Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Civilians in Modern Wargames

As I am waiting for the weather to change so I can do some priming outside I was looking for additional 15mm figures to base. I had picked up this pack of Arab Civilians from QRF for a market that I wanted to buy from a vendor that unfortunately disappeared. So I now have eight male civilians for my village and not sure how to use them. They can be used as background like terrain but I would like something more. The problem is I do not want them to turn into target. How do other gamers use, or don’t use civilians?

Friday, December 24, 2010

For the Want of a Ship (LCT)

It seemed like an easy request. Who makes a 15mm or 1/100 scale Landing Craft Tank (LCT)? I did not need an Ashdod Class Landing Craft. An American LCT from World War II would even have worked.

For the landing I know I do not need the LCT (or three of them) but one would look good for the table. The other problem is information on them. I may have a couple of photographs from 1982. Since they are not missile boats not a lot is written about them. The Ashkelon Class LCT was built post war and could hold at least three tanks. It was available for use from the War of Attrition through Operation Peace for Galilee.

So for now the IDF will go without. I wonder how hard it is to build it from scratch?

Merry Christmas

As we all are in the final stretch to get ready for Christmas I remember a Christmas 27 years ago. I was a junior member of the weapons department on the USS Hammerhead on patrol in the eastern-Mediterranean. It was 1983 and the conflict in Lebanon had heated up after the bombing of the Marine barracks at the Beirut International Airport. Our boat was tasked with protecting the battlegroup off of Lebanon and watching unfriendly ports in the eastern-med. We were also the only US submarine in the Mediterranean at the time. (Now you may understand my interest in Lebanon.)

So while I knew my family was getting ready to eat themselves silly and open too many presents that my Mom bought, I was helping to write a small page in history by being there. I would not want to trade that patrol for anything in the world or the Christmas celebration we had on board.

So while we open presents tomorrow remember not only the troops that are in Afghanistan and Iraq but all of our troops were every they are stationed, American, NATO and all of the others that defend us.

Merry Christmas.
Jonathan Yuengling TM2/SS

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Egyptian T-55s for Operation Raviv

Here we have a platoon of Egyptian T-55s heading south towards the reported IDF landings on the west side of the Gulf of Suez. What will they find?

The tanks were done in Dark Sand (Vallejo) and washed with Games Workshop Devlan Mud.  My references for the period have Egyptian tanks done in a solid pattern but a recent parade picture shows darker brown stripes. I may end up doing my next platoon in those alternate colors.

Tanks are from QRF, bought through Scale Creep.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Egyptian Tanks for Raviv

The Egyptians are about to receive three T55s and a ZPU-1 to add to the forces for Operation Raviv. (Something does not seem right here.) From a couple of news sites I found the following images showing off Egypt's new additions.

Before. I do love a parade.

After. Your results may differ.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Operation Raviv

My most recent addition to my library is Osprey's Israeli A-4 Skyhawk Units in Combat by Sholomo Aloni. This work covers the history of the aircraft as part of the IDF. With my recent interest in operation Raviv I was pleased to see this paragraph.

From page 22 we have,
“The IDF/IA launched its campaign on 9 September 1969, and that same day the Skyhawk community suffered its second combat loss. No 109 Sqn was tasked with supporting a mechanized assault across the Gulf of Suez, and two four-ship formations duly departed Ramat David that morning. The first was tasked with suppressing an SA-2 battery and the second to fly close air support (CAS) for Israeli troops. Although the SAM site was successfully attacked, the CAS Skyhawks (each loaded with six 500-lb bombs and two rocket pods) were forced to loiter over the designated sector waiting to be allocated a target. With the assault proceeding to plan and their patrol time coming to an end, the pilots decided to target a radar station instead. During this attack the four-ship leader Hagai Ronen became separated from the formation. He was last seen hanging beneath the canopy of his parachute over the Gulf of Suez.”

