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Friday, May 16, 2014

Run Away! Anatomy of a UAR Victory

By Iron Tom

Ron, Tony, Greg and Tom of the BattleVault Gamers got together to play a Flames of War game using the Arab-Israeli “Fate of a Nation” book.  Ron and Tony played the Israelis while Greg and Tom played the United Arab Republic (UAR) Forces.  Both forces were just over 2000 points and we rolled up Fighting Withdrawal as a mission with Greg and Tom’s UAR force defending.

The Battlefield:

The Battlefield was set up using a GeoHex base to which Tom’s growing collection of Battlefront desert terrain was added, to include the new Mosques and walls set.

The Forces:

The UAR Force:

The UAR force was centered on a Tank Battalion of T-55s with Infantry, Artillery, and AT support.

The UAR force in miniature.  Note: We always pace our artillery off-board when playing “Fate of a Nation Games.”

The UAR Tank Battalion Commander

The Israeli Force:

The Israeli Force was also a Tank force with mix of upgraded Shermans a Sho't tanks supported by mechanized infantry and a short battery of 25 pdr's, also placed off board.

The Israeli force in miniature models.


The objectives were placed on on escarpment on the left, a palm grove in the middle and behind a palm grove on the right.

The UAR deployed one T-55 company on the left escarpment tied in with the large infantry company that extended across the center to the right of the UAR deployment zone.

The UAR far right was anchored by a T-55 company deployed in a palm grove just in front of the right objective.

The UAR's full force deployed.

The Israeli force deployed the Sho't heavy tanks in the center, flanked by upgraded Shermans on either side, and the infantry on the far right.

The Israelis opened the game with a salvo from the the M51 Ishermans which, with their re-rolls at long range when stationary, had little problem knocking out just over half of the T-55 Company on the UAR right.

Even Gone-to-Ground and Concealed is not enough to protect the UAR T-55's from accurate Israeli Tank fire. The T-55 Company fails its required morale check and flees.

In response, the UAR deploys its third T-55 company from Ambush on the high ground and the same palm grove where the right T-55 company was just destroyed.

The UAR 3rd company deploys from Ambush

The UAR 3rd Tank Co knocks out two Sho't tanks and bails another, but the Sho't tanks pass their required morale check.  The fire from the 3rd UAR Tank Co fails to have any real effect against the M51 Ishermans.

On the UAR right the 1st UAR Tank Co tries to take advantage of the Israeli infantry being in the open and without tank support of their own.

The Israelis, in turn two, continue to focus fire on the UAR 3rd Tank Co. The salvo is devastating and the company is nearly knocked out, but the command tank survives and is able to hide behind terrain to deny the Israeli tanks from completely destroying the unit.

On the Israeli right the unsupported infantry are able to make it in to the edge of the town and thus gain some protection against the UAR 1st Tank Co. Additionally, the Israelis employ smoke against the UAR Forward Observer to reduce his ability to call for UAR fire support.

A good plan, but the UAR Forward observer succeeds in spotting and targeting the Israeli infantry anyway.  The fire does no real damage but the Israeli infantry is pinned and will fail six rally attempts and be "stuck" for the remainder of the battle.

On the Arab right nothing can be done now other than to hide, either in the infantry foxholes or behind terrain for the last of  the 15 T-55s that fought on the UAR right.

With no real opposition before them, the M51 Ishermans storm forward.

On the Israeli center/right the Sho't and M50 Super Sheramans continue to press.

The UAR 3rd Tank company was pulled off the field with its last surviving tank to fulfill the missions withdrawal requirement.  The M51 Ishermans seeing the withdrawal of the last tank on their flank work up a frenzy and charge the UAR Infantry company. Though pinned, both Blindicide teams near the assault score two hits and stop the Isherman assault!  These hits cause a lost and a bailed tank which, along with a previously destroyed Isherman (Knocked out by SU-100's before they died), required a platoon morale check. The M51 Isherman platoon fails this check and the UAR forces finally have a successful outcome. 

With the M51 Ishermans destroyed on their left and their infantry remaining pinned on their right, the Sho't and M50 Super Shermans press on toward the center objective.

The 1st UAR Tank company, on the approach of the Israeli main tank force, realizes that there is little they can do to stop the Israeli tanks and leave it to the UAR infantry to hold on.

The 1st UAR Tank Co pulls back to the far side of the escarpment keeping them from harm for the rest of the game.  With the loss of over half the UAR platoons already and the Bn Commander, the UAR forces can ill afford the loss of another platoon.

Though the Israelis have only lost one platoon themselves, time is short and they must press the center objective soon. They absolutely need their infantry to rally and assist in whittling down the large UAR infantry company defending the center objective.

But...the Israeli infantry refuses to rally, rolling the fourth "1" in a row!

So, the Israeli tanks have to go it alone. Though they have no problem closing to assault, they can only kill a few teams at a time, and the UAR infantry wisely just falls back rather than counter attacking and incurring more loses. The Sho't assault first and when the UAR foot troops break off, they preclude the M50 Super Shermans from having any chance of killing UAR infantry.

The Israeli tanks finally clear and secure the center objective, but it's too late as it's the last turn and they will never start a turn in possession of an objective. Though they killed off a lot of UAR Infantry the UAR Infantry company was just too large and too spread out to get close enough to force a unit morale check.

So the game ended as a 4-3 win for the UAR.  The most successful “tactic” for the UAR was to continuously break off and get away from the Israeli tanks, thus the “Run Away” title for this AAR.  Yes the UAR troops “ran” but they only ran just enough as required and this coupled with a little luck on their right against the M51 Ishermans and the right with the “permanently pinned” Israeli Mech Infantry allowed the UAR force to squeak out the win!

The four of us had a really good time playing a game that came right down the wire. It did not seem like it was going to be close.  The Israeli tanks quickly made short work of 2/3rds of the UAR tanks and it quickly became apparent  that taking on the Israeli tanks head to head was not going to work for the UAR. Instead a very careful delay would have to be used to keep the Israelis from taking an objective while also preventing the UAR from suffering too many losses. 

Fortunately for the UAR players, the Israeli players seemed a bit “loss adverse” and used their “Stormtrooper”  moves to move back to get into cover or out of Line-of-sight rather than using it to advance. Just one or two turns more of stormtroopering forward could have bought the Israeli that “extra move” they needed to fully secure victory.

The most amazing aspect of this game for me was how well the M51 Ishermans did.  With rerolling missies at long range, the four M51s seemed to account for far more T-55 kills than the better Sho’t tanks. I myself am starting an AMX-13 based Israeli tank force, but I’m beginning to wonder if the M51 Ishermans might have been a better fit for me?

Tom has been playing wargames since the late 70’s, and Flames of War since 2007. He maintains a gaming website for the BattleVault Gamers of Kentuckiana and posts and moderates WWPD as Iron-Tom.

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