Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Wlid Geese Hostage Rescue: The Downside of Solo Gaming

    Since coming back from vacation I have been spending  time researching the small wars from the time of my birth (1961) through Desert Storm. One period that has always interested me is the period of mercenaries in the Congo and Biafra. I think this is due from watching one of my favorite movies over and over, "The Wild Geese". It's really not a great movie but the underlining theme of the comradeship of the men is what makes the movies for me.

    I have some Peter Pig figures which I bought years ago for a "Wild Geese" game which I never played, until yesterday.  As mentioned before, my war-games were getting to be the same old game over and over, and so, using Charles Grants' books of  scenarios for wargames,   I came across several hostage rescue scenarios; perfect for the "Wild Geese"!  Obviously the scenario had to be changed from the movie, as in the movie they snuck into the camp and gassed the garrison; that wouldn't make much of a game.

    " The "Wild Geese" were put on standby for early deployment. Their mission, to save Julius Limbarni from being executed by General Mandosa was being moved up. The "government source" had new intel that Mandosa was dispatching his personal guard, the "Simbas", to pick up Limbarni for the village he is under house arrest, and bring him back to the capital where Mandosa can torture him before executing him.  The "Wild Geese" will parachute near the village and move in to save Limbarni. It is not known where in the village Limbarni is, so the village will have to be searched. The local militia will not kill Limbarni, as they will be the ones tortured in his place by the Simbas."

     The location of Limbarni was marked by a folded piece of paper with a "X" in it. while placing them I lost one piece of paper but that shouldn't be a problem............

The "Wild Geese" are on the top and sides of the board; 4 guards from the militia guards their billets, and the "Simbas" are on the bottom awaiting activation. The Simbas could start rolling for activation after the shooting started, on the idea the militia would start radioing for help once the shooting started!

From the Simba viewpoint.

The guards rolled to see if they saw the approaching mercs; three guards are dosing but the fourth sees and opens fire, killing one mercenary.

The mercs quickly close in and kills the guard.

On the other side of the village, the militia inflects heavy losses on the mercs and push them back.

The militia push back another team. The "Wild Geese" are facing more determined resistance than planned.

The mercs force the militia to retreat and clear the first building: no Limbarni! They manage to secure the house across the street and find nothing (not even a piece of paper).  Here's where having an opponent comes in handy, as they would have pointed out that there is no way of knowing if Limbarni is here without checking the other houses, thus defeating the purpose of the papers in the first place.

On the west side of the village the mercs start making some headway....

.... and while clearing the house find Linbarni handcuffed to a bed in the back room (thereby solving my problem of the missing paper!).

The Leader of the merc band starts leading Limbarni to the pick up site; the other two fire teams form a blocking force. The Simbas are on the move and closing fast!

The last of the militia counterattack to block the mercenaries in the east side of town (one militiaman can be seen in the upper left corner) while the Simbas close in from the south.

The Simbas are closing to reinforce the militia.

The militia manage to kill a couple of the mercs and force them to retreat.

The mercs counterattack; they eliminate the militia, thus opening a line of retreat for the rest of the force.  Notice the fire team at the bottom right trying to hold back the Simbas.

The Simbas launch a vicious attack, killing four mercenaries.

The rearguard force back the Simbas, but lose more men. The rearguard to the right is wiped out. However, Limbarni  reaches safety (the upper left of the picture). 

The last of the "Wild Geese" make good their escape.

The rules used were Bob Condrey's Memoir of Battle: Modern.  I ignored the grenade symbol as I feel in makes a game too bloody and the losses pile up too fast.


  1. A change is as good as a rest as they say. Looks like a good game.

    A more successful rescue than I managed when I tried it a few years back

    The missing paper reminds me of a scenario in a magazine years ago based on an actual prisoner rescue in Viet Nam which was completely successful except that the prisoners had just been moved.

  2. Of course the rules in the book called for a small elite force of raiders who were outnumbered to launch the raid. The "Wild Geese "outnumbered the militia and had a head start on the Simbas. It seems almost impossible for the rescue not to succeed. When using the scenario books I will have to pay closer attention to the troop strength mentioned.
    Thank you for reminding me of you "Game a Week" blog, where you played one of the scenarios from the book every week for a year. I shall be referring back to this in the future; don't be surprised if my games look suspiciously like the games you played!
    The raid you must be referring to is the Son Tay raid, where the camp had been evacuated due to the camp being flooded during the rainy season, but intelligence never picked up on the fact.