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AAR: GZG ECC XI: Broadsword - The Raid
By Thomas Barclay

This Page: Who, When and Where   Battlefield   Red Force Order of Battle (Broadsword Mercenaries)   Blue Force Order of Battle (Tanoose civilians, TFL, and Off World Advisors)   Red Force Objectives and Briefing   Blue Force Objectives and Briefing   Initial Deployments Red Force Battle Plan   Blue Force Battle Plan   Engagement Summary Post-Battle Analysis Lessons Learned Final Comments

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Who, Where and When Back to Top

The game was played in Lancaster at GZG ECC XI on about an 4' x 6' table (guess-timate). The game was played February 29th, 2008. The game took about 4 hours to run. The rules were essentially Stargrunt-II as modified slightly for the Traveller setting. The miniatures were 15mm scale and were a mix of GZG, DLD and older Martian Metals plus terrain from other manufacturers.

Mark Kinsey ran the game and the players involved were: Jerry Accord (TFL 1st Platoon - North road-block and TFL 3rd Platoon reinforcements), Kieth Frye (TFL 2nd Platoon - South), Thomas Barclay (Sword World's Advisors and Tanoose Citizenry), Megan Haithcock (Broadsword Mercs - APC, two squads, cutter), Damond Walker (Broadsword Mercs - FSV, two squads, cutter).

In the scenario, a group of mercenaries has been retained (possibly by the Imperium) to reinforce the pro-Imperial Tanoose government. The mercenaries are attempting a quick raid to secure some of the civilian and military leadership of the Tanoose Freedom League (TFL), an insurgent group suspected to be funded by offworld sources.

Battlefield Back to Top

4' x 6' with a town in the middle with one road running diagonally NW-SE across about 2/3rd of the map. Some hills at one corner (NE) and some swamp along one edge (W). The town was laid out mostly longitudinally along the road (NW-SE). At the center of town was a larger cluster of buildings that were more modern (but still run down) and a parking lot. The TFL had field fortifications (sandbagged trenches) emplaced along the main road from the direction enemies were likely to arrive (NW corner of town) and field fortifications (command bunker) at the other end of town on the road (SE). Road entrance could only reasonably be achieved from NW or SE roads. Airborne arrival could place troops anywhere but the target was in the middle of town on the West (swamp) side.

Map link will go here, maybe a map picture

Red Force Order Of Battle Back to Top

2 x Modular Cutters (can carry up to 16 troops or a vehicle, heavily armoured, capable of landing infantry and automatically creating foxholes for them, armed with a missile launcher (enhanced guidance, GMS/H?) - painstakingly scratch built from foam insulation)

1 x AFV (8x8 High Mobility Wheeled, 20-20mm Autocannon, capable of carrying one squad, speed 12"/2d12" on road, 8"/2d8" off-road - DLD Kamodo FSV variant)

1 x APC (8x8 High Mobility Wheeled, capable of carrying one squad, speed 12"/2d12" on road, 8"/2d8" off-road - DLD Kamodo)

1 x Air Raft (open topped, with MG) - I have no idea who was in this, but it never got more than 6" on the board for the entire game...

Mercenary Platoon - 4 x Mercenary Squads (high quality troops with decent leadership equipped with gauss rifles, SAWs and rigid combat armour - NI)

Blue Force Order Of Battle Back to Top

3 x AC flatbed truck (could carry a bunch of troops on the back if cargo was offloaded, unarmed, unarmoured, 1 off-board at the start of game)

Various civilian vehicles scattered around the board (sporty civilian grav car, civilian AC truck, others)

TFL Platoon 1 - 2 x large squad (poor quality troops with hunting rifles and 1 rocket launcher between them, poor armour) + 1 command group (small, green)

TFL Platoon 2 - 3 x squad (poor quality troops with hunting rifles and MGs, no AT capability, poor armour) + 1 command group (small, green)

1 Squad Off-World "Advisors" - ACRs, 4mm RAM Auto GL, Plasma Gun - REG-2

About 12 groups (typically 2-3, a couple of larger groups) of civilians (yellow chit, poor leadership, dubious armament if any) scattered around the board

