Operations Summary for Operation Dragon Rogue 5
Weather: Some light rain initially, but cleared by step off. Tempuratures were considered perfect for extended operations.
Enemy: JLF Dragon Force estimate was between 600-750 (actual OPFOR Force was 27 total, 750 death cards were given to multiply total numbers, divided up by phase and Objectives).
Friendly Forces: ABLE Company (64 total, divided into 3 platoons), CHAOS Company (68 total, divided in 3 platoons).
Mission Planning/Preparation: The Joint Task Force Leaders and support staff built a terrain model in order to communicate the scheme of maneuver to leaders and players.
Major thanks to CHAOS 6, Freddy Flux, who provided a battle board that also assisted with planning and had the Leader’s Reference Card displayed (quite a few players made copies of the card throughout the day). Three large operations briefs were conducted, once for JTF leaders concerning the initial phases of the operation, and two more for Platoon and below leaders and players.
Phase 1 “The Attack To Seize Aircraft Hill”
Initial reporting from our scouts (who had conducted directed recon Friday night) had identified JLF constructed log road blocks on the major trails which lead around the base of aircraft hill, as well as a set of positions in a trench line east of Aircraft Hill. The Recon teams could not determine the number of OPFOR but estimated a number between 30-40 (based on the number of bunkers and likely prepared defense positions they had identified).
The JTF plan of attack was to have a Battalion on line attack (2 companies abreast), with ABLE Company to the West and CHAOs company to the East. Both Companies on line attacking. The line would turn into a V formation as ABLE seized the roadblock on the West side of Aircraft Hill and CHAOS seizing their roadblock and the trench line on the East side of Aircraft Hill. Once those positions were seized, a hasty defense would be executed in order to regenerate combat power lost on the initial assaults (we had estimated 70% losses in just moving out and taking the 3 initial OBJs). Our initial movement right out of the FOB was contested by forward positions of the enemy who had established a series of forward observation positions (the white house, mining camp, creek checkpoint). These forward positions disrupted ABLE Company’s movement towards their far West Boundary and attack positions, and causing CHAOs to bunch up in an engagement area north of the mining camp. 35 minutes was spent getting the 2 companies on line, with another 35 minutes having CHAOs Company pushing towards the White House and clearing the mining camp. After the white house was cleared, CHAOS Company conducted a flanking movement, eliminating the roadblock on their side of the hill as well as seizing the trench line. Once that had been accomplished, ABLE pushed forward to seize their roadblock and suppress the heavy machine gun position on the northside of aircraft hill. At this point, the enemy had repositioned to the crashed aircraft and other prepared positions further up the hill.
Completing Phase 1 (Seizing the top of Aircraft Hill) and a choice for Phase 2
The two companies physically linked up on the northern slope of aircraft hill, and started their assault to finish the seizing of aircraft hill. Despite being cutoff, the seven Dragon Forces elements dug in at the crashed aircraft, fought with determination, causing nearly 40 JTF wounded before the position was enveloped and eliminated. ABLE Company shifted their line to be parallel with the creek running in between Aircraft Hill and the Boondoggle Hill/Kill House Ridge, defeating a counterattack by JLF. CHAOs Company moved forward to the limit of advance along the West Road of Aircraft Hill. Both companies had sustained nearly 80% casualties during the initial assault, and had sustained 40% more on the up hill assault and defense against the counterattack. While the Aidestation/CCP moved from the trench line to the aircraft on top of the hill, both companies prepared for a large scale counterattack. The Command called for a leader’s meeting on top of the hill while players conducted a defense. Dragon Force “dead” were collected and counted (kill cards), and more than 80 had been confirmed and estimated 40 more unconfirmed (no kill cards found), nearly double of what had been expected to be in the defense of the hillside. This told the JTF Commanders 2 things 1) We had not only defeated the enemy defenders, but also their counterattack 2) We had the initiative and there would not be a large scale counterattack from the Boondoggle Hill/Killhouse Ridge. We needed to assume a tactical risk.
CHAOs Company set out a platoon patrol (Team Hellhounds) along the south flank towards the base of Boondoggle Hill, along with recon teams to the center of the ridgeline. ABLE Company was directed to also conduct patrols. Both ABLE and CHAOs platoon patrols ran into prepared defenses, but the enemy did not attempt to counterattack, they remained in their positions on Boondoggle/Killhouse Ridge.
