Thursday, August 4, 2016

Revisiting Pen and Armor values for Team Yaakav

As I have been digging into the literature on the Lebanon war, I've come across some new information that made me want to rethink the conclusions and assumptions I made when I first made my unit cards for the various tanks on both sides.

Armor Penetrations

I came across a really revealing passage in "Operation Peace for Galilee" by Richard Gabriel.

"The Merkava's special armor also proved itself.  The Israelis have a data base of tank-armor protection against which they assess the performance of their M-60 and Centurion tanks and the enemy's T-62's.  The Israeli analysis showed that, under fire, there is a 61 percent probability that a round striking a tank will penetrate.  For the Merkava, the rate at which rounds striking it penetrated was 41 percent.  In addition, there is a 30 percent probability that a penetrating round will also penetrate the crew compartment; in the Merkava, it was 13 percent.  Its special armor and the placement of the engine in the front makes it almost invulnerable from the front.  No known tank round can penetrate the front glacis to the crew's compartment.  IDF data also show that in 31 percent of tank hits the tank will catch fire; by comparison, the Merkava caught fire only 15 percent of the times it was hit.  The data show that of tanks lit afire, 85 percent to 90 percent are completely destroyed.  In Lebanon, no Merkava was lost as a consequence of being set aflame."

I'm going to use this as my basis along with set armor values from Team Yankee for determining Pen and Armor values for the other tanks.  But first, I need look at penetration values.

I'm using a couple sites for armor penetration values.
1. Tankograd -  This is a very well researched site with everything referenced.  There is a page for T-62 and T-72 (plus BMPs and other Soviet armor.
2.  World of Tanks post -  The references used on this page are a broken link but the values they have match those for those on the Tankograd site.
3.  Steel Beasts -  The data on this site has a lot higher penetration that other sites but it has some interesting notes about the different rounds.  I'm using the notes not the penetration values.

Ammo for T-62

Here are the possible rounds the Syrians could of used in 1982 in their T-62's:

BM-6 - used in Yom Kippur War, 1973.  280mm penetration at 0 degrees and 1000m* (Tankograd).  246mm at 2000m (World of Tanks)

BM-21 - 330mm penetration at 0 degrees and 1000m (Tankograd)

BM-6 Round
Ammo for T-72

BM-9 - 245mm penetration at 0 degrees and 2000m (Tankograd). The original APFSDS round for the 125mm gun.  It was sent out with the T-72 Urals.  According to Steelbeasts website, this was the round probably used by Syrians in 1982.

BM-15 - 310mm penetration at 0 degrees and 2000m (Tankograd).  This is the next better round that Syrians could of had.

BM-15 Round

Ammo for T-55

BM-8 - 238mm penetration at 2000m; 257mm at 1000m (worldoftanks site).  SteelBeasts assumes Middle East countries used this until mid-80s.

BM-25 - 296mm penetration at 2000m; 320mm at 1000m (worldoftanks site)

APDS Round for T-55
 Ammo for Israeli 105mm

After Sultan Yacoub, the Syrians found a new round in the tanks they captured; the M111 "Hetz" round.  You can read all about it at ((  Gabriel says this about it in "Operation Peace for Galilee":

"In addition, the Israelis have developed a new round for the 105mm gun, an armor-piercing, fin-stablized, discarding-sabot hypershot round.  This Hetz, or arrow round, can reach and penetrate tank targets at a range exceeding 5,500 meters.  This means that the Israeli tank's ability to engage in combat at a range of the larger Soviet T-62 and T-72 gun."

M111 "Hetz" - 310 mm at 2000m (worldoftanks site also collaborated at )

The previous round was the L52 round used during Yom Kippur war, 240mm penetration at 2000m.

M111 round on left

Gun Summary

I'm going with the more likely rounds used during this war.  The BM-6 round for T-62, BM-9 round for T-72 and BM-8 round for T-55.  At 2000m, the penetrations are 246mm, 245mm and 238mm, respectively.  Very similar.  The Israeli Hetz round was found in captured tanks so I'll use that as the standard Israeli round.  It has 310mm penetration - markedly better than the older Soviet rounds.