TFL Platoon 3 - pretty much the same as #2, offboard at the start of the game

Unspecified Off-World support - Ground forces from Gram (Sword Worlds) but no armour, arty, or air

Red Force Objectives and Briefing Back to Top

The 5th Frontier War has broken out. The Tanoose system is blockaded by (Zhodani or Sword Worlds) space forces. The Mercenary Cruiser Broadsword is caught inside the noose. The Tanoose Imperial client government has hired Broadsword's Mercenaries as a rapid reaction force to help quell a nascent uprising by the Tanoose Freedom League. Tanoose citizenry are not fond of external control. They want rid of the Imperial puppet government (but they have been known to shoot Zhodani-sponsored Ine Givar agents in the back of the head and leave their bodies just outside the Starport Extrality Fence too).

The Broadsword Mercs are rolling on a hot intelligence tip that may have located the leadership of the TFL in the central part of the small town next to the main parking lot/town square. There is an expectation of encountering some TFL insurgent forces of questionable quality.

Objectives

Objective 1: Seize Suspected TFL Leaders for questioning/detention.

Objective 2: Seize any electronic or hard copy intelligence for analysis.

Objective 3: Capture "Persons of Interest" - specifically including any armed opposition that may provide further information.

Objective 4: Minimize collateral damage to the town to prevent further unrest. Such damage may give the TFL propaganda points.

Blue Force Objectives and Briefing Back to Top

Sword Worlds Military Advisors have been working with the TFL in their struggle for freedom from Imperial oppression. They have been arming and training the TFL troops but the training has not progressed particularly far. They believe they are unknown to the Imperial Forces and wish to remain so.

Objectives (somewhat inferred, since we were on the recieving end of the raid)

Objective 1: Protect TFL leadership and prevent it from being captured.

Objective 2: Do not allow the enemy forces to discover the "Military Advisors" identities.

Objective 3: Secure or destroy TFL intelligence documents (this was unknown to the BLUE FORCE players... a briefing oversight from the Ref I think).

Objective 4: Prevent capture of TFL sympathizers where possible.

Initial Deployments Back to Top

TFL Platoon 1 in the fighting fortifications at the North end of Town covering the road.

TFL Platoon 2 at the South of town, training in manouvers in a field.

Sword Worlds Advisors - in a bunker at the south of town, overseeing manouvers by TFL Platoon 2.

TFL Civilizan Leadership - in the middle of town in a large office building next to the parking lot/town square. Building has possible landing zones or vehiclular assault avenues on at least 3 sides.

TFL Civilians - scattered in clusters of 2-3 across most of the map with two notable concentrations, one in a large appartment building overlooking the parking lot and another in a civilian house later (spontaneously) determined to a bar popular among the locals.

Mercenaries were not on-board initially. They could use the road to approach with the wheeled vehicles or load them onto the cutters (respecting their limitations in carrying capacity). They could load infantry into the vehicles or onto the cutters without the vehicles.

Red Force Battle Plan Back to Top

I suspect their plan was to use the missiles on the cutters to soften up the target area, then land nearby and deploy some troops to assault the TFL leadership building. They also appear to have planned to use their armoured vehicles to assault the FTL 1st Platoon with the intention of clearing the entrance/exit of town along the road. At points, it was difficult for me (Sword World's Advisors) to assess their thinking.

Blue Force Battle Plan Back to Top

It was immediately apparent that the TFL Civilian leadership was unguarded in a building that was very vulnerable from several directions. The TFL forces and the Advisors were at least two very lucky turns of movement away from that position and would be moving through the open for the most part, exposing themselves to enemy air support. It was also apparent we had an appauling lack of anti-armour assets. Only one rocket launcher and the advanced weapons of the Advisors would present any threat to the armoured vehicles and nothing would threaten the cutters. Further, Tanoose forces were green (a bad thing) and civilians were yellow and scattered and equipped very, very poorly.

We were also in a reactive mode - the Mercenaries would have the initiative and their actions with the vehicles, troops and their cutters would have to guide our reaction plan. I was exceedingly worried about losing this scenario within the second or third turn. My only plan was to react as quickly, aggressively, and imaginatively as possible.

