Thursday, August 2, 2012

IDF vs. PLA, Refugee Camps near Tyre, July 1982

In our continuing Lebanese Civil War “campaign”, Rich Uncle Pat decided to put the Israelis through a wringer, giving them the densest urban terrain they had seen yet. Previously, the campaign had them in the wonderful orchards of rural Lebanon trying to push a column through, getting delayed and leading to a strategic SNAFU. This strategic SNAFU required Israeli forces to push into the nice suburbs of Tyre to secure a crossroads, allowing a Merkava I Platoon to successfully get to where they needed to be because they got "lost" trying to keep on schedule.

Well, did you wonder where they actually needed to get to? The real reason?

Due to the delay in the column, the mechanized platoon nearby had moved off-course in an attempt to support it. They never arrived, but their detour had thrown them into unfamiliar territory. By the time they realized they were in the wrong area, they were deep into the city and the only way to get back would be to cut through a nearby refugee camp. They were to get through the camp without leaving anyone behind, but especially getting the Battalion CO (LTC Geiger) out.  One of the few PLA units in the area would be ambushing them and trying to cause as much damage for an in-area local news crew to catch.

So the Merkavas weren't lost, the Battalion CO was. Apparently someone at HQ was covering his ass and sullying the good name of the Merkava commander. Damn politics...

For those of you who are following at home with your personal copies of Rock the Casbah, he was playing  “Peace for Galilee Scenario 2: The Al Bass Crossroads” (Note: Our first scenario is likewise the first scenario for Peace for Galilee, and the second was one of RUP’s own devising).

We were also trying out a rules change regarding Big Men and Tactical Initiative. In previous games, the drawing of a great deal of Tactical Initiative had generally bogged down the game and was probably the most confusing part for most of the people who were unfamiliar with the rules. To make the game run quicker, RUP eliminated Tactical Initiative chits and instead gave Big Men a number of Big Men Actions equal to their number. Rallying was now replaced by a stat similar to a “Big Man Bonus”, where they would roll to see how many wounds they would take off.

A few other minor clarifications/modifications:

-  The Armored Bonus Move was taken out, and replaced by the Israelis moving on a single “Convoy” chit until engaged. They’d have to remain 4” from each other until all hell broke loose.
-   Only one MG per turn could fire from the Zeldas. If the HMG fired and shared an arc with an LMG, they got a +3 to the HMG’s total roll.
-    The Palestinians were rated as “Average” for being PLA units rather than just militia, while the Israelis were rated as “Good”.
-     The Magach’s ERA used a similar mechanic to Israeli Grenades (ENDA), where they’d have to roll under a certain number not to decrease it. Once it went below one, it was no longer effective. This was done to show ERA deterioration over time.
-    The road was a bit wider, so we could cram three vehicles at once if we took the sidewalk on either side.

If there are any others or mistakes in there, Rich Uncle Pat can correct me/insult me/assault me as he feels is necessary. I also won't be showing the deployment zones because 1) I was Israeli and 2) This is a good time to show you the hell that we had to go through. Try and figure out where the PLA was hidden yourselves!

Layout of the table, showing the visible blinds.

View from the Israeli side (Honest Dan and I). Trust me, it's a longer path than it looks.

View from the Palestinian side (Anton and Housemartin). The back-alleys are passable to trucks, but not M113s.

View from the exit. Too many blinds for my taste.

The Israelis enter, leading with the Magach. Put your best gun forwards!

What's the blind in the middle of the street?

Apparently a bunch of people who didn't learn not to play in the street.

Nearby, Abed's Birthday Party is revealed.

"It is tradition for the the birthday boy to carry all his presents at o-Are those Zeldas?"

PLA blinds maneuver in the back-alleys of the camp.

That's a suspicious-looking trash pile. Could it be...?


Actually, that didn't do anything... yet.

"Solidarity! We can stop the tank if we stay firm!"

The Birthday Party gets curious as more Zeldas enter.

A lot of blinds and buildings to get through.

More back-alley movement, and a lot of held actions.

"Okay, maybe solidarity won't stop tanks."

The convoy trudges forwards into the kill zo-I mean, refugee camp.

It's quiet. Too quiet.

Are all these pictures of Israelis driving building up the tension?...

... Because it sure was for the Israelis.

"News Crew at 3 O'Clock!" "Load the Willy Pete and fire!"

More civilians begin to appear...

Final look at the convoy before the next turn...

Civilians run down back alleys. Possible suicide bomber?

Civilians spread out into perfect spacing. Possible flash mob?

The entire convoy is on the board. Time for ambush?

Yeah, time for ambush.

The PLA fires two shots down the street to try and cut the convoy in half.

Lucky for the Israelis, Anton's dice were cold and only got a pair of near misses .

Another group reveals itself near the intersection, devilishly hidden from view.

First is a near miss...

... And the second is a hit that fails to cause damage. Horrible, horrible luck!

The aftermath of the chaos: No damage, but a lot of panic!

These civilians: They stand in streets, block tanks, and run into the middle of firefights. Seriously...

The second Zelda takes up position on the side of the road to cover the rear.

Another RPG shot takes off the gun of Platoon Leader's Zelda.

The other two Zeldas make them pay, though, pinning them down and taking one out.

The Magach's response to the RPG is a bit more effective.

The PLA decides that the building is no longer up to code...