Armor Values

I wanted to keep the standard so kept the T-72 armor from Team Yankee and gave the Merkava 1 the same armor as the US M1 Abrams.  Looking at the armor values in my A Fist Full of TOWs 3 book, that was acceptable.  I then used the Israeli penetration statistics to back out what the penetration should be for the Soviet guns.  The Merkava was penetrated 40% of the time.  I thought I could round that down to 33% due to the very low chance of crew compartment penetration.  With this in mind, I set the Soviet penetration values as 20 (for all guns since the penetration values were very close), two above the the Merkava's front armor.  At normal range, this will give the Soviet tanks a 1 in 6 chance of taking out the tank from the front (something that was shown to be very difficult).  I set the Remount value to 2+ due to the very low chance of crew compartment penetration and being set aflame.  Also, due to the advanced armor, I gave the Merkava I the BDD rule against HEAT weapons.  Wiki says the Merkava didn't get composite armor like Chobham until the 3rd version.

Looks like this Merkava fell off one of the mountain roads

With the Soviet guns at Pen 20, I needed to set the M-60 armor to fit the penetration probability of 60%.  I chose a front armor of 16 as that would allow the tank to be penetrated 50% of the time at normal range and the additional 1 in 6 chance of bailing.  The remount was set to 3+ since the crew compartment penetration was about twice of the Merkava.  Since the M-48 armor was slightly thinner than the M-60, the front armor value of the M-48 was set to 15.  That would give the M-48 a 1 in 6 chance of bouncing an incoming shot which seemed about right.

The Israelis tanks, with their Hetz ammo, have one better penetration than the Soviet rounds, Pen of 21.  I kept with Team Yankee front armor of 16 for the T-72.  The T-62 had 5-10% more armor than a T-55.  Since the guns are the same penetration, I wanted some difference between the tanks, so I figure the T-62 will have one better armor than the T-55.  The T-62 Tankograd website has the following on it's armor (,

"Like the T-55 before it, the hull of the T-62 was essentially immune to American 90mm APBC at ranges exceeding 1000 m. However, due to the lack of any improvements to the armouring scheme meant that the T-62 had absolutely no chance of surviving the new British 105mm L7 cannon and its APDS ammunition any closer than 2000 m, even in a hull-down position."

Not looking good.  So, I gave the T-62 a front armor of 15.  Against the Israeli Pen of 21, the T-62s only chance of survival is rolling a 6 and then it's more than likely bailed.  The T-55 with a front armor of 14 doesn't even get that.  It's only hope is getting hit at long range.  The armor values of the T-62 and T-55 might be a bit high compared to the more heavily armored T-72 when the game is based on a D6 you can't have very big differences between armor and pen before absolute blow outs occur.  I think these odds of saving make sense. My FFT3 book has the M-60 with one higher armor than the T-62 also but, again using a D6 that limits the range you have to work.

T-55 from Syrian 85 (Mech.) Brigade, hit on the Beiruit-Alei road

 Updated Unit Cards

Here is a link to my updated unit cards.  They are in Microsoft PowerPoint - link


*An interesting tidbit from Tankograd:

"It be remembered that the Soviet standard for certifying armour piercing projectiles is a V80, or 80%, referring to the expected consistency of achieving full armour perforation given a certain projectile velocity. In formulas, V80 must replace V50 (50% armour perforation). For example, if a certain projectile has to penetrate 500mm of steel, then at least 80% of all projectiles of that type must achieve that standard. This is very different from the NATO standard of only 50%. Soviet standards were not only stricter, but the steel they used for targets was of a greater hardness than NATO targets. In reality, the given penetration data does not correspond to the actual achievable penetration of these shells."

Monday, August 1, 2016

Reviews - Command Decision T-55 and Lebanon War books

Command Decision T-55 Tank Review - 15mm

I have a friend that swears by these models.  I'm usually a Quality Cast person but ever since the supplier I got them from went under, I've been exploring new manufacturers.  The figures are 15mm and all pewter.  They seem to fit in with my other figures, so no problem with being over or under size.  I got six of them to work on.  They come in packs of three.