BLUE FORCE ASSESSMENT OF BEST RED FORCE OP PLAN

In planning to defend, I imagined myself in the role of the mercenaries and imagined how I would conduct the assault myself. If it were me, I would have loaded troops in the APC, none in the AFV/FSV, and all the remaining squads (two) plus the command element into the cutters.

The vehicles would have driven fast and hard through the TFL green platoon blocking the roadway, using the autocannon to suppress them (and if the vehicles were IFV capable, I'd have the squad in the APC fire from under armour as well). I would not have attempted a standing engagement at the town entrance, planning to move past these forces. This would render them pretty useless and they'd probably react by coming out of position, letting us kill them later more easily or escape past their former positions on the way out.

The cutters, meanwhile, would have moved fast to hover over the appartment building (big concentration of interesting civilians) and the office building (small concentration but suspected of being TFL leadership) and fast roped down onto the buildings (blowing holes in the roof with breaching charges and assaulting the occupants or setting down just outside the building and assaulting. This would have secured hopefully the TFL leaders before the end of the first round or at least by the mid-way through the second. It would also have secured a number of other civilians and would be inside the reaction time loop of the TFL ground forces. The vehicles, going full tilt, would have arrived late turn 2 or mid turn 3, thus giving the Mercs concentration of force.

By turn 2, the cutters only job would be to climb out of small arms range and use the missles to engage TFL forces moving to react, mostly in the open. I may have dispatched one cutter to take out the TFL forces at the town entrance in the trenches if they did not obligingly move out of there toward the town center. This action would serve to limit TFL response from their training area in the south, prevent any crazy assault on the landed or hovering cutters, and suppress the main threatening force on the exit route.

By late turn 3 or early turn 4, the mercenary vehicular forces would be rolling hot for the exit with some of the TFL prisoners with a cutter providing fire support and the autocannon providing suppression of any remaining TFL forces in their way. The remaining mercenaries would be forted up in the big appartment building - a good fortification with a good overview field of fire on approaches from all directions. The cutter not suppressing the exit route would provide fast ropes for extraction (or would quickly land in the parking lot under covering fire from the building) and the remaining mercenaries would be extracted. By the end of turn 4 or mid turn 5, the mercenary vehicular force should be off board.

On turn 5, if there were any mercenaries left at the building, the cutter formerly suppressing the field fortifications at the town exit would move to pick them up. The loaded cutter would maintain overwatch, using the missiles to engage anyone threatening the second cutter. We would also open the side hatches and allow the armoured mercs to use their small arms to help cover this action. Once loaded, both cutters with all mercenary forces embarked would extract.

If the Mercenaries had run the operation according to this plan, the suspected TFL leadership and some other civilians would have been captured. They wouldn't have got any Sword Worlders, but the Mercs didn't know they were there to get. Merc casualties should have been exceptionally light (which is key to any mercenary force). TFL casualties would depend a lot on how aggressive their counterattack was. If they pushed hard, the mercs with the high ground, better weapons, and cutter support should have smashed them.

Of course, this was how I would have done it. As it turned out, the mercenaries had a different plan...

Engagement Summary Back to Top

Red force loaded their APC and FSV both with a squad of enemy forces to drive in on the road. They put one squad in each cutter. In the first turn, they rolled the cutters in to a hover over the town and began to engage *formations of unarmed civilians inside civilian housing*. This seemed to violate their ROE restriction to not damage the town (this pattern followed throughout the game, leaving me to assess that pro-TFL sentiments would have hardened after this scenario to the detriment of the Imperial puppet government). Fortunately, cutter fire control sucked vs. ground targets and the dice didn't help so they mostly just blew holes in fields (this pattern also followed through much of the game, with a few grizzly exceptions). The ground forces drove on and began engaging the TFL green platoon in the fighting positions at the entrance to town.

The reaction from the TFL was simple - the TFL formation in the trenches at the entrance to town fought valiantly (for underequipped greens) to stymie the incoming armoured force. They held tight despite panic checks and fired on the foe. TFL forces in the South of town got moving as fast as they could run towards the center of town, rationalizing that this was a raid to get the TFL leadership and they should get to a position where they could affect that outcome. Sword World advisors provided additional command to speed this and remained hidden in their bunker. The small knots of civilians began clustering up to form squads of 4-6 (still yellow, mostly 3s and underarmed). I felt the civilians would want to be together with their friends in any time of strife.

