Operation Oryx: Turn 2

Silver-haired, bespectacled, and dressed in sandals, shorts, and a John Lennon t-shirt, Viktor Somlac is an unlikely war hero. Trajanov wonders if he’s wasting his time as he shakes the man’s hand and downs the shot of eye-watering apricot brandy that’s handed to him by another member of the four-strong Strupnic welcoming committee moments after he crosses the threshold of the cottage. It’s only when his host directs his attention to a wall map studded with coloured pins, that the Major’s cynicism begins to fade.

(Operation Oryx is an open-to-all game of Combat Mission: Cold War set in 1981. The commenter-controlled Zendoran forces are attempting to ambush a column of Podrabian vehicles bound for Zečin, the Zendoran capital. Each turn covers one minute of WeGo action. For a scenario outline and summaries of earlier turns, click here).

“The orange pins represent Pod infantrymen and the green ones are BMPs. That purple one is a truck. I can’t guarantee it’s 100% accurate, but it’s based on observations made this morning so it should prove useful. I wish I could tell you where their PT-76 currently is” – he pulls a yellow pin from the map frame and wafts it around over the village centre – “but sometime last night the blighter vanished. It’s possible it left for Zečin, but I suspect it’s still about so watch yourself.”

“The Pods here and here” – he points at the hotel and New Farm clusters – “spent yesterday drinking and looting, so hopefully won’t present too much of an obstacle. The contingent here…” – he points at the easternmost cluster – “seem more disciplined.”

“Your brother mentioned something about a liberated AFV?” Trajanov says, studying the map with great interest.

Viktor jabs a blue pin into a building near the northern edge of the map. “The problem with Tereza, my T-72, is that she’s hidden in a barn just here. If your men can thin out the Pods in the village, or distract them, then me, Georgi, and Simona will stand a much better chance of reaching her in one piece.”*

* Unfortunately, CM’s inflexible crewing rules mean only Viktor and his pals can operate Tereza.

“I’d like to make use of your splendid dovecot, if I may”.

“Of course, Major. Branko and Otto will show you the way.” An elderly man with a Dragunov sniper rifle slung across his back steps from the shadows and joins Branko by the front door. Trajanov has a feeling they’ve met before but can’t quite remember where.

“Oh, before you go, Major. Two others were meant to attend this rendezvous. Petar Lesov and his son live in a house at the east end of the village. They managed to pinch an RPG-7 yesterday, and are raring to use it. If you can spare the men it might be worth finding out what’s happened to them.”

Trajanov nods, and turning again to the map, begins to formulate a plan.

Elsewhere this turn…

The truck passengers dismounted. (After two attempts to execute the requested two-stage disembarkation failed, I decided to simplify things by leaving the Ural where it was for the duration of the turn). From its current position the now-deployed light mortar has LoS to the highway and can see a small sector of box 75.

Recon team Alpha moved to the eastern side of the clump of trees in box 74.

The BRDM reached the village edge.

The TOW Mutt stopped south of the dovecot. Trees in box 112 mean it can’t see the highway at present.

A ‘sound contact’ icon appeared on the highway circa box 70. If it’s the lead vehicle of the convoy then the convoy is ahead of schedule!

51 Comments

  1. Turn 3 orders here, please. Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following units (A maximum of one unit per commenter. Embarked infantry and their taxis count as single units until separated.)

    (See screenshots for exact unit locations)

    ****anyone****
    Light mortar team [BOX 96]
    MG team [BOX97 heading NE]
    Dragon team [BOX 83 heading NE]
    Recon team A (3 men, 2 x LAW) [BOX 74]
    Recon team B (3 men, 2 X LAW) [BOX 74]
    Otto and Branko (sniper team) [BOX 99]
    TOW Mutt (8 x ATGM) [BOX 124]

    ****subscribers only****
    BRDM-2 (recon team aboard) [BOX 98]
    M3A1 [BOX 74]
    Truck [BOX 96]
    Trajanov [BOX 99]
    Trajanov’s Mutt [BOX 99]
    Viktor’s T-72 crew [BOX 99]

      • ORDER

        Sniper team to fast to the dovecote in 112, climb to the top, take up a firing position facing north, and hold their fire for now.

