Joint Task Force Operation Garden Light

Mogadishu, Somalia: The JTF is deployed to secure an airfield, rescue hostages and to capture the warlord Akil Farrah. This is a multiphase mission where additional segments of the battle space open up upon completion of the objectives. As with all JTF missions, the capture of an airfield is necessary for bringing in heavy equipment such as APC’s and repair vehicles.

The team starts out on the ground southeast of the airfield objective, with several roads that must be traversed to reach the edge of the airstrip. Two Blackhawk helicopters immediately arrive in the deployment area bringing two HMMWV vehicles, one equipped with a TOW AT system and the other with a mounted M2 Browning machinegun.

The hero unit (who must not die) Major O'Connell is augmented in this mission by Lieutenant Oakley who also must be kept alive throughout the mission (otherwise it is an auto failure). The medic that was promoted at the end of the last mission Operation Swift Phoenix, Willem “Doc” Der Berg was not available in the setup phase, but a new medic Hendrick “Mother” De Vries is (and continues on to the next mission Operation Distant Sweep.

I start out with an opening balance of $300,000 that I can spend on various things such as reinforcements, satellite coverage, a Predator UAV or a cruise missile attack. The initial objectives are to secure the airfield and to neutralize all defenders.

After waiting for the two HMMWV’s to resolve their horrendous path finding issues, we begin to move up the dirt road and immediately encounter enemy units that are garrisoned in a small building to the left, which is destroyed.

As the two teams (plus medics) turn left and moves down a road we come across one of several truck- mounted machine guns and Somalian combatants. These ”technicals” can do a lot of damage to exposed troops so utilizing cover and concealment such as the house is critical when moving across otherwise open terrain.

Turning north to proceed on to the airstrip, we encounter more enemy units as the lead team falls prone and provides suppression fire while the three man Ranger unit flanks right to neutralize the threat.

At the edge of the first objective area I order a satellite sweep that costs $25,000 and reduces my balance to $275,000.

I put together a Ranger assault squad consisting of the AT weapons and move them around the left side of the fence then to the right so they can engage and destroy the ZU-23 anti-aircraft gun manned at the edge of the tarmac.

Several Predator UAV sweeps at ($40,000 each) reveal a mass of enemy units supported by a BMP-2 APC sitting on the control tower. JTF needs to capture this to control the airstrip and call in heavy vehicle and repair support units.

The enemy does not sit still: here as I am figuring out how to approach the forces at the control tower my group is rushed by more technicals and one of the jeeps takes an RPG hit. The exploding fragments just above it were another truck/MG combo that was destroyed by the Rangers.

I work the two teams up the left side of the runway in order to suck the forces away from their sandbags and draw the APC onto the tarmac. Several enemy soldiers are killed on the airstrip and the BMP-2 takes AT fire from the Rangers off to the left, but is not yet destroyed.

I move the HMMWV with the TOW system up to engage the damaged APC and both take each other out. The damaged soldiers are pulled back and the medics are used to heal their wounds before advancing on the remaining enemy units.

I order additional reinforcements and they are brought in by the Blackhawk to be fast-roped on my location. This drops my account balance down to $5,000.

The last remaining Somali troops are eliminated at the control tower and I move my force onto the objective to secure the airstrip for heavy vehicle reinforcements.

This triggers a cut scene where two trucks emerge from a hangar containing hostages that were being held by the enemy. The Secure the Airfield objective is satisfied and I am awarded $1,500,000 in additional funding and a new objective to escort the freed hostages to the stadium is assigned. A minimum of six hostages must make it to the stadium.

I order the first M2A3 Infantry Fighting Vehicle to be delivered by Hercules air transport as my position is assaulted by another enemy APC and infantry team.

With one M2A3 on the airstrip and another coming in (note the tip of the plane’s wing just above the status bar), the Ranger team with the AT rockets destroys an enemy tank coming down from the left. If I was running this op I would never have let the trucks carrying the hostages come out of the hanger until the airfield was completely secured and sanitized of enemy personnel.

The armored units are moved up into a column position to prepare to enter the next phase of the operation, escorting the hostages. My intention here is to leave the trucks at the airstrip for as long as possible so as to clear out any threats along the way before bringing them up.

The APC’s are fanned out into the dilapidated city and encounter a T-55 Main Battle Tank that is drawn back to an ambush point where it is summarily destroyed. My M2A3’s taken some serious damage in the encounter however and are in dire need of repair.

I order up an FRSV Mobile Repair Station for $400,000 and a $50,000 delivery cost which is more than worth it. This unit is one of the best repair and resupply solutions I have seen in a real time tactical game. It requires setup to service and tear down to remove, and the individual engineers service both the player vehicles and NPC vehicles such as UN APC’s that have taken damage.