In turn 2, the battle at the town entrance continued with mercenaries debarking to attempt an assault on one trench line. I'm a bit vague on whether the assault went off in turn two or was held for a round by fire. The other trench line at the town entrance kept fighting.

The cutters, in turn 2, continued to engage ground targets with missile fire. They did manage to successfully target one squad of the TFL's second platoon, moving from the south. This squad was largely obliterated. However, in choosing this sort of approach, the mercenary troops embarked aboard the firing cutters were doing nothing....

The turn 2 response from the TFL was simple as well - TFL troops moving up from the South shied from the open areas leading to the center of town, seeking positions in farm courtyards and houses that overlooked (from a distance) the town square and began digging in. The Northern defence forces in the trenches at the entrance to town fought like Spartans with their hunting rifles, MG and single rocket launcher to try to avoid being overrun by the mercenary mechanized force.

In turn 2, it became apparent to the TFL civilian leadership that they were under threat and they understood their criticality to the Tanoose Freedom movement. They piled out of the office building into a souped-up grav car and roared out of the town square, zig-zagging between small outlying buildings to avoid exposure to cutter missile fire. Other civilian units continued to concentrate. Every civilian unit that could find a vehicle attempted to evacuate the center of town in a random direction. The idea here was that if the Mercs weren't sure which element was the command unit, they would only be able to chase a percentage of the options, giving a better chance for the leaders to escape.

The Military Advisors started a fast movement towards the town square using building cover, knowing the enemy forces would arrive their eventually and that they had the only effectual anti-armour weapons. They were permitted to call for off-board assets (more Gram (Sword World's) military ground forces, but no armour, arty or air) and it 6was the assessment of the commander of this unit that this would expose their secret operation to a greater risk of compromise. Additionally, no professional wants to call for help before it is merited, and so far the mercenaries were not being terribly effectual in penetrating the town or smashing the defenders.

Turn 3 arrived. By this time, the mercenaries had taken one of the trench lines at the entrance to town. They finally realized they had to get moving and drove the APC into town, leaving one squad and their FSV to finish the remaining trench line and green TFL forces. One cutter moved to land outside the office building they thought still housed the TFL leadership and they triggered their cratering charges to created improvised fighting positions for their mercenaries as they did so. 1 Squad was thus deployed near the office building. The second cutter managed to utterly annihilate a truckload of civilians (I think these Mercenaries had decided on the "cow them with terror" appoach to managing the TFL issue), killing and incinerating one Sword World truck driver. The other Sword World's transport soldier survived (the only survivor of the flaming wreckage).

TFL response was fairly limited - in the North, the one remaining squad (plus the command squad radioing them encouragement) held out and suppressed the mercenary squad, preventing an assault that would clear the second trench line. Spartans indeed! In the South, the TFL second platoon remained hidden in buildings and courtyards, civilians continued to concentrate and a variety of vehicles moved off the board in different directions. The Sword Worlds Advisor squad continued its movement towards the town square.

I moved most of the civilians in one of the buildings (later declared a bar) into the appartment building overlooking the town square. The mob squad there was now about 15 in number. To avoid the ire of the seemingly ruthlessly random cutter missiles, I had them spray paint pro-government and pro-imperial slogans on the walls and hang out banners welcoming their rescuers. They weren't Imperial sympathizers, but at least it might prevent the Mercs from missiling them or (ruthlessly on my part) generate some good propaganda for the news if the Mercs did decide to obliterate an apartment full of apparently pro-Imperial civilians.

I missed 3 figures in the (soon to be a bar) building. When the ref pointed out, he said they must have been drunk not to have left when everyone else left. I immediately suggested this was the local bar and they wouldn't leave their watering hole to foreign mercenaries. A moment of humour was shared by all!

We did start to move TFL squad 3 on the far Western board edge, through a swamp. Returning from patrol, they were heading for the sound of the guns in town.

