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    Military History - Operation Urgent Fury, Grenada, 25-29th October, 1983

    In the early-mid 1980s the world was held in the vice-like grip of the Cold War. The two factions, NATO and WARPAC contested the border of split Germany. Communist uprisings and rebellions grew like wildfire in South-East Asia, while the CIA backed coups throughout Central and South America. The dual threats of conventional and nuclear war were never far away.
    The man in the White House at this time was President Ronald Reagan. A previous Hollywood Celebrity, Reagan has left mixed views about his presidency, though the Operation Urgent Fury remains one of the most controversial.
    The small Island nation of Grenada is located some 160 kilometres (99 miles) North West of Venezuela.

    Measuring approximately 348 km squared, it housed a population of around 91,000. Located in the Lesser Antilles; Grenada gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1974 under the leadership of Sir Eric Gairy. Head of the Grenada United Labour Party, Gairy claimed victory in the general election of 1976 - a claim disputed by his political rivals - with ongoing civil strife turning to street violence in the wake of the election, the two main opposing forces were Gairy's personal army, the 'Mongoose Gang' and gangs organised by the New Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education, and Liberation, or New JEWEL Movement (NJM). The NJM were a Marxist-Leninist headed by Maurice Bishop. In the late 1970s, the NJM began to plan a coup aimed at overthrowing Gairy and the United Labor Party - some members of the NJM were trained by military forces overseas, allegedly in camps located in Cuba.
    On the 13th March 1979, Gairy was away from Grenada. Using his absence as an opportunity, the NJM launched an armed coup and seized control of Grenada. Under Maurice Bishop, the new People's Revolutionary Government was created.
    During the next few years, Bishop strengthened his ties with other Communistic states worldwide, most notably with the Cuban Government, though in 1982 he was photographed meeting with Unison Whiteman, the DDR's (Soviet East Germany) Foreign Minister.

    During this time, the People's Revolutionary Government began constructing a new airfield, supposedly with the aims of accommodating civilian airliners. The new airport, Point Salines International Airport, was constructed in the South of the country, as the Northern airstrip, Pearl's Airstrip, was located in such a way that expansion of it's runways were not possible.
    The American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was convinced that this new runway was being built to support a Soviet-Cuban military buildup in the Caribbean. The new 9,000 foot runway was capable of accommodating the largest planes the Soviet Air Force had to offer - and the CIA's belief was that this airport would be used to transport arms and equipment from Cuba and beyond throughout Central America. This belief was echoed throughout the Pentagon, and inside the Oval Office.
    In 1983, Ron Dellums - a member of the US House of Representatives, travelled to Grenada on a fact finding mission. Upon his return he spoke of his findings on Grenada in front of Congress.
    President Reagan remained unswayed. In March of 1983, he issued warnings, stating that the Caribbean and the United States itself were being threatened by "Soviet-Cuban militarisation", directly referencing the new airport on Grenada. In his speeches, Reagan stated that the new runway was far longer than needed for commercial flights, and possessed numerals fuel storage tanks - more than would be expected in any civilian airport - his theory being that the airport was to be turned into a forward Air Base for the Soviet Air Force. 
    On 16th October, 1983, an internal faction of the People's Revolutionary Government, led by Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard seized power. Bishop was remanded and placed under house arrest. During mass demonstrations against Bishop's treatment, Bishop found himself with a chance to escape. He reasserted himself as the head of the Government, operating in secret. Bishop was, however, captured and along with his pregnant wife, executed. The Government killed several union leaders who were loyal to him as well.
    After Bishop's murder, Hudson Austin created a military council to rule the country. Austin ordered the capture and imprisonment of the Governor General Paul Scoon. Scoon was placed under house arrest in his Mansion in Saint George.
    Following these revelations, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Barbados and Jamaica appealed to the United States for assistance.
    The US responded, with Operation Urgent Fury on the 25th October, 1983; stating that it the intervention came at the request of the Prime Ministers of Barbados and Dominica. The United Nations General Assembly condemned the action as "a flagrant violation of international law".

    The D-Day plan for Operation Urgent Fury was 6 fold.
    The city of Salines was to be infiltrated by SEALs and a Combat Control Team SEALs, Delta Force and the 75th Rangers operate around St George & Fort Rupert Port Salines International Airport to be captured by 75th Rangers. They would then assault and secure True Blue and Clivigny - True Blue had a number of American Students trapped inside. US Marines would assault Pearls Airstrip and Greenville The 82nd Airborne occupy Pearls & Salines, allowing the Marines and Special Forces to conduct further operations Caribbean Peace Keeping forces arrive to occupy cities and towns throughout secured areas To complete the operation, the United States activated some 7,300 men. The Task Force was comprised of the following units :
    US Ground Forces :
    1st & 2nd Ranger Battalions, 75th Ranger Regiment 2nd Brigade (325th Regiment), 3rd Brigade (1/2 Bn, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment) & Supporting units of the 82nd Airborne Division  Company E (Scout), 60th Infantry Regiment 27th Engineer Battalion 548th Engineer Battalion 160th Aviation Battalion 18th Aviation Company, 269th Aviation Battalion 1st/2nd Company, 82nd Combat Aviation Battalion 1st Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry Airborne US Navy SEAL Teams 4 & 6 22nd Marine Amphibious Unit Numerous supporting units (65th/118th/503rd/411th MP Battalions, 35th/50th Signal Brigades, 319th/519th Military Intelligence Battalions, 9th Psychological Operations Battalion, 1st Corps Support Command [COSCOM], 44th Medical Brigade including 5th MASH, 82nd Finance Company, 507th Tactical Air Control Wing [TACPs], 21st Tactical Support Squadron [FACs] & 24th Special Tactics Squadron Det 1 MACOS Combat Controllers) US AIR FORCE

    Various Air National Guard Wings - flying A-7D Corsair II for CAS 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing - flying A-10 Warthogs 26th Air Defence Wing NORAD - flying F-15 Eagles 33rd Tactical Fighter Wing - flying F-15 Eagles 437th Military Airlift Wing - flying C-141 Starlifters 16th Special Operations Wing - flying AC-130H Spectre Gunships 552nd Air Control Wing - flying E-3 Sentry AWACS 62nd Security Police Group - providing security and prisoner detention 60th Security Police Squadron - providing security Numerous support flights (136th Tactical Airlift Wing - C130s, 437th Military Airlift Wing - C-141s, 317th Military Airlift Wing - C-130s, 63rd Military Airlift Wing - C-141s, 19th Air Refuelling Wing) US NAVY
    Two formations of US Warships were present for Urgent Fury. The USS Independence (CVA-62) Carrier Battle Group & the Marine Amphibious Readiness Group. Following is a list of naval forces deployed.

    USS Independence
    Independence Carrier Group (CVA-62)
    USS Independence - Forrestal-class Supercarrier USS Coontz - Farragut-class Frigate USS Moosbrugger - Spruance-class Destroyer USS Caron - Spruance-class Destroyer USS Clifton Sprague - Oliver Hazard Perry-class Missile Frigate USS Suribachi - Suribachi-class Ammunition Ship Squadrons Aboard USS Independence : 
    - Fighter Squadron 14 - 13 F-14A Tomcat
    - Fighter Squadron 32 - 14 F-14As
    - Attack Squadron 176 - 16 A-6E Intruder
    - Attack Squadron 87 - 12 A-7Es
    - Attack Squadron 15 - 12 A-7Es
    - Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 122 - 4 E-2C Hawkeye
    - Electronic Attack Squadron 131 - 4 EA-6B Prowler
    - Helicopter Anti Submarine Squadron - 6 SH-3H Sea King
    - Sea Control Squadron 28 - 1- S-3A Viking Amphibious Readiness Group
    USS Guam - Iwo Jima-class Assault Ship USS Barnstable Country - Newport-class Tank Landing Ship USS Manitowoc - Newport-class Tank Landing Ship USS Fort Snelling - Thomaston-class Dock Landing Ship USS Trenton - Austin-class Amphibious Transport Dock In all, the United States created a Task Force of overwhelming power. Official statements vary as to the amount of aircraft in operation during Urgent Fury, as many squadrons flew over the assigned combat area without taking part in strikes, yet they are recorded as having participated. Conservative estimates say that the US Ground Forces had at least 200 fixed-wing aircraft on call to assist them.
    Urgent Fury also saw the first deployment of UH-61 Black Hawk helicopters in a combat setting.
    All of this force was brought to bare against a hostile force woefully outnumbered against the US. Grenada fielded some 1,200 soldiers. They had a handful of BRDM-2s and BTR 60s, some ZU 23 anti-aircraft guns. There was no confirmed number of these weapons, or even of the number of infantry Grenada could muster - although some reports state Grenada had 8 BTRs and 2 BRDMs. There were however, confirmed numbers of advisers/volunteers from other nations.
    Grenada - c. 1200 soldiers Cuba - 780 Paramilitaries Soviet Union - 49 Military Advisers North Korea - 24 Personnel  East Germany - 16 Advisers Bulgaria - 14 Advisers Libya - 3 or 4 Advisers Intelligence had led the US forces to believe that Grenada could muster upwards of 2000 armed soldiers - believing that Cuba had sent hundreds of professional trained and dedicated men. This view was, however, blurred. Of the estimated 780 Cuban nationals on the island, 636 were formally listed as construction workers. This didn't mean they were not combatants however, as many Cuban 'workers' were in fact armed. Fidel Castro said of the Cubans that they were "workers and soldiers at the same time."
    Despite outnumbered and out gunned, and with no recorded Air Force, the Grenadians fought back during Urgent Fury.