Quality - These are definitely good quality futures.  The tracks and hull were cast well.  Just the little flash and mold injection spots you need to clip off and sand down.  All the turret had a seam a little bit above the bottom I had to sand off.  That was the biggest job putting them together.  The main gun barrel didn't fit in smoothly, so I just took a drill to the hole and widened it up a bit.  No biggie.  Each pack came with 4-5 tank commander  figures.  It took a bit of doing to get them to sit right in the hatches and then glue the hatches either in front or behind them and get it to stick.

Cost - You get 3 for $25.  If you have the Old Glory Army discount card, it's 40% off so $15 for the pack.  That's the best value I know of.

Painting - No trouble painting them either.  The tank came out pretty crisp and it wasn't hard to get the washes and highlights on.

Lebanon War books

I picked up a number of used books off Amazon.  Here is a quick review on each of them.

Operation Peace for Galilee by Richard Gabriel
This is probably the best book out there on the war.  What makes this one special is Gabriel is a US reporter and was invited to come over to write about the war by an Israeli newspaper.  However, his condition was that there would be absolutely no state interference and he would be free to interview anyone.  Israel surprisingly agreed to it.  Having to go through a lot of US Army OPSEC and PAO reviews myself, that is nothing short of amazing.  Gabriel also know a number of high level PLO officials from his college days, so could get views from all sides.
There isn't a lot of detail on the battles, but the lessons learned and discussion section at the end is gold.  Throughout the book you get lots of good tidbits like the Syrians attached 2-3 tanks at a time to the commandos.  The section from the tanks designers themselves and what would penetrate what I'll go over in another post when I review the stats for the various tanks involved.

Double thumbs up on this book.  If you were to get only one book on the war, this would be it.

The Lebanon War 1982 by LT COL David Eshel, IDF

The standout feature for this book is the pictures.  It is pack full of pictures, both color and black and white.  It is definitely written with an Israeli bias.  There are a couple white up about some of the battles, but nothing the other books cover in more detail.  The book was published in 1982, so right after the war.  There are great pictures for every vehicle used in the war.  This is definitely a good one to get for any modelers.

Here are two examples of the pictures in the book:

Israeli Tank Battles, Yom Kippur to Lebanon by Samuel Katz

This book has a lot more detail on the tank battles than the others.  Katz is ex-IDF and has written a number of other books on Middle East wars.  The majority of the book is about the Yom Kippur war; about the last quarter is on Lebanon.  Due to the very difficult terrain, big tank fights were pretty rare in Lebanon but Katz covers the bigger action in pretty good detail.  Infantry did a lot of the fighting over in Beirut and that is touched upon but not nearly as much as the tanks are.  There are a few good pictures in the book but they are all black and white.   

 My War Diary, Lebanon June 5 - July 1 1982 by LT COL Dov Yermiya, IDF

This isn't a book on battles or equipment, but more of a commentary on what LTC Yermiya experienced.  Right from page one you know this guy is thinks Israel has gotten away from what it stood for and what he fought for in the War of Independence.  He is in charge of logistics and taking care of the refugees and getting the occupied towns back up and running.  He is against the war from the get go but thought he could do some good, so he went when he was called up.

He writes about his experiences in trying to work with Israeli and Palestinian leaders to get water, the horrible conditions in the slums and prisoner camps, and the anti Arab attitudes of some of the Israeli officers.  Every so often he really goes on some rants.  He really hates his country at the end.  This is more of a political rant book but some of his experiences are interesting.  He actually got kicked out of the army from writing this and some newspaper articles.  It's not really up my alley but others might find it interesting.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Retreat from Sultan Yakoub - Battle Report

Continuing the Team Yaakav, we decided to start from the end.  Our first scenario game was from one of the last battles of the conflict where the Israeli's got the short end of the stick.  My last blog post had the basic scenario spelled out.