Turn 4 arrived. The mercenary FSV and squad in the trenches continued a heated dispute with the remaining TFL squad defending the town's road entrance. The mercs main problem was they could not assault with suppressions and they didn't have enough force or luck to place enough suppressions to stop the TFL squad plus its command reacivation from removing their suppressions and suppressing the mercs in exchange. A stalemate of sorts.

The mercenary APC ran down the main road, planning to assault a building where they saw civilians (the bar). They rammed the bar. Twice. Inneffectually. The drunks jeered them. This bar was built of stern stuff.

The sole survivor (a Gram soldier) of the blown up flatbed recoverd his wits and noticed that the enemy APC was stopped, having unsuccessfully rammed the bar several times (rather than prudently disgorging troops after the first failed ram). I made him make a roll (the ref never saw this) to determine his level of fervor. It was very high. He elected to attack, by himself, the enemy APC. The ref made him make a TL+3 test to initiate, which he passed with flying colours (he was leader 3, but he rolled an 8 on his regular die). He then combat moved over to the APC and tried to free the assault ramp. This shouldn't work normally, but oversights occur. The ref made the mercenary squad roll to beat their leadership (an orange 1) to make sure they had it locked. They rolled a 1 and it was not locked. So our truck-driver-commando dropped the tailgate and opened fire with his ACR at point blank range. He suppressed the squad inside and killed one. The locals inside the bar jeered more. The assumption was the soldiers in the APC must have unlatched the hatch to deploy after they rammed into the building, but the failed ram threw off their timing and the motivated enemy leveraged the opportunity (and got lucky).

To add insult to injury, one of the squads from the South, emplaced in a nearby courtyard, saw one of the off world troops rallying to their defence so bravely, they were motivated and fired up. They were also green. They didn't stop to consider (failed a command check) that their fire would have to pass their hero to get at the enemy. So their squad cut loose with rifles and an MG into the open back of the APC adding more suppression and another casualty to the mercenaries in there, They did, fortunately, miss Sergeant Rock (we decided this was the former truck driver's name in honour of his heroic assault).

The second cutter continued to engage random pieces of ground with inaccurate missile fire.

During the course of this round, the troops from the first cutter engaged the office building that they thought held the TFL leadership (note that these were gone long since by this point...), but failed to shake the two air conditioning mechanics I had moved in there from the street. These were nobody significant, but the mercenaries had apparently not kept their eye on the ball (reasonable, in a sense, because they knew where the target building was but may have been fuzzy on which personel were of interest). The cutter itself lifted off to hover and provide artillery support.

The TFL, for its part, moved its 3rd platoon on through the swamp. This began to be a concern for the cutter and the squad assaulting the office building. The Gram command squad moved up to where it could see the bar and the parking lot. Second platoon's remaining squads (other than the one that fired into the APC) remained in buildings.

The big gaggle of civilians in the appartment and several other clusters recognized the lack of fire discrimination by the mercenary forces and decided to evacuate to the south and moved out. To further annoy the mercenaries, I implied they were actually dancing a conga while they departed. (psychological warfare of the weakest sort, but funny to me....). I also had the AC mechanics check to see if the office building had gas heat - if so, I planned to have them open the stopcocks and then evac the next round so that if the mercenary squad assaulted with gunfire, there would be a lovely boom. No such luck (fusion power), though I did get a grin out of Mark (the referee).

By the very first part of turn 4, the TFL leadership and several other groups of civilians in vehicles had left the board. The mercenaries principal target was gone but they had no clue.

Turn 5 arose. The battle at the North point of town supposedly expected to be concluded by turn 2 according to the ref, raged on. The stalemate persisted with some light casualties to the TFL squad holding the second trench. But it was a big squad. Having their leader 30m away in a building reactivating them surely made this a brutal battle for the mercenaries who had expected to sweep them aside but hadn't finished the job, taking one of their squads into town and leaving one behind. If the Mercs had either just driven past this unit or devoted the force required to crush it fast, then it would not have lasted anywhere near this long.

The mercenary APC crew with the back open and the front of their rig wedged against the local bar, recognizing their jeapordy, slammed the APC into reverse, knocking the feet out from Sergeant Rock, catapulting the Gram soldier face first into the APCs back, smashing his helmet on the APC floor knocking him out. In the same move, they hoisted the assault ramp to give the squad some respite from hostile fire.

