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Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone. This is an AAR of a PBEM played with the British Forces module of Combat Mission: Shock Force. The scenario is "Sabres at Dawn" - I am attacking with a British light armoured reconnaissance force and @Rinaldi is defending with a Syrian reserve mechanised infantry force. So, without further ado, let's do a quick analysis of the situation. My primary task is to attack and clear a compound known as the "East Yard" approximately 500m to the North-Northeast of my deployment zone. My secondary task is simply to destroy the enemy in the field. I must not suffer over 20% casualties and must have my force "arrayed for future operations", which presumably means I must keep ammunition expenditure to a reasonable level and have as little vehicles immobilised as possible. My force consists of light armour and mechanised reconnaissance infantry, supported by ATGM teams and rotary-wing assets. My enemy is defending positions in and around the East Yard, north of a deep irrigation ditch running west-east across the Area of Operations (AO). Intelligence states that there are no enemy units South of the irrigation ditch. Presumably, given the low quality of my enemy's units, his intent is to hold his position for as long as possible and bleed my forces as much as he can before being eliminated. Enemy forces are estimated to be a platoon-sized force from a reserve mechanised infantry battalion equipped with BMP-1s. It is possible that they may be supported by ATGM teams. Due to my enemy commanding a reserve unit, it is likely that the equipment, training and leadership of his units are of a low quality. However, several things should encourage me to caution. Firstly, my own force is small and very light, designed for reconnaissance, not assaults on fortified positions. The BMP-1 is not a fearsome machine in Shock Force, but even its low-velocity 73mm cannon can easily pop any of my vehicles if it can land a hit. Secondly (and more importantly), Rinaldi is a highly skilled and experienced player of Combat Mission. I myself have very little experience, with only two other PBEMs under my belt (one of which ended prematurely because my opponent got bored, the other of which ended with Rinaldi kicking my teeth in). I can expect my opponent to quickly develop a very clear appraisal of the situation, with great knowledge of the capabilities of both his and my own units. He will likely try and engage me at as short a range as possible to try and offset the advantages that modern optics and firepower give me. He will be on the lookout for any weakness or mistake and will exploit such opportunity ruthlessly. I must be very careful if I am to avoid being severely embarrassed here (doubly so, as Rinaldi takes great pleasure in denigrating the fighting ability of my countrymen ). Now for the terrain. The AO is small, only about 350x600m. To my immediate front and right, the ground is open and rises steeply, before gently falling off to the north. To my left, the ground rises more gently, with an MSR running North-South and a small Orchard running North along the edge of the map. The aforementioned irrigation ditch runs east-west, bisecting the AO. The briefing informs me that the ditch is unfordable, with only two crossing points, designated Tweedledum (to the north-west) and Tweedledee (to the north-east). North of the irrigation ditch, the terrain becomes more complex. There is a small compound immediately North and to the left of Tweedledum, known as the "Tool Houses". North of the Tool Houses there is a gentle hill, designated "Point 228". Immediately North of Tweedledee is my objective, the East Yard, a sprawling compound of one-storey buildings. North of the East Yard is another hill, designated "Point 225". Both Point 228 and 225 are covered in trenches. There is a thick haze covering the AO, the temperature is warm, the ground is very dry and there is a medium breeze blowing from the west. Finally, a view of the AO through the eyes of my enemy. He has some excellent positions to take advantage of, with a large obstacle to his front, the complex semi-urban terrain on his left and right, and elevated fighting positions to his left-rear and right-rear. Now to identify the key terrain (KT) of the AO. The first KT is the hill immediately to the front and right of my deployment zone. This is one of the highest points on the map and will provide excellent sight lines and fields of fire to the North. The second KT is Tweedledum and the Tool Houses. Tweedledum is one of only two points where the irrigation ditch can be crossed and the Tool Houses could provide cover and concealment for forces defending the crossing point. The Tool Houses could be a good place for a forward observation post. The third KT is Point 228. this hill provides sightlines and fields of fire across almost the entire AO, and the reverse slope offers an excellent place to conceal forces, for ambush or counterattack. Any advance towards the East Yard will be enfiladed by fire from Point 228. The fourth and final KT is the East Yard and Point 225. The East Yard is my objective and must be cleared, but is also likely to be the toughest nut to crack. If he so wishes, Rinaldi could hide units deep in this compound as my units approach, before making a potentially devastating point-blank ambush. Point 225 provides good lines of sight over the open ground south of the irrigation ditch and would make another good location for an observation post. Now for a detailed assessment of the force at my disposal. I command a small company-sized force from "A" Squadron of the 9th/12th Lancers. Firstly, we have the Command Troop with the Squadron Leader and Second in Command (2iC) mounted in Sultan APCs. A Tactical Air Controller team is mounted in a Spartan APC and will be directing the fires of a single Apache gunship. Secondly, we have 1 Troop, consisting of four Scimitar light tanks. These little fellows are fast, agile and equipped with a hard-hitting 30mm autocannon. They wield the heaviest firepower of my force but are very lightly armoured, only really able to resist small arms fire. Thirdly, we have the Support Troop, consisting of the command team and four four-man scout teams, all mounted in Spartan APCs. Each scout team has a SAW, a sniper rifle, an under-barrel grenade launcher and three light anti-tank weapons (LAW). These infantry teams will be needed to clear out the East Yard and conduct dismounted reconnaissance, but are all very fragile. This is undoubtedly the most vulnerable but also the most important part of my force. Last, but definitely not least, we have the Guided Weapons Troop, consisting of two Javelin teams mounted in Spartan APCs. Each team has five missiles. The Javelin is an excellent weapon, accurate and very hard hitting. These teams will likely be the best option for knocking out AFVs and other hard targets. Troops thus covered, all that remains is the time; it is currently 0530 and I have 50 minutes to complete my objectives. Phew, so much for a quick analysis! I still haven't really thought much about what my enemy might do or made a tentative plan yet. However, this post is getting rather long so I shall leave that for my next entry. Stay tuned!
I noticed that there's a screenshot and video thread for Black Sea but not for Shock Force, so I thought that I'd get the ball rolling. An M1A1SA Abrams shows off the power of its 120mm smoothbore A US Army Mechanised Rifle Platoon creeps through a woodland Wadi Not tho' the soldier knew Someone had blunder'd . . .