Operation Oryx: Turn 14

Zen sharpshooter Otto Pinkas is an incorrigible optimist, but the sight of seven T-62s rolling towards Strupnic from the east drives a sliver of ice into his breast. The Pod caravan seems to be expecting trouble. Disappointingly, every hatch is closed, every TC safe inside a dome of steel.

(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).

Not safe behind steel is the MT-LB commander. Before heading south, Recon Team Bravo gun down the sole survivor of last turn’s APC slaying.

If other Pods kick the bucket this turn, they do it unseen. Perhaps the trio of 60mm mortar bombs that land close to the Vostok monument, neutralise the grenadier last seen in that locale. Perhaps they don’t. The nearby truck certainly survives the brief bombardment.

The turn’s biggest blasts are caused by 107mm mortar bombs (although adjusted, the off-map tubes continue to fire on the box 38/51 road during the sixty) and ammo cooking off in the box 64 BMP. Currently, dust raised by our off-map assets is seriously disrupting Droopy’s views to the E and not helping Tereza’s LoS to the S and SW.

At approximately T+20 our mortar team observes three Pod infantrymen close to the crossroads. They appear to be heading eastward and look far from happy.

When the clock stops, the visible section of the convoy looks like this.

The two closest vehicles to the crossroads are two speeding trucks, one of which is hidden to units south of the M2 because it’s using the road behind the embankment.

Our light mortar team has just begun slinging WP at 65,5,3.  They have LoS to three T-62s so may be living on borrowed time.

Weighed down with 8(!) RPGs, the Lesovs are making themselves comfortable in the box 74 copse.

Muttley has just arrived at his new vantage point in box 87. Not far away sits Scrappy and passengers (Recon Team Charlie).

Tereza’s violence vista looks like this.


  1. Turn 15 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.

    Light mortar team [BOX 59, firing smoke, LoS to convoy]
    MG team [BOX 86]
    Dragon team [BOX 72]
    Recon team A (1 man, 1 x LAW) [BOX 74]
    Recon team B (3 men) [BOX 75]
    Otto and Branko (sniper team) [BOX 100]
    Forward Observer Team [BOX 112]
    TOW Mutt ‘Muttley’ (7 x ATGM) [BOX 87]
    TOW Mutt ‘Droopy’ (7 x ATGM) [BOX 23]
    Mutt ‘Scrappy’ (1 x LAW on board) + Recon team C (3 men) [BOX 87]

    ****subscribers only****
    Trajanov [BOX 100]
    Truck [BOX 74]
    The Lesovs [BOX 74]
    M113 [BOX 74, unbuttoned]
    Mutt ‘Scooby’ [BOX 17, 1 x LAW on board]
    Tereza [BOX 17]

    • Glad to see Bravo’s getting a bit of action. I’m early, but might as well continue on with my order from last turn.

      ORDER: Recon B to move to the edge of the fence, stopping at X9, Y7. Maybe put a waypoint up against the Y7 fence so they creep along there and minimize any possible exposure to the highway armor. They should still have cover once they get to the road thanks to the dead tank, and pausing will hopefully give them time to spot and shoot any straggling infantry in the area. Then maybe next turn we can push them up into the house, depending on the smoke and convoy situation.

      Depending on how things work out, Scooby might still be able to deliver that LAW to our position behind the convoy, if it doesn’t get used any other way.

    • ORDER:

      Recon C to grab Scrappy’s last LAW, and replenish any spent 5.56 or 40mm whilst their at it. Then DISMOUNT and MOVE into the trees just North of their position. Somewhere around Box 87, x7, y6, and HIDE. I would order Scrappy to move to Trajanov’s position, but given the Lesov shenanigans last turn, he’s probably better off just waiting their.

    • Carrying out the suggestion below:

      ORDER: Muttley to hold fire and wait for someone else to spring the ambush.

    • ORDER: The empty truck to move stealthily south away from the front line, heading for the track in NW corner of box 98, clear of the MG team that will be north of it. If/when it reaches there, turn to face SW please.

      Unless there’s a reason to keep the truck near the Lesovs, Recon A, and the M113?

    • ORDER:
      The light mortar team interrupts its smoke mission. They slide down the embankment to the north and take up position in the copse of trees. I guess that would be 59 X5 Y10. They whip out their assault rifles and fire at the truck coming right at them on the service road parallel to the highway. If they live that long.

      Please tell me if CM allows crews to use their infantry weapons and if that would mean abandoning the mortar.

    • Order: Mutt Scooby to retrace it’s route back down the farm track heading for cover behind the
      trees in Box 47 with all possible speed.
      We’re going to deliver this last LAW to someone who can use it, or be a distraction, maybe both.

    • ORDER: adjust the heavy mortar firing order further east along the highway, circa the border of 64&65. If trees etc. block LoS, pick the nearest spot east of there that is visible.

  2. I don’t know what Babusya Lesova puts in her borscht, but I would like the recipe. That family is *strong*.

  3. I wonder if it’s worth moving Recon A up to where Recon B used to be, i.e. the treeline at box 75 Y1? Having him separated out from the Lesovs will hopefully avoid either team hitting the other one with their backblast, plus it makes for less of a target.

    On a different note, i’m not sure how commanders work in CM, but would it provide any value to move Trajanov closer to where most of our units are currently clustered? Maybe he could head for Scrappy and jump in once that LAW is finally transferred to Recon C.

    • I think commanders give units a small morale boost when they’re nearby. I think they also help units share spotting information as well.

      If there no objections I’ll order Recon C to get on with rearming and move out.

