessing.