Operation Oryx: Turn 5

LAW-equipped Recon Team Alpha has just one task this turn – tackle an inquisitive BMP. It executes its orders, but, for mystifying reasons, chooses to do so in a somewhat perverse way.

(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).

As the Podrabian IFV crests the highway embankment, it glimpses the reversing M113 and gives it a quick squirt with its coaxial MG. Fortunately, the burst is on the high side and our APC breaks LoS before a second fusilade can be fired.

Lurking in a clump of trees in box 74, Recon Team ‘A’ is expecting tracked trouble from the north. At T+8 they engage the anticipated threat, but decide to use a grenade launcher rather than one of their two LAWs. Why? I wish I could tell you. Perhaps the two LAWmen are unsighted (the grenadier is slightly ahead of them).

Grenade no.1 sails harmlessly over the target. Grenade no.2 does the same.

At T+26 the grenadier angles his M203 for a third time, and on this occasion – thank goodness – he’s on the money. The 40mm munition explodes on the BMP’s turret prompting some rapid reversing from the spooked but apparently undamaged AFV.

The eastern BMP also stretches its caterpillars this turn. Watched by the dovecot sniper team, it motors smartly southward before pivoting to its right and disappearing behind the highway embankment circa T+30. The knot of dismounts following in its dusty wake suggest it’s not carrying passengers.

Five seconds before the clock stops, a shout of “Help me, I’m hit!” draws my attention to a desultory firefight close to the hotel. The bullet that blots our thus far unblotted copybook comes from the Pods at 75,1,6, and leaves one of Recon Team ‘C’ lightly wounded. Despite taking fire from the south and southwest this turn, the pair of reluctant pedestrians who engaged our LMG team last turn, clearly remain dangerous!

Elsewhere this turn…

Relatively early in the turn, the Dragoneers and Recon Team ‘B’ observed Lieutenant Guskov and three companions leave the hotel in a hurry. The party of party animals dashed in the direction of the garage a good thirty seconds before the M113 began peppering The Traveller’s Rest.

At T+58, our Light Mortar Team noticed some bobbing helmets in the hedge near the KOed trucks.

The TOW Mutt found a promising gap in the berm NE of Viktor’s house, observed for a while, then withdrew.

Trajanov wheezed “I’m too old for this!” after emerging from the dovecot and heading in the same general direction as the BRDM.

Reinforcements arrived. The Comment Commanders now have two TOW Mutts at their disposal and a Forward Observer Team.


  1. Turn 6 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.) Turn execution: probably early Wednesday morning.

    (See screenshot for exact unit locations)
    Light mortar team [BOX 84, weapon deployed]
    MG team [BOX 85, prone]
    Dragon team [BOX 72]
    Recon team A (3 men, 2 x LAW) [BOX 74]
    Recon team B (3 men, 2 X LAW) [BOX 75]
    Recon team C (3 men, 1 X LAW) [BOX 87]
    Otto and Branko (sniper team) [BOX 112, top of dovecot]
    TOW Mutt ‘Muttley’ (8 x ATGM) [BOX 100]
    TOW Mutt ‘Droopy’ (8 x ATGM) [BOX 119]
    Mutt with Forward Observer Team [BOX119]

    ****subscribers only****
    BRDM-2 [BOX 124, heading NE]
    M113 [BOX 74]
    Truck [BOX 107]
    Trajanov [BOX 112, heading east, tired]
    Trajanov’s Mutt [BOX 97, heading NW with Viktor’s T-72 crew aboard]

    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:

      I’ll take the low hanging fruit.

      Mutt with the Forward Observer team to move FAST to the Dovecote, following the road north east, then the track through box 98 and 111. Stopping in box 112, x1, y4. Then have the FO team disembark and move QUICK to the Dovecote roof. Again fellow commanders, feel free to adjust order as needed.

      • Revised Order:

        Have the mutt turn east when it reaches the middle of box 96 and cross the field cutting the corner to reach the lane in box 98. Then continue as planned to the Dovecote. I don’t want them to get too close to the village

    • ORDER:

      The Light Mortar team lobs a salvo of 5 grenades at the bobbing heads. If possible the target area should be a line parallel to and slightly behind the hedge they are using for cover.

      I don´t take kindly to gawkers and I´d rather have the recon teams execute their ambush umolested by what I presume to be the motostrelki of the BMP. Also this is something the mortar can shoot at without destroying any zendoran property.

    • ORDER: droopy north to the road, follow it till 96, then NW between the rows of trees. Finish at 84,4,7 (where the road meets the fence) facing towards the memorial.

    • ORDER: Recon team A [BOX 74]
      1) HIDE
      2) SNEAK shortest possible distance West that retains concealment, maintain Northward facing
      (just to make the individual soldiers change their positions, and hopefully make the LAW useful)
      3) TARGET ARMOUR ARC covering same angle as last time, maybe it just needs to be 30 metres deeper, so that if the BMP appears again, it’ll indisputably be in it

      I’m trusting their AI that if the Pods in the central reservation fire on them, they’ll fire back.

    • ORDER: TOW-Mutt to wait 15 seconds, hunt to 100, X4, Y5 (or anywhere in that immediate vicinity that has good LoS to the highway), wait for 20 seconds, then reverse using the house at 100 as cover back to its current location.

