Direct Action: Stand Easy

Canadian soldiers demonstrate room-clearing capabilities during Dawn Blitz 2013 by Cpl Joseph ScanlanFor those of you following the Direct Action adventure ideas that I’ve been sharing, I’m afraid there won’t be more for a while. My group only gets together once every three weeks, so we move through these adventures slowly. I can’t post something before the group gets through it, so if it takes three sessions to get through an adventure, that’s nine weeks. I hope you can be patient.

Last night’s game showed me combat was terribly broken. The Challenge system isn’t bad for most things, and when it’s the PCs against mooks (which is mostly what they had been fighting in previous adventures), it works fine, but last night we had the PCs against two “boss” villains, and it didn’t work.

We tried a bunch of variations, and I wasn’t getting the result I wanted. By the end, I think we found a good compromise, a way for a group of PCs to really beat down on a single baddie, but a group of baddies aren’t necessarily going to beat down a single PC. The PC will have a tough time of it, and if there are two or three “boss” villains, it’s going to go pear-shaped right quick, but a truckload of mooks still won’t be a problem.

Next session, we should see how that will run. Following that, I should be able to put up the latest adventure. The SRD is back in Niger, crashing the party on a known AQIM operative.

Direct Action: OP GRANGE – the Challenges

Guinean military and US Marines by Gunnery Sgt. Joseph N. LomanginoBelow are the challenges for OP GRANGE. How would one use Allies as a challenge? Well, it never came up in our game, but while hostile, armed conflict is unlikely, bartering or scrounging from allies might happen, so the allies are presented as a Challenge.

Other Task Force Members (patrol of 4 operators)
Difficulty: d10, Special Forces
Threat: d10, assault rifles backed by extensive training
Environment: d8, trained for airport takedowns, but minimal pre-planning
Complexity: d8, team of 4 operators
Damage Track: d12

Rebels, singular or a single Forces armées guinéennes (Republic of Guinea Armed Forces) soldier
Difficulty: d d4 basic, not well-trained
Threat: d6, spraying and praying with a lone AK
Environment: d6, know the airport, but not trained for night ops
Complexity: d4, one guy
Damage Track: d6

Rebels or soldiers, group of 3-6
D: d6, strength in numbers
T: d10, bunch of AKs
E: d6, know the airport, but not trained for night ops
C: d8, bunch of guys
Damage Track: d8

Rebels or soldiers, pack of 10 or so
D: d8, overwhelming numbers
T: d12, whole lotta lead
E: d6, know the airport, but not trained for night ops
C: d12, gang of guns
Damage Track: d10

Rebels or soldiers on technicals
D: d8, crew-served weapon
T: d10, heavy F-off weapon
E: d4, wow, it’s really dark
C: d6, behind the hardware
Damage Track: d8

Extremist (single)
D: token (no die), wannabe with no training or experience
T: d6, spraying and praying with a lone AK
E: d4, knows the town, but not how to use it to his advantage
C: d4, one guy
Damage Track: d6

Extremists (all four)
D: d4, strength in numbers
T: d10, bunch of AKs
E: d4, know the town, but not how to use it to their advantage
C: d8, bunch of guys
Damage Track: d8

Direct Action: OP GRANGE – the Ambassador

Covert Hero by Dean MartinBelow are my notes for OP GRANGE. They are pretty sparse because I like to leave a lot open. Players never do what you expect, so be ready to improvise.

For maps, I used Google maps to find areas, then Print Screen, and used GIMP to crop out the extraneous elements. Like with OP NOMOS, it provided a reasonable facsimile of a satellite photo, but that Google watermark remained. Good enough for gaming.

The OP GRANGE Notes:
Kidnapping: Canada’s Ambassador to Guinea, Matthew la Pointe was on his way to the airport when he got stuck in a traffic jam. His driver and fixer abandoned him and the ambassador attempted to return to the hotel on foot. He was caught up in a protest, and as a well-dressed Caucasion, faced angry accusations. A group of Islamic extremists who had been busy stirring up the crowd, took advantage of the situation and took the ambassador.

They moved him to a home in Hamdallaye, but weren’t sure what more to do with him. They have been trying to reach their contacts in Mali, but those guys have problems of their own. The UIAG has finally connected with a gun-runner in Guinea-Bissau who has connections with AQIM who figured he can facilitate a trade. The UIAG believe this is their chance to get in the big time.

Witnesses: A police officer, CAPTAIN Souhayr MAADJOU, was told by some locals about the grab. If the team questions the people at the Hotel de Niger, they will suggest the team speak to MAADJOU. They will call him if asked. Officer Thierno BELHASSAN will arrive instead, and he’s looking for a bribe. He doesn’t actually know anything, but says he can get them the information they need for $100 USD. He won’t take Canadian.

