Greg Warren
United States
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I'm playing a solo combined game using the “old” vassal module. (Love the new one, but I was ready to play, and I already know nation/faction colors of the original and had a saved setup ready.) I played the map and counter version many times in the ‘80s and ‘90s with a friend using the pool table in my parent’s basement for the Europe maps and a separate old dining room table for the Persian Gulf maps. It’s been quite a while since I’ve played, so there may be, and probably are, some errors or incorrect applications of the rules.

In an effort to keep some randomness of political events in the Diplomacy Game, each side randomly draws three cards (#1 through #8), and can play or discard one card. The remaining cards are returned to the deck. Once a Middle East Crisis occurs, Card #9 becomes one of the three cards and only two cards (#1 through #8) are drawn randomly. Once Card #9 is played, Card #10 becomes one of the three cards. Once Card #10 is played, Card #11 becomes one of the three cards. All prerequisites must still be met to play any card. We developed this system playing the “real” game which made the diplomacy game much more interesting, since you couldn’t follow the same “script” when playing a side each time.

And off we go…

Week of March 4, 1990 (PWT1)
US/NATO – Plays Card 5 “Arms to Iraq”
US/NATO Committed - none
Soviets/Pact – Plays Card 6 “Arms to Iraq”
Soviets/Pact Committed - none
Following the end of the Iran-Iraq war, the political situation in Iran, and the rest of the Middle East, remained extremely unstable. With the tense situation in the region, both superpowers are trying to get a strong foothold in the area in case things get ugly. With the split political factions in Iran, President Bush decides to send arms to Iraq in order to help sway the Iraqis to the US side and start to establish a strong ally in the Middle East. Chairman Gorbachev had the same idea of approaching the Iraqis with arms in order to sway them to the Soviet side. Of course, after having lost troops and equipment during the ill-fated Iran-Iraq war, the Iraqis were more than happy to play the two global superpowers against each other and accept military help from both. Israeli Prime Minister Shamir voiced his displeasure to President Bush for the US providing arms to the Israeli’s traditional rival.

Week of March 11, 1990 (PWT 2)
US/NATO – plays Card 3 “Recognize the Centrist government”
US/NATO Committed - none
Soviets/Pact – discards Card 2 “Support the Tudeh” (Syria commits)
Soviets/Pact Committed - Syria
With the continued posturing by all parties in Iran, the situation seemed to keep devolving. The official Islamic Republic government of Iran kept taking a hard line in trying to suppress dissidents. President Hussein of Iraq was happy since their armed forces had received a much needed replenishment by receiving arms from both the US and the Soviets. In a speech at the United Nations President Bush criticized the Islamic Republic government of Iran for their hardline stance and praised the more moderate Iranian Centrists. Meanwhile President Gorbachev is incredulous that both the Soviet Union and the US had been supplying arms to Iraq unknown to either side. In a totally unrelated matter, the head of the KGB was sent to Siberia and never heard from again.

Week of March 18, 1990 (PWT 3)
US/NATO – plays Card 1 “Saudi diplomacy” (Saudi Arabia commits)
US/NATO Committed – Saudi Arabia
Soviets/Pact – plays Card 1 “Denounce Israel”
Soviets/Pact Committed – Syria
(With factions/nations now committed to both the US/NATO and the Soviets/Pact, a Middle East Crisis has occurred.)
With the leaders of both superpowers sensing tensions are escalating in the Persian Gulf, the posturing continues with the factions in the region. Following a series of clandestine meetings with King Fahd, President Bush pledges the support of the US to Saudi Arabia, vowing to protect it from any aggression from the Islamic Republic of Iran. Taking his turn in front of the United Nations, Chairman Gorbachev denounces Israel as a destabilizing force in the Middle East and asserts that Israel needs to stay out of the politics around the Persian Gulf.

Week of March 25, 1990 (PWT 4)
US/NATO – discards Card 4 “Arms for the Mujahideen”
US/NATO Committed – Saudi Arabia
Soviets/Pact – discards Card 5 “Arms for the Mujahideen”
Soviets/Pact Committed – Syria
As tensions continue to rise in the Middle East, intelligence services are noting that the militaries of both Syria and Saudi Arabia seem to be bringing their units up to full strength and beginning to mobilize. The superpowers continue their posturing with the US continuing to recognize the Centrists as the legitimate government in Iran, while the Soviets support the Islamic Republic government. Behind the scenes both the CIA and KGB work at pushing some of the many factions in Iran to their own side.

Week of April 2, 1990 (PWT 5)
US/NATO – plays Card 2 “Covert Support for Iranian Army Leaders” (Jordan, Israel, Iranian Army, Iranian Centrists commit)
US/NATO Committed – Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Iranian Army, Iranian Centrists
Soviets/Pact – plays Card 9 “Mobilize Southern Military District” (Tudeh commits)
Soviets/Pact Committed – Syria, Tudeh
Covertly the CIA continues working its influence in Iran by supporting the Iranian Army leaders with supplies, training and arms and encouraging army leaders to rebel against the Islamic Republic government. Demonstrations and clashes begin in Tehran, Tabriz and Esfahan as the leftist Tudeh party supporters are forced from the cities, seeking shelter in nearby mountainous regions. Sensing continued destabilization in the Middle East, President Gorbachev mobilizes the Southern Military District.

