Party like its 1969 – A Fate of a Nation battle report

When the Shoot and Scoot team started the “Fate of Four Gamers” the plan was to start getting games going late in month 2, at the 60pt mark. But Lee and Fez had a thirty-six-point match at the end of month one. Three Magach 6 took on thirty-one T-34 (plus some SU-100) with hilarious results.
Now, only two weeks into month three, Lee and Fez find they have 100pts of kit ready to go and its time for a rematch…

The Forces

Israe-Lee (with thanks to David Forrest)

I could easily have gone with 96 points of Magach 6 (Two HQ tanks and two lots of three tanks) but, if there is one thing I learned from our first matches, is that the Magach just can’t kill thirty T-34 fast enough to stop them mugging the flanks.

Thankfully I had just finished the IDF infantry platoon, sans its M113.
This gave me seven FN FAL teams with AT13 FP4 rifle grenades and two blidicides rocket launchers, all for slightly more than the cost of a single Magach 6.

So I dropped the XO ride in favour of some flimsy meat sacks to try and hold the T-34 back at arms length. Combined with a pair of AA halftracks (as a vaguely recalled Fez mentioning MiGs at one point) my  list thus looked like:

HQ – One Magach 6 – 12 points
Platoon 1 – Three Magcah 6 – 36pts
Platoon 2 – Three Magcah 6 – 36pts
Platoon 3 – Full strength M113 Infantry Platoon with extra Blindicide team – 14pts
Support – AA Platoon of two M3 TCM-20 halftracks

Eddie-gyptian 
(again, with thanks to David Forrest)

So it’s month three and I’ve just finished building my BTR-60 platoon and some centurions – adding the extra T54 I had already built and I was quickly at 100 points. It pained me enough to field the Mech and Centurions unpainted I didn’t want to add the Migs and AA – sorry Lee! 

I realised quite quickly that the reserves rules were going to force me to put a lot of models and platoons in reserve (it ended up being all the T34’s and the four centurions!), however I can’t really complain considering the low model count that Lee would have on the board. Those M60’s will be a tough nut to crack, hard to hit and almost invulnerable from the front, all I can hope is to overwhelm one side of the board whilst still putting pressure on the other so that I can divide and conqueror, or at least get in the side and actually kill some tanks.

HQ – One T34 – 1 point
Platoon 1 – Ten T34’s – 10pts
Platoon 2 – Ten T34’s – 10pts
Platoon 3 – Ten T34’s – 10pts

HQ – One T54 – 4 points
Platoon 1 – Six T54 – 23pts
Platoon 2 – Five T54 – 19pts
Support – Six Su100 – 6pts
Support – Mid size BTR-60 Platoon – 8pts 
Support – Four Centurions – 9pts

The Mission and set-up

Fez rolled for mission and got… a four, Encounter!

Lee – Not the mission I was hoping for! Delayed *and* scattered reserves?  That certainly hurts me more than it hurts Fez!

Fez – Two objectives to split him up, and only a few of his small tanks on the board…. Time to put those AK’s to good use boys!

Lee won the roll to attack and, with the tables fairly balanced, selected the side he had dumped his kit at!  Objectives were mostly placed to control the limited high ground of the Sinai.

Lee – I ran into an issue at this point – finding 60pts of army to have on! I had hoped to have my infantry, Magach HQ and a Magach platoon but that came to 62pts!  I reluctantly had to drop the HQ and put the AA in, putting only 52pts on the table.

From there I placed my infantry to hold the high ground on the far left at Objective E1, the AA to cover the right objective at E2, out of sight, and then, after Fez had paced some of his units down, placed my Magach platoon with the AA to bolster E2.

Fez – Well, 40 points is a lot of tanks and platoons, so it’s off to the rear with all 31 T34’s and the 4 Cents, I hope the larger guns of the t54’s can keep the magach 6’s busy and scared to advance, and maybe I can swarm one flank before he gets any of his reserves.

Turn 1

The Egyptians won the initiative, to Lee’s visible relief.  The Israeli couldn’t afford to fire as moving, due to ‘Meeting Engagement’ if they had won the toss.

