Operation Oryx: Turn 8

During the first seven turns of Operation Oryx the Comment Commanders have eliminated three enemy AFVs and two trucks, and severely mauled two infantry squads. They’ve lost in the process a single scout. By play-by-comment CM standards, their success has been extraordinary. Will the honeymoon end in Turn 8?

(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).

Scooby, the Mutt aiming to taxi Viktor and his two companions to Tereza, the uncrewed T-72 tank hidden near the northern edge of the map, completes the second leg of its journey this turn. The fact that it isn’t fired on as it scampers for the cover of an isolated barn suggests the Pods at New Farm are either distracted or in disarray.

Before quitting their abode and heading south, the cock-a-hoop Lesovs (see last turn) turn their AK-74s on a pistol-armed PT-76 crewman whose main preoccupation seems to be escape. The unfortunate retreater saves himself by diving into a hedge.

A second or two after he vanishes, a new scarlet icon materialises at the eastern end of the battlefield. Perched atop the dove high-rise, eagle-eyed Otto has spotted a BTR hurrying towards Strupnic!

The ‘command vehicle’ (according to CMCW’s GUI) isn’t the only Pod unit on the move this turn. At T+40, from their new digs upstairs in the hotel, Recon Team Charlie observe enemy infantry ascending the highway embankment.

Presumably associates of the BMP halted in box 65, the foes opt to hunker down on the central reservation after taking fire from the Traveller’s Rest.

They are taking cover when the turn discloses its most cheering (for the Zendorans) twist. Seven seconds before the clock stops, the speeding BTR enters the FoV of ‘Muttley’, our easternmost TOW Mutt.

The loader’s whispered “Do him!’ is somewhat superfluous as the gunner’s trigger finger is already in motion.

For a horrible moment Lesov Senior thinks the AT missile streaking in his direction is intended for him and his son.

The man who should be worrying – Vasili Simic, a twenty-year-old, quarter-Zendoran BTR driver with three younger sisters, and a talent for fixing unfixable mopeds, lawnmowers, and chainsaws – is totally unaware that death is approaching at 600 mph.

Elsewhere this turn…

  • After another LAW, Recon Team Alpha boarded the M113 (Sadly, in CM it’s impossible for a team to enter a vehicle, acquire a weapon or ammo, and exit within the space of a single turn.)

  • Recon Team Bravo moved closer to the embankment.
  • The Forward Observers reached the dovecot roof.
  • Nothing tempted the snipers.

  • Droopy halted after spotting the Pod infantry in box 64.


  1. Turn 9 orders here, please. Commenters are cordially invited to suggest moves for the following units. (A maximum of one unit per commenter (subscribers can move two if they like). Embarked infantry and their taxis count as single units until separated.) Turn execution: probably Monday morning.

    (See screenshot for exact unit locations)

    Light mortar team [BOX 84, weapon deployed]
    MG team [BOX 86, prone]
    Dragon team [BOX 72]
    Recon team A (2 men, in M113 acquiring LAW) [BOX 74]
    Recon team B (3 men, 2 X LAW) [BOX 63]
    Recon team C (3 men, 1 X LAW, in hotel) [BOX 87]
    Otto and Branko (sniper team) [BOX 112, top of dovecot]
    Forward Observer Team [BOX 112, top of dovecot)
    TOW Mutt ‘Muttley’ (7 x ATGM) [BOX 100]
    TOW Mutt ‘Droopy’ (8 x ATGM) [BOX 71]
    Mutt ‘Scrappy’ [BOX 112]

    ****subscribers only****
    The Lesovs [2 men, BOX 101, in need of RPG-7 ammo]
    BRDM-2 [BOX 102]
    M113 [BOX 74, buttoned]
    Truck [BOX 98, contents include 8 X RPG-7 ammo]
    Trajanov [BOX 112]
    Mutt ‘Scooby’ [BOX 35, 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.

