For a first try, I decided to play scenario 67_05: Gaza and Beyond. This scenario depicts the attack of the Tal Division on the fortified area of Gaza around Rafah Junction on June 5th, 1967. This attack was a necessary prelude to the attack into the Sinai.
|Jump-off positions of Tal Division. All of the 202 Parachute Brigade is fixed at the start, as is Baron Force (blue symbol backgrounds)|
My plan is to attack Rafah Junction with the Aviram Armored Brigade while simultaneously attacking Khan Yunis in the north with the 7th Armored Brigade. I know this area is fortified and suspect that there's a zone of obstacles across my front guarding Rafah.
Ok, I'll admit it. I peeked. I also read about the battle. Tal historically chose to attack this way specifically due to the obstacles. I think it's justifiable that I would know about those from pre-battle reconnaissance. Everyone is lined up to do it this way, anyway.
A pet peeve of mine are scenarios that hide important information from you, but then have time limits so constrained that you can't do any reasonable recon. It's pretty unreasonable to assume that the Israelis didn't know about those obstacles and mines in reality, so why hide them from me in the game?
From sixdaywar.org: Tal’s strategy was to avoid the minefields and attack from the rear – his forces approached Rafah from the north-east, through the town of Khan Yunis, which fell after a bitter tank battle. Tal’s forces then launched a pincer attack on Rafah junction, and a reinforced paratroop brigade, led by Colonel Rafael Eitan (who would later become Chief of Staff of the IDF), took a southerly route around Rafah then turned northwards, through sand dunes that the Egyptians had assumed impassable to armor. Surprising the defenders, Eitan’s brigade soon penetrated into the Egyptian artillery park south-west of Rafah, wreaking havoc. After reducing these positions Tal’s forces headed southwest taking other defended positions, and by the morning of June 6 El Arish and its approach road were firmly in Israel’s hands.
|As was historically the case, it wasn't a banner day for Arab arms.|
I definitely recommend this game for anyone interested in gaining an understanding of the larger operations of the 1956, 1967 and 1973 Arab-Israeli conflicts. There are scads of scenarios of all sizes and difficulties, accompanied by the usual exhaustive JTS/HPS Designer's Notes. Further, players have extended the game with add-on scenarios and graphics for the 1982 Lebanon war and beyond. There's a lot here to play.
Next up: Arab-Israeli wars tactical combat courtesy of WinSPMBT.