Egypt

The T-54 near Objective I2 moved to firing positions on the rocky outcrop nearby, one of their number failing to navigate the steep and rocky ground.  

The central T-54 dashed forward, putting an escarpment between them and the Magach 6 and setting themselves up to fire on the Israeli infantry in turn 2.  The SU-100 did similar on the right flank whilst the infantry raced around the flank to get ready to dismount and assault next turn.  A lot of movement but no shooting.  Yet.

Israel

The Israeli infantry grimly set about digging into and around hill E1, hoping to ride out the enemy fire util the remaining Magach arrived.

On the Israeli right flank, the Magach 6 did succeed in blitzing into a hull down position on the hill near E2.  Six 105mm APDS shots rang out, four finding their mark… and fez saved three of them and I fluffed the firepower check on the one penetrating hit,  This had shades of the 36pt games we had previously played…

Turn 2

Egypt

The bailed T-54 in the rocky outcrops near objective I2 decided to hold toff getting back in their tank for a bit longer, whilst the fifth tank finally managed to ascend the cliffs to the plateau above.

On the left flank, the Egyptian infantry dismounted from their APC and raced forwards towards the Israeli infantry at E1, fire from the SU-100 and BTR-60 screaming over their heads whilst the T-54 opened up off to their left.  Whilst an impressive volume of fire, the dug in and gone to ground infantry were proving hard to hit so the sum total of the effort was to kill one stand and suppress the rest.

Fez decided not to hang about and launched an assault with the infantry, exploiting the suppression fire.  Despite the volume of fire they had received, the Israeli were able to kill two of the four assaulting stands, but they couldn’t stop the assault from coming in.  The Israeli team were quickly overwhelmed.  The remains of the platoon elected to fall back towards the hill to tighten their lines, content that they still held the objective for now.

Still there was a lot more Egyptians and the Israeli were already down a pair of stands…

Israel

The Israeli infantry were clearly still somewhat shell shocked by last turn’s fire as they refused to rally.  Their M113 needed to come to the rescue and get some .50 fire down range but they failed a blitz order so not only would they be at their moving rate of fire but on an additional +1 to hit.  Not ideal!

The infantry dug back in and launched some ineffective fire at the nearby Egyptians – in hindsight they should have just kept their heads down.  The M113 were no more successful but the combined fire did at least pin the Egyptians down.  

The T54 does what it does best – burns

Over on the right hand flank, the Magach 6 opened up again on the T-54 holding I2 and this time were rewarded with the sight of three of the T-54 brewing up, leaving one operational and one bailed.  The Magachs them “shoot and scooted” out of sight to prevent the remaining two tanks getting their own revenge.

The left flank was dicey but the right had just opened up somewhat!

Turn 3

Egypt

Egyptian high command seemed to be content with the progress being made as they neglected to supply any reinforcements at this point!

The battered T-54 company at I2 held on, despite the bailed tank still failing to mount up.

The Egyptian Infantry rallied, perhaps sensing that the resolve of their Israeli counterparts was somewhat shattered, and threw themselves forward once again. Supporting the infantry, the SU-100 proved that the APC will always lose out to anti-tank fire and set two of the Zelda burning.  The BTR-60 withdrew to ensure they did not meet the same fate as their Israeli equivalents.

The T-54 in the centre opened up on the hill with HMG and co-axial fire, the sheer volume of fire succeeding in rendering an FN FAL team and one of the two Blindicide team combat non-effective!

With the Israeli infantry still suppressed and losing stands, the Egyptian infantry once again sought to dig the Israeli out by bayonet and grenade.  This time, with some assistance from the nearby M113, the Israeli infantry stopped the assault dead before it could land, claiming two more Egyptian teams in the bargain.  But things still looked far from rosey for the battered Israeli infantry.

Israel

Despite desperate pleas, there were no reinforcements for the Israeli this turn.

However, the halting of the Egyptian assault seemed to give the Israeli infantry something to rally to as they unpinned.  However they learned their lesson from the previous turn and this time kept their heads down, making themselves as difficult a target as possible.  The supporting M113 opened up but again did not achieve much.

