Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (Full Version)

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berto -> Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/1/2015 9:42:17 PM)


Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads)

I enjoyed my first PBEM with Crossroads so much that I said: Let's do it again! Not the same scenario, but a different one, where again -- for a change of pace -- I have opted to play defense.

For our PBEM game, Crossroads and I have selected Into Africa!, aka Hasan_1973.scn. From the Scenario Description:


[Deservoir, Egypt]: [H2H][HIS][CSL]: Israeli paratroopers, from
the 243rd Airbourne Brigade crossed the Suez Canal during the
early morning hours October 16th and established a small bridgehead
near Deservoir. Meeting little resistance, they began expanding
to the north the following day while the Battle of Chinese Farm
was in full swing. As the brigade advanced north, resistance
increased from a hodgepodge of units; mechanized infantry, artillery,
and commandos. The advance was slow even though it was supported
by tanks firing from the east bank. [ALL: NOVV][NONE][1.00]

For more context, visit the Wikipedia article,

From the in-game Scenario Information, it says the scenario is 16 day turns long (1-16[d]); Visibility is initially 4, but that will increase as the scenario wears on (1-7[4] 8-11[5] 12-16[6]); the Weather is Heavy Dust.

Here is the situation, just after Side A's/Israel's/Crossroads' opening moves:


Objective hexes everywhere, none of them overwhelmingly important.

The yellow force, Side B, are my Egyptians. Their strength and force composition:


Not shown (just off the top of the Side B Strength box):

1 [7VP] T-54
1 [7VP] T-54
1 [4VP] GAZ-66 w/ZU-23-2 23mm AA Gun
2 [3VP] Heavy Truck

As the scenario description says, "a hodgepodge of units".

So far, I see, in the bottom left corner of the map, just a single Israeli parachute infantry platoon probing my defenses at the Sweet Water Canal.

[to be continued...]

Bradley62 -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/2/2015 4:22:39 AM)

Just played this one spent 7 to 8 hours straight to finish. Took my time and enjoyed it quite a bit. It was my first victory out of four tries. I was so excited did a screen grab thinking I would post it on Facebook. Don't know though my friends/family may think I'm nuts [:D]

berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/3/2015 2:15:05 AM)


To begin with, I have little idea what I am up against. Except to say, the enemy is there, somewhere to my south.

At Abu Sultan, I am holding my fire. Try to make every shot count!

My T-54s, I will hide them to the west. Good for a surprise flanking attack (Visibility is only 4), if and when the Israelis advance northward up the railroad.

In the center, lots of positions to cover, too few units at hand.

To the rear, a mad scramble to push units forward. Fortunately, I have several truck units to do just that.

This is a very complex map, with constrained approaches, and constricted lines of fire. A puzzle, if ever there was one!

After my Side B move (Side B is this scenario's second side), the situation at the end of Turn 1:


Your move, Crossroads!

Bradley62 -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/3/2015 5:18:14 AM)

Looking forward to this and seeing a different approach from the Egyptian side.

berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/4/2015 4:08:17 PM)


The Israelis make their appearance:


As turn 2 opens, Israeli indirect fire pounded the urban areas around Abu Sultan. Then, Crossroads' Israelis fired and fired again against the Egyptian Rifle Platoon 71 B, at Abu Sultan, scoring two hits, but no retreat.

In the center, the Israelis have shown up in force.

Two Israeli parachute infantry platoons took aim at my Light Machine Gun 61 platoon (turquoise box), but missed -- no losses.

Over to my turn. Refer to the last screenshot below.

By the Suez Canal, an Israeli tank platoon took out a loaded truck convoy bringing an Egyptian infantry platoon up to the front. Ouch! WReck(s) (two of them, circled in red) marks the spot.

I have two AT-3 Sagger Teams (turquoise boxes):


I will need to deploy these carefully to take out that Israeli tank platoon on the east side of the Canal. Birds of a feather flock together. I might infer that that enemy tank platoon is not alone.

My LMG (blue box, center) fires back at the Israeli parachute infantry, but to little effect, because they are still Fatigued from their forced march to that village the turn before.

Those Egyptian T-54s? I've decided that positioning them to the west for a surprise flank attack on any Israeli advance up the railroad -- not a good idea. If they should be wounded, or Disrupted, there is really no place to hide out west. No, I've decided they are better suited for close-in support, so I have moved them back in toward the center.

I am rushing the rest of my rag-tag Egyptian force forward as fast as I can.

At Abu Sultan, fire from that Egyptian rifle platoon (magenta circle) forced the Israeli parachute infantry to retreat.

To my artillery units (off map to the north), all of them in-supply, the order is given: Fire away!

Egyptian Side B Losses have jumped up to 14, reflecting the loss of those loaded transports. I'm already in the hole.

After my Side B move (Side B is this scenario's second side), the situation at the end of Turn 2:


This does not look promising! [:(]

budd -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/4/2015 5:47:49 PM)

really interesting being able to follow both sides, looking forward to see how you manage this.

berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/6/2015 8:26:45 PM)


The situation at the end of Turn 3, first Side A (Israeli) phase. (Beginning with this screenshot, and all following, I will be showcasing the new on-counter unit stats feature. Still a work-in-progress, so still somewhat subject to change. And not available publicly until ME 1.01.)


To the far south, Crossroads' Israelis hammered that Egyptian Rifle Platoon 71 B (magenta box), then assaulted it, losing it 2 more SPs and causing it to retreat. In the successful assault, the Israeli parachute infantry platoon advanced to take the contested hex (magenta circle).

In the center, the Israelis expelled the Egyptian LMG platoon (turquoise box) from that 20 VP village (turquoise circle). Moving up the road, the Israeli force ran into the Egyptian GAZ-66, which managed to opportunity fire just once before being destroyed in counter fire (red circle). With that loss, I am now blind in that sector.

