LnL: A Day of Heroes: Technical Difficulty
"Technical Difficulty" is a scenario from LnL's "A Day of Heroes", which is based on the events of the October 3rd, 1993 "Black Hawk Down" battle in Mogadishu, Somalia. This scenario focuses on Chalk One's attempt to rescue the crew of a downed Black Hawk helicopter. Luckily for the crew, a sniper team from Delta is with them, trying to keep them safe until Chalk One arrives.
|US forces from Chalk One try to rescue a downed helo crew to the northwest.|
Technical Difficulty features some interesting toys for both sides. The US gets an AH-6 "Little Bird" helo on turn 2 and the Somalis roll each turn to see if they get a technical (a small truck with heavy weapons mounted in the back). To make matters even more interesting, the Somali player gets four roadblocks, two of which are set up in the north of the map while the other two are situated just to the southeast of the crash site. Somali forces are generated at each roadblock every turn and you never know what's going to come out of these things (yeah, I know - "That's what she said").
Turn 1: Mobs grow at the roadblocks while Lt. Smith and the rest of his men in Chalk One decide to split up in order to make it to the crash site. Smith sends a hero (Pvt. Hudson) to the north while a 1-5-4 squad stays to cover the rest of the team's movement to the south. As Hudson makes his way to the north, Somalis in the area approach his position. Meanwhile, down south, a Somali technical screams down the road, firing at Lt. Smith and his squad and they dive for cover on the floor of a small shack.
|A technical opens fire on Lt. Smith and his squad in a nearby shack.|
Turn 2: The Americans win initiative on turn 2, which is the good news for them. Unfortunately, the roadblocks this turn have been very favorable to the Somali as two leaders are generated, each with 1-3-4 squads and support weapons.
Lt. Smith, spotting a small group of armed Somalis crouched near the outside of the shack, opens fire on them with the rest of his squad. The Somalis go down. The technical fires again at the shack and the nearby explosion sends sheet metal and plumes of dust flying as a small chicken shed near their position is completely obliterated. Feathers are everywhere but Smith and his men are alive.
The sound of an AH-6 Little Bird above is the sweetest sound in the world for the American squad as it zooms straight for the technical outside the shack, unleashing a TOW missile straight at it. The US player rolls a "2" (automatic hit) and the Somali technical explodes in a huge ball of flame.
|An AH-6 Little Bird takes out the Somali technical.|
Up north, Pvt Hudson tosses several grenades at an approaching Somali squad, which sends men scattering. The ones who were a bit too slow to run are either dead or close to it.
Ahmad and a group of determined Somali fighters start to pick their way through the streets towards the crash site. About 20 minutes ago, they watched as the American helicopter went down and cheered in celebration. In order to fully gain revenge on the Americans and win back the honor of their clan, they are determined to find whomever is at the crash site and kill or capture them.
|Ahmad appraoches the crash site with his team of fighters.|
A Ranger squad and a Delta team arrive near the crash site and provide covering fire. They spot Ahmad and his men down the street but their fire is ineffective as their enemies scatter behind cover, regroup and then begin moving again.
Down in the south as the AH-6 circles the area, another Somali technical speeds down the road, kicking up a dust plume behind it. Smith cringes as its rear-mounted machine gun fires at the American helicopter and the tracers nearly hit its tail rotor.
The Somalis gain the initiative this turn and the roadblocks are slightly kinder to the US player, only generating a single 0-2-4. The Somalis get right down to business and the technical fires again at the US helicopter. The Somali machine gun rounds hit the body of the AH-6 but the light armor is effective enough to stop any serious damage.
The angry little bird turns around and fires a TOW missile at the technical, completely obliterating it. That's two down! Smith is impressed as he watches the street outside turn in to piles of wrecked and burning vehicles. One of his men spots another group of armed Somalis approaching their shack and the squad opens up, killing several of them.
|The AH-6 takes out another Somali technical.|
As Smith and his men focused on the nearby Somalis, Ali led his men towards Smith from the other direction. The Americans were foolishly focusing all their attention on armed street thugs near them. Ali, however, had a group of men with discipline and coordination. They were unlike the boys who would waste their lives standing in the open street, firing wildly at the US soldiers. His men were trained to think first and fire second. As Ali approached the spot where he heard the firing, he began to formulate a plan.
Meanwhile, to the north, Hudson came under fire. Some of the Somalis across the street were shooting through the mob outside. He took the opportunity to run east, hoping to get closer to the crash site. As he ran through an alley and into an abandoned house, he turned to fire as the door to his right swung open. A few rounds kicked out from his M4 carbine before he realized that the man entering the house was an American solider. "Jesus, Manny! I damn near shot you!" he yelled as several of the men from Chalk One filed in. "Let's go," he said. The men followed him east.
|Somalis fire on Hudson as he slowly makes his way to the site.|
Near the crash site, Ahmad made his way through the rubble. As the men crawled north, they could see the nearby wreckage. The helicopter had landed on its belly but it was badly damaged and it belched smoke into the clear blue sky. Ahmad thought he caught a glimpse of something shiny for a moment and then a long second later, he was on the ground. His pant leg was red with blood and although his men cried out to him, he urged them to stay down and out of sight. Obviously the Americans were still at the crash site and still very dangerous.
|Ahmad is wounded by Delta snipers.|
The US player gains initiative but the roadblocks are again unkind to him, spawning a 0-3-4 with an RPD and a leader (Yousef) with a 1-3-4 squad near the helo crash site.
Ahmad and his squad regained their composure and continued their slow approach to the crash site. An AH-6 helicopter swooped overhead, firing its machine guns but the rubble provided excellent cover and no one was hurt. Finally, Ahmad and his men were close enough to the crash. A few meters away, he spotted a dead American. Ahmad knew there would be others nearby. He lifted his rifle and peered down the sights, ignoring the searing pain in his leg where he had been shot. As he scanned the wreck ahead, he saw a flash and before he could even grunt in surprise, he was dead.
