Battlegroup ’73

(So, a long time since my last post. My excuse is that after passing my PhD, I had to get a real job again (boo) and that has taken up a lot of my time over the last year and a bit so a lot less time for hobbies…now back to our regular schedule).

After nearly 18 months since starting to build up some 15mm forces for a Yom Kippur theme, we (myself and Phil  from the Hitchin club) finally managed to get a game put together on a Thursday night in February.

We took some of my Cold War mods from BG and developed them to be used for ‘BG 1973’; Phil kindly developed a set of vehicle/gun data (extrapolated from Fall of the Reich rather than baselined from scratch) for the major vehicles. He even produced some quick reference data cards!

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Data cards – spot the error

The basic scenario was set in the Sinai, with the Egyptians advancing to take a road junction that would prevent IDF units from reinforcing their comrades elsewhere. The IDF’s job was to hold his junction and if possible push the Egyptians back.

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The table

The Egyptians had a T-55 company supported by an infantry platoon, with a Sagger ATGM team for each squad. The IDF had 2 tank platoons (one Supersherman, one M48 Magachs) and a recce infantry platoon in M113s. The Egyptians deployed their entire force, with the IDF deploying 1d6 units per turn to start.

I won’t give a blow by blow account, as this was only a play test, but generally it seemed to run well. The IDF got luck with 2 good deployment roles, and had their entire force on the table by turn 2.

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IDF Magachs await the Egyptian hordes

The Egyptians split their force with 2 plts of tanks coming down their left flank, and the third plt supporting the infantry moving down through the right, which was less open.

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Yalla, yalla!

The first round of gunnery was uneventful, the second saw a T55 killed, and another surviving a glancing shot. At this point we decided that the IDF’s better gunnery was not being reflected, so we switched on one of the mods, giving the IDF gunners a +1 on their D6 to hit roles (the same ‘Professional’ attribute I’ve used for some NATO forces in the Cold War version). I was concerned this might unbalance the game, but interestingly, while the Egyptians started to take more losses, it did not feel broken.

By Turn 4 the Egyptians has progressed half way down the board, and were facing 6 IDF tanks, which really started to punish the T-55s. The Egyptian infantry had dismounted and were suppressing the Israeli infantry in the town, and hassling the IDF armour with Sagger shots. One particularly enterprising BTR50 managed to dash past an Israeli Blindicide team (under 10″, on ambush force, failed to spot twice with a snake eyes) and dismounted its infantry which then close assaulted and wiped out a pinned IDF squad. Ouch.

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Egyptians getting up close and personal

The Egyptians also got a lucky mine strike chit which they played on a Supersherman, destroying it. Another Sherman took a frontal hit from a T55 needing better than a 3 to kill it – Phil, to his disgust, rolled a 3….

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New trousers please….

By the end of Turn 6 all the Egyptian tanks were dead, and the IDF had lost an M48 to a Sagger hit, along with an M113 killed by with an RPG by the cheeky Arab infantry which has assaulted in Turn 4. We decided to chuck in some Arab reinforcements, with another 2 platoons of T-55s, however time was running out and after another turn we stopped to discuss how it had gone.

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Sagger kill

Generally it seemed to worked well; one would expect an Egyptian tank coy to not fare well against defending IDF armour. However, towards the end the IDF was starting to look a bit worried, with several tanks pinned as a result of T55s firing HE (which reflected Soviet doctrine at the time) and another turn or two might have seen the IDF in difficulties. We did not set a BR limit as this was just a playtest, but the Egyptians took 30 BR losses, compared to only 10 for the IDF.

We also had not given the Egyptians any artillery to suppress, which may well have complicated life for the Israelis further. All in all a good, quite lethal game. We’re going to revise a few ideas and another, this time in the Golan, which with less open terrain may make for a quite different game.

The Egyptians were mostly Phil’s as were most of the buildings. The IDF were mine. I think all the models and infantry were from Battlefront. This AAR was originally posted on the Guild forum.

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