    Prior to combat operations commencing, SEAL Team 6 and attached Air Force Controllers were dropped at sea to conduct reconnaissance on Point Salines. However, when a storm blew in rapidly 4 of the SEALs drowned. Machinist Mate 1st Class Kennith J Butcher, Quartermaster 1st Class Kevin E Lundberg, Hull Technician 1st Class Stephen L Morris and Senior Chief Engineman Robert R Schamberger were never recovered. The mission was cancelled and the remaining members recovered. Another operations was attempted, but also cancelled due to harsh weather.
    Meanwhile, SEAL Team 4 landed at the beach near Pearl's Airport to conduct another reconnaissance. They found that the beach was undefended, but not suitable for a naval landing. The decision was made for the Marines to Air-Assault Pearl Airport.

    Point Salines International Airport, seen from the cockpit of a C-130
    At midnight on the 24th, A & B Companies, 1st Battalion of the 75th Rangers departed Hunter Army Airfield on C-130s. Thy were to conduct an early morning raid on Point Salines Airport. The plan was for the C-130s to land on the runway, with the Rangers disembarking and taking over the airport before the Grenada military could respond.
    Last minute recon flights revealed that ZU-23 AA guns were active at the Airport, forcing the Rangers to switch to a paradrop onto the runway instead. At 05:30 on the 25th, A & B Companies jumped onto the Airport, facing resistance from infantry, ZU-23s and several BTR-60s. The firefight continued unabated for 4 hours, with the Rangers calling in support from AC-130 gunships to suppress the areas around the Airport. During the fight, the Rangers commandeered construction vehicles to clear the runway and also used them as mobile cover.

    By 10:00 the air strip was clear and reinforcements were flown in. M151 Jeeps and the leading members of the Caribbean Peace Force disembarked. The Rangers began preparing the Jeeps for mobile operations while the CPF set up a perimeter guard around the Airport.
    Around 14:00, planes carrying the 82nd Airborne commenced landing at Point Salines. During the disembarkation, at 15:30, 3 BTRs of the Grenadian Army Motorized Company counter attacked the Airport. The attack was repulsed with fire from captured recoilless rifles and support from an AC-130 Gunship.
    After this assault, now re-equipped and re-organised with M151 Jeeps, the Rangers moved out of the Airport. Speeding throughout the countryside, they quickly secured lots of ground and successfully negotiated the surrender of over 100 Cubans who had garrisoned themselves inside a hangar.

    A Jeep mounted patrol was sent to find the True Blue Campus, it's goal to secure and safeguard the American Students there. The patrol got lost however, and ended up being ambushed. After a brief firefight, the patrol suffered 4 killed in action. Later that night, the Rangers made their way to True Blue Campus where they secured and safeguarded 140 Students, only to be told that there were more at another campus in Grande Anse.
    While the Rangers were landing at Point Salines, the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment landed South of the Airport with CH-64 Sea Knight and CH-53 Sea Stallion Helicopters. The resistance they faced at Pearls Airport was light. Reported as being roughly 'platoon-sized', the local forces pinned lead Marine units down with the use of a DShK Heavy Machine Gun until it was destroyed by a Marine AH-1 Cobra. The remaining resistance diminished rapidly. 

    Multiple Raids on key locations were conducted throughout the day. Early in the morning of the 25th, the remaining members of SEAL Team 6 were inserted via UH-60 Blackhawk to capture Radio Free Grenada - the plan being to use it for PsyOps purposes. The station itself was captured unopposed, but later during the day a counter-attack by BRDMs forced the SEALs to withdraw into the jungle. They destroyed the transmitter as they left.
    Raids were also undertaken against Fort Rupert, the believed location of the Revolutionary Council, and Richmond Hill Prison, where political rivals were being held prisoner. Both raids had members of Delta Force and C Company, 75th Rangers, both using MH-60 Blackhawks and MH-6 Little Birds. The raid on Fort Rupert was a success, with multiple leaders of the People's Revolutionary Government being captured. The Raid on Richmond Hill Prison was not successful however, as the US lacked vital intelligence. 
    The prison itself was located on a steep hill, with no locations for the Blackhawks to land. There were also multiple ZU-23 AA Guns set up both around and on top of the prison. During the raid, AA fire wounded many passengers and crew members of the Task Force, and caused 1 Blackhawk to crash, trapping some Delta Force operators. Another Blackhawk was diverted to protect the crash site. One pilot died, and another force of Rangers had to be sent to the Prison to support the Delta Operators.
    The final major Raid on the 25th was an operation conducted to rescue Governor General Paul Scoon. Still within his mansion in Saint George, an unidentified SEAL Team was flown from Barbados to Grenada. However, the team left late - at 05:30, while major combat operations were already underway.
    The SEAL team made no hostile contact during their insertion and entry into Scoon's mansion. However, a large counterattack including BTR-60s trapped the SEALs for several hours. Grenadian forces laid siege to the mansion, forcing the SEALs to call in air support, in the form of AC-130 Gunships, A-7 Corsairs and AH-1 Cobras. The airstrikes prevented local forces from storming the mansion, but the SEALs would remain trapped until members of G Company, 22nd Marine Assault Unit relieved them 24 hours later.
    The Forts Frederick and Rupert were targeted by airstrikes by Navy A-7 Corsairs and Marine helicopters. The target for both was AA emplacements, preparation for assault from ground forces. One strike on Fort Frederick missed, instead hitting a mental hospital and killing 18 civilians. A further Raid on Fort Frederick resulted in the loss of 2 Marine AH-1T Cobras and a UH-60 Blackhawk, with 5 KIA.

    A downed Marine Corps CH-46 on the beaches of Grenada
    D+1, 26th OCTOBER
    The US had 2 objectives during the 2nd day of Urgent Fury.
    Securing the area around Salines Airport Rescuing US students tapped at Grande Anse The Army units on the ground had suffered losses and damage to their transportation helicopters, and as such the US commander - General Trobaugh - was forced to delay the rescue operation until he had made contact with the Marines.
    The majority of Cuban Paramlilitaries were garissoned in a compound near the village of Calliste. They had sent out small patrols and deployed ambush teams throughout the area. Early on the morning of the 26th, a ptarol from the 2nd Battalion, 325th Infantry was ambushed by one of this patrols near Calliste. The ensuing firefight was deadly - the US suffered 6 wounded and 2 killed, Bravo Companies commander was one of them. The Cubans retreated back into the jungle.
    In response, the Battalion commander requested air support to strike the compand that the Cubans had secured. The US Navy sent Squadrons to target the compound as 105mm howitzers of the 82nd Airborne targeted the compound as well. At 08:30, the defenders of the compound surrendered to the members of the 325th. 
    US troops continued on into the town of Frequente. There, they discovered a large weapons cache, most of the boxes with import markings from Cuba. The Infantry commander reported that there were enough weapons to equip 6 battalions.
    One of the US patrols in the town was ambushed by Cubans. Mounted on gun-jeeps, the recon platoon used their mounted M60s to fend off the Cuban attack with no casualties. This ambush marked the end of concentrated Cuban resistance.

    Later that afternoon, an operation was mounted to rescue the students being held captive at Grande Anse. Members of the 2nd Battalion, Ranger Regiment mounted Marine Corps CH-46 helicopters.
    On approach, one CH-46 damaged its rotors on a palm tree and was forced to crash land.
    Touching down around the campus, the Rangers assaulted the area. Resistance was extremely light, with only a handful of paramlilitaries guarding the students. After a brief firefight, the defenders fled the area, resulting in only 1 Ranger being wounded.
    The operation secured the 233 students inside the campus - however, the Grande Anse students informed US troops there was in fact a third campus on the island with trapped US students. Due to the unexpectedly large number of students needing evacuation, and the loss of one CH-46; the US Marines dispatched CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters to pick up the stragglers. During the evacuation, an 11 man Ranger Team was left behind. The squad evacuated to the beach and paddled out to sea on an inflatable raft, presumably from the downed CH-46. They were found and retrieved by the USS Charon at 23:00.