        If it wasn’t clear 🙂

      • Hello everyone, first time commenting since Quitting Qatab. The Pods are nicely spread out. At fist I was a bit worried about our lack of infantry, but we should be OK so long as we take on one group at a time, starting with the group at the hotel. I suppose there isn’t much to do this turn until we get eyes on the Dove cote. Also the noise contact on the highway must be the rouge tank. I can’t see the Combat Mission gods being so cruel as to have the enemy convoy arrive in turn two!

    • ORDER:

      Change the destination of the MG TEAM to grid 86 X7 Y5. Right behind the fence corner. Normal pace, but change to cautious/slow once they have passed the building.

    • ORDER: BDRM to 99 X03 Y02 then travel NE along the edge of the tree line to 99 X04 Y05 and drop off the recon team (if they haven’t already, please have them pick up another LAW along the way). If there’s time left in the turn, have the recon team proceed cautiously to 99 X08 Y10, finishing with eyes towards the hotel (if they have LOS to the upper floor).

    • ORDER: Light mortar team [BOX 96]
      Move somewhere in the centre of Box 84 where they’re in concealment but have a decent field-of-fire to the north-east.
      (Want to be able to hit any Pods moving south from New Farm towards box 74)

  2. @Tim
    Re: “That purple one is a truck.” I’m guessing you meant the blue one in the NW.

    I see two options for the TOW MUTT:
    First (which I favour)
    Move outside the trees in the SE corner of 112 to watch the road and defend against the BMP in 55.

    Second
    Scoot round to the west avenue into the southern part of the village, with a view to being the ones to take out the BMP by the garage.

    • I much prefer option 1. I hope that the dragon team can set up unnoticed and snipe the BMP at the hotel, once they are ready in a turn or two. Or at least startle it enough to make it move and stumble into the recon teams in 74.
      But we have nothing but the Mutt and maybe the BRDM to watch the eastern approaches to Stupnic and the hostiles at 55. And only the Mutt-TOW has ranged AT capabilities.

      I am at a loss what to do about the forces north of the highway. I do not think we have any assets that can dislodge them. Crossing the highway not only exposes whoever we send there, but would also cuts them off from all support fire. My best case scenario would be for them to come to us once we engage their brethren at the hotel.

      • Could we please avoid putting the TOW Mutt in clear sight of the PT-76 (or whatever else has a large noisy engine) that’s likely to pop into view in box 67 or so?

        If the Mutt is looking at 55 it’ll be dead before it turns to shoot whatever’s popped into sight. Let that unknown vehicle reveal itself _then_ drive into a firing position, fire, and drive back into cover.

        It’s a jeep, not a MBT!

        • I agree, I think it would be better to have eyes on the PT-76 first. In an ideal situation we could issue a command like “roll out to the edge of the trees, then immediately reverse as soon as one shot is fired, if it’s fired”, but I don’t think Combat Mission lets you be that detailed. I’d rather not have it sitting out there for the better part of an entire turn when we don’t even know if the PT-76 (or whatever it is) is driving west or not.

  3. So, we need to clear out one, if not both of the hungover Pods in the hotel and the new farm, in order to get Viktor’s T-72 crew up to box 17ish where Tereza is.

    The hotel looks like the main one to target, as that would then also clear a path to Petar’s house in box 77.

    An obvious immediate thing to do would be to tell Otto and Branko to go up to the top of the dovecot because obvious sniping position is obvious.

    Would it be an idea to also put Trajanov and his radio guy up there as well to get the grand view of things, and then the T-72 crew could jump in the jeep, ready to be chauffeured to Tereza if things go to plan? Is that an option (I’ve never played a CM game but am enjoying reading all this immensely)

    • Getting the tank crew into the Mutt should be an option. And a good idea, I might add. Please make it an order. (Even if I do not know how to clear a path through two BMPs plus infantry yet.)

      • I agree that putting the tank crew in the Mutt is a good idea. I think the best move for them is then to drive back to the western side of the map and try to book it onto the northern side of the highway once the units in the village are distracted by our infantry moving in on them. We’ll need an esteemed subscriber to make that order on our behalf.

