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Old 06-15-2022, 02:38 PM
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Raellus Raellus is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Southern AZ
Posts: 3,757
Default Encounter 3

July 19, 2000

Dawn breaks cool and clear. The soldiers rise, groggy, and achy from bunking down on the floor. Still tired, empty bellies grumbling in protest, they move about the complex, poking around some more and setting up the still. Grease gives Pole Position some TLC.

It’s midmorning when the party’s PRC-77 radio crackles to life. Bird’s laconic drawl fills the airwaves,

“Got a Russian patrol just come out of the trees on the north side of the clearing. Don’t think they’ve seen us. Looks like they’re checkin’ out the other homestead. Over.”

The nearest neighbor is nearly 400m away.

Sarge orders everyone out of sight. It’s a long shot, but the hope is that the Soviet patrol assumes that this particular farmhouse is likewise abandoned and moves along without investigating. The fireplace has been cold for a couple of hours, so there’s been no smoke since before dawn. After about ten minutes or so, Bird issues another report,

“They’re comin’ this way. Nine of ‘em. One RPK, one grenade launcher, one radio.”

“Hold your fire. Maybe they’ll turn around.” Cap replies into the radio handset.

Sarge and Cap peek through cracks in the curtains. The Soviet patrol is still coming.

“They’re not gonna stop,” Cap opines. Sarge nods in agreement.

The senior noncom quickly briefs the group, “Alright people. They get to within 100m, we’re gonna to hit ‘em. Bird will zap their officer. When he does, the rest of us’ll move into firing positions. Honeybear, set up outside, northeast corner. I’ll be with you. Vasquez, you set up at the northwest corner. Randall, you and the Captain will stay here. Grease, get Pole Position warmed up and ready to roll. Deacon, stay in cover- you’re on call if anyone gets hit. Everyone good?”

Sarge transmits the Cliff's Notes version of the plan to Bird who's lying prone just overhead in the attic.

At about 80m, Bird kicks things off. A muffled crack splits the tension. Betrayed by his binoculars and map case, the Soviet officer takes one lurching half-step backwards before collapsing in a heap on the road. The other Soviet soldiers scatter, dropping prone in the drainage ditches alongside the road or rushing 20m or so towards a shallow irrigation ditch running perpendicular to it. Bird curses himself for waiting for them to get close enough to make it cover in a single sprint.

The other Americans scramble into position. The enemy patrol starts blasting away at the farmhouse with automatic fire. It’s likely they don’t know exactly where the shots came from, but they put enough lead into the building to suppress the American sniper. Bird is showered with dust and splinters as the attic is pelted with fire. Nearly horizontal, 5.45mm-around shafts of light appear suddenly all around, as incoming rounds punch holes in the roofing. It’s almost like the bad guys are shooting at him with lasers.

Lying prone near the northeast corner of the farmhouse, Honeybear cuts loose with several controlled bursts of MG fire. One of the enemy troops on the right pitches forward into the ditch.

At the opposite corner, Vasquez sends a 40mm grenade in a shallow arc towards a clump of Russians on the left (the enemy’s right flank). It bursts in a puff of dust and white smoke close to the aim point, and two Russians go silent (although it’s unclear if they were actually killed or wounded by the small blast).

Enemy fire has so far been heavy, but ineffective. A Soviet 40mm grenade explodes well wide of the farmhouse. The sturdy brick structure stops most of the incoming Soviet bullets.

The Americans continue to pour rounds into the Soviet patrol. Honeybear gets another one with a head shot. Sarge adds to the tally with one of his own. The amount of incoming fire has decreased to the point where Bird can reengage. The narksman picks off the RPK gunner with a single, well-placed round.

Honeybear’s head snaps backwards, then slumps forward. Sarge grabs the big machinegunner’s boots, drags him back around the corner of the farmhouse.

“Medic!” Sarge bellows. Deacon comes running. As they roll him over on to his back, Honeybear comes to. “What happened?” he asks with a casualness so absurd under the circumstance that it’s amusing. The torn camouflage cover and furrow running along the crown of his Kelvar K-Pot helmet provides the answer.

Meanwhile, Cap and Randall each take another enemy out of the fight. Another Soviet grenade explodes, this one short, but close enough to chase the two Americans away from the windows for a few seconds.

One of the remaining Soviets tosses a cylinder out of the ditch. It spews forth a rapidly expanding cloud of pinkish red smoke.

"Cease fire! Cease fire!" Sarge roars over the din. Outgoing fire peters out; incoming fire has stopped completely.

"Bird, whattaya see?" Cap calls up to the attic.

"Uh, looks like they're runnin'," the sniper reports calmly on the platoon net.

"You get a shot, take it."

"Somethin's wrong with my scope," Bird replies, disappointedly.

All the team sniper can do is watch as three enemy soldiers emerge about 40m beyond the smoke, sprinting towards the far side of the clearing (they've got about 200m to go before reaching the tree line). None are carrying a visible weapon.

"Time to go," Cap says flatly, unable to hide the disappointment in her tone.

"Let me take Randall and Deacon, grab any intel," Sarge asks.

Captain Walker hesitates for a few seconds, answers, "We're leaving in five."

Sarge cautiously leads the small clearing team towards the kill zone, with Bird maintaining over-watch from the attic aerie. The trio recovers a pair of binoculars, leather map case, R-392A radio, an RPK, and two AK-74s.

Pole Position rolls out of the barn and turns on to the road.

"Let's go!" Cap calls from the air guard hatch.

Ref Notes:
This was the Shoot On Sight random encounter from the deck. I used the simplified Crit rules for NPCs (critical hits automatically incapacitate/kill hostile NPCs), but rolled CUF for each individual enemy soldier. I ruled that, once the patrol commander was eliminated, the radioman didn't have the skill to call in artillery fire (he was able, however, to call in the contact). I got really lucky rolling hits for the good guys and even luckier with hit location rolls (multiple head shots). Only Honeybear got hit, in the head no less, but his K-Pot saved his life (he only took one damage). The party burned up a lot of ammo during the engagement, as I rolled 3-6 ammo dice on almost every roll (except for Bird's M21, which, with Dam 3, Crit 3, turned out to be a critical hit machine). It was worth it, though, as I rolled numerous sixes, adding damage to hits, and suppression to misses. I pushed a couple of rolls, to good effect, but Bird's M21 lost 1 reliability point on the lone failed push. I learned that 40mm HE grenades don't do much damage on hits to targeted hexes. Next time, I think I'll take the -2 penalty to target an individual so that, on a hit, the target takes at least the weapon's listed direct damage.

Author of Twilight 2000 adventure module, Rook's Gambit, the campaign sourcebook, Korean Peninsula, and co-author of Tara Romaneasca, a campaign sourcebook for Romania, all available for purchase on DriveThruRPG:

Last edited by Raellus; 06-16-2022 at 02:16 PM.
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