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Friday, May 19, 2017

SBCT Rifle Company Battle Position Defense

Switching back from the American War of Independence this week, I am returning to my Stryker Rifle Infantry Company project, today with a Company Battle Position Defense played with 5Core Company Commander.  You can see all posts and the evolution of this project here.

I am going to try to use some of the Tactical Vignettes from Armor Magazine as the basis for some scenarios.  For some reason, they do not print them anymore, but you can find a few from the 90’s here:

Today’s fight will be based loosely on this specific Vignette:

It will take some modification, but the main features of the scenario are:
  •     The Company will perform a battle position defense and prevent the OPFOR from crossing Phase Line APACHE
  •     There are two potential avenues of approach (AA1 and AA2) that the OPFOR might use, each covered by engagement area (EA) SEATTLE and HOUSTON.
  •     The company occupies 3 platoon BP’s (Battle positions) with an alternate to allow fires to be concentrated in EA SEATTLE.

As I am exercising the rules, I will deploy the company with only organic assets and no attachments:
  •        HQ
  •        1st Platoon
  •        2nd Platoon
  •        3rd Platoon
  •        120mm Mortar Section

The company has time for dismounted elements to construct hasty fighting positions and vehicles to assume a hull down position. For this engagement, no other support from Battalion or Brigade is available, nor any aviation assets.
The company will deploy dismounted elements with the intention of engaging the enemy with Javalin’s, ICV’s will deploy on the reverse slope, ready to either move forward to a hull down position is conditions are favorable to engage with the RWS or retrieve the dismounted squads.  3rd platoon in BP 1A ICV’s will standby to redeploy the platoon to BP 1D on order.
The OPFOR will consist of elements of a Krasnovian Battalion Tactical Group:
·        Forward Security Element (FSE)
o   1 x T-80U Platoon
·        Motor Rifle Company (+) (BMP-3)
o   3 x Motor Rifle Platoons
o   1 x T-80U Platoon
o   2 x 122mm SP Guns

As for tactical plan, I will have the sneaky OPFOR send their FSE over AA2 and demonstrate to keep the defender oriented that direction and then strike with the main body via AA1, with the intention of bypassing and penetrating into the task force rear area beyond phase line APACHE.

Here is the table setup, with the company deployed into battle positions and the OPFOR ready to roll forward. 

I ran through the scenario fairly quickly, here are the highlights.
 The OPFOR moves forward using bounding overwatch by platoons, with the FSE in the lower part of this picture demonstrating in AA2. They plan to bypass as much resistance as possible, so will stay mounted and mobile as much as possible.  Heavy fire from the T-80's and BMP's force the platoon on BP 1B to suffer casualties and partially withdraw.  1st platoon pulls back from BP 1A to redeploy to BP 1D.

 Javelins destroy a BMP-3 platoon, but concentrated fire form overwatch elements continues to take it's toll.

The rifle company commander throws in the towel and withdraws.  The final casualty list is:

SBCT Rifle Company: 4 Rifle Squads and 1 weapons squad combat ineffective along with Company sniper team.  I assume a "killed" squad is mostly disorganized enough to need reorganization and not actually wiped out, but still that is 50% of the company's leg strength and a significant number of it's anti-armor systems (4 out of 9 Javelins)

OPFOR: 2 x T-80U, 3 x BMP-3, 1 x 2S1 12mm gun

The company is pretty banged up and I feel failed in it's mission to prevent OPFOR from penetrating PL APACHE in force into the task force rear area.

Here are some observations and feedback I would love from the community:
  • I have posted the QRS and weapon ratings I used to the right.  Take a look at the stats and tell me what you think.
  • Javelins seemed deadly enough.  I did not allow them to reaction fire as they are missiles.
  • Reactive armor save was good, a couple of T-80's avoided blowing up due to reactive armor.
  • I treated the ICV's like trucks, as suggested on one of the forums.
  • I assumed the Infantry squads were in cover (hasty fighting positions) but even s, they seemed to wither under the direct fire of the BMP's and T-80's.
    • Are the fire ratings to high?
    • Is there something in the rules I am missing that is making this fire too lethal?
  • I forgot the mortars, it might have helped.  I need to look through those rules more closely and research what sore of ammo is carried that might be useful against vehicles or use smoke. 
  • First turn a force entered the board I allowed a free scurry and I gave the Americans a free firefight their first turn.  Otherwise, each platoon rolled an activation dies with the company commanders getting one that they could swap with one platoon.  Seemed to work well and injected just the right amount of chaos so far.  Anyone have other thoughts on running Company Command with mechanized forces?
I am fairly happy with the speed of play, just not sure about the lethality of direct fire versus dismounted infantry.  Thoughts? Or maybe it is about right.

Thanks for reading and good gaming!


  1. Smart thinking treating your ICVs as trucks. To hear some of the staff at the CMTCs these days, some units go in using their Strykers as tanks and bradleys with predictable results.
    I like your mods for 5Core CC as well. Makes me want to take a fresh look

  2. Thanks for your comments! Interesting insight, It is a really nice vehicle packed full of great commo gear and sensors, but it is NOT for the decisive action direct fire engagement environment.

    One of the Armor magazine articles I read had the unit using Javelins out of the top hatch while mounted to provide overwatch. I know that there is a program to add 30mm guns to the vehicles and you can add Javelin remote weapon systems, but I wonder if the benefit is worth it. It will encourage the vehicle to be used as an inadequate "tank" rather than per doctrine as great transport for what is fundamentally an infantry formation.

    I did get some feedback from the author, Ivan, about the rules over at The Wargames Website. I was forgetting about the hiding rule, I am going to try rerunning the scenario but use that rule, plus the company mortars to drop WP smoke on the OPFOR overwatch positions to force them to move if they want to continue to cover the moving elements. Stay tuned.

  3. I was going to comment about the WP smoke from the company mortars! Personally it's a mistake to give those things a 30mm gun for the reason you stated, if you give them a gun, theyll use the vehicle in a manner for which it was not intended,

    Looking forward to more posts!