Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Saving Shavanje (well, almost)

     First let me apologize for the shortage of entries over the last week, time has escaped me, summer is like that for me.

     This is one of the scenarios that we played when my buddy Tom was in town. It was a battle to rescue the legendary rebel leader, Garfield Shavanje, from the hands of the Rhodesian Police. He had been wounded and captured in an earlier battle after a heroic resistance along with a few other rebels. Rumor was that they were being held in the local Police Station.

a view of the table from the western end

      The Rebels had been strengthened by the addition of two squads of ZIPRA "regulars" and they had aquired a delivery van from a local businessman. Fortified in this way they planned their attack. The irregulars would attack from the east (entry point A) in an effort to drawn the Rhodesians to them while the regulars hung back, waiting to attack from the south once the police had responded to the distraction.

     A big feature of the rebel plan was to have the delivery van "casually" drive into town with a load of irregulars in the back to launch a surprise attack. In the careful, detailed, planning stage the ZIPRA commanders failed to agree on the entry road, each left thinking that the road they had chosen was going to be used. Needless to say this had an impact on how things worked out.

the view from the eastern end of the battlefield

      In the opening moves the rebels quickly advanced thier "blinds" from the east closing with the hospital in a few short turns.

rebel activity elicits little police response

     Having closed too quickly with the enemy position the rebel troops on the road had to deploy out of blind. Once the figures were on the table they rapidly moved into the hedges on the side of the roadway for cover. The other blinds continued to press forward, sweeping through the patches of scrub and rocky ground on the left and the orchard on the right they encountered no police.

the command section occupies the hedge near the hospital in the distance 
while in the foreground two blinds stumble into each other in the scrub

     Things seemed to be going nicely for the rebels, the contact in the woods was between two "dummy" blinds and so came to nothing (with both being removed) and the other troops moving with surprising speed. In a moment things went entirely awry for the ZIPRAs. The delivery van entered at entry point C rather than B as the rebel leader thought they would, distracting but not fatal, but it did place the squad contained therein far too close to the Police Station and left the rebel left flank hanging "in the air" as it consisted almost entirely of dummy blinds.

     At the same time the rebels crossed into the hospital to find an entire squad of Rhodesian Police had already taken up residence in the building. During the Rhodesian move they advanced down the road with a blind toward the hospital causing even greater consternation. The police had been plagued with several turns which they had few, if any, units activated an experience they found most frustrating.

hey, that's not the new interns! those are ZIPRAs! Look at the AK-47s!

     The Rhodesians were once again ill-served by the random activation schedule and the ZIPRAs got off the first shot, it mattered little as it caused only nominal damage (I guess the ZIPRAs were caught a little off guard). The return fire was punishing and scattered the rebels, sending them fleeing from the building.

    Meanwhile to the north of the hospital a firefight broke out between a police patrol and the ZIPRAs holding the hedge line, this went badly for the police (moving in the open is never good) but the rebels did not escape unscathed. While this was going on the blind west of the hospital was revealed a an armored Crocodile APC.

     Determined to attract as many as possible police away from the recently discovered rebels in the delivery van the ZIPRA commander opened fire with as many units as he could push up into line as well as pushing another unit into the hospital. This torrent of fire crippled the police squads between the buildings and succeeded in driving the police out of the hospital and into the APC.

heavy casualties reduce the police squads to one and two figures each

      Apparently the rebels in the delivery van were not driving casually enough (that and the fact that the van had been reported stolen only an hour earlier) during the approach run and they were met with a hail of fire from the Police Station. This fire destroyed the van and pounded the squad inside with casualties, they beat a hasty retreat into the school building nearby where they nursed their wounds. Meanwhile the tardy regulars had finally arrived from the south only to be pinned down by a lone sniper on the balcony of the Police Station who hounded them into the brush with painfully accurate fire.

the rebels losing the firefight across the street
 note the dreaded sniper on the police station balcony

     The police patrol fleeing the hospital piled into the APC while the remnants of the other two patrols retreated to the hotel between the Police Station and the hospital to reorganize. The regulars moved east through the woods behind the school to avoid the fire from the sniper. The delivery van squad gathered its wits and engaged the police squad across the street, but this was a fight they could not sustain for long.

     At this time the rebels in the hospital found out that the police had been guarding wounded prisoners and that they had loaded them into the APC. A reversal of rebel luck allowed the police to move first on the next turn and the APC driver made a superb attempt at escape, showing a titanic bit of driving skill he managed to make it almost all the way to entry point B in one move.

    But fate was just toying with the police as they then suffered two turns of not being drawn to move, this allowed the rebel leader to shift his command squad (which contained the RPG man) into a position to fire. The results have been seen before but they bear repeating here;

truly the shot of the day

      This shot destroyed the APC but most of the persons inside survived with little further damage. A rebel regular unit gamely tried to redeem themselves by assaulting the three unwounded police but were thrown back three times with ever-mounting casualties. Finally a returning patrol of Selous Scouts appeared near the village and swept up the prisoners and the policemen and carried them away into the brush southbound. Garfield was last seen shouting, "Be brave my brothers".

     I again must say how much I like the B'Maso rules, the chaotic nature of small unit actions is dealt with very well by the random activation system. Thanks again to Pat for a beautiful game and a well-thought out scenario that was a blast to play.

1 comment:

  1. well-thought out AND exstensively playtested