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Company AAR - Baltic Sword
Moderators: Maj. A. Knight, Lt. J. Bailey, Cpl. A. Harrison, Sgt. D. Stirling, A/2Lt. M. Gray, Cpl. B. Spittle
Author Post
Ret. L. Webber
Thu Jul 28 2016, 04:11PM

Registered Member #12920
Joined: Thu Oct 02 2014, 06:09PM
Posts: 1543

Ribbons: 9
Medals: 5

Campaign Baltic Sword AAR


"Invasion"

Operation Baltic Sword began with a surprisingly easy initial invasion. Both platoons managed to be inserted without taking any casualties within the first twenty minutes. After the insertion, the platoons began a long clearing process around the beaches in order to establish a beachhead. Meanwhile, our flight section was busy engaging a multitude of ground vehicles at the nearby Roenne airport. On the second mission, the company attacked the airfield. There was heavy resistance, and one of the company’s AH1 Apaches was shot down by an enemy SU-25. After a couple of missions which were marred by technical issues, the company finally moved out from the airfield to take the town of Roenne. We sustained some light casualties, and the town was secured. The momentum was carried through the following mission, with the capture of the Almegaard military base, and a clearance of the ground north of the base up to the town of Hasle. Running low on ammunition, and after having suffered several casualties due to mine strikes, as well as the loss of another chinook due to enemy armour, a harbour area was set up just south of the town. The next mission, the company moved out from the harbour area; we executed an attack plan on Hasle based off intelligence gathered from an enemy POW (prisoner of war). Yet another chinook was lost in this assault, this time from an enemy anti aircraft missile.

"Disaster"

By this time, we had lost a substantial number of airframes, and the rest of the NATO units on the island were not performing particularly well. Due to this, the decision was made to try to take the next largest airfield on the island: the Nexøe Airfield. The attack initially went well, with the company sustaining unbelievably light casualties. However, when the company began an assault on the town of Nexøe, disaster struck. Most of the airframes were lost, including our last Apache and both remaining chinooks. The infantry sections became pinned down by well entrenched machine gun pits, and were eventually shelled into oblivion. A disorganised retreat followed, in which an entire section from first platoon was left behind, and the main extraction aircraft (a HC3A Merlin), was shot down by a man portable air defence system, killing the crew, the company command staff, and the entirety of second platoon. The isolated section was eventually able to push into a seaside hamlet, where they were extracted by a Wildcat.

Following this battering, the company command staff decided to take on a smaller objective during the next mission. The decision was made to clear the town of Aakirkeby, and despite a heavy garrison, and a considerable anti aircraft weapon presence, no airframes were lost, and the company only sustained moderate casualties. Thanks to an airframe resupply from the Royal Navy, as well as the presence of artillery support from HMS Manchester moored in Roenne harbour, the company was able to secure a nearby Russian FOB. Keen to build on these recent successes, we made a plan to recapture Nexøe airfield, despite it remaining a heavily defended objective. This cost the company dearly. After the initial assault on the northern barracks Russian forces counterattacked with what seemed like an entire mechanized company, and both platoons were in full retreat before they knew what hit them. During the retreat a friendly section was surrounded and cut off. To give the surrounded section an opening to break out, the command element decided to call in an artillery strike from the HMS Manchester. The artillery strike did not land in the target area, and instead killed the friendly section. After this disaster the defeated company withdrew back towards friendly lines. Following this travesty, and a quick reorg at Rønne, the company was pulled off the front line by NATO HQ, and was instead ordered to begin raiding operations.

"Raiding operations"

