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BOVINGTON 2008

Our U.K. fans have a tradition of running gigantic games at their conventions. 2008 was no exception, as RMD et. al. put on Operation Modular, fought in Angola in 1987.

Some photos of the venue

Bovington is run in the Bovington Tank Museum, which gives it a rather unique military flavor.
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The Venue
The Venue
Not every convention has an actual King Tiger in the gaming hall.
Merville Battery
Merville Battery
One of the games at the convention was a Merville battery game. One of the veterans in the photo was a paratrooper who took part in the Assault.
More photos from this game (and others) can be found at the Battlegroup South website.

Operation Modular

R. Mark Davies describes the festivities as follows:
It was something a bit different for the 'Battlefront Wargamers UK' annual jolly trip to Bovington in 2008. We decided to give Richard de Ferrars and Paddy Green a break from preparing huge Normandy games and instead went to Angola, circa 1987. Mark Davies prepared the scenario and enlisted the support of Martin Small, Ken Natt and Andy Parkes to provide troops.
Martin Small was the chief terrain-builder and did a spiffing job, as you can see in the accompanying photos. Martin also somehow managed to find time to convert unusual vehicles and aircraft AND to build the master models for the essential South African Casspir and Buffel APCs, so that QRF could rush out dozens of kits for us (thanks Geoff and Chas!).
The scenario is based on the final stages of Operation 'Modular' in Octopber 1987. Operation 'Modular' was a South African operation in support of UNITA rebels, who were under severe pressure from four attacking FAPLA Brigades, which were threatening the main UNITA base of operations at Mavinga. The background to the campaign and the initial clash on the Lomba River between the South African 20th Brigade and FAPLA's 21st Brigade, is covered in the scenario 'First Clash on the Lomba' (see the Scenarios page).
Having defeated 21st Brigade's attempted crossing of the Lomba, SADF 20th Brigade moved west to meet the FAPLA 47th Brigade, which had circumvented the source of the Lomba River and was advancing down the southern bank of the river towards Mavinga. However, 47th Brigade was continually harassed by long-range South African artillery and UNITA forces, who were reasonably well-armed with Milan antitank missiles and captured Soviet heavy weapons, while at night they were repeatedly attacked by South African air power.
With South African forces closing in and having been deserted by their exasperated Soviet advisors (who flew out by helicopter in September), 47th Brigade decided to make a stand on the Lomba River and build a causeway across the boggy valley, in an attamept to link up with 59th Brigade, which was operating on the north bank of the Lomba.
There then followed a month of battles, with UNITA and South African forces making repeated spoiling attacks against all sides of the FAPLA position, while bombarding them mercilessly with artillery and from the air. Finally, their causeway and bridge were ready and the remains of 47th Brigade attempted to disengage. But with the bridge registered by 155mm artillery and 127mm rockets and with the South African 61 Mech Battalion launching an all-out attack against the FAPLA column, the withdrawal turned into a rout and 47th Brigade was annihilated on the south bank of the Lomba.
Operation Modular Situation Map
Our game was intended to be a 'spectacular' version of the final days of 47th Brigade. In our game FAPLA is under attack from all sides simultaneously, whereas in reality, the various attacks were launched on different days.
However, I made a screw-up with the scenario, classing the whole central area as 'Sparse' terrain, which allowed long-range antitank fire that caused unhistorically high casualties among the lightly-armoured South African antitank and reconnaissance units. In the earlier 'First Clash' game, we applied a 10-inch maximum observation rule in Sparse terrain, which worked very well indeed, allowing the South African Ratels to get close enough to T-55s to cause historically high casualties on the FAPLA tanks. In retrospect I should have applied that rule to this scenario as well.
Nevertheless, despite unrealistically high armour losses, the South African and UNITA infantry won the day, overrunning the FAPLA positions with only light losses to themselves and causing a stampede for the bridge, which was interdicted by South African artillery. Some rash interventions by air power from both sides were unceremoniously shot out of the sky by the copious AA assets on the table, but with attrition of those assets, aircraft were making their presence felt by the end of the game.
The real shock of the game though, was the armoured assault by Comrade-Commander 'Che' Natt's FAPLA 1st Tactical Group, against the UNITA 5th Regular Battalion. Despite causing some damage with Milans, RPGs, recoilless rifles and antitank mines, the 5th Battalion was utterly annihilated under the tracks of the FAPLA T-55s. However, the FAPLA exploitation against South African Combat Group 'Bravo', while causing damage, finally ran out of steam due to FAPLA armour losses. Nevertheless, FAPLA's honour had been restored by the sacrifice of the heroic tank battalion.
Due to the sheer numbers of burning South African armoured vehicles (plus a downed Buccaneer and an atrocity incolving a clearly-marked ambulance), the game was judged to be a FAPLA propaganda victory, albeit a tactical defeat for FAPLA.
Thanks to all who came to play something 'a bit different' at Bovvy in 2008 and thanks to Ken Natt, Richard de Ferrars and Martin Small for the photos.