I still have those T-54s (blue boxes). Where to commit them?

Over to my turn. Refer to the last screenshot below.

The 1 SP T-54, I decide to position it down the railroad, to ambush any Israelis moving northward through the Vineyard hexes (which obscure Visibility and LOS). The other 4 SP T-54, I have no choice but to move it forward. Nothing else there yet to impede the Israeli advance.

To the north, I need to sneak my AT-3 Sagger Team (turquoise box) into that Rubble hex (turquoise circle), in order to shoot at the pesky Israeli tank platoon taking potshots at my forces from across the Suez Canal. It will be tough. Crossroads will be sure to notice, and target his fire against the saggers.

I'm still rushing forward the rest of my forces as fast as I can, but they are already quite late to the party!

Fortunately, my four artillery units remain fully supplied, so I can blast away at the enemy all over the map.

After my Side B move (Side B is this scenario's second side), the situation at the end of Turn 3:


I'm deeper in the VP hole now, primarily due to the Israelis capturing a couple more Objective hexes. It's going to be hard denying Crossroads a Minor Victory, at least.

vonkrieg -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/7/2015 5:22:26 AM)

I'm very interested in seeing how this one goes. Jason and I played this right before the release. So, I'm looking to see how other folks approach the constricted terrain.



berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/10/2015 12:14:46 AM)


The situation at the end of Turn 4, first Side A (Israeli) phase. (With these screenshots, and all following, I continue to showcase the new on-counter unit stats feature, now essentially finished. Also the concurrent Hex Outlines and Contours display. Both not available publicly until ME 1.01.)


To the south, the Israelis have destroyed or driven off the meager forces I had around Abu Sultan. One less Israeli speed bump.

A surprise, that encirclement at Ezab el-Aqqeda. How did Crossroads achieve it? Bridging capability perhaps? That disrupted Egyptian rifle platoon there -- it's a goner for sure.

In the center, wham! bam! I lose my full-strength T-54 platoon. The red circle marks the spot.

Oh my! Disaster all around! [:(]

The Israelis are concentrated around those two magenta circles. But because of the constricted Visibility and LOS -- Vineyards and Orchards and village hexes everywhere -- I have lost sight of them.

Over to my turn, screenshot below.

Too many of my forces -- in the magenta circle -- are where I least now need them. I can't cross the river. There is little stopping the Israeli push up the center.

I do have an RCLR and HMG platoon in the vicinity of Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa -- not enough to impede the Israeli advance, but maybe enough to draw blood. Must avenge those destroyed T-54s!

All four of my artillery units remain fully supplied, continue to fire away, but so far to apparently little effect. That Israeli tank platoon on the east side of the Suez Canal? I am no longer targeting it, since due to poor spotting, my artillery shells are drifting one or two hexes short, falling harmlessly on or just to the west of the Canal.

I do have two airstrikes available to me. When to use them?

After my Side B move (Side B is this scenario's second side), the situation at the end of Turn 4:


I'm already on the verge of at least a Minor Defeat.

In hindsight, I am thinking my strategy of fighting the enemy forward is a mistake. Better, I think, if I had abandoned the south, retreated pell mell northward, and -- with my forces assembled in full -- set up a proper defensive line at or behind Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa. Second guessing myself here. Third guess: I'm guessing I will lose this, big time.

Only four moves in. Man, this is brutal! [X(]

budd -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/10/2015 12:43:39 AM)

Good read, i probably would of fought forward also i don't like giving it away for free.

berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/10/2015 8:04:48 AM)

Oh my! I am so focused on taking just the right screenshot and writing the color commentary that I'm not paying close enough attention to, you know, actual game play. Three of my frontline units I somehow forgot to direct fire my last turn! [X(]

In my defense (pun intended), in Real Life, I work the night, graveyard shift, Friday evenings are really droopy for me, and I was on the verge of my usual end-of-week burnout when I played this turn. (I woke up early -- my typical weekend "jet lag" insomnia -- to write this very DAR post right now. Hopefully the beer I'm nursing will put me back to sleep soon.)

Crossroads is a much, much more experienced player than I am, with dozens and hundreds of CS PBEMs under his belt. I, on the other foot (not the one I just shot myself, no, the other one [:)]) am a PBEM rookie, and by nature fat and lazy and ... careless! ... in my solo A/I game play ways. This scenario is a real toughie. I can't afford to make these stupid mistakes!

Crossroads has graciously offered me the chance to replay my turn. I have declined. I don't like Undo. In RL, sh*t happens. And after all, we're playing Extreme FOW, right?

So no more excuses. I take my lumps. And soldier on. The Egyptians surely made their share of mistakes in The Real Game too, yes? Realism to the Max!

Oh, and I had forgotten to mention. Crossroads has an ongoing DAR at Grogheads

The Campaign Series: Middle East 1948-1985 - Into Africa! (No Berto!)

chronicling his side of this ongoing PBEM. Be sure to follow along his battle account also. And read all about my humiliation and shame. [:(] [:D]

Grim.Reaper -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/10/2015 10:08:06 AM)

That has been the cool thing being able to read both sides approach to the game....very entertaining. Glad you decided to tough it out versus a do over, I am sure it will even be more gratifying when you turn things around on your opponent:)

berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/10/2015 10:32:22 AM)


After all, it wasn't so bad. All three units that I failed to direct fire last turn? All of them got in two opfires apiece before two of them were destroyed.

That -- saving them for opfire -- was what I had planned all along. [;)] Yeah, um, right. [8|]

The situation at the End of Battle Replay (at the end of replaying Crossroads' turn 5 opening moves):


The two rifle platoons I had failed to fire last turn (but subsequently opfired this turn) -- the red circles mark the spots where, after Israeli prep fire then assault, they subsequently were captured or eliminated.