When actual figures hit the table, I had to made a couple modifications. 



  • Company HQ - 1x Magach 3
  • Tank Platoon 1 - 3x Magach 3
  • Tank Platoon 2 - 3x Magach 3 
  • Tank Platoon 3 - 3x Magach 5
  • Mechanized Platoon 1 - 4x FN FAL teams, 3x RPG-7 teams, 1x Dragon team, 4x M113 Zelda
  • Mechanized Platoon 2 - 4x FN FAL teams, 3x RPG-7 teams, 1x Dragon team, 4x M113 Zelda
  • Off board artillery - 2x M109 Field Battery (3 models firing each salvo)

  • Battalion HQ - AK-74 team, BTR-60
  • Mechanized Company 1 - 7x AK-74 teams, 6x RPG-7 teams, 2x PKMK LMG teams
  • Mechanized Company 2 - 7x AK-74 teams, 6x RPG-7 teams, 2x PKMK LMG teams, 9x BTR-60
  • Commando Company - 4x AK-74 teams, 3x RPG-7 teams, 2x Sagger teams
  • Tank Company 1 - 6x T-62
  • Tank Company 2 - 3x T-55 (it's a bit small but we figured it was a beat up tank unit)
  • AA Platoon - 2x Shilka
 I also reworked a couple of the unit cards for the Syrians.  The morale for regular Army Syrians are now up to 4+ like the Israelis.  The Commandos I kept at better at 3+ skill and morale.  I also dropped the T-55 AT value from 19 to 18.  Made a separate card for Israeli Paratroopers and dropped their stats down to 3+ morale and skill but they weren't involved in this fight.  A link to the updates cards is here:  link


The Israeli force setup in the village with the Magach 5s (M-60s with reactive armor) up front, followed by a Magach 3 platoon (M48s) and a mechanized platoon.  The tank commander, other Magach 3 platoon and mechanized platoon fortified in houses held back to provide some fire support.

The Syrians had a mechanized company strung across a couple rocky hills and the mountain road.  The T-62 company were in the hills blocking the more cross country escape route.  The commandos with their Saggers were in ambush.

Board Layout and Israeli Setup, the Syrians could of setup troops anywhere within 6" around the village but decided to keep all their forces out along the mountain road.  I need to get some more buildings to build it up a bit so they would have cover if they did setup by the village.

Magach 5s in the lead (hoping their reactive armor will take a few hits for them)

Syrian blocking force.  The Commandos are out there on ambush... somewhere.

How it Played Out

The day or dawn roll at the beginning of the game was a 6, so the game started in daylight.  In the pictures, if you see little blast markers, they mean a pinned unit or a bailed out tank.

The Israelis shot out of the village, the tanks heading west to confront the T-62s and the APCs down the road.  Artillery dropped a smoke screen to keep RPGs off the Israeli armor and the M60s opened up on the T-62s, destroying one.  The Syrians held tight with their infantry, just putting some suppressing fire on the Israelis still left in the village.  The T-62s took out a Magach 5 (we forgot the shoot and scoot rule here after they fired).  The Syrian mechanized company arrived in their BTR-60s and start maneuvering for a blocking position in the rear.

Next turn the rest of the Israeli tanks were able to move up and most of the T-62 were wiped out, with the remaining bugging out.  The APCs put fire on the dug in Syrian infantry along the road/hills to little effect, although an artillery strike did pin them.  The Israeli infantry in the village moved up leaving the tank HQ stationary to call in the artillery.  The Syrian commandos popped their ambush with their Saggers, taking 2 of 3 Magach 3s in the front platoon out, causing the last to abandon their tank.  The dug in Syrians knocked out a Zelda and put a couple hits on the advancing Israeli's in the village.  The T-55s arrived from reserves and moved up behind the burning T-62 wreaks, one getting off a lucky shot to hole a Magach 3.

