Top Malo House - Falklands 31st May 1982

Aaron Longbottom

This scenario is based on one of the many actions fought between the "Special Forces" units of both sides during the war in the South Atlantic. In this case the Royal Marine Moutain & Arctic Warfare Cadre and Commando Company 602.

References

"The Fight fot the Malvinas" Middlebrook pg. 199
"Speaking Out" Van Der Bijl & Hannon pg. 195
"No Picnic" Thompson pg. 109

Preceeding Days

On the 27th May a four man patrol of the RM M&AW Cadre lead by Sgt. Stone were in an OP on Bull Hill. They heard two UH-1 helicoptors approach their position & thinking that they would be compromised radioed that this might be their last transmition & they would try & make a fighting break-out. Luckily after circling their position the UH-1s set off towards the top of Mt Simon (which was covered in mist) & set down what the marines susspected was an enemy OP. This was worrying as the position flanked Teal Inlet & the forthcomming British advance. Thus it was decided that the enemy must be eliminated.

This task was given to Capt. Boswell commander of the M&AW Cadre. During the afternoon & evening of the 30th of May Capt. Boswell had pulled in a number of his patrols & started to plan the assult. Then a second report came in from another OP, this time Lieut. Haddow on the lower slopes of Mt Simon. He had just seen two UH-1 drop off a number of Argentines at Top Malo House 400m below his position. it was decided to airlift the assult team to within 1000m of the position so they could make a night march to the objective & attack at dawn. A rendezvous with Lieut. Haddows team was planned but atmospheric conditions made radio communication impossible. There was a further set back when the helicoptors for the lift arrived late and so it was after dawn when Boswells men were set down in the LZ by a helicoptor of 864 Naval Air Squadron.

The Assult

The men of the RM M&AW Cadre advanced to a fence line from where they could see the house. The Group split into two. A 7 man fire team which went left to a gap in the fence, about 150m from the house, and an assult team including cpt. Boswell which used dead ground to work their was closer to the house. Boswell was worries that the covering of snow on the ground , and thier lack of winter comouflage, would give away their position to the Argentines. However, after a four day patrol there they apprear to have had just one lone sentry looking out of the window on the top floor.

What happened next depends on the sources you read. Either Boswell decided to start the assult & fired a green flare at which point both the British fire team & the Argentine sentry opened fire, or the sentry spotted Boswells men against the snow & opened fire at which point the flare was fired and the British opened up.

Which ever way it happened, LAWs & GLs fired at the house set it on fire. One of the Argentines on the top floor was shot dead by Cpl. Groves while another tried to give covering fire as the rest exited the single door. Some were cut down as they made for a stream bed 50m away & some peat diggings a little closer. A number were traped in the buring house. One Jumping from the top floor window & continuing to fire untill killed at close range.

There was then a firefight as the assult team tried to root out the Argentines before they could escape. During this phase the British suffered their only three casualties, from gunshot wounds.

With ammo running very low & 2/3rds of their forces killed or wounded they elected to surrender. On the British side there were three wounded, Sgt. Doyle, Sgt. Groves & Cpl. Stone. On the Argentine side there were two dead, Lieut. Ernesto Espinosa & Sgt. Mateo Esbert (who were decorated for their bravery), 6 wounded and 4 unwounded prisoners.

As the British cleared up down from Mt Simon came Lieut. Haddows team branishing a large Union Jack. One Argentine, Pvt. Losito, commented that their escape rout (to Mt Simon) would have taken them right though Haddows position.

The Scenario

The game represents the period from where the British reach the fence line untill the assult is complete. It was played on a 6' by 8' table using TTGs Firefight rules, though any set of detailed skirmish rules or even RPG rules could be used. Where possible I have listed the names of the soldiers involved and tried to keep the weapons used as close to those actually carried. However, were this information was not available I have just matched the weapons with the (Hotspur/Platoon 20/ Heros) figures I have.

RM M & AW (Assult Team) Initial Initiative 6


  SOLDIER       LR  EXP  CON STA ABIL  EQUIPMENT
Capt. Boswell   9  Elite   0  +1  +2   Sterling (9mm Pistol) Mini Flare
RTO             -  Elite   0   0  +1   Sterling (M72 LAW)  (Radio)

Sgt. Doyl       8  Vet.   -1  +2   0   M16A1
Cpl. Groves     6  Elite   0   0  +1   L42A1 Snipers rifle
Gunner          -  Elite   0   0  +1   L4A2
Pvt             -  Elite   0   0  +1   L1A1  (M72 LAW)

Sgt. Stone      8  Elite  -1  +2  +2   M16A1 (M72 LAW)
Cpl. Barnicle   7  Vet.   -1  +2   0   L1A1 (M79 GL)
Gunner          -  Elite  -2  +2  +2   L4A2 
Pvt             -  Prof.  -1   0  +1   L1A1  (M72 LAW) 

Sgt. Montgomery 8  Elite  -2  +2  +2   M16A1
Cpl.            6  Vet.    0   0  +1   L1A1
Gunner          -  Elite   0   0  +1   L4A2  
Pvt             -  Prof.   0   0  +1   L1A1  (M72 LAW)  

All carry two deffensive fused grenades

RM M & AW (Fire Team) Initial Initiative 5


  SOLDIER       LR  EXP  CON STA ABIL  EQUIPMENT 
Lieut. Murry    9  Elite   0   0  +1   Sterling

Sgt Mclean      7  Elite  -2   0  +1   M203  (M72 LAW)
Cpl.            7  Elite   0   0  +1   L1A1
Gunner          -  Elite  -1   0  +1   L4A2
Pvt             -  Vet.    0   0  +1   L1A1

