Operation Oryx: Turn 24

Despite being one man down, TOW Team ‘Droopy’ manages to fire all three of its remaining ‘Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided’ tank trashers during this sixty-second slice of play-by-comment Combat Mission: Cold War action. The second missile is foiled by foliage as it streaks towards a glimpsed PT-76 amphibious tank.

(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).

The third is still in motion when the clock stops.

The first, however…

…finds a branch-free aperture in the belt of trees below Tereza’s barn, darts through it…

…then toasts a strip of waving wheat ears with its fiery tail…

…before ploughing headlong into fifteen tons of Podrabian steel with gratifying results.

The PT-76 was Turn 24’s only AFV kill, but might not have been if Recon Team Charlie hadn’t buttoned up the advancing Pod T-80 with M16A1 fire at T+17.

If the T-80 commander had remained al fresco it’s possible he would have noticed our alarmed M113 before it had reversed westward, breaking LoS, and taken appropriate action.

Unfortunately a cover arc discouraged Otto and Branko, the sniper team, from opening fire on the exposed TC of the T-55 that appeared close to our KOed armoured car towards the end of the turn.

Both Muttley and the Patton look to be well-placed to engage this tope interloper in Turn 25, but they will need to push north, or north-east in order to do so – moves which could expose them to danger from the east (Like the T-55 near the Vostok memorial, the T-55 in the top-right corner of box 92 sat still this sixty).

CMCW’s somewhat pedantic/illogical mortar targeting rules meant the Light Mortar Team couldn’t fulfil their orders. Instead they lobbed a couple of not-very-accurate bombs at the highway in box 65.

Our off-map tubes demonstrated a similar standard of marksmanship, but almost got lucky. One 107mm crater maker landed close enough to a PT-76 to dust it with dirt.

The situation at the start of turn 25:

Recon Team Charlie has eyes on the stopped T-80 but, judging by the fact that it’s holding fire, doesn’t a) believe its four M433 HEDP grenades will harm it, and b) fancy provoking it.


  1. Turn 25 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, upstairs) [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’ (no ammo, dismounted, 1 man incapacitated, deployed) [BOX 23]
    Mutt ‘Scrappy’ [BOX 87]
    Trajanov [BOX 87]
    Truck [BOX 72]
    Milan Lesov (6 x RPG)[BOX 74]
    BRDM commander [BOX 77]
    M113 (unbuttoned) [BOX 85]
    M60A1 [BOX 112]

    • ORDER 1: Dragon team to drop their cover arc and target eastern armour if/when it comes into view.

      ORDER 2: Lesov Jr to keep his head down and crawl/hunt towards the eastern end of his little copse – with a view to discouraging that T-80 if he can.

      He’s taking this rather unwise action because as far as he can tell he’s only anti-armour unit likely to see the T-80 roll between those buildings, plus he’s still quite peeved about his Dad getting shot.

    • I am gonna risk it.


      The M60 rolls directly east until it can draw a line to the T-55 passing the BRDM wreck, its turret turned north. I think 112 X8 Y5 should suffice. It targets it for 10 seconds and withdraws the way it came. If there is a shoot&scoot order, please use it.

      • Is there a chance the T-55 in 89 would move too far west for the M60 to see from 112,8,5 – by the time it gets in position?

        I’m worried the N/S line of trees(?) in 130,8 would break LoS too soon.

        Maybe it’s not an issue – the T-55 might come into Muttley’s target arc (12-2) if it moves forward a bit. Perhaps someone should relax that arc though!

        • It is absolutely possible for the timing to be off. I do not know how to fix that. If we would choose the path north through our own treeline the M60 could still be too slow, should the T-55 decide to charge ahead full speed. And since the recon teams in the village are out of LAWs, letting the T-55 off the hook sounds equally undesirable.

          • You’re right, and if you went up through the trees, you could just as easily end up in front of a T-55 patiently waiting for you to pop out of the trees.

    • ORDER 1: Light mortar to target the below-mentioned small patch of ground south of 52.

      ORDER 2: Muttley to expand target arc to 11 o’clock to 3 o’clock (roughly described by the area between 76,1,1 and 78,1,1), dropping any range restrictions if there are any currently set.

