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CM Black Sea - Beta Battle Report - US/UKR Side


pnzrldr
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Steve, hate to break it to you but the Bradley is armed with a 25mm, not a 30mm.  The M242 Bushmaster Chaingun, to be specific, from Lest you think it undergunned, it actually has a good bit more APFSDS performance than the Russian 30mm, but the HE is smaller.  The Bushmaster II is a 30mm, with faster, meaner rounds than the Russian 30mm, but we haven't bought that (yet!).  Don't worry, with the Gray Wolf and the Bradley 30mm on your side, you'll be invincible!

 

P.S.  I may be showing my age on fire commands.  I grew up on A1s and A2s, not Brads (did have a Brad scout PLT for 6 months, but only fired one gunnery) but anything mobile not a tank and not a truck was a "PC."  Yes, it stands for personnel carrier.  The oversimplification is intended to help with ammo selection.  Tanks got Sabot - anything else armored but not a tank got HEAT.  You still specify the ammo of course, in peacetime fire commands, but in the heat of the moment in combat...  well, Ol' LT Upham should have popped of with a full fire command and then his gunner couldn't have dorked it up and launched a TOW at a vehicle he would have eaten for breakfast with his 25.  

I'm heartbroken, no matter what they say size does matter.  Anyway it killed three tanks with 25mm then.  After your Gray Eagle gets shot down, you'll be wishing you had my Gray Wolf. ;)

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Outlaw 16 knew he was in trouble.  He could hear the engine noises ahead of him, whining and roaring as the Russians moved up on him.  His quick instructions to SSG Svendson were to get forward into position and put a Jav on a tank or BMP up on 347 to give them something to think about.  That wouldn’t be enough.  He had to get some fires of his own going. 

“Driver, ramp up - back up.”  He usually called his crew by name, but in times of stress, training kicked in and he reverted to their duty positions. 

“Okay, now forward right.  Head down the draw a bit, then ease us up for a look.  Gunner, missile up as soon as we crest, and scan the hill only.  I’ll cover everywhere else.”

As they moved up, Upham looked carfully around trying to see everywhere but up on the hill, but a sudden burst of fire ripped his eyes back.  The last 3d Platoon BMP-2 was backing desperately and was spiked on bursts of 30mm fire from two completely different directions.  The steel vehicle shuddered under the impacts and Upham watched in momentary awe as hunks of steel flew into the air, the armor plate buckling and shattering as the heavy armor piercing rounds ripped through both sides.  Then the hatches burst open, not from the occupants trying to escape, but from pressure as something inside exploded. Fire and smoke built quickly and the LT knew that none of the Ukrainian crew had escaped.

“Identify PC!” his gunner screamed, tearing Upham’s attention back to his mission.

“Fire!” he shouted back, not even bothering to check what they were shooting.

“On the way!”  the gunner replied, but in their excitement, neither had checked their weapon selector.  The TOWII leapt from its launcher and streaked towards the BMP-3 that was now clearly visible on the hill haloed in the dust from its fire on the Ukrainian vehicle.  The missile sped straight and true, detonating in midair several meters short of the BMP, blown from the sky by the ARENA APS system.  Upham dropped down inside the turret.

“Holy ****, why’d you shoot the TOW?  Quick, go to AP!”   

“I can’t see him now through the dust.” His gunner replied.

Upham popped his head back up, rapidly scanning the hillside, his excitement warring with his training, verging on panic.  He had seen fire from at least two directions hit the Ukrainian vehicle, but could not find the second enemy vehicle. 

 

16111592015_f0bb32da69_b.jpg

 

At that instant, Upham’s concern melted into fear.  To his right he could actually see one of his scout HMMWVs – it took him a second to realize it was Outlaw 12, SFC Bagby’s truck.  The truck was backing up fast, 30mm fire peppering the ground around it.  As the LT watched, the deadly autocannon rounds found their mark, blasting into the front of the lightly armored vehicle, powdering the armored glass windshield.  He saw PFC Purtle slump down over his spade grips, an instant before a final round detonated the Mk19’s ammo box.

