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The Sands of War» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Session Report: Palmyra Road Scenario (Solitaire) rss

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chris99 chris99
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I'm learning this game, and I agree with the reviews that it is ambitious and different. All tactical games have their own quirks, and SOW is no exception. One is that units may not combine fire to attack another unit, although the unit may be attacked multiple times. (This is the reverse of AIW where a unit can only be attacked once). This means that certain units cannot be hurt at all by other units. Also, friendly units block fire through themselves (even at the scale of 250 m per hex). Therefore, positioning of your forces is key (as it is in many tactical games).

Sands Of War has many different scenarios from many different conflicts in the Middle East: Some well-known (WWII, Yom Kippur), some less well known (Iran/Iraq War, 1948). My goal is to try one from each era as I learn the game.

For my first full (solitaire) play-through, I selected the battle for Sukhna. It's a very small scenario with 2 companies battling, no special rules, no artillery, just commanders, infantry, and light trucks. (And a couple of "armored" cars). The French company is stronger, and all they have to do is race towards Sukhna and hold it for one turn. However, the attacker is at a disadvantage and reinforcements are on the way!

You don't have a lot of choices setting up. The French have one hex and the British-led Arabs have 2 hexes they can set up on/adjacent to. The Arabs are concealed and in firing positions; the French have to race across 3 klicks of open desert and try to invade the village.

First turn, the French simply race towards Sukhna in their jeep/trucks. One platoon tries to flank to the south; the othere go as far as they can and then dismount. The Arab Mar-Hars have weak guns that would only be a threat at close range. Unfortunately, there is good gunnery on the armored cars and one French AC is turned into a burning wreck. Right away the French are in big trouble. To make matters worse, the first Arab turn starts with the Mar-Hars burning another French AC. The Arab platoons fan out of the village to create a skirmish line of sorts against the attackers:

On the second turn, the French commander realizes his "brilliant" flanking maneuver has cut himself off from what is now his main attacking force. He issues a transmit order to the 2 infantry platoons and they charge up the hill. On their turn, the Arabs race the French. One Arab Light Infantry assaults into a hex with 2 French Regular Infantry. This is where some of the tactics of the game come into play. Light Infantry has an attack of 1 - but it's doubled in the same hex. Also, infantry moving into a hex can move and then fire. In this case the French have to keep fighting the Arabs until they move out of the hex or win. The 2 Mar-Hars pounce on the French commander and MMG platoon. One thing I realize about this scenario is the armored cars, with their status of "Recon" vehicles, have free rein to roam around the map without worrying about command.

On the third turn, the French, to their chagrin, realize the commander and the MMG both are incapable of hurting the armored cars. So they transmit a command to the southern platoon to rush Sukhna while the commander and MMG team hightail it towards the village. Unfortunately, that means the 2 useful infantry platoons won't advance towards the objective, even as they're chewing up the Arab platoon. It's the error that dooms their chances. To add insult to injury, the Arabs start their turn by using their armor to kill the French commander. The battle on the east slope continues:

On the fourth turn, the two French platoons on the east slope eliminate the Arab (now squad). The MMG fires at the British commander, but with no leadership no one is advancing on the village. And Sukhna only has 1 platoon and the leader. They could almost take it. (Except for the Mar-Hars). But they are without direction. The Arabs start turn 4 by making the reinforcement roll and a new battalion of British-led Arabs rushes in from the west. The French bring out the white flags.
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Andrew Cozzi
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Good review of the battle also known as "Battle of Palmyra", {WWII between Vichy French and British/Arabs}.

You showcased very well the importance of protecting the commanding units.


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