Mark Kinsey ran a gigantic Beirut 1982 game at the Cold Wars convention in 2012. Here's an account of the set up and game itself.

The Set Up

[At Cold Wars] I'm going to run a huge urban Beirut '82 scenario with the men of the Israeli Handasah Kravit (engineers) attempting to clear a road block using their huge D9 dozer. I might possibly do a second scenario on the same table with a follow up attack using a platoon of Merkavas. If I'm going to transport this much terrain, I might as well make a day of it!

The assault is down a major 4 lane artery into West Beirut across the "Green Line" separating the city into Muslim and Christian quarters. The approach is dominated by the tallest buildings I could muster, both commercial and scratch built. There is a major roadblock and a few concrete barriers and trash in the road. I do have a few more bits of trash I need to paint up.

On the right near the parking lot there is two new buildings I've just built using bits from the old Child Guidance toys from the 1950's. I have added styrene stucco flat sides and balconies. The largest of the two buildings is L-shaped and 7 stories tall.

There is a slum area and some hidden weapon caches. Across the street is a large park which is impassible to vehicles.

The scenario comes from the "Rock the Casbah" Too Fat Lardies supplement. I couldn't duplicate all of the enormous buildings listed, but I've come close enough. Israeli forces include three squads, an M163 (M113 w/vulcan), Nagma Sho't, a Merkava 1, a Dozer, three 82mm Mortars, and a Drone Aircraft. PLO forces are a secret, but they are quite significant and they do have quite a few surprises.

Scenario One

At Cold Wars itself, Mark would play two inter-connected scenarios with the Israeli Engineers and some reservists crossing the green line into Beirut in July of 1982.

Looking north you see a roadblock on the west side of a four lane road. The Merkava has been held up by a PLO T-34 just off camera to the south. The IDF Reservists in the beige building to the southeast have a bit of bad luck and very little support. This squad will end the game with 7 out of 8 men in the squad dead.

Here the Nagma Sh'ot with the Engineer squad has nearly made it to the roadblock. The D9 Dozer is still under blind and is hiding behind some smoke. I'd say one mistake the Israeli players made was ignoring the PLO squad in the center of the park too long.

The PLO manage to take out the dozer with an RPG round. The engineers blow the roadblock with satchel charges. A car bomb goes off but manages not to damage the two vehicles in range (the Nagma Sh'ot and M113 carrying a hesitant commander with new orders). Then the M163 is lost to more RPG fire. The scenario ends with the IDF pulling back after achieving their objective and before they can be given a new one by the hesitant commander. The PLO are awarded a minor victory due to the large number of casualties inflicted on the IDF. 

Scenario Two

In the second scenario the Israelis are tasked with breaking through with a platoon of three Merkava tanks. They also have to clear a weapons cache from a local Police Station and a mortar pit on the SW corner of the park. They received reinforcements to bring the number of squads back up to three and they received an additional Nagma Sh'ot. The PLO had 7 squads, a WWII Russian 76mm anti tank gun and a Charioteer tank.

With a new set of players, a bad day goes to worse for the Israelis. A B11 Recoiless blasts a track off the Nagma. It sits blocking traffic for the rest of the game. Worse still, we have our first Merkava kill from an RPG in all our time playing this period with IABSM. Incidentally we were playing IABSMv3 with the Charlie Don't Surf weapons charts.

The other Nagma headed all the way to the south and ran smack dab into the Charioteer blind. On the turn end the Charioteer KO's the Nagma and the survivors of the squad bail out. The following turn the Charioteer goes first and sprays the squad with machinegun fire.

To the north the engineer squad from the other Nagma that was disabled on turn one heads into the PLO populated shantytown unsupported and pays a heavy price as well.

Merkava #2 has its main gun disabled. The end of the table near the exit is now a deadly canyon.

Merkava #2 makes a run for it along with Merkava #3. The command M113, the one with the hesitant commander from the first scenario bumps into the 76mm Anti tank gun and also tries to make a hasty retreat. I give the Israelis an M109 as reinforcements but while it destabilizes a building and forces one of the PLO teams to retreat it doesn't help all that much. The two Merkavas escape, but the remaining infantry team in the center comes under fire from the Charioteer and takes several casualties. The M113 takes several mobility hits and limps towards the board edge only to be immobilized inches from safety. The crew is taken prisoner. A major victory for the PLO.


Now these are games that are meant to be fun, so they are tilted towards force parity more than they would be in reality, but these were both larger victories for the PLO than we've ever had.

The Israeli players in both scenarios seemed to both be fooled by their firepower advantage into thinking they didn't need to be careful and use good doctrine. They also need to move fast. To be fair it's a tough balance and the players in the second game were not accustomed to modern warfare. As one PLO player (Charles) pointed out Modern combat is a game of sudden death hide and go seek. The Israelis need to use combined arms, they can't have teams running around unsupported. Once a PLO blind has been spotted and revealed the Israelis need to concentrate their firepower on it and neutralize it immediately.

In the first game a PLO team was allowed to sit unmolested in the park firing RPG's on the Israelis for 5 turns. This is the team that eventually took out both the Dozer and M163. In reality they should be limited to 3 or 4 shots, but it's never come up before. The Israelis were also spread very thin.

In the second game many of these same mistakes were taken to an extreme. The Nagma that bumped into the Charioteer had no reason to be where it was on the extreme southern edge of the playing area. To the north, a squad ran into the shanty town alone with no way for any of the armored vehicles to assist it.

That said, everyone told me they had a good time. I would love to see all of the players back for another go of modern combat in the future.

Mark Kinsey