  4. We got a tank fellas!!

    I haven’t played any of the second gen CM titles, so it’s a bit shocking to see such lovely models in these screenshots

  5. Sniper team and the major with the radio need to be on the dovecot as per Viscount, the TOW mutt needs to move as per Colonel_K. The sooner you can see anywhere near 67-70 the sooner you know what’s coming down the pike.

  6. I’ve watched and admired from afar for too many communal CMs. I’d like to pitch in this time, if you’re all willing to have a dreadful tactician on board…

    What do we think about getting Trajanov back behind the wheel of his MUTT and going to investigate the missing Petar? Obviously given the cluster of potential nasties in the village he would take the long way around, perhaps to 111 then towards 115 and back up. Is this is a silly idea?

    • I think the suggestion was to use the Mutt for the tank crew: Trajanov’s not needed right now so he could go look for Petar. Just be careful about the BMP in the village square and the occupied houses: the map is smaller than it looks, and the house in 67 may look down that main village road.

    • It would be reasonable to assume that your self-deprecating description of your tactical prowess nonetheless puts you at least level with most of the rest of us.

      Your contribution will be welcomed and celebrated, whatever the outcome 🙂

  7. Hmm…it’s hard to make out from screenshots. Tim do the Pod positions at 50 have LoS to the clump of trees at 74? And do the occupied Pod houses in the village have LoS over the wall into the gated compound in the northern-most part of 75?

    If we are moving to clear the village, it might be possible to sneak a LAW team into an upper floor.

    • The highway should block LOS to the New Farm. On the other hand the building at 75 X7 Y9 seems to have a window to the north and should have LOS into the walled compound, judging by `looking SE´ screenshot from turn 0. It is also marked as occupied.

    • >> Do the Pod positions at 50 have LoS to the clump of trees at 74?

      No. From its current position beside the clump the M113 APC is unable to see/target the taller buildings at New Farm which indicates no LoS.

      >> do the occupied Pod houses in the village have LoS over the wall into the gated compound in the northern-most part of 75?

      This is harder to verify, but if there are enemies upstairs in the hotel it’s quite possible they have LoS into the northern portion of that compound.

  8. Rather than waste a Dragon missile (or a TOW from the Mutt) on the BMP in the village is there an option to use the BDRM as bait? That can really upset the Pods in the houses with its machine gun, forcing a robust response.

    Admittedly failing to get the BMP with a LAW would leave the BDRM in mortal danger but ambushing a mobile BMP feels easier than sneaking up on it, and I just don’t feel we can afford to try an infantry assault on those houses.

    • Personally I’d rather use one of the dragon’s missiles than risk losing one of our few vehicles – ammo won’t matter if we’ve been wiped out before the convoy even gets here. Once the BMP has been dealt with, I’ll feel a lot more comfortable about using the BDRM to flush out the infantry.

  9. Tim, can I ask what the targeting conditions are for the light mortar team? Does their target need to be in LOS or can other units spot for them? If the former, how much of the garage / hotel junction can they target from their current position?

    I know that avoiding damage to buildings is one of our victory conditions, but I’m not sure we have the manpower to take the position cleanly. My thought is that, once the dragon team is in place, we get recon teams south and west of the junction and try and flush their infantry with mortar fire. I’m not sure how much impact the light mortar will have on a hotel, though…

    • Trajanov can spot for the light mortar but he will need to be fairly close (within shouting distance?) to them in order to do so. The imminent Forward Observer Team should be able to task them too.

      In their current position they have a narrow keyhole view through to the small building at 75,8,4, but otherwise can see nothing of the village centre.

  10. Assuming no complaints, I’m going to get Trajanov up to the dovecot for a gander at the situation, and to have him ready to go Petar-hunting should the opportunity arise.

    ORDER: Trajanov to dovecot in 112 (going south around the house in 111), enter, and climb up the stairs for a look towards N if there’s time.

    • Is there room for him up there with the snipers? Could we perhaps request him to hold his fire, so that he doesn’t draw fire onto the hiding snipers?

      Will he add value up there, given that’s where they are heading anyway?

