1973 Golan Scenarios are now completed by Alan:
As are the 1973 Sinai scenarios!
DESIGN NOTES FOR COMMANDO RAID ON ROMANI
By Alan R. Arvold
Commando Raid on Romani was one of the original scenarios that came with Divided Ground when it came out. Designed by Edwin “Mick” Conmy, it was one of those scenarios in which a bigger battle was planned but because of a cut short production schedule, a smaller scenario was quickly designed and put into the game without any playtesting. (In other words it was a crappy scenario.) With the conversion of all Divided Ground scenarios to Middle East, the opportunity arose to finally fixed this scenario and make it into the good scenario that it was meant to be.
The map was based on the old British War Office series done on the Sinai during the Second World War. This was obvious by the fact that the coastal railroad was missing and the town of Romani was only a one hex village. This needed to be improved. I added the railroad to the map and increased the village to three hexes to reflect the post war growth. I even added some light woods to provide some vegetation and also a small airstrip. Okay it's not quite like the Rumani maps of Middle East but it's better than what it originally was.
The Orders of Battle
The original orders of battles for both sides were a much reduced version of what was originally planned for the scenario. Not only that, the make up of the forces, especially the Egyptians, emphasized anti-tank weapons over anti-personnel weapons. I changed this to a more balanced arrangement of weapons by making the Egyptian commando unit a full battalion. In the Israeli forces I increased the sizes of the reinforcements, especially of the those that come in from the east side of the map, which I raised to a full armored battalion. For the garrison in Romani I gave it a militia company, which I named an admin company as these represent various support and maintenance personnel that are quickly organized into a self defense force. I also added some helicopters and other extra units in Romani. The vehicles that station in Romani belong to the units over at the Budapest outpost on the map. (Being a static force the Budapest unit would not keep their vehicles with them but would park them at a nearby base, in this case Romani.) I gave the Egyptians a morale level of 6 to reflect their elite status. The Israelis were given a morale level of 7 except the garrison at Romani which I gave a morale level of 6 to reflect their rear area status.
In the original scenario Conmy had the Egyptians raiding two different sites, the base at Romani and the Budapest outpost. Now historically the Budapest outpost was located a few miles to the northwest off map. My guess is that Conmy combined two separate commando actions into one in this scenario so he moved the Budapest outpost on map. That alone makes this scenario ahistorical which is why I classified it as HISB in Middle East. I extended the scenario to 18 turns to give the Egyptians more time to accomplish their objectives and revised the victory point totals to reflect the changes in the forces. The objectives for the Egyptians have not changed, they are still Romani and the Budapest outpost, plus both sides have unit elimination for additional victory points. Historically the Egyptian commando units caused various amounts of damage and destruction through out the western Sinai in the opening days of the war before the Israelis managed to track them down and destroy them. This raid was but one example of them.
This scenario is the start to my conversion of the 1973 War Sinai scenarios from Divided Ground to Middle East. Enjoy it and what is to come
CRISIS OF OVERCONFIDENCE REVISED DESIGN NOTES
By Alan R. Arvold
The scenario “Crisis of Overconfidence” is another example of originally planned big scenario that was abruptly cut short due to the time constraints caused by an accelerated release date. As a result, a small scenario was quickly formulated that only used a portion of the big mapsheet. To make matters worse, the Egyptian order of battle was small and only contained tank and anti-tank units, enough to destroy the Israeli force. The Israeli force, the ill-fated 190 th Armored Battalion, was set up on the road that it historically traveled down to its doom. The scenario was designed so the historical outcome was the only possible outcome. In other words, it was a boring scenario to play as the Israelis. I decided to change this and make it a more challenging scenario for both sides. But I also wanted to make a big scenario which used the whole map. To achieve both objectives I decided to create two scenarios out of the one. I do not know what Edwin “Mick” Conmy, the original designer had intended for the whole mapsheet so these two scenarios are, at best, a guess on my part.
