So for my next scenario we turn to the Palestine War of 1948.
Degania starts with 8 villages, 5 controlled by the Israelis, 3 by the Syrians, and whomever has 5 at the end of the game wins. The Israelis have the 5 at the west (bottom of my screen) edge of the map. First, lets look at the set up. The Israelis have to put one platoon in each village, then they get 4 more to put within one hex of the villages. Not a lot of choice. Since the Syrian-controlled village in 1310 is so close to the villages in 1006 and 1307, its likely the main attack will come from there. But not certain. So, I play it safe and put one platoon in each of the 4 villages (leaving only 1 platoon in the westernmost
village - and least threatened - in 1503). The 2 Regular Infantry go in 1006 and 0405, strengthening the center.
The Syrians have a large and seemingly formidable force. 2 battalions of infantry, armor, artillery. However, looking at the Morale level of "2" you realize that this is a brittle force. And it's all Light Infantry. Light Infantry attacking a town hex pretty much HAS to be in the same hex to have any effect - but there's a quirk in the rules that if you're in same-hex combat, you can't attack also from outside the hex. And the armor will have the flank value of only "1"! And, the artillery won't be useful. So, we'll likely try an attrition attack. Even though the Syrians need to capture 2 villages to win, they also can't lose any
villages either. One battalion and the armor will start within 3 hexes of 1310 - right next to one of the Israeli-held positions. The other battalion will start near 0312, just to protect the flanks.
About the artillery. The artillery rules in Sands of War are different than I'm used to - definitely different from ASL! At this scale the artillery simply attacks in a hex in the Final Fire phase, provided the mortar or a leader can see the hex. However, this is all Light artillery, only 1-2 odds, which if attacking infantry in the villages becomes 1-4 odds. Not the strongest attack. With only 3 commanders/FO, the mortars will usually need to self-sight.
The scenario is 16 turns long. That's glacial by ASL standards, but, it does take longer to get troops to move in this game. Still, the Syrians have to capture 2 villages and hold them for the entire game. The Israelis have infantry, infantry, and more infantry. They start the game with no commander, but there are 3 reinforcement rolls per turn, so
help is quick coming. The reinforcements include Elite Infantry, which is quite powerful against what the Syrians have.
Lessons learned from last game (Palmyra Road) - protect your commanders and armor!
The Syrians pound Degania A with tanks and then artillery. The attack succeeds, but artillery will be falling for another full turn. I already don't remember my lessons on Degania B and one of the Mar-Herrs is damaged. Artillery falls and one platoon is pinned, but that is it
No reinforcements for the Israelis.
The Israelis stay put, but the besieged platoon finishes off the Mar-Herr!
Degania B is still attacked but the Israeli platoon hangs on. The Syrians move their
tanks to surround it. Artillery continues to fall but is ineffective.
No reinforcements still.
Platoons in Degania B fire at the armour to no avail.
Syrians pour fire into Degania B but the Israeli platoons hold on. 5 salvos of artillery land but no effect. Two Syrian platoons advance into Degania A. Halfway to victory?
No reinforcements. Another Mar-Herr damaged!
The brave defenders of Degania B perish, and the Syrians advance. More artillery is fired with no effect. The Syrians now just need to hold on for another 12 turns...The Israelis have reached the battalion's "hesitation point"; however, as they started out of command control, this will not change much.
Reinforcements...Moshe Dayan and the Palmach company arrive! This will be hard for the Syrians to hold off...Moshe heads towards Beit Zera and Shaar Hagolan.
The Syrians race to meet the attack! Infantry advances onto Dayan's position, taking losses. A tank platoon head that way as well.
Artillery is used against the Staff truck and the Palmach company, causing some casualties
Dayan runs to Beit Zera to escape the Syrian infantry. The platoons in Shaar Hagolan attack the Syrians, detroying a platoon. The Staff truck limps back behind the friendly lines.
Tanks eliminate another platoon of the Palmach company. The Syrian Brigade commander uses a Transmit order to help a platoon unpin. Artillery kills the final Palmach platoon. Being in the open is far more dangerous than in a town! The Israeli reinforcements are in Hesitation status. I'm not sure what that means if more arrive this turn - I guess I'll assume they're in command.
Golani Company. But no leaders come with it.
I just noticed the depression is a river, which means its only crossable via a bridge. So the Golani company comes in on the far north of the map towards Kibbutz Kinneret. Maybe they can retake Degania A?
Syrian tanks chase the Palmach commander. Artillery falls.
The 65mm mountain gun finally arrives! (Note: There is no counter for in in the VASSAL module. It can get pulled by a Light Truck and has a range of only 10. Otherwise it is the same). The gun is brought to the troops with Dayan. Maybe they can attack east and force a draw?
Syrians hold and use artillery to kill the Palmach commander and pin the Israeli gun.
Moshe unpins the gun and starts with the attack
The Syrians stay put, but the artillery (almost out of ammo) destroyed the Israeli mountain gun. With little hope left, the Israelis rush Masada. If they can take it (with Dayan and 2 platoons) they - might - get a draw...
The Syrians move in to close off the Israeli probe. One Israeli platoon unpins and pins a Syrian platoon. Dayan's attack is looking like the charge of the light brigade...
The Syrians attack Dayan's platoon. Infantry, armour, artillery finish them off. Now the Syrians are out of command for good. Not a moment too soon because the 2nd Syrian battalion is about to hit its hesitation point! At this point, with no way to advance on the enemy, the Israeli player concedes. More turns would only lead to - possibly -
the capture of even more villages. However, the mortars are out of ammo, and the Syrians are weak. Alot hinged on the initial setup. Next time, the Israelis should better defend Degania A and B, and if the Syrians come after the southern villages, should be ready for a counterattack. Another thing that made this game so decisive was the artillery. In the villiages the troops were safe, but out in the open it was deadly.
The reinforcements got quickly picked off. The safest bet would have been to enter from the northern road into Kibbutz Kinneret, and use the woods as cover. The river effectively has only 2 crossing points for the reinforcements. But the Syrians were lucky. Their forces were brittle. A couple more platoons lost and the attackers would not have been able to take anything.