IDF vs. PLA, Refugee Camps near Tyre, July 1982
In our continuing Lebanese Civil War “campaign”, Rich Uncle Pat decided to put the Israelis through a wringer, giving them the densest urban terrain they had seen yet. Previously, the campaign had them in the wonderful orchards of rural Lebanon trying to push a column through, getting delayed and leading to a strategic SNAFU. This strategic SNAFU required Israeli forces to push into the nice suburbs of Tyre to secure a crossroads, allowing a Merkava I Platoon to successfully get to where they needed to be because they got "lost" trying to keep on schedule.
Well, did you wonder where they actually needed to get to? The real reason?
Due to the delay in the column, the mechanized platoon nearby had moved off-course in an attempt to support it. They never arrived, but their detour had thrown them into unfamiliar territory. By the time they realized they were in the wrong area, they were deep into the city and the only way to get back would be to cut through a nearby refugee camp. They were to get through the camp without leaving anyone behind, but especially getting the Battalion CO (LTC Geiger) out. One of the few PLA units in the area would be ambushing them and trying to cause as much damage for an in-area local news crew to catch.
So the Merkavas weren't lost, the Battalion CO was. Apparently someone at HQ was covering his ass and sullying the good name of the Merkava commander. Damn politics...
For those of you who are following at home with your personal copies of Rock the Casbah, he was playing “Peace for Galilee Scenario 2: The Al Bass Crossroads”.
We were also trying out a rules change regarding Big Men and Tactical Initiative. In previous games, the drawing of a great deal of Tactical Initiative had generally bogged down the game and was probably the most confusing part for most of the people who were unfamiliar with the rules. To make the game run quicker, RUP eliminated Tactical Initiative chits and instead gave Big Men a number of Big Men Actions equal to their number. Rallying was now replaced by a stat similar to a “Big Man Bonus”, where they would roll to see how many wounds they would take off.
A few other minor clarifications/modifications:
- The Armored Bonus Move was taken out, and replaced by the Israelis moving on a single “Convoy” chit until engaged. They’d have to remain 4” from each other until all hell broke loose.
- Only one MG per turn could fire from the Zeldas. If the HMG fired and shared an arc with an LMG, they got a +3 to the HMG’s total roll.
- The Palestinians were rated as “Average” for being PLA units rather than just militia, while the Israelis were rated as “Good”.
- The Magach’s ERA used a similar mechanic to Israeli Grenades (ENDA), where they’d have to roll under a certain number not to decrease it. Once it went below one, it was no longer effective. This was done to show ERA deterioration over time.
- The road was a bit wider, so we could cram three vehicles at once if we took the sidewalk on either side.
If there are any others or mistakes in there, Rich Uncle Pat can correct me/insult me/assault me as he feels is necessary. I also won't be showing the deployment zones because 1) I was Israeli and 2) This is a good time to show you the hell that we had to go through. Try and figure out where the PLA was hidden yourselves!
One thing that we didn't capture in the pictures is that the rearmost Zelda stopped at the bend got hit by an RPG and had its engine shut off. We didn't know if we could get it back on (I think the roll to restart it was something like an 11 or 12), so we emptied one of the Zeldas at the edge of the board and drove it back to ferry some of the fireteams back. In the end, though, it restarted (Honest Dan came through with a roll after about three turns, at which point we had at least two fire teams out of it) and we ended up driving it off.
That situation really goes to show how close this battle was: Up until the end, it was very tense because the PLA kept rolling up new RPG teams on the reinforcements. Of course, Anton's dice were incredibly cold (apparently he saves all his good rolls for Check Your Six!, where he's an Arab Chuck Yeager), which ended up saving us from a perfectly set-up ambush at the center of the table. Given the spotting rules, it's basically impossible to see anything, even blinds, so you have to be completely reactive in everything you do. It's absolutely horrible.
As for the rules changes, the removal of the command chits made things move far faster than before. More units moved because there weren't extra chits between, and frankly the commanders were much simpler to use than previous. It's a really nice streamlining of things that, in my opinion, improved the quality of the game.
Justice & Rule on Anton Ryzbak's Blog