Operation Oryx: Turn 23

T+4. Fear? Foreboding? Indecision? Whichever phantasmal dire wolf had Lesov Junior firmly pinned to the leaf litter last turn, releases him four seconds into this one. Milan uses his liberty to tweak the trigger of his RPG-7. As a result the truck reversing along the embankment north of the copse comes to an abrupt halt, wreathed in smoke.

(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).

T+5. From Tereza’s blood-spattered commander’s hatch, Viktor spots the T-55 he suspected was in the vicinity. The miscamouflaged museum piece is stationary, alarmingly close, and has its shell spitter trained on our heading-for-cover T-72.

T+6. Thankfully, Georgi, Viktor’s gunner, is no slow poke. A 125mm HEAT round flashes SSE. The only smoke that will spill from that T-55’s muzzle now is smoke from an ammo carousel inferno.

T+13. Tereza has just come to a stop behind the reassuring bulk of the barn when a burst of small arms fire dashes sparks from her turret.

T+16. The rounds seem to be coming from New Farm.

T+17. Assuming Viktor buttons-up promptly, there sh…

T+18. No! Some jammy Pod AK-artist has just put 27 grains of lead into Viktor Somlac’s cranium. Our T-72 commander is no more!

T+30. And, OMG, Viktor’s demise seems to have seriously spooked Georgi and Simona. Tereza has started reversing NE! Our out-on-a-limb T-72 is trading a relatively sheltered position behind a building for a cover-free cabbage field in LoS of, at the very least, three PT-76s!

T+46. Having put the barn between herself and the foes who sniped Viktor, Tereza finally brakes. A LoS check reveals that the PT-76s can’t, in fact, see her (however that may change when they reach dry land) but she still feels horribly exposed.

T+52. Kurva! RPG!

T+53. Somewhere in the south-eastern corner of box 43 an unseen Pod tank hunter punches the air.

Other noteworthy events in Turn 23:

South of the embankment, the T-55 and T-80 managed to advance without drawing fire from any Zen units. They end the turn nestled in the shelter belt close to the Lesov’s house.

There was also tank movement north of the embankment. The companion of the KOed T-55 appears to have stopped close to the Vostok Memorial.

Droopy might be dead but his disembarked/depleted TOW team is still in the fight.

When the clock stops the first PT-76 is scrambling ashore…

…the off-map mortar barrage is underway (no rounds have landed yet), and the Patton is, I estimate, about thirty seconds from its destination near the dovecot.


  1. Turn 24 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). Turn execution: probably Monday morning.

    Light mortar team (tube deployed) [BOX 47]
    MG team [BOX 86]
    Dragon team (ambushing) [BOX 72]
    Recon team B (1 man) [BOX 75]
    Recon team C (3 men, upstairs) [BOX 87]
    Otto and Branko (sniper team) [BOX 100]
    Forward Observer Team (calling in bombardment) [BOX 112]
    TOW Mutt ‘Muttley’ (5 x ATGM) [BOX 100]
    Team ‘Droopy’ (3 x ATGM, dismounted, 1 man incapacitated, deployed) [BOX 23]
    Mutt ‘Scrappy’ [BOX 87]
    Trajanov [BOX 87]
    Truck [BOX 86]
    Milan Lesov (6 x RPG)[BOX 74]
    BRDM commander [BOX 77]
    M113 (unbuttoned) [BOX 85]
    M60A1 [BOX 98]

    • ORDER 1:
      The M113 to follow the road around to 74,8,1 (bottom right of 74), ending up facing north. This is to provide anti-infantry cover for any attempts to move the AK-less Lesov (east or west next turn?). I’m hoping this location is not in LoS to any of the enemy vehicles in the mid/far east.

      ORDER 2:
      The mortar team to drop ordinance in a line along the highway from 62 to 65. No idea if this is possible, so Tim please interpret as best you can. If it has to be specific locations then centre 62 or centre 65 are the most interesting to me.

      (I’ve ordered two units because we’ve gone most of the week with no other orders yet – happy to take notes and adjust the above!)

  2. Well that was a rather unfortunate unbuttoning.

    I feel like our M113 and Scrappy are being a bit underutilized at the moment.

    Scrappy doesn’t seem to be in a position to hit much of anything. Is there anywhere we could sneak him round to that might give us an angle to fire on an advancing tank? Or could we do a hopeful “shoot and scoot” by giving an advance, pause and retreat order – all in the same turn?

    For the M113, I feel like it’d be useful to try to get those guys in to clean up whoever might’ve bailed out of the truck so that Lesov and the Dragon team don’t waste their rockets. We know at least that there’s one guy with an AK floating around around New Farm. Not sure if the highway is safe to cross, but perhaps we could roll forward and check it out?

    I’m really not confident ordering vehicles around, so leaving these as open thoughts for now.

    On infantry I’d like if our sniper and Recon Charlie could advance, maybe with the sniper taking Charlie’s current spot, but I’m not sure what the view is like. Tim, do we have an idea what Charlie can see from their current location?

    • One of the tougher CM calls I’ve had to make. We’ll never know if Teresa would have KO’d the T-55 in time with a closed hatch, but it was a garbage situation all over for her.

      It does leave us with a very exposed northern front and 3-4 enemy tanks approaching. Droopy’s crew might be our only shot against them.

      I think this is the part where we try to hold the south village, keep the T-80 from getting through, and avoid our amphibious and new farm opponents. At this point I’m pretty happy to get 1-2 more tank kills and get our forces away safely.