    • Since my suggestion fell upon deaf ears last turn, I shall foolishly issue my own order:

      ORDER : Branko and Otto (poor underrated Branko) to wish a pleasant battle to the Forward Observer Team and make their way steadily down the many steps of the Dovecote to ground level, whereupon they shall hunt their way cautiously to the hotel in which Recon Team C are pillaging the coffee and breakfast buffet, and take station upon its highest elevation from which they shall pour withering lethal fire upon all invaders and any and all other despicable types whose dastardly misdeeds being them into range.

    • ORDER: Muttley REVERSEs to a spot where the road is no longer in sight, to give them the 30s needed to reload that wire-guided beast.

      I’m struggling with the map, so I leave it to the other commanders to help find a map coordinate that’s best.

    • ORDER: BRDM to fast move to 77 X4, Y2, aiming to get a keyhole angle between the house and the trees to get LoS on the road. Priority is a concealed route from the road, if possible.

      LoS on the BMP is a bonus, but I’d like to move up the vehicle-mounted MG to help in suppressing the infantry along the central highway embankment. And if the BMP blunders forward we might be able to catch it.

    • ORDER

      Recon A, once finished rearming to move Fast back to their wounded comrade in box 74, and provide first aid.

    • ORDER:

      Droopy repeats the order from last turn, edging forward to get that last BMP well and properly TOW-ed, then retreat after 20 seconds. Trying not to get spooked by the Pod infantry, this time. If there is a command to ignore the infantry for the moment, please issue it.

    • As per Blastaz, phuzz, and captaincabinets’ discussion:

      ORDER: The RPG truck to move to 99,9,2 to re-arm the Lesovs please

      @Tim, if it’s not too late, please could you confirm that Lesov is still moving west to this location, per turn 7’s orders? There was an “if they have time” condition…

    • ORDER: if the spotter team can see any of the road that runs from51,10,1 to 38,3,8 fire some heavy mortar shells at it.

    • ORDER: MG team [BOX 86, prone]
      Move into building at [box 86, x5, y2] and take position in northern-most corner. They should have a half-decent view of the dead BMP in box 62, and hopefully also the more built-up bits of Strupnic.
      If from somewhere in that building they’re able to get a line of fire to the enemy infantry in box 64, that’d be even better.

  2. The screenshot of the ATGM streaking above Lesov and son, with the smoking tank in the background and the “Slava Zendora”, deserves some kind of CM photojournalism award. Bellissimo.

  3. We are definately on a roll. A single casaulty by turn 8 is unheard of, as far as I remember.

    Also: Is it just me or did that last BMP not move an inch for the last two turns? Could it really be bogged down smack in the middle of the highway? Strikes me as suspicious. The zendoran motorway maintenance authorities must have failed absymally in their duties to allow for potholes big enough to stop a IFV.

    • It’s worth remembering said casualty is still lying in the bushes in box 74. Is it worth sending Recon A over to recover him before they move on to the village?

      • Yes, that’s not a bad idea. Both for moral reasons and also because patching up wounded in CM salvages their weapons and ammo. It’ll put the Recon team out for another turn but they’re not needed anywhere right now.

      • Can you actually do that? I thought as soon as you moved the unit buddy aid stopped and that trooper was likely to die.

        • I was playing a CMBS game the other day and I had a crewman from a knocked out Bradley perform first aid on a mk19 grenade launcher team member, and he was down for a few turns. So it should be possible. It’s worth noting, he didn’t pick up any of the kit. Maybe because he was from a different unit?

      • Recon A were given an explicit order to patch him up. Instead they fired both LAWs at enemy armour.

        I interpreted that as meaning our poor dead scout is not going to recover from some battlefield attention.

        • Oddities of CM: there’s no ‘patch up’ command. Units have to be left in the same proximity as a downed trooper for some time, and eventually the AI will take over and start applying first aid.

          Inaction in this case might not mean our third man is past saving (score-wise. casualties don’t rejoin the fight).

  4. A thought about the upcoming ambush (and a delayed reply to badgerbadger’s comments from last turn):

    According to Tim’s initial calculations, the convoy are due to arrive around 15 minutes in, i.e. 6-7 minutes from now. From FO radioing in to actual touchdown of the artillery strike is about 5 minutes. Would it be worth ordering a potshot, say in a turn or two, at the eastern end of the highway, in the hope that it hits them just as they arrive? Is that even possible?

