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Subject: Session Report: Khorramshahr (Solitaire) rss

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chris99 chris99
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Onward to the Iran-Iraq war. (The 1973 scenarios, like the 1956 scenarios, have a lot of more advanced rules). Khorramshahr is the first scenario in 1980, and one of only two to have the Iraqis as the attackers. It's a lightning 8 turns long. The Iranians have to defend Khorramshahr, a set of town hexes by the board 16 river. The victory conditions are written to give the victory based on number of hexes controlled out of 40. One thing to note is that the city is divided into 3 sections of 16 hexes, 17 hexes, and 7 hexes. So no one section is enough to win. Also, the terrain has depressions as streams - so only can be crossed by a bridge. Right away you can see this channelling the attack paths. The Iraqis can enter on the north edge, so they can come down the riverbank to attack the northern section of the city without crossing any bridges. The northern section has an eastern bridge which is reached after driving across miles of open ground. The center section is cut off from both the large north and south sections by a stream and is much more accessable to the attacker. Also, the southern section has only one bridge by which it can be reached. The hills are gentle. This means the big hill to the southwest of map 2 is like a giant wall. Until the Iraqis move to the crest line, they can't be seen. There is an ption for the Iraqis to move south along the 08xx road and then west over the hill to the south. Due to the unique terrain rules of the game including no use of partial hexes or crest status, the stream protecting the southern city blocks a lot of approaches.

The Iranians have to hold tight and protect the city hexes. They don't have much to work with. A regular army battalion has Regular Infantry, a couple of MMG and Mortars. The MMGs can't touch most armor - which is the bulk of the Iraqi force. The mortars are more useful to fire on units approaching the town. There are 2 106-armed jeeps that can hopefully knock out some armor. Then there is the Pasdaran battalion: Light Infantry and a commander. Note that this force has only 2 commanders. However, each battalion has the fairly good morale of 4. Also, even out of command, units can sit and hold and fight, which, frankly is all they have to do for this scenario. Not sure what the attacker is going to try, I put my good battalion in the northern and middle sections, leaving the Pasdarans to hold the south. If the Iraqis come straight from the north, they'll be hitting the strongest force, and will basically need to wipe it out to capture both sections. The
Pasdarans can reinforce from the south. If the Iraqis split their attack, they might not get the breakthrough that they need. If the Iraqis come from the east, the Iranians will have to meet them in the center of the battle to finish them. There is no reason not to set up
with everyone in firing positions.

The Iraqis have an OK T-62 battalion and a meh T-55 battalion. They also have 4 Mechanized platoons and an HQ section. Only the T-62s have a morale of better than 2. On the other hand, the Iraqis have more commanders. They have a lot of artillery, but it's not as good in attacking cities. So...the Iraqis are going to try the southern approach! If they can eliminate the Pasdaran and stop the Iranians from coming into the middle section, they will win. But time is of the essence!

Charge! No one can reach my force as I head south. Letting the best tanks take the lead. We end up out of sight of everyone, so no artillery this turn.
I see what they're doing. I move a couple of platoons to the center section.

The battalions advance on the two parts of the city. My biggest concern is the FT and the two mortars, so the Iraqi artillery falls on those no effect!
We're not in a good position here. The mortars are in danger, and can't fire until the Final Fire phase. The FT is surrounded by tanks, and is not good anti-armor. And the MMGs are useless against the armor. So no one is in a good position to First Fire. Since the Iraqis headed south, I'm going to as well. (Note: The engineer in the light truck COULD conceivably drive back the way he came and circle back north, west, and
south, and then drive like maniacs through the northern section of the city. But that's rules-lawyering to the ridiculous) A brave Regular Infantry platoon moves into a town hex with some T-62s. A couple of RPG-carrying platoons goes south. And the 106 Jeeps start to flank the Iraqi attack. Dangerous, but might be able to knock out some tanks.
The mortar pinned the Iraqi mortar, and the infantry damaged one of the T-62 platoons!

Close combat to start...The T-62s eliminate a regular infantry and the main commander! The Iranians are suddenly in a bad position. The T-55s are firing across the stream at the Pasdaran battalion. Tanks inch closer. Artillery falls and pins one of the Iranian mortars.
One of the 106 jeeps fires at some tanks. Now the Iranians have to regroup...But with their leader gone, they cannot move towards the enemy. This is a big deal because some of the weapons like the FT are out of range. The lone mortar manages to pin the Iraqi commander. It might be a one-turn respite.

The commander is pinned; so only the tanks can advance. Heavy fire takes out the one heavy weapon the Pasdaran have, as well as one of the 106 Jeeps and the FT. Light Infantry might seem like an easy opponent. But note this: a T-62 going into a city hex will have it's flank armor of only 2, and no terrain modifier. While the infantry will have an attack of 2...pretty good odds to knock out a tank! It's just a round of firing. Artillery manages to knock out a mortar.

The regular army hesitates, so can not do much but sit and hold. A few useless shots are fired.

T-62s take out remaining defenders of center section. Since the regular army is broken,
the Iraqis are going to try to win by taking the northern section! Some tanks shift to the
bridge in 1309. And now, the Field Artillery is deadly, two of the remaining regular
platoons are destroyed and this batallion is now broken.

The MMG in 1312 pins an Iraqi platoon. There's not much more to be done.

The Iraqi T-55s keep firing at the southern section, destroying a platoon. The Pasdaran are at their hesitation point. The T-62s move into the northern section of the city, claiming all the vacant hexes. Artillery finishes off the final defenders. At this point the Iraqis have succeeded in the victory conditions. The only hope for the Iranians would be to do a push into the center section with the remaiing Pasdaran. However, with only 3 platoons and a pinned leader, that isn't likely to happen. In fact, I doubt anyone would survive rushing across the bridge.

However, none of the Iraqis is in a firing charge away! Two Pasdaran platoons cross the bridge and enter 1513, denying the hex. They pin both Iraqi platoons.

We control 21 hexes...but more Pasdaran could move into the center section. And, hex 1406 is still on fire. We need to move into the southern section this turn. T-55s fire and the Pasdaran commander is killed. The writing is on the wall, but here's only two turns left. The T-55s enter 1313 and risk the fires of close combat. Artillery doesn't help when all your enemies are in the same hex as your units.

The Iranians fight with all they've got. The Pasdaran platoon in 1313 damages a T-55 platoon, and another platoon moves to 1611 and pins the Iraqi commander! They now control 20 hexes. It's not over till it's over!

Turn 8:
The Iraqis pour into the southern section, their original objective. They now control about 30 hexes. Artillery kills the MMG platoon and breaks the Pasdaran. At this point, the lone unpinned platoon can't move to deny more hexes of control, so all the Iranians can do at this point is try and cause more causalities. In control of the city, the Iraqis win the scenario.

So, again some thoughts. The Iraqi artillery was Field not Light, and that did make a difference in the effectiveness. The Iranians had a brittle force. The armor was able to just mass up and shoot everything. However, the Iraqis could have lost just a couple of units and broken and that would have changed everything. Also, the Iranians should have set up some units outside the city to interfere with the Iraqis movements. Overall a good scenario!
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