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'Day of Days' - Juliet Company, 42 Commando RM - 10 January 2007


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ETA ... not sure yet. The map is done and the Blue and Red unit picks and deployments are all done. I have play tested this about ten times so far just to see whether things are achievable in the time frames allowed and this is where I'm struggling a bit right now. If I can make this work in its current form, it should be ready within the week.

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Just done another play test and found that things are achievable although I need to do something about the surrender threshold. This is will be a pretty tough one to win I think but it is acheivable and I think you'll enjoy it as it has a nice balance of mounted and dismounted action.

You will also need to invest about 4 hours of your time (which you will need) to work through it ...

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Ok - here's the mission brief as a taster ...

Situation: Enemy Forces

During the PVCP build operation (Op SLATE) around Gereshk in Nov 06, the Taliban frequently contacted friendly forces in the area of the sluice gates close to Habibollah Kalay. Intelligence received to date continues to identify a strong presence in the area supported by a C2 node located in Habibollah Kalay itself. Yesterday (09 Jan 07), a local civilian contractor working for ISAF was reported to have been brutally murdered by the Taliban and his body dumped in the area. The enemy in the area is assessed at approximately company strength and equipped with small arms, RPGs, indirect fire weapons and a limited IED capability. The Taliban in this area are also assessed as determined and will likely offer determined resistance to any friendly force incursions..

Situation: Friendly Forces

Helmand Task Force (HTF) remains stretched by its commitments Province-wide and in order to retain some freedom of action, the enemy must be disrupted at every possible opportunity. It is assessed that a successful attack on this identified C2 node will disrupt Taliban operations in the Gereshk area for a number of weeks thus allowing stabilisation operations in Gereshk to gain further traction. Accordingly, Juliet Company Group 42 Commando RM comprising 1 and 2 Troops mounted in Armoured Support Company RM AFVs, with a platoon of 1 Tolay, 3 Kandak, 205 (Hero) Corps Afghan National Army (ANA), supported by Operational Mentoring and Liaison Teams (OMLTs) will conduct a cordon and clear operation. J Coy Group (named Manoeuvre Operations Group (North) (MOG(N)) has a JTAC and Tac Party from J Bty, 29 (Commando) Regiment RA grouped with it to call in offensive support. Offensive support assets comprise a mortar section from 42 Cdo RM, 105mm Light Guns from J Bty 29 Cdo Regt RA, US F15s (C/S Bone) and one Apache pair (C/S Ugly 50) in support. A second Apache pair (C/S Ugly 52) will conduct a RIP with C/S Ugly 50 during the mission.

Situation: Terrain and Weather

The principal terrain features affecting this operation are the Helmand River (Rud) and the numerous associated canals which run E-W. These features canalise Blue forces due to the limited number of available crossing points. The main crossing points are the sluice gates located to the E in the vicinity of Habibollah Kalay and these are key terrain. Also of note is the dominating high ground to the E which provides excellent observation over the sluice gates and surrounding terrain. There are a number of small villages comprising single storey buildings with 2m high compound walls. These offer excellent cover and concealment and good observation and fields of fire from their roofs. The remaining terrain is generally flat, comprising cultivated fields bounded by irrigation ditches and foliage. Manoeuvre is possible over all of this terrain, although irrigation ditches will need to be traversed with care by vehicles. The irrigation ditches and associated foliage offer excellent cover and concealment and are likely to be used extensively by the enemy. It is 0630 on 10 Jan 07 with the weather forecast as being largely overcast with cool temperatures. Weather effects are therefore assessed as neutral to both enemy and friendly forces.

Mission: Overall Description

Mission: ATTACK: J Coy Gp is to establish a cordon in the area of the sluice gates and clear the Habibollah Kalay area in order to disrupt TB C2.