The Arab Victory Forum (I will not vouch for their facts)has his A-4 being shot down by Egyptian AAA 7,000ft from a position at Zafarana. There was no report of any Egyptian fighter in the area and no reports given to the Egyptian command of the raid until after they let the area. It would appear that the best reason for the loss was from a S-60 or a ZSU.

This will mean the invasion force has a dedicated CAS of at least four A-4s. It is looking even more difficult for the Egyptians. So far the Egyptian Army has three T-55s and a ZSU-1 base coated. Looks like they need more assistance from the Soviet Union.

A-4 painted by Mark

Sunday, December 19, 2010

SU-100 Part II

After painting up my SU-100 in Soviet colors, I find this video on how to do it. While it is to late for me, I wanted to share it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


These have been my latest additions to the force of the United Arab Republic from QRF and Scale Creep. This assault gun can be added to my Sinai forces for 1967 or on the Suez Canal during the War of Attrition. Syria had these on the Golan through most of the period.

The SU-100 has the punch of the 100mm D-10 making it a major asset into the 1970s. The gun itself was installed on new T-55s up until 1979.
These assault guns are done in two different tones of Russian military green so they can be used by any of the Soviets allies in the Middle East or Africa. It is available for a Bay of Pig invasion on the south Cuban coast or North Korea today. Some countries never throw away anything.

Operation Raviv

Back in the 1980s I picked up a copy of The Arab-Israeli Wars by Chaim Herzog. In the section on the War of Attrition are a map and a short write up on what is now known as Operation Raviv. While I had read the Born in Battle Magazine back than (before my newsstand stop carrying it, said no one wanted it) I was unaware of this raid to the far side of the Gulf of Suez. This was amazing for nine hours this company-sized unit using captured kit, was traveling down the coast of Egypt. While the IDF had air superiority it is hard to believe that the Israelis were able to do this.

So my project for 2011 is doing an operational campaign of the nine hours for this raid. As you can see I have the IDF forces ready. I am still debating if I need (want) a landing craft or three. Santa will be bring me the rest of the Egyptians after the new year.

Building the bases at Abu Darag and Ras Saafrana should not be difficult as they are radar site and not strengthened fortifications. Plus without any good photographs of the operation I am free to interpret the look and feel.

Keep watching for updates on this. The rules will be from the TOOFATLardies using Charlie Don’t Surf.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Book Review - Arab MiG-19 and MiG-21 Units in Combat

Recently, I purchased a MiG-19 on a whim. It was a good price and the arms race going on in Lebanon 1982 was heating up as Mark was showing off his A-4. So in defense the pro-Syrian side purchased the MiG-19. My total knowledge of this MiG came from the Internet. And while much of the information on Wikipedia is good (better than nothing) I was looking for even more. Osprey having in general good monographs, I purchased Arab MiG-19 and MiG-21 Units in Combat by David Nicolle and Tom Cooper.

On first reading through this short work I was disappointed. As I was trying to put this post together I reread many of the sections and my opinion improved.

I find the book to have two key strengths. The book is a rare find as it is coming from the Arab/Egyptian point of view. As little is written about either the Egyptian or Syrian air forces this book is an asset to anyone interested in the Arab Israeli Wars from 1967 to the present. I assume that if I read Arabic I may have a better chance finding sources on their militaries. While many of the reported air-to-air battles are sketchy in the book they do allow a gamer to set up historical battles to game. I look forward to using these for a Bag the Hun meets Bag the MiG.

Unfortunately the books weaknesses were more academic. There are no maps so figuring were the airfields are located is a problem. There are also no notes on sources. While this is common for many of the Osprey publications I find that this subject is so unique that they really need to be there.

The authors also start out with the thesis that the Arab/Egyptian forces did better than what was reported in the West. Their lack of documentation and possible charts make it difficult to determine if they proved their point. I do understand they Arab/Egyptian units were very brave as it takes courage to take off in a jet while your airfield is under attack. The Arab/Egyptian were also not help in many ways by their Soviet allies.

