Monday, June 3, 2013

A Fight in Lebanon, Part III the Denouement; Killdozer Rules All!


     You will remember the situation thus far; The IDF is making a major road-clearing incursion into a PLO held area, the PLO has been tasked with delaying the intruders long enough for reinforcements to arrive and counterattack. Both sides are sure that they don't have enough combat capability for the job, this means the GM had designed a near-perfect scenario.

from the PLO end of the street the damaged Merkava was a heart-warming sight

at this point the AAA gun opened fire on the IDF troops in the Hospital Admin building 
from far across the park

this drew the attention of the wounded , but still very deadly, Merkava

at the same time the M163 and the Nagmashot engaged 
the PLO unit that had fired upon the Merkava with deadly results

The Merkava found it's target and hit home with significant damage

but the battered and bloodied PLO unit fired again at the Merkava, 
this time doing the seemingly impossible by knocking it out

      I must pause at this moment to reflect on the remarkable luck the PLO had with morale checks during this game. At times it seemed that I was commanding units of Spartans rather than some ill-trained and badly disciplined rabble; such is the luck of the dice I guess.

the IDF blinds in the car-park were forced to reveal once they gained the rooftop, 
they were promptly (foolishly?) engaged by a PLO unit in the opposite building,
this turned into another lop-sided firefight, 
notice the stack of "wound" markers behind the PLO unit

the Killdozer, actually a modified CAT D9, having survived a couple of RPG already, 
moves forward and clears the barricade

the Merkava crew gamely attempted to re-enter the burning tank
 to put out the fire and rescue their wounded comrade
 but were taken under fire by a sniper

the firefight back at the intersection continued to go poorly for the PLO 
but they kept passing their morale checks and hung in there

a missed shot by the PLO mortars accidentally wandered onto an IDF unit 
causing some minor casualties, 
pretty much the mortars best work all day

the Nagmashot and the M163 again pummeled the PLO unit that had taken out the Merkava 

effectively out of RPG range they were essentially untouchable, 
particularly as the the PLO mortars couldn't hit, much less hurt, them

to stop the AAA gun from hammering the IDF infantry clearing the snipers out of the hospital the IDF dropped smoke on the position (not knowing that the Merkava had pretty much silenced the gun) 
big games are fun like that, realistic communication problems between IDF commanders

on the other side of the table IDF mortars were hammering a PLO ammo dump
spotted by that $%#&ing drone

during the next turn the Nagmashot commander decided to go against all best advice 
and tried to drive his really heavy, hyper-armored vehicle through the swampy part of the park
oddly enough, he got stuck

the car-park fight got ugly when both side started shooting RPGs at each other, 
the PLO missed, the IDF didn't

as can be seen by the MOUNTAIN of wound markers that the PLO acquired

and there were still four undisclosed IDF blinds to worry about

this turn the PLO mortars switched fire to the barricade
 battering the much-abused Merkava crew further

back at the car-park the one unshakable PLO RPG man 
continued to pass morale tests and fire on the two IDF squads.....

......a brave but foolish move in the end

the IDF finally scored a solid hit on the ammo dump destroying it, CNN will go on to report that they were shelling an innocent playground that just so happened to have secondary explosions

Old Sarge contemplating the mayhem from the PLO end of the table, 
a couple more RPG hits and the 'dozer will surely block the opening it just made in the barricade

the Nagmashot is still trying to free itself from the park's mud 
while the M163 provides cover against any bold RPG teams

a special IDF command unit deploys near the recently cleared hospital Admin building

having taken sniper fire from the department store the IDF did the only rational thing; 
they had the Air Force come in and level the place

but they weren't ready for the PLO response; a man-packed SAM!

apparently neither were the PLO, the missile never got near the jet, 
but it sure looked cool!