Turn 3, the front Israeli mechanized company dismounted to help clear the infantry in the road.  The dismounted village Israeli's also moved up to assault the Syrians in the hills.  The Saggers got smoked and the remaining Israeli tanks tried to make a end run around one of the fortified hills, hoping their reactive armor would save them from RPGs.  The command tank was still stationary to call in the smoke and starting to feel a bit exposed.  The first assault from the village got repulsed by massive LMG fire but the assault in the road was successful and cut the big spread out Syrian company in half and opening a way for escape.  The Syrians replied by holding tight with the commandos, waiting for the smoke to disappear, bringing up the 2nd mechanized company to hold the hills near the bottom of the road, where the tanks need to pass to get to their objectives.  The Shilkas arrived but just moved on.  The cut off Syrian infantry in the hills just put fire on the Israeli's that failed their assault, killing a couple stands.  The T-55s bailed a couple Magach 3s and 5s but they passed their morale tests and stuck around.

Saggers getting smoked

Israeli infantry clearing the road and not doing that good of a job on the hill

Turns 4-6, The front Israeli infantry continued to move up on foot, kicking the Syrians off another hill.  The village Israeli platoon ended up mounting up and heading as fast as they can down the road.  One tank commander dropped artillery on the commandos, just pinning them.  This saved the Israeli force since they stayed pinned the rest of the game and kept them from firing their Saggers.  This allowed the rest of the Israeli forces to run the RPG gauntlet (only loosing a couple APCs) and make it down to the bottom of the hill.  The Shilkas didn't even get to fire before the Israeli tank commander made a run for it and took them out on the way down.  The T-55s tried to put up a fight also ended up burning and finally bailing from the few remaining Israeli tanks.

So, it ended up a Israeli win but with a pretty high cost.  Almost all the infantry made it but they left 6 of their 10 tanks either abandoned or burning on the field.

Israeli moving left to start clearing the Commandos

Syrians in the hills daring any Israeli vehicle to run the RPG gauntlet

A few APCs didn't quite make it through

Israeli tank commander bringing up the rear

Last turn when the Syrian Commandos didn't rally from pinned for the 2nd turn in a row leaving the route open for the Israelis


Everyone had a good time, so I consider it a success.  The game came out semi historical, so that's a bonus.  It seemed pretty balanced.  If the Syrian Commandos would of rallied on a 3+, the Israeli tanks would probably be Sagger bait.  We are still learning the system and always forget the special orders like Shoot and Scoot, etc.  That might of saved the T-62s if they pulled back behind the hill.

I originally gave the Israeli force three off board artillery barrages but dropped it down to two when setting up.  Having to have someone stay still to use it, made them very difficult to use in this scenario.  At most I only every dropped one barrage a turn.  Having two was handy as it gave me two smoke screens to work with.

Random Unit Pictures

I thought I'd show off a couple of my forces.  

Magach 5s from QRF M-60s.  I cut plasticard into little boxes and glued them on as reactive armor

Magach 3s from Battlefront M48s.  I removed the 50cal copula and replaced it with some spare Sherman ones

Israeli Dragon ATGM team and scratch built from some extra Battlefront mortars and a bead from my daughter's stash.  Figures are Peter Pig.  We've broke down and are actually going to rebase our AK47 figures to the Team Yankee basing.

Command Decision BTR-60s bought with the Old Glory Army discount so they were dirt cheap.  Fresh off the painting block ( I just finished 10 of these for the game)

BTR party in the village square

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Researching for next battle - Israeli Escape from Sultan Yakoub

Edit on Aug1, 2016 - Updated info, see bottom

I have a little painting to do for my next game so I thought I'd spend a bit of my down time looking at some battles that happened in Lebanon 1982 and try to convert them into something that would be fun to play.  Israel had three major thrusts, all in pretty different types of terrain.  City fights through Tyre, Sidon and Beirut along the coast, mountains in the middle (mainly non-heavy mobile forces) and Bekaa Valley on the right.  Here is the first one.

Battle of Sultan Yakoub

Sultan Yakoub is a small village in the Bekaa Valley, just four miles from the Syrian border.  As you can see there are two Sultan Yakoub villages; one at the base of the hill and another at the top.  I'm inclined to think the attack was on the village on the hill since there are descriptions that the Israeli's got blocked in a narrow valley after they rushed through the village.