While they labor the points that Israel claims of losses to AAA were really lost to Syrian or Egyptian fighters, it does not reverse the fact that the losses were weighed heavily towards the Arab/Egyptian forces. Also the US in Vietnam had similar problems with reports on reasons for losses.

Over all I am happy with the purchase as it fits a hole in my collection. I hope when the authors release their book on MiG-15 and MiG-17 units that there will be improvements.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cold War 2011

Wanted to let everyone know that the Northern Lancaster Wargamers club will be running several wargames based on the Lebanon conflict. These two will be part of the official games at the con, but I am sure there will be pick up games as well. Other members will be running games using 28mm USMC and militia. Looking forward to a great convention.

Title: Lebanon 1982 - Fight at Ishiya
Host: Jonathan Yuengling
Scale: 15mm
Rules: Lebanon 1982 Rules Supplement
Day: Saturday
Time: 9:00 AM
Time Length: 4 Hours
Description:  After a couple of relatively quiet days our armored column in the Beqaa is taking fire from a Lebanese village that was reported as being friendly. Secure the cross roads in the town and remove any unfriendly militias. Be concerned about taking excessive casualties and causing any civilian casualties. While you should not run into any Syrians at this time, be cautious as the IDF is still restricted from using force against the Syrian Army.

Title: Lebanon 1982 - Clearing the Orange Grove
Host: Mark Kinsey
Scale: 15mm
Rules: Lebanon 1982 Rules Supplement
Day: Saturday
Time: 2:00 PM
Time Length: 4 Hours
Description: The IDF column on one of the flanking roads in the Bekaa has been stopped by a possible combination of Fatah militia and Syrian commandos. The infantry is called on to clear out an orange grove on the far side of the village. Our tanks have been taking sagger fire and the grove must be cleared so the brigade can advance. You must hurry so the brigade can advance and clear the next village by night fall.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dear Santa

Yes I am getting a little old for a letter to Santa, but than again I have been a good boy and my friends at QRF (through Scale Creep), Old Glory 15s, Peter Pig and The TOOFATLardies would like to help out Santa’s Elves. So here goes.

  • A lot of 15mm T55s. Looking to finish building a company for my Egyptians (and maybe my Syrians). It is a useful tank as it was used by everybody in the Middle East.
    Two 15mm T62 to finish out a second platoon.
  • A ISU-152 to use on the canal. Boy it is big.
  • Buildings and terrain for the desert.
  • And a T-10M.

I know, one of these things is not like the others and you have every reason to ask why. The T-10M (Obyekt 730) was the last of the JS/IS heavy tanks. While the IS-3M was used by Egypt it was no T-10M. For starters the look was different. The T-10 was longer and had an extra road wheel.

So why my interest? Well it is a cool looking tank. A definite favorite and until the model of the Obyekt 279 is released in 15mm, it is one of the best tanks out there for “what ifs” and science fiction gaming. Plus think of the reaction when the Israelis run into one during the War of Attrition.

  Image from my newest favorite blog spot.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Wargames Illustrated Issue 278

Here is something for those looking to add more terrain to our Middle Eastern campaigns. In the new Wargames Illustrated issue Bob Murch scratch builds a North African village. I look forward to seeing this in my mail box soon.

Friday, December 3, 2010

December Projects

Well we are into December and as a gamer I dislike this month almost as much as the Germans did in 1941. December brings holidays, more family and less time to game with friends. While I do enjoy the food it does make getting together with friends to play a little difficult. With that said, I use December as a clean up month getting ready for next year.  So this month I will work towards:

  • Posting my Charlie Don’t Surf weapons chart for the Arab Israeli Wars.
  • Getting the Lebanon 1982 Campaign set up.
  • Finish my write up on my 2011 Campaign.
  • Get my scenario around for Cold Wars. 
  • Get in at least two games with pictures for the blog.

This should keep me busy.