Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

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Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by berto »


[SPOILER ALERT! AND NO CROSSROADS ALLOWED. NO PEEKING! [:-]]


Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)


From our previous PBEM:
ORIGINAL: berto

Glutton for punishment that I am, I have agreed to PBEM again with fellow Dev Team member Crossroads...
After suffering Major Defeat at my hands in our recently concluded The Crossroads PBEM, glutton for punishment that he is, Crossroads has challenged me to another fight, this one of his own making.

For this next PBEM game, we will be playing one of Crossroads' creations, E03_Sirte1985_H2H.scn, Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide.

For this scenario, Crossroads will be playing the British, while I will play the attacking Libyans -- the Arab side, as is my wont.

As scenario designer, Crossroads has an obvious advantage. To offset that, he advised me to play the prequel Sirte #1 and Sirte #2 scenarios in his "Crisis in Sirte Tournament Scenarios pack (four scenarios in total), and even also to play the Sirte #3 scenario beforehand. Which I did, getting about half way in, as the Libyans. Normally I like to play my games scenario-blind, with no prior knowledge of scenario details, even without much reading up on the historical context first. Of course, this is a made-up, hypothetical, what-if scenario, so there is no history of it. In Sirte #1 and Sirte #2, Crossroads sets the fictional stage:
Tensions flew high even before Colonel Gaddafi again claimed the Gulf of Sidre as Libyan territorial waters, sinking a British merchant to make the point. After having witnessed a set of retaliatory air strikes against his military bases, he then stormed the British Embassy in Tripoli, taking the surviving personnel hostages. Not to give in to Gaddafi's demands, the United Kingdom soon deployed one of her Quick Reaction Forces into Mediterranean.

With part of Libyan Army now in revolt, it was quickly decided an incursion into Sirte would be called. The plan called first to secure the Port of Sirte as a location to land further reinforcements, with the final aim of securing the Ghardabiya Air Base as a base for further strikes against forces still loyal to Gaddafi.

Soon, the elements of the QRF Air Assault Regt embarked their Chinook transports in Malta, to quickly secure Gaddafi's home city, believed to be guarded with only a weakened element of a Libyan Mech Bde as all eyes were on events taking place in Tripoli.

With gunships on their flanks, the Chiinooks took off towards Sirte, flying low under the Libyan radar and missile cover.
With Port of Sirte secured, the pressure was on to expand and secure the bridgehead before the forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi can react. Without a delay, the elements of the Air Assault Regt were ordered to secure the vital road networks next to city of Sirte. At the same time, the landing crafts disembarked their load into the port facilities, unloading elements of the QRF Mech Bde, with orders to push further on.

First target: the various hamlets under code name "Shire". Then, "Umbria" and "Kent", if possible.

The surprised Libyan Armed Forces were now putting together a first coherent attempt at a counter attack, under strict orders by Gaddafi to throw the enemy to the sea. Yet, the commander of the Libyan Mech Bde was aware he was still reacting to events, and was pondering whether to contain the bridgehead, rather than to go all out on the British mechanized forces now streaming out of the city.
The scenario description for chapter 3, the scenario we will be playing:
[Sirte, Libya] [H2H] [FIC] [CSL]:

Having completed their first phase of the operation, the exhausted British Quick Reaction Force settled in for the night, pulling back to the vicinity of Sirte. "Shire" level targets all secured, it had not been a bad first day at the office.

Using the cover of the night, elements of the Libyan Mech Bde closed in, determined in their knowledge that if they ever want to throw the invasion force back into sea, now is the time.

On 6 August 1985 at 0430 hrs the British alarms went off: Libyans are on the move! Now they must put all they have learned on mobile defense into use, if they are to survive.

[Note: British Gunships deliberately without a HQ. Once they've spent their 4 missile loads, they're done.] [ALL: OPT AF]
According to the Scenario Information, the scenario begins at night, near dawn, and runs for 20 turns:

0 0 0 1-3[n] 4-20[d]

Visibility is restricted at beginning, because night, then extends as the day wears on:

0 0 0 0 1-3[2] 4-6[6] 7-8[8] 9-20[12]

The Weather is Thick Fog, the Ground conditions are Dry.

My (Qaddafi's) Order of Battle:

Image

My strength:

Image

A fair number of tanks (T-72s), and not a few ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile)units. A SAM unit, and even a couple of helicopters.