Yaguri’s Last Charge
This scenario presents a fuller picture of Lt Col Yaguri’s fateful attack on the 8 th of October, 1973. I only used the northern third of the map as it represented Yaguri’s operational area for his battalion. I gave the 190 th Battalion all of its company and battalion headquarter tank platoons so it is at full strength with 36 tanks in its ranks. I took them off the board and had them entering along Artillery Road. This way they can use one of three different roads leading to the canal instead of just the historical one. I also added a small Israeli infantry force in a bunker at the Hizayon observation fort. Historically, it was still holding out on the 8 th of October, 1973 and one of Yaguri’s missions was to relieve the troops at that location. (Historically, the strongpoint fell to the Egyptians the following day.) I also added to the Israeli force one off-the-map artillery battery. Historically this battery was assigned to give general support to 190 th Battalion but there is no evidence that Yaguri ever called any fire missions from them. I kept the same objective hexes in this scenario as in the original, plus added a new one, that being the Israeli Hizayon observation post. I extended the game length to 15 turns to account for the Israelis entering onto the board instead of being set up on it.
The Egyptian set seems massive. Historically Yaguri attacked at the operational boundary between the Egyptian 4 th and 120 th Infantry Brigades. Thus he could of attacked either the 4 th ’s right most battalion or the 120 th ’s left most battalion. (Historically he attacked the 4 th Brigade’s battalion.) I thus set up the full force for each battalion east of the canal. Note that the 120 th ’s battalion has a line company, plus the engineers, isolating the Hizayon observation fort. West of the canal I set up what the 2 nd Infantry Division had there. This included two artillery battalions, the MRL battalion, a battery of the divisional anti-tank battalion, the anti-tank company from the 117 th Mechanized Brigade, the division headquarters, and all of the transport units for the battalions on the east side of the canal. Although the infantry brigades were motorized, the Egyptians kept the trucks west of the canal, only bringing only those needed across when a dismounted heavy gun or mortar had to be moved. Those units that could move on foot did so as the Egyptians did not want to needlessly expose their trucks to easy destruction by the Israelis.
Its looks as though the Israelis still do not have a chance in this scenario and that is probably true. But I am giving the Israeli player a chance to explore different options to score victory points, he does not have to charge to the canal as Yaguri did. The Egyptians may have a preponderance of artillery, but against armor it is largely useless. Yes they can use their smoke rounds to blind the Israelis, but once those rounds are exhausted, then what? Yes, the Egyptians have an overabundance of anti-tank weapons facing the Israelis but that is what their doctrine called for to counter the Israeli superiority in
armored warfare. The point is that this scenario is more historically accurate than the original and the Israelis have opportunities to explore different options. Oh, by the way, the 190 th was not the true numerical designation of Yaguri’s battalion, it is the designation that he gave to his Egyptian captors when he was captured. As I do not know its true designation, I used the 190 th . There is little difference between the Divided Ground and Middle East version of this scenario, the only major one in that the Egyptian engineer units are using Medium Trucks in Divided Ground while in Middle East they
are using Engineer Trucks.
Learning How to Retreat
This is the name I gave the bigger scenario. It is based on a supposed radio conversation between the Egyptian 2 nd Infantry Division commander and one of his forward subordinate leaders. This scenario occurs after the destruction of Yaguri’s battalion and was the Egyptian original plan for the day before its execution was delayed by the Israeli morning attacks. For the Israelis, it was a desperate time, having to spread out their surviving armor in a picket line over a wide front. Fortunately for them the Egyptians were attacking with their dismounted infantry supported by armor. They were able to use their long range gunnery to pick off tanks and to suppress the infantry. But the Egyptians brought up their dismounted Sagger teams which time and again forced the Israeli tanks to fall back, thus allowing the infantry to move up. Eventually the Egyptians got to the Artillery Road in several places, forcing the Israelis to pull back a few kilometers. The Israeli artillery battalion, which was in a pre-war constructed position, was also instrumental in slowing down the Egyptians, not only the advancing infantry, but also rear area units, using the men in the Hizayon observation post as forward observers. Indeed the Hizayon position held out for as long as it did due to calling down artillery on the Egyptian infantry and engineer units preparing to assault them, thus breaking up the attacks before they really got started. When the artillery battalion had to displaced due to the advancing Egyptians, Hizayon’s hours were numbered (The post fell the next day.). The Israeli 460 th Armored Brigade originally had three armored battalions, however due to casualties it had to reorganize into two under strength battalions, with the third battalion