On the right, the Magach platoon surged forward, exploiting the beating the T-54 at I2 had taken.  As the T-54 were now concealed and gone to ground, the limited shooting on the move achieved little.

Lets call this mistake one when we review it later…

A quiet turn, but the respite would be brief.

Turn 4

Eqypt

Fez rolled for reserves and… still nothing. Clearly the battalion commander was giving a glowing report about how things were going…

With the Egyptian infantry refusing to un-pin after the previous turns failed assault. Fez moved the central T-54 company, less the battalion CO who dashed towards E2 and its guard of two AA halftracks, up to continue rinsing the hill with 12.7mm fire and launch an assault if needed.  The dug-in infantry proved hard to hit despite the efforts of both the SU-100 and T-54, but two more M113 were set alight.

As it was, only one T-54 was in a position to assault. It went in and the defensive fire of a single AT rifle grenade missed.  Thankfully so did the T-54!  The Israeli passed their counterattack test and dediced to try and, with little room left to fall back, opened up again.  This time the the AT grenade hit and blew a hole in the side of the T-54.  Assault over!

Israel

With a true sense of cavalry timing, the Magach 6 platoon arrived from reserves. A roll of one ensured a corner deployment, so I bought them on to get some flank shots on the SU-100.  

Let’s call that mistake two when we review this all later…

The Magach opened up, their effective fire halved by the need to move.  Two of the three shots found its mark and brewed up a tank destroyer.

On the right flank, two of the Magach continued their hard charge for the objective at I2 whilst the platoon commander blitzed to put two shots through his Egyptians counterpart’s flank, nullifying the threat on E2 for the moment. 

Some good kills!  But this is no doubt the part where my tankie friend starts rubbing the bridge of his nose and mutters about “flank awareness” in frustration…

Turn 5

Egypt

Why flank awareness? Because I had positioned both Magach platoons such that the minimum one platoon Fez was just about to get were going to come on and bag one of the Magachs in the flank!
To compound my stupidity, Fez rolled two reserves, although both came on his far left corner, near I2.  The first ten T-34/85 darted one side of the Magachs approaching I2 whilst the Centurions adopted hull down positions on the objective, putting their 2+ cross to good use!

The combined result of all that fire was to kill one Magach 6 outright, double bail the platoon commander who promptly ran, and bail the remaining Magach 6.

On my left flank, around I1, the SU-100 flocked to gain flank shots on the remaining Magach platoon.  I had obviously put far too much faith in the SU-100’s “slow firing” saving me as two Magach 6 brewed up in quick succession. 

The T-54 and now unpinned infantry opened fire on the Israeli infantry, successfully pinning them but not gaining any casualties.  The Egyptians once again sought to take the hill by bayonet and grenade and once again were thrown back, just, by defensive fire, losing three more teams.

Israel

Both the surviving Magach 6 passed their last stand checks but the Magach near I2 failed to remount. Surrounded as he was by T-34, I didn’t fancy his chances too much…

My final reserve arrived – the CO and his Magach 6!  He rolled up on the left (E1) corner which wasn’t ideal, I could have done with him over at E2, but I had to work with what I had.  The two Magach 6 in the are set about demolishing the T-54, brewing up two. Not bad for two shots!

Turn 6

Egypt

More T-34/85 arrived on board, the CO appearing on Fez’s right, near I1 and the second company of ten tanks appearing centrally.

The SU-100, unable to get a flank shot on the lone Magach 6 platoon commander and equally unable to do anything from the front, broke off to move to where the T-54 were whilst the T-54 moved to engage the Magach, setting up for a  chase on the flank in the next turn.
The Egyptian infantry decided to dig in for a turn and wait for the Israeli infantry to be thinned out a bit more.

On the left, the Centurions and T-34/85 were easily able to deal with the surviving Magach 6 whilst pushing on to threaten objective E2.

Israel

All I could do was keep my last two Magach alive and firing. The platoon commander backed up and him and the CO put a few more shots into the T-54, setting another ablaze.

The infantry took the risk of moving the 60mm mortar and FN team up the escarpment so they could shoot the Egyptian Infantry with the rest of the platoon.  Sadly it made little difference.