    D+2, 27th OCTOBER
    By the 27th of October, unknown to US forces, organised resistance was diminishing. During the night, the Marine 22 MAU and 8th Regiment continued to advance, securing the coastline and capturing towns. Resistance was minimal, scattered gunfights breaking out, but with no concentrated defence. One patrol did encounter a lone BTR-60, but it was knocked out by an M72 LAW.

    The 325th Infantry Regiment advanced towards the town of Saint George, which had been unobserved since the rescue of students from Grande Anse on the first day. During their advance they encountered scattered resistance, lone gunmen or soldiers operating in small groups using guerrilla tactics. Upon reaching the Grande Anse campus, members of the 325th discovered a further 20 US students who had been missed on the first day. They were safely evacuated via helicopter.
    During the advance on Saint George, an Air-Naval Gunfire Liaison Team mistakenly called for an A-7 Intruder to strike a position in front of the advancing friendly troops. By some unknown mistake, either in pilot error or munitions malfunction, the A-7 strafed the command post of the 2nd Brigade, 325th. 17 men were wounded, 1 of whom would later die.

    The US Army had intelligence reports stating that the bulk of the PRA force was amassing at Calivigny barracks, 5 kilometres from Point Salines Airfield. An Air Assault was organised, to be carried out by the 2nd Bn, 75th Rangers using the new UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopters. 
    A preparatory bombardment was to clear the barracks defences. Howitzers, A-7 Corsairs, AC130s and the USS Charon all fired munitions into the barracks and surrounding area.
    During the assault, the pilots of the Blackhawks, who had not used them in combat, misjudged their approach and came in too fast.
    One Blackhawk crash-landed, causing the 2 Blackhawks behind to collide with it, killing 3 and wounding 4.
    The Rangers, after securing the wreckage and evacuating the wounded, pushed onto the barracks. They would find it deserted.

    Over the following days, resistance ended entirely. Army and Marine forces spread across the island. They captured PRA officials, weapons caches and repatriating Cuban Nationals. On the 1st of November, 2 companies of the 22nd MAU landed on the island of Carriacou. 19 Grenadian defenders surrendered immediately. This marked the end of combat operations in Urgent Fury.
    Nearly 8000 US soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines took part in Urgent Fury. American forces suffered 19 KIA and 116 wounded. Cuba suffered 25 KIA, 59 WIA and 638 captured soldiers. Grenada suffered 45 KIA and 358 WIA, with no concrete number of POWs. At least 24 civilians died.
    The US also destroyed the majority of Grenadas military might - 6 APCs and 1 armoured car. A second was impounded and sent to Quantico.
    The US forces suffered the loss of 9 helicopters, 3 of which were the new Blackhawk.
    Worldwide, reactions to the invasion of Grenada were not as supportive as the US expected. The United Nations General Assembly stated 
    The Soviet Union claimed that Grenada had been threatened repeatedly by the United States and warned that other nations may find themselves at the mercy of US foreign policy.
    Following the end of Operation Urgent Fury, Paul Scoon was reaffirmed as governor. He led Grenada to public elections, held in December 1984. 
    US forces remained on the island in a peacekeeping capacity, as part of Operation Island Breeze. Eventually, all US forces would withdraw.

    Urgent Fury provides a host of different scenarios and strategies that Zeuses can play around with. Due to the limitations of our modpack there's some tinkering and substitutions that have to be made for missions to work. You could easily stage scenarios around the Saint George assault, the Governor's Mansion or the assaults on the Forts. But for a general mission plan, I'll focus on D-Day - the attack on Point Salines International Airport.
    For the map, you could use either Tanoa or Tembelan - it needs to be an airfield with a populated area nearby. The northern Airfield of Tembelan is one option, whereas Tanoa International is another. For this scenario I will provide images of Tanoa International.

    Having your players paradrop onto a hostile airfield is a challenge of itself, and should provide some interesting gameplay, however if you want to really shake things up; go for the Rangers original plan.
    Have C-130Js make an approach on the airfield and have them land, fully laden with players in the back. As the players disembark they should be in an instant firefight with infantry - I'd stay away from having ZUs or any vehicles. One or 2 DShKs on the perimeter could work, but you don't want immediate lines of sight to the planes.
    Once the players have captured the Airfield, you could give them objectives in the nearby settlements - simple secure objectives. Take inspiration from the 3 BTRs that attempted a counter-attack - throw in some infantry support and it should make for an interesting challenge.

    I'd use OPFOR African Militia as the Grenadian/Cuban forces. They are somewhat un-armoured, so restricting your players load-outs for balance would be advantageous. I recommend some lightweight armour, or for added challenge, use ALICE webbing which provides no armour rating at all. Restrict your players to M16s and M249s. Use M72 LAWs with perhaps 1 M3 MAAWS.

    If you enjoyed this article and wish to explore Urgent Fury further, there's some official documents I recommend reading.
    Grenada Documents, Overview and Selection - DOD & State Department, 1984 Grenada, A Preliminary Report - DOD & State Department Joint Overview, Operation Urgent Fury - 1985

    GuardianCon 2018 Marathon Charity Stream is Live!

    So for those of you who aren't aware, this year's GuardianCon Marathon Charity Stream has started.
    This marathon stream is yearly event that leads up to the GuardianCon event in Tampa Bay, Florida, where over 30 streamers come together and run a nonstop stream that lasts an entire week in an effort to raise money for St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. St Jude's is an organisation that focuses on treating and research into cures for children's diseases, ranging from childhood cancer to other life-threatening diseases. St Jude's treats these children for no fee or bill whatsoever; they provide for the treatment, travel, housing and food for those they treat and they run entirely on donations, costing $2.4 million USD to run the entirety of St. Jude's for a single day. In 2016, the stream managed to raise $564,000. In 2017, they more than doubled it, raising $1.35 million USD. This year their aim is to raise $2.4 million USD, to run the entirety of St. Jude's for a single day.
    Despite its name of GuardianCon, this isn't restricted solely to the Destiny community. Although a large majority of the streamers are Destiny content creators, with names such as King Gothalion, Real Kraftyy, Teawrex and Professor Broman, it has expanded to include so much more, with the Borderlands community joining last year and with the Warframe and Fortnite community joining this year with Ninja closing out this year's marathon. On top of that, in the Convention itself at Tampa, there will be an official presence from multiple developers such as Bungie, Hi-Rez Studios and Phoenix Labs.
    This is an event I've personally been following since it started in 2016 (though it was only named GuardianCon in 2017), and I think it's something that is very much worth checking out and supporting if you can. You don't necessarily have to donate, especially if you are not financially able to. They appreciate each and every single dollar that gets donated but it's not a requirement. Support from the community, just having people hang out, and if possible, having people spread the word to others is greatly appreciated.

    This year's schedule of streamers.
    If you'd like to check it out, just to watch a stream, take a look at what communities can do, or if you'd like to donate to help contribute, you can click on the following to get to the official GuardianCon stream:
    or you can follow the following link to the official GuardianCon website: https://www.guardiancon.co/

    Military History - Ap Bac, Vietnam War - 1963

    This is a bit of an odd one, as I've been incredibly busy this month and time is running out. So instead of spending a few days researching into something that happened in June I'm going to talk about something I already know about, which happened in January 1963. I'll be back to writing articles next month properly!
    During the early 1960s, a guerrilla war was raging in the countryside of South Vietnam. Communist members of the National Liberation Front were conducting lightning hit-and-run raids and ambushes against the forces of the Anti-Communist Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). In an effort to train and support the under-equipped and poorly motivated Army of the Republic of Vietnam, the United States had dispatched large numbers of American Special Forces soldiers to operate as Military Advisers. Officially, and publicly, the Advisers were not to engage in offensive military actions. JFK was quoted as saying Americans in Vietnam could 'shoot back to defend themselves' but not actively engage hostile forces. In reality, this was a lie.
    American Advisers in the RVN were embedded with nearly all ARVN Companies, and sometimes at a Platoon level. Any Company which was deployed on a military operation had a large number of US advisers embedded within the formation, not only to teach and observe; but also to actively plan and fight engagements for the ARVN.
    In nearly all previous engagements against the NLF, guerrillas would begin short ambushes with limited fire before withdrawing before ARVN forces could respond with much greater firepower. But in late 1962 and 1963, a new breed of NLF fighter was emerging. Highly motivated, well trained and equipped by Communist China, these troops began using more devious and intelligent plans of attack and defence against their ARVN counterparts. They started using transistor radios to communicate with each other throughout the country. And in December of 1962, one of these radios was located in the hamlet of Ap Bac. A plan was drawn up to seize it.
    THE PLAN :

