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Firestorm: Red Thunder

The Team Yankee Global Campaign

Operation Night Rider - Battle of Bad Staffelstein

United States
VS Warsaw Pact

Tactical Situation

Bad Staffelstein is a small town located on the Autobahn 73 between Coburg (which is close at the Inner German Border) and Nuremberg. In addition it is in close proximity to the Staffelberg, a table mountain with an excellent overview of the Main River valley. The strategic importance is obvious. So obvious that not only the Soviets were eager to control it but also NATO fully expecting an attack.
WARPAC objectives: Take control of the area around the Staffelberg and prevent NATO access to the Autobahn by conducting a night attack.
NATO objectives: Dig in, wait for the inevitable attack and hold the line, until a relief force from the Bamberg US Army Base arrives.

Staffelberg and Autobahn

Attacking Soviet Force

Soviet Tank Battalion (11th Guards Tank Division)

T-72 Tank Battalion HQ (p.89) - 1x T-72 (5 pts)
T-72 Tank Company (p.90) - 6x T-72 (27 pts)
T-72 Tank Company (p.90) - 5x T-72 (22 pts)
BMP-2 Recon Platoon (p.94) - 4x BMP-2 (6 pts)
ZSU-23-4 Shilka AA Platoon (p.91) - 2x ZSU-23-4 Shilka (2 pts)
SA-13 Gopher SAM Platoon (p.81) - 4x SA-13 Gopher (4 pts)
MI-24 Hind Assault Helicopter Company (p.97) - 2x MI-24 Hind (5 pts)
SU-25 Frogfoot Aviation Company (p.96) - 4x SU-25 Frogfoot (14 pts

85 Points

Defending US Force

US Armored Division (145th Armored Regiment, Ohio Army National Guard)

M1 Abrams Armored Combat Team HQ (p.79) - 1x M1 Abrams (8 pts)
M1 Abrams tank Platoon (p.80) - 4x M1 Abrams (32 pts)
M1 Abrams tank Platoon (p.80) - 3x M1 Abrams (24 pts)
M113 Mech Platoon (p.82) - 3x M249 SAW Team, 2x M47 Dragon Missile Team, 3x M113 (4 pts)
- 1x M47 Dragon Missile Team (1 pts)
M901 ITV Anti-tank Platoon (p.83) - 2x M901 ITV (3 pts)
M163 VADS AA Platoon (p.81) - 4x M163 (6 pts)
AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter Platoon (p.85) - 2x AH-1 Cobra (7 pts)

85 Points

Mission Details

Hof Corridor - No Retreat 85 pts

The Attack

US forces had established an heavily mined defense position at an obvious attack vector near the autobahn with excellent fields of fire for their Abrams to cover several alternative routes. At the same time, a mechanised platoon took ambush position in a forrest on the other side of the Staffelberg, protecting the command post.
The Soviet commander decided, that it was too risky to take the direct route, correctly assuming a minefield and ordered his tanks to move around the woods under the cover of the night, far away from the enemy positions, aiming directly for the CP.
When several BMPs came into sight of the Dragon gunners, the dug in infantry opened fire, scoring several hits. The battle was on.

Initial US defense position and mine fields
The red steamroller is advancing on the southern flank.

Stalkers in the Night

The M1 platoon and its umbrella of VADS decided to not leave their positions yet. Even though the distances made it impossible to effectively engage the enemy at night without advancing in the open first and a huge bulk of WARPAC armor closing in on the CP, the rationale was to wait for reserves and take out the enemy in a pincer movement. Also the NATO commander was worried, that his force might get stuck in terrain, when trying to move in the dark, so he wanted to wait for dawn.
The Soviets decided to bring the rest of their ground forces in, instead of calling for air support at this time.
The T72 tried to engage the infantry, but their prepared positions shielded them from any harm. Also the Soviets experienced what the Americans had feared: Several tanks bogged down in the woods. This was the first time, the russian commander was dissatisfied with the performance of his subordinates. It wouldn't be the last time.

Dragon ambush and Soviet flank manouvre.

Enter the Abrams

Just when the T-72 were preparing to assault the G.I.s, the second Platoon (understrength) appeared in the flanks of the enemy and took out several enemy teams. The primary M1 platoon still remained, where it was, waiting for a better opportunity to strike.
The Soviet commander called for air support and a flight of HINDs appeared to attack the Abrams, that had just arrived. But superior western night vision equipment ensured, that one chopper was downed by .50cal fire, while the survivor could not hit any targets. The pilot lost his nerves and disengaged for good.
The mechanised platoon opened fire with Dragons and LAWs on the BMPs, while their APCs shot their .50cals at Shilkas. Both Soviet units panicked and retreated after some bail outs.
The Russian tank commander was furious! Those cowards would be court martialed!
The Americans hadn' suffered any losses so far...

Surprise, comrade!
Numerical superiority isn't worth anything, if you lose your nerves. (3 enemy units driven away by 3 Abrams and a Mech Platoon)

Air Strike at Dawn

Frogfoots appeared and fired at the Abrams, finally killing the first enemy team. But this was the only time the Russian air force would participate in the fight. Probably they were just as craven as their Red Army comrades...
Finally daybreak!

American counter strike

Now it was time for the American commander to order all his units to strike the enemy with everything they got.
The main force, consisting of 5 Abrams and 4 VADs left the initial positions to flank the second T-72 unit and hunt down enemy AA. At the same time, Cobras and ITVs appeared and together with the units at the command post, inflicted heavy casualties, without taking any damage in return.
The Soviet commander came to the conclusion, that his only chance was to overwhelm the mission objective with a shock attack. He radioed all his units to assault the objective. But he had to find out, that no one was left anymore. Both tank units had run away, while the AA platoon was wiped out by Abrams and Cobras. Just after the Russian realised in terror, that he was the only Warsaw Pact unit on the battlefield, his tank was hit by shells from several different enemy teams at the same time.

Soviets getting massacred from all sides.


WP: 1
The attacker was annihilated and not a single team was left at the end of the game, while NATO only lost a single M1 Abrams. Two factors were deciding factors. The first was the technological superiority of NATO night vision equipment in combination with a very long night. It was not until turn 5 when finally day broke. This time was very important for NATO to survive until all units were on the table.
Soviet tankers and pilots just could not get used to their IR equipment, it seemed.
The second factor was the abysmal morale of the WP soldiers. Every single time, when a unit had to test for morale, the unit retreated. NATO actually didn't do that much damage, but bail out results were often more than enough and elliminating key teams in T-72 units forced morale tests for the Soviets.

Bad Staffelstein was save. For now.

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United States