The green box encompasses the Egyptian RCLR, which got in a single opfire when first sited across the river in the village to the east, but Israeli fire thereafter forced it to cross the river to the west in retreat.

The magenta box marks my LMG, which also got in two opfires and somehow miraculously survives.

All of those crosshairs? Yes! Finally I have targeted my indirect fire well!

After pressing the OK button, the situation at the end of Turn 5, first Side A (Israeli) phase:


But no! Because I have lost my Egyptian spotters in those places, the massed Israelis have vanished from sight (large magenta circles), so my indirect artillery fire drifts aimlessly off target. Wasted shots, no effect! Dang! I can now see that both of my D-74 Howitzers have gone Out of Ammo. [:@]

Again, the green box is where I have that one RCLR. I open the Opfire Dialog to set opfire against soft targets to N, Never. I also set opfire against hard targets to S, Short range. I want to save those RCLRs for close-in firing against armor.

The small green circles? We are playing this scenario Extreme FOW, so how is it that "2" shows instead of "?" ? And (obscured by the Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa map label) "6" shows instead of "?" ? In the code, the rule for whether or not to display the actual strength value references the IsObscured() function; the code doesn't automatically default to "unknown", "?" (unlike the rule for showing Assault value and Defense -- if Extreme FOW, never show; Morale never shows under any FOW). I will have to decide if this is a bug, or WAD.

As my turn opens, welcome news: I have two truck-borne AT-3 Saggers arriving as off-map reinforcements from the northwest (entry hex 0,2). With them, I must do better!

Over to my turn, screenshot below.

The two truck-borne AT-3 Saggers I have rushed forward to the villages just west of Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa (green boxes). My other two Sagger units I have also boxed in green.

Look at the Info Box to the right. Crossroads and I are playing this scenario with the Variable Visibility optional rule selected. Unlike before, the Visibility was 4. Under cover of this turn's 3 reduced Visibility, I was able to move the one Sagger unit into the Rubble hex -- a lucky break, because the Israeli tank platoon in the elevated hex just east of the Suez Canal (I assume it's still there) was unable to take a shot at the advancing saggers. When the Visibility goes back to 4 (and later higher -- I know this from the scenario description), those saggers should be in good position to take aim at the Israeli tanks across the Canal.

The commando platoon in the yellow box, I am holding in reserve. There are truck transports nearby (off-screen to the north) to ferry it quickly over to the west if need be.

In the turquoise box, I have one Egyptian rifle platoon, and that one RCLR that I have moved back forward.

In the magenta box, I have one LMG unit I have Double Timed (Ctrl-Q) forward in a desperate attempt to occupy that 25 VP village hex right in the center. The LMGs are now in a Fatigued state. Remember: Under the Adaptive A/I optional rule, there is no certainty that Double Timing will succeed; that Double Timing units will Fatigue them; and no certainty that Fatigued units will recover from Fatigue after one turn; all three chances will vary. As it happens, the LMG is indeed now Fatigued (F in the unit Info Box).

Ah yes, the center. See those two smallish red circles? For some reason -- limited capacity? blown? -- I am unable to move vehicles across those bridges. So I am seriously hampered by an inability to reinforce the center (between the two rivers) from the north.

I can't much move units into the center. But I can position units across the rivers to fire at advancing Israelis on their flanks. Those LMGs and the RPG in the (black box) hot spot hex -- they are sited to do exactly that. I have activated the Visible hexes display (white hex outlines, hot key V; remember: in the Options menu, you can alter highlight colors as you wish) to show their effective fields of fire.

Two howitzer units Out of Ammo. One BM-14/8 140mm MRL -- my biggest artillery pieces -- cannot fire close range. As it happens, there are no juicy Israeli targets far enough out. So the MRLs I cease fire. Better to conserve their ammo. Only the near mortars indirect fire this turn.

After my Side B move (Side B is this scenario's second side), the situation at the end of Turn 5:


A few more Israeli losses, a few more Egyptian losses, Total Points are mounting up in my disfavor. I'm still heading towards disaster, just maybe not quite so fast.

The beer? Consumed to little effect. I'm still not sleepy. Too pumped up by this PBEM! If I have done poorly this turn, I can now blame the beer. Yeah, that's it! If not sleepiness, then drunkenness -- excuses for poor game play in either case. [:)]

Over to you, Crossroads...

berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/10/2015 11:57:02 AM)

In 3D Normal view, the scene in and around Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa:


berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/10/2015 4:46:52 PM)



Oh my! I am so focused on taking just the right screenshot and writing the color commentary that I'm not paying close enough attention to, you know, actual game play. Three of my frontline units I somehow forgot to direct fire my last turn! [X(]


As a safeguard that would not happen again, after my turn 5 moves I made sure to use the Next Unit hot key N to cycle through all of my units before clicking the Next Turn button.

... Hmm, a new game feature maybe?

  • Hit the Next Turn button.
  • A pop-up appears saying: "Are you sure?"
  • Hit the OK button.
  • Another pop-up appears: "Are you really, really sure?"
  • Hit the OK button.
  • Another pop-up appears: "You haven't been drinking, have you?"
  • ...

    When playing these games, you can never be too careful!


    Um, on second thought, maybe not. [:)]

  • berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/13/2015 8:29:49 PM)

    TURN #6

    Several days without any DAR posts. Why the delay? Quoting Crossroads (in his turn reply e-mail):


    You forgot to fire some of your units, I forgot to send the turn back, What next...

    Sorry for the delay, dear Reader!

    The situation at the end of Turn 6, first Side A (Israeli) phase:


    From bad to worse!

    Those two reinforcement AT-3 Sagger Teams I had trucked up to the front last turn? He got one! Making effective use of the obstructing terrain and limited Visibility, Crossroads snuck up an Israeli parachute infantry platoon through the Orchards and Scrub west of the railroad then assaulted and captured the defenseless trucks. The top red circle marks the spot.

