US Marine Airmobile Company vs Soviet Naval Infantry Mechanised Company, Norway, 1986

This was a run through of the air assault rules featuring the USMC attacking a Soviet company defending a set of objectives. All models are 6mm. The helicopters and infantry are by Heroics & Ros and the Soviet vehicles are by Scotia.

The USMC had a company in CH-46 Sea Knights supported by 3 AH1W Cobras with rocket pods and some softening up by the air arm and artillery

The Soviet had a mechanised company in prepared positions supported by a platoon of PT76s.

Here is a view of the table from the US entry edge before any troops are deployed:

  • The table from the American side
  • The woods were dense and the hills were gentle. The 4 hills and the fork in the road represented the objectives to be secured.

    The Soviet commander deployed the infantry in dug-in positions with a platoon holding each of the larger hills and another in front of the road junction. The PT76s were dug-in to hull down on the Soviet right to protect the flank of the 3rd platoon, and the company commander concealed himself at the back of the table. The US artillery and air strikes hit the Soviet positions destroying a PT76, a BTR60 and a pair of infantry groups. A smokescreen was laid towards the rear of the table to provide cover from units in the wood and one the hill.

    The Cobras led the attack. They flew in at low level and the Soviet 2nd and 3rd platoons received a pair of rocket pods along their length which neutralised some infantry but failed to inflict lasting harm.

    The Cobras fly in low to start the attack

    The Sea Knights followed up the Cobra strike by dropping 1st and 2nd platoon on the left to attack the hill from the side. It was a dangerous move as infantry and landed helicopters were bunched and vulnerable. The 3rd platoon, CHQ and weapons platoon were deposited a short distance onto the table allowing the choppers to make a quick exit. The weapons platoon set up its light mortars to cover the advance of 3rd platoon towards the road junctions.

    Helicopters land and deposit their infantry

    The 2 PT76s that had survived the programmed fire opened up from their prepard postions. The low-flying Cobras were too tempting to resist despite representing difficult shots and one Soviet gunner got lucky, sending a chopper rapidly to earth. This shocked the other Cobras and their morale dropped a level.

    Soviet PT76 light tanks fire from hull-down positions.

    The Soviet 3rd platoon, under threat form the bulk of the US force, opened fire with small arms and RPGs aimed at the other Cobras but could not match the light tank's shooting.

    The Cobras decided to not give the Soviets a second chance so quickly gained altitude and fired on the PT76s. A burst of 30mm sabot rounds hit the turret of one 'tank' to put it permanently out of action. Platoons 1 and 2 advanced shooting on the hill firing on the Soviet 3rd platoon. Platoon 3 advanced on the Soviet 2nd platoon in the centre under the covering fire of the weapons platoon.

    The Soviet 1st platoon reacted to the US moves by redeploying out of its dug-in positions to bring maximum fire to bear on the flank of the US 3rd platoon.

    One Soviet platoon redeploys to fire at the attacking Americans

    The attack on the US left made good progress despite casualties suffered by 2nd platoon, and 1st platoon started to flush the Soviets out of their dug-outs. The attack on the centre also made headway and the Cobras destroyed the last PT76.

    The repositioning of 1st platoon paid off for the Soviet commander as losses accumulated on the US 3rd platoon until it was rendered combat ineffective.

    The US 3rd platoon is devestated by Soviet flanking fire

    The Cobras reacted to the crisis developing on the right flank by flying over to discharge rocket pods at the Soviet 1st platoon. The Soviet infantry returned fire and suppressed one Cobra. The choppers retreated to fire their 30mms from distance.

    In the centre Soviet platoon 2's morale finally cracked. On the US left Platoon 1 overran the final elements of the Soviet 3rd platoon to end the game.

    US marines overrun the Soviet positions


    A win to the USMC! The Soviets made the USMC work hard and stubbornly clung to their postions, but suffered from insufficient firepower to hurt the Americans at distance and some mobility. The redeploment of the Soviet 1st platoon led to the destruction of the US 3rd platoon and showed what an aggressive defence can achieve. Some air defence, a platoon of proper tanks or a battery of mortars to hit the bunched US 1st and 2nd platoons could have changed the result quickly and considerably. The game showed that even good infantry in prepared positions need effective support. The vulnerability of helicopters when used carelessly was shown; one was lost to a difficult shot but another could have followed.

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