A squad of the second TFL platoon, the one which had fired into the back of the APC, continued firing and got very lucky... a non-penetrating hit immobilized the mercenary APC (I rationalize this as an mg having blown out all 4 tires on one side and riddled the transfer cases). The drunks in the bar narrowly failed a roll to run out and dance on top of the (still occupied) neutralized enemy vehicle. I was working overtime on the whole 'confusion to the enemy' aspect.

For their trouble, the 2nd platoon's squad sucked up a missile from the second hovering cutter, blowing it into bloody hamburger. Score another one for the cutters, this time not civilians.

The squad of mercs finally assaulted the office building and captured the two very confused and frightened AC mechanics. They were being asked questions about stuff they didn't know anything about and maintained their innocence. The building seems to have had paper or electronic intelligence in it - a fact the TFL only learned of when the ref told the mercs... I'm not sure if he was throwing them a bone or just forgot to tell us or assumed we'd realize there was intel to defend... if we had known, we'd have arranged to have it loaded on a truck or burnt up - we did have some time before the mercs arrived due to the way things worked out. Still, even if he was throwing them a bone, I'm okay with that. They were having a hard time.

The third TFL platoon, moving in from the swamp, started firing on the merc squad at the office building with the AC mechanic prisoners. The cutter hovering over the office building started shellacing them with missiles.

More civilians left the board to the South. Hopefully this would result in fewer attrocities.

The Ref kept suggesting that the Sword Worlders could call for additional off-world troops (hint, hint) but I declined the opportunity each time. The Blue Force still had nearly two full platoons of combat effective (ish) TFL forces. My command squad hadn't fired a shot. The enemy had failed to capture the TFL leaders who had escaped. More troops would compromise the Sword Worlder presence on this world and I didn't think that was wise. So I opted to work with what I had. Heck, if barflies and green troops could logjam these mercenaries, why did we need help? The people of Tanoose were up to the challenge with little outside help. For my part, the only remaining tactical goal I had was to prevent the compromise of the secret Sword World's mission here.

That is where the problem arose. The enemy APC had sucked up Sergeant Rock the Teamster. (When it was noted that a truck driver was whaling on an entire combat armoured squad by himself, Keith Frye noted "He's not a truck driver, he's a Teamster!") The fact he was a prisoner represented a problem. The disabling of the APC limited the Mercenary's ability to get out with the prisoner, but I still had to stop him escaping. The command squad opened up with a Plasma Gun and a RAM AGL, missing. Yes, we would probably kill our own guy. Welcome to cover operations 101.... no quarter asked, none given, and no prisoners.

Round 6 finally arrived. This was to be the last round in the game. At the office building, the mercenary squad with the two AC mechanics was retreating to the cutter and applying suppression and missile fire, inflicting sizable casualties on the TFL 3rd platoon, gamely trying to kill this mercenary squad while occuping a lovely chunk of swampland.

In the North, the battle for the trenchline continued to be largely a stalemate. If the green TFL soldiers don't get a blue chit in any subsequent scenarios, Mark has no sense of the dramatic. These guys deserved an upgrade!

The 2nd TFL platoon (survivors of, about half the platoon) stayed dug down in their houses and courtyards. No one else really wanted a cutter missile.

Before the mercenary APC could escape with Sergeant Rock, the Sword Worlds command squad activated. The Plasma Gun missed, but the RAM AGL did not, disabling the vehicle. During the bail out, Sergeant Rock survived but the Mercenaries lost another guy. In a fit of anger, the Mercenary squad leader put a bullet in Sergeant Rock's head. Not exactly the way I had envisioned the problem of the captured operative being solved, but I could live with it. Containment of our secret had been assured by the emotional response of a player and a squad of enemy mercenaries. Problem solved.

ENDGAME

The referee ruled that the Mercenaries had captured some intelligence in the office building, had acquired two civilian prisoners, and had suffered on the order of 6 or 7 infantry casulaties (maybe 20-25% of their forces) and lost their APC (half their armour). In return, they killed a bunch of local unarmed civilians, blew up one hover truck, killed 2 Sword Worlds soldiers (but without questioning them) and probably inflicted about 25 casualties on the green TFL platoons. The mercs had not captured the TFL leadership or a large number of civilians or any Sword Worlds military people alive.

