Following the successful withdrawal of the 2nd Armoured Cav Regiment from Al Tanf, the Warsaw Pact sought to extend their advantage over the Coalition, pushing their tanks further forwards into the US and Israeli controlled zone.
Opposing this combined Syrian/Iraqi/Russian force was elements of the US 1st Armoured Division, along with supporting elements from the 82nd Airborne division.
Elements of the US Force arrayed ready to engage
The WarPac tank units took up positions around Al Tuck, unaware that over the crest of the berm waited the 1st Armoured Division, sitting inside their M1A1 Abrams MBT and M3 Bradley FV, engines running, fully aware of what was over the berm.
Not one to wait around for the WarPac to claim the initiative, the Americans engaged the enemy T-72 companies first with MLRS and followed up with TOW missiles from the mechanized company from the 1st Infantry Division. 8 T-72 were quickly knocked out through the firepower, the DPCIM missiles from the MLRS causing widespread panic and damage to the unprepared enemy armor.
The WarPac sought to answer the artillery fire with their own mortars, dropping heavy 120mm shells down on the mech infantry hunkered down in a wadi, running the length of the board.
As this was happening, the FAC Blackhawk began bringing in M109A6 Paladin 155mm shells down on the second T-72 company, the plan being to deprive the enemy of its large calibre Anti-Tank weaponry, by prioritizing the T-72 over the poorly armed T-55. As the heavy shells rained down, large primary and secondary explosions could be seen in the targeted area.
The light HMMWV vehicles from the Recon team sped forward to claim the initiative, using their TOW missiles to wreak further havoc onto the hard pressed companies of Syrian T-72 tanks.
It was clear at this point that there was not just Syrians and Iraqis opposing the 1st Armoured, as a Mil Mi-24 Hind rolled in above Al Tuck, raking the light M55A1 tanks deployed in support of the 82nd Airborne with heavy calibre cannon fire. One Sheridan immediately burst into flames, it's light aluminum armor no match for the heavy calibre bullets. The other Sheridans were forced to bail out, their crews hiding in the nearby buildings.
The FAC brought in two F-14 Tomcats from the Jolly Rogers squadron in to intercept the Hind, which was quickly dispatched with a Sparrow missile.
Two Syrian MiG-29's came in low over Al Tuck, their low flying seemingly defeating the US AWACs system. However in their desire to avoid radar detection, they were engaged by the 82nd Airborne's MANPAD assets, their Stinger AA missile team were able to destroy one of the enemy aircraft. The F-14s, upon being bounced by the now lone MiG, quickly rolled up and out, engaging the MiG at the low altitude, destroying the MiG for no losses of their own.
With so many tanks opposing the 1st Armoured, all aircraft were placed on station, prepared to attack. An E-6 Prowler, in it's Wild Weasel configuration fired two HARM missiles at enemy radar guided AA systems, but the missiles were only able to destroy a T-72 which was shielding the Zeus AA system. The Prowler on it's low flight out was picked up by the Zeus, forced to evade with damage, and then it was hit by an Alamo missile, fired by a lone Iraqi MiG, which had avoided the Navy's CAP.
The gas turbines on the M1A1 tanks roared as their throttles were opened, stabilized 120mm cannon firing accurately on the move. Bravo Company engaged the Iraqi T-55 tanks ahead of it, using what little concealment there was to destroy 5 of their number as they closed with the enemy. Charlie Company opened up on the move against the T-72 tanks identified by the FAC as being Russian, destroying 4 of their number. Abrams tanks, left behind from Ghost Company of the 2nd ACR engaged the enemy recon elements, hidden in a wadi.
Dog Company, 82nd Airborne were currently in possession of buildings in Southern Al Tuck. With enemy mechanized troops nearby, they seized the initiative, pushing forward through the city, to form a strong forward defensive position.
Two companies of enemy T-55 tanks took the bait against the lightly armed scout troops in HMWWV vehicles, opening fire upon them. The HMMWV's quickly retreated behind a berm, in the knowledge that their sacrifice had brought the enemy into an artillery "kill zone". As soon as the T-55s sought to push forward their advantage, 155mm shells from the Paladins came crashing down on them, which combined with the fire from Bravo Company caused heavy damage to the enemy formations.