being reduced to only the headquarters unit which was located near the brigade headquarters, awaiting tank replacements so it could rebuild. To the right of the 460 th were the survivors of the 190 th Armored which were organized into a large platoon led by a surviving lieutenant. Since they were part of the 146 th Armored Brigade, that is where they are assigned in the order of battle. The Israelis had eight aircraft attack the Egyptians along the 2 nd Infantry Division’s front during that day, I assigned half of them in this scenario in two attacks (each attack represents two aircraft.) On the Egyptian side of the scenario we have the entire 120 th Infantry Brigade, plus part the 4 th Infantry Brigade as well. Historically it was the 120 th Infantry Brigade that got across Artillery Road that day. The 4 th Infantry did not get as far as they got a later start in the afternoon, due to reorganizing from the Israeli armored assaults which they bore the brunt of that morning. As one can see the right most battalion of the 4 th Infantry, which is set up on the board, is not up to full strength, due to taking some minor losses from their battle with the 190 th Armored Battalion. Also there is a long string of wrecks along the road in their sector which are casualties of the 190 th ’s attack. Supporting the infantry brigades are the 2 nd Division’s rear echelon units. This includes one the artillery brigades, the MRL battalion, the engineer battalion, the recon battalion, and the division’s tank battalion, as well as parts of the anti-tank and air defense battalions. The 117 th Mechanized and the attached 24 th Armored Brigades were not present due to being held in reserve. The SA-6 AD missile battalion was part the Egyptian 2 nd Army’s extensive air defense set up that they had on the west bank. The objective hexes in the game were based on the 2 nd Infantry Division’s operational objectives for the day’s attack. While the Egyptians did take some losses that day, mostly in their tank units, their sacrifice enabled the dismounted Sagger units to maneuver into good firing positions and set up, thus causing the Israelis to back off when they engaged them. Again there is little difference between the Divided Ground and the Middle East versions, basically the same thing I mentioned earlier.
I hope that these revised and new scenarios give better insight to the actual battles depicted in them. Enjoy them.
DESIGN NOTES FOR THE CANAL-CROSSING SCENARIOS
By Alan R. Arvold
Back when Divided Ground first came out, Al Sandrik came out with a pair of scenarios which showed the Egyptian Canal-crossing assault against the Israelis, a situation that was sadly missing from the original game's list of scenarios. The first one, Assault at Hizayon, showed a fairly accurate canal-crossing assault. The second one, Shovach Yonim, was a hypothetical what-if type situation showing what would have happened in the Israelis were better prepared. Both used the same mapboard and also the orders of battles for both sides that were part of the original game, before the various patches corrected them. That alone made the scenarios in need of correction. But there were other simple mistakes and I endeavored to correct them as I get these scenarios converted to Middle East.
The same mapboard is used in both scenarios and is historically based on the area where the Hizayon Outpost is located. However, it is an approximation of the area, especially when compared to the mapboards used in the Yaguri and Ismailia scenarios. And the mapsheets were rather bland looking, I added the railroads and towns based on what I saw on the Ismailia map. Sandrik was obviously not too interested in providing detail in the map, he only put in the features that pertained to what he is portraying, a cross-canal assault and the subsequent ambush of the reinforcing Israelis. However, he only gave the Egyptians one high mound on the west bank berm, historically they had three in that area. So, I compromised and only gave them a second one since this is not an exact recreation. He also seems to use a smaller scale than 250 meters per hex. I estimate it to be 125 meters per hex. While this does not change the number of hexes that the various weapons' ranges are, it does halve their ranges in real life.
Orders of Battle
The orders of battles for both scenarios were almost identical. Only minor differences in the labeling of the Israeli forces. However, I noticed that he gave the Egyptians weak support forces on the high mounds on the west bank berm, so I increased them using support forces in the Yaguri and Ismailia scenarios as my guide. Also, Sandrik overrates all of his leaders so I had to reduce them to appropriatelevels for their command grade. (As a general rule, company grade officers get a level of 1, battalion level officers get a level of 2, brigade level officers get a level of 3, division level officers get a level of 4, and corps and above get a level of 5. Yes, there are scenarios where officers historically performed better or worse that what their command level would indicate, and their respective command levels are raised or lowered to match history. Arab leaders follow the same rules as the Soviets, that is battalion level officers, and any company level ones, get a command level of 1, brigade level officers get a 2, etc. Jordanian officers because of their British background, follow the same rules as the Israelis.) I also gave the Egyptians a have mortar company because historically it was there.