    It was widely known that in all large scale operations against the NLF (or Viet Cong as the US had begun calling them), NLF fighters would always seek to evade attacking forces rather than enter a prolonged and drawn out conflict. As such, a plan was drawn up to play to these traits. 
    Ap Bac was a small hamlet, and military intelligence placed no more than 120 guerllias inside it's perimiter as a guard for the radio. The lead US Advisor, Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann drafted a plan which was accepted by the ARVN command. The plan was to assault Ap Bac from 3 sides, leaving a clear and inviting opening for the NLF to withdraw through - a seemingly safe route of extraction. This route would be watched by Forward Artillery Observers, and any NLF units caught in the open were to be destryoyed via Artillery Bombardment and Arial Attack.
    Over 1500 ARVN soldiers were deployed in this operation, including a Mechanised Company, 2 Rifle Companies and an Airmobile Battalion. The ARVN however, lacked adequately trained helicopter pilots and the decision was made for American Helicopter crews to undertake the mission. Here, the first problem lay - only 10 CH-21 Shawnee Helicopters were available; but the Battalion needed 30 to transport all its personnel. The lift would have to take multiple flights.
    Despite this, Vann's plan seemed sound. It was set to be an outright win for the Army of the Republic of Vietnam. With one major problem.
    In 1963, corruption in President Ngô Đình Diệm's regime was inexplicably high. Politicians, Military Officials and even some Teachers were hugely corrupt. This corruption had spread to the individual fighting units under Vann's command. Officers in charge of their respective platoons were wary of engaging the Viet Cong. They wanted no authority to make decisions in combat. And what's worse - someone on the planning committee informed the NLF fighters in Ap Bac that an attack was coming.
    The ARVN intel was massively wrong. While the radio set was indeed located in Ap Bac, the defenders numbered some 350 not 120 as thought. What's more, the NLF commanders had recently decided upon a new tactic - standing and fighting against the enemy.
    ORBAT :
    The ARVN force comprised some 1500 men. Records are from the ARVN are unreliable at best, so I shall do my best to note who, and what, was where.
    1st Battalion, 11th Infantry Division, ARVN, Commanded by Huỳnh Văn Cao.
    3 Rifle Companies, to be inserted via Helicopter 1 Mechanised Company 2 further National Guard Rifle Battallions US 93rd Transportation Company (Helicopter) Members of the 1st Special Forces Command 'Green Berets', US Army The National Liberation Front defenders were commanded by Colonel Hai Hoang. It consisted of 350 guerrillas split across the following :
    1st Company, 261st Bn 1st Company, 514th Bn 30 local force soldiers from Chau Thanh District The Local NLF forces, thanks to being tipped off, had ample time to prepare their defensive position. The exact number of support weapons is unknown, but the NLF used at least 3 .30 calibre Machine Guns and 1 light mortar.
    At 07:00 on the 2nd January, 10 Shawnee Helicopters landed West of Ap Bac, dropping the first wave of the 3 Rifle Companies. The troops on the ground began digging in around the rice paddies to secure their LZ, awaiting the rest of the Rifle Companies to be flown in. This delay in insertion of the Airborne unit meant that the National Guard forces were forced to advance on Ap Bac without any support. The members of TF A advanced North towards the hamlet, alert yet confident. Unknown to the members of the Battalion, Viet Cong radio operators had recently captured American Radios and were monitoring their activities the entire time. The Battalion came within 30 meters of the Hamlet, and a Viet Cong unit ambushed them from carefully concealed spider holes and machine gun pits. The leading Company Commander was killed, and Task Force Commander was wounded in the initial ambush. Survivors retreated behind a rice paddy dike and hid there under intense fire. A Forward Observer in the National Guard Bn called for artillery support, but refused to monitor where the rounds landed. As such, the barrage did little to suppress NLF forces.
    To the North of Ap Bac, a similar ambush caught the members of the 11th Infantry Regiment in a deadly cross-fire. For 5 hours, the Northern Flank was stoically held by NLF troops, with multiple machine guns and Light arms pinning the ARVN troops down. With another flight of the Airborne troops en route, Vann ordered his helicopters to drop them further away than the original landing zone. At this time in the war however, US Pilots and ground troops did not work well with each other. The pilots under Vann's command refused the order and approached the original landing zone. As the helicopters touched down, at least 1 MMG and multiple LMGs began firing at them, hitting and severely wounding many ARVN troops as they disembarked. The lone 60mm mortar began dropping rounds on the Landing Zone as well. One helicopter was damaged to the point where it could not lift off. The crew, trapped and desperate on the ground, begged for another helicopter to recover them. This helicopter, also damaged, lost power and was forced to be abandoned on the LZ. By 10:30, ARVN troops on the LZ were pinned down and refused to move. Sergeant Arnold Bowers, a Green Beret, dashed back and forth between his safe position and the helicopters, rescuing the crewmen.

    After Bowers had treated the wounded aircrew, he grabbed a Radio and began to co-ordinate artillery and airstrikes. 2 A6-D Skyraiders arrived and bombed the village with Napalm and Conventional Munitions. With the gunfire dying down, many of the ARVN troops believed that the NLF forces had withdrawn and stood up to witness the retreat. These men were cut down by a renewed and withing fusillade of fire from concealed NLF positions. Vann radioed to the US adviser to the ARVN 2nd Armoured Cavalry, the Mechanised force standing by. Captain James B. Scanlon informed his counterpart, Captain Ly Tong Ba to move his M113s to support the pinned down and decimated ARVN Airborne forces. Ba refused to comply, citing his orders that he would not accept any orders given to him by Americans. After nearly half an hour arguing, Ba finally relented and ordered his troops forward. The deep rice paddies and wide dikes slowed the Mechanised cavalry advance, and it would take nearly two hours before they were close enough to support the Airborne troops. This was not the turning point the ARVN were hoping for however, as VC troops sprung from spider holes and threw a multitude of grenades at the M113s. While this did little damage to the APCs, it wounded many of the troops riding atop them, and demoralised the Vehicle Crews. The advance halted entirely. They had managed to get close enough to the Airborne troops to provide at least some adequate fire support.

    Meanwhile, a squadron of armed Huey Gunships had been strafing NLF positions, firing flex guns and rockets at the suspected VC gun emplacements. One was caught in a burst of heavy calibre fire and was immobilised, forced to crash land in the LZ with the other downed choppers. Another Shawnee was sent back in to rescue the grounded aircrews, and this too was shot down. At 14:30, the demoralised and battered M113 company withdrew themselves from the fight, leaving the Airborne troops stranded. Vann persuaded ARVN commanders to call in Company of Paratroopers to support the infantry still on the ground. The DZ was slated to be to the West, behind the withdrawn M113s. As the flight of C123 Providers approached the Hamlet, carrying some 300 paratroopers, they drew fire from Small Arms inside the villages' perimeter. The pilots changed their approach, but this information did not make it's way back to the waiting infantry who jumped early. The paratroopers descended in front of NLF positions instead of behind friendly M113s. The paratroopers were being picked off as the drifted to the ground, some getting stuck in trees. Both American Advisers who jumped with the paratroopers were also wounded. Those that made it to the ground began small unit tactics, skirmishing with the VC defensive line in the trees without any major successes. As night fell, the gunfire slowed and the ARVN troops withdrew to regroup. Knowing that the morning would bring fresh offensives, Hoang ordered his NLF troops to withdraw from the Hamlet under the cover of darkness. The following morning, at 07:00, Vann and the ARVN forces advanced into the village of Ap Bac with no resistance.

    The Battle of Ap Bac was a horrendous failure for the ARVN. Vann was reported as saying "It was a miserable damn performance, just like it always is. These people won't listen. They [the ARVN] make the same mistake over and over again in the same way." It was the first time the NLF had stood up to fight against the ARVN in a prolonged battle. The ARVN deployed 1500 infantry, 10 CH-21 Shawnees, 13 M113 APCs & 5 UH-C Iroquois. Casualties were, frankly, atrocious, especially when compared to the NLF's 350 deployed personnel.
    ARVN casualties were as follows:
    83 KIA and over 100 Wounded American Advisers suffered 3 KIA and 8 Wounded 14/15 Helicopters used were damaged, with 5 shot down The NLF casualties however, were minimal:
    18 soldiers killed 39 wounded Both South Vietnamese and American Government bodies hailed Ap Bac as a success. The North Vietnamese and NLF commanders used the example of Ap Bac to galvanise their warriors, and lessons learned here were used by Giap during the battle of the Ia Drang 2 years later.

