A blog about miniatures, wargaming, and the people driven to ruin by them....

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Shootout: Miami Dade, April 11, 1986


From time to time, I set up tactical simulations of law enforcement gun fights.  We recently gamed the FBI shoot out in Miami Dade, which occurred on April 11, 1986, between 8 agents and 2 particularly dangerous individuals wanted for armed robbery and murder.  I have run this scenario in the club previously, but this time we used 1/6th scale figures... and, because they were available, 1/6th scale jeeps and kubelwagons filled in for cars.  Yes, they do look out of place, but they worked for their purpose, and after a bit everyone responded to them simply as terrain pieces anyway.  The son of one of our members actually made up specific representations of the two criminals, which came out quite accurate.  The scale created a unique gaming area as we had to use three carefully arranged 4' x 6' tables, and still had to position Hanlon and Mireles far off the table (which was done to allow Orrantia and Risner to arrive on the table).

The scenario starts at the point that Agent Manauzzi has forced Matix and Platt off the road and into a parking lot.  Agent McNeil has pulled into Manuazzi's car, with Agents Grogan and Dove taking a position behind the suspect vehicle.  Agents Hanlon and Mireles are some distance away, recovering from a spin out, and Agents Risner and Orrantia have yet to arrive.

Platt starts the game with a fusillade from his passenger side seat into Manauzzi's car...
Manauzzi is hit twice, the second round killing him outright.
After exchanging shots, and realizing he is outgunned, McNeil crawls into the back seat of his vehicle in a desperate attempt to retrieve - and then load - his 870 in the back seat.  He has already been slightly wounded.  Platt, then Matix, crawl through their car windows, trying to take cover behind the vehicles as they exchange fire with the converging agents.  A vengeful Platt takes notice of McNeil...
He charges towards McNeil's position, firing at point blank range.  Despite being previously wounded, McNeil is not hit (against all odds)... he returns fire with the single shell he had managed to load, but also misses, as Platt ducks down.
Matix puts fire down on Grogan and Dove.
A blast of birdshot strikes Grogan in the chest... though the wound is only moderate, it sends the agent sprawling.
In the background, Risner and Orrantia have arrived, and begin to fire on Platt prior to him ducking down.  Risner hits Platt in the upper torso, wounding him badly.  Matix has also been hit several times, including twice in the right arm and once in the head. Though no single wound is severe, the accumulated damage is taking its toll.  Hanlon and Mireles move up, Hanlon to put fire on Matix and support Grogan and Dove, and Mireles to support (rescue) the beleagured NcNeil.  Stressed players try to solve the riddle of downing their opponents without being downed themselves.

A wounded McNeil exits the rear passenger door, scrambling to put new shells into his 870, while Platt is crouched on the other side, his Mini-14 blazing.

Enraged from the chest wound, Platt pours fire into Orrantia and Risner.  Though Risner is missed, Orrantia is hit twice.  He is not dead, yet, but is critically wounded and slumps down, out of the fight (viewed in the distance), bleeding heavily.  At the same time Matix drops his empty 12 gauge, yanking his .357 from his shoulder hoster.  Grogan recovers from his sprawl, going to a crouch, closely supported by Hanlon.  He fires ineffectively at Matix.  Matix returns fire, hitting Grogan in the chest again, but this time with his .357. The shot is fatal, and Grogan falls in the parking lot.
Dove has also been hit, though the bullet travels through the structure of the car, robbing it of energy, resulting in a minor leg wound.
Platt, with nothing to lose, and suffering from multiple hits already, races around McNeil's car firing madly, again missing what should be easy shots... McNeil hastily returns fire, also somehow missing in the scramble, and his 870 goes empty again.  Mireles aggressively moves up, needing to get abreast of McNeil in order to not accidentally hit his fellow agent.  Mireles scores a single devastating hit with buckshot at point blank range to Platt's head.  Platt is killed instantly.
Once the Mini-14 has stopped, the agents suddenly have more freedom of movement, though they have taken considerable damage already.
Matix is still in the fight, and he is still dangerously determined.  With Platt neutralized, Risner runs forward to close the distance and clear his lane of fire, leaving the badly wounded Orrantia in their car.  Despite his own movement, and the partial cover Matix still has, Risner manages a single hit on Matix.  Matix is critically wounded and drops to the ground, alive but unconscious.

The fight is over.  Of the eight agents, 2 are dead, 1 is critically wounded, and 2 are lightly wounded.  Platt is dead.  His partner Matix is critically wounded, and unlikely to survive.

This scenario is extremely tense for the players.  They struggle with decisions about which actions to choose, as it seems like all choices are bad ones.  There were some oddities with dice rolling, Platt failing to hit McNeil 9 times at point blank range for any kind of significant damage went completely against the odds... but chalk it up to his erratic movement, and number of hits he had already received.  Mathematically Platt should have inflicted at least 4, possibly 5, more hits on McNeil, and even 1 or 2 would have certainly killed or incapacitated him.... but it didn't happen, because there are no guarantees.  Which is why we roll dice.

Matix held up well, pulling his own weight and was completely willing to continue the fight against the remaining 5 agents (two of whom were already wounded) after Platt was killed.  The agents were impeded by their inability to coordinate their actions (lack of communication was one feature of the historical event).  Here they managed to support one another as best they could, with mixed results.  McNeil being saved by Mireles is the best example of this working out for the agents.  Despite the apparent retreat of McNeil, the tactical concept was not incorrect, as he was trying to bring a more powerful (at least at short range) weapon into play.  Dove, Grogan, and Hanlon ganged up on Matix, assuming (correctly) that their combined fire would win out eventually... though it was Risner making his way past the dead Platt who was able to finally put Matix to sleep, and only after Grogan had sustained a fatal wound.

It is difficult in some ways to game this type of scenario, a modern one in which some of the actual participants are still living.  Still, it is very useful as a demonstration of a number of specific details of the historical event, and offers a spot light on the dramatic impact this day had on how law enforcement officers would be armed in the future.  It is also a tough game for the players, because the stakes are high and every decision could force them from the game.  I present this scenario with plenty of background information, and we have discussion on various aspects of the weapons, the men, the wounds, and the aftermath.


  1. Very interesting game. Are your rules a homebrew system or do you use something off-the-shelf?

    1. It is something I have been writing myself, still some work to go.