Sunday, June 12, 2022

Fighting Plastic

 

The rules



The Figting Plastic rules by Corey Butler were hosted by the late Thor Sheil on his Army Men website, where I first saw them. I found them again on his restored webpages. Here is an direct link to rules. I've also seen another similar version of this game on the web earlier called 'Burning plastic' by Mitch Nexon, but the link to it seems to be inactive now. Maybe some of you have it? If so, Please share it in the comment-section below.

The scenario

I've placed this skirmish to the United Nations largest mission in both scale and operational scope during the Congo Crisis 1960-65, when UN troops 'peacekeeping' was more offensive 'peace enforcement' with force.

Situation:
This skirmish is finding place in fictional place of Lumbaya in the early January of 1963, when the UN during operation 'Grand Slam' are turning their attention to the remaining Katangese strongholds in Southern Katanga after after securing the Katangese capitol of √Člisabethville.

Place:
Lumbaya is a very small village located 80km south west of √Člisabethville, and are made into a stronghold by a small platoon of Katangese Gendarmes. The village is one of several strongholds in the area to trying to hold the UN off while trying to keep the self-proclaimed president Tshombe by power of the self-proclaimed Katanga state.

Forces:
  • Katangese:
    • 2 rifle-squads each of 10 soldiers, a LMG and and a bazooka/flame thrower. Each squad can operate as 2 fireteams independently. 
    • 1 HMG-detachment of 3 soldiers
    • 1 sniper
    • HQ-section with platoon-leader and 2 medics
    • After turn 12: A QRF consisting of 1 truck with a HMG and a section of 10 'veterans' armed with assault rifles, a LMG and a bazooka arrives from the next village. Only if Lumbaya is still held by Katangese forces.
  • UN:
    • 1 Platoon of 3 rifle-squads each of 8 soldiers and a LMG. The squads can operate independently.
    • 1 Light mortar-detachment of  2 soldiers and an observer
    • 1 bazooka-detachment of 3 soldiers
    • HQ-section with platoon-leader
    • 1 Jeep with HMG and 2 soldiers.
Mission:
  • Katangese: To hold the strongpoint of Lumbaya. Can request QRF-support as mentioned in the force-section from turn 12 if still holding whole or part of the strongpoint.
  • UN: To take and hold the strongpoint of Lumbya, preferably within 12 turns, and take control on as many Katangese gendarms located there as possible.


AAR

Turns:       13
Time:        2 hours
Result:      UN forces defeated when entering the village of Lumbaya at the same time as the arrival of the Katangese QRF.

All ranges are longer in 'Fighting Plastic' than in the previous rules I've reviewed so far. Therefore I needed a slightly other tactic than I've used in earlier games. It was still an UN-attack on 3 axis though, but now the UN Jeep with the HMG provided best support behind cover on the left side of the gaming-table. It managed to take out the crew to the Katangese roftop-HMG at the same time as it was taken out it self. The UN Mortar got a direct hit and finished it off:

Direct hit!
The Katangese HMG is now beyond repair and use.
When the threat with that Kantangese HMG was eliminated, the UN-attack could go on. The Katangese forces only got a couple of direct hits, desimating the UN-forces, but was not able to hold back.

But the Katangese hit back with a direct Bazooka-hit and taking out a half squad.

The UN mortar team gave good support for the advancing forces:


Seems like this building has been targeted with several Mortar-grenades.

Nice addition to the rules that medics can get casualties into combat again. -At a roll of 7, so it didn't help these guys though

The UN Forces finally reached the Village of Lumbaya and was entering it, when they was pinned down by a hidden sniper.

 The sniper just halted the attack for one turn, but that was enough to reaching turn 12 and the arrival of the Katangese QRF from the next village.


The QRF just rushed in as fast and far as possible, and opened fire with it's HMG, hitting almost all the entering UN forces. Only one soldiers was left for the infantry, which took him out in the same turn.




Pros

  • It's simple and can be played with easily available and cheap army men or toy soldiers.
  • Even thou not including rules for wounded, the rules includes medics who can convert casualties into healthy again by a roll of dice.
  • Indirect weapons get a -1 on every first attack on a (fixed) target.
  • Have rules for grenades not hitting their targets and will hit something else instead.
  • Have own rules for paras jumping into the gaming board whether they hit their Landing Zone or not.
  • Rules include different skill-levels for the fighting forces. It doesn't apply for whole units, only for single heroes. I added one at each side, and they stayed alive and led their squads until the final stages of the battle.
  • The rules are short. Just 2 sides, and it has easy reference boards/tables making shooting fast.
  • I liked the long ranges for the weapons, thus there are a con as well when it doesn't differ between short-, medium- or long range within. It's just easier to hit a closer target than a target far away.

Cons

  • The rules doesn't include any melee or hand-to-hand fighting.
  • Since every shoot is rolled with 2 dice (D6) and some automatic weapons have up to 10 shoots every turn, at the same time as the rule recommend 30 - 40 soldiers on each side, I think there will be a lot of dice-rolling. I would actually consider to play this game with D12 dice or using a dice-app accepting separately D6-rolls in pairs.

Conclusion

These rules are very in the spirit of the rules made by Thor Sheil, and they naturally belongs in the wargame-section on his website. This was a very easy, fun and playable game, and it kept the excitement until the very end. Looking up references in the rules was easy and quick. It should have had som hand-to-hand combat, but again these rules encourage modifications and house rules as long as they're labeled as such.


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2 comments:

  1. That is a nice set up Roger. I like the scenery and the figures. I wonder if you ever read the novel, The Dark Side of the Sun' by Wilbur Smith which was told from the point of view of a white mercenary? It was made into a fil with Australian actor Robert Taylor playing the 'good' merc who had a show down with the 'bad' merc, the Nazi. Highlights included a UN air attack on the Katanganese train. There was als a battle with the Simbas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!
      I've not read that novel, and was unfamiliar with it's name. But I do recall watching part of a movie like that, but unforenatly not all of it. Is the movies name the same as the novel?

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