The AAR comes to an end, probably with excellent timing given the Rome to Victory AARs have now begun! Thank you to all who followed with interest, I will post a .pdf of the amalgamated posts in a couple days' time.
The Challengers take a battle position near the original BP3 while they wait for the smoke mission, ordered from the Palace observation point, to fall. They promptly spot and engage a pair of T-72s in the vicinity of EA1 upon taking their position. The enemy now appear completely dislocated at this point; even as the T-72s pull back into EA2 and the immediate surroundings, BMPs are seen speeding towards the vacated BP1. They are rushing headlong into 1st platoon’s alternate battle position in the reverse slope and are handled easily by the warriors interposed between the buildings.
A lone platoon of Syrian infantry remains in good order and pushes onto BP2, though are kept at bay by the riflemen now in position at the palace with ease.
By 1845, the smoke is falling and building in a gap between rocky mesas, masking the counterattack which kicks off shortly after at 1846. The column is motoring forwards, putting down marching fire, when the battle ends.
The Challengers spot and rapidly engage - with catastrophic effect - the T-72s that had minutes earlier pulled back into EA2.
Dismounts from the 3rd Platoon fire on the only Syrian unit still maneuvering aggressively, keeping them a comfortable distance from their positions.
A short, sharp battle, though many lessons to reiterate none the less:
The battle is a good example of why having a plan, even a skeletal one based on little information, is important. Likewise, alternate positions are imperative – even if they are found ‘on the fly.’ Topping this point off: there is almost always an alternative position, no matter how barren the terrain seemingly appears.
Know when to pull back. Admittedly, it could have been a done a bit earlier from BP1 – which to my surprise was the main effort of the enemy, rather than on my right like expected. It was simply too tempting to keep the dismounts at BP1 on line and putting down fire on the enemy dismounts. This only really served to expose them to overwhelming return fire from Syrian small arms, BMPs and eventually, artillery. It was good fortune that they did not incur more losses in such a position. An artillery fire mission over a wide area would’ve sufficed to smash the slow moving, dismounted thrust.
A defense against a combined arms attack is an intricate dance in separating armour from infantry transports, the transports from their dismounts and then destroying each in turn with assets best suited to do so. In this case, these assets were Javelins, Warriors and Artillery, respectively.
Active counter-recce can sometimes be as easy as trusting your gut at fleeting glimpses of movement and putting down an area-of-denial fire mission. Fires don’t have to kill enemy observers or scouts, merely compel them to continue to displace. A scout dodging shrapnel is not reporting on your dispositions or guiding in fire.
There are lessons to learn from the Syrians, too:
The initial thrust on my right flank was disquieting but broken up by javelins. Had more weight been thrown behind that initial thrust I would’ve found myself very hard pressed – could the Warriors have stopped a company’s worth of BMPs at that position? I’m doubtful.
The enemy attack on the left was also disquieting for a short while, before it rapidly became shambolic. The enemy dismounted attack was not a bad idea in theory, certainly it had sufficient overwatch elements, though it could’ve made use of artillery before rather than after it commenced. Further, the supporting BMPs taking the forward slope of the small rise they took position on was a fatal decision to the supporting effort.
The enemy clearly had a lot of indirect fire assets. It was used anemically in the initial bombardment, coming down in small quantities for only a short time. It was also poorly templated: the best positions I could take were obvious and yet no fire was put on them. A stronger initial suppressive fire would’ve allowed for a much further forward dismount point. Infantry dismounting 300m away from my positions, rather than 800m away, would have likely put me in checkmate.
Situation at end of battle & Total Losses:
The butcher's bill at battles end.