Turn 7

Egypt

The T-34/85 got into the zone of control for Objective E2 but the two AA Halftracks needed to go. Thankfully the rocky hill provided some cover and the AA Halftracks survived to be a thorn in Fez’s side next turn. Similarly the advancing Centurions were unable to land a punch.

On the left flank, all the fight had gone out of the Egyptian infantry and they stayed in their newly carved foxholes for another turn. The SU-100 settled into hiding behind the burning T-54 and trying to pick off the Israeli infantry with HE fire.

Israel

Israel – The HQ Magach 6 claimed another SU-100 whilst the remaining Magach 6, backing up to keep its flanks clear, engaged the surviving T-54 to no great end. The infantry vainly tried to break their opposition but even some hot Blindicide on Blindicide action could do little to force a check on the Egyptians part.

On the right flank, the AA halftracks had run out of places to hide and could only grimly await their fate.

Turn 8

Egypt

Fez was sat on objective E2. All he had to do was make sure my halftracks were not by the end of his turn.

Before we got to that, on the left flank, his two T-54 and T-34/85 CO finally bagged the surviving Magach 6 whilst my CO could only helplessly watch another ten T-34 roll his way to be a threat on later turns.

And on the right flank?
Well, with that many T-34 there the result was pretty much a foregone conclusion. Game to Fez.

The Wash -Up

Egypt

Well, the new mech platoon certainly earned jumping to next in the painting queue! What a fun and close game, I really think that the Egyptians need to get in quick and fast, any attempt to fight the Israelis on their own terms at range will end in disaster – However, I also did my usual trick of one assault too far, getting fixated on taking that damn hill out of sheer bloody mindedness!

I’ve learnt that I really need some artillery to deal with dug in infantry, and as such I’ve ordered some Hails – because rocket trucks are awesome. To find the points for these I’ll probably drop the T34’s down to (just) 21 – Too many hulls on the board reduces the return, as they get in each others way and block your ability to bring enough guns to bear.

Israel

So, another loss versus Fez! But I don’t think I can quite blame this on the T-34 horde.

I made two mistakes which are really the same mistake; I tried to bring a Magach 6 to a knife fight.

Mistake 1 – I advanced the Magach 6 from E2 to try and capture I2. But I left this so late in the game, when Fez was guaranteed to get at least one, possibly three, reserves on. Sure enough, my flanks were ravaged by T-34/85. If I was going to make a run on I2 I needed to do it right from turn 1 but, even then, it’s a questionable decision.

Similarly, Mistake 2 – I deployed the second platoon aggressively out of reserves onto the flanks of the SU-100. Whilst that was done with the intention of making a run on objective I1 later, its not like I needed a flank shot to kill the SU-100 whose only contribution to this point was killing M113 APC!

Ultimately, I lacked the mass of force to make an aggressive push on the objective in a 50:50 start. This wasn’t helped by not having a convenient 60% block to start the mission with, further reducing my mass.
Given these limitations, I would have probably been better served being less aggressive and sitting back, picking the SU-100 and T-54 at range with the Magach 6 – as I had been doing at E2 in the first few turns, then picking the T-34 off as they appeared.

The Infantry worked great at soaking the enemy fire, mainly taking casualties when I did something stupid like shooting whilst pinned to minimal effect. They held off several infantry assaults and an armoured assault and were still combat effective in turn 8 despite the attention they had received. It may have been a different matter if Fez could have pulled off a stronger infantry assault to get the higher pin requirement kicking in, but I think that would have just exposed the attacking infantry to more return fire, thus negating the gain.

In conclusion, the main take-aways are:

  1. I need to control my aggression on the Magach and watch my flanks
  2. Israeli Infantry can hold the line
  3. I need to work out a better way of structuring the force to achieve a 60% starting block.

Still, it’s never not fun playing Fez and next week’s game versus Duncan’s 1973 Egyptians may be more my Magach’s cup of tea!

Category: Flames of War

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Article by: Lee

Wargaming since Rogue Trader in 1990; I made the move to Flames in 2006 and have been with it ever since! I play at the Brighton Warlords most weeks.