The Hizayon scenario shows the historical Canal crossing and the Israeli response to it. The Shovach Yonim scenario shows what would have happened if the Israelis had moved their armor up into position before the war started. I essentially kept the scenario set up as Sandrik had them, the only additions being the additional support forces that I gave the Egyptians. But I also gave each side smoke rounds for their artillery. I also lowered the Egyptian morale the more historical level of 5. The objective hexes are based on the Bar Lev fortification hexes and the ambush positions the Egyptians must occupy further east. Sandrik had a note in the description of each scenario about the boats the Egyptians use to cross the Canal. These were house rules of his about not taking the boats beyond the first hex on the east bank of the Canal. This goes without saying, once the boats have achieved their purpose they become excess baggage and so any player is going to leave them in the disembarkation hexes. I deleted these notes as I found them unnecessary. Both scenarios recommend the they be played as Egyptian player. I quite agree as I do not see the Israelis having any real chance in either of them.
I hope that players find enjoyment in these scenarios
DESIGN NOTES FOR THE MOST TERRIBLE NIGHT
By Alan R. Arvold
The Most Terrible Night is a scenario that was originally created by Al Sandrik for the game Divided Ground. It did not come with the video game, instead it was posted on the now-defunct Games Depot web-site. The scenario was based on the boardgame “Suez 73”, which was published by Games Desginer's Workshop in 1981. It was the biggest scenario that Al Sandrik had created for Divided Ground and could justifiably be considered to be his magnum opus. Yet for all of its grandeur, it did have its faults. The biggest telling fault is that Sandrik made this game just after Divided Ground came out, before even the first patch for the game was released or posted by Talonsoft. Thus it was strewn
with errors. For this reason I basically left it alone and concentrated on my Chinese Farm scenario series. Now that in my program to convert all Divided Ground scenarios to Middle East I have come to this scenario, I am forced to deal with it. The process took somewhat longer for this scenario because of its size and depth. But as I corrected the errors I saw the makings of a great scenario and my congratulations goes out to Al Sandrik for its creation.
In studying the mapboard I noticed that the distances and sizes of certain terrain features did not look quite right. I saw that Sandrik based the design of the map on a section of the “Suez 73” mapboard. He patterned it after that. Checking against a copy of a “Suez 73” game map that I have I found that his map was perfect enlarged version of it. However the “Suez 73” was designed for an operational level game. Divided Ground is tactical level game, requiring a tactical level map and so in enlarging the “Suez 73” map, a lot of little terrain features we are used to seeing on the other maps of the Chinese Farm area are missing. Also the distances between locations just did not match those on other game maps of the same area, so I did so measuring and found that Sandrik's map uses about 200 meters per hex, not the standard 250 meters. While this cuts the real life ranges of all weapons down by a fifth, because this battle is happening at night it really does not matter. But since the map was looking rather bland I added some terrain features. I added the railroads that are on both sides of the Canal and also
that little marshy island in the Great Bitter Lake. None of these will any effect in the game, they just make the map look more accurate.
Orders of Battle
Sandrik based his primary order of battle for both sides on the order of battle from the “Suez 73” game, at least as far as the identity and number of brigades and independent battalions on each side. However he used the T.O. & E. data from the original Divided Ground OB Editor. This was before even the first patch came out from Talonsoft, correcting them. Thus I had to go through each major unit and make corrections where needed based on the latest patches for Divided Ground (Patches 1.4 and 2.0). For example, I had to increase the Egyptian artillery and rocket units from four to six strength points each. In another case I had to changed the tanks in one of the armored brigades on the Egyptian 21 st Armored Division from T-62 to T-55. (T-62s were only in special independent armored brigades.) On both sides I added HQ tanks to the tank companies, battalions, and in the Egyptian case, brigade level command units. I added SA-7 units to the Weapons Companies which historically had them in the Egyptian forces. One will notice that the line brigades in the 21 st Armored are understrength. This is because they participated in the abortive 14 October offensive and took losses which have not been replaced. In addition, the 18 th Mechanized Brigade has two of its battalions located off map and out of the scenario as a result. I made some minor changes when converting from Divided Ground to Middle East. For example, I changed the engineer units in the Egyptian 4 th Engineer Battalion to Bridge Engineer as they are located around the pontoon bridge crossing the Suez Canal and charged with guarding it. In the Ain Jolloud Battalion I changed the militia units to Palestinian infantry as is appropriate for that unit. One problem that Divided Ground has always had has been its trucks. Only light trucks rate a six point unit, the medium and heavy trucks only rate a four. Since most passenger units in the game are six point unit, the light truck was the one that was always inevitably used to transport. I guess that the fact that the symbol of the light truck in the game looked like an open back medium or heavy truck also contributed to its almost constant use. Well in keeping with history I changed most of the trucks on both sides to medium or heavy trucks as appropriate, only rarely using
the light truck for transport. I also gave the engineer units engineer trucks. One may wonder why the Israeli Boats and Rafts do not get trucks for transport in Divided Ground. This is because Divided Ground does not have the mechanism for loading and unloading Boats, rafts, and bridges on and from their trucks, so they must appear on their objective later in the scenario as a reinforcement as if they were transported as they would be in real life. This also applies to the Israeli Gilowa Ferry, it can not move on land, only in the water, so it too must appear at the objective as a reinforcement. However in Middle East the boats and rafts can be carried in engineer trucks so I added them to the Israeli order of battle and now they are transported on trucks from the board edge as reinforcements. Also the Gilowa ferry can now move on land as well as water and so it enters along a road as a reinforcement as well.