Far to the south, Smith checked his ammunition. He had only brought a few magazines with him on the ride in, sure that this afternoon's snatch and grab would only last a couple of hours tops. Now he was fighting for his life, trying to make his way east to a crash site. There were so many enemies around him, however, that he was unsure who needed rescuing more - him or the downed helicopter crew. He motioned for his men to head back north and try to find a different way to the site. Splitting up seemed like a good idea, so he sent another small squad of men along to the east to see if they could somehow meet up with the crew.
Moments later, Ali spotted the American lieutenant giving orders to his men to go one direction, after which he took another group of men in a different one. The American probably thought that splitting up would make his forces harder to locate. Instead of chasing after the large group, however, Ali pursued the smaller squad of men to the south and as he saw them cross a lonely side street, he and his men opened fire on the Rangers. He saw one of them go down while the rest of them scurried into a small shack close by. "Perfect," he thought.
|Lt. Smith splits up his teams, sending one to the southeast while he heads north with another squad.|
Near the crash site, things were getting intense. Mobs were closing in while armed groups of men took up positions in nearby buildings, firing from cover. The Delta operators had seen bad before but this was ridiculous. Fire was coming from all directions but the sniper team took its time to do the job properly, quickly spotting a nearby target and then cutting down the enemy, one shot at a time. Could they hold out?
The Somalis gain initiative. They also get another technical.
Ali watched as his men surrounded the shack with the Rangers inside and began firing short bursts at it. The Americans tried to fire back but Ali knew from his experience in Afghanistan that this was panic fire, much like the Russians reacted when he and his men were systematically destroying their convoys outside of Kabul five years ago. Several of his best men entered the small house. A few minutes later, they re-emerged with looks of sheer triumph on their faces. Ali smiled. Now he would turn his attention to the American officer he saw a short time ago.
|The US squad is shaken and the adjacent Somali squad makes its morale roll. The US squad is eliminated in melee.|
Up near the crash site, Yousef watched as bullets from the American helicopter kicked up twin trails of dust down the street. Someone behind him fired an RPG uselessly at the chopper and it missed by a wide margin. Somehow Yousef was still alive and if he wanted to remain that way, he thought, he had better get everyone out of the open street.
If the Rangers and Delta Team operators near the crash site didn't have enough to worry about with all the hordes of young angry men nearby, they certainly did now. The sound of a pickup coming from down the street was getting louder and closer. Where the little pickups went, trouble was always sure to follow.
Will Waat was having a bad day. He watched as the Americans near the crashed Black Hawk fired again and again at men who got near them. His comrades either died where they stood or they fled in panic. The US soldiers were incredibly accurate and nearly every time they shot their weapons, someone died. He turned around to talk to one of his best men, only to stop in mid-sentence as a bullet tore through the man's forehead. Waat crouched down, completely unaware that several Rangers had entered a nearby house and were making themselves at home.
|Things get very crowded around the crash site.|
The Somalis gain initiative.
One of Waat's men spots the Rangers in the nearby house and open fire, shaking them. An adjacent squad of Somalis attempts to melee them but they fail their morale check.
Seeing that the guys in the nearby squad are in trouble, Pvt Hudson joins up with them, covering them as they tend to their wounded.
The technical near the crash site fires at the nearby Americans. Heavy machine gun fire spits out at the helicopter but the Americans are unshaken. A group of Somalis adjacent to the crash site join in the fire but they also miss the crew and the Delta sniper team. It starts to look like the Americans are going to get through this one, after all.
As Lt. Smith made his way through the strangely deserted streets towards the crash site, he heard the familiar cracking sound of bullets whizzing close by him. As he fought against slow motion and slid towards a pile of tires in the street for cover, the men around him opened up on the house to the rear. The M-60 machine gunner ripped through an entire belt of ammunition as round after round sank into the nearby home. After that, the enemy firing completely stopped.
|Lt. Smith and his men eliminate Ali and his squad, getting some measure of revenge.|
Delta snipers, the helo crew and the nearby Rangers fire at the Somalis who have surrounded the helicopter. There are simply too many targets, however. Yousef and his men take advantage of the confusion and the shooting to sneak into the tin shacks next to the crash site. Yousef orders his men into the site to kill the Americans. To his surprise, the men advance.
The melee turns out badly for the Americans as the US crew is killed while the Somalis manage to survive the counterattack. The US loses control of O7 and with it, 10 victory points. Ouch!
|Yousef sends his men to melee with the Americans at the crash site.|
Conclusion: The game was very tense until literally the very last roll. The US had a heck of a time getting Chalk One over there and actually lost half a squad to the Somalis in melee after unwisely spreading themselves too thin. The AH-6 helo was kept way too busy. Technicals came on the board for 3 out of 6 game turns, which is simply incredible. In hindsight, the US player should have put a Delta squad into O7 to protect the helicopter crew and the sniper team but, on the other hand, I didn't want to risk having them shaken up by Somali fire. Instead, I opted to place units nearby to provide covering fire. However, the abundance of enemies was simply too much and the US player paid for the decision in the end.
I can't complain, though, because this scenario was epic! Every turn, the roadblocks pumped out lots of enemies for the Americans to fight and for every Somali squad that was eliminated or reduced, another two would pop up and head for the crash site. There were 4 Somali leaders on the board at the same time while the US had only one during the entire game. I'm actually surprised the US held out as long as it did. In the end, this was a Somali victory but very well fought by both sides. Had Yousef's men not made their morale roll as the last act of the game, the US would have won a well-deserved victory.