The playing field:

Image

As you can see, my ground forces are clustered into four main groupings 5-8 KMs outside of Sirte. Their objectives:

Image

(The Rubble hexes you see show the effects of the earlier (scenarios) fighting.)

These are still alpha, near beta graphics, subject to change. Note how we now depict night: by means of a general green overlay. Gone for good is the old, legacy shadow mesh.

Far to the south, at the Ghardabiya Air Base, the helos, the SAM, and support units:

Image

(Still need to tweak the unit graphics placements for better centering, I see. Alpha-to-beta graphics still, right?)

Despite the air base, I have no air strikes to call. (Perhaps because the Brits have taken out most of my air forces?)

The scenario Victory Conditions:

Image

Oh my, this is a tough mission! In order to have chance at victory, I will need to capture three out of the four objectives, and kill more than my share besides. I will do well to score a Draw here, I think.

To help me out, Crossroads has this to say:
Here's a few thoughts, as I'm obviously quite familiar with this one:

- A story of quantity vs quality...
- Be wary of those Chieftains. In fact, be very, very wary of them...
- Your missile troops are your best friends. Hit hard, when situation calls.
- Your helos enjoy unlimited ATGM supply from their Air Base. Enjoy!
- SAMs with Low targeting now as well. Nasty...
Into the fray! Allahu akbar!
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by berto »


My plan of attack:

Image

Under cover of darkness, the yellow circled forces will converge between "Kent" and "Cumbria", then drive northeastward toward the central Objective, the small yellow square. That will be my initial main axis of attack.

Why there? For one thing, the approaches there are perhaps easiest.

Here is a zoomed-in screenshot, with the new Concealment map overlay toggled ON:

Image

For what it's worth, maybe not much, those Scrub hexes in that corridor provide a bit of concealment, -1, vs. the 0 concealment of the Open hexes all around.

Another screenshot, with the new Morale map overlay toggled ON:

Image

Here too the Scrub will give my forces a bit of a morale boost. That is to say, relative to the -1 malus of all the Open hexes elsewhere.

So I will mass my forces between "Kent" and "Cumbria", then push up from there towards the central Objective (yellow square). Massed forces, because when I encounter those British Chieftan tanks, I want as many T-72s on hand as possible.

If and when I take the central objective, I will veer left towards "Yorkshire" or possibly rightward to "Devonshire" as developments warrant. My eastern force (turquoise ellipse, first screenshot above), my weakest force, I will hold back in reserve around "Bedfordshire". Let the battle develop in the center first, then unleash my eastern battle group to join in the expected battle for "Devonshire".

The grand prize, the 250-point objective hex right in Sirte? I figure that will be too tough a nut to crack. But we'll see.

To guard my left flank, I will deploy my ATGMs broadly in the elevations from "Kent" to "Cheshire". No ATGMs to my right. There I will have my scout cars on the lookout for any British eastward thrust.

That's the plan. Let's give it a go.
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by berto »


TURN #1

In the British Side A phase, no sights or sounds of the enemy anywhere. But I know they are out there.

Visibility is only 2, so as I move my forces towards the center left, I am not overly concerned with possible enemy opfire.

In the pre-dawn darkness, no point to any air ops, so I let my helo crews at Ghardabiya Air Base (off map to the south) sleep in a while longer.

After my Side B (Libyan) move (Side B is the scenario's second side), the situation at the end of Turn 1:

Image
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by berto »


I neglected to mention one other vital reason -- perhaps the most important reason -- for basing my attack between "Kent" and "Cumbria". Here is a screenshot with the Elevations map overlay toggled ON:

Image

The low areas from "Kent" to "Cumbria" (and SW of "Kent", and SE of "Cumbria") -- these are relatively safe places to hide my HQs, artillery, transports, and other vulnerable units when the battle heats up. I don't have these refuges to the west or to the east.

All in all, attacking from the center left makes sense. We shall see what Crossroads thinks.
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by berto »


Some unit comparisons. First, the opposing tanks:

Image

Libya has 23 T-72s vs. an unknown number of British Chieftans.

The thing that pops out here is, tank on tank, the extreme lethality of the Chieftans, at all ranges up to 16. By comparison, the T-72 hard attack factors are much, much less, at best 40% of the Chieftan's punch at close range, 20-30% in the mid ranges, while at range 10 and beyond, forget about it.