Gunner          -  Elite  -2   0  +1   L7A2
Pvt             -  Elite   0   0  +1   L1A1  (M72 LAW)

All carry two deffensive fused grenades 

Ca Cdo 602 Initial Initiative 5


  SOLDIER       LR  EXP  CON STA ABIL  EQUIPMENT 
On bottom floor:
Captain         9  Vet.   -1  -1   0   .45 pistol
Sgt. Esbert     7  Elite  -2   0  +2   FN FAL 50.63
Sgt. Mendina    6  Vet.   -1  +2  +1   FN FAL 50.63
Pvt. Losito     -  Prof.  -1   0  +1   FN FAL 50.63
RTO             -  Vet.    0  +1  +1   FN FAL 50.61  (Radio)
Pvt.            -  Aver.   0  +1  -1   FN FAL 50.61
Gunner          -  Aver.   0   0   0   FN FAL (HB) LMG

On top floor:
Lieut. Espinosa 8  Elite  -1   0  +2   PA3  
Lieut. Brun     7  Elite  -1  -1  +1   PA3 (Browning HP)
Cpl.            5  Prof.   0   0  +1   FN FAL 50.63 
Cpl.            3  Prof.   0   0   0   FN FAL 50.63 
Cpl.            4  Vet.    0  +1  +1   FN FAL 50.63

All carry two offensive fused grenades 

To add abit of radomness to the game. Roll a D10 at the start:


10  Argentines hear helicoptor  - May deploy around and in house
                                  Alertness +3/+4
6-9 Argentines hear helicoptor  - May have lookout on top floor or outside
    but think it may be own       Alertness Sentry +4, rest +6/+7
2-5 Argentines unawears         - may post lookout on top floor.
                                  Alertness Sentry +4, rest +7/+8
1   Argentines totally unawears - No look out Alertness +7/+8

Victory Conditions

Ideally the British want to kill or capture all the Argentines with no or only light casualties to them selves. This is a major British victory.

The Argentines want to exit as many of there men off the table up on to Mt Simon. Too overcome the OP thier I would guess they would need at least half or more of their men. This is a major Argentine victory.

Any other results should be compared with the actual outcome to deside a winner or loser.

Notes:

(1) The house is made entirely of wood and so there should be some chance of it catching fire if hit by LAWs or GLs. Once burning it will produce alot of smoke.

(2) The stream bed will provide hard cover to men in it when fired on by those not in it. It will provide SOME cover if firer is also in stream.

(3) The peat diggings will hide a crouching man and should be concidered as shallow trenches.

(4) A light covering of snow lay on the ground. Niether side had winter comouflage so modifications to sighting rules should be used.

(5) As an additional game. Any Argentines escaping the board would have come accross Lieut. Haddows 4 man OP team. These would be organised as the other RM squads and be concealed in there OP 400m higher up Mt Simon. The terrain on the hills in the Falklands was quite bare low gorse/heather but the were large rocky outcrops.

The Table

The Game

Firefight is divided into 30 second moves. Each move has up to 12 action phases in it thus alot can happen in a short space of time. The rules are quite complex, with the ability of individual characters & weapons being taken into account.

The second option for the alertness of the Argentines was rolled. With a sentry on the top floor.

I was the Argentines, my brother the British.

Turn 1

Britsh entre the board. The fire team goes left along the fence line but is spotted by the sentry on the top floor. Sgt. Mclean is seriously wounded, the others go to ground behind the fence.

The assult team run along behind the low hill in the dead ground. The Argentines on the top floor, after taking one phase to get their weapons, fire on the British fire team (no casualties), while those on the bottom floor exit the house. The HB gunner deploying behind the bush.

Turn 2

The Argentines up stairs continue to pin the fire team, who crawl slowly left along the fence line.

The Assult team get to the right end of the low hill & crewl to the crest just in time to see the Argentines dissapear in to the peat diggings. A fire fight errups at 80-90m. Initial attempts by the British to use LAWs against the HB gunner prone outside the door & the Argentines in the peat diggings miss. As does the M79 GL. By the end of the turn the British are getting the upper hand. Losing the RTO shot dead & Cpl. Barnicle with a light body wound, but hitting the Argentine Captain twice (killing him) & seriously wounding Sgt. Mendina & the HB gunner.

Turn 3

The fire team manages to put a LAW into the top floor of the house, killing one and setting the building on fire (rolled a 1 on a D20!). The Argentines remaining there try to exit the building under cover of the smoke but are all cut down. Lt. Espinosa & one other killed Lt. Brun & one other seriously injured.

Turn 4

The two pvts in the peat diggings (inc Losito) panic & make a run for it towards the stream. both are hit at the halfway point. Losito a light arm wound the other seriously wounded.

With Sgt. Esbert couring in the bottom of the peat diggings the RTO had to take up the defence, firing at & seriously wounding Sgt Stone as he lead his section forward. His loss causes the section to stop. A LAW fired at the peat digging narrowly misses the target but catches Sgt. Esbert in the blast seriously wounding him.

Capt. Boswell takes Sgt. Montgomery 7 his section forward, charging into the smoke.

Turn 5

The Agentine moral collapses. the two remaining active freeze and are captured

The Outcome:


British:   KIA         - The RTO
           WIA Serious - Sgt Stone
           WIA Light   - Cpl Barnicle

Argentine: KIA         - Captain, Lt. Espinosa & 2 Cpls
           WIA Serious - Lt Brun, Sgt Esbert, Sgt Mendina, 1 Cpl, 1 Pvt
                         & the HB gunner
           WIA Light   - Pvt Losito
           POW         - The RTO

Niether side got a major victory, but on ballence it was decided that although both sides did worse than in real life the British had got a victory (I loose again!).