Author Topic: CS Middle East: High Water Mark (Saasa Ridge, Syria; 12 Oct 1973)  (Read 15607 times)

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Offline Crossroads

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Here comes your FRIDAY!, with a post I made:

Handed out the Campaign Series: Middle East 1948-1985 2.0 UPDATE to Matrix Slitherine to prepare for general availability. So maybe I'll be playing the dang game for a change  :)

The QA and vetting before releasing out a quite fundemanal 2.0 update is not much fun. Deadlines, being stressed out for fear of missing out on something, and having a RL job to take care while at it, not much fun. But here we are, hopefully no last minute surprises! Fingers crossed  :bd:

To have some fun while actually playing the game, Berto and I agreed to start another public DAR. So back to Golan, where at Jenin, in 1967, things went out let us say less than smoothly for me (The Crossroads (ha!) DAR in my siggie).

But a new decade, a new war to fight, so here we go!

Before we go, though:

=> Berto, on his part, blogs a DAR at Matrix CSME AAR forum. He writes a mean DAR, be sure not to miss it!   O0


« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 02:55:22 AM by Crossroads »
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Offline Crossroads

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Re: CS Middle East: High Water Mark (Saasa, Syria; 12 Oct 1973)
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2017, 06:41:48 AM »
Here's the Saasa Ridge map, with my entry highlighted. As the scenario description says, this scenario is designed to be played as Side A (Israelis) vs AI, or as a H2H session. I've played this once vs AI, and was able after a most brutal fight to have my spearhead entering the city of Saasa, near the EXIT hex to Damascus. But, "try as I might", I could get no further.

Against a live opponent, it will be tougher. But just how tough, I am sure I'm about to find out.

The Objectives are quite straigthforward, the commanding Tel Shams height would give me 100VP, while Saasa itself gives me another 100VP. Rest of the points needed I'll need to rack up either by exiting throught the EXIT hex, where I get the equal amount of VPs as each exiting unit is worth of, or by having a positive kill ratio compared to Syrians. Likely, I will need both.

Looks easy enough, right. There's the highway, you've got a fine amored formation, so just drive there, guns blazing, to the sunset...  :cowboy:




« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 02:09:56 AM by Crossroads »
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Offline Crossroads

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Re: CS Middle East: High Water Mark (Saasa, Syria; 12 Oct 1973)
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2017, 06:47:05 AM »
Here's the battle group under my command:

  • Barak Bn: Three Coys with upgraded and upgunned Centurions of the Shot Kal variation, with the mighty 105mm L7 cannon (Coy Leader + HQ troop + three troops each, for a total of 11 tracks per Coy)
  • 71st Armored: Three Coys of M48A5 Pattons, upgunned with 105mm L7 cannon as well (similarly: Coy Leader + HQ Troop + Three Troops = 11 tracks)
  • A Mechanized Engineer Company (three platoons)
  • Barak Scout Company (two platoons)
  • Artillery Battalion
  • Six Air Strikes (four A-4 Skyhawks, and two F-4E Phantoms)

Quite nice, but as scenario description indicated, quite light on infantry. Certainly would like to have armored infantry with me, but there you are. There's the six Air strikes to call, though. And three batteries of 155mm artillery. So not complaining at all.  :)

« Last Edit: November 04, 2017, 02:35:07 PM by Crossroads »
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Offline Crossroads

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Re: CS Middle East: High Water Mark (Saasa, Syria; 12 Oct 1973)
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2017, 06:57:45 AM »
Finally, what we need of course is a Cunning Plan.

I am pretty good at those  :nerd:  At Jenin (see the link in my siggie), for instance, I sent my Armored Bde to badlands, performing a cunning flanking maneuver, leaving my infantry infiltrating the strongpoint of Jenin all by themselves. They did that, but payed the price for it. I would like to call it a Pyrrhic victory would it not been a Major Loss instead. Bah, details...

Here, I have basically two options: First, I could take everything I have and try to use speed and force to blast my way through towards the Damascus EXIT hex. The scenario descriptions seemed to indicate that was not the historical outcome. At all.

So, instead, I will concentrate my full force to encircle the defence at Tel Shams heights, and aim to annihilate and capture any and all defenders there. That should give me a very nice lead on victory points alone, plus there's the 100VP objective as well. I am pretty sure, that I should be able to have a 3:1 advantage on troops if I don't divide them to too many objectives. And facing that kind of advantage is very hard for the defending side, as they can't be sure where's the strongpoint and how to spread out either.

A classic Hammer and Anvil, it is then. However, I would need to be able to ensure there's no escaping, or reinforcing the pocket, so I will send a small force north to create a block there, to ensure no traffic goes for either direction.

My Centurion Bn will be the Hammer, they would need to blast through the strong defensive circle by the road leading north. At the same time, my Patton Bn reinforced with my Engineer Coy and Recce Platoon, will force their way to the lower right map corner, and start moving towards Tel Shams from there.

This time, with the Jenin debacle fresh on my mind, I did look at the map to ensure there's a route to do that, without the terrain being too difficult. There is.