    If you want to try your hand at assaulting Ap Bac, then there's an option I've found.
    Using Tembelan Island, there's a town in the North West which works pretty well for Ap Bac. With woodland on two sides and raised ground to the north, it presents a difficult location to assault. A Zeus could split players into 3 platoons, having either M113s or Hueys for the special Infantry section. 1/3 of the players can assault from the North, a 1/3 from the South and the others coming in from the West.

    I recommend using the Chedaki insurgents, using AK and PKM armed troops with some dug-in DshK emplacements. Don't forget to include a mortar to shell the incoming forces! You should dig troops into the trees around the hamlet, and have them garrison the buildings to provide a difficult location to assault.

    The players can restrict their loadout to an approximation of the ARVN. Tigerstripe camo, M1 helmets and M14s/M60s and the M203 handheld can be used to imitate the ARVN pretty well. For added difficulty don't take interpersonal radios.

    I hope you enjoyed, and happy playing!

    RHS: What's up next?

    It has been four months since the last RHS update, and we are still waiting for the update that fixes all issues introduced by the Tanks DLC a month ago. Now the last word is that all bugs are fixed, but they are still waiting for the new content to be finished; since they like to release the bug fixes with new content. But it means that we don't know the release date until they either announce the update or just randomly release it. So until that time, use this article to see what the RHS guys are working on, and get hyped for all the new content they are working on.
    *DISCLAIMER* Most of this is speculation and based on comments made, or pictures shared by the Devs.
    It has been a month since the Tanks DLC update, which brought a lot of changes to the way Arma works. Mosty notably the changes to vehicle interiors and armour values. And all these changes caused a lot of bugs in RHS and many other mods. If you want to look at all the bugs, you only need to look at the list of all issues that have been resolved since then. http://feedback.rhsmods.org/changelog_page.php
    The most notable issues that will be fixed in the next update are the following:
    Seeing through vehicles when turned in, caused by the new vehicle interiors. Views zoomed in vehicles. Not being able to use certain seats on some American vehicles. And much more. Along with all the problems caused by the Tanks DLC, however, also come new features. Top-down attack mode for missiles is one of the features that the RHS developers are implementing for certain weapons. This means that in the future some of the RHS launchers will be more flexible in their usability. A comment has also been made that they are working on improving the TOW launcher, including the ability to use the top-down attack mode. There are more changes coming, mainly in the use of the new armour values and the vehicles needing to be updated to it. But we will have to wait for the release to see it all.
    So we now enter the territory of stuff that is new and may or may not be part of the next update. A lot of new content is constantly teased, but not all of it may be released in the upcoming update. So what I will be discussing here is confirmed to be in the works but has not got a release date. 
    The first tease we got was not long after the previous update, and it was all about the M24. The M24 is definitely not a new weapon; it has been part of RHS for a long time. However, the weapon is getting an update. The original model had three variations, the default with some sort of semi-arid camo, black camo and one with semi-arid ghillie additions. There were not many extra additions, it was just those. But it is now being upgraded with some interesting looking things.

    The most interesting update comes in the form of a suppressor. It is something that the current model does not have and will be an interesting addition that may make the weapon more appealing for Prophet. It is not as heavy as many other sniper rifles and may be more favourable for the Prophet team on foot. It is a similar weight to the M2010, but a bit less powerful. Now, this is based on current statistic, but that may all change since the weapon is being updated anyway. Along with the new suppressor, there are also new camouflages. The old semi-arid camo will probably be removed, and in place of that, there will be woodland and desert variations. BAnd besides the new camouflage, you can see an ammo pouch on the stock, which is probably only cosmetic as I don't know of any way they could make that functional. There is not much more new stuff I noticed about the weapon, but you can check out all screenshots in the album here.
    This next one on the list will spice up the RedFor launcher list a bit. I think it will fit in just above the RPG-26 in terms of regarding usability, but not by much. It will probably be right on par with the M136 on the BluFor side right now. With an effective range of 300m, compared to the RPG-26's 250m, it promises a bit more range. The sight is also a big improvement, being much more open and allowing for easier aiming.

    The RPG-75 is a single shot disposable rocket launcher, which means it will be considered LAT once released. It should offer about the same firepower as the RPG-26 is my prediction. Let us hope though that the weight is not a big downside. If you want to see it kill an MBT, check this test video. Oh, there is an album for this one as well.
    Tacticool VZ
    I didn't name it this, the maker PuFu did (probably won't be the real name). This is a tactical variant of the GREF VZ. Not much to say, other than that I am 99% sure it is part of the next update.

    Get ready to use all the attachments!
    FN FAL
    The FN FAL is already part of our modset, as part of NIArms, but it is now also coming to RHS. There is no information on this other than a couple of screenshots you can see here. Seeing the state of it, I think it is at least another four months before the FN FAL will come to RHS. Seeing the release pattern of RHS, which would mean it will come in 0.4.7, hopefully.
    In the last few updates, there were a lot of RedFor vehicles being added; we didn't get much news on BluFor vehicles. That has flipped this time, only BluFor news this time! Not all of this will be in the next update for sure though. Some of the stuff has been teased, but there is no indication of those vehicles being completed any time soon. But let us start with one that I am certain will be in the upcoming update.
    I think we have all seen a Zeus use the "Attach to" module to attach a weapon to a vehicle, and some will probably have seen a TOW launcher attached to a vehicle. The only vehicle that up to this point did it without is the BAF Milan Land Rover, but that is a British vehicle and doesn't always fit in with other American assets. So now RHS is introducing a TOW HMMWV that will give you the ability to take out MBTs with ease, without needing a bigger asset.

    There isn't much more to be said about this one, it is 4+1 seater Humvee with a TOW instead of the common M2. I hope Zeuses will decide to use this so now and then, as it will provide very different missions compared to armoured assets. But now on to the next vehicle addition that will certainly be in the next update. This vehicle is not the only change related to the TOW system. They are also bringing a new top-down attack mode for the TOW! The Tanks DLC introduced a lot of new stuff including a top-down attack mode for ATGMs and certain rocket launchers, and the RHS developers are also bringing that to the TOW system. This comes along with a complete rework of how the TOW works, which will be interesting to see as there isn't a real comparison in vanilla arma to compare it to.
    USMC RG-33
    Well, it is not so much a new vehicle; more a couple of changes that make it specific for the US Marine Corps. Most likely in the next update is a special O-GPK Transparent Armoured Gun Shield. This was specifically designed for the Marines so it could be folded down, probably for easier transport. It also switches the position of the glass to the upper part of the shield, rather than the bottom of the shield on the other MRAP variants.

    Besides the updated turret, the vehicle is getting USMC specific markings. This turret will be used on most, if not all, future USMC vehicles and maybe some current ones will get updated. I am not sure which vehicles currently in the game would use this in real life.
    M142 HIMARS
    Another new addition to be expected in the next update will be an excellent sight for the lovers of Artillery. RedFor has their BM21, and vanilla NATO has the M5 Sandstorm, but RHS BluFor had no rocket artillery vehicle yet. That is now changing with the introduction of the M142 High Mobility Rocket System, or HIMARS. At the base is the FMTV truck that is already a part of RHS, then on top of that is a single pod with six rockets.

    The rocket pod is the M993 Launcher, the same one used on the M270 System which has two pods. It will look familiar since the vanilla NATO M5 Sandstorm is based partially on the M270. This leads me to think that in use it will be the same as the M5 sandstorm, as it should be an almost identical system. Not sure if it will use the same rockets as the vanilla variant, but it will definitely use the artillery computer. Besides the six rockets, there is another possibility, however. The launcher can also take a single MGM-140 ATACMS missile, which is a big 610mm cluster rocket. That sounds very interesting, but it will be very overkill for anything to do with Arma, so it is unlikely.
    Stryker and LAV-25
    The stryker platform is very well known as it is used by the US Army in many recent wars. It comes in many different variants, from a very simple infantry carrier vehicle with an M2 CROWS system to a Mobile gun system like the Tanks DLC Rhino MGS, to a Mortar Carrier. We don't know yet which variants will be part of RHS, but the first "confirmed" variant is the ICV, which is the version with the M2 CROWS. There are about ten variants of the Stryker, but I only expect the ICV and the MGS as the variants that will be in RHS. The only picture we have had so far is this frontal image of the ICV variant.