 

http://youtu.be/15fJXy-V7H8

 

“Popping smoke, driver back up.  Too much heat up here, too close.  We need to get some space.” 

Keying his mike:  “Outlaw 23, you find a target for that Jav yet?”

“16 this is 23, nothing yet.  We’re looking.  Gonna keep creeping up.  Hard to see out of this orchard.” 

Suddenly, another voice broke in on the net, speaking low.  “16 this is 13 delta.  My actual is down.  They rolled right up on us.  I’m back down in the gully.  I’m gonna wait here to see if I can get back up to him.”

SSG Venar was one of the LT’s better scouts, and he had learned a lot from him.

“Roger, is he KIA?”

“Sir, I don’t know.  I couldn’t stick around to check.  I know I have to find out, but you have to give me a minute.”

“Roger that, keep your head down. Plenty busy here.  Keep me informed.  16 out.”

 

http://youtu.be/QCypvpfubqA

 

Ukrainian infantry and SSG Venar fall to Russian fire as artillery pounding Krichek causes casualties in the background..  The last Ukrainian 3rd Platoon BMP-2 is blasted from two directions simultaneously, as LT Upham's TOW shot whips towards a Russian BMP-3.

what is this annoying sound in these films?

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Apologies - the "annoying sound" is Bil's air support.  Not sure why the noise prior to their arrival.  I'm about 4 turns ahead playing, from what I have posted, and my boys just launched a bevy of SAMs at his aircraft.   Should make a really cool vid in a couple turns.  Actually, last night I sent to him what I believe to be the turn prior to the US showing up.  Yeah!   

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pnzrldr,

 

It seems you simply can't catch a break--and that's without being hit by air attack. Are your Bradley guys up to speed on engaging air targets? Hope so! If he brings RW to the fight, does the game allow you to engage them with ATGMs? There, at least, you wouldn't have to deal with APS. And here's today macabre thought. Presuming your main force isn't on the map yet when Bil's strike arrives, the terrible losses sustained by your force have denied him the opportunity to make full use of his air attack capabilities. Restated a la c3k, because your men died gloriously in battle earlier, you've denied Bil the chance to send them to Valhalla (or its functional equivalent) later via death from above!

 

I look forward to the arrival of your main force. Though ChrisND's series I mentioned earlier showed your tanks are vulnerable frontally at 750 meters, I fully expect them to wreak havoc, not merely because of their combat capabilities but because this is your forte and your job. Is the granularity of the game enough to show any US sensor advantage over the Russians, if one exists. I know the Russians have a Thales unit, but I suspect our thermal sights and surveillance gear may well have a performance edge. Also, I'm wondering whether the scenario put a hard limit on Russian crew quality, which should be nowhere nearly as good as yours. It should be most interesting to watch events unfold.

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler
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As the Russian forces relentlessly move forward over Hill 347, they keep the remnants of the Ukrainian 3d Company in a deadly crossfire.  Overwhelming firepower, accurate gunnery and the amazing spotting advantage of their more modern vehicles complete the destruction of their Ukrainian enemies.  The southern Mechanized Rifle Company (MRC) keeps up a devastating long range suppressive fire on the orchard, pinning LT Upham and SSG Svendson’ Javelin Team.  To the south side of the hill, a Russian T-90 dispatches the last 3d Company command BMP-2 with a casual point-blank shot, as one of his southern MRC comrades does the same to the final 1st PLT BMP-2, completing the destruction of the company.  The only surviving combat effective Soldiers are the 1st Platoon Leader and his dismounted squads, now preparing for a desperate last stand in the Starov Village. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJHvg64eaGY

 

PdPK Borys Levchenko was bleeding.  He felt along his lower back, and brought his hand back to see the blood.  His RTO pulled out another dressing and lifted his tunic to apply it as the senior officer knelt behind a tree. 

