My regular opponent, Neil, pointed out that Battlefront were having a 40%-off sale on their Six Day War Arab & Israeli range, asking "so what we doing, then?"
Well "nothing" was my immediate answer, as my lead mountain has scaled new heights and I have lots of other things to be getting on with.
But my eyes kept getting drawn to his e-mail, until at last I could avoid the truth no longer. No matter that it was a new period for me, no matter that I know nothing about said period, no matter what, in fact: it was a 40%-off sale and I was going to spend lots of money!
That decided, the problem became one of what to buy. As I said, I know less than Jon Snow when it comes to the Six Day War, so a bit of rapid reading was called for. First up, what happened. As far as I can tell, the chronology is something like:
- Israel launches surprise air attack on Egypt (known as the United Arab Republic) and destroys the UAR's airforce
- Israeli ground attack to the north towards El Arish succeeds after hard fighting
- A UAR counter-attack is ambushed at Bir Lahfan
- Israeli ground attack to the south towards Abu Ageila succeeds after hard fighting
- UAR troops withdraw for the Suez Canal, allowing the Israelis to capture Sinai
- Jordanians are tricked by the Egyptians and prepare to join the attack on Israel. Israeli's pre-empt and launch an attack of their own. Israelis take Jerusalem and attackl towards Nablus. Hard fighting, then the Jordanians retreat behind the Jordan river, leaving Israel to capture the West Bank.
- Israelis then attack the Syrians on the Golan Heights, which they capture after hard fighting.
- The Israelis also fight the Palestinians and capture the Gaza Strip
Excellent: all I need to know for the moment!
Now to look at what troops I need to buy. Today I'll look at tanks, as I'm too tired after work to get into the minutiae of infantry!
The Israeli Forces
I'm looking at using the IABSM variant for the 6DW, so company level. According to the lists kindly sent to me by Lardy Nick Overland, a tank company consisted of an HQ of two tanks, and then three platoons of three tanks each.
As its the Israelis, I'll be fielding small numbers of good quality tanks, so I reckon I need four tanks of each of the main types. Looking at the FoW website, and consulting my lists, these seem to be as follows:
- Sherman-types. Either the M50 or the M51 Isherman: so we'll go for four Ishermans as they'll do for both but look nicer than the simple M50.
- Centurion-types. Either the Mk5 or the Sho't ('whip/scourge'): so, again, we'll go for four Sho't's as they'll do for both but were used in greater numbers.
- M48-types. Lots to choose from here, but we'll go for four of the Magach ('battering ram') as they'll do for all but have a cool name
- French AMX thingies. Also used with reserve forces, so although I was going to get just two, will get four just in case.
That's the Israelis sorted. Now for the Arabs.
The Arab Forces
I'm going to need lots of these, as I want a company-sized force to fight a platoon of Israeli tanks to make it a fair fight.
An Egyptian or Syrian tank company seems to have been an HQ of a single tank, then three platoons of three tanks each. A Jordanian tank company has two HQ tanks then four platoons of three vehicles each. That's 10 or 14 tanks.
Now which tanks to get?
- T-34 types. The Egyptians fielded T-34/85 as infantry support. The Syrians also used them.
- I'm going to ignore the Syrian Panzer IVs: I have enough of them with balkenkreuses on them!
- Sherman types. The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip fielded an upgunned version called the M4/FL-10.
- SU-100 types. The Egyptians seemed to have fielded lots of these as infantry support.
- IS-3 types. The old Joe Stalin itself. Again seems to have been a back-up tank for the Egyptians.
- T-54 or T-55 types. An absolute must: fielded by the Egyptians and the Syrians. We'll go for the T-55.
- M48 types. The mainstay of the Jordanian armoured force.
- Centurians. Also used by the Jordanians.
It's a tricky one, as getting more than one tank company is going to be expensive.
Okay, let's go for the iconic Soviet tank: the T-55. I'm going to need ten of them, but Battlefront are selling them in three's, so I'll get twelve. I'll also get a single platoon of IS-3s.
Decided, particularly as any T-34/85s I might want can come from PSC.
So, the tank shopping list is as follows:
- 4 boxes of T-55s
- 1 box of IS-3s
- 2 boxes of Ishermans
- 2 boxes of Sho't
- 2 boxes of Magrach
- 2 boxes of AMX
Gulp! Better start working out which of the children to sell first!