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CIMIC House Al Amarah 2004


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This will hopefully be my next scenario. I have always wanted to do this since reading the late and great Richard Holmes' Dusty Warriors book about 1 PWRR Battlegroup in Al Amarah during their Iraq tour of 2004. I'm not sure which of the actions around CIMIC House I will do yet but there is plenty of scope for a decent mission involving both dismounts, Warrior AIFV and Challenger 2.

This will probably be a while in the making because I only started the map today but I will shortly be in a position to devote more time to scenario making so I should be able to crack on with it properly in about a fortnight.

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A bit more info ...

The map will be 1888 x 1456m and it is a really interesting bit of ground to fight over because you have a mix of really close urban terrain and some large open areas.

The mission construct will involve running a resupply convoy into a besieged CIMIC House - I'm hoping to recreate the first action which formed part of the citation for Johnson Beharry's Victoria Cross on 01 May 04. Forces employed will be a mix of dismounts, mounted armoured infantry supported by Challenger 2, offensive support is likely to be limited to 81mm mortar only. All up force size will be between 2-3 company equivalents.

The map is about a third done but unfortunately I won't have internet access for another couple of weeks so I won't be able to progress on the map front during that time. That said, I will be able to finalise the research and draft the orders and AI plans.

Johnson Beharry linky:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnson_Beharry

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Spent a good 3 hours on the map this morning - I reckon I've got about another 3 hours left ... intent is to have the map done and dusted by Wednesday. From there of course I will start knocking the mission proper together. My plan is to have a lot of Red AI plans to give it maximum replay value. The combination of the map size and the terrain mix means that I should be able to do this quite easily and present some tough and varied challenges for you. Will this be your Xmas present from me ... very possibly.

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Map is finished so eye candy time

Real World Google Earth (as at 2004)

CIMICHouseOverhead_zpsb30b14c0.jpg

Same view in CMSF (screen is not big enough to show the top of the map)

CIMICHouseCMSFOverhead_zps6117e16f.jpg

Unfortunately my screen grab doesn't show the map in all its glory due to the age of my computer.

Related to this, due to the size and complexity of the map I have decided to omit flavour objects in this scenario to keep frame rates as good as they can be - while I have yet to put the scenario together I envisage a lot of combat over multiple areas of the map which will probably strain some systems without the burden of flavour objects to deal with as well.

Anyway enjoy ... I can't say that I am sorry to have finished this map - had it not been a labour of love I would probably have wrapped on this a long while ago. I reckon I have probably spent the equivalent of two working weeks on this.

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Ok - this is knocked together of sorts - 3 x AI plans. First test just completed and some tweaking is definitely required but overall I think I'm on track to deliver the effect I want. Reference frame rates in my earlier post, I was definitely right about this being an issue, my computer didn't chug to a halt but there were definitely moments where it slowed quite markedly so I am glad I didn't go through the trouble of putting in flavour objects.

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Hi Combatintman,

The Google earth map view is pretty well duplicated. It is amazing. I am sure that you will be able to offer us within that area some good battles.

However, you might have to divert somehow from the real ones, since it is not that easy to match exactly in CMSF what happened in a real battle. If the A.I permits 16 orders, it does not have sufficient Groups. 8 Groups do not allow many options. That is too bad. Quite a few times, I have been obliged to modify a tactical A.I scheme being unable to have the chosen force into a dedicated Group without having to go farther than the eight available possibilities.

That is why I am so eager to discover CMSF 2 when it will come out.

BTW, If they could find a way to offer us a Trigger Action like it works in ARMA, then I am sure you will be able to get closer to what happen at the time for our renewed pleasure.

Cheer

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More tweaking - all of the graphics and associated briefing have now been put together. Here is the draft mission briefing:

Situation: Enemy Forces

On 02 Aug 04, the second Mahdi Army uprising erupted in Shia areas of Iraq in response to US operations, principally in Fallujah. The Mahdi Army is the military wing of the Shia Office of the Martyr Sadr (OMS). Its strength in Al Amarah is unknown but since arriving in theatre, 1st Battalion the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment Battlegroup (1 PWRR BG) elements have come under sustained attack on those occasions when the Mahdi Army offers battle. Enemy capabilities include small arms, RPG, indirect fire (IDF) and a nascent IED capability. Given the events in Iraq, the Mahdi Army is likely to offer strong resistance today.