    One hex just below, he assaulted and overran the Disrupted Egyptian infantry platoon defending the village. The lower red circle marks that spot.

    Ouch, ouch!

    I have three sagger teams remaining (green boxes). A stack of four Israeli tank platoons east of the Canal (blue box) fired on the one sagger unit in that rubble hex across the canal (green box), reducing its SPs from 3 down to 1. Ouch again.

    That's the bad news. The good news is that the Egyptian Rifle Platoon 71B at Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa (turquoise box) continues its brave defense. I must remember to award them all medals (if they aren't killed first).

    I need to plan my defenses carefully around Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa. Let's inspect more closely the underlying terrain. I hit the Toggle Units hot key K(ill unit display) and see this:


    Ah, just west of the river, the current hot spot hex (black box) -- that's a clear hex, not a village. Good to know, must take note of that.

    Over to my turn, screenshots following.


    Let's see if I can create a proper defensive line at long last. I advance my LMG platoon (top yellow box) to that 25 VP village hex. On my right, I move up the rifle platoon (bottom yellow box) to that village hex just west of the railroad.

    The one surviving truck-loaded sagger team -- I take the chance to sneak it across the river, through Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa, and on to the north side of the town, where I unloaded it. None of the Israelis opfired back. Whew! That was fortunate!

    The heroic Egyptian rifle infantry platoon at Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa (turquoise box) -- instead of medals, I give them the chance to die martyrs' deaths. I will leave them at at Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa as bait. My hope is that the Israelis amassed to the south (red box) will assault the rifle platoon, and that hex. Probably they will succeed in the assault, and likely they will consume all remaining APs in so doing. This hopefully will be my chance to fire the full-strength AT-3 Sagger Team (magenta box) at the advancing Israeli tanks, both opportunity fire in the Side A Israeli phase next turn, and direct fire in the Side B Egyptian phase following.

    To ensure that the saggers fire at the tanks, not at infantry and other targets, with the sagger team selected, I Ctrl-P summon the Opportunity Fire Dialog. Against Soft Vehicles, Helicopters & Other Targets, I select N(ever) -- don't ever opfire against such targets. Against Hard Targets -- the Israeli tanks -- I specify to opfire at S(hort) range only. One often forgets to fine tune opportunity fire settings in this way, but one shouldn't forget. These are the kinds of subtleties that often win battles.

    That reduced strength 1 SP sagger team near the Canal. I target the Israeli tanks east of the Canal. Wow! Even at just 1 SP, the direct fire tooltip reports "66/0" -- i.e., a hard target Attack Factor of 66 (and a soft Attack Factor of 0). I fire the saggers. No hits, but I did disrupt one of the Israeli tank platoons. Impressive!

    To my rear, I am trucking up the one reserve sagger team to the rubble hex west of the Canal, and trucking a reserve rifle infantry platoon around to my right.

    Time to plot my artillery etc.


    I have just two airstrikes available. I commit the first one to attack those four Israeli tank units sited atop the hill just east of the Canal (magenta circle).

    For the one supplied 82mm Mortar, I plot indirect fire against the Clear and Vineyard hexes to the NW and NE of Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa. There are no Israelis there currently, but my expectation is that next turn, Crossroads will move his forces into one and/or the other hex.

    For plotting my artillery fire, I have summoned the Artillery Dialog. As you can see, I have two artillery units Out of Ammo. The BM-14/8 MRL -- it's rather unfortunate that I can't have it fire close in; the ranges are too short. So I can't use it to strike the Israelis clustered around Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa. No, I would have to target farther out -- where there are no Israelis, or they may be hidden (red circle), or to the west they might move away from their current positions. Rather than risk wasting ammo on such iffy, low chance of success IF, I decide not to fire my MRL this turn. Better to hold it in reserve.

    After my Side B move (Side B is this scenario's second side), the Victory Dialog at the end of Turn 6:


    I'm scoring some Israeli SP Losses, but suffering more than my share in return. The worst of it in turn 6 was the loss of the infantry and saggers west and southwest of Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa.

    With luck -- man, could I ever use it! -- I am poised to inflict some serious SP losses against the Israelis the immediate next turn. With luck, my saggers will take out some of those tanks. I think the key for the Egyptians doing well in this scenario is to make effective use of their saggers, and their artillery -- neither of which I have been doing so far. Let's see if my tactics, and luck, improve next turn.

    Over to you, Crossroads...

    berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/14/2015 7:03:45 AM)


    ORIGINAL: berto

    The heroic Egyptian rifle infantry platoon at Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa (turquoise box) -- instead of medals, I give them the chance to die martyrs' deaths. I will leave them at at Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa as bait...

    I am already second guessing this decision.

    For the Egyptians, this is one tough scenario. A confession: Both Crossroads and I have played this scenario before, not against each other, but against the A/I, with us humans playing the Israelis. In both cases, and in other Dev Team playtests, the Israelis have always won Major Victories, by very wide margins. I feel I will have won a moral victory if I can deny the Israelis a Major Victory, if I can hold them to a Minor Victory at best. (Although this is a replay for me, I am willfully blinding myself to what I recall about the Israeli force and its capabilities. I am feigning ignorance, trying to play the Egyptian side as if the situation were entirely new and unknown to me.)

    In order not to lose badly, much less win, the Egyptian commander can't afford to make mistakes. I have made more than my share of them.

    As I say, I am second guessing my decision to keep that Disrupted Egyptian infantry platoon in the heart of Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa. Maybe I should have retreated it northward, to join the saggers etc. in the north part of town, to bolster the defense there, and to give the platoon time to undisrupt. By keeping them forward, exposing them as assault "bait", I fear I have made yet another mistake. I fear the Egyptian rifle platoon will fall easily to Israeli assault. Forget the chance to fire back with the saggers etc. More importantly, I will have lost still one more unit.