The Chieftans are bettered armor too, with generally 1-1/2 X the defensive strength of the T-72s.

About the only advantage of the T-72s is their greater mobility, especially off road. On the other hand, the Chieftans have a slightly lower Fire Cost.

One on one, company vs. company, it's no contest. Chieftans will win every time, wipe out the T-72s even. My only hope for a "fair" fight is to overwhelm with greater numbers. And play the terrain to my advantage.
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by berto »


Next, the opposing helicopters:

Image

Libya has just four helos, while again the British helo count is unknown. But from prior engagement (the earlier Crisis in Sirte scenarios), the best guess is that British helos number a couple dozen -- but most of those are transports.

The Libyan Mi-24 Hind Ds and British Lynx AH.1(ATGM) are excellent anti-tank (anti- hard target) gunships, both with good AT firepower out to 15 hexes or so. My problem is I only have two of them. Use them and lose them?

Versus soft targets, e.g., the Hinds are best used to kill enemy helos. If I can somehow get in some close-range shots, at ranges 2 to 3, I might score some helo kills.

I have just two Hinds. Go for the Chieftans, or go for the Lynx? Whatever, I must make them count.

Likewise, I have just two Mi-2 Hoplites. Virtually useless against hard targets, in a pinch I might direct them at enemy helos, especially the Gazelles. The Gazelles are transport craft only, have nearly zero firepower. About my Mi-2s, I am thinking best use them as mobile transports. (The Hinds too have transport capability. But they are too valuable in other killer roles.)
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by berto »


Down at Ghardabiya Air Base (screenshot here), the Libyan SAMs:

Image

Beyond range 15, the Libyan SAMs have a 24 attack factor out to range 81, declining from there out to a maximum range of 148 hexes. [X(] These indicated attack factors are vs. High flying targets. Versus targets at Low air level, their effectiveness is only 25%. The SAMs can't fire at all at helos flying NOE. I would be surprised to see any British helos flying higher than NOE.

Note: If the Fansong Radar unit at Ghardabiya is destroyed, that renders the SAMs useless. With their AA capability, the Libyan BTR-40A Armored Transports at the base are there to help protect the radar.
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by budd »

Appreciate the layout of your AAR. I dont know a bunch about modern equipment so i always learn something useful when you go over the units involved and how you use them.
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by berto »


Ground AA assets:

Image

I have just two of these ZSU-23-4 SPAA (Self-Propelled Antiaircraft) units.

"Extremely effective against low flying aircraft and helicopters..." Indeed, look at the near-range soft attack factors.

The two ZSU-23-4s are assigned to my western and southwestern attack groups.

All told, I have some decent AA defenses.
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by berto »


Libyan ground ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile) units:

Image

I have four of the AT-3 Sagger ATGM platoons, and two of the BRDM-2 Sagger ATGM units.

Both are quite lethal, but at the same time quite vulnerable. Against tanks, especially against Chieftans, my only hope is to get in the first shots. Scoot and shoot, then scoot back again. The BRDM-2s are highly mobile, and can easily outrun the much slower Chieftans.

Note that the AT-3 Saggers ATGMs have a Fire Cost of 55, meaning they can only fire once per turn. While the BRDM-2s have a Fire Cost of 40, affording them two shots per turn.

Apart from my T-72s, these six units right here are key to my AT defenses.

(I don't compare the Libyan AA & ATGM units vs. their British counterparts, because about the latter I simply don't know who they are. I don't intend to "cheat" -- inspect the .scn file -- to find out. This puts me at a disadvantage with my opponent, the scenario designer, of course. Moreover, who has played this scenario before as the Libyans. [8|])
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by budd »

A question, why do the hard attack numbers drop at the 2 hex range for the Sagger and Maljutka 48,24,70?
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by berto »


Good question, budd. Hey Data Guys, what's that all about?
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by berto »


TURN #2

In the British Side A phase, again no sign of the enemy.

Following my plan, I continue to send my forces in the general direction of "Kent", my intended base of operations (magenta circle in the screenshot following).

In the center, I am wary of "Cumbria" (yellow circle). It would be too easy to charge up the road to "Cumbria", only to be ambushed there. Worse, to bog myself down there. No, better to bypass "Cumbria"; or if not possible to ignore it, then at most attempt to occupy its western districts, in order to deny the enemy a vantage point to enfilade my main attack from the east and southeast.