      It worked last time, why not again 🙂

  2. Interesting developments. I hope Trajanov gives Recon A a massive rollicking for messing up that ambush ( once he gets his breath back)! But on the plus side, it seems the Pods have decided to break cover and come to us. Should make clearing the village and the farm much easier, assuming they don’t all charge us at once!

    • I wonder if there’s any orders we can give Recon A that will make them more likely to use a LAW on that BMP (or anything else they see)?

      • If the issue is with LOS, perhaps edging them forwards, or getting them up to a crouch?

      • Not sure about A, but I was pondering moving B north all the way up the treeline to the edge of the highway. That might double our odds of someone taking a useful shot, assuming the vehicles still try to sneak over the western side of the village.

        • Didn´t see this before commenting below, but I would agree. I admit I am not 100% sure on which Y tile team B is in that treeline, but moving them slightly north could a) help team A with its ambush west of the village and b) cover the main north-south road into the village should either BMP choose to go there.
          A possible danger could be the other half of Guskov´s men. If they are at the building at 75 X8 Y4, we could be drawn into a close range infantry firefight we do not want.
          EDIT: 75 X8 Y4 has no windows to the west!

      • Edit: this is in response to Phuzz. That would be a “Target armour arc” but it doesn’t always mean the pixel soldiers do what you expect. They should choose their AT weapons anyway according to the TacAi. They didn’t open up with small arms at least so it’s likely the LAW weren’t ready or in sight, as you say. Or it’s a bug: maybe the BMP counts in the Ai as light armour or something and a grenade launcher is considered appropriate?

  3. Oh Trajanov, you really should lay off the black-market Lucky Strikes. паління вбиває!

    Is it worth giving him a turn to hack up some tar and take a quick breather? I just wouldn’t want him to limp across 113 – he’d be a sitting duck if he’s too slow. How long do troops take to become un-tired?

    • You’re probably looking at one to two turns to recover from being Tired, assuming the unit remains stationery. But I think they recover a bit quicker when embarked on a vehicle. Like g948ng says, Trajanov should hold position and wait for the FO mutt to reach him, then it can ferry him the rest of the way.

    • Good points both, thanks.

      ORDER: Trajanov to cancel current movement and wait at current position. If the FO Mutt arrives before the end of the turn, wait for the FO team to disembark then get behind the wheel.

  4. General thoughts:
    1) Is it worth trying the same move with Mutt-TOW Droopy again? The north-eastern BMP might just as well not stay on the other side of the highway. Also, seeing the hostile infantry in the village move only makes me want to get them into crossfire with the BRDM more. And to provide it with cover.
    2) The village motostrelki squad seems to have split up into teams after all. The second 4-man team is probably close by. (and probably has the RPG) Should we risk moving the M113 one or two tiles south, hoping to catch Guskov on the move?
    3) Does recon team B have a LOS to the road coming from the highway into the village centre from where they are? Kinda hard to tell from the angle. If not, should we nudge them slightly north, so they can peek through 75 X8 Y7? I´d rather not have another BMP at the village square, now that our dragon team re-deployed.

    • Regarding recon team B, here is a useful picture from last turn that shows what visibility they currently have: //tallyhocorner.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/oryx04j.jpg

      Last turn I ordered them to keep a target arc open along what parts of that road they could see, but realistically it does only appear to be a few keyholes. I think recon team C is better positioned to cover that road, except for the fact they have already been spotted.

    • The ‘pop up, look for target, duck back down’ tactic felt successful with the TOW-Mutt.

      For reference it was done with Muttley. The reinforcement is Droopy, and I’d suggest that one using the Village as cover and shoot & scooting at anything it can see around the buildings once the convoy is here and progressing.

      Of course, that supposes we’ve suppressed the forces in the village. I’m sure that’s going to happen; we’re just patiently spanking a BMP with grenades first.

      • What about sticking Droopy in the tree line in 84, near the mortar?

        If range allows, the tree line in 121-122 would allow a keyhole flank attack at anything to get past the rest of our assets, assuming the range is good to the road.

    • On point 2), Viktor’s rough intel suggested about 9 infantry across three locations around the junction, of which we’ve seen six in 2. A squad of 4 in the garage would get us to about the right ballpark numbers-wise, and a plausible destination for Guskov to be falling back towards, so that’s my guess. Of course, they might still be in the hotel but keeping their heads down…

    • I’m worried about the presence of a BMP with the northeastern group in the farmhouse, along with a missing PT-76 making it rather dangerous to advance with our BRDM. Maybe I’m just overly cautious? I’m thinking we might draw fire from 55 (BMP, RPGs) or 51-54 (PT-76).

      Should we shoot and scoot (FAST + REVERSE) out to [125, 0, 8] or so? If the coast is clear we can flank the hotel area in a few minutes. If we run into trouble maybe we can pull back?

      I like the idea of moving up Team B to cover the road as well. Plus we might be able to put the wall at [75, 0, 5] between them and enemy infantry, ensuring they can focus on AT duties.

  5. The two BMPs certainly are giving me pause, they could pop up in a lot of places. I am starting to wonder if Tim has us jumping at shadows with respect to the PT-76, though – Viktor said he *thought* it was still around, but might have already departed. We’ve had a decent view for a couple of minutes now, and all the other vehicles have put in an appearance. The tank is starting to feel conspicuous by its absence.

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