An hour after BELHASSAN arrives, MAADJOU will. He’s not looking for a bribe (which is why he got the information, he’s well-known as a straight-shooter) but he’s very concerned about a bunch of military guys running around in Conakry. He has three officers with him and he will help the team IF the police escort them.

Movement: The UIAG is planning to drive the ambassador out of Conakry. They are waiting for Abu Bakar, who is studying at a madrasa outside of the city, and who has a van they can use. He’s expected to arrive in the morning, but with the rebellion and protests all happening, the group doesn’t know when he will actually arrive.

Intercept: At 1005, the team gets a SATCOM transmission from ECHO CHARLIE, their CSEC liaison. A known AQIM affiliate in Guinea-Bissau was contacted by a Guinean cell phone within 500m of 9° 34′ 15.39″ N, 13° 39′ 33.95″ W (putting it in the Hamdallaye neighbourhood near the Rond Point Hamdallaye). The Guinean, called HAMBALI, mentioned he wanted to move a barrel of white sauce, which has been used before to refer to Western hostages. The gunrunner mentioned delivering the package to his cousins in the north, likely a reference to AQIM in Mali or Algeria. Traffic indicated movement would be today or tomorrow, meaning Sunday 12 Apr (today) or Monday 13 Apr. CHARLIE SIERRA will continue to monitor the number.

Target: One room basement apartment with a small kitchen and bathroom. HAMBALI, AL-SUDANI and AHMED AL-HESBAH will also be attending la Pointe, who is tied hand and foot, and whose mouth is bound with duct tape. He is generally on the ground, between the bed and the wall, under the window. Another member, OUSMANE DALEIN will deliver food at 1216 and again at 1641. He arrives on a moped and delivers the food through the window, which is easily removed.

Direct Action: OP GRANGE – Orders

Skydiver by Dean MartinBelow is a faux-orders package for OP GRANGE. This was all I used when I was running the airport assault – well, along with the Challenge sheet and the maps for the Conaktry airport. Although this is a directed game, I’ve taken a sandbox approach to GMing. Others with a different style will wish to map things out better. At least decide the purpose of each building on the airport map, because that does have an impact on what the characters are doing.

The TARGET CHARLIE referred to in the orders as the target for the SRD is a building at Conakry airport. I chose a medium-sized building, decided it was a hanger, and put a couple of technicals out front. That was the opposition. I’ll be sharing the challenges soon.

For maps, I used Google maps to find areas, then Print Screen, and used GIMP to crop out the extraneous elements. Like with OP NOMOS, it provided a reasonable facsimile of a satellite photo, but that Google watermark remained. Good enough for gaming.

And here is the faux-orders package I made for my players:
Copy 1 of 1
OPORD SRD110513-A01
111324Z May 13

Enemy Forces
BATA: An unknown number of the parachute regiment are currently in mutiny. SIGINT indicated President Condé believed three companies had transferred to Alpha Yaya, indicating a force of approximately 270 to 500. Further SIGINT links the mutinous paratroopers to former dictator Moussa Dadis Camara – who resides in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso – and LGen Siba Loholamou Severin, Governor of Boké – who was a confederate of Camara during his coup and later dictatorship.

Most recent IMINT places BATA at Conakry International Airport, grouped around structures on the northwest perimeter of the main buildings, abutting the taxiway.

Expect BATA to respond to any attempt to secure the airport with lethal force. The successful completion of mission will almost certainly require the neutralization of BATA.

PROTESTORS: Open source estimates of the number of protestors presently demonstrating in Conakry range from 8,000 to 29,000. Some of the protestors are armed, and local criminal gangs from the Hamdallaye and Koloma neighbourhoods have infiltrated demonstrations at the US Embassy, the French Embassy and the Palais Presidentiel. SIGINT suggests that armed Islamic extremists have infiltrated demonstrations at the US Embassy, the French Embassy and the Palais Presidentiel.

Expect the armed elements among the protestors to respond to any attempt to impose order with lethal force. It is likely that protestors could impede exfiltration of unit. The successful completion of the mission is unlikely to require the neutralization of the protestors, however skirmishes are likely.

ARMED ISLAMIC GROUP: SIGINT indicates that armed Islamic extremists with communications links to the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (le Mouvement pour l’unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest, MUJAO) in Mali have infiltrated the popular protests with the intent to recreate the incident at the US diplomatic mission in Benghazi of 11 Sep 12. There is no evidence that MUJAO or other known extremist organizations are supporting Conakry’s unknown armed Islamic group (UAIG), nor is there evidence that Canadians are specific targets. It is highly likely that should the UAIG have the opportunity to impede or obstruct Canadian operations in Conakry, it will.