The JTF Leaders decided to push a possible advantage and send more elements forward, to seize creek crossing positions at the base of the Boondoggle/Killhouse Ridge (huge terrain mass). In scenes similar to fighting during the Korea War, elements fire and maneuvered to the creek, then on order started to move up the slopes with the support gunners and sniper/DMRs providing additional covering fire. CHAOs Company cleared their side of the ridgeline about the same time as ABLE began assaulting the 2 story house on top of Killhouse Hill, CHAOs Company elements began shifting to support the ABLE effort, and by 1345, the ridgeline complex was in JTF hands. An additional 70 enemy dead had been counted and an additional 40 more were estimated KIA. An operational pause was announced, and the JTF moved to the FOB for chow and continued planning for Phase 3. Total losses for the enemy were estimated to be 230 KIA (out of 300 planned).
On to Phase 3, taking the Hidden Valley Ridge Road
During our tactical pause, we quickly ate chow, conducted a mission brief for the next phase, an attack across another valley to seize an enemy held ridge and road on the south slope of Satellite Hill. Estimated enemy strength along the ridge was somewhere between 20-30 along the bunkers. We changed our line up, with ABLE on the left of our line and CHAOs on the right. Our axis of advance would be from Killhouse/Boondoggle Ridge towards the enemy held road. Our snipers and light machine guns would provide covering fire and suppress the enemy ridge. We would have from 1500-1800 for our attack. We stepped off, and despite heavy initial resistance, CHAOs Company seized their portion of the ridge road, ABLE had a much more difficult effort, but eventually seized the green bunker on the end of the ridge. We took surprising light casualties in the assault (about 40%), CHAOs Company took more casualties as they held their ground until ABLE could take the bunker and their portion of the ridge road. CHAOs sent some probes further up the Southeastern slope of Satellite Hill, but the JLF had several dug in LMGs (that SE slope was steep and not ideal for an attack, but it took some pressure off ABLE). Enemy casualties along the ridge road had been estimated around 40, with more casualties occurring on them, as they attempted to counterattack with fires and not maneuver.
Opportunity for Phase 5
With the enemy not willing or unable to counterattack down the slope (possibly due to our coordinated line along the ridge road), the JTF leadership decided to press our luck and sidestep CHAOs Company to the Southwestern slope and green bunker held by ABLE. This would allow for an easier assault up Satellite Hill, we still had an hour and ten minutes, and could advance our maneuver plan by a whole phase if successful. Some of CHAOs elements had to be told multiple times to shift West (left) down the ridge road, or were suppressed by enemy fires from the top of Satellite Hill. Doug Smith, acting CHAOs First Sergeant, needs to be recognized for his efforts in communicating the movement. ABLE began to send some elements up the West road of Satellite and this took pressure off CHAOs shift to the west. Once both companies were on the backside of the hill, we moved the Aidestation/CCP to the green bunker from Kill house. The enemy quickly repositioned LMGs and squads into a L shape on the top of the hill, oriented to the South and West. Their .30 caliber machine gun was causing quite of bit of damage until it was silenced by a combined element from ABLE and CHAOs. Major recognition to the CHAOs grenadier that was providing punishing 40mm fires on JLF troops on the top of Satellite Hill. The JTF succeeded in taking Satellite and established a strong defense position on the top of the hill. Dragon Forces did infiltrate through a narrow gap in our lines and retook the KillHouse (from Satellite Hill we observed this movement, and sent out a force that countered that threat before the mission window ended). The defense of Satellite Hill dealt with probes and sniper fire, and recon had reported the movement of an armored vehicle to the Northeast. In taking the hill as well as defeating the enemy’s counterattack at Killhouse, we inflicted an estimated 110 enemy KIAs. Enemy killed in action totaled nearly 400 between Phases 1-5.
Phase 5A, Maintaining Success
1800-1900, the JTF left Recon Patrols in the AO to report on enemy activities while we returned to the FOB to eat chow and plan our next set of operations. JTF leadership felt confident after the unit’s bold action in seizing Satellite Hill ahead of the operational schedule. In order to maintain success, squad patrols from the FOB directed by intelligence reporting by the scouts would ensure our rear areas would remain clear of enemy forces. Platoons moved out focused on the trenchline, killhouse, and Satellite Hill. All made contact and drove the enemy out of those areas. A good rest plan was put into effect, Sunday would see much more action.