It was ruled a minor victory for the TFL side (not sure what we'd have needed to do to score a major victory - the only thing we let slip was intel we didn't know about until after the fact... maybe we had to inflict more casualties and blow up the FSV too... I think we probably deserved a major victory...). I think the ref might have been being generous to the mercs, but again they'd been having a hard day so I don't begrudge that judgment. I'd rather have another player go away and come back to play another day than go away upset and feeling bad.

I think this is a major TFL victory in the campaign setting: The Imperials have no confirmation of foreign military involvment (suspicions, but no live examples), did not capture the TFL leadership, blatantly attacked civilians, and were sent packing by the local TFL with very little support from off world. This has to hearten the locals, increase recruiting (both because the government's hired dogs are indiscriminate in their brutality and because the TFL is shown to have capability to resist).

Lessons Learned Back to Top

Lesson 1: In a counter insurgency operation, establishing containment early is critical. The mercenaries failed to do this on turn 1 and consequently lost their primary targets. The cutters would have allowed them to establish a security cordon by early turn 2 at the latest and the targets we6re fairly undefended at the start.

Lesson 2: Confusion to the enemy is critical. When you have a smaller, weaker force, you have to fight inventively and do everything you can to make the situation unclear for your foe. You have to hide the important, make the trivial seem significant, and take actions that set him back on his heels. Get inside his or her head and make the opposition react with emotion rather than clear thought.

Lesson 3: Get inside an enemy's decision and reaction loop. Be the one driving the scenario and force them to react to you not you to react to them. As early as feasible, seize the initiative and never give it back. Be unrelenting. Push back hard whenever you can. Counterattack. Confuse, Manouver. Force the enemy into a response mode and he or she will be so concerned with reacting that you can slide by quiet moves in the background without notice. The mercenaries in this scenario should have been driving pace and forcing the TFL to react, but after the late 1st or early 2nd round, I felt the initiative was mostly with the TFL.

Lesson 4: Stay mission focused. This is critical. The mercenaries failed this one. They had one target building, one target stand of suspected leaders. Those should have been sealed off on round 1. They bogged down fighting the greens at the entry to town rather than just busting through. They could have been at the target with their entire force by turn 2, but instead some parts of their force never got to the target. They were moving in the right direction eventually, but they were too slow and too piecemeal.

Lesson 5: Concentration of force locally gives you the ability to crush the enemy. Dispersing gives them the ability to crush you. The mercenaries failed to obtain sufficient local concentration to leverage their superior firepower and quality decisively.

Lesson 6: Speed is essential. Close assault situations are won with speed and violence. Maximum firepower deployed in a concentrated form in minimal time. The mercenaries didn't manage to accomplish this.

Final Comments Back to Top

Mark ran a wonderful conversion of a Traveller scenario. The game ran smoothly, Mark handled all of our oddball requests with good sense and good rulings. I hope Mark can attend TravellerCon/USA-2 in October in Lancaster. I'm going to try to try very hard to get there and I'd like to host a Traveller themed game or two that Mark could participate in as a repayment for the most excellent job of refereeing done with this Broadsword scenario. And my compliments on excellent painting and construction - the game was truly scenic and Mark did a marvelous and very patient job in scratchbuilding the two cutters.

To my TFL team-mates, thanks for assisting in our victory. Jerry who was commanding the troops at the gateway to town should get the Tanoose Medal of Freedom for his iron-hard blocking action.

To my Broadsword mercenary foes: Megan, Damond - you were fun to play against and I hope you had fun as I did. You had some bad die luck at times (the APC foray into town was marred by it as was your missile fire) but you were great good sports and made the game fun. Without the opposition, there is no game and you guys were gracious (and entertaining!).

I hope everyone involved or reading this can take away something positive, in terms of lessons learned or just plain fun from having been in the game.

To the Imperial puppetmasters and their Tanoose puppet government: UP YOURS! FREEDOM FOR TANOOSE!

Back to Top

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