An unbelievably dangerous static line drop was planned for a small stretch of coast on the northernmost tip of Bornholm. Due to the incompetence of the Russian commander, the drop zone was not patrolled by fixed wing aircraft or covered by anti aircraft ground systems. Therefore, when the static line was complete, no airframes were lost, and the infantry sections cleared out the majority of the nearby town of Alligne-Sandvig. Our surprise attack had not gone unnoticed; however, and soon enough we were swamped with enemy self propelled anti aircraft systems, as well as mechanised and motorised infantry platoons. A fighting retreat was executed until the company reached the northernmost tip of Bornholm, where we broke contact with the enemy and set up a quick harbour area. The next mission, the unit ran as a single platoon with 3 sections. We continued our sabotage operations: attacking refueling depots, small observation outposts, and even the local Russian HQ. We managed to capture a Russian officer; he was later evacuated for interrogation at Roenne airbase. Two surviving members of a tank section, with their T-80s nearby, also surrendered to us. This signaled the start of a drop in Russian morale, which resulted in more and more prisoners being taken until the end of the campaign. The next mission, we pushed south-east towards Gudjem, managing to reach it and secure about half of the town. There was barely any anti aircraft threat, and the Russian infantry garrison at Gudjem were unwilling to fight. Many of them had retreated before we even reached the town. The next few missions were a one sided battle, with the infantry sections clearing compound after compound all the way down to Østermarie airfield. There were pockets of very fierce resistance; the relentless advance was halted at one point when a well co-ordinated Russian ambush killed twenty of our men. During the last mission, we encountered a HQ complex inside the town of Østermarie. The staff officers ordered an extraction but we shot down their transport helicopter. Instead of surrendering immediately, they barricaded themselves in and set up 12.7mm machine guns pointing at the open fences and doorways of the perimeter wall in order to blow apart any attacking infantry that tried to breach their compound. This ultimately led to the bloodiest CQC engagement in the entire campaign. The number of Russian soldiers who believed they could still win were matched; however, by the number that had given up. Near the end of the campaign, entire platoons were putting their hands up at the sight of our airframes. By time Østermarie had been cleared, NATO had full control of the island, and the campaign objectives were completed.

Awards



Everybody that had a 50%+ attendance for the campaign received an Operation Baltic Sword medal.

Mentioned in Dispatches
An award given to a soldier for being mentioned positively repeatedly in campaign AARs (dispatches). What follows is a list of said awards, as well as quotations from their respecive ICs taken from after action reports.



Plt Off. B. Booni
"On two occasions he was piloting logistical helicopters when he was hit by anti aircraft fire. On both occasions he maneuvered the airframe expertly and kept the infantry in the cargo and the aircraft crew alive. These kinds of adventures are not something that I expect from a pilot, especially given the damage sustained by the airframe. He clearly shows exceptional skill in handling airframes, and deserves to be recognised for that."

A/LCpl. M. Gray
"Gray was outstanding during the campaign a core member of the section, often filling in as 1IC while only being a Private First Class going above and beyond a Pfc’s duties. He was dedication to learning the ropes as an IC throughout the campaign and also very reliable during the campaign, leading to an excellent overall performance."

Pfc. A. Harrison

"Harrison’s dedication to the campaign was outstanding, filling in as 2IC many times, fulfilling the duties required by a Private First Class."

Pte. P. Laebens
"Laebens throughout the campaign was an asset to 1 Platoon, providing them with outstanding CMT skills, making sure that we were always combat effective and ready to move at a moment's notice."

Pte. S. Gibbons
"Gibbons proved time and time again that his influence on the section was huge and much needed, providing a good boost to morale during the campaign."

A/LCpl. T. Jacobs
"All throughout this entire campaign Jacobs has been a rock for A/2/1, always attending and always at the top of his game. He saved the lives of many members of his section on several occasions throughout the campaign. He has also shown that he can step up and lead on multiple occasions and exhibits all the required skills and values of a combat leader."

Pfc. B. Spittle (then Pte.)
"Spittle has been a key member of A/2/1 throughout Baltic Sword and without his contributions as a CMT, A/2/1 would have not gotten out of many tough situations. There are not many people who have shown the levels of dedication and skill as much as Spittle has, his unique abilities have proven to be flawless and critical to mission success."

Pte. M. Battistel
"During the campaign Pte. M. ´Bob´ Battistel have been mentioned over and over again in his sections after action reports. High attendance, good attitude and a outstanding performance during ops is a few of the things that was mentioned."


Long Service and Good Conduct (Army)

Awarded to members of the 6th Airborne Division’s ground forces, who have been active within our unit for over 18 months and have proven to be a valuable addition to the unit. This is awarded in recognition of their efforts and commitment for the 6th Airborne for an extended period.



This award was given to individuals on their IC's discretion. It is given to the following:

LCpl. D. Stirling
A/Flt Sgt. L. Webber
Sgt. J. Bailey

Congratulations to all of you on a job well done, especially those who have been decorated for their actions during the campaign.

Kind Regards and on behalf of the HQ team,

A/Flt Sgt. L. Webber
ACOY FAC


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