||Missions Of '67
with Gavin van Rossum
The overwhelming narrative of the Six-Day War revolves around sweeping Israeli victories over the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian forces, effortlessly pushing hundreds of miles through the Sinai and West Bank while their foes faltered and ran. The more realistic story is that there were many tough fights where personal bravery, and sacrifice were found on both sides, and risky, yet brilliant tactics, were required to win the day. The Israeli Defence Force commanders knew they had to win the war definitively to secure the future of their country. Commanders making decisions far from higher command took exceptional risks to achieve their goals and often paid the ultimate price.
|Fate Of A Nation
The fate of a nation hangs in the balance. Israel cannot lose even a
single battle. One defeat would mean the destruction of the tiny Jewish
state. Not waiting to be attacked by the Arab forces massing on its
borders, Israel strikes first.
Learn more about Fate Of A Nation here...
|To represent these battles of the Six-Day War in Flames Of War we need to zoom in from the strategic level down to the stifling and unforgiving battlefields of Rafah, Bir Lahfan, and Jenin. It was on these battlefields that Israeli junior commanders faced off against their Arab equivalents to make the strategic victory possible. Many of these encounters were close-run things or even local Israeli defeats. In Fate Of A Nation, Israeli commanders are challenged to equal the outstanding performance of their predecessors, while Arab commanders are offered the chance to show what could have been had their higher command kept its nerve.
Despite the very different setting, the regular Flames Of War
missions on pages 253 to 288 of the rulebook work well for the Six-Day
War. There are accounts of both sides attacking and defending in battles
remarkably similar to these missions throughout the war.
three of my favourite encounters as examples. These are not meant to
encompass the entire battles, but rather represent smaller scale actions
within the battles.
Rafah Junction, 5 June
The critical battles of the Six-Day War were
short, sharp, and often brutal affairs that required herculean efforts
by Arabs and Israelis alike to contend with the forces arrayed against
them. Using the Flames Of War rules and missions to portray these
battles is an enjoyable challenge that highlights the destructive
nature of modern armoured warfare in an environment where no quarter is
given between opponents.
|Rafah Junction, 5 June The critical actions to
secure the Rafah Junction unfolded as a series of frantic and often
confused battles during which the Israelis sought to breach or bypass
the Arab fortified defences, repel counterattacks, and reduce the
bypassed positions. In one of these actions Seren (Captain) ‘Danny’ of
the Israeli Armour School Battalion pushed his company into the
positions of the 11th Infantry Regiment of the Arab 7th Infantry
Division, only to find his tank company surrounded on all sides. They
engaged SU-100M tank destroyers and infantry anti-tank guns to their
front, then were attacked from the rear by IS-3M heavy tanks that they
Mission: Surrounded (see page 282 of the rulebook).
Attacker: United Arab Republic Kuteybh Debabh (Tank Battalion) with: IS-3 heavy tanks supported by SU-100M tank destroyers, mechanized infantry, and artillery.
Defender: Israeli P’lugah Tan’kim (Tank Company) with: Magach 2 tanks and a small motorised infantry platoon.
Terrain: Captain ‘Danny’ was lost after bypassing the IS-3 unit and found himself in a flat plain broken by low ridges of Sand Hills forming small valleys, with some areas of Scattered Scrub and Soft Sand (Desert Hazards) adding to the chaos of the battle.
Left: The Surrounded mission as seen on page 282 of the rulebook.
|Bir Lahfan, 6 June
Bir Lahfan was an insignificant intersection in the middle of nowhere, but Israeli control of it would block the commitment of the powerful 4th Tank Division at either El Arish or Abu Ageila. The Israeli approach to Bir Lahfan took them through sand dunes that many considered impassable. The Israeli Shadmi Armoured Brigade had travelled all day through the supposedly impenetrable waste, reaching Bir Lahfan as night fell. In the early morning hours of the next day, the most dangerous Arab formation, the 4th Tank Division, appeared marching along the road with its lights on. The Israelis opened fire on the advance guard and the battle was on.
Mission: Pincer (see page 281 of the rulebook), played with the Dawn rules on page 273 of the rulebook.
Attacker: Israeli P’lugah Tan’kim (Tank Company) with: Sho’t tanks, mechanised infantry, and Air Support from Dassault Ouragan fighter-bombers.
Defender: United Arab Republic Kuteybh Debabh (Tank Battalion) with: T-54 and T-55 tanks, ZSU-57-2 anti-aircraft tanks, and artillery.
A road runs down the length of the table from the UAR end, splitting to
run across the table to the right and diagonally on the left in the
Israeli half of the table. The rest of the table is Hard, Flat Desert
with some Scattered Scrub. The previous night’s battles have left a
company worth of tank Wreckage burnt out in the attacker’s end of the
board, providing cover and causing grisly disruption to movement.
Right: The Pincer mission as seen on page 281 of the rulebook.
|Jenin, 6 June
As the Israeli 37th Armoured Brigade pushed south past the town of Jenin, the elite Jordanian 40th Armoured Brigade, lead by Colonel Rakan al-Jazi, counterattacked, trapping a reconnaissance company in Kabatiya Junction, southeast of Jenin. A counterattack by a mixed Israeli force of AMX light tanks, upgunned Sherman tanks, and a few upgunned Centurions tried to reach the cut off company. The heavy Jordanian M48 Patton tanks duelled with the Israeli tanks into the night, but were unable to prevent them from linking up with the trapped company.
|Mission: Dust Up
Mission: Dust Up (see page 278 of the rulebook), optionally played with the Dusk rules on page 273 of the rulebook.
Attacker: Jordanian Saraya Mudr’e (Armoured Squadron) with: M48 tanks, mechanised infantry in M113 armoured personnel carriers, supported by M42 Duster anti-aircraft tanks.
Defender: Israeli P’lugah Tan’kim (Tank Company) with: M50 and M51 Sherman and Sho’t tanks rescuing a force of AMX light tanks and motorised infantry, covered by Air Support from Dassault Ouragan fighter-bombers.
Terrain: A well-travelled road runs the length of the table with Rocky Ridges and Hills towards the table edges, often interspersed or covered with Woods. The Israeli recon force is ensconced in a Rural Farm with Vineyards and Fields amongst Rocky Hills dotted with goat tracks and some Woods along the edges of the cultivated land.
Left: The Dust Up mission as seen on page 278 of the rulebook.
Last Updated On Wednesday, December 3, 2014 by Blake at Battlefront