  2. Boy am I glad that M113 crew were paying attention! A few questions for Tim:

    * Please could we get a summary of any limiting orders that are still active, such as the one on the snipers?
    * Does the Dragon team have LoS to the T-80, or is Lesov’s copse in the way?
    * Is it possible some of Teresa’s tank crew survived and are wandering east in a daze?

    For the rest of us to discuss, is it worth giving Lesov Jr a “hunt east” order, or will his RPGs just bounce off the front armour of that T-80 (assuming he doesn’t get got by machine gun fire)?

    • Units with cover arcs at present (N = 12 o’clock):
      – Dragon (armour, 10 to 1 o’clock)
      – Snipers (1 to 3 o’clock)
      – Muttley (armour, 12 to 2 o’clock)
      – Patton (armour, 12 to 2 o’clock)

      The two recon teams are the only Zen units that can see the T-80.

      The blue contact near Tereza is a panicking Georgi (Simona didn’t get out).

  3. What an exciting turn! No small thanks to the well-crafted storytelling of Tim. I am thoroughly pleased that Recon B and C are providing some utility, especially after two of Bravo Team got wiped out so unceremoniously early on.

    I don’t have any great suggestions or advice, but unlocking the sniper firing arc seems like a good move. I also think it’d be wise to move the remaining chaps from Droopy Team into the nearby house. My only concern is if we make that order, will they leave their wounded outside? It’d be great to tend to him if we can.

    • More importantly, I don’t know how CM will deal with a PAUSE or move order while a guided missile is en route. While I’m not happy about leaving them exposed, I think a good offense is the best defense here.

      • Good point! Perhaps if we leave them there another turn, aside from guiding the missile to its target, they will also patch up their downed teammate.

  4. As always, thanks for a great write up, @Tim.

    I’m feeling really good about this mission, provided we don’t get too ambitious in the next 5 minutes.

    I’m certain the combination of the Dragon team and our RPG will stop the T-80 or it’s older cousin following behind should they proceed west, and I’m hopeful that either Muttley or our tank will catch them should they proceed south.

    I hope Droopy takes out one more of the PT-76s, but I’m honestly OK letting 1-2 of them pass by our lines. If we let an understrength and unsupported platoon of tanks through our ambush I think we can still call it a victory.

    My biggest concerns are the overwatching T-55 by the water, and the one lurking in Box 52. The former could spot our AT assets as we attempt to creep forwards, and the latter could split the attention of the Dragon team should it advance while the T-80 does the same.

    All in all, I think finding a good way for Muttley and our M60 to reposition behind the enemy’s forward forces is our best move.

    • I wonder if the light mortar team would have better luck if we switched the target to the T-55 in box 52, next to the Vostok Memorial. Last turn I said I didn’t want to target anything near structures, but let’s face it: after this they’re going to have to tear down the memorial and replace it with statues of the Lesovs anyway, so we’d be doing them a favour if we accidentally demolish it.

      • Sounds like a good idea, better than trying to hit imaginary infantry like I was. Do you reckon we can target the T-55 directly thanks to the recon units?

        • Not your fault… I was pushing for hitting the highway too!

          Maybe Tim can answer your question – I’d like to know too, but I’m still somewhat in the dark about what the light mortar can and can’t target.

        • The only Zen with eyes on the Vostok Memorial T-55 is Georgi and he can’t help with mortar targeting. The Light Mortar Team can see/target a small patch of ground perhaps 10m south of the T-55. If they bombard said spot they can probably persuade the TC to button-up. They might even manage to wound him.

          • Thanks Tim. Sounds like it’s worth a shot, and given their accuracy so far, an off-target order will probably end up closer to where we want it anyway…

    • I just send the M60 out of the treeline to get the T-55 on the road and retreat again. It looks pretty exposed where it goes, I know. But its intended victim might well be distracted by sniper fire and is not looking its way. And if the Patton goes east instead of north, there is a secon line of trees (102 SW) between it and the other T-55 in 92. And we stay shielded from the third tank near the Vostok memorial. I´m betting on the open field actually being safer than trudging through our own woods, provided we stay in the open only for a short while. In any case, you guys got until Sunday to talk me out of being foolhardily cheeky.

  5. Does anyone mind if I pull the M113 back behind the tree line at box 96, 8, 10? Those tanks are making me nervous.

Comments are closed.