Operation Oryx: Turn 3

Lieutenant Guskov – one of the Podrabian Army’s less diligent representatives – is woken from his slumbers by the THUMP-THUMP-THUMP of an inconsiderate drop hammer. It takes him several seconds to figure out where he is (The bottle-strewn bar of the Traveller’s Rest Hotel in one-horse Zendoran backwater, Strupnic) and several seconds more to realise that the inconsiderate drop hammer isn’t in fact an inconsiderate drop hammer.

(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).

Thirty seconds into turn 3, Peace and Quiet flee Strupnic in a beat-up Zenfia hatchback. The cause of their abrupt departure is our M113 gunner, who, presented with a target impossible to resist, does what comes naturally.

Its cab colandered by .50 calibre MG rounds, the unsuspecting westbound truck rolls to a halt in the middle of the carriageway.

As flames start licking from its wounds, from the treeline SW of our APC comes the unmistakable sound of a Dragon missile launch. It appears Team Smaug’s destination was well-chosen. They’ve spotted the BMP in front of the garage and decided it warrants a missile.

Scratch one Boyevaya Mashina Pyekhoty 1!

And the ambushers aren’t finished yet. When another ZIL enters the M113’s field of fire from stage-left, it gets exactly the same treatment as the first.

When the clock stops at T+60…

Three Podrabian vehicles are aflame.

Trajanov and the sniper team are ascending the dovecot’s stairs.

The BRDM has delivered its passengers (Recon team ‘C’) and is watching anxiously as they head towards the hotel.

Recon team ‘B’ is about to dash across the open ground that separates the clump of trees in box 74 from the belt of trees on the edge of box 75.

The light mortar team and the MG team are mid-way through moves. (While advancing, the MG team spotted what looked like a Pod vehicle crewman in the small structure at 75,6,1)


  1. Turn 4 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 screenshot for exact unit locations)
    Light mortar team [BOX 96 heading for BOX 84]
    MG team [BOX 85 heading for BOX 86]
    Dragon team [BOX 84]
    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 112]
    TOW Mutt (8 x ATGM) [BOX 111]

    ****subscribers only****
    Recon Team C [BOX 99]
    BRDM-2 [BOX 99]
    M113 [BOX 74]
    Truck [BOX 96]
    Trajanov [BOX 112]
    Trajanov’s Mutt [BOX 99]
    Viktor’s T-72 crew [BOX 99]

    Please start all order comments with ‘ORDER’ and any later revision comments with ‘REVISED ORDER’. This will help me distinguish firm instructions from suggestions and advice.

    • ORDER
      (but I’m happy to revise if anyone has an objection)
      Viktor’s T-72 buddies to jump into Trajanov’s Mutt and head for the treeline at box 96, 8,10. Depending on how far they get in one turn, they should continue up behind the cover of the trees towards box 71, and then hold in cover there until we can arrange a diversion.

    • ORDER:
      Move the dragon team north to the next bunch of trees in box 72. From there let them keep an eye on the highway.
      Is there a way to let them only fire if a) the target is armoured? And b) they have a high chance of destroying it?

      • >> Is there a way to let them only fire if a) the target is armoured? And b) they have a high chance of destroying it?

        A ‘target armour’ arc extended in the direction of the road will ensure they don’t fire on soft-skinned vehicles. In theory none of the Pod AFVs should survive a Dragon hit.

        Possibly worth bearing in mind when positioning the Dragon team is the weapon’s minimum range. The missiles don’t arm until they’ve travelled 75 metres. (For scale, the M113 is about 100 metres south of the nearest highway square in its current position)

        • So the Dragon should be well outside minimum range as long as it spots targets as they leave the village?
          Is there a scale for the map (I’m using this one //tallyhocorner.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/oryxmap.jpg)? It looks like one ‘big’ square is about 100m square.

    • ORDER: Recon C proceed NE through the trees cautiously and get into the lee of the berm. If they have to cross open ground, do so as stealthily as possible. Move along behind the berm to get as closer to the hotel without showing their heads. It’s hard to give a precise locations as I’m not sure exactly where the berm runs, sorry!

    • ORDER:

      Recon Team A takes the position Recon Team B is just vacating. Should be 74 X6 Y7, the easternmost part of that copse of trees. They act cautiously.

      • I love the “They act cautiously” part of that order.

        That absolutely needs to be an in-game command!

  2. Well that all went a lot better for us than anyone was predicting. I wonder what’s following those trucks down the highway, or perhaps we get a few turns breather before anything else turns up.
    Given that a T72 would be *really* helpful, getting Viktor’s drinking buddies up there is important. As others have mentioned, we should get them in Trajanov’s Mutt and head due west for now. Once we start engaging the Pods in New Farm we can probably just charge the Mutt at full speed up the west of the map, and then along the north edge while they’re distracted.
    There is more cover to the east, but then they run the risk of encountering the convoy while driving an unarmed, and un-armoured, jeep.

