Raid & Riposte: The NATO AAR

I recently played my first game of Lock ‘n Load’s new game, “Raid and Riposte” which was featured in their latest issue of “Line of Fire” (issue 12 for those of you keeping count).

Raid & Riposte is a light wargame based on an event in designer Mark H. Walker’s novel, “World at War: Revelation”, which took place during a fictional invasion of Western Europe by the Warsaw Pact in 1985. The game is centered on the Soviets’ attempt to defend the captured West German city of Tanenhause from a NATO counter-attack. It features a pretty interesting set of game mechanics like action points, assaults and units with special abilities, all of which encourage players to use combined arms tactics to achieve their goals.

LnL's "Raid And Riposte"

This AAR is a report of my first time playing this game. I’m the NATO player and Kev Sharp took the role of the defending Soviets. At times, we were forced to muddle our way through the rules to determine if we were doing things right and I think we largely succeeded. Here’s the turn by turn report:

The West German M48 tanks approach the city of Tanenhause.

Turn 1: The Soviets have a lot of equipment pointing towards my measly tank force. My two West German M48 platoons, along with the Luchs recon element, move their way towards the city. I’ve decided to basically get the M48s in a position where they can fire at the city from long range and hopefully do enough damage to help the following waves of NATO units behind them.

Unfortunately, one of the M48 gets suppressed by a Hind helicopter. I’ve noticed that the Soviets don’t have much protecting the north side of the city so I send my remaining M48 towards Tanenhause in hopes of making some sort of progress.

An Mi-24 Hind helicopter suppresses a W. German M48

The W. German tanks manage to suppress the only Soviet forces in the northwestern area of the town.
Not wanting to leave the Luchs out in the open, I decide to bring it into the light forest area to give it some cover.

The M48 I stupidly brought closer to Tanenhause earlier on gets hammered by the Soviets and it is reduced before getting destroyed.  

Turn 2: 

NATO gets initiative! Huzzah! 

The West Germans get a bunch of reinforcements this turn so I’m determined not to squander them like I did with my initial forces. 
I move up my M48 towards Tanenhause, hoping to absorb some hits so that the reinforcements can safely enter the map later on.

The Soviets have a BMD sitting to the south of Tanenhause and it’s in the woods, which gives it great defensive cover. If I move my Luchs next to the BMD, that cover bonus will be negated. I successfully plant the Luchs in the adjacent area but Kev assaults it with the BMD. By combining his assault with a Soviet airstrike, he successfully suppresses the Luchs unit.  

With the help of an airstrike, the Soviet BMD assaults the Luchs.

The M48 fires on the BMD, reducing it.

The West German reinforcements enter on the west side of the map.  The West German HQ gives action points to adjacent friendly units so this is a big deal if I can play it right.  I put the HQ and some infantry in the woods to keep them protected a bit from enemy fire.  I have also spotted an opening as the Soviets have a mortar unit out in the open near the center of the city.  NATO calls in an airstrike on the Soviet mortar team but it misses completely.  Wonderful.

The West Germans head on out with a major advance towards the city.  Unfortunately, the Soviet mortars and the withering fire from the anti-tank weapons and infantry take its toll.  One of the West German infantry platoons is suppressed, along with an M48 tank platoon.

The West German infantry approaches the outskirts of Tanenhause.

Col. Balakriev and a squad of Soviet VDV paratroops rush out from the city and assault one of the suppressed West German units, destroying it.  The Soviets pull back into the city before anything can be done about it.

Turn 3:

Again, the West Germans pour infantry at Tanenhause and again they are met with overwhelming force from the Soviets. NATO is attempting to crack the egg but it seems impossible! Kev wipes out another West German infantry unit.

Luckily, the Soviets pull some of their units out of the northern sector of the city and the West Germans jump in, happy to be out of the open. This joy is short-lived, however, when the Soviets counter-attack into the northern part of the city, using air strikes to add to the hurt. The West German infantry pull back to the west, panicked and miserable.

The West Germans get a temporary break as they capture the north of Tanenhause.

There is a bright spot for NATO as the Luchs manages somehow to destroy the Soviet BMD unit.  The Americans come on board from the south and start to make their way towards Tanenhause.

The Americans come on the board from the south.

Turn 4:

Disaster! As the Americans rush out into the open, a Soviet Hind attack helicopter appears, blasting away an American infantry platoon. Private Hudson is killed instantly.

The rest of the American forces start to close in on the city while the West Germans take some ineffectual fire from the Soviets.   American M60 Patton tanks pour onto the map from the south.  It’s a glorious sight to behold as NATO has paid again and again for its mistakes throughout the game. Will it be enough to get inside the city?

Turn 5: 

NATO gains initiative and I waste no time in assaulting the city. Although the Soviets have piled men and armor into the southern sector of Tanenhause, I’m convinced that a good airstrike and a bunch of M60 Pattons will do the trick. Lucky for me, it all works out and the US pushes out the Soviets deeper into Tanenhause. With a toehold into the city, I start pouring in everything I can.

NATO finally gains a foothold in the city after an assault.

With only two turns left, it’s no time to play gingerly so I follow up the previous assault with another one and push the Soviets back yet again. The Americans now have control over the vital bridge that leads deeper into Tanenhause. After spilling much blood, things are finally looking up for NATO.

The West Germans follow up in the north area of the city while the US takes the south. There is a combined West German and US force on the bridge and it will lead the main assault on the rest of the city.

NATO follows up its initial success with a second successful assault to capture the bridge.

Turn 6:  

One of the advantages for the Soviets is that they get to roll for a new unit of infantry (a “cadre”) to replace previously eliminated cadres.  So far, Kev has been rolling hot and the Soviet VDV paratroopers keep pouring into the city.  It gives the Soviets a real “Hydra-like” quality that is both frustrating and unnerving at the same time.

Airstrikes and tank fire fail to dislodge or hurt the Soviet commander and mobile anti-tank gun to the north.  Assaults don’t work either.  I shift focus to another sector of the city only to get the same results.  The West German HQ moves into the city and starts to feed action points to my most vital units but the rolls are simply not there and the Soviets just are not budging.  Oh well, better luck next turn.

The W. German HQ unit sits in the northwest and feeds its action points to friendly units.

Soviet Commisar Col. Petrova and a Spetsnaz squad enter the map from the east.  I’m not sure exactly what that means but it can’t be good for me.

Col. Petrova and her boys enter from the east.

Turn 7: (Last Turn)

The Soviets make a push for the bridge after suppressing and eliminating some of my M60 tank units. The assault is unsuccessful but I believe it has taken enough wind out of my sails to make victory impossible at this point. More airstrikes, assaults, and firing from NATO. No results.

Finally, the Spetsnaz make an assault on my lone West German infantry unit on the bridge and they retake area 19. NATO is pushed back to the edge of the city. As a point of pride, I retake the bridge easily with multiple units but the action points and the luck are gone and NATO is shut out of a victory by a steadfast and determined opponent.

The Soviets temporarily capture the bridge, forcing NATO to counterattack.  

In order for NATO to get a win in this scenario it has to clear out all the areas adjacent to the bridge.  The Soviets cleverly spread out their units in each adjacent area, which made targeting and assaulting them very difficult. I really regretted losing my West German Luchs recon unit so early on in the game as its special ability (reduce enemy defensive cover bonus) would have been extremely handy.  Thanks to Kev again for a great game.

We made a couple of small mistakes but nothing earth shattering.  NATO gets a sniper to place every turn and the Soviets get a couple of AT missiles.  Also, assaults always drain a retreating unit of all action points.  Still, that's pretty minor for a first game attempt.  Can't wait for a rematch!


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