“Sir.”  SGT Lerner approached quickly through the trees, crouching low.  He dropped to a knee next to the haggard Ukrainian.

“Sorry Sir.  Our intel had no idea the Russians would attack into us like this.  I’m not sure if they updated or not – I’m out of comms now.  The Russians must be jamming us.  I’d like to tell you they’ll be here soon, but I just don’t know.”

“Yes, we both should have known better, eh?”  Borys replied. 

“Now we have no troops left, but we have stung a Russian or two, and we know exactly where they are.  Can you not get the information to your forces?  If you can kill these devils with your precision weapons my men will not have died for nothing!” 

Lerner took off his sunglasses and looked straight into the older man’s eyes.

“Believe me Sir, I am trying, and so are the scouts up north.  I see about a company down there to the south, and estimate another company coming over 347.  They must have left something back to keep Krichek bottled up.  I’ve seen two Russian Tunguska, one to the south, and one right over there on 347.  If we want air support to help, those have to go down.”

Borys raised a pained eyebrow: “What exactly do you expect us to bring them down with?” 

“Not sure Sir.  Try to keep everyone that’s left down and keep eyes on them.  If we can hang on until Battalion gets here we can send them our feed and get this thing turned around.” 

“This is our homeland.”  Borys replied, “we aren’t going anywhere, alive or dead. Now keep moving your team back, and stay dispersed.  The airbursts are hell.”   

 

15944761009_8971534519_b.jpg

 

As this conversation passed in the treeline near Starov, the lone Ukrainian team at the government grain storage site prepared themselves.  The four men could hear Russian motors whining, and the unmistakable squeeking clatter of steel-shod tracks.  Situated in the second story of the building, their orders were to observe and report, unless the facility came under direct attack.  In that case they were expected to defend it – to the best of their ability.  As a Russian T-90 suddenly loomed out of the forest, the squad leader directed his teammate to hit it with the older rocket first.  He was unsure if it would even fire, but wanted to see if he could take out one with this expendable munition to save his RPG rounds for the second tank moving to its flank.  The young man’s aim with the old folding rocket was admirable, as it flew straight and true, but it detonated against a reactive armor tile specifically designed for this very task.  The explosive charge sandwiched between two metal plates exploded when the tip of the shaped charge jet touched it, blasting the outer plate into the path of the forming jet, and causing it to spend its energy cutting the plate laterally, rather than penetrating straight into the tank’s armor.  The tank rolled forward oblivious, but the team held its collective breath as they watched its path.  They had been supplied with all the anti-tank mines the home guard unit had to spare – six mines.  They had placed them in a 2 x 3 grid along the road to the south, and they recognized that through some miracle, despite all the other terrain available, the tank was headed directly for them.  The first Russian tank fired its cannon, and the team leader knew the air defense team hidden in the woods was having a bad day.  Then suddenly, the second tank rolled directly over one of the mines actually lying in the road.  The detonation of the AT mine was stunning at such close range, but the team leader had scant time to cheer.  His RPG gunner lined up on the other tank and unleashed a rocket.  Unfortunately, these men had none of the newer PG-7VR tandem warheads which were designed to defeat reactive armor, and this round like the one before it, exploded harmlessly, spending its energy on an ERA tile. 

“Hurry – reload!” the team leader cried, as the tank suddenly pivoted towards their building.  The gunner complied, moving swiftly through his drill, snapping in the rocket, cocking it, lining up again on the target a scant 30 meters away and slamming another rocket towards it, hoping for a luckier hit.  But he didn’t even get a hit.  The ARENA APS radar was now looking directly at the team, and it tracked the rocket’s flight almost from the instant of launch.  Though close in shots like this are challenging for APS, the slight up angle gave the radar just the edge it needed to get a countermeasure cassette into the air and detonate it just above the winging rocket.  The gunner, grabbed for another reload, but the team leader just hung his head and covered his eyes as the tank cannon rose towards their position. 