Sunday Morning, Phase 6 “A deadly tight space”
In the FOB, players were greeted with light rain and mild temperatures. JTF Leaders called everyone together to brief all on the progress made so far. Morale was high, with everyone eager to get after the mission. A short class on tactical formations such as on line, shifting the line left or right, fixing and flanking were explained by the Command. Followed by what could be expected from the enemy during our next attack. Out of the 132 total that had begun the operation on the day before, 96 returned for the end. The unit stepped off for a short road march to the attack position on the top of Satellite Hill. Everyone was pleased that they had pushed hard the day before in order to have the top of the hill as the jump off position. The plan was to have ABLE on the left and CHAOs on the right moving down the Eastern slope of Satellite. The objective for Phase 6 was to attack to clear enemy from the low ground between Satellite Hill and the Pine thicket short of the abandoned Combat Outpost which sat at the bottom of Guerilla Ridge. The vegetation was thick, with plenty of cover and concealment for the Dragon Forces. Despite having 4 platoons to their 1, the terrain neutralized the ability for the JTF to mass our numbers and firepower against the enemy. Estimated enemy strength was believed to be 40. Our initial attack was stopped short by an excellent defense by the enemy positioned on the low ridge by the Maze Entrance and over to the Pine Thicket. On the South end of our line, the enemy had a layered defense with OPFOR positioned in the Combat Outpost, ridgeline, and bunker positions.
We eventually managed to push the left side of our line up the Guerilla Ridge, turning our on line formation into an L with the short leg on the ridge and the long leg of the L through the pine thicket. Dragon Forces had lured us into a trap, we could not identify friendly troops on the ridge, and our ABLE forces on the ridge could not identify those shooting up at them from the pine thicket, resulting in friendly fires. The JTF Command had to pull the left of our line towards the pine thicket, leaving a squad to hold the gains on the left side of the ridge. Ammunition was low, and since we had achieved our Phase 6 Objective of seizing an assault position along the Sand Road, allowing for us to move our aidestation/CCP to the Pine thicket for Phase 7.
We took an operational pause, returned to the FOB, and prepared for the endgame, the assault on Guerilla Ridge and the Combat Outpost.
Phase 7 “Endgame”
We returned to our phaseline along the Sand Road, inside the Pine Thicket. This time we arrayed our forces with CHAOs on the left and ABLE on the right of the line. Reasons for this, CHAOs was the smaller of the 2 companies and being on the left would allow for a smaller lane for them. ABLE could cover the right of the line all the way to the water’s edge of Lake Hop Up. Initial confusion among the ABLE Squad leaders occurred as we attempted to deploy the formation on line (partially to draw as much fire away from CHAOs at the start of the Phase and to place as much fires forward to immediate gain fire superiority on the enemy). The enemy’s initial direct fires inflicted some casualties on ABLE, but ABLE Company eventually succeeded in driving the enemy up to the ridge and out of the opposite Pine thicket near the Combat Outpost. CHAOs swung in from the left of the line, taking casualties from hidden Dragon positions on the backside of Guerrilla Ridge. An inside flank attack was conducted by a joint CHAOs/ABLE element allowing ABLE to seize the Combat Outpost. The enemy made a solid stand along a well prepared bunker complex to the south of the Combat Outpost stalling ABLE Company further movement towards the village in the Nam River Delta. The JTF reacted by pivoting CHAOs and ABLE elements on the ridgeline, running into pockets of enemy resistance, resulting in the isolation of the enemy bunkers in the swamp opposite of the Combat Outpost. Our UN operational mandate ended with the Dragon Force successfully pushed out of the valley and all JTF returning to the FOB. Estimated enemy losses over the last 2 phases were an estimated 80 KIA. Bringing the total enemy losses over the course of the 2 day operation to 500 out of an estimated 600 total.
Overall, Dragon Rogue V was an operational success. From the view of the staff, players were physically challenged. Over the course of the scenario, some players began to view it for what it was, a campaign, a series of battles. Victory was not assured, the OPFOR was either driven or fell back on the course of the weekend from one position to another, each position becoming progressively tougher for the JTF. Some players gained a view of the “larger picture,” how actions on one side of the field could impact their efforts, or why they had to hold their lane in order to allow for others to achieve their assigned objectives.
Staff Observation, major credit needs to be given the Dragon Task Force, the 27 OPFOR that put it all out there, most walked over 24 miles total and consumed nearly 25,000 rounds of BBs (for the LMGs more). Third Coast Airsoft would like to thank our sponsors, Airsoft Junkiez, Wolverine Airsoft, Tacticool Imaging, Tippmann Tactical, Veterans For Airsoft, and most importantly, Team Airsoft for making the event possible.