Well… it’s been a while since I last did these. Like literally 18 months (18 months and 19 days to be exact) since the last time I planned, wrote and played an Ultramodern game set in Bazistan. A lot has happened in that time – “losing my cool” during that last game was the sign of something a little worse, I move 200 miles south and then we got stuck inside for almost a year.
But now? Well, I had the hankering to roll a dice or two. So why not take a step back to the fictional nation of Bazistan and carry on the story.
It has been almost two years since the events that lead to the capture of Captain Amari of the AESA by elements of the Bazi Interior forces on the outskirts of Bazi City (see The House on the Corner). Alongside her and two of her Adenese colleagues, the capture of SAS Trooper Robert Chalk proved to be a political bomb, leading to the resignation of the Minister of Defence and (among other things), the collapse of the British government at the time.
After being paraded on Bazi Television as spies, Amari, Chalk and others have been disappeared into a series of Military Prisons that the Bazi regime maintains. Bazistan has refused to return any of the prisoners while they are still alive. In the past year, the bodies of the two other AESA agents have been returned to the Republic of Aden’s government but there has been no sign of Amari or Chalk.
At the same time, counter-government forces in Bazistan have shifted to small scale open combat, especially around the second city of Alriyah. As the combat has increased in intensity, Bazi security forces have begun extracting important assets from the region. This has included the last two prisoners held in a secret prison. Thanks to dissidents in the Alriyah Police, British and Aden governments have been told that these prisoners are Captain Amari and Trooper Chalk.
In case you didn’t know, my games are set in an alternative universe where Yemen is actually split into two nations – the West leaning Aden and the monarchy ruled Bazistan (you can find. If you want more ways to tell it’s a fictional universe, the fact a scandal involving the parading of a British operative on TV actually causes the British Government to collapse.
Also yep, it’s time for a time skip. Last time the country was definitely at the tipping point but not quite into open warfare, mostly because most of the games I was playing were much more focused on small scale sneaky stuff or gradual skirmishing in the hills between Aden and Bazistan. This was mostly due to how my collection was themed, with larger forces not really existing.
Bazistan now, however, is in the early stages of collapse, mainly because having checked through my collection I realise I have plenty of figures that would be suitable for a larger set of games, possibly using Ultramodern or Chain of Command. With this larger size, it was time to turn the heat up a touch. Hopefully, we’ll be breaking out a few more insurgents and platoons of infantry to get into the fight.
UK Special Forces Command has drafted up a recovery plan. Taking advantage of the current insurrection taking place in Bazistan, UKSF has managed to infiltrate a small number of SAS operative into the region. As well as assisting the opposition forces, these SAS operatives have been on standby to attempt a rescue operation when Chalk and Amari were located.
Chalk and Amari are being extracted in a pair of Interior Ministry SUVs, accompanied by humvees belonging to Bazi Special Forces and regular Bazi Army forces. The convoy will be escorted by a Mi-35 Hind gunship. However, due to the current security situation, the gunship will only join the convoy once they have cleared the outskirts of the city.
This leaves a window of opportunity for the SAS to take advantage of. The element has discovered a possible ambush site in one of the city’s suburbs along the vehicle’s exit route. The goal will be to strike the convoy, recover the two passengers and then exfil the target area before any back up arrives.
I gave my Dastardly Regular Opponent the option to decide exactly how the SAS would recover the two targets and he chose a vehicle interdiction (the other option being a prison break). After a little bit of setup, and remembering the ramming rules in Spectre operations, it was time to break out the uprated vehicles and commit a traffic accident.
BLUFOR (the SAS) are rolling with a pretty stocked team of operators (as you’d expect for them planning an operation). The Ambush team (dressed in the desert robes) comprised of six Elite operators, armed with a mix of Carbines, suppressed MP7s and a combat shotgun. Knowing they would be up against vehicles and needing rapid armour penetration, the Carbines and shotgunner decided to use Armour Piercing ammo.
