Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Prairiecon XXXV - Battle of the Chinese Farm, 15mm Yom Kippur War!

Forces ready for deployment at Prairiecon

Prairiecon XXV took place over the past weekend, and the Fawcett Avenue Conscripts hit the event in style! Dallas and I each ran a game on the Saturday. Dallas did one of his super fun Star Wars Miniature Battles, and I did a 15mm Yom Kippur War game.  The scenario was titled "The Suez Shore" and was set during the desperate fighting between the IDF and Egyptian armies around an old agricultural research station known as the "Chinese Farm". 

Platoon of M51 Shermans from Battlefront
For rules we used Dallas' excellent home made "Red Storm" rules.  I think we have been using these rules for post-WW2 gaming for something like seven years now? 

IDF Mechanized troops
Dallas also supplied the Egyptian side, as well as some great custom terrain pieces.  In all, the scenario pitted a small company of hard-hitting IDF troops against a reinforced company of Egyptians! That is one of the great things about Dallas' "Red Storm" rules. As we were discussing during the event, it may not have some of the flashier aspects you see in newer rules today, but you can put a pile of stuff out on the table and settle things in a couple of hours. Using 15mm figures and vehicles, we had almost 30 vehicles and 50 infantry between both sides engage across an 8' x 4' table.  Cool!

IDF Magach 3s
The scenario was brutally simple - the IDF had 8 turns to seize a house in the middle of the farm, and had to do it with infantry, not tanks. Both sides started with a small portion of the force on the table, and would roll to bring on reserves.  

Egyptian SU-100 tank destroyers

The IDF are approaching the target

The house in the centre is the objective
Egyptian AT-3 Sagger team, out to cause trouble - these things drove the IDF players nuts and they went out of their way to knock them out
SU-100s backing the Egyptian line - Dallas did an amazing job on these figures
Egyptian infantry holding the objective

T-55s approaching to support the Egyptian infantry
A Magach 3 knocked out of action...I'm such a moron, I forgot my flame markers at home - duh! But even so, this is similar to photos you see from the period...nasty stuff happens when something hits the ammo inside your tank...

PT-76 scout tank knocked out - but not before it had taken a Magach 3! Well done Byron

Dallas' Egyptian T-55s - these are from Khurasan, real beauties (if they are ever in stock)
M51 Sherman - a crowd favourite and one of my favourite tanks from any era - these puppies dished out abuse but had a "glass jaw", so to speak.  I love the 40k-esque gun, complete with bonkers muzzle brake
More Egyptian armour
Magach 3 moving toward the objective
This Egyptian HMG team managed to hold out for the whole game with tanks, shells etc. whizzing all around them

Magachs push forward to knife-fighting range...

The IDF infantry dismount from their M3 tracks and make their move!
A rather determined Magach - now supporting IDF troops who have captured the building! But what happened to the second story of the building?

The Egyptians throw everything they have into their last turn...if you look closely, you can see someone blew the top of the objective away...
The game ended dramatically - the IDF infantry grabbed the building at the bottom of the seventh turn, and held out while the Egyptians hammered them in the eighth turn.  One T-55 managed to land an HE round right into the building, removing the top story and several IDF troops along with it. In the end it was a win for the IDF, but the infantry paid a steep price - a "historical" outcome, one might say.

In the 1973 battle around the Chinese Farm the IDF took very heavy losses during some extremely tough fighting.  It was a crucial engagement, vital to securing the flanks of the IDF counter-crossing into Egypt that ultimately secured victory in the fighting for Israel. But it was also central to the shock the Yom Kippur War had on Israel's society and political class.  The Chinese Farm was a victory to be sure, but for a people grown very confident of relatively easy and sweeping victory in the wake of the 1967 Six Days War, the stiff price in blood paid to oust the very determined Egyptian troops from the Sinai was a rude awakening to some of Israel's broader geo-political realities.

I have to say the Egyptian players during our game had some pretty rough luck with the dice rolling...early on, I thought it was going to be a shooting gallery for them as they engaged the IDF tanks coming up the road - the but their dice luck dried up by the third turn, while the IDF players suddenly got the hot dice...that's gaming for you :) They also had a bad break with their reserve rolls...if that infantry platoon had arrived sooner, it probably would have been a different outcome!

Prairiecon seems to get better every year.  The crowd is excellent, there is a lot of stuff going on, there is a great venue, and Brandon is a great city.  It was awesome to see so many of the Conscripts make the trip to the event this year.  And I have to thank Dallas for his help in putting this game together.  He did the Egyptians, some great terrain and also took most of these photos! Very nice to have the Yom Kippur War project now expanded to the Sinai front - thanks dude!

Let the plotting for Prairiecon XXXVI begin...


Simon Quinton said...

Great report it all look fantastic dude!

Stan M. said...

Great looking game, table, and minis Greg.

Chris said...

Really superb looking battle. Seeing everything together fighting it out is very cool after following the build up your miniature collection.

Curt said...

Brilliant looking game! And, you're right, those Super-Shermans look super-cool!

ByronM said...

Besides looking cool, it was a great game as well. Well balanced scenario from Greg and good rule set from Dallas. Came right down to the end to decide it.

Kevin Holland said...

Beautiful-looking game, terrain and figures, Greg! Wish I could have made it out - maybe next year...

Bartek Zynda said...

Great battle report. Thank you.