Tasks:

1. Advance to contact, clearing any enemy encountered en route to the sluice gates.

2. Recover the body of the murdered contractor

3. Secure the sluice gate area and establish a cordon.

4. Clear TB elements from the area of the sluice gate.

Execution: Commander’s Intent

My intent is to conduct a deliberate approach to the sluice gate area using ground elements to identify enemy elements. Once identified I will employ a combination of direct and indirect fires to neutralise them whilst minimising friendly force casualties. Having reached the sluice gate area, I will take advantage of the opportunity to concentrate my forces to initially defeat any TB elements in the vicinity of the sluice gates prior to establishing a cordon. With the cordon secure, dismounted elements will conduct a clearance of the area in order to locate and destroy the TB C2 node.

Execution: Basic Plan

Your choice OC Juliet Company but you will note that you are constrained by the terrain features. 2 Troop and the ANA are to the N, Coy HQ, your JTAC, FOO and FSG are in the centre with 1 Troop to the south. You will therefore be forced to advance along separate axis for much of the way. Key to maximising your firepower will therefore be a balanced movement to contact so do not let any elements get too far ahead of the others. The attached ANA, while brave, will need close mentoring so ensure that they do not become separated and ensure that they have the best support available when going into contact.

Designer’s notes

This mission was the largest operation conducted by MOG(N) (J Coy) to date during Operation HERRICK 5. It subsequently became known as ‘the battle of the sluice gates’ or ‘the day of days’. The original intent was for MOG(N) to push on further from Habibollah Kalay to disrupt the TB further up the Gereshk valley but in the event so much ammunition was consumed on this day that J Coy had to return to FOB Price after the action. As you can guess from this description, J Coy stirred up a hornet’s nest in the area and one of the Armoured Support Company Vikings survived 14 RPG hits, such was the intensity. CMSF unit constraints mean that Bulldogs are used in place of Vikings and the B1 bomber (C/S Bone) that was available has been replaced by a pair of F15s. The OMLTs are depicted by the various command elements generated in the unit picking process, these have been identified as such where possible but not all OMLTs are so named. All of the named Blue terrain objectives are ‘Touch’ objectives despite statements in the Mission Brief narrative which suggest they should be ‘Occupy’ objectives (Secure). Also, while the mission brief mentions establishing a cordon, this is not necessary in the scenario as the cordon to be formed would encompass Habibollah Kalay itself which is not on the scenario map. In essence therefore, all you have to do is advance to contact by ticking off all of the terrain objectives while minimising your own casualties to secure a victory. As such therefore, once an objective is touched, you can move on if you desire. This action is described in the book 3 Commando Brigade by Ewen Southby-Tailyour from which this mission was researched.

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Hi Combatintman,

Just read your briefing before downloading and installing the file. The battle ground is in itself a real challenge. If the three groups are effectively not moving together in order to provide ,each other, mutual support they will be at risk. The 04:00 time limit should restrain us to move too fast, that's good for doing a good tactical advance. I can't wait to get into it. Let you know and it doesn't matter If I get licked as long as I play a good scenario. The way the two preceeding were is in itself a good sign.

Thanks for your work, not so many are being done for CMSF these days.

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Very nice scenario with a very good mix of forces. I loved the map - your forces cannot link up physically until they near the far end the map so you are advancing on three narrow corridors due to the canals/waterways. Also a very generous time limit of 4 hours. I reached the back exit objectives with around a hour and half left on the clock and very minimal casualties (in fact, only 1 WIA). Fortune smiled at me as I took 4 RPG hits to vehicles during the scenario but had no penetrations.

Taking it slow, and coordinating your forces with your artillery and tac air will win this one without too many casualties. The enemy is defending in depth so beware of penetrating too deep with one force without bringing your other forces up to support laterally with directed fires. It goes without saying to watch the choke points as that is usually where the enemy defends in strength.

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Thanks very much for all of the comments on this mission by all accounts it seems to play out for you in the way that I intended it to work which is very satisfying.

My main issue as a scenario designer is that most of you seem to be much better players than I am - I don't think I've ever finished this one with more than an hour on the clock and I usually incur more casualties ... and of course I know pretty much what is going to happen!! Well done all who have achieved that.

As to more missions - I have a few maps up my sleeve at this stage and of course there is the TELIC campaign to finish off. Unfortunately I am now back at work which means I have less time to devote to the fun activities in life so these will be a while off in the pipeline.

Thanks again all for the feedback.

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