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"We'll use our nukes".
That was the message delivered to the US administration when the Israeli army was doing poorly in the 1973 war with Egypt and Syria. The US responded with the biggest delivery of military equipment ever (tanking the budget for the aid to the Republic of Vietnam). Eventually the tides turned and Israel finished the war in an advantageous military position. Because the Arab armies had performed better than in the 1967 war, it was felt that the war helped them "save face" and come to the egotiating table (the Camp David accords were signed a few years later between Sadat, Begin, and Carter).
The reality is a little different. Egypt actually ended the war in a precarious position, with the entire 3rd Army surrounded and cut off. But it could have been worse for Egypt. A battle in Ismalia prevented the 2nd Army from the same fate.
The Sands of War Ismalia scenario has a multi-battalion force of Israeli infantry and armour attacking up the west side of a canal to Ismalia (here represented by the big city on board 16). The Egyptians have mainly infantry and some anti-armour weapons. The depressions are irrigation canals which do not completely block movement - but do impede
it as vehicles can bog. The attackers can drive straight north to Ismalia, but have several kilometers of irrigation canals and woods to go through. Flanking from the west is another option, but there is only a narrow path free of salt marsh (which can also bog vehicles. The Egyptians are limited to setting up near the towns, but can also set up on the hills over the stream on map 6. The Israelis have a bizarre setup, the last 4 hexes on map 15 - which means every unit is stacked to the max on a 32-hex rectangle. Anyway, the armour is on the west, which will take the western path south of the canal and over the bridge in 1315. The infantry will slog north through the woods and canals.
No air support (but all Egyptian units are concealed anyway).
With the units so close together, everything is in command. There are 8 command units and 2 staff units, so there is substantial command ability for this force. (Note: Command tanks unfortunately do not live very long often). The tank battalions and mechanized infantry task forces move west. The two infantry battalions cautiously advance towards the first towns. The other units successfully exit the canal without bogging.
In the Final Fire phase, the off-map 109s fire - Medium is far better than Light, pinning a platoon along the Suez.
Staying hidden as long as possible is the best bet. A transmission order is given to unpin the infantry platoon.
No air support. Most units are in command. Unlike past games, I will try to keep the units closer together to allow for better movement of forces. Task Force Shaked races north. The tank battalions move off the central hill and east over the bridge. The 14th Brigade HQ is stuck in the canal. The two infantry battalions creep north along the road
and encounter an infantry platoon. Otherwise, TF Shmulik encounters dummies. There's one choke point on board 15, but otherwise it looks like the Israelis can race towards Ismalia.
Combat starts with the company of the 3rd Battalion. The M-113 carrying the commander is damaged. An AT missile takes out another APC destroying it.
No Air Support
TF Shaked approachs hill on map 6 and loses a jeep. Infantry dismount and prepare for combat on the hill. Infantry and artillery join the battle by the canal.
Holding at the canal. The hill fight continues, as TF Shaked continues to rake up casualties.
No air support.
TF Shaked attacks the hill, but a pinned Egyptian platoon holds on at all costs. The 18th battalion drives the Centurions around the hill toward the south of Ismalia. The 7th battalion heads due north. The artillery is not used much, but most of the observers are at the rear.
No reinforcements Battles continue on the hill and by the canal. TF Shaked suffers hesitation.
No Air Support
Pinned TF Shaked still fights for the hill. By the canal a stalemate. The 18th continues towards Ismalia. The 7th runs into fire at the town West of Ismalia.
Egyptian defenders cause more casualties. Some artillery falls, but too few observers
No Air Support
First Fire phase, some damage done to 3rd Battalion.
Combat continues, a command tank of the 18th Battalion is destroyed by an RR!
Both fighters arrive!
The 14th HQ hesitates this turn.
No change in the situation at the canal; the 7th Battalion causes damage to the 129th Rangers in the Western town. Units advance. FB damages one tank platoon and eliminates a BTR we're in the FF phase, but no artillery has sighting.
Battle in the woods still stalling. Battle in NW towns stalling. Mechanized battalion advances.
No air support
7th Battalion kills the Ranger Commander! This will shift the battle...
In the east, the 3rd Battalion reaches hesitation point!
Breakthrough in the East! Dan's, Zvi's Battalion, and the 244th are pushing north!
129 Rangers hesitates along with 3rd Battalion. Mostly units just hold tight. However, a lucky mortar from the 118th mech takes out a platoon of the 7th.
No air support
A few LUCKY (ie 3 "1"s) rolls eliminate a lot of the blocks for advancing forces. And the forces advance a LOT in the east towards Ismalia...
129th Rangers are Broken! TF Shaked is fighting for its life on the hill. The 118th Mech crosses the canal to join the fight in Ismalia
Air Support! (both) - this actually does some damage to the 118th
Units advance into southern Ismalia and the real battle begins.
Close combat ensues as the 244th now is at hesitation level
In the Final Fire phase, 244th now broken! This will stall the attack..
No air support.
In Final Fire
One air support (last)
South part of Ismalia is taken...only 4 turns left!
No Egyptian unit is broken, but several are close...can they hold out for 4 more turns?
18th Battalion commander taken out in close combat The regular infantry will win the day for the Egyptians. Artillery breaks the 18th Battalion; without tanks, the Israelis probably can't win.
No air support
More attacks but little progress. Last of the off-map artillery fires. Other 2 infantry mortars way behind attack. How many hexes have to be captured to win? 5 of the middle part.
Close combat takes out more tanks.
Final air support
all it does is pin a couple of platoons. None of the artillery is usable - the mortars are too far away.
1st Battalion moves into the battle. The 118th Mech commander drops artillery on his own head...but destroys a command tank! TF Shaked is broken. The two tank battalions are destroyed. The 244th HQ is broken.
The Israelis control 15 hexes. The Egyptians control 23. And 3 are contested. At this point the Israelis need to capture 4 hexes to win..and they only have 2 turns. But, it might be possible.
The Egyptians are ahead in hexes, so they should try and contest as many as possible.
Final push...the 118th is broken! 2 hexes captured...is it enough?
If there were one more turn in the game, the Egyptians would be in trouble. The last real main fighting force is broken. However, the Israelis simply have not captured enough of the city.
From what I've seen, it seems to be the most fleshed-out version of the FB series. Also, the series seems to do well with the 50s-80s tech level that most of these scenarios occur in.
Thanks for the AAR