The M2A3’s are brought back to the airstrip where I setup the FRSV for repair and resupply servicing.

The APC’s are moved up into the city area again and sweep out several Somali sandbag emplacements when they run across another T-55. As I micro-manage the three units into kill positions General Cleveland informs us that there are mortars and light artillery which threaten the indigenous population by targeting a refugee camp.

As if my job was not difficult enough I am also informed that there are embedded reporters in the area who are recording the events. The camera icon and bar in the upper left hand corner of the screen shot is a meter of how the battle is being perceived: killing enemies are positive events while killing civilians or attacking the media units decreases further funding.

The FRSV is redeployed forward while the APC’s take up defensive positions.

The remaining HMMWV (a recon unit) is moved forward to scout out the artillery and comes across the first tube which is lightly defended and thus quickly eliminated.

The final tube is neutralized along with the defending enemy units to complete the objective for a reward of an additional $250,000 in funding.

The two trucks carrying the hostages are brought forward. One of them is repaired before entering the stadium (so as to avoid a nasty bug that can occur in the game).

The trucks reach the stadium held by the UN forces and the Escort Objective is achieved. This rewards me with $500,000 in additional funding, opens up a new section of the map and assigns a new objective: find Akil Farrah.

The advance on Farrah’s compound is fraught with multiple enemy emplacements, many of which consist of RPG equipped soldiers.

Two APC’s reach the objective location, a ransacked TV station where Farrah is held up: at this point I realize I am missing an APC and cannot locate it anywhere on the map. My arrival triggers a cut scene where the hero unit is the first through the door (about as terrible a combat decision as the initial deployment in the first scenario).

One of those bad Netflix pauses…

This completes the Find Farrah objective for a reward of and additional $300,000 in funding, further opens up the map to the west and assigns yet another objective, which is to apprehend Farrah’s arms minister, Mahmoud Abbas.

Sensing an epic climactic battle sequence on the horizon, I order up another M2A3 which is deployed at the airstrip and moved up to join the other forces.

A quick sweep past the front of the compound reveals a T-55 positioned in front of the fountain that will have to be dealt with.

The three APC’s are brought together to deal with the threat. One of them takes severe damage and must be pulled offline for repairs.

Because I have nothing better to do with the money at the moment, I order up a cruise missile strike which impacts the right side of the compound roof. Had it struck the left side it would have proven some use in taking out the ZU-23 on the roof. The strike was quite the wet noodle – there was no discernable damage.

The two man Ranger team I dismounted to send around the back of the building was eliminated by guerilla units on the rear upper patio area. I should have used a satellite or UAV recon package here as it might have saved some units from a needless death.

I order up an additional four Rangers who are brought in by the Blackhawk which engages the troops on the roof and reveals the upper room where Abbas is holding out.

The assault squad enters the room where Abbas easily surrenders and insults the American TOE.

After-action Reports

I completed all five primary objectives and lost 12 troops and one vehicle, while taking out a stunning 125 enemy combatants and 10 vehicles. One of the engineering units, Toussaint “Malade” Bernard is recommended for promotion.

Post Mortem

I was surprised how ineffective the cruise missile strike was, however it is possible that the building was setup not to take damage as it housed a NPC that was required to be captured to complete the mission. The loss of 12 soldiers seems high, however there was a lot going on in between screen shots. The one vehicle lost was the APC that I misplaced somewhere on the map (apparently things didn’t go too well for it).


  1. Hi Tim this looks interesting. I see it's on steam, worth purchasing?

  2. I think it reminds me a lot of the old Codename Panzers games. It is currently going for $9.99 on Steam, but I picked it up two years ago for less than $3 on a sale. You may want to put it in your wishlist on Steam and wait for it to pop-up on sale again, but it is a fun game that I think is well worth $10. It is a nice break from the hard core strategy games out there.

  3. Good idea on the wish list. I am going to do that. It looks fun and I like the money mechanism. What do you think of that part of the game?

  4. I thought it was somewhat hokey at first but then it made a great deal of sense in replacing base building and resource gathering, and does not detract from the game play: after all, every deployment in real life costs money.

  5. There is actually a demo on Steam which I downloaded last night. Can't wait to check it out. Thanks for blogging about it.

  6. Thanks for the AAR, looks fun, and certainly better than the execrable Will of Steel. Does JTF have a mission builder?

  7. I am playing the Steam version of the game and there is an editor available in the menu selection, but I have not tried it out yet.

  8. I am searching for players to try my maps done for this game. I want to create a group of enthousiasts to make more maps for this game I have about 150 maps. E-mail me at I changed even the Artificial Inteligence of the computer units.

  9. Very good idea to studi the actions of the game like this. Bravo! I love it, please make that for all the missions of the game.


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