Week of April 9, 1990 (PWT6)
US/NATO – plays Card 9 “Alert the RDF”
US/NATO Committed – Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Iranian Army, Iranian Centrists
Soviets/Pact – plays Card 4 “Support Islamic Governement” (Islamic Republic Government commits)
Soviets/Pact Committed – Syria, Tudeh, Islamic Republic Government
While hoping the tensions would abate in the Persian Gulf, President Bush realizes the situation isn’t going to improve and alerts the RDF. Sultan Qaboos of Oman publicly announces that his country would be happy to host forces of the United States in order to bring about stability in the region. Premier Gorbachev announces his continued support of the “legitimate” Islamic Republic government in Iran. With the CIA’s support of the Iranian Army and the Soviet support of the Islamic Republic government, things come to a boiling point in Iran with some Iranian Army troops rebelling against the Islamic Republic government. Islamic Republic forces maintain control of Tabriz in northwest Iran, along with Tehran. However, army troops in the Caspian Sea port of Bandar-e Anzali and the city of Rasht defect to the rebel side. Rebel forces seize control of Esfahan, along with the key ports of Abadan and Bandar Abbas.

In the first major battle of the Iranian Civil War, the 1st IRG Tank Division, supported by 2 brigades of special forces attempt to wrestle control of the port of Abadan from the Rebel Army. Iranian F4s, covered by Mig19s attempt to turn the tide to the IRGs favor, but F14s from the VF-111 Sundowners from the CVN Carl Vinson are able to disrupt the Iranian Air Force support of the attack, while inflicting heavy casualties on the Iranian Air Force. IRG and Rebel troops both sustain many casualties, with the Rebels keeping control of Abadan. Portions of the US Marines 2nd Division arrive in Saudi Arabia as hostilities begin.

Pact Losses: 1 Iranian F4E
NATO Losses: none

Week of April 16, 1990 (PWT7)
US/NATO – plays Card 8 “Israeli Intervention”
US/NATO Committed – Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Iranian Army, Iranian Centrists
Soviets/Pact – plays Card 10 “Invade/Intervene” (Iranian Communists commit)
Soviets/Pact Committed – Syria, Tudeh, Islamic Republic Government, Iranian Communists
In an appearance before the United Nations Premier Gorbachev condemns the actions of the US Air Force in interfering in the affairs of the sovereign nation of Iran. Gorbochev calls for the immediate withdrawal of the US Navy from the Persian Gulf, along with the Marines that have landed in Saudi Arabia. However, as Gorbachev in addressing the UN, Soviet forces begin to roll into Iran (ostensibly at the behest of the IRG). As all eyes are turned toward the Middle East, Prime Minister Shamir announces that Israel will support its US allies in the Gulf in order to promote long-lasting peace in the region.

As the battle for Abadan wages into the second week, US Harriers stationed in Saudi Arabia try to provide ground support to the rebel forces in the city, but are turned away by a barrage of SAMs and AA fire. Both sides continue to attrition with the Rebel 55th Infantry decimated and the 1st Airmobile trying to hold on to the port and city for dear life. A strike by the F5s of the Royal Saudi Air Force eliminates an Iranian Army special forces brigade in the siege for Abadan.

On the east side of the Caspian, the 104th Guards Desant, along with the 15th Tank Division reclaim the city of Mashhad from the Rebel Army forces routing the 35th Infantry
Division in the process. At the same time, elements of the 40th Army roll toward the Rebel stronghold around Bandar-e Anzali.

In the Transcaucus elements of the 45th Army head toward Bandar-e Anzali from the west hoping to surround the Rebel forces with the 40th Army from the east. In a heated battle, even with NATO air superiority and the F14s from the Carl Vinson trying to provide close air support, the Soviets seize control of Bandar-e Anzali. The Iranian Rebel Army 18th Infantry Division maintains control of Rasht, while other rebel forces, suffering heavy casualties in the fighting for Bandar-e Anzali retreat into the mountain passes south of Rasht.The 1st Guards Tank Division with support from the 261st Mechanized move to regain the city of Orumiyeh from the Rebels and seize the city easily causing the Rebel forces to take damage and retreat. Continuing to pursue, the Soviets wipe out the Rebel forces, but take some damage themselves.

The next elements of the RDF make their way to the Gulf, with the 82nd Airborne arriving in Saudi Arabia and the XVIII Attack Helicopter Brigade arriving in Oman. Is it too little, too late?