 

http://youtu.be/iEWxIl8NALc

 

Congrats to Bil for finding the lonely minefield.  I think I only got 6 or 8 for the whole thing, and this is one of just two I placed outside of Krichek.  Him finding this one was a friendly miracle in a sea of badness.  'If you build it he will come..."

 

On the north side of Hill 347 LT Upham knew he was in deep.  “C’mon driver keep us coming back.”  Their Bradley reversed behind the building smoke screen.

“Keep scanning,” Upham told his gunner, although they were unlikely to see through the dense smoke that kept them alive.  As they backed into the gulley and swung south to find a better firing spot, the Russian MRC commander to the south gave a curt firing order.  The orchard that sheltered them exploded into smoke and buzzed with whirring fragments, as first the tanks and BMPs, and then the air defense Tunguska laid down a withering searching fire.  SSG Svendson and his team were caught as they moved forward, diving to the ground and hugging mother earth, they prayed for the fire to cease, while expecting a fatal blast at any second. 

“23 you okay?”  SSG Svendson could not even hear his LT’s radio call over the world exploding around him, and did not respond. 

“Driver, pull us back up.  Let’s see if we can find one.”  The Bradley rolled back up out of the gully, to find its own smoke still screening hit, having drifted south on the mild breeze.

“Okay, give it a second.” 

Neither LT Upham nor SSG Svendson heard the Russian platoon now angling towards their left and closing the distance at a sprint. 

 

Alone in the gully at the foot of 347, PFC Haskel hesitated.  The smoke launched by the dying 3rd Platoon BMP to his rear gave him some cover, and he was loath to go running panicked down the gully, just to get cut down by an overwatching vehicle on the hill above.  He needed to get back up and check on SSG Venar, and maybe pull him down to cover.  Suddenly Haskel heard an engine growling closer – he unslung the AT-4 from his back and flipped the small firing lever to arm it.  The AT-4 is a US Army initiative built to replace the aging M-72 LAW.  Unlike most other Armies, the US forces felt the need to put anti-armor munitions in the hands of soldiers across the battlefield outweighed the requirement for a more capable munition that would require training and a crew of 2 or more.  The M-72 initially fulfilled this need, as it provided a fairly light, easy to use single-shot rocket which was capable of defeating most tanks… of the 1970s.   The AT-4 replaced it in the late 80s, essentially a single shot variant of the Swedish Carl Gustaf 84mm rocket launcher.  Though even simpler to operate than the LAW, and more accurate with dramatically improved penetration, the AT-4 is much heavier and does not fold up, so it is bulk and difficult to carry.  Not popular with troops, it is nevertheless a capable weapon and Haskel figured he was owed some payback.  The T-90 clattered into view above Haskels hide in the gully, never seeing him and angling off to the north.  The PFC waited a second to be sure, aiming low to try and come in under the ERA, and then squeezed hard on the firing lever.   The rocket zipped out of the gully, never more than a foot from the ground, totally evading the ARENA’s radar view and detonated against the rear hull.  The powerful unitary warhead easily penetrated the thinner rear hull armor, but with no apparent effect on the roaring tank.  The engine never missed a beat, and the tank rolled away to the north to play havoc with the PFC’s Platoon Leader. 

“Well,” thought Haskel, “maybe it did some damage.”  Then he looked up the gully slope to where his SSG lay and steeled himself to go forward to check rather than back the way he so wanted to go.

 

15944761309_6420d7c6b8_b.jpg

 

“Vovk, this is Brytva 21.  We are taking fire, and have pulled back.  I think 21 Mike is down.  Something exploded over there.  They are hunting us.  We must move.”

KPT Kovtun acknowledged – he did not want to lose the Tunguska after it had done so much, but its armor was like paper to a main battle tank’s. 

“Brytva 21 – yes, pull back.  Move to the bridge.  The Americans say it is clear.  Their missile team is moving up and can cover you.  Don’t shoot them, whatever you do!” 