    • Just doing some thinking out loud to check that we’ve the same fundamental information.
      a) Tereza the T-72 is at the left corner where boxes 17 and 29 meet
      b) Quote “(the light orange lines on the map represent fences)”
      These cannot be crossed by wheeled vehicles (I think).
      c) Such a fence surrounds the NE portion of the map (& Tereza), with only two entry points:
      top left of 38, and bottom of 55 (where there’s another BMP)

      -> The leftward Hail Mary is probably the route Tim anticipates us taking.

      Expected travelling time? I’d have thought at least 6 minutes, plus an extra minute at the far end to transfer into the tank.

  3. Great start!
    General thoughts: I’d say our most pressing task is now clearing the infantry out of the hotel area. We have infantry on a few sides, but a lack of obvious cover spots. I’m not really sure how to go about it… The M113 could be used to support Recon A&B, but it is providing significant value right where it is. The BRDM could flank from the SE, but there is a tank somewhere on the highway that it could be exposed to (once our men are on the dovecote, we’ll have a better idea how safe or otherwise that would be).
    I agree with phuzz w.r.t. Viktor’s tank crew.
    The Dragon has killed it’s target, should it be re-tasked to keep an eye on the highway? It’s been busier than expected so far.

    P.S. To any and all quiet commanders out there I just want to reiterate what a few folks said in the last comment thread – please don’t be shy to get involved! I spent a bunch of these watching from the sidelines before taking part properly, but I’m very glad I got over the hump. Communal Combat Missions are unique experiences, whatever the outcome. All the diverse contributions are what make them great, so don’t worry about screwing something up – simply by taking part you will make it better for everyone, win lose or draw.

    • I heartily second your P.S., and will add that I just made my first order and no-one died! You can do it too!

    • I am amazed at how well that sneak attack from the dragon team worked. And we can be very pleased with the M113´s tac AI.

      Did we see anyone disembark those trucks? Could we see anything that would refute the notion that those were supply trucks?

      @general thoughts
      I would agree that securing Strupnic is imperative. Getting the timing right will be a challenge, though. I would prefer to take it slowly. We got 10+ turns till the `convoy` and I´d rather not be caught in the process of storming the village when those two BMPs north are counterattacking.
      We also have the VDV problem. Thin-skinned vehicles, which cannot get into CQC in an urban area and not enough boots on the ground to take it by infantry assault. (only 3 small recon squads+MG team) There is still a whole motostrelki squad near the hotel, who are suddenly missing their ride.
      I would suggest to move the M113 some tiles south, maybe to 86 X1 Y1, so it can use the only long LOS axis into the village along the road and surpress the guys we saw in the 3rd screenshot. (the house at 75 X8 Y9) It could also cover the western part of the highway from there.
      Maybe we should postpone the whole attack on the village until we get some binoculars on the dovecot roof.

      @phuzz I think tank crew mad dash along the map edge sounds wonderful.

      • >> Did we see anyone disembark those trucks?

        No. If there were any survivors they slipped away extremely discreetly.

        • Turns out the trucks were carrying looted artwork by the Zendorian master Shplunk (claimed by Podrabia on account of his mother’s lineage).

          Tired of CCMs deriving their inspiration from Kelly’s Heroes, Force 10 from Navarone, and some Yugoslavian cult classics, Tim decides to pivot mid-mission to The Monuments Men.

    • I always feel that someone needs to take the risk of blushes by commanding a kamikaze order so why not me – I generally have got away with it!

  4. Some inspired lack of orders for the M113 there, placing it in a perfect ambush spot. Top work fellow commanders.

    • Sorry, that unintentionally comes across as snarky. Do please interpret it as amusement at the vagaries of war.

      • Tim’s a big fan of Clausewitzian friction; I guess this is the opposite: Clausewitzian lubrication.

  5. I aim to execute turn 4 this time tomorrow so issue your orders in the next 24 hrs, please.

    • Am I corect if the only non-subscriber units who still need orders are:
      The dragon team
      Recon A
      TOW mutt?

      • You’re welcome to issue orders to other units like recon B, the MG, light mortar, and sniper if you feel their current ones are no longer optimal.

      • The Recon A team received an order from someone else this afternoon.

        Regarding the other two you mentioned, the dragon team feel well sited at the moment, and until we’ve sorted the village I’m hoping the TOW Mutt can lurk at the back where it is now.

        But I’m not going to issue that as an order, so you’re welcome to disagree and put it to other use.

    • Ah, I’ve come back from a short holiday just in time to miss tasking the M113 and the BRDM to help take Strupnic.

      Oh well, we’ve had an outstanding first couple of turns. I will say the Pods are much less sleepy than I expected if they’re already counterattacking less than a minute from contact! Hopefully our recon teams or that Dragon can sort out the BMP before it turns our M113 into a colander.

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