    Problem: I am running out of units! At the rate I am losing them, I expect a point might come soon where my defenses entirely collapse, where I have nothing left to throw in the face of the Israeli advance. I fear that within a few turns, the Israeli pathways to the north, and to my vulnerable artillery units there, will be free and clear. Might Crossroads wipe me entirely off the map? It could happen!

    berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/17/2015 1:55:42 AM)

    TURN #7

    The situation at the end of Turn 7, first Side A (Israeli) phase. (With these screenshots, and all following, I am showcasing Crossroads' new revised NATO icons. Note especially the thinner tank tread symbols. Not available publicly until ME 1.01.)


    My clever scheme to bait Crossroads' tank platoon then hit back with my sagger team at Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa? Clever like a fool! Crossroads indeed assaulted the town (red circle), then immediately targeted my saggers lying in wait just to the north. The damage result: Reduced by 1 Retreat. He then hit the retreating saggers on their flank, scoring another 1 SP hit, and forcing another retreat (blue box). Useless!

    So too useless the saggers near the Canal (blue circle). With his tanks just east of the Canal, Crossroads blew away that sagger team also. The Egyptian sagger teams in this scenario -- Crossroads knew to target them early and at every opportunity. I have nothing to show for my mismanagement of them.

    The RPG & LMG units I had parked just east of the river athwart Crossroads' right flank? Of course Crossroads targeted them with his artillery. I shouldn't have left them there concentrated in one spot for so long. More SP loss, still another retreat. D'oh!

    The only bright spot: The Israelis captured the 10 VP Objective hex just west of Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa (magenta circle), but my artillery fire subsequently hit them hard and forced them right back.

    The situation in the center in 3D mode:


    Over to my turn, 2D screen shot below.

    Is there any saving this situation? Not much to do except to pull back and attempt to regroup. Plot my artillery. Hope for the best.

    The Egyptian rifle platoon west of the river (turquoise box). Before withdrawing, it fired at the Israeli parachute infantry platoon in the Orchards to the northwest (red circle), scoring a hit and causing a disruption result. Another Israeli parachute infantry platoon to the south (magenta circle) is also disrupted. If I'm lucky, they stay disrupted, and the Israeli advance on the left flank slows.

    I have few units remaining on my right flank. I continue to try trucking reinforcements away from my left, around my rear to my right.

    A worry: In the center, I have lost track of the Israeli armor. Is Crossroads perhaps attempting to sneak around me in the desert to my far right?

    After my Side B move (Side B is this scenario's second side), the situation at the end of Turn 7:


    If you compare this latest Victory Dialog with the previous turn 6, you will see that, indeed, I have inflicted some serious Israeli hurt this turn, including an Israeli Commander 3, who fell in the fighting around Ezab Zein el-Abidin Isa.

    Maybe I'll start getting in some good artillery hits? Spitting into the wind? [8|]

    berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/17/2015 11:09:42 AM)

    TURN #8

    The situation at the end of Turn 8, first Side A (Israeli) phase:


    Those pesky Israeli tanks east of the Canal drove off the defenders around that Rubble hex (magenta circle). A retreating sagger team took aim at the tanks, but missed. (It figures.) Note (small green circle, in the Info Box) where the Visibility has increased to 5. The Israeli tanks now have longer range! [:@]

    To my far right, the Israelis took aim at my sole remaining Egyptian T-54, my reconnaissance sentinel in that sector. Strike one tank (red circle)!

    In the center, my position has essentially collapsed (turquoise circle). I can try to save my forces there, but likely the onrushing Israelis will chew them up.

    All appears to be lost, but then...


    The cavalry are coming, the cavalry are coming!

    Desperately needed reinforcements arrive at the map's north edge. Those BTR-60PBs pack a punch, and just as important, are loaded with mechanized infantry.

    A lost cause is now maybe not looking so lost!

    I have four truck transport units shown. The two boxed in turquoise are loaded with commando platoons. I am attempting to swing them around my rear to my right flank. The heavy trucks in the green box -- my plan for them is to transport the otherwise immobile BM-14/8 140mm MRL (magenta box) up to the village hex on the map's north edge (magenta circle). Why? It's because they can't fire close range. I need to move them farther away from the front, to have any chance of striking the advancing Israelis. Finally, the one remaining truck unit in the center (blue box). Entrapped between the rivers, unable to cross the rivers (for some unknown reason), it remains forever effectively useless.

    Over to my turn, screen shot below.

    My "plan", such as it is, is to make a stand around and to the north of Ezab Abu Zeid Hasan (turquoise circle). If and when that position crumbles, I will make one last stand around 'Ezab Mahattet Serapeum (red circle). Note the 50 VP Objective hex there.

    The units on my forward left (yellow circle), they are just cannon fodder for the Israeli tanks east of the Canal. What I can do is to slowly retreat them northward, and try to keep them just one hex farther off than those tanks' Visibility range. I need to take those cross-Canal tanks out of the action, and one way to do that is to stay so far away from their firepower (i.e., beyond their Visibility range) that they are no longer of any consequence.

    The Egyptian units far forward (grey circle) -- they are effectively lost. Maybe -- probably not -- I can save that entrucked HMG and move it up to Ezab Abu Zeid Hasan. But the units there are easy pickings for the Israelis, really.

    As you can see, I have advanced my APCs and mechanized infantry reinforcements to take up positions north of Ezab Abu Zeid Hasan. The defensive lines remain all screwy.

    The T-54s (green box) I have stationed to my far right. I continue to worry that Crossroads has a trick to play -- outflanking me on my far right. I need to keep an eye on that.