Situation: Friendly Forces

Y Company (Y Coy), 1 PWRR BG’s manoeuvre support coy has been roled as a standard 3 multiple rifle coy and deployed to CIMIC House in the Old Town area of Al Amarah since the start of the tour. Co-located with Y Coy is a small Private Military Company (PMC) guard force of fairly low quality armed with Former Soviet Union (FSU) small arms and RPGs. Although low quality, they are a welcome addition to the BG. This location is key to 1 PWRR BG’s attempts to win the population over as it allows easy access to the Iraqi interim authorities which will be the catalyst for kick-starting development activities that will form the basis of any subsequent exit strategy. CIMIC House has come under sustained attack from IDF, snipers and close quarter small arms and RPG attacks from day one of the tour and is now due a resupply to enable the position to be sustained. C Coy 1 PWRR, reinforced by a troop and the HQ of A Squadron the Queen’s Royal Lancers (A Sqn, QRL) will undertake the task. Y Coy and associated CIMIC House defenders are in position as are 7 Platoon C Coy and 1 Troop A Sqn QRL, 8 Platoon is due to arrive in the vicinity of Red 12 in 5 minutes with the remainder of C Coy and A Sqn HQ arriving in 10 minutes. Organic mortars (2 x 81mm mortar detachments) and a pair of Tornado GR4s from XV Squadron RAF are on call throughout.

Situation: Terrain and Weather

The terrain is a mix of close urban and open country, the main constraining factor are the rivers and canal systems which can only be crossed at the highway bridges thus canalising manoeuvre at those points. These choke points are all overlooked by nearby buildings which will offer any enemy elements there excellent cover and concealment. All bridges and their immediate surroundings are nominated areas of Key Terrain. Note that the bridge to the immediate SE of CIMIC House is out of bounds to all friendly forces (marked as OOB Bridge). CIMIC House, which is held by Y Coy is a sturdy multi-storey building offering excellent observation and fields of fire and is Vital Ground. The Pink Palace to the south of CIMIC House is the seat of civilian government in Al Amarah and damage to this building should be avoided in support of longer-term objectives. Roads are mostly good quality highways which offer excellent trafficability. It is currently 1100 hrs on 11 August 2004, temperatures are extremely hot and the weather is clear. These conditions support mounted manoeuvre, offensive support and air operations. Dismounted operations are likely to be restricted due to the likelihood of heat injury and commanders should take this into account when dismounted.

Mission: Overall Description

Mission: ATTACK: 1 PWRR BG is to secure key terrain features within boundaries no later than (NLT) 1345 hrs in order to facilitate the resupply of CIMIC House.

Tasks:

1. Secure CIMIC House (Occupy 50 Victory Points).

2. Secure Green 4 (Occupy 50 Victory Points).

3. Secure South Bridges (Occupy 50 Victory Points).

4. Secure Northern Town Exits (Occupy 50 Victory Points).

Execution: Commander’s Intent

1 PWRR BG will conduct simultaneous attacks to dominate choke points thus opening up a secure resupply route from Red 12 via, Red 13, Red 14, Green 5, Green 4, Green 9 and Blue 11 to CIMIC House. C Coy with A Sqn elements attached will clear and secure the route above from Red 12 to Green 9 while Y Coy and attached elements will concurrently secure CIMIC House, the Northern Old Town exits and Blue 11. Given the expected enemy response, I will conduct a deliberate advance in order to maximise opportunities to find and strike enemy elements before they can close to effective weapon range. Commanders should bear in mind the 360 degree threat at all times. While maximum firepower should be brought to bear to defeat identified enemy elements, commanders are to avoid damaging the bridges, which will be key to future resupply operations and the Pink Palace which is a symbol of Iraqi authority (Bridges are Preserve objectives worth a total of 50 VPs and the Pink Palace is a Preserve objective also worth 50 VPs). Endstate is Y Coy fully resupplied and C Coy elements balanced for further operations.

Execution: Basic Plan

C Coy Gp should advance from its start location via Red 12, Red 13, Red 14 (this is a Touch objective worth 50 VPs) through Green 5 to secure Green 4 and Green 9. Meanwhile Y Coy Gp will defend CIMIC House while also pushing out to secure the Northern Old Town Exits and on to secure Blue 11. Despite the large amount of time available, the deliberate approach by C Coy will need to maintain tempo in order to have sufficient time to secure the required objectives. Y Coy has more flexibility in terms of time but will need to remain balanced throughout to secure its objectives.

