Monday, October 31, 2011

Operation Barras playtest

On 29Oct11 some of the regulars at the Basement of Heaped Miniatures gathered to playtest Chuckaroo's Operation Barras game. He plans to run it for the Catawba Gamers but needed to play it and see what bugs might come up and balance the forces so everyone would have an enjoyable game. We used the Disposeable Heroes rule set with the Seek out Close with and Destroy, Man Among Men and By The Knife : Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan supplements.

Some background on Operation Barras. On 26Aug00 members of the British Army's Royal Irish Regiment operating in Siera Leone were captured by a rebel group called the West Side Boys. On 5sept00 five of the soldiers were release but negotiations broke down and the West Side Boys threatened to kil the remaining hostages. That prompted The British Prime Minister to authorize a rescue mission called Operation Barras. A disclaimer is that we are not trying to refight the historical battle but trying to stage a fun for all multi-player game. Many of the elements of the historical account have been altered and/or omitted for playability and constrains of our model collections.

The force for the game were

Two Short Para platoons consisting of a command section and three fire teams each in a Chinook helicopter.
One SAS fire team starting on the ground
One Mi-24 Hind gunship flown by private contractor Neall Ellis

game wise the paras use the elite British infantry rules from SOCWAD, the SAS use the British Special forces list from SOCWAD. The Mi-24 Hind comes from the By the Knife supplement.

West Side boys
One Platoon with a Command Section, four rifle squads and a SA-7 sam team
One Platoon with a Command section, three rifle squads and a SA-7 sam team

They also have four technicals and three heavy machine guns in Magbeni.
We also planned to give the West Side boy some armor reinforcements but they didn't arrive before we stopped playing.

The West side boys used the Zipra List from the Man Among men book. We dropped the bomb shell rule but kept the Pop up rule.

A picture of the battlefield. North is to the right of the table. The lower village is Geberi Bana and is where the hostages are held by the West Side Boys. Historically the SAS teams had located the hostages but for the game we plan to have the hostages randomly found in one of the huts by the British. The river running through the table is Rokel creek and was actually 700 yards wide, so for the game we are going to say the river, from bank to bank is 40 inches across. The upper village is Magbeni and was were the captured British Land rover were kept.

A patrol boat comes down river but was dropped from the game before it started.

Neall Ellis piloting a contracted Siera Leone Mi-24 Hind gunship to support the operation.

Magbeni with the ex- British land rovers parked and the West Side Boys snoozing in the shacks.

A Chinnook Helo flys low over Geberi Bana.

Another Chinnook flys south of Magbeni.

A better shot of the Chinook behind Magbeni.

A SAS team moves out of the forest toward Geberi Bana

British Paras fast rope from the Chinook on to the Geberi Bana football pitch. Then are gunned down by a group of awakened West Side boys.

All the west Side boys started inside the shanties and had to pass a Guts check before they could activate. I passed the guts check and the one group managed to slowdown the British attack into Geberi Bana. After the game we decided that next game the West side boys will have to roll a three or less before they can activate on the first turn.

The SAS team guns down the group of West Side boys that shot the Paras.

Neall Ellis arrives and does a rocket and gun run down through Magbeni and leaves the table.

The Geberi Bana Chinnok takes a hit from SA-7 Sam and passes its forced down test.

The West side Boys didn't have any SA-7 sam missile teams but we added them to give the rebels a chance against the Mi-24 Hind. Unfortunately the Hind made guns runs coming on and leaving the table so the Chinooks were shot at.

A West Side boy hits the damaged Chinook with an Rpg but doesn't down it.

The Para Command section takes three casualties and the Lieutenant is pinned down on the foot ball pitch.

Paras set up on the southern bank of Rokel creek and suppress the SA-7 Team hiding in a building in Geberi Bana.

The Damaged Chinook leaves the table before it crashes on it own troops.

A pop up West side boy appears and shoots up a para fire team bagging one.

The SA-7 team in Geberi Bana leaves their shanty and jumps into the swamp.

The British Paras search the first building and find no hostages.

West side Boy technical fires on a landed Chinook in Magbeni and fails to damage it.

I didn't take a picture of it but once the SA-7 missiles started flying JB landed the other Chinook on the football pitch at Magbeni.

Neall Ellis returns but the West Side boy SA-7 team is waiting and takes a snap shot heavily damaging to Mi-24 Hind.

Alarms going off, Ellis expends all his remaining rockets and leaves the battlefield before he crashes.

In Geberi Bana several groups of West Side boys are killed but a lone Rpg gunner survives two rocket hits.

In Magbeni they are not as lucky. The rockets kill several West Side boys, pinning their unit, destroy a technical and demolish a building killing the men inside.

This is the last of the picture and near the end of the game. We called the game soon after.

Somethings that came from the play test. On the first turn the West side boy activated too quickly and were able to stop the British before they could clear the choppers. So next game the West side boys will need to roll a three or less to activate on the first turn.

The West Side boys having two SA-7 sam teams may be too many. I think the West Side boys need them to defend against the Hind but they are a big threat against the hovering Chinooks.

We plan a refight with a few tweaks next time.



Stuart said...

Sounds really interesting and eminently gameable. There is an article on this event in the latest issue of Wargames Soldiers & Strategy.

sonsoftaurus said...

Cool looking game.

Some crazy stuff in Sierra Leone indeed.

If I recall the rebels often had some gun emplacements, perhaps some sited hmgs to replace one of the SAM teams?

Perhaps add a radio objective that the Brits can try to take out early to slow down rebel reinforcements? Make it a decision on what to concentrate on early - soldiers, heavy weapons, radio, securing hostages...?

ColKillgore said...

@Stuart I guess, I need to pick that magazine up.

@ Sons, The rebels had two Hmgs and a 82mm mortar. One hmg was manned but the crew killed and the other Hmg was out of sight of the british so wasn't manned. The Mortar was also not manned.
There is some talk about adding another mortar for the rebels but we might have another game before any major tweeks to the forces.

Chuckaroobob said...

Hi Kids, Yes, there were additional heavy weapons which the WSB never manned, due to the activation rules the WSB player does not have enough command and control points to activate all his forces every turn. I was choosing to operate other units. C'ya, Charles