This was one of the last battles of the war.  The UN set a ceasefire at midday on June 11.  On June 10th, Israel was pushing North with all their brigades in order to take as much ground as possible.  The 362nd Battalion of the 90th Reserve Division (under Giora Lev) was tasked with taking the Sultan Yakoub.  The Israeli's didn't have any intelligence and went in blindly.  Little did they know it was the forward position of a pretty much untouched Syrian mechanized brigade.

The Israeli tank battalion was equipped with Magach 6 tanks (modified M-60s) supported by infantry in M113 Zelda APCs.  The Syrian 1st Armored Division was defending the Bekaa valley to keep Israel from cutting the Damascus-Beirut highway.  The 91st and 76th Tank Brigades have been fighting for several days now while being pushed back by the Israel advances.  I'm making an educated guess that the division's 58th Mechanized Brigade was the defenders at Sultan Yakoub.  The 58th Mech Brigade was equipped with BTR-60s and a mix of T-55 and T-62 tanks.  Commando units were also attached.

The battle started in the evening with the 362nd brigade approaching the village and getting fired on by Sagger teams hidden on each side of the road.  Israeli damage was light due to the missiles being fired too close and not arming.  The battalion charged up and through the village to the valley on the other side receiving strong fire from all calibers and cutting themselves off from support.  The commander decided to hold up at the far edge of the village until they can try to break out the following morning.  During the night, the Syrians re-positioned themselves with infantry with RPGs in the village and tanks hidden in the surrounding hills while continuing to harass the tanks.

At dawn the Syrians opened up with anti-tank and Sagger fire from the hills and commandos with RPGs inside the village.  There is also reports of the commandos using Milan ATGMs.  An IDF relief force was stopped from coming in from the East and the trapped units were taking losses and running out of ammo.  The remnants of the 362nd Battalion escaped by making a mad dash with massive artillery support, 11 battalions worth.  The artillery fired in a box around the withdrawing Israeli force while they retreated back to safety.

The Israeli's lost eight tanks and 35 men killed or wounded, with some of the tanks falling into Syrian hands.  In a side note, early this year in May, Russia agreed to return Israel a Magach-3 that was taken by the Syrians during this battle.  It has been in a Russian museum up to now. 

Updated Info:

Digging into the battle from a few more sources, I came across a few errors.  There is actually a lot of confusion on what the 362nd Tank Battalion was equipped with.  All the books, most written from interviews from the participants, say M60s.  The picture below and article from The Times of Israel say Russia is returning a Magach-3 (M48s) taken from the battle.  It was a reserve unit make up from tankers from highly religious circles.  Eshel states they are "a dedicated lot fearless of nothing but the wrath of God."

Here is a picture of the tank that was captured in Sultan Yakoub and sent to Soviets.  You can see the ERA on it.  Looking at the curved lower hull on the front, it definitely is a M48.

From The Times of Israel

Ceremony returning the IDF tank.  From Times of Israel

Reading through all the accounts of the war in the various books, M-48s are rarely mentioned at all.  It is always M-60s.  In Eshel's book, pictures of M48s are even labeled as M-60s, so authors probably didn't really see a difference between them.  From this, I'm still going to go with using M-48s in the scenario but give them reactive armor. 

Scenario Ideas:
I can think of two scenario ideas for this battle.  1) Israeli tank company charges into the village through a gauntlet of missile armed commandos and occupied town to the other side at dusk and 2) same Israeli tank company starts holed up at dawn  in the village and needs to escape to the other side of the board with off board artillery support.  Israeli fleeing is something new, so I'll start with that one.  I'll probably alter it when we play but this is what I got in mind.

Escape from Sultan Yakoub

Special Rules:
•    Ambush
•    Immediate Reserves
•    Dawn - Use night fighting rules until Attacker roles a 5+ at start of their turn (add 1 die per turn like rolling for reserves)

Setting Up:

The board should be setup with a village taking up the bottom half of the board and a hilly countryside filling the top half.  This will let the Israelis start in the center of the village with some Syrian teams lurking around the edges of the village.  A road should from the village to the north board edge.