    As you can see it has an M2 mounted on top, no big gun like the Rhino MGS. But that wasn't the only obscure tease we got. An even more obscure one was this, which seem to be a set of wheels for the LAV-25. We used to have a LAV-25 when we used Arma3Sync, but it was not available on the steam workshop as the vehicle had been merged with CUP. But now we can expect a high detail version in RHS; I don't know when though. Both the Stryke and the LAV have not been shown in their full textured state, so it could be very far away still.
    Cougar 4x4
    This next one was first teased back in 2016 but was then shelved as the original developer left the team. This means that the tease was basically for nothing as the product never got finished. But on the 27th of May, they showed work had continued on the model and we can probably expect it in one of the future updates. They were still working on the basic version, the low and high poly models still had to be made, so it could still be quite a while before it is ready. But it is great to see they are dusting off some of the old stuff that had been put on ice.

    This is part of the original tease, but it will most likely change quite a bit by the time it is actually released. One thing has been announced already about this vehicle; this Cougar 4x4 will replace the 4x4 RG-33! They told us during the stream that this will replace the RG-33 completely as the RG-33 was never actually used and was seen more as a proof of concept vehicle made by BAE Systems. The RG-33L, known in-game as the M1232 will probably stay for a while, but we have not any confirmation for that.
    I hope this got you hyped for the next update that will come soon™, but we don't know how soon. The list of confirmed fixes grows each week, and we keep getting more and more teasers thrown our way. If you want to learn about stuff being added to RHS, it is always worth following their Twitch stream. They aren't shy to tell us some juicy details, and it is a great place to see how they make all the great content they provide.
    In the latest stream, they showed off work on the interior of the Cougar 4x4 that has been taken out of the icebox, but they also shared some details on what we can expect in the next update. Besides all the teasers they released, the M24, M142 HIMARS, TOW Humvee, RPG-75 and the couple other things, they also told us about some new stuff. They told us that everyone will be blown away by the size of the changelog for the next update. Not just the amount of fixes, but also the fact that all the teasers they showed were just the tip of the iceberg. To the point that one of the devs said he is blown away by all the new stuff being added. I can not say much though on all the new stuff being added, as they didn't tell us about much other than what the teasers have shown. They did say, however, that we can expect a new AN/PEQ-15 which should be interesting. But enough about that all, we will need to wait patiently for the update to be released to see all the new stuff they are bringing.

    May Military History - Battle for Maleme & The Battle for Crete, "Operation Mercury", May 1941

    The Greek Island of Crete is located in a key strategic position in the Mediterranean Sea, with airstrips and naval bases which would allow Allied forces to threaten German and Italian shipping throughout the area. Strategically, it was invaluable.
    In October of 1940, the Italian Army attacked Greece without the knowledge of German High Command. British, Australian and New Zealand forces were dispatched to Crete to allow the Greek Fifth Cretan Division to re-deploy to the Greek mainland. After a few months of fighting, the situation looked bleak and the Italians requested intervention of German Forces to assist them. In April 1941, mainland Greece was overrun with 57,000 Allied forces evacuated from the country.
    The issue of Crete was one of major discussion in German High Command. Operation Barbarossa (the invasion of Russia) was in full swing and the Royal Navy (and remnants of the Free French Fleet) controlled the waters around Crete - seizing control would be a major undertaking. Eventually, the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) convinced Hitler that an airborne invasion would seize Crete with little effort, and would open the Eastern Mediterranean and Northern Africa to future operations.
    On the 20th May 1941, the German High Command began an invasion of Crete, dropping around 14,000 Fallschirmjäger (Paratroopers) en-masse as part of the first largely airborne led invasion in history. Previously, Paratroopers had been dropped in small groups to secure important bridgeheads or tactical areas, achieving some success during the invasion of Holland the year before. Due to several mistakes, however, the Luftwaffe lost numerous transport aircraft during this campaign.

    On the 30th April 1941, command of Allied forces on Crete, Creforce, was given to Major-General Bernhard Freyberg. His forces were an amalgamation of Allied troops who were previously stationed to Crete, forces withdrawn from Mainland Greece and leftover Greek troops. As far as I can tell, the forces were re-organised as follows :
    3 Battalions of the 5th Greek Division Heraklion Garrison Battalion 2nd New Zealand Division 19th Australian Brigade Group 14th Infantry Brigade of the 6th British Division In all, there were around 40,000 combat personel defending Crete - all in various stages of readiness and equipment. Some divisions were forced to re-deploy soldiers who had previously deserted.

    Large numbers of Fallschirmjäger were assigned to the operation, over 14,000 in all. Augmenting the operation were 15,000 Gebirgsjäger - German Mountain Commandos. The forces assigned to Operation Mercury were :
    Fliegerkorps XI - 1st Fallschirmjäger Division, consisting of :
    1st Panzerjäger Battalion, 1st Pioneer Battalion, 1st Flak Battalion, 1st Medical Battalion, 13th Nebelwerfer Company, 14 Panzerjäger Company
    1st Fallschirmjäger Regiment, 3rd Fallschirmjäger Regiment, 4th Fallschirmjäger Regiment & 1st Artillery Regiment. 22nd Air Landing Division : 
    Infanterie-Regiments 16, 47 & 65, Artillerie-Regiment 22; Panzerabwehr-Abteilung 22; Aufklärungs-Abeteilung 22; Feldersatz-Batallion 22; Nachrichten-Batallion 22 & Pionier-Batallion 22. 5th Gebirgsjäger Division

    Initially, the plan for Operation Mercury was to capture key airstips on the Northern edge of the island with Fliegerkorps XI, swiftly followed by glider-borne reinforcements in the form of the 22nd Air Landing Division. However, due to pressure for the Luftwaffe to complete operations in Crete by the end of May, the plan was rushed. Several aspects were improvised - troops who were not trained in airborne assaults were assigned to the initial action. After much disagreement eventually Hermann Göring, head of the Luftwaffe, decided on a plan of attack. There were to be 3 major objectives for the initial drop : The airfield of Maleme; the airfield of Rhethymon & the airfield near Herakleion.
    The invasion force was divided into 3 Battlegroups; Group Center (Codenamed Mars) under Generalmajor Wilhelm Süssmann, Group West (Codenamed Comet) under Generalmajor Eugen Meindl and Group East (Codenamed Orion) under Oberst Bruno Bräuer.
    Group West was by far the largest of the Battlegroups - and was given the task of securing the area around Maleme. This is what I shall be focusing on in this article.


    At 08:00 on 20th May 1941, Paratroopers of the 1st and 3rd Fallschirmjäger Regiments landed near Maleme Airfield and Chania town, pushing East towards Maleme Airfield - which was held by the 21st, 22nd and 23rd New Zealand Battalions. Due to the jump being made in daylight, the members of Fliegerkorps XI had no cover when they came under fire from the Greek and New Zealand defenders, suffering many casualties while the drop was in progress. It is recorded by some sources that the Luftwaffe lost 7 aircraft during the drop alone.
    After reorganising themselves, the members of Fliegerkorps XI pushed towards the airfield, clashing with the New Zealanders eventually forcing a breach of the Airfield's defences. While heavy fighting was underway, the second wave of attackers came in - this time a Gliderborne force from the 22nd Air Landing Force. It's difficult to accurately say who was fighting where, as the large amount of Flak and Royal Air Force fighters caused intense disruption to the Luftwaffe formations, with several Gliders being destroyed and even more missing their designated Landing Zones. As some managed to touch down safely, the now alert New Zealand troops stationed on Hill 107 began shelling the Landing Zones with mortars - nearly obliterating the Glider Troops. 
    After hours of fighting, a combined force from Fliegerkorps XI and 22nd Air Landing Force began to force the New Zealanders off of Hill 107, giving reprieve to the assaulting forces below. As the day drew to a close, German losses were severe. The 1st Assault Regiment lost 400 out of it's 600 men in III Battalion, for example.
    Later that afternoon, the Allied defenders were forced to redeploy troops as a second wave of Paratroopers was dropped near Heraklion to the East. This landing was again viciously opposed, mostly by the 2nd Company of the 4th Australian Infantry Battalion.
    As night fell on the 20th May, none of the immediate German objectives had been achieved.