Charlie Company's advance was met by a bold advance from the Russian Naval Infantry company, who sought to engage the Abrams tanks in close range firefights. One Abrams was rendered combat ineffective through a 76mm shell jamming the right hand track of the vehicle, another was destroyed outright from a missile hit, later identified as an AT-3 Sagger.
With an imminent threat ahead of it, and with clear orders to move forward, the Abrams commander called in a danger close bombardment from the MLRS missiles, which came in at full effect, destroying much of the enemy company, reducing their combat effectiveness to nil in one barrage.
Charlie's Abrams saw the advantage and took it, roaring past the now ineffective Naval infantry at full throttle, seeking to turn the enemy forces by engaging their vulnerable rear elements, engaging the enemy mortars with machine-gun and 120mm HE rounds.
The 82nd on the left flank in Al Tuck were forced to defend themselves against an assault by the Iraqi mechanized formation, which sought to push them out of their strong position in the buildings. Their assault was met with a wall of fire from the well positioned Dragon ATGMs and LMGs, causing crippling casualties onto the mechanized formation.
The F-14's, still on station rolled in to push the advantage that the 82nd had just won, rolling in to strafe the enemy formation with their cannon. Further damage was caused onto the now fleeing Iraqis, their vehicles becoming a twisted mess. The Iraqi MiG-29 again reared it's ugly head, but Dog Companies MANPAD team was more than up to the challenge, destroying the MiG before it could engage the Tomcats.
On the right flank, Bravo was being pushed hard by the sheer weight of numbers that the enemy possessed, it was not long before there were multiple disabled Abrams, with shot out optics or thrown tracks as they were forced to maneuver on the shifting sands to form a refused flank. the nearby hill, Hill 214 was covered with the burning wrecks of Iraqi T-55s, but there were still more roaring through the Wadi's, seeking to move past the Abram's roadblock, and push into the wadi where the company from the 1st Infantry were deployed.
The Scout Company on the far right flank periodically popped out to fire it's now lone TOW missile at the tanks, as well as Mk 19 Grenades at the T-55s, which were now speeding away from their position. More T-55s were knocked down, but still they came at the Bradley Company.
The Bradleys had not been idle however, they had been engaging T-72 with TOW, engaging the PT-76 and BRDM of the Naval infantry with Bushmasters and TOW, and when they realized their position was tenuous, they sought to again steal the initiative. Driving forward rather than back, the Bradleys used their superior mobility sticking to the higher ground beside the wadi where the lead company of T-55 were deployed to engage Charlie's Abrams. The Bradleys caught them by surprise, engaging them with 25mm Bushmasters at nil range, causing 5 destroyed T-55s. It was when further companies of T-55s began racing towards the Bradleys, main cannon firing that the Bradleys did withdraw, pulling their vehicles back to a more secure defensive line.
By this time, the heart had gone out of the enemy. The battle was littered with burning T-72 and T-55, and no small number of American vehicles. Victory had come at a cost, but the WarPac push had been neutered and turned back. Al Tuck, was safe for now.
So, that's another game of Epic Moderns done and dusted! It was a whopping 4500 points per side, and I took on the armies of John, Andy and Adam with a combined force of 4500 points of US. So I got to have all the toys! Which made me happy. Was a very interesting game, we learned a lot about artillery, about Abrams and about destroying enemy tanks.
I still can't roll armor saves on an Abrams, even when it is a 4+ reroll! But then again, my MLRS barrage on the Naval Infantry was ridiculous, it was 13 hits from 13 dice, on a 4+! So I certainly can not complain. As ever, the game was super fun, I learned a lot about what I want to do. The Americans have a hard road to go to get objectives, they need a bit to go their way! It is not impossible, but just hard.
The meta-game for our system is shifting, AIr is becoming less of a big factor as Air Defense on both sides improves. It will be interesting to see what fills the gap.....
The Russki's posted a report here
I have been doing lots of random stuff on the painting front of late, will have to post something soon.