The attackers (Israel) starts with all their forces on the board.  The defenders (Syria) start with half of their forces in Immediate Reserves, up to one extra unit in Ambush and the rest placed on the board.  Defender reserves can enter at any part of the table edge that contacts their deployment zone.

Israeli Force:

Company HQ - Magach 3 w/ERA
Tank Platoon 1 - 3x Magach 3 w/ERA
Tank Platoon 2 - 3x  Magach 3 w/ERA
Tank Platoon 3 - 3x  Magach 3 w/ERA 
Mechanized Platoon 1 - 4x FN FAL teams, 3x RPG-7 teams, 1x Dragon team, 4x M113 Zelda
Mechanized Platoon 2 - 4x FN FAL teams, 3x RPG-7 teams, 1x Dragon team, 4x M113 Zelda
Off board artillery - 2x M109 Field Battery (3 models firing each salvo)

Syrian Force:

Battalion HQ - AK-74 team, BTR-60
Mechanized Company 1 - 7x AK-74 teams, 6x RPG-7 teams, 2x PKMK LMG teams, 9x BTR-60
Mechanized Company 2 - 7x AK-74 teams, 6x RPG-7 teams, 2x PKMK LMG teams, 9x BTR-60
Commando Company - 4x AK-74 teams, 3x RPG-7 teams, 2x Sagger teams
Tank Company 1 - 6x T-62 
Tank Company 2 - 6x T-55


Attackers wins if they start a turn on holding one of the Objectives.  Defender wins if they start a turn on or after the sixth turn with no Attacking units within 16" of an Objective.

1.  Solley, G.  The Israeli Experience in Lebanon, 1982-1985.  Marine Corps Command and Staff College report, 1987.
3. Eshel, David, LT COL., "The Lebanon War 1982", Eshel-Dramit, Ltd, Hod Hasharon, Israel, 1982.
4. Gabriel, Richard, "Operation Peace for Galilee", Hill and Wang, New York, 1984.  
5. Katz, Samuel, "Israeli Tank Battles, Yom Kippur to Lebanon", Arms and Armour Press, London, 1988.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Team Yaakav - First try at using Team Yankee for Israel-Syria fights in 1982

I've always liked modern gaming and I've been building up a Israeli force in 15mm.  I started with Peter Pig's AK47 and over the years our games have morphed from game system to game system (Metal Storm, FFOT3, home brew..).  Once Team Yankee came out I had to take a look at the book.  I wasn't really a big fan of Flames of War but I like how they streamlined the system and took out some of the special rule madness.  Now having only Middle East figures, I started modifying the game unit cards to fit with what I have.

Modifications to move TY back to 1982

Israel is based on the US from the rule book.  Looking all over the internet for the organization of an Israeli mechanized company, I ended up going with the the organization from the great Lebanon 1982 website.

  • Israeli Mechanized Platoon = 4 x FN FAL LMG stands, 3 x RPG-7 stands, 1 x Dragon ATGM stand, 4 x Zelda APC.
  • I added unit cards for Recon Jeeps and TOW Jeeps, Magach 3 and Magach 5s.  
  • Merkava Mk1 are like M1 tanks but without the Chobham armor and normal stabilizers.  I added Bazooka Skirts to them but I'm not ever sure what they do yet.  Also, looking at the ammo the Israeli used vs what the US would have in 1985, I dropped the gun penetration down to 19 (M111 vs M833).  
  • Zelda APCs are just like M113s but with 1 extra armor for the TOGA armor and a couple extra 7.62 LMGs mounted on.
  • For air strikes I made a Kfir card.  I thought it wouldn't be as tough as the SU-85 so I used the Tornado save stats for it.  Otherwise it has the SU-25 equipment but with Maverick missiles.

Syria is based on the USSR lists.  Pretty much directly mapped over, morale and all.