    Overnight, orders were cut to the 22nd New Zealand Infantry Battalion to withdraw from Hill 107. This left Maleme Airfield undefended. The beleaguered German forces took every advantage and swiftly secured the Airfield itself, digging in around the Airfield and nearby towns. Further reinforcements were flown into the Airstrip overnight -  the 5th Gebirgsjäger Division.
    The following afternoon, Freyberg ordered a counter-attack to retake Maleme Airfield during the night. The task fell to the 2nd Company, 7th Battalion of the 2nd NZD. Due to a lack of transportation, 2 Coy was forced to march the 18 miles to reach their stand-to positions. Hampered by the Luftwaffe, 2 Coy didn't make it to their staging area until 02:45. The counter attack began an hour later, but was repulsed due to intense activity from the Luftwaffe.
    A final attempt to retake the airfield was launched on the 22nd May by 2 Battalions of reserves from the New Zealand Force - the 20th Bn of the 4th Brigade and the 28th Maori Bn of the 5th Brigade. The assault, planned to take place during the night, was again delayed until daylight - giving the now firmly entrenched Fallschirmjägers and Gebirgsjäges chances to expand their territory into the rocky and treacherous foothills surrounding to the South of the Airfield. After several hours, assaulting along the valley and up Hill 107 the attacking New Zealand forces were subjected to multiple overlapping Machine Gun emplacements and a fresh battery of artillery who had recently been landed at the Airfield. 
    The 20th Battalion and 28th Maori Battalion fought viciously, sometimes engaging in hand-to-hand fighting with the entrenched defenders and several times the defences along the valley were threatened. Eventually however, repeated attacks by Stuka Dive-Bombers broke the attackers, forcing them to withdraw. This withdrawal marked the end of fighting over Maleme, and marked a change in the defensive posture of Alied forces on the Island.


    After the Battle of Maleme, Allied forces continued their resistance for several days, eventually evacuating from the Southern side of the Island from the 28th May to the 1st June. Due to rapid encirclement, many Allied soldiers were forced to surrender as Italian troops joined the assault forces.
    The operation did not impress the German High Command as expected. Hitler remained convinced that Paradrops were not a viable means of attack, and instead ordered his Fallschirmjäger be re-deployed as ground combat forces, a role they maintained until the end of the war. Conversely, the Allies (and British especially) were struck by the lightning attacks the Fallschirmjägers and Glider Troops made, leading to the planning of large-scale Airborne landings seen over Normandy and Holland 3 years later.
    Losses during the operation were substantial. British Commonwealth forces suffered over 3,500 killed, with a further 1,900 wounded and 12,000 captured.
    German losses worked out at over 2,000 killed, 2,500 wounded and 17 captured. The Luftwaffe also lost over 280 aircraft.
    I'm going to focus on the intial assault on Maleme, using Stratis Air Base as a replacement for the Airfield itself. Players can either "drop" over the Airfield directly, or drop a little to the South, either way both DZs will be under scrutiny from Hill 97. A small garrison force on-top of the Hill with a pair of mounted MGs will prove a difficult challenge, similar to the one faced by Fliegerkorps XI as they landed. 
    Agia Marina makes a nice objective to clear as well, some close and dirty street fighting to round out the scenario.

    I recommend using the Chenaran Ground Forces. The maximum armour used against the players should be BTR-60s - remember the players won't be able to carry too much AT if they're parachuting in.

    Thanks for reading, that's it this time - I hope it was informative and gave you some decent ideas!

    The Moderator Team Grows

    It's been an eventful few weeks, with the release of the Tonks DLC, our glorious adoption of glorious Mother Russia :^), the "Just ARMA things" of tonk vs Humvee in the UO-FK TvT Joint Op that was fated to crash mid-mission I mean, Neil was on the server, what did you expect?, and the upcoming modset change tomorrow, where we say goodbye to some old faithfuls like Lingor, Abramia, Duala, and say hello to some new (and old) faces in Diyala and Panthera amongst other changes. 
    Throughout these past few weeks though, we've also had something else going on that you might have missed. It wasn't anything important, just Moderator applications. From the moment we opened up the form to apply for Moderator, to when we went "Pls no, NotLikeThis, too many applications" and closed it, we received 50 applications from people who want to step up and help give back to the community. (Well, 51. You'll see what I mean.) Some were extensive, like, very long, and very well written. Others, not so much.

    I mean, look at that. How lazy is that? I should ban this guy. :^)
    Totally wasn't a test submission to make sure the form + thread making worked.
    We in the staff team would like to thank all those who applied and we appreciate their drive and desire to help give back to the community. It wasn't easy coming to a final decision on who we would be adding. There were a lot of good applications and there were good arguments for (and obviously had to have some against) a lot of the people who applied. But in the end, it doesn't even mat- wait no. I mean, in the end, there can be only one... Or six.
    As such, I regret to inform you all that the following six intellectually challenged members have decided to consign their souls and sanity to the depths of FK, to spend the rest of their days growing more and more insane as they try to keep the peace in this special place. But hey, at least they get a cool blue badge on Teamspeak. Going in alphabetical order:
    @Dezree @Dragosphere @gadsada @Silberjojo @Sinderi @TheMinion May we all press F to pay respects.
    Of course, with the promotion of Sinderi, we are also pleased to announce that all new members must pass the rite of passage in the Blood Pool as their initiation, and that the Blood Pool is now an official FK Platform!...Not...Yet. :^)
    That being said, I hope you all join me in welcoming them to the staff team and let's at least give them a month before we all make them reconsider their life choices, shall we? :> If you ever have any problems or issues that need resolving, don't be afraid to approach any of these members or current staff members, we're always around to help. Just don't ask Sarissa for Tech Advice, or Batty for dating advice. You'll probably just end up knowing even less, or getting catfished respectively. :>
    With all that said and done, hope you all have a good day/night/twilight/Nether/End/dimension/whatever random place or time you're at and we'll see you all in places. So area, much web, many connect. Wow.
    & the FK staff team.

    May Military History - Hill 937, "Hamburger Hill", May 1969

    This is going to be a semi-regular topic that will be appearing on the front page in which I will do small write ups of actions in military history. The eagle-eyed among you may have already spotted, this article will be on the infamous battle of Hill 937, more famously known as Hamburger Hill. I'm gonna talk about the historical action, and then give examples and ideas as to how this could be used in Arma.
    The battle was fought as part of Operation Apache Snow during the Vietnam War, between May 10th and May 20th. The objective of Apache Snow was to locate, fix and destroy North Vietnamese Army bases in the remote A Shau Valley. Apache Snow was a large operation, as the A Shau was decidedly owned by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces and provided a corridor for supply and retreat from South Vietnam into Laos - part of the successful Ho Chi Minh Trail.
    To ensure success in sweeping the valley, the Military Assistance Command - Vietnam (overall command centre of Allied and ARVN units) dedicated 2 infantry divisions, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnamese) 1st Infantry Division and the American 101st Airborne Division. The 101st had previous combat experience with the A Shau and considered it to be a "valley of death". When orders were cut for them to return to the A Shau, morale in the 101st plummeted.
    Hill 937 was named as such by the American forces in Vietnam, following the tradition of naming elevated areas after their designated height on topographical maps. 937, dubbed 'Hamburger Hill' by the troops who fought there, is actually called Dong Ap Bia, or Ap Bia Mountain in Vietnamese. Only sitting 1.2 miles (1.9km) from the Laotion border; if fortified the mountain could have disrupted the NVA and VC resupply routes through the A Shau valley dramatically. There was one major obstical blocking the 101st from this goal, the 7th and 8th Battalions of the 29th NVA Regiment, some 800 men.
    The unlucky few sent to secure the hilltop, were the men of the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne. In later actions, support came from the 3rd Regiment, 1st Infantry ARVN; 3rd Squadron, 5th Cavalry US and the 9th Marine Regiment US.

    937 was surrounded by a range of ridges, called the Annamite range. The mountain itself is actually unconnected to this raised ground, meaning that the only way to the top is by forcing your way up the steep sides, metre by metre along the thin and snaky ridges and peaks which extend from the peak to the valley floor.
    The terrain on the mountain is nearly inhospitable. Triple-canopy jungle limits landing zones, and once on the mountain itself there are dense thickets of bamboo and thick concentrations of elephant grass, which sometimes "stood taller than an M113".
    Confounding these tricky conditions, the men of the 101st had to deal with a mountain that had connected trenches and bunkers - almost the entire mountain had been fortified by the NVA. Prior to the assault, the US forces were not aware of how deeply entrenched the NVA were in the A Shau, but they expected a fight. As such, the Order of Battle was pretty hefty for an operation in Vietnam.
    Operation Apache Snow had 3 Infantry Battalions of the 101st assigned to it. The 3rd Brigade, commanded by Colonel Joseph Conmy, consisted of the following : 
    3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, commanded by Lt. Col. Weldon Honeycutt 2nd Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, commanded by Lt. Col. Robert German 1st Battalion, 206th Parachute Infantry Regiment, commanded by Lt. Col. John Bowers 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, ARVN 4th Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, ARVN COMNY'S PLAN

    Comny's plan was a fairly simple one, he ordered the supporting 5th Cavalry and 9th Marines to block the valley in South Vietnam and begin pushing towards the Laotian border in an attempt to flush out the NVA. Meanwhile, the 5 Infantry Battalions under his command were airlifted into the Valley on May 10th, attempting to block any escape route into Laos while pushing back towards the 5th Cavalry & 9th Marines. The hope was to trap fleeing NVA forces between the deployments in a classic hammer and anvil strategy.
    The members of the 29th NVA Regiment had other ideas. They instead kept themselves secured within the safety of their fortifications on Hill 937, sending out small probing patrols to keep the US infantry busy.