having expended dozens of RPGs on the 'dozer with small effect 
the PLO broke out their "ace in the hole" a museum relic T-34/85, 
this antiquity had limited fuel and ammo and an untrained crew, 
but the IDF didn't know that

for one turn it was tanko-a-dozero, 
two great war-machine facing each other down a narrow and dusty road, 
only one would clatter away intact
it was just like an Eastwood movie!

the T-34/85 hit the D9 and caused no damage (of course), the 'dozer calmly went about it's work 
ignoring the silly old tank and, in moving to the side, exposing the blind behind it; a Magach!
the antique was in real trouble

the general situation, the 'dozer has absorbed (and shaken off) about a dozen hits of various types and is happily flattening all the barricades it can find, the Nagmashot is finally free of the mud, IDF infantry units are moving toward the barricade, that %$#ing drone is still droning around, the PLO units are being decimated by the overwhelming coordinated firepower of the IDF but still refuse to fail morale checks

another lucky hit (you need tens or higher) with an RPG, 
this one broke a cup-holder or the CD player, I'm not really sure; 
both sides began to think that something unnatural was happening with the D9

a near-miss with the mortars on the M163 as the D9 lumbers onward

the Magach has moved up to fire on the T-34
with the now mobile Nagmashot in attendance

a PLO recoilless rifle team (bottom center) tries to open fire on a M113 from a side street,
again to no effect

the T-34 somehow survived one more turn, and firied at the D9, 
it (of course) had no impact on the unstoppable monster

while the IDF return-fire at the recoilless rifle team set off the IED 
(in the mailbox on the corner) that the PLO team was parked next to
this ended badly for the PLO guys

I think the phrase is: "Hoist with your own petard"
kudos to anyone that can explain what that refers to

the Air Force returned for a quick strafing run or two

meanwhile somebody (likely those IDF guys seen lurking nearby) blew up the other PLO ammo dump, CNN and the BBC will go on to report this as a reckless and deliberate pollution of that nasty swamp-pond in the photo, Al-Jazeera reports it as an ammo dump, Fox was busy with some stupid-bimbo's murder trial in California

the Magach continues to fire on the T-34, guarded against RPGs by a squad of grunts

another RPG hits the D9 at point-blank range....

.........and another......

..... but the beast lives on!

     At this point we called the game, there simply was nothing left in the PLO arsenal to stop the IDF and the PLO reinforcements were too weak and far away to make any difference. By all accounts everyone enjoyed themselves greatly, credit again to R.U.P. for setting up the scenario and providing all the toys. The Killdozer, through a streak of luck unparalleled in the forty years that I have been gaming, tipped the balance with its indestructibility. Hit after hit generated only the most minor of damage, it wad amazing.

        Sadly we had to turn Honest Dan back over to the tender mercies of the US Army at the end of that weekend. Hopefully we can have another game when next we see him.


  1. Actually I was in a dazed state of mind. The Killer dozer just kept trucking. It must of been that I was firing Chinese knock off RPG's. That had no explosives or very little in the war head. My PLO squad fought to the death as true martyr's. All I hear still in the steady drone of the Killer Dozer caterpillar engine. Curse the Killer Dozer may it be infested by thousands of camel fleas!!
    Signed Old Sarge

    1. it is so bad that I can't drive past construction sites because as soon as I hear the big Cat diesel rumble I just run and hide!

  2. A Very accurate retelling of events. However, I must point out two things. First, as I was concentrating all psychic luck in the vicinity into the Kill Dozer I seem to have robbed all luck from the Merkava that I also commanded. But I would be completely remiss if I allowed any of your readers to leave with a mistaken impression. While the Merkava was a "Snake bit So-and-So" and one crew man was killed by a Sniper and another was wounded by an rpg, the Merkava never blew up. Admittedly, it was on fire, and burned out of control for the last 8 turns of the game - BUT THE MERKAVA NEVER BLEW UP! That implement of destruction survived to fight again (after significant reconstruction). PLO beware!

