Although certainly a Claive holding, Jrinn was really nothing more than a run down trading post on the southern extremity of the Sarl Valley (Map ref. C10).
Knowing any incursion by the ROF was likely to come through Jrinn, the Commander of the Claive's Southern Shield had placed four Guards there, with an additional Guard and his own command team close by. The remaining elements of the Shield were to the North East at Signal (Map ref. J11), as this settlement straddled a cross roads that provided the only other viable route into the valley from Arden. Claive central command hoped that once the key line of advance was established, the Southern and Central Shields could combine to provide a stiff defensive line against the incursion.
Having been granted the honour of leading the campaign, Lieutenant Flode commanding TCT Bravo was required to simply secure Jrinn, push out beyond it for about a Klick and so establish the first Forward Operating Base for the ROF in the Sarl. The two key elements for success would be absolutely NO civilian casualties and few, if any ROF casualties at this early stage and certainly no loss of AFV's.
Having reviewed the ground ahead at their start line positions, and seen with her own eyes the number of heat signatures and probable weapon profiles coming in from the teams sensor arrays, Flode decided against deploying the APC's. The ground over which they had to advance was narrow and the range short. The ROF knew the Claive was well equipped with old but reliable anti-armour. Flode hoped that the APC's would not need to be deployed but they remained waiting on the start line if required.
She decided on simplicity in the end, trusting to the better training, equipment and experience of her team. They would deploy abreast and assault Jrinn in a three phase operation. Swift action and heavily armed troopers would, she expected, win the day. They would be backed up by the support weapons of the STING mobile GPMG team.
Jrinn was to be a short holding action only. The trading post was only symbolically important as the first part of Claive territory but was otherwise irrelevant. The Claive central command needed to see the ROF in action and if the Claive Guards could inflict a significant casualty count against the ROF at this early stage, it might give them pause for thought about the merits of the contract with Arden. Better still if an AFV or two could be destroyed...
So, the Southern Shield Guards should be prepared to open fire swiftly but retire from Jrinn before any serious casualties of their own were suffered. Whilst casualties were inevitable, the integrity and strength of the Shield needed to be preserved for the defence of Harl and if necessary, Farrow and beyond.
The battle was to last four turns so as to make the ROF think about the need to get moving quickly. The rules were Tomorrow's War from Ambush Alley and Osprey and this was my "first go" at seeing how they played.
The ROF deployed the TCT Bravo of three sections of seven or eight troopers armed with Tech Level 2 Assault Rifles. Each section had a SAW, a team sniper and a SLAM (RPG). In addition, from round two, the TCT Bravo HQ team and the STING support team of three mobile GPMG's would be on hand to provide fire support and a small reserve of firepower. The ROF are equipped with Light Armour, and although no NET was available, each team member has good sensory availability as part of their helmet and comms array relayed through their APC's and the HQ Command team vehicle. Morale began as good and confidence was high.
The Claive deployed 4 Guard Teams in and around the trading post. An additional Guard plus the Southern Shield Command team are en route and are likely to arrive at Turn 2 or 3. The Claive are Tech Level 1 and have no additional armour being a lightly equipped militia force mainly used to fending off Kresh raids and gangs from the wastes. Each Guard unit is 9 or 10 strong with a Guard Leader and are equipped with Assault rifles and at least one SAW and RPG. Many of the teams have 2 of each. Morale also began as good and confidence similarly high.
Turn one saw the ROF's Two and Three Sections move forward to get into and beyond the cover of the small copse of trees whilst on the ROF left flank, One Section would try and keep Claive Heads down. The first few actions in this first turn might have presaged some startling events. Guard No. 1 who were in and around the building below the Trading Post proper beat Two Section on the first reaction test and in the subsequent fire fight killed Trooper Ik-Lak and seriously wounded Trooper Imray. An audible gasp could be heard on the TCT Bravo's comms links.
However, after that first blooding by the stalwart Claive Guards, it quickly deteriorated for them, and helped illustrate for me one of the key mechanisms of these rules: the tech levels. The ROF were rolling D8's, the Claive D6. The Claive lost dice because of it and clearly had less chance of rolling higher scores against the ROF dice. So, despite some early good dice rolls after that initial exchange, the superior firepower of the ROF quickly established ascendancy over the Claive Guard, and they were punished for their lack of armour.
The Claive plan for swift exchanges of fire and withdrawal started to go wrong almost immediately. No. 1 Guard, after it's first success took a hammering from both Section Two and One and got pinned. The attempt by No. 3 and 4 Guard to intervene and interfere with the ROF advance was beaten by better reaction test rolls and superior fire power of the ROF.
I think the final fatal mistake of the Claive commander at the end of Turn One was the inactivity of No. 2 Guard whose position meant that they had no LOS on any ROF troops during Turn One. Instead of re-deploying, they stayed put to be in a position to engage next Turn.
The start of Turn two saw one of the three civilians present on the battlefield decide enough was enough. The remaining two passed their morale tests and kept their nerve thus preventing some of the ROF units from firing on elements of the Shield - particularly No. 2 Guard. However, the third civilian making an unsurprising bolt for it, uncovered No. 3 Guard to the guns of both Two and Three Sections.
At this stage, the ROF were still concerned, particularly for Two Section who had been fired on repeatedly throughout Turn One by the guns and rockets of three Guard units. Given the weight of fire and the proximity of the enemy, they appeared lucky to have sustained only two casualties. However their number was reduced by one more trooper as the section medic (one of the attributes of TCT Bravo is that each section has a medic) dragged off Trooper Imray to the rear for urgent CASEVAC.
All teams moved forward and in the ensuring series of firefights No.'s 1, 3 and 4 Guards were effectively wiped out. Again, they were lucky with many of the casualty roles but so much fire was poured onto them, multiple hits turned light wounds into serious ones and they were unlucky with the loss of SAW's and RPG's. Although the ROF did not know it yet, by the end of Turn Two, the action was effectively over.
The Claive commander, himself about to join the fight with his team and the reinforcement of No. 5 Guard had to make a swift but brutal decision. He had lost radio contact with all but No. 2 Guard whose slightly hysterical leader was telling him all the other teams were dead, or down. If so, this was already a profound disaster for his Shield, and to compound that with the loss of further Guard could not be justified for the orders he had. But to leave the battlefield with so many Guard unaccounted for was almost as bad. With the leader of No.2 Guard emphatic about his inability to reach any wounded from the other Guard teams (he was right), the Shield commander reluctantly ordered the withdrawal of No. 2 Guard and he and No. 5 Guard covered their withdrawal (off table).
Turn Three then saw the ROF continue to advance. One Section assaulted the positions of No. 1 Guard to find all there dead or badly wounded. No fire came from above either. In the sudden silence across the Trading settlement, Trooper Hok from his position on the left flank with One Section was heard by the whole TCT via the comms to say: "That's it, they've broken. Looks like we've hit most of 'em any ways..."
Trooper Hok of One Section, TCT Bravo, Seven Valleys Battle Group, ROF, in action at Jrinn.