    I found this on google, it is not me. Photograph shows one of the NVA Bunkers

    Now for the meat of this article, the battle itself.
    The 101st saw limited contact from the day they landed, May 10th, 1969. Sporadic firefights with minute numbers of NVA regulars led the commanders to believe that the plan was working. As such, the men of the 101st pushed onwards towards Hill 937. The men of the 3rd Battalion, 187th led the way onto the Northern slopes of the mountain and began to encounter the first set of defences. Comny decided to surround the Vietnamese by lifting Bravo Company, 2nd Bn, 501 PIR to the Southern slopes of 937. From there, the troops pushed Northwards, encountering a mess of interconnected defensive positions occupied by a stubborn and dedicated foe. With the terrain proving to be more of an enemy than an ally, the men of Bravo Company found themselves alone until the 15th May.
    Meanwhile, the 3rd Bn, 187th, tried to break the deadlock by conducting a multi-company assault to the North on the days of the 14th and 15th. The attempt encurred heavy losses, with the US forces managing to secure a few dozen meters a day and having to withdraw at night. The morale of the men on the ground was being drained rapidly with their base camps becoming full of medical evac cases waiting for Medevac choppers to make it through the withering AA fire to extract them.
    It was around this time that the decision was made to hit the hilltop with Napalm, an effort to strip the NVA of their hiding places. While the devastation was severe, the NVA troops weathered the aerial bombardment in carefully constructed bunkers.
    On May 18th, the order was given for a co-ordinated assault on the hilltop from both sides. Both the 1/506th and the 3/187th pushed against the NVA defenders. Delta Company, 3/187th managed to get within 75 meters of the summit but got bogged down in intense fighting, sometimes with troops engaging each other within 20 meters. Delta took a heavy beating, severe casualties forcing them ultimately to withdraw. The order was eventually given for the 3/187th to be released from the battle and brought back to their basecamp. The 3rd Battalion, 187th suffered 320 killed or wounded, including 2 company commanders and 12 platoon leaders.
    On May 20th, the final assault began. 2 Fresh battalions (2nd, 501st & ARVN 2nd, 3rd Infantry) assaulted the hilltop at 10:00 hours. The attack was proceeded by 2 hours of CAS strikes and 90 minutes of Artillery Bombardment. Despite this heavy "prepping", the NVA defenders managed to defend the hilltop for another 7 hours, finally losing control at 17:00.
    After the battle, a token US force was deployed to hold the hill and block NVA resupply from Laos. This, however, was not to last. On June 5th, Operation Apache Snow concluded, and Hamburger Hill was abandoned. An unconfirmed amount of NVA troops managed to withdraw to Laos, and the 29th Regiment returned shortly after, re-capturing Hill 937. In all, the 10 day battle cost the US 72 KIA and 372 Wounded. It cost the US 19,213 rounds of artillery, 890 tons of bombs and 115 tons of Napalm to take a Hilltop that would ultimately be abandoned.
    Hamburger Hill has a bunch of ideas to be used in Arma, not just assaulting a Hill. If you want to explore possibilities, read up on Operation Apache Snow, but here's one idea for the final assault on May 20th.
    Map: Tanoa
    Objective: The Comms Bravo Outpost
    Hostiles: INDFOR Nationalist Militia

    The Comms Bravo area gives you a nice hilltop to allow you to place bunkers and AA (though I reccomend only using ZU or DshKs), and has a nice commanding view of the surrounding Jungle. You can easily place bunkers of units in defensive positions on the approaches to the hilltop, forcing the players to fight their way to the summit. This is the sort of scenario which could be quite easily operated by one zeus and also gives the option for adding jets to the player side - I recommend the A-10 with a full GBU load. 
    I'd reccomend against adding armour into this mission, as in reality it's shitty conditions for any tanks to operate in. If you want to break from history a little, you could throw some M113s in to see how a Mech platoon operates with tracked APCs pushing the hilltop. 

    I hope you enjoyed the article!

    Arma 3 Modset Update

    It has been four months since the last modset update and we need to breathe some new life into it. We have this time chosen to not add any new gear mods, but we focussed on maps and FW mods. The first server will be changed to the new modset on the 7th of May. Until that time, if you are curious about some of the new jets or maps, you are free to check it all out on the second server. NOTE! The second server is already set to the new modset.
    Important note on VCOM and Serverside mods: 
    One big change compared to the previous modset is the use of serverside mods. Serverside mods do not need to be added locally to be functional and will therefore not be included in the collection or the preset document. This also counts for VCOMAI. If you want to Zeus using VCOM AI, you can run it locally. But if you don't want the AI to use VCOM, don't enable VCOM on startup. The AI will only use VCOM if you run it yourself as the Zeus, or they will use another AI mod like bCombat or ASR3 if you got that loaded. VCOM being loaded on the server means that only scripted missions will have VCOM enabled by default. If you make a scripted mission, there are certain things you can do to stop VCOMAI being used in the missions. For more information on that, you can ask in the #arma_editor channel on discord, or check the VCOM AI mod page.
    This is the full changelog:
    ALiVE CLA CLAFGHAN (included in PROMODS) Isla Abramia Isla Duala Lingor+Dingor Island MBG Buildings 3 MBG Celle 2 TRYK's Multiplay Uniforms F16 Fighting Falcon TO BE ADDED
    Deniland Advanced Towing (serverside) Advanced Rappelling (serverside) Advanced Urban Rappelling (serverside) Island Panthera AV-8B Harrier FA-18 Super Hornet Sabs Su-34 Fullback GOS Al-Rayak GOS Gunkizli Diyala Tembelan Island SU35 Flanker PROMODS Vehicle on Fire (serverside) TO BE CHANGED
    VCOMAI (serverside)  

    New hot releases!

    Well, today is a great day! Two quite impressive games got released today, both of them are made by very experienced developers teams and totally should get your attention!
    So let's roll with the first one:
    Firstly, let me mention how the developers describe their creation:

    "Frostpunk is a brand-new title from the creators of This War of Mine. It’s a society survival game that asks what people are capable of when pushed to the brink of extinction. In an entirely frozen world, people develop steam-powered technology to oppose the overwhelming cold. The city’s ruler has to manage both the citizens and the infrastructure they live in. The leader’s tactical skills face challenges that will frequently question the morality and the basic foundations of what we consider organized society. Optimization and resource management often clash with empathy and thoughtful decision-making. While city and society management will consume most of the ruler’s time, at some point exploration of the outside world is necessary to understand its history and present state."
    If you were a fan of the tycoon-survival games, like Rimworld or This War of Mine, this "Siberia simulator" should definitely pull some of your strings.
    You can check other info on the Steam-store page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/323190/
    Next one is the well-known universe, which probably older than the majority of the community =)
    Next one is the well-known universe, which is older than the majority of this community =D

    From original BATTLETECH/MechWarrior creator Jordan Weisman and the developers of the award-winning Shadowrun Returns series comes the next-generation of turn-based tactical 'Mech combat. 

    The year is 3025 and the galaxy is trapped in a cycle of perpetual war, fought by noble houses with enormous, mechanized combat vehicles called BattleMechs. Take command of your own mercenary outfit of 'Mechs and the MechWarriors that pilot them, struggling to stay afloat as you find yourself drawn into a brutal interstellar civil war. Upgrade your starfaring base of operations, negotiate mercenary contracts with feudal lords, repair and maintain your stable of aging BattleMechs, and execute devastating combat tactics to defeat your enemies on the battlefield.
    So, this is a great turn-based game by the people, who are really know how to make a good turn-based action-RPG, especially with the story, written by the same guy who had written a lot of original Battletech novellas.
    You can check other info on the Steam-store page: http://store.steampowered.com/app/637090/
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