This is an AAR concerning scenario #61 by CB Blackard. It’s an Israeli assault vs Syrian defend, in which the attacker’s points were originally only 25% greater than the defender’s, with only a dozen turns to complete the mission. Don (DRG) subsequently increased the time limit to 16 turns and IIRC added a “leg” AO for better artillery command along with extra artillery (a section each of SPA and SPM) for the Israelis. More smoke rounds for tanks may also have been added. The title is inspired by Andy’s (Mobhack) comment in the forum (Post # 2): http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=50029
The Israeli companies—one of mech infantry (F) mounted on Bardehlass APCs, one of Sherman M51s (B), one of Sh’ot Kals (N), and one of Mag’Ach’s (Q)-- follow “the rule of three”: each has 3 platoons of 3 squads or tanks except for N-Company, which has only 2 platoons. In addition the tank companies have command tanks (CO and XO) making a total of 30 tanks. The latter two companies have at least twice the frontal armor (24 and 26cm) of the Shermans (12cm) and upgraded 105mm guns with greater punch and accuracy. Three sections of 81mm SP mortars, one of 120mm, another of 160mm and the 155mm SPA round out the roster.
Their mission is to secure 13 objectives--most of them 90-pointers, with 2 of 100, a couple at 190 and another of 180--on or near the secondary roads which enter the map from northwest, southwest, east and southeast, forming “y” junctions at the west and east ends of an 800-meter road section in the middle. The mech and Sherman companies come in along the southwest road, roughly 3 kilometers from the western junction, while the Sh’ot Kal and Mag’ach come in from the northwest, also about 3 kms away from the same junction. Aside from the roads there are no signs of human habitation on mixed semi-desert terrain varying in elevation from 20 to 50 meters in height.
Likewise, the two forces are separated from each other by 3 kms (more rule of three?) and the northwest force has no infantry. What to do? L-Platoon is detached and heads off in a northeasterly direction in hopes of catching up with N and Q Companies near the first objective along their road. The remainder of F-Company follows B-Company, whose tanks fire a line of smoke-shells to screen their advance. A couple infantry squads dismount immediately behind the screen, preparing to scout ahead. Meanwhile the northwest tank force advances behind its own wall of white. (Fortunately each tank has a generous supply of at least 9 smoke rounds, which somewhat mitigates the lack of infantry). The mortar sections prepare to lay down their own screens as well.
With dismounts moving ahead, scouting and laying down smoke, F and B Companies seize the first objective on their road without loss. Up north N and Q are not so lucky; passing through the first screen, N-Company’s XO loses his Sh’ot Kal to a Malutka missile. Even with its frontal 24cm armor it can’t defeat a HEAT warhead with 46cm penetration. The crew manages to scurry out, and other tanks maneuver around it to create another smoke barrier in preparation for the next leap forward. The first mortar shells arrive, although there isn’t nearly enough to block every LOS.
F-Company’s luck runs out shortly thereafter as an APC, rushing to catch up with its dismounted partner, falls victim to another Malutka. Other vehicles of the southern force gingerly move past it and huddle behind the next screen a couple hundred meters ahead. Meanwhile the northern force approaches a sinister bend in the road and hunkers down behind its own screen, each crew sensing danger ahead. In anticipation of ambush, some mortars and SPA switch from smoke to HE.
Suddenly everything seems to happen at once. A Mag’ach comes out of the screen and is immediately taken under fire by 2 T-55A’s which providentially miss. A Sh’ot Kal does the same and gets brewed up; no one escapes this time. Other tanks come to their aid and the T-55s are no more. In front of them are 2 BRDM-2 Malutka vehicles but they do not fire—the Israeli tanks are within their 500-meter arming shadow. They are dispatched without mercy, but in revenge a BRDM somewhere ahead launches a Malutka and blows up a Mag’ach which had strayed onto higher ground. In the absence of infantry the tankers are practically blind (L-Platoon has not yet arrived, and one of its APCs has been destroyed along with its crew and passenger), so in near-panic they hurriedly fire smoke in the general direction to cut off LOS. Likewise, down south, where the second objective has been seized, a Sherman has blundered into LOS of a T-55 and gets a 28cm-penetrating HEAT round right in the kisser. Miraculously the crew survives with hardly a scratch.
The rest of the battle resembles a meat-grinder more than armed conflict. The northern force seizes its first objective while destroying a platoon of T-55’s and a couple more BRDM-2s , but loses no less than 6 tanks to AT missiles, RPGs and cannon fire. Without infantry to spot the enemy they have no choice but to expose themselves to fire and pray they miss. Even with
infantry the southern force loses 3 tanks while wiping out a dug-in T-55 platoon at close range and another BRDM. As they move forward more defenders—tanks, infantry, RRs, ATGs—are exposed seemingly everywhere, but despite losses they push on, seizing the western junction while losing more tanks and APCs. They manage to overcome resistance of two RRs at the southern off-road objective with a surviving Sherman and mech infantry.
Somehow enough tanks from the northern force pull through to make a grab for the off-road objectives north of the central road segment. But the first one to try gets blasted by yet another invisible foe. What next? Shortly thereafter several T-55s trundle into view; two are destroyed but at least one escapes. A squad from L-Platoon (L2) has finally showed up and spots it heading for the northwest road objective, now guarded only by bailed-out tank crews. Two tanks—a Mag’ach and Sherman--shadow it through a wasteland of burning vehicles, and when it arrives next to the VH L2 holds its attention long enough for them to move in for the kill. The Mag’ach remains behind to guard the VH and L2 remounts, cautiously moving through the carnage in its fragile Bardehlass to guard the first northern off-road objective…
…which has in the meantime been captured by a Mag’ach, which continued on to the second one, and then, somehow being unopposed, passed on to the first northeastern road objective. While a Bardehlass has been blown up by infantry as it attempts to reach the eastern junction, another Mag’ach breaks free from the maelstrom, seizes it, and heads south.
A counterattack on the western junction is beaten off, as is one against the southern VHs; the lone Sherman guarding there dispatches 4 T-55’s which tried to take them back. Sorry guys! As a last gasp a Syrian tank manages to recover the northeast off-road VH, but R1, the Mag’ach under Samal Shapira which made the initial northern breakthrough, cautiously approaches the enemy tank from behind and destroys it with a couple cannon shots. The bad guys had apparently been stunned by artillery beforehand and did not return fire. S1, the Mag'ach commanded by Samar Evan-Tov which took the eastern junction, gives the coup-de-grace to a fleeing T-55 as fitting end to the slaughter.
Final score is 4516:3743, “only” a points-high draw but your humble narrator will take this result for such a daunting scenario anytime. Perhaps you, dear reader, with benefit of foresight from this report, may do better, possibly even win. To that end may I wish you the best of luck. Thanks for reading and happy gaming!
P.S. A couple saves should be attached. Please let me know if they’re not OK. Thanks