My central reserve: one T-72 company (turquoise ellipse southeast of "Cumbria"), there maybe to fend off any British armored thrust east of Cumbria, also to join in any battle for "Cumbria", if despite my best intentions one should develop there.

My eastern reserve: one understrength T-72 company, one mechanized infantry company, biding their time around "Bedfordshire" (turquoise ellipse to the northeast).

Flight 79, my one Mi-2 Hoplite unit (lower green circle), I have directed to "Bedfordshire" to pick up the Sagger ATGM unit at the place (upper green circle), from there to transport it to somewhere in the center. Taking a bit of a risk, and in order to extend its range, the Mi-2s are flying at Low air level, not NOE. I don't believe the Brits have any radar guided SAMs. But even if they do, with SAM fire reduced to 25% effectiveness against Low flying targets, this is a risk I am willing to take. Once loaded, however, the Mi-2s will be sure to fly NOE and roundabout away from the action.

Flight 80, my sole Hind unit (red circle), was directed to loiter east/southeast of "Cumbria". It will always fly NOE, and for the time being, far away from the action. When I commit the Hinds, I want it to be a surprise, and to come from an unexpected direction.

After my Side B (Libyan) move (Side B is the scenario's second side), the situation at the end of Turn 2:

Image
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by Jason Petho »

Sagger teams were also laiden with RPG's.

The Saggers don't acquire targets under 500 metres, so it is just the RPG's that are in the first two hex range.
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by berto »


Jason knows his sh*t! [:)]
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by berto »


TURN #3

First enemy sighting!

After Crossroads' Side A (British) move (Side A is the scenario's first side), the situation at the middle of Turn 3:

Image

Wait a sec! If Visibility is only 2 (see the InfoBox), how is it that the enemy unit (yellow circle) is sighted by my nearest unit (magenta circle) 4 hexes away? It is because those Libyan T-72s have NightVision capability, allowing them to see at night up to 5 hexes distant. [8D]
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by berto »


TURN #3

Making good use of their night vision capability, the T-72s (magenta circle, previous screenshot; gun flashes in the screenshot following) fired at the British armored reconnaissance vehicles at hex 29,17 (red circle, screenshot following), destroying them both. First blood! The T-72s then retreated for cover behind "Kent" (turquoise circle).

The Libyan western battle groups are nearly assembled at their jump off points to the west and east of "Kent".

Next turn, Turn 4, is dawn, when visibility increases to 6. Lying low for the moment, I await the arrival of all of my forces, and for the enemy to show his hand.

After my Side B (Libyan) move (Side B is the scenario's second side), the situation at the end of Turn 3:

Image
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by berto »


TURN #4

A new dawn. A disaster.

British Lynx AHs (Attack Helicopters) swoop in from the north and ...

Image

... destroy three T-72s! (The red circle marks the spot.) The Lynxes retreat a safe distance away.

Another flight of Lynx helos swoop in and ...

Image

destroys another three T-72s! In the blink of an eye, I lose more than half a tank company. [:(]
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by berto »


TURN #4

The second flight of Lynx retreats safely away from harm also.

British mechanized infantry at "Cumbria" (turquoise circle) fire at Libyan mech infantry down in the ravine (magenta circle), scoring 2 hits, and a disruption.

To the east, a squad of British armored scout cars (in the general vicinity of the large green circle) surprise my BRDM-2s. A shot, a kill (magenta circle), and a disruption. A second shot, a retreat. The enemy scout cars withdraw out of sight.

After Crossroads' Side A (British) move (Side A is the scenario's first side), the situation at the middle of Turn 4:

Image

With the exception of the British mech infantry platoon at "Cumbria", and despite it now being day (very early morning), with Visibility now up to 6, the enemy is invisible to me once again.

Do I have any answer to the helos? Not that I know of. My AA assets are too far to the west. If as I suspect Crossroads is flying his helos NOE, my SAMs to the south can't touch them. Crossroads' Lynxes can slam my T-72s repeatedly at zero cost.

What to do? What can I do except to ... chaaaarge!!
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RE: Crisis in Sirte #3: Riptide - 8/6/85 - DAR (no Crossroads)

Post by CaptBeefheart »

Ouch!

EDIT: Referring to the lost T-72s.

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