        • The off-map mortars are still setting up. They should be available at about the same time as their Forward Observer Team arrives (circa turn 5). I believe Trajanov can task both mortars, but if you use him the results may not be as accurate.

      • I’d should’ve written this earlier, but I’m not a fan of doubling-up units on the dovecote.

        In my view, the options are to have someone up there:
        sniping (which may invite return fire)
        or
        observing (which should not).

        The roles can be reconsidered once we enter the second half, but it’s seven storeys up which I’d expect to take an in-game minute to climb/descend.

  11. I think we should move the Dragon team up to the tree line in box 84. Just incase the BMP at the garage decides to move forward down the street in response to our advance. They might even be able to see it in it current position.

    • The dragon team is currently on its way to 84 X3 Y4. I drew lines on the grid map to check if it can establish LOS to the BMP at the hotel square from there, but if you think it could use some adjustment, feel free to issue an order.

  12. Tim, do we know how high the dovecot is, relative to the trees? Like, are the trees one “block” up and the dovecot is two or three “blocks”? I am trying to picture if someone up there would have visibility all the way out to the river/bridge or not.

  13. We’re short on orders this turn. Lots of suggestions above, so perhaps people could firm them into concrete orders? I’ll check back later, but with moments before Day 4 starts at Lords, I couldn’t see any orders for..

    ****anyone****
    Light mortar team [BOX 96]
    Dragon team [BOX 83 heading NE]
    Recon team A (3 men, 2 x LAW) [BOX 74]
    Recon team B (3 men, 2 X LAW) [BOX 74]
    TOW Mutt (8 x ATGM) [BOX 124]

    ****subscribers only****
    BRDM-2 (recon team aboard) [BOX 98]
    M3A1 [BOX 74]
    Truck [BOX 96]
    Trajanov’s Mutt [BOX 99]
    Viktor’s T-72 crew [BOX 99]

    Priorities this turn feel like the two recon teams, the TOW Mutt and the BDRM. The Dragon team are already on their way somewhere, the tank crew probably aren’t going to be going anywhere in the Mutt in the next couple of minutes, we don’t know where we need the mortar team yet and I’m not sure what the plan is with the battlefield taxi now it’s delivered its chaps.

    • cederic is right. There are a lot of comment commanders who can still issue orders. Please don´t be shy. Any order is better than none. And through all our play-by-comment events I have yet to see anyone critized for an order they have given. I would know, having given my own share of gratuitously stupid orders. Just see how I almost threw 4 units away on turn 1.

    • Personally I prefer commanding infantry to vehicles, so I’ll take a recon team. On the TOW Mutt, I think it should be okay where it is, or just nudging it slightly closer to the double trees at 112, X4, Y1. I think no matter where we put it, there will always be a small chance that a tank somewhere along the highway could get a shot in, but unless they’re hunting they’ll at best just catch a glimpse while driving past, which would leave enough time for us to flee the next turn if we really needed to. The only other nearby place seemingly in cover without a full-blown retreat is perhaps right up next to the wooded berm, north of the houses, but that feels a bit too close to the hotel for comfort. Better to get some infantry in there!

      Anyway, on to the recon unit. I’ll let Tim decide which one…

      ORDER: Recon Team (A or B) to move normally to the edge of the woods at 74, X6, Y4 and then dash across into the trees at 75, X1, Y4. Since the highway berm is 2m high, we should be able to get across there without anyone from the new farm seeing us. I’m hoping that we will still have acceptable cover from the hotel area due to the second layer of trees at X1, Y5. Hopefully we can still spot some activity from there.

      Our other recon team could try a rambo move and crawl up the highway berm to target a vehicle in the new farm, but it might be better to figure out exactly where that PT-76 is first.

      Tim: can we commandeer enemy vehicles?

      • According to the screenshot and Tim’s text
        “Recon team Alpha moved to the eastern side of the clump of trees in box 74.”

        I’d leave _them_ in place and have Alison’s order apply to recon team Bravo.

    • ORDER: TOW Mutt to hide in 111 2 5, assuming that’s just at the base of the berm there.

      It can pop up onto the berm from there, good line of sight down the road to shoot at the highway, then pop back down before anything shoots back.

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