Terrain and Setup

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A town with some NGOs tending to the populace.
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The bridge.
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The Battlefield
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The Calm Before The Storm
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Angolan Village Scene
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FAPLA 47 Bde
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FAPLA 47 Bde - Another View
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Centre of FAPLA 47 Bde
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FAPLA 47 Bde HQ
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FAPLA 2-47 Bn
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FAPLA 3-47 Bn Digging In
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FAPLA 3-47 Bn HQ
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FAPLA 3-47 Bn Waits
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FAPLA T-55s
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FAPLA T-55s & BMP-1
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FAPLA Tactical Group 1 Digs In & Waits
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FAPLA Tactical Group 1 Waits
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FAPLA 120mm Mortar Battery
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FAPA-DAA Hind Strafes UNITA
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SADF Ratel-81
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SADF 61 Bn Recce Sqn
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CG Alpha
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CG Alpha Moves Up
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CG Charlie Probes Along The Riverbank
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SAAF Buccaneers Roll In To Strike 47 Bde
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SAAF Impala Conducts Preparatory Strike
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UNITA 3 Bn Moves Forward
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FAPA-DAA MiG-23

Initial Clashes

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Buffels of CG Charlie
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FAPA-DAA MiG-17 Strafes UNITA 5 Bn
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UNITA 5 Bn Moves Up Under Air Attack
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CG Alpha Closes With The Enemy
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CG Alpha Moves In Support of UNITA
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CG Alpha's Ratels Providing Close Support
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CG Charlie Attacks FAPLA 2-47 Bn
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CG Charlie's Ratels Are Engaged By Saggers
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CGs Alpha and Charlie Attack
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FAPLA 2-47 Bn Comes Under Intense Pressure
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FAPLA 2-47 Bn HQ
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FAPLA BM-21s
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Ratels Supporting UNITA 3 Bn
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Rear Of FAPLA 47 Bde
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The First FAPLA Withdrawal
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The Peace Of The Village Is Shattered
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The SADF Attacks
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UNITA 3 Bn Attacks FAPLA 2-47 Bn
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UNITA 3 Bn Attacks
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UNITA 3 Bn Overruns The First Trench Line

Battle Intensifies

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Burning Vehicles Everywhere!
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CG Alpha's Buffels & Ystervark
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CG Alpha's Buffels Wade In
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CG Bravo Arrives
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CG Bravo Attacks
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CG Charlie Overruns FAPLA Left Flank
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CG Charlie Suffers Heavy Ratel Losses To ATGMs
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CG Charlie's Infantry Presses Home The Attack
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FAPLA Tactical Group 1 Attacks UNITA 5 Bn
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FAPLA Tactical Group 1 Attacks
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FAPLA Tactical Group 1 In The Bush
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FAPLA Tanks Under Artillery Fire
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Last Stand of UNITA 5 Bn
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SA Artillery Interdicts The Bridge
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The Battle Intensifies
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UNITA 3 Bn Overruns 3-47 Bn
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UNITA 275 Bn Attacks FAPLA 1-47 Bn

Final Rout

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47 Bde's Left Flank Collapses.JPG
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CG Alpha Overruns 2-47 Bn.JPG
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FAPLA 1-47 Bn Retreats.JPG
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FAPLA Artillery Withdraws Under Fire.JPG
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FAPLA Propaganda.JPG
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FAPLA Tactical Group 1 Surprises CG Bravo
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FAPLA's 47 Bde Begins To Rout
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Tactical Group 1 Overruns 32 Bn AT Sqn
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Tactical Group 1 Takes on CG Bravo
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UNITA 5 Bn Is Crushed
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The Final View

The Team

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The Team
The Team
Martin, Richard, Andy, Mark, Paul, Steve, Ken, and Gary.

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