Expect the UAIG to respond to any encounter with Western forces with lethal force. The successful completion of the mission is unlikely to require the neutralization of the UAIG, unless UAIG impedes securing the airport, recovery of the ambassador, or exfiltration of the ambassador and/or SRD.

Friendly Forces
INTERNATIONAL NEO SUPPORT FORCE: SRD will be operating alongside forces from Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom in the International NEO Support Force (INSFOR). All INSFOR units will operate in uniform for ease of identification.

SRD is to assist in INSFOR capture and securing of Conakry International Airport as a first step in the recovery and exfiltration of Ambassador Matthew la Pointe.

SRD will insert by HALO from an RNLF C-130 HERCULES transport aircraft travelling in a commercial air lane at 120200L May 13. SRD will land at or near coordinates 9° 34′ 23.76″ N, 13° 36′ 2.90″ W and advance through residential zone to the airport perimeter. At 0300, SRD will advance and secure Target Charlie.

A UK taskforce is to relieve SRD at 120600L May 13. SRD will commandeer transport and move to the last known residence of Ambassador la Pointe: Hotel de Niger on N.1 and 8th Avenue, west of the Belgian Consulate. Recover the ambassador and return to the airport for exfiltration by Dutch military aircraft.

SRD’s rules of engagement are to only fire when fired upon, in order to protect civilians, or to neutralize an obstruction to exfiltration.

SRD will not receive resupply for duration of OP GRANGE. Should SRD take prisoners, said prisoners are to be temporarily restrained but SRD will not remove prisoners from location of capture.

a. Command
Tactical command rests with CO SRD. Strategic command rests with CO CANSOFCOM.

b. Signals
SRD callsign is SIERRA.

Allied callsigns are as follows:
Australia – CHARLIE, signals to CHARLIE 37
Germany – GOLF, signals to GOLF 87
the Netherlands – KILO, signals to KILO 77
Spain – MIKE, signals to MIKE 07
United Kingdom – ROMEO, signals to ROMEO 57

Direct Action: OP GRANGE – Sitrep

Tactical Air Control by IMKThis is a continuation of OP NOMOS. On completion of the mission related previously, the SRD are recalled to Niamey, the capital of Niger. They haven’t had a chance to sleep, and food gets shovelled in while they are briefed by LCol Nick Adams, the OP NOMOS liaison officer embedded in US Joint Special Operations Command. The SRD are being sent to Conakry, the capital of the Republic of Guinea. While Canada’s JTF-2 are en route, they will not be arriving for at least 24 hours. The SRD have the skill sets to undertake OP GRANGE.

111324Z May 13


A Canadian diplomat is missing in Conakry, the capital of the Republic of Guinea, presently the site of both an army mutiny and violent civil protests.

On 3 May 13, the army transferred several units from the Kindia military region to the Alpha Yaya Army Base in Conakry for election security, including three companies of BATA, the parachute regiment (Bataillon autonome des troupes aéroportées). SIGINT indicates the presidency did not request this redeployment and President Alpha Condé expressed concern to an unidentified male regarding the arrival of BATA in the capital.

On 5 May 13, President Condé announced a further delay in legislative elections originally set for 8 Jul 12. Canada’s Ambassador to Guinea, Matthew la Pointe (Dakar), arrived in Conakry on 7 May 13 as part of a UN-sponsored diplomatic intervention in order to accelerate the election process, known as the Assistance Committee for Guinean Elections.

Violent street demonstrations erupted on 10 May 13, protesting the latest election delay. Canada’s participation in the Assistance Committee ended and Ottawa directed Ambassador la Pointe to return to the embassy in Dakar, Senegal. As the ambassador was unable to acquire a seat on a commercial airline, Canada requested assistance from allies, and Germany agreed to fly the ambassador out on a military flight that would be removing all non-essential personnel from the German embassy.

The detonation of an improvised explosive device near the presidential palace on 11 May 13 led the presidency to declare martial law, and the ordered army units – including BATA – to enforce a 1900L curfew.

BATA mutinied at 111330L (1030Z) May 13, capturing parts of the airport. Lacking air traffic control, and with BATA engaging in gun battles with regular army forces at the airport, the German military aircraft on which Ambassador la Pointe was to leave was unable to land. Contact with German authorities indicates the ambassador did not arrive at the airport. There has been no further contact with him.

Canada has agreed to assist in an ad hoc international force to secure the airport and allow non-combatant evacuation operations. The German Bundeswehr has command of this force, and participating countries include Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom.