We are just finalising our Insurgent competition, it will be up here on the blog by the end of the week!
Today's Call to Arms post is a look at the Javelin missile, and at a bit of simple maths.
The FGM-148 Javelin Missile is a US made, man portable anti-tank missile. Guided by a laser, the Javelin is a fire-and-forget weapon, once it has it's target the operator does not need to continue to guide the missile as they would with earlier missiles such as the TOW or Dragon.
One of the cooler things about the Javelin is that it either can be used in a direct attack mode- flying straight into the target, or it can use a top attack mode, flying high, then coming down vertically onto the target. The top attack is designed to defeat the weaker top armour of a tank, as opposed to trying to take on the tank's heavier frontal armour.
According to the fountain of all knowledge, known to mortals as Wikipedia, the Javelin has been used in Afghanistan to:
During the War in Afghanistan, the Javelin was used effectively in counter-insurgency (COIN) operations. Initially, soldiers perceived the weapon as unsuited for COIN operations due to its destructive power, but trained gunners were able to make precision shots against enemy positions with little collateral damage. The Javelin filled a niche in U.S. weapons systems against DShK heavy machine guns and B-10 recoilless rifles; weapons like the AT4 and M203 had good effects but insufficient range, medium and heavy machine guns and grenade launchers had greater range but insufficient effects, and heavy mortars had good range and effects but poor precision. The Javelin, as well as the TOW, had enough range, power, and accuracy to counter standoff engagement tactics employed by enemy weapons. With good locks, the missile is most effective against vehicles, caves, fortified positions, and individual personnel; if enemies were inside a cave, a Javelin fired into the mouth of the cave would destroy it from the inside, which was not possible from the outside using heavy mortars. The psychological effect of the sound of a Javelin firing sometimes caused insurgents to disengage and flee their position. Even when not firing, the Javelin's CLU was commonly used as a man-portable surveillance system
So that is the Javelin, on to the simple maths.
The Javelin has an effective firing range of 75 to 2500 metres. In the Skirmish Sangin rules, the range equates to a maximum range of 1250" and a minimum range of 35". It was Craig who pointed out that the tables we will use at Call to Arms are 4 feet square, or 48" by 48". If you look at the minimum range of the Javelin compared to the table size, it looks like this:
The yellow spot in the corner is the Javelin gunner, and the grey area represents the area on the board which he is unable to target the enemy with the Javelin, due to it being within his minimum range! So in short, if you bring a javelin to a knife fight, you aren't going to be shooting it!
Now, what does that mean for my Australian list?
Well, primarily that I don't think I will bring a Javelin. To use it with any effectiveness on a smaller table like the 4x4 ones at Call to Arms will take a serious amount of forward planning on my part, and no small amount of luck. Plus, now I have put it's major weakness online on a blog which I assume is read by all of the people entering the competition, who now all know exactly how to defeat the weapon in a game of Sangin.....
But what to replace it with?
Looking at my Australian figures, there were a few options.
Drop the quality of some of my Australians, and bring a third fire-team. Tempting, because it would give me a lot of numbers, which would more than shock a few of these Taliban forces who are counting on outnumbering the ISAF forces!
I am not so keen on this one, mainly because it is another 4 guys I would need to paint. Could I do it? Probably. Is it the best option? Probably. Am I going to go for it? No.
By dropping the quality of some of the Auzzies, it would free me up some points to bring their transport, a Bushmaster vehicle. A bit of armour, some firepower, but like the extra fire team, a bit more painting than I think I can do before next weekend. Plus my Taliban are already bringing a technical, so I don't want to be accused of repetition!
Which leaves Option Three:
I could replace my two man weapons team, with another two man team. Heavy machinegun is an option, but I lack a good fixed MG model, one that looks different than my 2 Minimi gunners (because I will forget it is a gun team if it isn't!).
The most appealing option for me is to replace my 2 man javelin team with a 2 man sniper team. For those who were looking closely yesterday, they would have actually spied the sniper lurking in the background of the photo. I have got the camo done, and last night I did the undercoat on all the Auzzies' boots and skin. And did no painting on the Taliban. But I am still making progress right?
The sniper is the standard figure from Empress, but I was short a single Auzzie helmet (even after the guys at Empress gave me some more!), but with a brain wave, I remembered I had some spare USMC heads wearing boonie hats! While it is not a slouch hat, it looks more than suitable for an auzzie sniper in my mind!
So the Sniper Team will be Two Veteran Australians (150) wearing Body Armour (20) with a Sniper Rifle (10) and an Assault Rifle (10). I had ten points spare in my basic list, so I have enough points left to give them both a grenade each as well.
Right, back to painting. Hoping to have some progress with these guys tomorrow, and really need to have some progress with the Taliban. And wasn't I building a technical?