The BLUFOR support team of five Elite operators would take up overwatch positions. The key elements to this would be a heavy sniper rifle and medium machine gun (with an assistant), both set up on rooftops to create a killzone. For additional support, the team also has a medical specialist (to make sure the recovered objectives can be treated) as well as a UAV co-ordinator for overwatch. He also has access to a loitering glide munition just in case they need to blow the crap out of something. The team is definitely lacking in AT weapons, so having a contingency may be handy.
Finally were the BLUFOR vehicles. To create the traffic block, the shotgunner of the Ambush team would be driving an uprated civilian pickup, with improved engine and brakes, as well as a toughened front end (counting as a bullbar in the Spectre Operations rules). The extraction vehicle would be a white minivan, which would take the core team away quickly while the rest moved offboard to nearby transport.
On the other side, OPFOR were split into several groups. The main force was a convoy, comprised of two light humvees and two unarmoured SUVs. Both Humvees are armed with HMGs, but differ in their crew – the lead vehicle with Trained Bazi Army forces (with Assault Rifles and a MMG) while the rear vehicle was crewed by the Professional Bazi Special Forces.
Each SUV has four occupants – a hostage (either Chalk or Amari), a professional Operative from the Bazi Interior Ministry, a Professional Bazi Special Forces Operator and a Trained Bazi Army driver.
If the convoy runs into trouble, there are three tiers of response. The lowest level is a pair of Bazistan police in a civilian vehicle. These two are only militia fighters, but do come with G3 battle rifles stored in the car. The next level is a Bazi Army technical with four Bazi Army soldiers that is waiting to link up with the convoy. If it’s late, they will come looking for their objective. And if the SAS really cocks it up, well then a BTR-80a is following the convoy as a rearguard, complete with a squad of Bazi Republican guard.
SOP for the Bazi Army is to attempt to escape any ambush by pushing through. If held in place, the Bazi Interior Ministry operatives are ordered to eliminate the hostages. However, due to the situation in the Bazi government, not all Interior Ministry operatives are as loyal as they should be. A command roll may be required to see if their will holds…
We begin with the Bazi convoy speeding through the suburbs of Alriyah, bumping through the empty streets as the distant sound of gunfire fills the air, the sound of the dissidents being crushed by the Bazi Army.
The convoy keeps close together, turret gunners rotating left and right to cover the rooftops.
In a side street, the driver of a heavily armoured pickup truck pulls the shemagh over his face as the British voice in his ear counts down. “5… 4… 3… 2…”
Before the driver of the lead humvee can respond, the roar of a high powered engine fills the air, followed by a sickening “CRONCH” of metal on metal.
The impact of the armoured front onto the humvee knocks it off the road, the driver jarred by the impact until they slam into the jersey barrier at the side of the road. With a hiss, the engine stops working as the crew slump forward in their seats.
In contrast, the driver of the vehicle shrugs off the impact, pulls the Origin 12 shotgun off the dashboard and climbs out, leveling at the oncoming SUV.
With this impact, the rest of the SF operators appear out of cover. Covering the killzone, the marksman shifts his Heavy Sniper Rifle into position.
On another rooftop, the rest of the Overwatch team also setup, the MMG resting on the cover as his asistant prepares the belt.
Additionally, the rest of the Ambush team move out of the nearby buildings, taking up positions in cover to aim at the oncoming vehicles.
At the same time, two final Ambush operators move into cover beside an abandoned vehuicle and open up on the rear humvee with Armour Piercing rounds. These rounds shred the vehicle causing a mobility kill and killing the driver and gunner,
The Medium Machine gunner then opens up on the damaged lead humvee, the heavy 7.62mm rounds shredding the light armour and bouncing around the interior. Both the driver and passenger go down, taking the Bazi Army squad leader out of commission.
The first SUV continues driving attempting to smash through the now immobilised vehicles, the radio screaming “PUSH PUSH PUSH”. The SUV however is not an upgraded vehicle. It slams and comes to a halt, the engine softly smoking.