      • Tereza was living on borrowed time. No tank outside of Hollywood could hope to survive being alone and surrounded on all sides. I agree we should focus on holding the village now. I doubt any unit would survive crossing the highway, with all those Pod tanks watching it.

    • I think trying to clean up the New Farm area is a great idea (that’s box 50, right?) If we can secure that area, at least briefly, Lesov Junior might be able to set up there in one of the buildings and have a shot at the amphibious tanks.

      • I believe a two-man HQ unit was seen heading towards the buildings in box 50 after the main ambush, but I suppose any number of crew or truck infantry might also have headed there.

        Can the light mortar team be of any use against these structure-based infantry?

        My assumption has been we can’t push anything over the highway to reinforce the north due to surviving enemy infantry in 61/62, but is that just a fear of the unknown? Now we have the M60 on the south side, what could we risk moving north that could handle the PT-76s? Or is it more preferable (in this scenario) to save our units and let them through?

      • I have half of a mind to send the dragon team north of the highway and establish them in the copse of woods at 47. If they swing west as much as possible, they might avoid the attention of most of the new farm residents. Additionally, their AT weapon has enough range to cover the whole northern part of the map.

        The problem is, they might just take too long. They could easily be caught in the act and are useless while on route. Finally, it would bereave us of our only sweeper along the southern highway, should the Pods decide to change direction. We could redirect the M60 to mitigate the last of these downsides, but that´s still alot of `ifs` and `buts`.

        • Moving Dragon team is an interesting idea. Could Lesov Junior fall back to 72 to take up the sweeper position instead? Could we pick up the Dragon team in the truck to speed up the process and afford them a little bit more protection?

          Hopefully the incoming aerial bombardment should dissuade the amphibs from going south, but you’re right – it is a lot of ifs and buts.

        • There are a lot of enemy forces with a view to the highway, including potentially survivors of the truck we just blew up. I’m really hesitant to run anyone over the highway.

          Given that Droopy is covering the north at least for a little I’d rather not put all our eggs in one basket, or risk a double-fire from two AT assets.

          I like cpt cabinet’s idea of moving Lesov Jr, though my preference is getting him to cover 76 in case the tanks in the south come at us.

      • I really want us to pull this off, but I don’t know what units we use for it. If there’s an RPG there we can’t risk our tank or M113, and our M60 team is all the boots on the ground we have. I’m wondering it Droopy alone might be able to catch the PT-76s as they swing north.

        • There are three PT-76s and team Droopy got 3 ATGMs. Theoretically they could!
          If nobody else joins them on the northern route … and if the platoon is polite enough not to advance on them simultaneously … and if they don´t waste any missiles on soft vehicle targets, that is.


          • It is possible the AI will pull the PTs back once they know there’s an AT asset there.

            I guess I care more about thinning out one or two of them, and not letting them hit our flank. Taking them all out just seems like too big of an ask.

            @Tim, if the PT-76s advance due west will team Droopy have any shots at them, and if so, where does that LoS open up?

          • @Tim, if the PT-76s advance due west will team Droopy have any shots at them, and if so, where does that LoS open up?

            My LoS checks suggest the PT-76s will be pretty safe until they reach the line between boxes 16 & 17, 28 & 29, and 40 & 41 (the north-south belt of trees below Tereza’s barn).

  3. I want to place an order (or two) before I forget and suddenly it’s Tuesday afternoon again! As usual I’m very unsure of what is sensible.

    To get Lesov to cover 76, can that be done effectively from the eastern end of the little copse he’s in now, or should he move east to the tree line (say 75,0,3)? That seems like crossing open ground with little cover if anyone is still alive on the highway. Once at that position, I believe the diagonal line in the centre of 75 on the map is a wire fence(?) so can be seen/fired through? I’m really not clear what constitutes effective cover in that compound.

    Could the MG team move north first to provide covering fire (from 74,9,1), or could the M113 get somewhere more effective (say 74,8,1)?

    Unrelated, is there any harm in having the light mortar fire on the highway or new farm to keep some heads down? (Perhaps not possible without LoS?)

    • I hear you… I also have no idea what to do, to be perfectly frank.

      Alison was for moving M113 forward, and I’m not against some cleanup either, so getting it to 74,8,1 seems like a fair move given the consensus.

      Light mortar cover fire also seems sensible, although considering one of our objectives (I think?) is to minimise building damage as much as possible, I’d prefer it directed to the highway rather than New Farm. Somewhere along 62-65 would be the best bet.

      I want to move Lesov, but I’m terrified to do so. Especially given the Pods just on the other side of the treeline in box 77. If you’re braver soul than I am, then yeah, aiming south of the treeline at the western edge of 75 is probably the way to go.

      I realise that all doesn’t help too much, haha. But I’d be happy for you to take charge of the M113 and light mortar as per your thoughts. And I’ll strongly defend your decision(s) if anything goes horribly wrong 🙂

    • Thanks for taking the initiative! I think I join a lot other commenters in being a bit paralyzed by indecision right now. It seems like there is very little maneuver we can do that would definitively improve our position, so anything we do do is going to be risky, and that’s a tough call to make this late in the game.

      • Thanks for the chewy tactical thoughts to kick us all off, Alison!

        And please in the future go right ahead and order the vehicles around – in my mind, little pockets of hubris and daring are all part of the comment commander spirit, regardless of the outcome. Besides, it’s already very clear that you’ve got a fine tactician’s mind.

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