“Yes, this is Brytva 21, moving.”  The excitable commander of TG21 knew he had been lucky to back up just as the Russian tank to the south fired.  He would shift north and wait for another opportunity.  He didn’t know that only the actions of the team at the grain storage facility had saved him from the same fate as his Strela wingman, now burning from the destructive fires of the two hunting T90s.

 

15508506584_0ae80ef674_b.jpg

 

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To give scope, I am four turns behind on posts, and believe that my reinforcements likely arrive next turn.  So, on the fifth or so post following this one we should see some real mayhem.  Bil appears to be moving slowly post-Xmas, so I will try to get caught up.  May make another post tonight/tomorrow, if I don't go fishing.  ;-)  Per previous request I am limiting my pix to 1024 wide.  If you folks want them bigger - 1200 or 1600 - let me know.  Might stretch some monitors, but I know I don't see the details on my (fairly good) monitor at 1024.  

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"...So, on the fifth or so post following this one we should see some real mayhem....."

This must be the modern pandemonium before the real mayhem ;)

Excellent post on the boys pnzrldr.

If you go fishing, have a cold one for Brytva 21 :D

CM fans going to have their own Black Sea fishing rodeo ... real soon.... can't wait!

Edited by Buzz
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Its barely perceptible - just a trickle now- but Bil's sustained fighting power is beginning to diminish. He still has that MRC tied down bottling up a unit that it looks like you've written off. Think you can turn this around? Turn the trickle into a flood?

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pnzrldr,

 

I think your characterization of the AT-4 as a US Army initiative is a bit of a stretch. The US didn't create the AT-4; it bought it after a LAW replacement competition, then tweaked the weapon a bit before adopting it. Regardless, the vid is pretty cool. Not so cool? T-90AM taking a direct AT-4 hit to its stern, then driving off seemingly unscathed!  No idea how that's even possible.

 

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler
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http://youtu.be/iEWxIl8NALc

 

Congrats to Bil for finding the lonely minefield.  I think I only got 6 or 8 for the whole thing, and this is one of just two I placed outside of Krichek.  Him finding this one was a friendly miracle in a sea of badness.  'If you build it he will come..."

 

Yeah, that looks like a brutal battle to me pnzrldr. Very nice, i love that.

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John,

 

Acknowledge that it was independently developed, Note that the comments state: "Even before the AT4 had been adopted by Sweden, it was entered into a US Army competition for a new anti-tank weapon..."  Without the (enormous) resultant contract, I believe it is unlikely the weapon would have been developed further or broadly adopted.  Perhaps by the Swedes, but perhaps not.  In any case, while the test vids are impressive, so are all HEAT hits.  But there is a big difference between hitting a 5 ton armored car and a 47 ton tank.  If hit in the rear/side hull it is probably 50/50 whether the jet and resultant spall hits anything vital in the engine compartment.  Depending on the hit location, a Russian tank might be able to continue for quite some time.  Many Abrams hit and penetrated in the engine compartment by RPGs have continued the mission unscathed.  Pierced cooling systems, punctured lines or reservoirs might take quite awhile to result in engine failure.  Lots of big, solid, energy-absorbing objects in a tank engine compartment.  Lots of more delicate items too, but they tend to be smaller.  I was at the body shop with my wife last week and a lady came in with a .44 magnum round through her hood and lodged in her car battery - her car would still start!  Of course, a tank taking an engine hit from an AT-4 could also explode into flame, but it wouldn't likely happen that way all or even most of the time.  I'd say most likely outcome = engine stops, followed by a marginal or gradual loss of power/performance, nothing at all, then fire, and finally (least likely) outright explosion.   