So, simple enough. Flank the hill from two sides, destroy anything in between...  :knuppel2:

Edit: Added the proper unit names to the map. As always, I will try to hold on to my initial plan, even should things work out the way I thought. Gotta follow them Orders!

« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 05:13:29 AM by Crossroads »
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Offline Crossroads

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Re: CS Middle East: High Water Mark (Saasa, Syria; 12 Oct 1973)
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2017, 07:08:38 AM »
Israeli Turn #1 / (15)


So, simple enough. Flank the hill from two sides, destroy anything in between...  :knuppel2:

 O:-)

For this game, we chose to play with all Optional Rules ON. I don't normally like to play with Armored Facing ON, as I prefer the likelyhood of a hit on enemy tank to be more random, which is not the case when you know you've ambushed an enemy tank platoon and have a shot at their flank, or rear even. Alan does not want to define any rules one should use, but I know this scenario is just made for Armored Facing, so happy to use it.

That said, here we go then! A Com-ppa-nneeehh - Fooorr-waard !!!

Playing with C&C Optional Rule ON as well, it is important to have your chain of command in place and safe from most obvious casualties. Hence, I move forward with my III Troop first. Sure enough, there's a Syrian Recoilless Rifle team who took a shot at it.

I leave the III Troop in place, with enough Action Point to fire when ready, and move forward with II Troop and my Leader unit, with an intention to fire with all of them to ensure maximum damage to enemy.

Incoming! There was a Syrian Sagger Anti-tank missile team in ambush, too. Of course there was. No casualties so far though, lucky me. So I leave them at place as well, and move forward with I Troop, and fire at Saggers. No result!

That leaves me with the HQ Troop, which is the A Company level HQ unit, with full action points on its entry hex. Suddenly, the Tel Shams height looks very ominous. Are there other ambushing tank killer units there as well? The terrain certainly provides for it!


« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 05:15:48 AM by Crossroads »
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Offline Crossroads

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Re: CS Middle East: High Water Mark (Saasa, Syria; 12 Oct 1973)
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2017, 07:15:54 AM »
Here's the situation with my first Coy of the Barak Armored Battalion now in the fray.

Notice I moved my Leader unit to Bottom of stack. Playing with 3D it makes no difference, but Berto and myself prefer the boardgame view mostly instead, so now it is a bit more difficult to figure out who's where.

Notice, also, the new 3D-Unit-Images-on-Counters option for 2D boardgame view. Handy when playing with Armored Facing, when you really need to pay attention to which way you align your units to face at.

No casualties to either side yet, as I only managed to cause Retreats with my fire. But at least (some of) the most obvious ambush poits are cleared out now.

Surely?

« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 05:16:17 AM by Crossroads »
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Offline Crossroads

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Re: CS Middle East: High Water Mark (Saasa, Syria; 12 Oct 1973)
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2017, 09:35:27 AM »
With "Barak" battalions first company, or A Company in play, it is time to commit the second, or B Company next.

Leapfrogging forward, they are suddenly hit by yet another Recoilless Rifle section from the forward hill. This time there's casualties, too  :tickedoff: And no wonder, they are hitting my tankers in the flank! Right stick! Not shown here yet, though.

What is shown here instead is that having had the first troop, or III Troop rather, taking casualties, I moved forward with II Troop, but first I saved Action Points (APs from now) for Firing. Of course, then they fall one hex short in actually being able to fire back. Seems I am stretched just a bit too far forward.

I really need to at least Disrupt that unit, otherwise they will start their 1st turn with full APs, and a target rich environment in front of them :hide:

And that's not all. After having taken this screenshot, I moved the B Company Troops forward one by one, but forgot to stack their Coy Leader together with one unit. Of course when it then moved alone, it was ambushed by yet another Syrian unit. A costly turn for the Israelis  :buck2:

« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 05:16:53 AM by Crossroads »
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Offline Crossroads

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Re: CS Middle East: High Water Mark (Saasa, Syria; 12 Oct 1973)
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2017, 09:41:15 AM »
C Company, forward! Halt!

It is now obvious the forward hill is full of tank hunter teams with various weapons, so I stop the C Company on their tracks on the entry hex. and toggle the Visible Hexes ON to check the area.

As the Line-of-sight rules go, you can only see what is in front of you in the beginning of turn (unless you have Recon Units, more of that later!), and as I had no units at all in the map I am entering the map blind as a bat.

However, the Syrian units firing at my tankers have revealed themselves, and while that is not necessarily so if I'd have only a unit or two there, with the plethora of friendlies now in the area they are all spotted.

So time to practice some of that famous Israeli gunnery.

LOAD HE! UP! FIRE! FIRING!

:knuppel2:  O0

« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 05:17:21 AM by Crossroads »
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Offline Crossroads

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Re: CS Middle East: High Water Mark (Saasa, Syria; 12 Oct 1973)
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2017, 09:45:57 AM »
So time to practice some of that famous Israeli gunnery. LOAD HE! UP! FIRE! FIRING!