One of Sandrik's problems in his scenarios is that he loves leaders. He has too many leaders on both sides. Just about every company and battery has a leader. If that is not bad enough, he also overrates his leaders. I lowered the ratings of all leaders to those appropriate to their command level, with occasional exceptional leaders with slightly better ratings. But I did not remove the excess leader, I left them in. Excess leaders are those in artillery batteries and companies and the higher level command structures for those units. Also most support and weapons companies do not need leaders as these leaders' functions are usually administrative. But as I said, I leaving them all in as this is Sandrik's scenario.
As I said before, the scenario is based on the boardgame “Suez 73”, to be specific, the first scenario in that game which is also named “The Most Terrible Night”. Sandrik's original version had a double line of Trench hexes in front of the Egyptian positions, going from the top of the map down around to just south of Chinese farm where they became of series of Pillboxes and Improve Positions. These were based on the Trench hexes on the “Suez 73” map. These were special defensive hexes in that game representing increased defensive positions in those hexes. I believe that Sandrik over-estimated the effectiveness of those defenses. I believe that he put the unoccupied trench lines out in front of the Egyptian positions as an anti-tank ditch because he did not know how to make one in Divided Ground. As it is, regular Trench hexes do not slow down anybody in the game and also they would give the Israelis free defensive positions to move into on the first turn that they did not have in real life. So I removed the trench lines. I also removed the unoccupied Pillbox and Improved Positions south of Chinese Farm for the same reason. In their place I gave the Egyptian forces a series of Blocks and Level 1 Minefields adjacent to their positions. This improves their defensive capabilities and is also what the Egyptians were able to erect during their week on the defensive. Also I gave the Egyptians in the Chinese Farm area Trenches in place of some of the Improved Positions because the irrigation ditches were used as trenches by the Egyptians in their defense. If I could I would change them all to
Trenches, but the placement of vehicles and mobile leaders requires I leave some Improved Positions so that they may derive some defensive protection. I changed the Pillboxes along the Suez Canal to bunkers on the East Bank and to Improved Positions on the West Bank as these are what they historically were. I kept most of Sandrik's objective hexes even if I do question some of their locations. However, I did move four 25-point ones that were in the south over bunkers that no longer exist. I put them into Chinese Farm to cover more hexes in there. Sandrik did misplace some units that were with other battalions that were not theirs. Most of the time these are support weapons from sister battalions (i.e. a 1 st Bn/3 rd Mech's anti-tank platoon in the 2 nd Bn/3 rd Mech's area and vice versa). These were easy to correct. While converting this scenario to Middle East, I had to make some small changes to units set ups. Most of these were brought on by the changes in the carrying capacity of vehicles and the effects these had in the stacking of units in hexes. This also allowed to some minor changes to the reinforcement schedule.
Al Sandrik definitely created an impressive scenario here. It's too bad that he created so early before the patches came out for Divided Ground. If he had waited, many of the mistakes he made would not have occurred. But he didn't wait and as a result there were a lot of errors that I had to correct. Now it has become the scenario that I think that Sandrik meant it to be. Play it and enjoy.
Thank you Alan for this latest addition to military history converted to CS Middle East !!!
Download link available in the Opening Post, enjoy!.
< Message edited by Crossroads -- 6/5/2017 11:31:21 AM >