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FWIW, Bil sent me back the turn in which my US reinforcements arrive last night.  I will take some time catching my turns up before returning it to him so that we can try to release the 'mayhem turns' fairly simultaneously.   I really owe "The Teacher" one on this though, as my reinforcements arrive on-map undeployed, in beautiful Red Square'esque Parade Formation, hubcap to hubcap.  Should be interesting to see if I can get them uncoiled without major losses.  Looks like a mech-heavy team in the North and a tank heavy one in the south, along with BN CDR, XO/S3, rest of the scouts, 2 ravens, 1 Gray Eagle, Mortar PLT, 2 firing PLTs of Paladins, an Apache and a couple Jets.  Will be interested to see if Bil gets reinforcements as well.  Could make TG 22 highly vulnerable, if they have entrance locations like mine.  If he does not get substantially more stuff, I am feeling pretty confidant.  I have 3 PLTs of Abrams on map now, and stand to get a fourth if needed.  Seems almost like overkill, but I don't want to be over arrogant about it.  Current decisions facing Power 6:

 

- His tank is the single most exposed of the entire force.  Pop smoke now as initial action or wait for the APS to launch upon getting lased?  Back up to map edge, or bound forward fast for covered position (and potentially eat a T90 round or two enroute)?

- Burn an arty fire mission on southern MRC?  Starting mortars on hill 347 is a no-brainer, although the stuff on that hill may not last long enough for them to hit.  FA on the south will  take 5 or 6 minutes by which time Bil will likely have adjusted, but if I go slow/deliberate it could still fall on some of his stuff.

- Launch a raven now, or wait to see if I can zap both Tunguskas first?  I am pretty sure the one on Hill 347 is too far forward to live long, but the one in the south could back out, haul ass into the hinterlands and take substantial hunting to find and extinguish.

- Suppress Southern MRC, maneuver north and over hill 347 to swing everyone across the northern fields, and seize the river crossings?  Or seize 347 from the North, base of fire oriented SSE and bound the tank heavy team through the close terrain to overwhelm the enemy in the south?  I am leaning towards the former, as I don't relish the fight through the heavy draws in the south, but might go that way if I think crossing the northern fields would be too costly.  In either case, I am placing tank and Jav fires all over the north/south side of 347 w/in 3 turns.

- How much of the Infantry to dismount immediately against the possibility of Brads eating tank fire?  Don't want to lose any more Javs than I have to, though I have a LOT of them.  They actually represent a bit more lethality than the Brads they are riding in.  (Micro-spoiler:  SPC O'Brian is going to NAIL a T-90 soon!)

- Do I need any immediate screening smoke anywhere to cover initial moves?

 

Note that his decisions combine personal interaction with the battlefield with decisions affecting his entire force.  This is typical of a front-line tactical commander, and something fascinating that CM is able to present in perspective.  Looking forward to this, and I'll post out of content discussion of the decisions ongoing as I get the story caught up over the next few days. 

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"".... 3 PLTs of Abrams on map now, and stand to get a fourth if needed...."

Smells like Victory :)

 

"....Note that his decisions combine personal interaction with the battlefield with decisions affecting his entire force.  This is typical of a front-line tactical commander, and something fascinating that CM is able to present in perspective....."

 

One of the more absorbing aspects of CM gaming. Playing 'Modern' in Black Sea these decisions will have copious consequences quickly.

 

Looking forward to the narrative about to develop pnzrldr.

You and Bil are doing a great job with the battle.

Edited by Buzz
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- Launch a raven now, or wait to see if I can zap both Tunguskas first?  I am pretty sure the one on Hill 347 is too far forward to live long, but the one in the south could back out, haul ass into the hinterlands and take substantial hunting to find and extinguish.

Launch a Raven now and you will likely lose it before you get spotting data.  You have some general ideas on his deployment, the only point to getting the Raven up would be to start trying to hit him with precision munitions.  I honestly don't think you will get much chance.  I'd worry about getting your forces sorted and out of harm's way before worrying about the next step.  It sounds like your appearance on map is gonna be dangerous.  I'd likely issue some immediate orders to pop smoke to get a screen up. and get the force into cover/formation.  In particular cover the Brads.  You don't want to lose your infantry force right away considering the state of the force you had on board is so bad now.

 

Those TGs are bad news for all your air assets, but you can hunt them with Apaches.  I'd consider using the Gray Eagle as bait at some point, but you already know how I feel about them.  :P

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