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The Arab-Israeli Wars» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Bir Gafgafa Scenario rss

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Jeffery Hatmaker
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Kentucky
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I knew I'd love this game. I started with the Bir Gafgafa tank battle, and I'm glad I did for several reasons. First, it's only tanks... no indirect fire or air support to bog down the works. (I'm playing solo). Next, I learned not to worry when I see the Israelis outnumbered. As explained in the rules, the Israelis had a clear superiority in tanks for the following reasons: They subscribed heavily to the "first fire" law of kicking @$$. They used the terrain. They didn't button up for battle. (The tank commander would remain exposed for better visibility, thus making his the WORST and MOST DANGEROUS job in the IDF). AND, they had better tanks. This scenario goes down in November of 1956, and if you'd like more historical info, I highly recommend the "History" section at the Israeli Defense Force web site, (just google the three letters "IDF" and you'll ring the bell first try.) The sitch is this: you're on your way to the Suez Canal to free it up from Arab control. You're intercepted at Bir Gafgafa (it's spelled "Gifgafa" in the book but every other reference to it in the world is Gafgafa) by Egyptian tanks. Battle WILL ensue. You enter from the south of board A and the Egyptians enter from the north of board B. The Suez Canal runs along your left flank from north to south. The Arabs are coming from the North east to intercept you as you travel directly North, preferably off the board. This troubles me somewhat, for having looked at the historical battle maps, it is plain that the Israelis were crossing the Sinai, travelling west to east, to reach the Suez. In other words, the IDF would've been travelling due east (not north) and the Arab forces would been coming from the west (not the north east). Also, unless I miss my guess, the Suez wouldn't be visible from Bir Gafgafa, (a well in the Sanai), but all is forgiven in the name of preserving "flavor" and "feel." I used the road to gobble up as much real estate as I could before engagement. Stacking can be problematic, but I did it anyway. The improvements in the Panzer Leader/Panzer Blitz rules should be evident to you by this point. My fave? MORALE! Dispersed units outomatically recover ONLY in the basic rules. Otherwise, they have to roll their morale in order to "un-disperse." The Israeli morale for this scenario is B the Arab morale is C (A being the highest and D being tte lowest). This means that each dispered Israeli must roll a 1-4 to un-disperse and each Arab only 1-3. Lots of units stay down; lots of units get a serious "DD" cup of death! The Arabs swooped down and set up a net to "receive" the IDF as it travelled north. Vicious tank battles ensued, leaving quite a few Israeli tanks in the dust. (See posted photos from this session) Remembering the mission objectives, (get control of the Suez Canal, not some desert well), I had the IDF disengage and continue travelling after bloodying the Arab's nose a bit first. This involved giving the Arabs one turn of un-answered fire as we split, but little came of it. The Arab forces then chased us north, and encircled the IDF in a "D" formation, (with the Suez Canal being the vertical line and the Egyptian tanks being the curved one). One thing the Egyptians did that was out of character was maximize the use of terrain for defense, i.e., they deployed the "hulldown" defensive manouvre, wherein +2 is added to non-Soviet tanks attackers die rolls if they are fired upon whilst sitting perched on the back face of a dune. (Soviet made tanks only give +1 to their attackers because of their larger profile). This served 'em well. The IDF made sterling use of the overrun rules, and punched a hole in the Arab "D," the top of which was the North edge of the board, and victory. (Again, see posted pix). Ironically, this session yielded a smaller margin of victory to the Israelis than my first session, wherein I had the two sides engage in a no-holds-barred toe-to-toe smack-down for eleven turns. Sure, there were Israeli units left on the board, but the Arab tank graveyard was reaching capacity! Bottom line, 2 Victory Points for every dead Arab unit, only 1 VP for every "escaped" Israeli unit. Arabs get 2 for every dead Israeli unit, and only one for each Israeli unit still on the map at the end of turn 11. My advice? Charge in, hand 'em their heads, and if it's convenient, sneak a few out. If not... it's enough to hand 'em their heads. Arabs? USE the terrain, USE the "first fire" principle, and instead of stacking, make a "conatainment front" sort of skirmish line that can shrink to enclose the advancing IDF. Way fun, and I'll do it again soon. The next scenario I tackle is going to be one that involve Ariel Sharon's unit. Just because he's so topical right now, and people tend to forget he was a warrior before he was a politician. Good Hunting

powwowdancer out

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Steven Bucey
United States
Lancaster
Ohio
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I just finished a pbem using vassal of this scenario, with myself as the Arabs. In OOB and scoop it has the potential to be the best introductory game in the entire set of PB, PL and AIW. But the victory conditions, as you hint at, suck big time. It is possible for the Egyptian player to take a nice bite out of the Israeli force, but unless the Israeli player is drunk it is mostly a lopsided battle, particularly and especially if you use the standard rules.

My recomendation -- give the Egyptian player double the printed Egyptian victory point awards, reverse the Israeli victory points to 1 per Egyptian unit killed and 2 for each tank exited, and cut the game length to 10 turns.
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Steven Bucey
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I just finished another game of this (via pbem) and I think I can recommend the best way to "fix" this scenario without changing its intent. Do the following

1) Cut the game length to 8 turns -- the Israeli player should be pressed for time.

2) Ignore the Israeli victory point awards -- Egyptian losses are irrelevant to victory. Again, the Israeli goal is to get off the north edge of the map and the Egyptians are trying to stop them.

3) The Egyptian player wins if he scores 10 or more points. The Israeli player wins otherwise.

(game length and Egyptian victory point threshold are open to to tweaking)
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