Monday, 29 April 2019

Fate of a Nation: Mitla Pass to Chinese Farm

On Sunday the Wollongong Wargamers had a Fate of A Nation 1973 Yom Kippur themed MegaGame day. Instead of our usual single big game though, I designed two scenarios, each would play for 7 moves or 2 hours, with a short break for luncheon. I sent out briefing materials to the players in good time, and we had a small rehearsal at Thursday evening's regular session. Excerpts from the player briefing pack below:



The players were split into 2 teams. Vic, Colin and Peter (L-R, # 1, 4 & 5) were team 1, Egypt/UAR for the first game, then Israeli for the second game. Bryan and John (L-R # 2 &3) were Israeli for the first game then Egypt UAR for the second.

For the first game the Egyptian forces of 164 points built around a T-54 Tank Bn and  BTR 60 Mech Inf Bn, including a T-62 Tank company, 

had to venture out from the comfort of the Soviet SA-2 AD umbrella and seize the Mitla Pass, hopefully inviting a fluid tank battle...

Their PT-76 Scout Plt game them a great head start with a bold spearhead move, and then just kept going - they looked set to seize the passes all on their own, Israeli .50 Cal mg rounds bouncing of their hulls all the way!

Eventually a reserve Israeli M-51 Isherman platoon had to be diverted to stop their antics - a great opener for the United Arab Republic!

More generally the Egyptians split their forces, each going for one of the objectives, Vic's T54-s going in from the left on this photo above, Peter's Mech Infantry and T-62s going in on the right, supported by massed Sagger fire up the middle from the shelter of the settlement and oasis...

Heavy MRL fire keeping the Israeli Mechanised infantry pinned down all the while leaving the Sagger teams unmolested. The IDF seemed to be concentrating their meagre on-table forces and slowly arriving reserves against Vic's T-54s...the elderly Shermans had great firepower, but their armour was paper thin - we didn't even bother rolling armour saves!

However, as they were gradually reinforced by the reservists...

The combined Ishermans and Magach 2s began to whittle down the horde...

The main Israeli artillery contribution to the defence was the original rather astute placing of the pre-game ranging markers, the avoision of which which had slowed down the Egyptian approach march...

So that instead of a neat pincer movement joining up on the objectives in good time, before the Egyptian attack ran out of their 7 moves to capture the objective...

...the approach of the Mech Inf and T-62s was delayed, allowing the IDF to gang up all their reinforcements against Vic's T-54s on the Egyptian left flank...

With predictable results. And now well and truly out from the air defence umbrella, the IDF airforce was doing its best to disrupt the right flanks advance to the objective as well!

Despite Vic's gallant efforts, his initial constraints in speeding down the open flank caused by fear of Israeli artillery meant that his handful of surviving T-54s would not be able to contest the objective in time - close, but not close enough!

The second game was based around the Israel race back to the Suez Canal to get across into Egypt proper before the cease-fire took hold, concentrating on the fighting around the Japanese agricultural research station that has gone down in history as the 'Chinese Farm', and the nearby bridging yard. 

The fighting here was tough, and with only seven moves to seize bitterly defended objectives, I confess my camera was neglected once action was joined!

Looking from the banks of the Suez back into the Sinai from which the Israeli attack will come
The Israeli view from the Sinai

The Egyptian defenders planned their deployment and strategy very carefully, playing to their strengths of Sagger ATGWs and doughty infantry, knowing also that in this version of the Fighting Withdrawal scenario their armoured units would soon be withdrawn back across the Canal...

As cunningly as the Israeli's used their Armour and Artillery....

...there was just no suppressing the massed Sagger fire of the hidden Egyptian infantry! 

So once again a determined offensive was stalled by an equally hard fought defence.

A good days gaming in great company, but if we revisit these scenarios I will have to rebalance them if we are to determine The Fate of a Nation!


  1. nice report, will use it for inspiration. Nice painting too!

  2. What a spectacular battle, nice report!

  3. What a spectacle - enjoyed very much, thanks.