    • P.S. I also agree with Alison’s suggestion of having a TOW Mutt over in the east. Probably Muttley, stationed up in the top-right of 90 or top-left of 91.

      • We put proper thought into Muttley’s position, and this turn demonstrated the value and viability of its ambush spot.

        While not opposing pushing a Mutt East, I’d greatly prefer that Muttley is left where it’s already adding much value.

    • Hmm…I’m a little cautious about treating the convoy as a mindless video-game opponent.

      In a real ambush, firing at the convoy too early (eg, with arty or using TOW potshots) when the majority of the convoy isn’t in the killbox allows the convoy commander time to re-route, pivot units to deal with the ambush, or even stop and reverse. Tim’s said the convoy is in a hurry and probably won’t stop, but they could potentially swing off-road.

      In any case, I’d prefer to drop arty or fire TOWs where we want the convoy to stall (i.e. a place that traps most of the convoy in a kill zone). So we can start tasking arty to maybe hit the highway opposite the village, perhaps.

      EDIT: Though come to think of it, a collection of freshly burning trucks and AFVs probably signals to the convoy commander that this route is suboptimal.

      • That’s a fair point. I have no idea about real-life tactics but that makes a lot of sense.

      • I’ve been wondering what the AI is likely to make of the carnage ahead, too. My concern is that if any of the convoy chooses to go north round the new farm, we will have very few units able to hit them once they are off the highway. Could we smash up some of the northern routes with the mortar in an effort to funnel them where we want (or at least slow them down if they do break north)? Anyone know how CM models and factors in damage to the ground surface?

    • >>Would it be worth ordering a potshot, say in a turn or two, at the eastern end of the highway, in the hope that it hits them just as they arrive? Is that even possible?

      The eastern end of the highway is screened by trees. The most easterly point that can be seen from the dovecot is circa 70,5,5.

  5. Does anyone know what our unit on the far right flank is in the last picture (left from our PoV, SE of the house at 77). I don’t think it’s Muttley is it?

    I’m asking because that BMP is parked in plain sight with its flank to us and not maneuvering, with clear lines of sight from the field … Would anyone like to throw the dice and bet on our run of good fortune?

    • From Wikipedia:
      “The side, rear and top armor protect the BMP-1 from 7.62 mm small arms fire from most distances as well as smaller artillery shell fragments, but do not protect the vehicle against 12.7 mm heavy machine gun fire from close distances or larger artillery shell fragments”

      26–33 mm gun mantlet
      23 mm at 42° turret front
      16 mm at 14° hull upper side
      18 mm at 0° hull lower side

      So a 14.5mm burst from the side at < 200m has a pretty good chance of penetration, but the LoS goes both ways, and the BRDM is just too fragile for a standup fight. Against a BTR on the other hand I give a slight advantage to the BRDM with its smaller profile.

      • Our BRDM will absolutely not stand up to a 73mm shell, or an AT-4, no.

        But the BMP is turned away and it has poor optics, meaning we know it’s there but it probably doesn’t know where the BRDM is…

        Again, are we feeling lucky?

        • I do. The way I see it there are three targets for the BMP this turn. Muttley, the BRDM and Droopy. The last of them I just ordered to engage. I think with three adversaries and poor optics there is a good chance the BMP might be caught in an indecision-loop and taken out.
          Given that it did not move an inch for two full turns I´m not even sure how active it is right now.

  6. Should we get Lesov over to the truck in box 98 so he can rearm that pilfered rpg? What’s he doing at the moment?

    • Probably quicker to send the truck to them? Then we should think about where would be a good spot for them to hole up for the main ambush. Maybe the New Farm if we can clear it out?

    • If the local legends have carried over their orders to this turn, they should still be heading to box 98 anyway.

      EDIT: Actually, box 99 at 9x,2y (that crossroad thingy). So you could send the truck there.

    • Also, Trajanov has been doing bugger all the last few turns. Maybe he could get into Scrappy and meet the Lesov Lads at 99 as well? He could chauffeur them to their next destination, wherever that may be, which would be quicker than taking the truck.

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