When we left our little band of guns-for-hire they were taking a well earned nap after seizing Drassen airport from the forces of the evil Queen M-Dave. After this I tried to get Cate to train David in Leadership so that he could make himself useful by training up militia detachments, but they didn’t get very far before being rudely interrupted.
The army makes a strong counterattack on Drassen airport. There’s eleven of them, they’re regular army rather than the second-rate conscripts that were guarding the airport in the first place (see the red shirts), and while they’re still only armed with pistols they know how to use them and can easily kill mercs in a single turn if they make it within effective range. This encounter would almost certainly result in at least one casualty if I didn’t have the advantage of
- A chain link fence surrounding the airport; this can be cut by my side if I happen to have a pair of wire cutters (I forgot to pick some up) but the baddies have to go around it and try to enter the airport via the front gate.
- Just inside said front gate is a stand of two trees which makes an excellent defensive position.
At first it’s looking extremely dicey; pistol fire blazes from every merc who can fire a gun – even C-Dave – but the few hits they manage to score are merely flesh wounds; while the sheer number of bullets whizzing through the air is keeping them suppressed and slowing their advance, the enemy continues to grind inexorably forward inch by painful inch. Their return fire is desultory, only managing to graze Jim, but it gets heavier as the counterattacking forces get closer. It isn’t until they reach the gate itself that the first soldier is taken out by some burst fire from the group’s single automatic weapon — this evidently has an inspiring effect on the Z-Team as they suddenly begin to find their targets. Baddies are dropping left and right; those that aren’t killed are wounded and knocked down so that they can’t return fire. Eventually the two surviving soldiers attempt to retreat, so Cate leaps out of cover and hunts them down like the dogs they are.
With the airport now extra-special double super safety secure, the combat squad pushes southwards into the second part of Drassen. Resistance here is a little bit stiffer; the main part of the battle takes place in a wood just north of the built-up area, and Josh takes a bad hit to the head during an exchange of fire with two yellow shirts. I send him to the rear to be bandaged by C-Dave while Kenti and Janek sweep around in pincer movements to exact some revenge; soon all the yellowshirts are dead and Jim is sent into the town proper to knife the stragglers. He manages to get shot again while he’s doing this; he must really like the sensation of hot lead entering his body at high velocity.
The third and final sector of Drassen is the most important one since it contains the mine that’s going to be the sole source of cash for this little venture for the next fortnight at the very least. Other mines exist in nearby Alma and Cambria but they’re much more heavily defended; the Drassen mine is the Jagged Alliance equivalent of a freebie.
Not that this is going to be a cakewalk. This part of Drassen is very heavily built up allowing plenty of opportunities for ambush and counter ambushes. At long range pistols can’t hit the broad side of a barn, but at the sort of engagement ranges we’re looking at here they’re incredibly accurate and deadly, especially right now when several of the mercenary team are unarmoured except for fetching metal hats.
The incursion begins; Cate and Jim flank right while Kenti and a still-injured Josh flank left. C-Dave lurks in the rear, ready to spring into action if anyone gets hit. Janek gets the plum job of running straight down the middle across an open area completely devoid of any cover, so I have him use this cowering civilian as a human shield to improve his chances of survival in this vulnerable position. The ploy succeeds in getting him to a prime location for ambushing the enemy forces at point-blank range, but he is forced to pull back after getting swarmed by pretty much the entire remaining Drassen garrison. They’re gradually whittled down with Jim being sent after the fleeing survivors as part of my now-standard terror tactic; Kenti suffers a shot to the leg from the very last half-dead, cowering bad guy, and responds by finishing him off in a particularly brutal fashion.
All of Drassen is now under Cate’s control. There was a slight cock-up during the battle when I realised that Cate’s MP5 used 10mm bullets instead of 9x19mm calibre ammunition like every other MP5 variant in the game, and so the spare mags I’d had her loot from the corpses of the enemy were completely useless. Casting around for a temporary replacement she finds this relic on the battlefield. If it was good enough for the Nazis, it’s good enough for Cate. Father John Walker (who will henceforth be referred to as Father John Walker) is threa- I mean, persuaded by Kenti into sending supplies to the rebels in Omerta, while Cate has a word with the mine foreman and convinces him that it’d be better to give her all the ore he mines lest he wake up one morning to find that he has not, in fact, woken up one morning.
It’s all going rather swimmingly: Day 2 is not yet over and already Cate has prised an airport, a mine and an entire city from the clammy grasp of Queen M-Dave. Now the mercenaries must rest again; Josh and Kenti need to be operated on by C-Dave before they’ll get back to full fighting fettle, while the other mercs start the tedious business of training up some conscript militia to hold Drassen while they push further south to Alma. Meanwhile…