An AK47 Republic Game
All was not well in the United Republic of Dafuqistan. The Arab Spring had inspired demonstrations against the authoritarian government, which had responded with a brutal crackdown on all dissent. Peaceful protest rapidly escalated into armed insurrection and the government were faced with an existential threat. The rebels managed to seize control of several of Dafuqistan’s cities, and fighting raged in the capital, Kaboom. The government were forced to seek outside help, first from Iran-backed Shia militias, then from Iran itself and finally from Russia. Eventually these allies were able to turn back the tide, and the pro-government forces converged on the heartland of the rebellion, the northern city of Aumar-i-Sharif.
The Dafuqistan army surrounded the place and the Russian air force proceeded with an indiscriminate bombing campaign causing thousands of civilian casualties. The West attempted to organise a ceasefire via the UN, but the deal was scuppered by an unfortunate event. A UN aid convoy en route to Aumar-i-Sharif spontaneously combusted, leaving behind destroyed supplies, twisted vehicle wreckage and fragments of Russian air-to-ground missiles. With no hope of a negotiated settlement, the rebel groups prepared to attempt to break out of the government siege towards the south of the city.
The Dafuqistan government had always labelled the rebels as terrorists, while dismissing claims that some of the foreign militias allied to the government were no better. These groups were local, moderate self-defence forces, the government claimed. Now, elements of the Dafuqistan army found itself in the southern part of Aumar-i-Sharif supported by the local moderate self-defence force: ‘The Tehran Martyrs’ Brigade for the Annihilation of the Infidel.’ Command was given to the charismatic, sunglasses-wearing, not particularly publicity-shy, Major Assam Zahred.
The rebels were a diverse bunch, from hardcore jihadists, through secular democrats and even some leftist militias strangely inspired by British Trade Union leaders. These groups were forced to set aside their mutual animosity in the face of government aggression.
Two of these groups were thrown together in the south of Aumar-i-sharif. Jaysh al-Fatah were a hardcore Islamist group who wanted to turn Dafuqistan into an Islamic state governed by Islamic law. However, in order to qualify for US-made antitank weapons, they had decided to mollify their stance somewhat and now advocated pure Shariah law on weekdays with liberal democracy at weekends. They were led by their charismatic leader, Abu Khalid, who, like many rebel leaders had adopted a nom-de-guerre based on the name of his firstborn child. The other group were the secular Leftists Jabhat al-Rodney Bickerstaffe. Jabhat were a local group who wanted to bring about their own socialist state. While not the most natural of allies, necessity demanded co-operation. In a sometimes heated meeting between the two leaders, it was decided that overall command should go to Abu Khalid rather than the less experienced Abu Len.
^ Government forces on the left, a strong position in built-up areas, but the building to the bottom left of the picture is rather exposed, and will be the focus for the initial rebel attack.
^ BBC journalist Mark Rural does a piece to camera. In a rare moment of agreement, both sides will agree that his report is biased against them.
^ Setting aside their differences for the day Jaysh al-Fatah commander Abu Khalid (left) and Abu Len, leader of Jabhat al-Rodney Bickerstaffe (right)
^ Jaysh’s ubiquitous Toyotas. Jabhat, incidentally, were the only rebel group not to use Toyota pickups, in protest at the Japanese company’s use of non-unionised labour in the Philippines.
The battle opened with the rebels making an attack towards the government right. Led by Jabhat militiamen who optimistically approached across open ground. It’s traditional for one’s first game of AK47 Republic (as this was for the rebel player) to attempt to move militia across open ground against enemy fire. Once the consequences are realised of course, it will never subsequently be attempted.
^ The highly mobile Toyotas will move to support the attack on the government right. As usual they will cover a substantial area of ground, leading to an impressive heat map for the post-match analysis.
^ Jabhat militia getting badly shot up.
As the fighting began, the usual exchange of mostly ineffective artillery and air strikes occurred. It is fair to say, Dafuqistan has never been at the cutting edge of the use of support arms.
^ A government artillery strike proves rather ineffective.
^ Government aircraft in a rare strike against a military, Islamist target. The Toyotas would continue unharmed, however.
^ The rebels had artillery of their own. Just as ineffective however.
The government right would now come under sustained attack. The rebels managed to force morale tests just enough to prevent the defenders getting enough movement to ‘dig in’ to their position. The first turn would be the only chance they would have. Not being dug in made the government troops’ position very precarious when it came to morale.
^ One Toyota down. Don’t think the insurance covers impact from a T-55 shell.
^ More Jaysh fighters arrive led by a BMP.
The pressure was growing on the government right, a half-hearted attack would be launched against the centre to keep the defenders occupied, but the main focus for the rebels was clear. With reinforcements arriving the situation looked grim. On the government side, the Tehran Martyrs’ Brigade were showing a rather unmartyr-like reluctance to actually appear and join the fighting.
^ The steady erosion of losses proves too much for the Dafuqistan army who finally flee.
^ The sheer number of landmines and IEDs left over from decades of warfare made crossing the road in Dafuqistan a rather chancy business.
^ When occupying a building recently vacated by the enemy, it’s usually a good idea to check for booby traps. Here, a Jaysh fighter has found one.
^ The Tehran Martyrs’ Brigade arrive. Then leave and then arrive again.
^ After successfully supporting the attack, the Toyotas whizz off in search of new victims.
^ Another tank shell hits another Toyota. Looks like a trip back to the dealership on Monday for Jaysh al-Fatah.
^ Abu Khalid and Abu Len abandon some jittery militia and try and provide moral support elsewhere.
With the building on the government right now in rebel hands, the focus switched to securing the crossroads. The game countdown had been very slow and there would still be 3 or 4 turns to fight it out.
^ There went the BMP. Looks like the rebels will be attacking without any vehicle support.
^ Much of the RPG ammunition in Dafuqistan was of local manufacture and dubious quality. One never really knew when firing an RPG whether that shot wouldn’t be your last.
By now, the rebels had had a run of rather bad luck on the random events table. Hoping for rolls on the reserve box, they ended up with at least 4 kills and pins. As the light began to fail a desperate fight ensued around the crossroads.
^ Major Zahred decides to personally move the reluctant Martyrs’ Brigade forwards.
A last frenetic fight left the crossroads in rebel hands as night fell. They had succeeded in taking two of their objectives, but had lost many men, and had failed to complete the breakout. The government side were only just hanging on and the danger of a breakout was now much greater. Whichever side could reinforce first in the next few days would win.
So, after what was a long game, the victory points came up dead level. Another thoroughly enjoyable game of AK47 Republic.
All figures/vehicles are 15mm by Khurasan, Flashpoint, Irregular, Flytrap, Old Glory and Peter Pig.