Before anyone in the car can react, the SAS shotgunner (having just moved out of the road as the SUV kept coming) runs up to the front passenger window, levels the shotgun at them and fills the front seats with multiple slugs, killing the driver instantly.
The other SUV decides to risk going off road and turns off into the desert. As it hits a divot in the ground, it bounces slightly.
Seeing the gunfight starting, and not wanting to be trapped in a light humvee against an opposition with serious firepower, the Bazi Army regulars disembark from the lead vehicle and into cover.
The cover however is not good enough. The MMG gunner shifts fire and hammers another burst, taking down the two regulars.
At the rear of the convoy, the two remaining Bazi SF guys manage to pull themselves out of the vehicle, taking cover behind the vehicle while frantically calling for reinforcements.
However, a few moments later the heavy sniper rifle hammers and takes out the Bazi SF trooper, leaving only the team leader alive.
SUV 2, unable to take the corner fully to escape, slams into the building, resulting in a mobility kill and knocking the crew out for a moment. However, in SUV 1, the survivors have disembarked. Their ears ringing, the Bazi SF trooper and Interior Ministry start trying to get the SAS to back off, holding a gun to the female hostage.
The SAS, fully aware of the upper hand they have in the situation, move closer keeping their guns trained on the Bazis.
At the rear of the convoy, the Ambush Team Leader and two members move forward towards where the Bazi SF had gone to ground, ready to take out the survivors
Still stunned, the crew of SUV 2 falls out of the vehicle leaving the male hostage inside. The Bazi Army trooper attempts to engage one of the SAS in the open but is rewarded with a burst of MP7 fire that takes them down.
Into this scene drives… The Police
Luckily a cross map heavy sniper rifle shot hits the civilian vehicle before it can get too close, hitting the engine block before it coasts to a stop.
The policemen dive into cover behind their car, pulling out their battle rifles from the back seat while demanding reinforcements at their location. They attempt to engage the SAS troopers, who are too busy dealing with the last remaining Bazi SF operator.
Coming under (Semi-)accurate battle rifle fire, the operator dealing with the Bazi SF team leader ends up simply smacking him around the face before turning round to deal with the threat.
After managing to suppress them with multiple Rapid Fire bursts from their carbines, the trio began to peel back towards the rest of the team.
Around the two damaged SUVs, the SAS team moved in to clean up.
Taking advantage of maintaining the initiative, the operators managed to move and clean up the bad guys, with a mix of close combat and close-range shooting.
And just in time, as the main Bazi army began to arrive. The technical, pausing at the end of the road start trading MMG fire with the team on the roof.
With the action about to hot up, the Ambush team leader reached into SUV 2 and dragged Trooper Chalk out before hoisting him over his shoulder
Trooper Chalk was reported to have hissed “You took your bloody time didn’t you?”.
And speaking of hotting up, the sound of grumbling engines announced the arrival of a BTR-80A and it’s troops. Heavy armour, an autocannon and a full belly of troops means this is not something to stick around and fight.
With very little able to actually deal with the BTR (and both hostages in their hands), the SAS beat a quick retreat. Bundling the two hostages into the minivan and driving off, the rest of the operators disappearing into the suburbs.
So, as you’d hope from a crack team of special forces, they successfully managed to extract the hostages and escape. Elite troops in Spectre Operations are exceedingly effective at their job and, in a situation like this, can rip the enemy apart. By getting the drop on the enemy, they were able to achieve the objectives.
Of course, this does leave them trying to evac a pair of hostages out of a hostile country in the opening stages of armed revolt. Not the simplest task, but it should be possible. On the other hand, the Bazi Army is not going to let themselves be made fools of.
Man, it felt good to be back rolling dice. And as much as I love Skirmish Sangin and all it’s details, Spectre has a lovely level of detail to it while still not requiring quite so much paperwork. It has lots of fun toys to play around with and a simple core that keeps it exciting. I’m looking forward to playing a few more games (even in solo) but hopefully we’ll be back to some multi-player games soon.