  4. Rats about that dust cloud. Does anyone know how long these things take to clear in CM? This might be a trickier problem than we expected for Tereza and Droopy.

    • I am incredibly amused by this turn of events. All the careful preparation of positions in the world and we didn’t think about the fact that our mortars would create smoke.

      If the barrage stops now, maybe a turn or two. If not, it could be 5 minutes or more.

      • Friction in action, unfortunately. We run the risk of losing the use of our most valuable and durable AT asset for the turns we need it the most because of … dust.

        We could drive Tereza forward, but I’m very very leery of bringing her in line of sight of the whole convoy so that the Pods can do a conga line of tanks taking pot shots at her. I don’t know if T72 armour is THAT much better than T62 main guns.

        • A T-62 has a lot of components which are commonly painted as inferior. Its gun, however, is not among them. At ranges of less than 1km, anything short of an Abrams is vulnerable to it.

  5. Thanks for catching the Lesovs order last turn, captaincabinets. I got hit hard by Covid and spent most of today thinking it was still Tuesday.

    • Much appreciated! I’ve completely lost my voice, so I’m just going to have a quick nap in the back of this miraculously empty truck…

      Hey, here’s an idea from a fevered mind: Can we park the truck to block LOS in our favour somewhere? (only if the driver can dismount and escape of course)

  6. Give or take, the lead enemy tanks travelled about 400 metres over the course of the turn (from a comparison of overhead screenshots). That would mean they should be pretty much on the X at the end of the next turn: 63 x8 and 64 x1.
    So, we need to choose:
    Prepare to ambush this turn (including the enemy trucks), and deal with the results at the start of the next.
    Hold fire, with a view to picking our targets at the start of the next turn.

    I think I lean towards the former.

    • I vote the latter. It’s much easier if we can assign targets, effectively distributing our fire. Otherwise we risk the Dragon, LAW, and ATGMs all going at the front target, or worse, the trucks.

      Won’t our M113 be able to hose the front truck?

      • Sort-of compromise, then?
        1) Hold fire against armour.
        That means the Dragon, Tereza, Muttley & Recon A+C

        2) Can hit the leading truck(s).
        Lesovs, M113 and LMG look after the truck on the elevated highway.
        Point of debate would be whether Droopy is allowed to ambush the northern truck on the trackway (preferably without also going after the truck by the Vostok Monument) – I am for.

        • I think we can leave Tereza and the Dragon. The Dragon is a sweeper and our T72 holds a little more ammo.

          The recon teams… i’m inclined to leave them just because they’re sited so close to the highway that by the time they can fire there’s reasonable odds they get spotted anyway and Id rather use their LAWs than lose them.

          • I´m inclined to agree. Hold fire with the Mutts, let the dragon team, Tereza and the infantry do their thing.

            What I do not have a good answer for is what to do with the truck using the northern service road. Wasting a TOW from Droopy seems uneconomic.

            So…crazy idea time. How about our light mortar team? Lobbing mortar grenades at it is unlikely to hit. Can we tell them to just use their infantry weapons? And can we do that without abandoning the mortar completely?

    • I like the idea of putting some of our more hidden units on hold fire orders (the Mutts mostly).

  7. That highway has a dirt furrow running down it. I am starting to worry that calling the off map mortar down the length of the highway will just produce more dust separating the north and south lanes from LoS.

    Should we cancel the barrage altogether, or trust to Zendoran road construction?

    • That depends on the time frame. Tim wrote the mortars adjusted this turn (but still fire on the original target this turn). I guess `adjusting` is quicker than a new target.
      Still, even in the worst case, obscuring the whole ambush area from 62 eastward without cutting off the lead elements, would not constitute a total disaster. We still could pick off the enemy units trickling out of the cloud individually. The only unit that could possibly be impeded by that would be the dragon team due to its minimum range. My gut feeling says it is worth keeping the barrage as it is.

      • It would be a very big problem for Tereza, who is currently LoS-obscured from anything west of 62 by the New Farm.

        (EDIT: I stand corrected, she might have LoS to the last section of road further west according to the screenshots, but she will be substantially impeded if there is indeed smoke all the way till 62.)

        Repositioning her might work but would involve turning that vulnerable flank to the T62s on the road (and that RPG toter who was watching Scooby) and slooooowly trundling west along an open road with no cover.

        My main concern is I suspect Tereza is our best option to take out the majority of the convoy: there’s no way we can take out 30 tanks otherwise with a dozen TOWs and a half dozen MANPATs.

        • Hmm, now I look again, I’m uncertain about LoS for her. Maybe Tim could resolve this question.

          • Tereza does have LoS through the dust and smoke in places. Oryx14k.jpg illustrates the situation pretty well.

    • some options:

      1) Leave as is. Gets the mortar firing sooner, but risks neutering one of our best assets in Tereza .

      2) adjust the target further down the road (the border of 64 and 65, maybe?). Probably delays firing and is less likely to catch de-vehicled infantry, but gives Tereza better sightlines while also potentially screening out fire from more convoy elements coming down the highway.

      3) aim the mortar at the highway choke point. Not very likely to hit vehicles in motion, but could slow down reinforcements and block their sightlines. Won’t impede the ambush zone.

      4) confiscate the mortar from copperbottom and put it a hard to reach spot. He is clearly not competent enough to handle explosives.

      My vote would be for no. 2. Any other votes or suggestions?

      • 2) sounds fine to me. Tim pointed out there are gaps in the smoke so Tereza DOES have some LoS, so really I might just be overreacting. If you want to keep the mortar aimed where it is I also wouldn’t object.

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