    Finally, those Israeli tanks east of the Canal. My forces (yellow circle) have now moved just out of visible range. I am betting that Crossroads' next move will be to reposition his tanks on that middle knoll northward just up the Canal. Accordingly, I have directed all four of my available howitzer strikes to target that hex (middle blue circle). With luck -- boy, I could use it -- I will get me some tank kills there. It's a risky play, but what else can I do? Otherwise, I have no idea where else to plot my howitzer fire -- the front is now so fluid -- with any reasonable probability of success. Alas, my one plotted airstrike is delayed. Likely his tanks will move off that southernmost knoll before the Egyptian fighter bombers arrive. Still another botched opportunity!

    After my Side B move (Side B is this scenario's second side), the situation at the end of Turn 8:


    I am not showing the Victory Dialog this turn. It's grim viewing anyway. But to summarize: More Egyptian losses, of course. Just one Israeli SP loss. (Crossroads cleverly (or luckily?) avoided my artillery plots this turn, so my artillery fire was wasted on empty target hexes.) Total Israeli points now stand at 298. Inching closer to a Major Victory, Crossroads is.

    Still, with those reinforcements, maybe I can make an interesting fight of this!

    (I have to laugh. Elsewhere, Jason describes how quickly and efficiently he runs through his PBEM turns, even for larger scenarios, typically 10 minutes or less. I on the other hand ponder and analyze and fiddle and fret over every last little detail. I take it slow; I take my time. Hey, it's the way I like to play!)

    berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/18/2015 8:36:15 PM)

    TURN #9

    Restarting my Into Africa! PBEM, enjoying one of Crossroads' several new frontend screens:


    Available in the forthcoming ME 1.01.

    After the PBEM Battle Replay, the situation at the end of Turn 9, first Side A (Israeli) phase:


    Crossroads continues to whittle down my forces advanced forward in the center. Foolishly I had entrucked my HMG unit there, thinking I could move it quickly out of harm's way up across the river to the relative safety of Ezab Abu Zeid Hasan. But no! That bridge (magenta circle) appears to be busted; at least it won't support trucks. So, as you can see from the white ReacHable highlights, the truck can't in fact cross that bridge. Wasted time, wasted APs. The HMG will just have to escape on foot, or die trying.

    The Egyptian rifle platoon (green box) is surrounded, is doomed to capture or extinction, but at least it is keeping the Israelis busy while I form my defenses to the north.

    Down the road south of Ezab Abu Zeid Hasan, an Israeli tank platoon fired up the road, hitting (1 SP loss, red circle) one of my BTR-60PBs (APCs), forcing it to retreat (red box).

    All that howitzer fire I had directed at that knoll to the east of the Canal (blue circle)? Wasted, it seems. It seems that Crossroads in fact did not move any or all of his tanks there, so the howitzer shells just pounded sand. Worse than the waste, I have advertised my intentions to Crossroads. He might think twice about occupying that knoll in future.

    At the knoll farther to the south, the one where he had amassed his tanks, my earlier airstrike was recalled. To be redirected somewhere else? I am not sure.

    Over to my turn, screen shot below.

    I am -- at last! -- able now to form a proper defensive line, more or less. I'm still bedeviled by the rivers, though, which prevent me from moving forces laterally from one flank to another.

    My forward advanced units (gray circle) -- they continue to buy me some time.

    I have moved that one BTR-60 APC (green circle) down to the 50 VP village hex. Is it possible I might still deny the Israelis that hex?

    As you can see, I have opened the Unit Viewer on the BTR-60. The Unit Handbook view for that unit (not shown) says that the BTR-60s have amphib capability. I believe they can thus cross those rivers, but I am not sure.

    On my right, I have a powerful lineup that should, in all likelihood, stop any further Israeli advance. That's my hope.

    I am keeping two Egyptian rifle platoons (blue boxes) in reserve. I'd really like to move them forward to the center, but of course the rivers prevent me from doing that.

    The BM-14/8 140mm MRL has finally met up with its assigned heavy truck transport (magenta box). I am assuming I can load up the guns next turn. But maybe I can't. Of course, many times my assumptions have been proven wrong.

    I've written before about my concern that Crossroads might attempt to sneak up and around my, previously, weak right flank. What puzzles me is: Why has he not committed any forces to sweeping up my left flank? Why has he not yet, for instance, taken that one 25 VP rubble hex (turquoise circle)? Can he possibly lack the forces to do that?

    After my Side B move (Side B is this scenario's second side), the situation at the end of Turn 9:


    Crossroads' VP margin continues to climb. Not yet a Major Victory for him, but getting closer!

    berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/20/2015 6:22:14 PM)

    TURN #10

    The situation at the end of Turn 10, first Side A (Israeli) phase:


    A lucky Israeli artillery strike obliterated the Egyptian rifle platoon at the railroad (magenta circle).

    Crossroads managed, as expected, to destroy all my units south of Ezab Abu Zeid Hasan (turquoise circle).

    More lucky tank fire wiped out, in a single shot, one of my BTR-60PBs to the north (red circle).

    The mayhem continues. [:(]

    Over to my turn, screen shot below.

    As it happens, I was able to load the Egyptian MRL artillery piece onto the heavy trucks (magenta box). I need to move them to rear for safety.

    I have decided to fight for the 50 VP hex at Ezab Abu Zeid Hasan. Not a last stand, because I don't want to trap between the rivers too many of my units there.

    I remain mystified by what may or may not happen on my left. Where are those cross-Canal Israeli tanks?

    After my Side B move (Side B is this scenario's second side), the situation at the end of Turn 10:


    My mood has switched back to pessimism. My self-styled "moral victory" (denying Crossroads a Major Victory) looks to be less and less likely.

    berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/23/2015 6:03:29 PM)

    TURN #11

    The situation at the end of Turn 11, first Side A (Israeli) phase:


    Crossroads moved his forces cautiously forward and took aim at the units on my right, focusing mainly on my T-54s (turquoise box). Artillery fire (magenta circle) Disrupted the Egyptian Armored 71B, and subsequent small arms fire forced it to retreat (magenta box).