... and end up coughing outside the door for a bit.

"I hope that guy is smuggling chocolate bars and not C4 under that tunic."

Another group reveals itself and goes after the CO's Zelda.

The Birthday Party flees into the street. Does anyone in Lebanon just know how to run away?

The rear-facing Zelda gets another terrorist as the column moves forwards.

The Israelis take up new positions down the street, but knowing where the blinds are is little help if they can't spot them.

The film crew gets quality footage of the CO's Zelda as it passes the civilians.

A team rushes into the street and fires off an RPG round at the Zelda's rear...

Yet another near miss! Thank Yaweh!

Secret Weapon Revealed!

"What a shot!"

"Well, that didn't go like we planned."

This PLA cell decides it has done its duty today...

... Leaving behind those who couldn't pull their own weight.

The cell driven out by the Magach gets a second chance!

Well, at least it'll look great on the evening news.

The Israelis move up and their luck holds.

Until the next shot, which turns it into a pillbox and takes an Israeli out of action.

The civilians duck out of the way as the Israelis fire down the street.

The Magach turns its AA Machine Gun on the ambushers when its main gun can't elevate upwards.

The news crew, still walking around amidst the smoke and shells.

A random 120mm Mortar shell lands in the area, but fails to go through the roof as a nearby Zelda's engine goes offline.

The rearmost Zelda, after being stuck with its engine off, finally gets moving.

The arrivals of Merkavas signals a possible end to the ambush.

Slowly but surely moving off the board...

The immobilized Zelda takes another round to the side, but the Toga Armor saves it.

Merkavas doubling up on the street.

"Just stay quiet and maybe he won't run over us!"

The RR Truck makes a second surprise attack on the CO's Zelda and completely misses twice. Always, always aim!

The Magach lights up a second building, wrecking that one as well.

PLA Cells from earlier desperately trying to keep up with the Israelis.

The first Merkava comes around the corner and ices the RR Truck immediately, saving the CO's rear.

Looks like Grandpa tried to start the microwave... or he accidentally dropped the IED on his way out of the Mosque.

The Israelis shuffle the last active Zelda as the tanks scare off any remaining PLA.

 One thing that we didn't capture in the pictures is that the rearmost Zelda stopped at the bend got hit by an RPG and had its engine shut off. We didn't know if we could get it back on (I think the roll to restart it was something like an 11 or 12), so we emptied one of the Zeldas at the edge of the board and drove it back to ferry some of the fireteams back. In the end, though, it restarted (Honest Dan came through with a roll after about three turns, at which point we had at least two fire teams out of it) and we ended up driving it off.

That situation really goes to show how close this battle was: Up until the end, it was very tense because the PLA kept rolling up new RPG teams on the reinforcements. Of course, Anton's dice were incredibly cold (apparently he saves all his good rolls for Check Your Six!, where he's an Arab Chuck Yeager), which ended up saving us from a perfectly set-up ambush at the center of the table. Given the spotting rules, it's basically impossible to see anything, even blinds, so you have to be completely reactive in everything you do. It's absolutely horrible.

As for the rules changes, the removal of the command chits made things move far faster than before. More units moved because there weren't extra chits between, and frankly the commanders were much simpler to use than previous. It's a really nice streamlining of things that, in my opinion, improved the quality of the game.

Once again, a rather successful game of TW&T. Now what awaits the Israelis deeper into the city?


  1. Lots of hard work and talent proudly showing itself off on the game-table!

  2. The credit all goes ti Rich Uncle Pat; his toys, his terrain, his scenario.

  3. A great and very comprehensive AAR. A really super looking game, on a great table, and with an unusual subject. Brilliant stuff!

  4. "The first Merkava comes around the corner and ices the RR Truck immediately, saving the CO's rear"
    Not exactly, the CO de-assed his Zelda and immediately hoofed it off board so it could go back and pick up the passengers from the Zelda stuck at the bend. The CO's driver certainly appreciated the presence of the Magach.

    "We didn't know if we could get it back on (I think the roll to restart it was something like an 11 or 12), so we emptied one of the Zeldas at the edge of the board and drove it back to ferry some of the fireteams back."
    It was a roll of a 6 on a d6. We actually had another Zelda that drove off board that we *could* have used to go back (and it would've been better, since it was unharmed if I recall correctly) even earlier (either the same turn or the turn following the Zelda getting engine damage), but the method of rescuing the crippled Zelda didn't hit me until after the fact. We got really lucky that it restarted, since if we hadn't it would've been our most costly loss.

  5. J&R, why did you 2 point text for the captions?

    My old eyes were dying trying to read them!

    1. Didn't change it at all. That is apparently the regular size for captions.

  6. Great after action report. The terrain with the buildings are really nice.

  7. This was a fantastic Batrep. Where did you get all the tall buildings?

  8. buildings:

    the gray tall destroyed buildings (which when one side is flipped over and combined with another, forms a not destroyed building) are from the Miniature Building Authority.

    The gray/tan buildings with red/blue/green trim on roofs, the white and gray destroyed building at far end, as well as the three stories with the little 4th story access room (the ones with what appears to be bases or lips at the bottom), are from Fieldworks.

    The more sharply cornered buildings (like the ones off the second alley on the left are from GameCraft miniatures. (those are also modular and stackable, allowing you to create any size building you desire)