Flashpoint Campaigns: Red Storm – Part 3 of 5

frontier wars 728x90 KS

Author: Al Sandrik

Scenario: 11 Bravo

During Part 2, the first turn kicked off with several surprises. A Soviet helo attack inflicted serious damage on Bravo and Charlie companies of 2-36. However, Alpha company managed to set the charges to blow a critical bridge to impede the Soviet advance. The 2-32 armored battalion moved into position in good order. During the second turn Alpha company took heavy fire from the Soviets as they now attempted to blow the bridge, but the arrival of Delta company brought some armor into the fight which quickly dispersed the Soviet mechanized company giving Alpha so much trouble. Let’s see how Turn 3 unfolds.

Turn 3, 07:07-07:45: Things continue to go well with the general defensive plan this past 30-45 minutes. The northern Soviet thrust finally cleared two of the obstacle hexes but not before bombardment from friendly SPA M106 mortars and an F-16 airstrike called in by the FAC caused significant enemy casualties. Rather than trying to bridge the blown span their mechanized units turned southwest along the river running right up against one of Alpha Company’s mechanized platoons. With the American mechanized platoon now blocking the route southwestward the over watching Abrams of Delta 2-32 were able to savage the Soviets. Bolstering the defense were several batteries of the 94th Field Artillery (FA) Battalion arrived on the battlefield and hit the thrust with harassing fire. By 07:40 the Soviet lead units were pulling back (Figure 20).

Figure 20.

Figure 20.

Around 07:15 a second Soviet mechanized thrust hit the line of resistance just east of Albstadt. As Bravo Company had been heavily attrited by the earlier helicopter attack this assault was a bit more successful, however one of Bravo Company’s platoons fought a stand up engagement with lead recon and armored elements. As I expected Bravo to be hit hard and planned for them to fall back, I’m not totally surprised but it looks like they will have to fall back to Michelbach earlier than I had planned.

My general plan of action for the next 30 minutes of action will be to use 94th FA to drop scatterable minefields ahead of the southern mechanized attack to slow their progress down further. Bravo Company will begin to fall back toward Charlie Company’s positions. Also will instruct the FAC to call in an airstrike on several Soviet mechanized companies trying to move through the minefields. Want to catch them while they are hung up without freedom of movement.

Turn 4, 07:45-08:18: Weather continues to be cloudy, with light rain and visibility 2,000 meters (1 ¼ miles; FYI 1,600 meters = 1 miles). This turn was absolutely catastrophic to my position! The Soviet attack helicopter unit emerged from the wooded area north of the main road and absolutely savaged the 2-32nd Armored Battalion. 10 of Alpha Company 2-36th’s Abrams were put out of action and several tracs from Alpha Company 2-36 Mechanized were killed as well! These were units that the planned kill zones hinged on. I may have enough units to re-establish the line, but another run by this helio unit and I may not have enough to make a stand. Further everything along the line is now out of position due to retreats and repositioning! If that was all that happened I would be dismayed but all four of my Close Air Support (CAS) F-16s were brought down by Soviet Air Defense Artillery (ADA)! My initial line of resistance is crumbling and I am not sure I can fall back as planned due to all units being heavily engaged (Figure 21).

Figure 21.

Figure 21.

So my plans for the next 30 or so minutes are grim, I am going to have to sacrifice Charlie 2-36nd Mechanized with orders to hold Michelbach as to the last. The Scout units of 2-32 Armored have been ordered to blow the bridges behind Michelbach. The Units north of Michelbach-Albstadt will fall back to the northwest and the remains of Bravo 2-36 will withdraw into Michelbach. Michelbach will become the “Alamo” at least for two companies of the 36th Mechanized Battalion. My FA will be divided into three missions one Counter Battery (CB), one “On Call” and one “neutralizing fire (3x) against some Soviet mechanized units hung up in the minefields.

Turn 5, 08:18-08:50: The weather continues to be bad with visibility to 2,000 meters (4 hexes). The action this past 32 minutes was characterized by an intense fire fight between several MI-24 Hinds and Bravo Company 2-32 Armored. Several Hinds were seen going down and recon into the area found five (5) downed Hinds within a 500 meter area. Not all of these MI-24s likely went down during the most recent engagement but it is obvious the Soviet attack helio unit has suffered significant looses in exchange for its Abrams kills. Despite this it is not out of action either as Delta/2-32 Armored reported at least four (4) Hinds circling to their northeast. The Soviet armored/Mechanized thrusts were converging into one main thrust toward Michelbach, with T-80s currently on the edge of town (Figure 22).

Figure 22.

Figure 22.

Over the next half hour the recently arrived M150s of the 32nd Mechanized Battalion have arrived and were racing to shore up the river defense of the 36th Armored Battalion before the Soviets cleared Michelbach and hit the river line. Bravo Company of the 36th was ordered to flank the southern portion of the Soviet thrust taking up positions in the woods west of the river and south of Michelbach. Kiowa’s of the 227th Aviation Regiment were going to sweep the wooded areas north of the main road to see if any more Hinds are present in that area. Overall, I’m looking for a turn with heavy fighting in Michelbach and attempting to shore up the river line.

Check in next week for Part 4.

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