For the first game back after our annual August break Daren had come up with a slightly left-field scenario so that we could pitch ultra-modern Israeli forces against Russians. The back story was this: After emerging victorious from the long civil war, the Assad regime was looking to gain some much needed prestige with the population. With American focus concentrated on events in Korea and their military stretched dealing with that, Iraq and Afghanistan Syria contemplates trying a grab for the Golan heights. When their new Russian chums do not warn them not to try they launch an attack. As usual, however, it fails and the Israelis advance down from the heights to set up a buffer zone against any further attacks.
With the situation tense and the UN frantically attempting to prevent any more bloodshed a Russian task force advances to ‘rescue a downed helicopter crew’. That the task force entrusted to do this consists of tank and motor rifle companies backed up by Havocs and MiGs does seem a tad robust. That it is headed straight for an Israeli Tank company combat team ordered to secure a village at the edge of the buffer zone seems like a recipe for disaster…
I was taking the Israeli’s (as I used to live near the Golan, it’d be rude not to really!) and Daren the Russian ‘rescue and retrieval team’. The terrain was a series of low ridges that gave way to a plain where the village was located, the Israeli’s held the higher ground whilst the Russians advanced across the flat. Littered in front of the Israeli positions was the wreckage of the last Syrian attack.
The action started with an advance on a broad front by the Russians whilst the Israeli’s moved forwards to take control of the village. I had planned to race a mechanised infantry platoon forward to secure the village whilst the Merkava’s and the rest of my infantry and anti-tank assets took up covering positions amongst the ridges. Unfortunately for me I was having trouble moving my command due to some effective EW interference ballsing up my communications (I was rolling terribly for orders). This allowed the Russians to race forwards and take control of the settlement. At about the same time a MiG came screaming over my forces and my anti-aircraft defences immediately let fly causing the plane to drop its ordinance and bugger off sharpish. The fight was now well and truly on.
Daren had a platoon of T-90’s in the village with another leading a platoon of BMP-3’s round the left (from my view) of the village and another similarly sized force advancing round the right. I had managed to advance one of my Merkava IV platoons onto a long ridge and soon started firing at the Russki’s on the left. Pretty soon T-90’s were brewing up as the Israeli tankers got the range. Unfortunately for the Russians the combination of being hull down and the Merkava’s impressive armour was preventing any return fire being effective and pretty soon all the Russian tanks on this side of the battlefield were burning – the gun on the Merkava is a beast, any hit resulting in a KO. Daren countered with an artillery strike which supressed a couple of the Israeli tanks and took out the TOW vehicle with them.
I had called in my own artillery strike on the centre of the village which forced the T-90’s there out towards the left hand side of the settlement and into range of the Merkava’s on the hill which soon took care of the new targets and started on the BMP’s. Whilst all this was happening I had pushed another platoon of tanks forwards to take on the right hand Russian force and they too started brewing up enemy armour, however they did not have things all their own way over on this side as a combination of T-90, BMP-3 and Helicopter launched ATGM managed to take out a couple of the seemingly invincible Israeli armour. Daren also launched another air attack which again was seen off with the MiG trailing smoke but after it had dealt a blow to some Israeli personnel carriers.
Unfortunately for the Russians they were now down to only a couple of tanks still in working order and the BMP’s being slowly taken out by a combination of tank fire and fire from a flight of Cobra helicopters from the Rosh Pinna ‘chopper base. There was one more interesting part of the fight at this time as a convoy of white Nissan pick-ups entered the area along the road from the left. At first I didn’t want to engage them as they could have been either UN, Oxfam or a news network convoy but when they swerved off the road and headed straight for the forces arrayed on the long ridge it was obvious that they were local fighters hell bent on martyrdom which the crews of a couple of Israeli tanks duly obliged in assisting them with. After the first few pick-ups were taken out the remainder turned round and ran for it. This was the last hurrah and as I was about to enter the village with some mech infantry and the Russian ‘rescue attempt’ had well and truly failed we called the game.
It was a fun scenario and was good to try out a couple of forces that you wouldn’t usually see against each other on the table (and it gave me an excuse to let forth a few curses in Hebrew that I haven’t said in a long while!). The Merkava proved itself to be an absolute beast, virtually impossible to take out when hull down unless attacked by multiple systems to pile on successive suppressions until knocked out and with a gun that takes out everything that it hits. The BMP-3’s were also a bit of a handful, their gun is quite impressive for an AIFV and its ability to fire a hard hitting ATGM makes it quite dangerous. Lastly the game was played with Daren’s lovely GHQ kit which he has done his usual great job on, playing with great looking kit always makes a good game even better.