05 November, 2010

The Butcher's Yard

Evening - Day 3
The Defence of Wilson's Wadi

After two days of non-stop scenarios, including full terrain changes in between each game (and of course late nights, a few beers and early mornings) I decided not to play the 8th scenario. Another more substantial relief column scenario, the result of which could affect the turn length of the final game.

From six scenarios the Taliban had won three, the British two and a single draw, with the honours shared from the more important third games of each day. I totted up the victory points from the seven scenarios to find that the raw score echoed this impression of a balanced campaign where the Taliban had a slight edge.
The tally was 70-59 to the Taliban.


The final Taliban assault on British positions takes place – can the British hold out until a major force from Qandahar can drive them off?

The Taliban close in - an off-board sniper team wreaks havoc on a group, killing its leader outright

Taliban close in

Depleted Platoon has its back to the wall - and is holding all fronts against the enemy

Depleted Platoon has its back to the wall

First long-range firefight is lost by British - two are killed and two seriously wounded in the fusilade which draws fire from all over the battlefield

First long-range firefight is lost by British

Javelin team comes out of basement! Their fire helps secure one side of the compound but they are quickly low on ammunition

Javelin team comes out of basement

British concentrate efforts - this helps to limit their exposure to the 360 fire

British concentrate efforts

Taliban sniper arrives to make life hard for British - this helps keep the British pinned back and covers an advance by the Taliban up close

Taliban sniper arrives to make life hard for British

Lone Taliban fighter doesn't realise his group has been wiped out - this large group thought its time had come and rushed the compound, but they were caught in the open and punished. The last man was unimpressed and passed his morale.
At this stage though the British are sorely pressed. But they have one last hope - they finally have artillery on call and their attempts to get into a position where they can call down a fire mission on the large group just outside the compound seals their fate.
The Taliban successfully assault the compound survivng a point-blank Javelin attack!

Lone Taliban fighter doesn't realise his group has been wiped out

Medic evacuates, putting his pistol to good use to take out the lone Taliban ahead of him (beating him to the draw!) The two soldiers still on their feet follow him out attempting to call in fire on the compound as the Taliban are inside - the "danger close" request fails

Medic evavuates, putting his pistol to good use

The Taliban have taken the compound but the sound of rotors is growing in the distance

Taliban take compound


So a famous victory for the Taliban, overrunning the British compound (in Turn 7) after killing four and seriously wounding eight. And a dark weekend for the British Army.

I suppose in present-day Afghanistan a British platoon taking heavy casualties (including having men taken prisoner) and under such pressure would've had the full force of ISAF including the nearby airfield at its disposal.
As the creator of the campaign I have to ask myself, was the final scenario fair? Should I have allowed the British to top up with more troops for the final battle? If so what use were the previous victories for the Taliban, and what penalty for the lack of concern for casualties by some of British players. I could have allowed it while awarding a certain number of victory points to the Taliban for that fact. In retrospect this might have been the best way to maintain scenario and campaign balance simultaneously.


Thanks for reading. I'll be posting the entire campaign in a pdf when I catch my breath!
To all those who played over the entire weekend - I had a blast and I hope you did too. See you next time


  1. The saddest moment for the defenders was when their supporting sniper team bailed on turn two, right after all but two of the defenders had taken hits! Clearly they felt there was nothing useful that could be accomplished after that...! :)

  2. I really enjoyed the campaign, Just said to see the poor squadies get it in the end.
    And to answer you question about ISAf I would have to say yes.
    When I was in the stan in 05 we were actively engaged with some dug in taliban, We had them surrounded but didn't want to take casualties by moving in to finish them off.
    We the closest air asset were an hour flight from Bagram, but about 10 mins the from getting to us they got redaverted to are Bravo company, they were taking fire and lost an op (luckily no one was hurt) Turns out about 150 taliban had crossed the border and were trying to give them a go. Needless to say it didn't go there way.
    They had split into two groups got lost and ran into each other in the dark and started there main assault by shooting each other and giving away there position. Ever thing was dropped on them at that point and the needless to say they didn't fair to well in the fallowing tac air, gun runs, and arty. But yeah if a unit gets over run like that all the lights are go.

  3. Great efforts mate - wonderful reporting and games.


  4. Thanks for the campaign report. I enjoyed it immensely. I'm very glad you didn't allow the British player additional reinforcements. As you say, where would the reward have been for the Taliban players if, after holding off attempts to send in British reinforcements, more just turned up anyway?

  5. If you played the final scenario, then replayed this one with the full effects taken into account it might swing things one way or the other rather drastically.

    Also, as you point out, quite a few of us were highly cavalier with the lives of our toy men, as we didn't really think in terms of campaign as much as scenario.

  6. Thanks all - it's always a challenge to dovetail play-balance with realism. At least Ambush Alley allows us to do that with Victory Points

  7. Did the British enjoy any sort of quality advantage over the Taliban? Seems like they lost most of the firefights over the campaign, which suggests either terrible dice or roughly even stats.

  8. Peter,
    The British had a clear advantage in quality in 4 of the 8 scenarios (in addition to the regular vs. insurgent action/reaction mechanic)
    In fact the scenario where they had a two-step advantage was one where bad tactics proved fatal to their efforts.
    Of course there was some really poor dice-rolling on occasion (which the insurgent side can shrug off and recoup from) by the British players!
    I think that the British suffered from some terrible luck during the Rescue mission and the Mortar attack which proved decisive


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