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AAR: SoI #28 - Surprises at Tel Zahara
#1
   
OK, so Shad's poll has shamed me into finally playing PzG Modern. After all I spent the money, I might as well try it. I picked a small scenario that I hoped would give me a quick cut at understanding some of the different nuances of the system.

Scenario #28 - Surprises at Tel Zahara
Rating: 2 (potentially 3)
Type: Ambush/ Road Control
Winner: Israel

Situation: An Israeli Armored/Recon battalion task force conducts a dawn ambush from positions on a steep hill, and then must prevent Jordanian armor company attempt to dislodge them from controlling the road.

Victory Conditions: Jordanians must deny any good-ordered Israeli units within 2 hexes of the road OR eliminate 4 Israeli steps. Failure constitutes Israeli win.
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Israeli Set-up: The Israelis establish 2 x formations within 3 hexes of 0707.
1. Formation #1 Mech Inf Co/Team (+) with task force commander: 1x Sgan Aluf, 1 x Segen, 1 x Samal, 1xM50, 3xM3, 1xHMG, 2xINF. Dug-In on north face of hill ranging the road approach from hex 0701. Task: Ambush in order to destroy enemy

2. Formation #2: A Company: 1 x Rav Seren, 1x Seren, 3x AML 90
Dug-In on South Crest. Task: Guard in order to protect Ambush force
B Company: 1 x Segen, 1 x Samal, 2 x Jeep, 2 x RCN, 1 x Jeep 106. Dug-in on lower south hill face along with overwatch of road. Task: Cover north/south road to deny enemy escape from or reinforcement to ambush engagement area.

Jordanian Set-up: per rules.

Game Play;
Israelis always won initiative:
Turn 1 0515: The Jordanian Infantry Company travels mounted in early morning, betrayed by their headlights (special rule), they are destroyed by Formation 1 with OP fire. The first truck actually survived its first fire against it, and I should have dismounted the infantry, but alas I moved to the next hex and was destroyed by about 30+ DF Value. The Jordanian's only recourse was random bombardment, per special rule, to no effect. The battery in Hex 025 limbered and moved 25lbr battery and HMG to the town.

Turn 2 0530: The Israelis stayed with no action as darkness started to lift. Another Jordanian random bombardment with no effect.

Turn 3 0545: The second Jordanian column enters He 0715 and they are immediately eliminated by OP fire from the M50 AT fire and INF/M3 combined Direct Fire. They never had a chance. Daylight arrives.

Turn 4 0600: The first platoon of the 40th Jordanian armored brigade enters from the South and proceeds toward the Tel up the round, under observation. The 106mm Jeep engages and misses and 1x AML 90 engage the M48 in Op fire and promptly eliminates it. The Israeli positions are now spotted. 25lb battery attempts Long Range AT shot at IDF Jeep, misses. The M50 command platoon attempts to reinforce the south and mires on the northern slope.

Turn 5 0615: Jordanian rolls allow 2 more M48 platoons who also enter the board in open terrain(I should know better). Again Israeli OP fire from the AML 90s eliminate 1 step from each (demoralized and disrupted respectively). The 106 Jeep displaces into limited terrain, out of range of the Jordanian 25lbr, but gets mired. Jordanian arty remains ineffective.

Turn 6 0630: Israelis receive 1 x Ouragan, and Jordanians receive no Armor. With his two initial actions, the Israeli fast mover destroys 1 step, and an AML 90 destroys second step. 2 x Inf PLTs in the north move to within 2 hexes of the road and are now postured to prevent any Jordanian hope of dislodging them.

Turn 7 0645: No Israeli air support, and the remaining 2 x M48 Jordanian platoons enter the limited terrain of the town and hil in the southwest coner, linking-up with the 25lb battery and spotter. The prep to conduct L/R AT fire next turn. Israel's 2 x INF Platoons dig in along side 0715, There is no way for Jordanian to deny road control. The AML 90s attempt direct fire on the town witht he 25lb battery with no effect. The M50 mires again.

Turn 8 0700: No Air Support. The Jordanians hope to get a few A/T shots at the AML90s on the ridge, but the Israeli decides to deny him and retrogrades behind the ridgeline. 1 x ML90 becomes mired on the reverse slope. With all Israeli units now hidden, there is no way for Jordan to cause 4 step losses or move to where they can dislodge the Dug-in infantry new 0715.

Result: Israel wins.

Observations: It is hard to see how the Jordanians have a chance without some ridiculous luck and no tactical errors. It is the Israelis' scenario to lose. But I still liked how the scenario played out, it was swift, small counter movement, and lethal. The scenario allows you to learn some of the nuanced changes in the rules: Efficiency, formations, terrain, bombardment and leader changes, and fast movers. Terrain is the Israelis greatest ally and enemy in this scenario - providing great fighting positions but threatening their ability to maneuver.

Lessons:
- I did not use pre-registered fires or smoke; Jordanian use of smoke may have allowed some M48s to close in.
-I did not immediately unload my first infantry truck that survived the first OP fire attempt. It would have increased my chances of survival. Instead I moved to the next hex and was destroyed. I also played to the spirit of the ambush and moved the Jordanian truck and jeeps as columns instead of individual bounding platoons.
- I should have hid the M48s in the limiting terrain of the town and hill immediately until they were strong enough in numbers to advance. They could have inflicted casualties in a long distance A/T dual

Scenario/Rules problems:
- There is a rules conflict with the scenario rule on arty fire and the use or pre-registered fires for some hexes. My assumption is that the scenario rule (map and sound spotting in low visibility) trumps pre-registration. But I think that needs clarification.
- The rules for the units entering hex 0715 (Ambush targets) should also direct for the units to travel in a column. By following the standard rules, it allows the Israeli to pick-off the trucks and jeeps individually and allowing the Jordanian better survivability, instead of dealing with them as they would have been moving.

Bottom line on the rules: Once I got past feeling awkward for letting go old PzG practices, I really liked the design of the system. I feel they seem to address the changes in the era with regard to lethality, dispersion, command and control, more adaptive and versatile options for artillery, maneuver, etc., while still retaining a familiar rules set that allows one to move between PzG into the modern era. I just got to get used to some of the special changes so I can better exploit them.

Suggestions for balance: I am going to replay this one as I feel there might be the slightest hope for Jordan. Some balance suggestions might be:
1. All Jordanian 3 x INF/Trucks and 3 x Jeeps enter on Turn 1 in a single column OR the 3 x Jeeps enter on turn 2
2. Israelis roll for vehicle mire prior to start for any vehicle that begins on Steep Hill. Mired Vehicles can begin game unmired, but not Dug-In as the majority of preparation time was getting vehicle into position vs. improving its position.
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#2
Whoa .... A MW AAR !

Not my bag as a subject but very nice work AD.

This, in a perverse-reverse way is making me want to play an IA game in place of a PG one to see how it goes.
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