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Egyptians 2:0 Israelis... Modern Spearhead (1967/1973)

Doug staged a modern Arab-Israeli clash at the community centre on Friday using his 1/300th figures and Modern Spearhead rules. The scenario was simple but effective: an Israeli night attack with a smaller force against dug-in Egyptian forces occupying a hill, set sometime in the period 1967-1973.

Game One

In the first game Simon and I were the Egyptians, and our plan was to occupy the hill with two lines of infantry (two battalions in total), one tank battalion at the rear, and two tank battalions on our right flank (all T-55s), with four tank destroyers (SU-100s) on our left.

Richard advanced against our position for four turns, with a tank battalion on each flank (14 M48 Pattons in total) and his infantry battalion in the centre, recce out front.

In this night attack the spotting distances were much reduced, and the Israelis claimed first blood by eliminated one Egyptian unit in the first rank with mortar and infantry fire. The Israeli infantry then dismounted, and got very close to the Arab infantry dug in on the hill.

While the Israeli armour waited further back, Simon deployed part of the Egyptian infantry on the hill, and brewed two Israeli recce vehicles with Saggers.

A single stand of Israeli recce infantry had made it into the Egyptian front line, but Richard now withdrew it, advancing with his dismounted infantry battalion, firing mortars and small arms, to inflict some damage and suppressions on the hunkered down Arab force.

By turn 8, Richard was coming on in strength, but Simon began to respond with effective infantry fire. As Simon deployed more infantry, he used mortars to suppress some of the Israeli infantry.

An Egyptian infantry platoon was lost to the Israelis on the left of the hill, but Simon responded in kind. By now the Israeli infantry was within 3" of the defences, but Simon deployed yet more Egyptians.

The Israelis were looking outnumbered, and after Simon destroyed two more infantry units, they took a morale test, which they failed - retreating from the hill! The Israelis had lost five out of seven infantry stands, three of which were caused by artillery. The Egyptians lost three stands, having had the advantage of being dug in and firing first.

Game Two

The game was over by 9:30pm, so we played it again - this time Richard was the Egyptians and Simon was the Israelis.

Simon decided to pile his entire force on one flank, and advanced for six consecutive turns against an unseen Egyptian defensive position.

Israeli recce advanced well in front and reached the rear of the hill, while the main Israeli forces began to pass the left side of the hill.

However, one of Richard's SU-100s popped up on the hill, taking the Israelis in the flank, and destroying an Israeli half-track - before retiring into the dead of night.

Simon decided to continue advancing, and his recce units veered towards the back of the hill.

But Richard had had multiple turns to re-order his forces unseen, and now deployed a battalion of T-55s on the back of the hill, which ambush fired and destroyed all three Israeli recce units. The Egyptian tanks were removed from play as they could not be seen by the Israelis any more.

For two more turns, Simon moved forwards, but eventually decided to change orders and attack the hill. This change of formation took another turn. Simon dismounted his infantry, but had coordination problems with his tanks.

Meanwhile, Richard (with advantage of internal lines) had had nine turns to readjust his troops unseen by Simon; the Egyptian defensive position on the hill swung leftwards, unspotted in the dark, to protect their flank.

While Simon now attacked the hill, he could only do so at 3" per turn. He soon faced a battalion of T-55s, AA guns, SU-100 tank destroyers, and infantry on the right of the Arab line. Richard began whittling away the Israeli armour, destroying two tanks and suppressing a command stand.

By turn 12, Simon's infantry was on the hill, but Richard was facing them with a numerical advantage. While both Simon and Richard were rolling atrociously throughout the game, Richard had the edge.

The Egyptian units collectively destroyed four Israeli infantry stands, leaving just two in action. Simon could only suppress three Arab vehicles and kill one tank destroyer.

An Israeli morale test resulted in the two left over stands routing; three Israeli tanks had now been brewed up. The Egyptians were declared victors (first time ever...).

All in all an engrossing pair of games - even for the spectator. Doug tweaked the scenario to give the Egyptians a chance, which they duly took. Discussions around the momentary effect of suppressions and targeting units with multiple shots were par for the course, but this was a challenging evening's play made less certain (thus more competitive and interesting) by the night-time setting.


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