  • T-72s are down graded to T-72 Ural, so pretty much just the removal of BDD armor and one lower Anti-Tank value due to the lesser quality ammo (3BM23 round from the 70s).
  • Added cards for T-62, T-55, BMP-60PB and BRDM-2 with mounted AT-5 missiles.
  • Infantry were expanded with Commandos which are like Afgantsy

Edit:  Link to my PowerPoint file where I made the cards.  link

 Game Setup

For the first game we went with just the basic Meeting Engagement scenario.  Bill (the Syrian player) and I both are more keen with playing infantry so we both went with Mechanized forces.  Both came out to an estimated 70 points (had to make some educated guesses with the unit mods).

Mechanized rifle HQ and M577 (counts as Zelda)
Mechanized Platoon - 4 x FN FAL LMG stands, 3 x RPG-7 stands, 1 x Dragon ATGM stand, 4 x Zelda APC
Mechanized Platoon (as above)
Mechanized Platoon (as above)
Armored Platoon - Merkava Mk1 x 4
AA Platoon - M163 x 2
Tank Hunter Platoon - TOW jeep x 2
Tank Hunter Platoon - TOW jeep x 2
Mechanized Mortar Platoon - M125 x 2
Air Strike - Kfir x 2

Mechanized rifle HQ and BMP-1
Mechanized Platoon - AK74 x 7, RPG-7 x 6, LMG x 2, SA-14 x 1, BMP-1 x 9
Mechanized Platoon - AK74 x 7, RPG-7 x 6, LMG x 2, SA-14 x 1, BTR-60 x 9
Armored Platoon - T-72 Ural x 6
AA Platoon - Shilka x 4
Tank Hunter Platoon - BRDM-2 AT x 2
Helicopters - Hind x 2

How it played out

The board was setup as a rocky/hilly area with a highway running through it.  Something like the mountain area in the center of Lebanon where the Syrians ambushed Israeli tanks. 

I left one Zelda platoon and TOW jeeps to guard one objective while the rest of the force went for the other.  Bill had a mechanized company one each flank with the tanks and other support in the middle.  Bill got the first turn and his BTR-60 company managed to get some units up a rocky hill, blocking my advance over to his objective.  His BMP company started moving toward my defended objective on the other side of the table.  The Hinds tried to move to a side attack on my Merkavas but the M163s blew them out of the sky.  Over a week painting those for less than 5 minutes on the table!   Tanks and support moved in the middle of the table to block that area.  No real damage from his firing.  On my turn I moved up one Mechanized platoon and deployed hoping to kill the couple units he had in the rocky hills and take it before the rest of his company arrived.  Yep, that didn't work.  I barely scratched him.  Infantry in bullet proof cover is pretty hard...  I dug my other mechanized unit in on my other objective.  Merkavas missed while one TOW jeep killed a T-72.

So that's how it set up.  Over the game I threw two mechanized platoons at the Syrians on the rocky hill, never able to knock them off.  My Merkavas cut their way through the Syrian center and went for one of his objectives.  They were bouncing Sagger and T-72 shots left and right.  I ended up with two left at the end of the game.  The Syrian BMP company kicked my lone Zelda platoon off my objective after a couple turns of assaults.  My Kfirs showed up once, only to be blown away by a unit of AA missiles.  So in the end it was pretty even.  Both of us pretty much had one objective with some beat up mechanized platoons.  Pretty good fight we thought.

I didn't realize that my camera on my phone wanted me to keep it still for a couple seconds while it took a picture, so only got a few good ones.

Syrian setup on my left.  The T-72s are in the center with the BRDMs and Shilkas behind.

First Israeli assault on the left didn't go to well.  I should have more infantry there... 

 BMP company bearing down on my dug in mechanized platoon guarding an objective.

TOW Jeeps hiding out in an orchard. 

 T-72s moving up the middle.

My two Merkavas making a run through the knocked out BTR-60 hulks. The Syrians on the hill to the left were a hard nut to crack.

What's left of the Syrian assault on my right.

 All the air power that had a game life of about 5 minutes.