    Anticipating my every move (?), Crossroads was careful not to advance his units to the hexes (red circles) where I had focused my artillery fire. Except for the one HMG (red box), where an artillery strike (lower red circle) scored a 1 SP hit and drove it back. The Israelis continue to evade my gunners.

    Over to my turn, screen shot below.

    I was able to truck my MRL to relative safety in the rear (gray box) but used up enough APs in so doing as to prevent off loading.

    My reserve rifle platoon (green box). I really want to keep it available for my left, as I continue to fret about what Crossroads might have planned for me there. Note that the Israelis have finally taken that 25 VP Rubble hex (blue circle) to the southeast. Does Crossroads have some mobile forces that might speed their way up the road and surprise attack me to my rear? Worry, worry.

    But no, I committed that reserve rifle platoon to my right, as I now also worry about that stack of Israeli tanks (magenta box). Is Crossroads positioning them for a lightning attack against my weak right flank?

    I have a BTR-60PB on my far right (turquoise box). The unit is weak defensively. No match for any tanks. But at least it provides me some reconnaissance.

    Some shuffling of my units in the center. I am moving the Egyptian commando platoon up to defend that 50 VP village hex at the center front. I continue to think that maybe I can hold that position. Doubtful, though.

    I plot my artillery fire. Will I get lucky one of these turns and have Crossroads walk right into a shower of falling shells? It is to laugh.

    After my Side B move (Side B is this scenario's second side), the situation at the end of Turn 11:


    Crossroads currently scores a Major Victory. If I can deny him taking any more objective hexes; if I can inflict some serious SP losses; maybe I can slip him back under that threshold. It is to hope.

    berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/24/2015 3:45:48 PM)

    TURN #12

    I am astonished and dismayed to see how easily Crossroads makes mincemeat of my carefully prepared defensive position.

    The situation at the end of Turn 12, first Side A (Israeli) phase:


    He is now firmly lodged in the village hexes NW of Ezab Abu Zeid Hasan. I have little hope of throwing him back.

    Perhaps worse, by his taking that one village hex closest to the river, he has blocked my escape across that bridge (red circle). The forces in my center are now trapped!

    I continue to mismanage my special units. Crossroads took some easy potshots at my T-54s, scored 2 SP hits, and forced their retreat (magenta box). His tanks outnumber mine!

    Long expected, and feared, I am now seeing Israeli advance on my left (turquoise box). I might hope that the Israelis lack any mobile units in that vicinity.

    Over to my turn, screen shot below.

    The Egyptians fired back, scoring a few hits.

    Perhaps foolishly, I ordered the Egyptian comandos to assault the Israeli parachute infantry platoon across that bridge. No dice, the assault is repulsed, now the commandos are Disrupted (magenta box). Useless!

    The situation is looking grimmer than ever.

    After my Side B move (Side B is this scenario's second side), the situation at the end of Turn 12:


    About the only positive I can report is that I gave almost as good as I got this turn, 3 of his SP loss to my 4. Too little, too late.

    And for you 3D fans, the scene in 3D:


    berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/25/2015 12:33:15 PM)

    TURN #13

    The Israeli juggernaut rolls forward.

    The situation at the end of Turn 13, first Side A (Israeli) phase:


    Assaulting from the west and the south, the Israelis forced the Egyptians (green box) out of Ezab Abu Zeid Hasan. A master class in combined arms tactics, with Crossroads the teacher and me the pupil.

    To the west of the river, slow but steady Israeli advance.

    In the Info Box, note where the Visibility has now increased to 7.

    Taking advantage of that, Israeli armor (in the vicinity of the turquoise circle, now out of LOS) targeted an Egyptian SA-7 Grail MANPAD far to the rear. That is a unit that for most of the scenario I assumed was for AA defense only and had no effectiveness against ground forces. Wrong. It's something I could have brought into play earlier but didn't.

    To the east, the cross-Canal Israeli armor (magenta box) made its reappearance, took aim, fired, and destroyed the Egyptian LMG east of Ezab Abu Zeid Hasan (magenta circle).

    One, and only one, bright spot in this phase: In a long-awaited move, Crossroads snuck an Israeli tank platoon up the Canal road and positioned it on the knoll to the northeast (red circle). My saggers (red box) opportunity fired at and destroyed the Israeli tanks, all 2 SPs of them! Crossroads' remark: "I knew that would be one hill too far."

    That in a nutshell is perhaps the main story of this scenario. I have had special assets -- saggers, tanks, RPG, BTRs, artillery -- that I have mismanaged in a woeful display of fecklessness. Before they could get any shots in, over and over again Crossroads took the initiative to the target and destroy those special assets first. Wasted opportunity after wasted asset. So here we are: too few defenders facing too many attackers. It's my bad they are still so many.

    Over to my turn, screen shot below.

    I hold my stance, and fire back. Retreat is not an option!

    As I feared, those two Egyptian infantry platoons (magenta box) are now cut off from the main force. Too weak to retake Ezab Abu Zeid Hasan, all I can do with them is trade fire with the Israelis.

    I have two APC units (turquoise boxes) as my mobile reserve. I continue to fear sneak Israeli flank attack.

    Those saggers on my left. I attempted, but failed, to force march them up to the relative safety of that village. "Failed" as in: The Adaptive A/I die roll was bad, so they gained no extra movement reach from their exertions. The saggers are now in a Fatigued state and out in the open. I fear they will be an easy mark for the cross-Canal Israeli tanks next turn.

    After my Side B move (Side B is this scenario's second side), the situation at the end of Turn 13:


    SP wise, I am giving as good as I get. Too late, though. I should have been scoring hits much earlier in the scenario!

    berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/28/2015 7:58:44 PM)

    TURN #14

    Unmitigated disaster!