Designer’s notes

This operation is based on Operation HAMMERSMITH which took place in the timeframe of the mission setting but is a hybrid of this operation and other resupply operations to CIMIC House that took place throughout 1 PWRR’s tour. The friendly forces are close to those used on the day subject to the constraints of the CMSF unit pick. Due to the constraints of the mission editor, it is impossible to set trigger based objectives that would accurately simulate the resupply operation. I am likewise unable to force the Blue player to keep the Challengers north of the Bridge at Green 4 while allowing other movement to the south, which was the case in reality due to the limited load class of that bridge. The OOB Bridge is so-named because it was not used in these resupply operations for reasons unknown, I have denied it to the player through the simple mechanism of laying IEDs along it so don’t go there!!! To most accurately replicate 1 PWRR’s actions on the day, the player is advised to follow the instructions given in the Mission and Execution paragraphs of the Operation Order, ultimately of course, how you play it is up to you. Should you decide to go cross country to cut out Red 14 you will miss out on 50 VPs and may come to grief at the hands of an IED, again this is done to encourage historical behaviour. In the Blue set up, you will find a Zil truck parked in the CIMIC House compound, this is there for the sole purpose of providing extra ammunition to the PMC Guard Force collocated there. Although it has no VP value to the enemy, given the IDF threat it is extremely vulnerable and therefore the player is advised to bomb up all of his PMC elements with ammunition during the setup phase. Also note that C Coy’s attached snipers have been grouped at CIMIC House with Y Coy, this is to reflect the number of snipers operating at CIMIC House. This may cause some command issues for those playing at higher levels of difficulty.

For those confused by the terms Red 14, Green 5 etc, these are references to the British Spot Maps of the time. This is a standard technique in British urban operations doctrine and is designed to simplify radio transmissions and aid situational awareness. For example it is easier to transmit over the radio ‘My C/S is 100m North of Green 5’ rather than ‘My C/S is at Grid 12345678’ or ‘My C/S is at the junction of Saddam Street and Baghdad Road’.

This mission was researched from the account of 1 PWRR’s tour in Iraq by the late and great military author, historian and at the time the Colonel of the PWRR Richard Holmes. The book is called Dusty Warriors and is highly recommended. Another account of this tour is Sniper One, by Danny Mills who commanded the Sniper Platoon elements in CIMIC House at this time. This book is also highly recommended.

During Y Coy’s tenure of CIMIC House from 05 – 28 August 2004, they endured:

595 x mortar attacks.

57 x RPG attacks.

5 x 107mm rocket attacks.

86 x small arms engagements.

The 170 x 170 scenario image is a still from a video captured by Y Coy at CIMIC House during their tour which is at the following URL:

This mission is dedicated to both Richard Holmes and all of the men and women of 1 PWRR BG who fought in Iraq during Operation TELIC 4. I also hope that this mission remembers with honour, Private Christopher Rayment, who lost his life at CIMIC House on Operation TELIC 4.

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Ok I have now played this through and got the points to work - not sure that much above a minor victory is possible without a major rework of the VPs and usually I find that once I start fiddling with those I'll end up triggering an early win for Blue so I'll probably release this as is. I might toy with the air support a little I'll see how things go. Anyway, the good news is that you will have a new scenario to play over Xmas.

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Having given this some thought, I will tinker with it a bit more, I think I can adjust the VPs so that a greater range of victories are possible rather than up to minor victory which is the case at present.

Also if I am honest with myself, my last playtest really pushed the boundaries, I got my minor victory through a combination of a red surrender, having a good idea of where they all were and needed to do a bit of a gamey rush at the end to force the surrender.

I think that by swapping out Tornado GR4s and replacing them with a pair of Apaches, it will give the player a bit more latitude and will allow the deliberate approach that is suggested. I will probably test these concepts on Sunday and if I get them to work (and I am pretty confident they will) then I will release it either on Sun or Mon.

Given my comments above, I think you will find this mission a really tough nut to crack when it finally hits the bazaars.

Meanwhile, work on Op LOAM continues ...

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Ok - just played this through again with some tweaks - I've swapped out the XV Squadron Tornadoes and given Blue a pair of Apaches. Despite my efforts to tweak the victory points, I don't think anything other than a tactical victory is possible.

I'm just going to update the mission brief to reflect the changes and will then upload this to the Repository.

I hope you enjoy it when it gets up there, but beware this is a really difficult mission.

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