(In retrospect, probably should have played Invade/Intervene for NATO. The Israeli Intervention Force paratroops have nowhere to go since they are rival with everyone. Need to Invade/Intervene first, then play Israeli Intervention. The Soviets have pretty much taken control of northern Iran, while leaving some troops at home to deal with Turkey once General Mobilization occurs. After next turn, I’m pretty confident that the Soviets will totally control the northern two maps, outside of Turkey. Of course, the B52s for the US can be a game changer!)

Pact Losses: 1 Iranian F4E, 1 Islamic Revolutionary Guards commando brigade
NATO Losses: 3 Rebel Iranian Army infantry divisions, 1 Rebel Iranian Army infantry brigade

Week of April 23, 1990 (PWT8)
US/NATO – plays Card 10 “Invade/Intervene”
US/NATO Committed – Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel, Iranian Army, Iranian Centrists
Soviets/Pact – plays Card 7 “Support an Independent Kurdistan” (Kurdistan commits)
Soviets/Pact Committed – Syria, Tudeh, Islamic Republic Government, Iranian Communists, Kurdistan
Behind closed doors President Bush can’t contain his disbelief that his intelligence services missed the signs that the Soviets were going to intervene on behalf of the Islamic Republic Government in Iran. Seeing no other choice, the Commander-in-Chief gives the order for US troops to enter Iran. In a nationally televised address, President Bush tells the American public that US forces have entered Iran in support of the democratic and freedom-loving Iranian Army and Centrists as they battle the Soviet-backed Islamic Republic Government.

Premier Gorbachev immediately speaks out and seeks a UN resolution calling for the Americans to withdraw from Iran, as the Soviets were asked into the country by the legitimate government of Iran. Not surprisingly, no member of NATO or US committed nations in the Gulf were present when the vote on the resolution was taken. Gorbachev also called for the creation of an independent Kurdistan state. While wanting to appear as supporting the Kurds, the ulterior motive is to move the Kurdish partisans to the Soviet side, thus disrupting any NATO forces in the area.

As the battle for the important port of Abadan goes into the second week, against all odds the 1st Airmobile of the Rebel Iranian army holds on to the port with support from US Marine Corps Harriers based out of Saudi Arabia. With the F14s from the Carl Vinson flying top cover, the Harriers were able to carry out their attack, even after an intercept by the Iranian Mig-19s. In the ground fighting with air support, the 1st Airmobile was able to defeat the Iranian Army 1st Tank Division and a special forces brigade. With the Rebels able to hold on to Abadan, it gives the US forces an important foothold for bringing troops into Iran.

The Soviets have pretty much bottled up northern Iran as elements of the 76th Guards, along with their new Kurdish allies, roust a Rebel Infantry Division out of Bakhtaran into the mountain passes while severely damaging the division. At the south Caspian coast, Soviet troops take over Rasht, eliminating all Rebel defenses in the area. The Rebels didn’t go down without a fight, however, eliminating the 261th Mechanized Division while defending the mountain passes south of Rasht before they perish.

Soviet forces of the 40th Army steamrolled toward Tehran, surrounding the city defended by the Rebel 2nd Tank Division and 3rd Tank Brigade. The Soviets supported the attack with a squadron of Su-25s with Mig-23s providing air cover. US F15s and Israeli F16s attempted to intercept, but amazingly the Mig-23s were able to hold their own against the superior equipment and pilots, allowing the Frogfoots to carry out their attack. (The Mig-23 was halved twice – incredible luck, and fortunate die rolling for the Soviets.) The Rebels held with all of their might, but were soundly defeated with the Soviets, allowing the Soviets to control all three major cities in Iran. However, US wasn’t going to down without a fight. A strike on Tehran by B-52s based out of Diego Garcia inflicted heavy damage on the Soviet garrison in Tehran, eliminating the 360th Mechanized Division in the process.

US troops finally started arriving in force, with the 24th Mechanized Division and the 194th Armor Brigade arriving at the port at Bushehr. The Marines which had based in Saudi ports, landed on the shores around the port at Bandar Khomeyni, while the 9th Light Infantry Division arrived at the port at Abadan, which the Rebel Army 1st Airmobile Brigade so bravely held against seemingly impossible odds. The Marines were able to wrestle control of Bandar Khomeyni away from the Iranian Army, established a stronghold in the delta. The forces that landed at Bushehr made their way inland to set up a defensive perimeter and set up a counter-attack with the 82nd Airborne which just arrived at Shiraz. Will the conflict stay contained in the Middle East, or will it spread to Europe?

Pact Losses this Turn: Soviet – 2 Mechanized Divisions; Iranian Army – 1 Infantry Division, 1 Tank Division; Islamic Revolutionary Guards – 1 Commando Brigade
NATO Losses this Turn: Iranian Rebels – 1 Armor Division, 1 Armor Brigade, 2 Infantry Divisions, 1 Mechanized Brigade

Total Losses:
Soviets – 2 MD
Islamic Revolutionary Guards – 2 CdoB
Iranian Army Loyal – 1 ID, 1 AD, 1 F4E
Iranian Army Rebel – 1 AD, 1 AB, 1 MB, 5 ID, 1 IB
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So how did this turn out?
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