I do like the sound of that, you will be hearing it often during the DAR  :smitten:

Cpt Zamir had driven his Company hard at the gunnery range, and there we are, all Syrian units in the forward hill (that I know off  :buck2: ) are either hit with a Retreat, or Reduced + Retreat, or Eliminated, as the last volley resulted in.

All other Troops used their APs, but III Troop. I am leaving all these unit in place though, and since the III Troop can Op Fire twice, any Syrian unit re-entering those hexes would be in a world of trouble...

« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 05:17:50 AM by Crossroads »
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Offline Sir Slash

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Re: CS Middle East: High Water Mark (Saasa, Syria; 12 Oct 1973)
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2017, 09:47:02 AM »
Oh Boy! This is gonna be fun.  :clap:
"Take a look at that". Sgt. Wilkerson-- CMBN. His last words after spotting a German tank on the other side of a hedgerow.

Offline Crossroads

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Re: CS Middle East: High Water Mark (Saasa, Syria; 12 Oct 1973)
« Reply #10 on: November 04, 2017, 09:50:12 AM »
Oh Boy! This is gonna be fun.  :clap:

Yeah, sure, but fun for whom? I've only encountered the Syrian AI so far (in a form of Opportunity Fire logic), taking losses already... Once Berto joins in I am sure there will be plenty of happy Syrians around   :hide:

 ;)

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Offline Crossroads

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Re: CS Middle East: High Water Mark (Saasa, Syria; 12 Oct 1973)
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2017, 09:58:35 AM »
That's the Israeli Phase for Turn #1 mostly done. Time to plot the arty, then I am done!

Here goes, there's the 155mm Battalion, each Battery can do two fire missions per turn, so I plot two missions to Objective hex at the top of the hill, another two for the spotted Syrian anti-tank team, and one each for the Improved Positions on the forward hill.

Now I am done, time to end the phase and send over to Berto. Except I had forgotten to have the Barak Battalion HQ joining in. I ended up driving them towards the action, so Barak units would be within it's higher value Command Range. There's now an action available to see the Command Range percentage values on map, I didn't do that here, maybe next turn.

Having moved the HQ unit though, it will be in Conserving Ammo status itself, and unable to provide C&C and supply to the Battalion. Lots of units will be Conserving Ammo, and as a result, firing at only half of their fire power.

Come next turn, it is time for the 71st Armored Bn to join the fun with their Pattons. See the lowest hex row to the right, with elevation 6 hexes providing a channel for them to dash forward. That's what they'll do...

« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 05:18:30 AM by Crossroads »
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Offline Crossroads

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Re: CS Middle East: High Water Mark (Saasa Ridge, Syria; 12 Oct 1973)
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2017, 10:04:41 AM »
Israeli Turn #1 completed!

The plan is taking form in the map now, with the Barak Battalion's Centurions streaming forward, ready to hit a right stick soon to turn and flank the Tel Shams height from the North.

Here's the Butcher's Bill at the end of play IDF Phase:

- At the friendly side, I've lost one track, plus my B Coy leader  >:(
- Syrians paid for their success, though, with their tank-hunter teams shaken and stirred for their potshots.

This is just the first phase of Turn #1 though, over to Berto, next!

I am sure he'll have more units available to him, let us see how he decides to deploy them, and then indeed let us see how my plan will hold together. Here's hoping he's encouraged with the row of tanks in front of him, and decides to fight for the Tel Shams heights!

That's quite a lot of screenshots, but this is the beginning of the battle, so thought I'd give more details.

Any questions, comments, give me a holler :)

« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 05:19:03 AM by Crossroads »
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Offline Crossroads

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Re: CS Middle East: High Water Mark (Saasa Ridge, Syria; 12 Oct 1973)
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2017, 09:51:03 AM »
Turn #2 (15)

The wait is over, Berto's back with his turn #1 completed. "This is going to be a real barnburner!", he said, and I have no reason to doubt him...

Replay reveals the forward slope is filled with tank-hunter teams, I lose four more tracks to add to the one I lost during my phase. Ouch, half a company down already, and -20VP down at this stage already.

The main road was properly blocked as well. I did not realise that, as during the previous turn, I stayed clear of the IPs and Trenches in the forward slope. Infantry in 1973 can hit your tanks hard, so better to keep a healty two-hex radius between us and them.

Moment of truth, then. Should I stick to the plan, or bypass the strongpoint of Tel Shams altogether?

Right stick! it is, the point company of Barak Armored will swing to the east, while the 71st armored upon their arrival will take an immediate right stick to try to see how soft, if at all, their underbelly is.

Not that soft, apparently, as there's three new Improved Positions spotted in the forward slope. I don't see any units there, but then again the anti-tank teams have a good concealment factor, I am sure they are not empty.

« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 05:19:43 AM by Crossroads »
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Re: CS Middle East: High Water Mark (Saasa Ridge, Syria; 12 Oct 1973)
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2017, 09:52:17 AM »
Here's the Strength Report, as can be seen the loss ratio does not look good at all. Time to hit back!  :knuppel2:

« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 05:20:08 AM by Crossroads »
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