    Second, as the commander of the Nagmashot as well as the Kill Dozer and Merkava, there was a reason for the off roading attempt. You see there was this fruit market and they made the greatest smoothies in Lebanon. You can clearly see the fruit market in the 24th picture up from these comments (it is in the picture immediately following the picture of the dead lone PLO RPG guy). My Nagmashot was loaded with two full teams of engineers who were the back-up plan in case the Kill Dozer failed (as if such was possible) to clear the barricade. Once the Barricade was cleared the engineers had nothing to do and decided to check out the famous smoothies from the fruit stand. Some may ask, why didn't the engineers help out the grunts in extirpating the PLO scum, well you see the grunts were reservists and the Engineers were regular army. The reservists do not do much work anyway and they seemed to have everything well in hand, so we let them play (plus we did fire our machineguns quite a bit). Now apparently the reservist commander did not appreciate the value of a great fruit smoothy so when apprised of our plan to get smoothies he decided to shell the fruit stand. The reservists predictably poor shelling resulted in the unintended, but fortunate, explosion of the ammo dump in the picture which also happens to show the fruit stand (the silly reservists had 'misplaced' their ammo truck somehow and only had three fire missions of high explosive for the engagement). Since the 'crotchety' reservists were being 'that way' (and threatening to keep shelling the fruit stand if we went there) about the whole smoothy thing we decided to go cross country to the actual smoothy shop (it is called "Smooth Operator", a big thumbs up from all customers) and get our smoothies that way. You can easily see the Smoothy shop in the 20th picture above. The Smoothy shop is in the blue trimmed building located between the department store and the parking structure in that picture. While we were warned that the ground was soft, we thought if we built up enough speed and took a run at the slop we could just hydroplane our way through. Unfortunately, while we are engineers, our idea of engineering involves blowing things up, this "surf's up" idea has nothing to do with blowing things up and it did not work out. Meanwhile, the 'wanker' reservist commander figured out what we were doing and sent in the air strike. Fortunately, Arvi (the pilot flying the strike) recognized "Smooth Operator" and veered off at the last second dropping the bombs into the department store (it was a cheap copy of the Soviet GUM department store in Moscow and had even less selection than the original GUM - no loss!) instead of the smoothy store. So while it was true that snipers were popping away from the department store, the reason it got 'renovated' was MUCH more complicated.

    The Truth will always get out!

  3. In all fairness, and due credit, that Mark at Daddy's Little Men, ran an "eerily similar" game and set up back in December on his blog.

    So, by proxy, I can say that this game was kind of, sort of play-tested.... for once.

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind comment Dave, all credit goes to R.U.P.

      I just pushed minis and rolled dice (badly) he did all the work.

  5. "Hoist by his own petard" refers to the early use of gunpowder for demolition. Cannons were just coming into use - and were too heavy to really move. So,how do we get into the castle or through the town/city gates? We use a petard - an early demo charge made using black powder and a powder fuse. Problem - no lighters or matches invented yet, so we need fire to light it and must do so in the trenches. So the "volunteer" lights the fuse, jumps into the open and runs to the gate, places the petard against the gate, and then runs back to cover before the petard goes off. Now, not only is the military use of gunpowder in its infancy, so is the development of fuses. Seems the burn time varies quite a bit. And there are guys shooting at you from the walls (highly paid volunteer?). So what happens when the fire reaches the powder before the guy carrying it reaches the gate? Boom! And as the body flies up in the air you say he was "Hoist by his own petard". Applause.

    1. Right you are!

      The petard was bowl or bell shaped (an unwitting use of shaped charge effect?) and filled with blackpowder.

      Highly paid volunteer? Most times he was given the same weight of silver as there was gunpowder in the charge, a kingly sum. Alternately it was a convict under death-sentence who had a choice of breaking on the wheel -a particularly nasty way to die- or placing the petard (once the petard had been placed and fire he was pardoned).

      Clearly they thought it was dangerous work!

  6. very interesting battle report. The mess and chaos sound about right. Enjoyed reading it.