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I hadn’t gamed with old friend Neil for at least 18 months, so it was a pleasure to get a date into the diary and push some lead around the table again.

We decided to have a battle set in the 1967 Six Day War between an Israeli and an Egyptian (UAR) force. The game would be a fictional encounter battle using the TooFatLardies Charlie Don’t Surf Vietnam rules adapted for the theatre and available elsewhere on this site.

The set up was fairly simple. An Egyptian position protecting a railhead has been abandoned by its defenders. The Israelis have spotted this and are rushing a task force forward to take the now-undefended base. At the same time, Egyptian High Command has dispatched a task force of their own to re-secure the rail head.

As you’ll see in the photos, the Egyptian position was at one end of the table (the far end in the picture above) and consisted of few buildings surrounding the rail head, all surrounded by barbed wire. The Egyptian task force (played by me) would enter the table from the end of the road on the top edge of the table.

Note: on reflection, limiting the Egyptian entry point to the very narrow axis described above came very close to unbalancing the scenario. If I played this again, I’d have the Egyptians able to enter the table anywhere along the top edge.

Immediately outside he base was the small town of Rumi El Bakhara. This consisted of a mosque and marketplace surrounded by dwellings, with a slum/shanty town nearby. Once out of the town, it was rough desert terrain all the way to the other end of the table. The Israeli task force (played by Neil) would enter the table from the desert, and have to make its way through the town in order to get to the base.

As Neil was playing the Israelis, I produced a full briefing for him:

Israeli Briefing

Our pre-emptive strike against our Arab enemies is going very well. Their air force has been largely destroyed, and we have penetrated deep into their territory. This rapid advance has led to an opportunity that I am keen to exploit.

Stunned by an attack from the skies and overawed by our rapid advance, the Egyptians have abandoned a small base protecting the railhead near the town of Rumi El Bakhara. This leaves it open to a quick coup de main, something that would effectively give us strategic control of the immediate area.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that other elements of the UAR army are rushing towards El Bakhara in order to re-secure the base. Reconnaissance reports indicate truck-borne infantry and some armour will arrive there imminently.

Your mission is simple. Take your force to Rumi El Bakhara immediately and secure the railhead. Engage and destroy any Egyptian forces encountered.

Your Force

One Blind per platoon (6) and three Dummy Blinds.

You have Force Morale of 10.

Mobile Recon/AT Platoon

  • Big Man IV (Level II)

  • 4 x M40 106mm RR mounted on Jeeps

Attached Armour HQ

  • Big Man 5 (Level III)

  • 1 x Magach III Tank (105mm)

Attached Armour Platoon

  • Big Man 6 (Level II)

  • 3 x Magach III Tank (90mm)

Company HQ

  • Big Man 1 (Level IV)

  • 2 x Light Mortar Team

  • 2 x LMG Team

1st Platoon

  • Big Man 2 (Level III)

  • 3 x Assault Rifle Squad

  • 1 x Blindicide Bazooka Team

  • 1 x Light Mortar Team

2nd Platoon

  • Big Man 3 (Level III)

  • 3 x Assault Rifle Squad

  • 1 x Blindicide Bazooka Team

  • 1 x Light Mortar Team

The Israelis also benefited from Rapid Deployment, Recon Bonus Move (the Jeeps), Recon Bonus AT Fire (the Jeeps), Dynamic Commander, and Rally.

Egyptian Briefing

As I was playing the Egyptians, I didn’t produce a full brief, but I am sure that should you want to play this scenario yourselves, then you can cobble something together from the rest of the information given here.

The Egyptians had the following troops:

Company HQ

  • Big Man 1 (Level II)

  • 2 x 82mm RCL Teams

  • 2 x Truck

1st Platoon

  • Big Man 2 (Level 1)

  • 3 x Assault Rifle Squad

  • 1 x Blindicide Bazooka Team

2nd Platoon

  • 3 x Assault Rifle Squad

  • 1 x Blindicide Bazooka Team

3rd Platoon

  • 3 x Assault Rifle Squad

  • 1 x Blindicide Bazooka Team

MG Platoon

  • 2 x Maxim MMG Team

  • 2 x Truck

Tank Platoon 1

  • 3 x T-34/85

Tank Platoon 2

  • 3 x IS3-M

Assault Gun Platoon

  • 5 x SU-100 SP Guns

Force Morale: 8

Eight Blinds and two Dummy Blinds

The Game

The game began with the Israelis sweeping onto the table at maximum knots. The Egyptians attempted to follow suit but, as mentioned above, were severely constrained by their deployment area: they just didn’t have the room to get their Blinds onto the table.

The lead Isareli units headed down the road as the lead Egyptians units did the same from the other end. Spotting revealed that the Israelis had led with their Magach platoon, which took as much cover a possible behind the rough buildings near the T-junction, and the Egyptians had led with their HQ platoon of two recoil-less rifles (RR) and their T-34/85 platoon.

Both sides opened fire, and soon both Egyptian trucks carrying the RR had been hit and destroyed, with one RR team actually being blasted into non-existence as well. Two of the T-34/85s survived the Israeli opening volley, but their crews then bailed due to Shock!

The Egyptians were still pouring Blinds into that narrow corridor, and soon had their IS3-Ms in play as well.

Unfortunately for the Egyptians, however, the Israeli tanks were covering both axis of their advance: if they moved forward, then the Magachs would shoot as soon as they came into view. The IS3-Ms had a go at advancing, but the lead tank lost its main gun as soon as it poked it round the corner and was forced to retreat into cover.

The only way through was to use my numbers, so a number of Egyptian Blinds shot forward, one of which was spotted as an infantry platoon, the other remaining hidden.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Israeli Blinds were sweeping through the town towards the barbed wire surrounding the army base.

The unrevealed Blind mentioned above proved vital: it was the assault gun platoon. They swept around the corner of the mosque and opened fire on the flank of the Magach holding that flank. It look six shots to do it, but the Magach was taken out!

This was, in my opinion, a major achievement for the Egyptians but was, unfortunately, the high tide of their defense.

One of the other Magachs (the command tank) had been clearing barbed wire from the edge of the compound by driving over it and literally grinding it into the dirt. This allowed an Israeli platoon to infiltrate as far as the AA weapon pit in the middle of the base. At this point, I rather unwisely chose to charge the Israeli platoon with one of my own (coming off a Blind) and got utterly mullered!

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Getting the Egyptian forces moving was proving a nightmare. I only had two Big Men for the whole force, and they were spending their entire time rallying Shock. Meanwhile, the Israelis, with more Big Men than I could shake a stick at, were zooming here and there with abandon, laughing off the effects of my fire!

Well, it wasn’t quite like that: I had managed to kill one Israeli tank and one Big Man, so the situation as we went into the end game was the Egyptians on 1 Force Morale, compared to the Israelis on 5 Force Morale. A bit of luck, and I could still snatch victory.

Unfortunately, it was not to be.

Although my 1st Infantry Platoon overwhelmed a jeep that got too close, and used their bazooka to severely harass one of the Israeli infantry platoons (a bazooka shot into the building they were occupying blew the building to bits, forcing them to quit immediately, but only did the troops themselves a point of Shock: a lucky escape!) I soon lost my single point of Force Morale remaining and was forced to retreat.

A victory for the Israelis.

Aftermath

A great game despite the extreme frustration I felt engendered by my lack of command function. Having an army with only two Activations as well was an absolute killer.

Still, I’d had a couple of successes and, with just a smidgeon more luck I might have been able to force the Israelis back.

Something to look forward to next time!

Robert Avery