Friday, September 4, 2015

Bungle in the Jungle

The following is an account of a game of AK47 that Mike and I recently enjoyed. It was loosely based on a real event in Northeastern Nigeria earlier this year. The Strategy Page website covered it in an article about Boko Haram and VICE news has a video on Youtube.
A quiet village just off the road to Samvisi. Enemy occupied?The Nigerian President, whose popularity in a recent poll had dropped below zero (many respondents disliked him multiple times) decided to mount an expedition against the even less popular Boko Haram rebels. The South African military security firm STTEP was hired to plan and organize the effort and, within a few weeks had selected and prepared the Nigerian Armys 72nd Mobile Battalion to lead the attack. One of the several columns striking into rebel territory consisted of a platoon of APC mounted infantry, two platoons of truck mounted infantry, a unit of 3 Panhard armored cars with tank guns and a small group of STTEP advisors in Humvees. Their mission was to clear the rebels from a road that led to the main enemy stronghold in the Samvisi Forest.
The Nigerian commander grants an interview to the BBC while the battle rages behind him The terrain along the Samvisi road was was lined by several areas of dense jungle that might provide cover for rebel units, but the timetable for clearing the road was such that the column would not have opportunity for methodical recon. It was thought that a bold stroke would carry the column through to its objective.
STTEP "advisors" scout ahead and are attacked from the bush
It wasn't long before the government column was bogged down by attacks from jungle on both sides of the road. Several vehicles were in flames, casualties were heavy and two of the platoons broke and ran. The remaining infantry platoon, the Panhards and the advisors drove the ambushers away and continued down the road. The bridge over the river leading to their last objective was in sight when they were surprised by the appearance of 3 ancient M48 tanks in the service of the rebels.
Rebel tanks (upper right) engage the Panhards and Humvees Heavy firing ensued. One of the rebel tanks exploded but one of the Panhards was knocked out and another immobilized. The Nigerians column was in shambles and had failed to reach their objective in the allotted time. The Nigerian commander concluded his interview with the BBC, rejoined his unit as they limped back down the road the way they came. The rebel commander, known to the Western press only as Mike el Brockporti kicked back in his rat infested jungle headquarters to savor his victory.