Thursday, February 4, 2016

Retaking Mount Hermon (or Some Part of It) - Campaign Series Middle East AAR

Part rescue mission of IDF troops trapped in the outpost system at Mt. Hermon, part tactical re-capture of strategical real estate, this scenario is a great representation of this bloody encounter in the Golan Heights during the Yom Kippur War (1973).

In real life, the briefing of the 317th Parachute Brigade was interrupted and never completed because of a Syrian air raid. This left the battalion and company commanders with just marching orders but not too much information about the enemy and the essence of the mission.

The name of this game is Campaign Series: Middle East 1948-1985. It is published by Matrix Games and it sells for US $ 39.99.

Make sure to right click the images and open them in a new window for better visibility.

It's an uphill battle with just one road suitable for the two Sherman tanks available. There are plenty of places from where to get fired upon by Syrian portable anti-tank weapons. So I moved my dismounted infantry ahead to uncover any possible ambushes and use the tanks' main guns from a safe distance. The tanks sent many Syrians into hasty retreats.

This is a 2D view of the battlefield. Note how the Syrians (orange counters) are deployed in a nasty arc that gets my troops (IDF, light blue counters) under fire from many angles.

The 51st Battalion (units outlined in green) had to take the brunt of the main road, clearing Syrian positions by assault and direct fire. In more than one occasion, the tanks were not able to deliver support fires due to the folds in the terrain.  The 17th Battalion  (non-highlighted infantry) is moving right trying to secure a second axis of advance up the hill. Note the enormous amount of half tracks left behind after the infantry has dismounted. The half-tracks are so vulnerable to the enemy AT weapons that I was forced to advance them forward very cautiously.

Taking the first objective was hard and accomplished very late. Advancing infantry in such terrain and under fire is not easy. Note how the Syrians are counter attacking with all they have after losing that bus park.

A 2D view of the battle near the scenario's time limit. Note the distribution of forces. All my infantry (light blue icons) is at the bus park, holding off the Syrians. The half tracks, hopelessly back at the line of departure (in the real battle they were half tracks from a storage facility, with not even MG mounts).

At the end of the scenario I could only muster a draw. The scenario has evolved into an infantry engagement around the bus park, with some of my armor eventually getting in support. I lost a halftrack platoon (see the smouldering wreck at the bottom of the screen).

The actual battle during the Yom Kippur war ended up with the IDF not achieving its objectives (the upper and lower ski lift stations, not shown in these screenshots).



Chris said...

Great stuff JC. I have this game but haven't put any time into it yet. I've got some Tunisia 43 PBEM going with Doug. Campaigns Middle East will be next!

JC said...

Hi Chris. Thanks for your comment. I am enjoying this war game a lot. The gameplay is very dynamic.