We had another run out of our Battlegroup ’73 adaptations for the Yom Kippur war last month at the Hitchin club. Previously on Battlegroup ’73 we saw action in the Sinai, with the Egyptians getting a bloody nose. This time we ran a meeting engagement between the IDF and the Syrians in the Golan (the terrain isn’t really green enough for the Golan, but I digress…).
The (very) basic scenario was D+1 of fighting on the Golan a company of Syrian armour (T-55s) , supported by a mech infantry platoon and a weapons platoon with 4 x Sagger teams, all mounted in BTR-50s. The Israelis had one Centurion platoon on board, holding a village on the main road, with another platoon of Cents and an infantry platoon rushing to reinforce.
This time we gave both sides some artillery support (120mm mortars/105mm guns). The other tweak we decided to try was to adapt the Tactical Coordination ability, allowing it to be used by IDF platoon commanders (but only within their own platoon). This was to try and reflect the IDF’s better small unit leadership skills.
I failed to take an overall picture of the board, but you’ll get the gist from the following.
The first couple of turns saw the Syrians spread out and move down towards the village in the centre. Half the armour sticks to the road, while the weapons platoon heads for the orchards to the right of the buildings.
The Syrian FOO tries to call in the mortars to suppress the waiting Centurions, but fail to raise the battery. The IDF gets first blood as two of the T-55s on the road are killed by the Centurions on overwatch. The Syrians then set up the Sagger teams in the orchards, and some of the mech infantry rush towards the buildings.
In the distance the IDF reinforcements start to filter onto the field.
The T-55s and Sh’ots exchange fire, with one of the IDF tanks pinned (which would happen repeatedly to this tank, costing a lot of chits as the Platoon Commander tried to unpin them using the delegated Tactical Coordination rule).
The IDF then find out what the men with the funny suitcases are up to, as missiles appear from the orchard, killing one Sh’ot and pinning another. Things were starting to look a bit grim for the Israelis. Down the road, the reinforcements were in a quandary. They had clear lines of fire onto some of the Syrian armour, but were too far away to get hits, but advancing into the open space would leave them vulnerable to the Saggers which were proving unpleasantly lethal.
Failing to move also turned out to be a poor option, as the Syrians go their comms sorted out and begann plastering the far end with mortars. This managed to pin a tank but also to catch the IDF infantry platoon commander’s halftrack, destroying it and killing half the crew, who failed a morale check and scarpered. In return the IDF managed to get two hits on another T-55, pinning and then killing it.
In the village, things had descended into an infantry/armour scrap, with a couple of the IDF infantry sections managing to infiltrate, but finding themselves up against a mix of T-55s (note the IDF platoon only had one Blindicie per platoon) and RPG toting Syrian infantry.
We called it a night, and it appeared to be a fairly convincing win for the Arabs. Both sides had lost a couple of tanks each and taken some infantry losses. However the IDF had drawn a lot of chits trying to keep their few units operating.
Overall, again the mods and BG seemed to deliver a decent game. The Saggers were impressively dangerous (and we need to incorporate the IDF ‘Sagger-watch’ doctrine to give a better chance of dodging/interrupting) but this reflects what I have read of the rude shock the IDF got from these. Giving the Syrians some arty also helped. I was surprised how easily the Centurions died, given theu were supposed to have better survivability than the M48s, although maybe a direct hit from a 100mm should be hard to survive.
Another thought is that it still seems hard to hit stuff at medium-long range, and I wonder if for this era the D6 to hit values need to be knocked down a level. I may also pull in more of my Cold War mods to the 1973 game (ATGM spotting and Hull Down for example). Am currently putting together some 15mm Russkis and Bundeswehr to try these out some more before NORTHAG arrives.
There is discussion at the club of taking this a bit further and putting together a game to take to a couple of shows next year