    The situation at the end of Turn 14, first Side A (Israeli) phase:


    One problem with having a near stationary defensive line is that it's easy for the attacker to plot his artillery barrages. At the outset, Crossroads' artillery hammered my forces, scoring 4 or more SP hits in the shelling.

    Then the Israeli ground forces had their way. More hits, more retreats, more disruptions. By now, just about all of my frontline units are disrupted. (See the magenta Disrupted highlights.)

    The master class continues. Near the Sweet Water Canal, Crossroads advanced his tanks (turquoise box), fired, then retreated them back to safety. "Scoot and shoot" -- that's a tactic I'll have to remember.

    Oddly enough, for whatever reason, the cross-Canal Israeli tanks (blue box) declined to target the Egyptian saggers (green box).

    Over to my turn, screen shot below.

    The Egyptian position is nearing total collapse. Time to start heading for the exits. I moved one loaded truck unit to the map's north edge and did a Units > Remove from Map there (magenta circle). Likewise, I have two more loaded trucks, loaded with artillery units, that I intend to do the same. Removing units from the map costs me no VPs, but deny them to the enemy, should he destroy those units. I'm not willing to take that chance.

    I reposition and fire the defending Egyptians as best I can.

    The sagger unit. Rather than move it back to safety, beyond the reach of the Israeli tanks, I choose instead to fire at the tanks across the Canal. Swing and a miss. Crossroads will likely destroy the saggers next turn.

    I have had one or two earlier airstrikes recalled. I plot airstrikes, also artillery fire, at the knoll to the east of the Canal. Hope springs eternal.

    After my Side B move (Side B is this scenario's second side), the situation at the end of Turn 14:


    I have a bit of a surprise in store for Crossroads. Can you guess what it is?

    berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/31/2015 12:49:46 PM)

    TURN #15

    From unmitigated disaster to utter catastrophe!

    The situation at the end of Turn 15, first Side A (Israeli) phase:


    The battle in the center ends. The Israelis obliterate the remaining Egyptian defenders east of Ezab Abu Zeid Hasan (red circle).

    No better to the north. Losses and retreats everywhere, my right is nearing collapse (magenta circle).

    In a surprising move, an Israeli mechanized infantry platoon appeared on my far left (turquoise circle), fired at my saggers in the village there, but missed. The Israelis then retired out of sight from the saggers (hiding in and among the Vineyards in that vicinity).

    I have two entrucked arty units (green boxes) that I need to retreat off map.

    Over to my turn, screen shot below.

    And retreat they did (magenta circles). In the Status > Strength dialog, I verified that I lost no SPs for their removal. (But is that really so? See below how huge my SP losses were this turn.)

    I have another howitzer unit that I'd like to take off map (magenta box), but I am prevented from doing so, because it is Fixed.

    It's entirely possible that Crossroads might destroy all or almost all of my remaining on-map forces next turn. The only question is: Before the end of scenario, can I somehow still deny him taking that 50 VP Objective hex (turquoise circle)?

    After my Side B move (Side B is this scenario's second side), the situation at the end of Turn 15:


    Compare the SP losses from a turn ago (see post #25 above). Nearly 20 Egyptian SP loss vs. *zero* Israeli SP loss. Utter catastrophe indeed!

    Crossroads -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (10/31/2015 5:21:03 PM)

    What a fight! I have just now send my final turn to Berto. No peeking yet at my DAR though, before the final move [:-] [:D]

    That bridge next to Ezab Abu Zeid Hasan is a Light Bridge. I think it is a mistake, should be a Medium Bridge instead to allow for Trucks and IFVs. I tried to enter to area via it as well, to no avail.

    berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (11/3/2015 8:41:05 PM)

    If any of you are waiting with breathless anticipation to see if Crossroads indeed wipes my forces entirely off the map, you will have to wait a while longer. I am hard at work focusing all of my time and energies on the forthcoming ME 1.01 update. I'll get to posting my game-ending turn 16 moves later this week. Sorry for the delay.

    berto -> RE: Into Africa - 10/17/73 - DAR (no Crossroads) (11/7/2015 2:53:29 PM)

    TURN #16

    The end is near.

    The situation at the end of Turn 16, first Side A (Israeli) phase:


    Crossroads did his usual: advance, fire, retreat. More Egyptian units destroyed (red circles).

    With my sole remaining sagger unit (magenta box), I hope to get a shot at the Israeli mechanized infantry unit atop the knoll near the Canal (magenta circle).

    Over to my turn, screen shots following.

    The saggers? I moved them forward, but the vineyards around that village obscured visibility to the Israeli mech infantry on the knoll. No shot taken. [:(]

    I advance my sole surviving BTR-60PB unit (magenta box, second screenshot following), and manage to score a hit against the Israeli parachute infantry across the river to the southeast.

    Remember a few posts back where I wrote:


    ORIGINAL: berto

    I have a bit of a surprise in store for Crossroads. Can you guess what it is?

    Here is the surprise:


    Yes! Crossroads forgot entirely (did he?) about that one Egyptian desert infantry platoon, survivors of the early fighting around Abu Sultan. For most of the scenario, the Egyptians remained in hiding in the villages to the west of Abu Sultan, waiting for just this opportunity -- retaking the Objective hex at the crossroads (ha!) just south of the town. 25 VPs reclaimed. A small matter, but facing a loss this big, any success is a consolation.

    After my Side B move (Side B is this scenario's second side), the situation at the end of Turn 16, and the end of the scenario


    Most of the opposing Israeli forces are out of sight, located somewhere within the large turquoise circle -- or so I believe. Are there are any to the northwest? It's been a continuing mystery to me why Crossroads never tried to outflank me on my far right (green circle). Apart from his tanks -- not one SP of which I managed to destroy! -- is perhaps Crossroads otherwise running low on units?

    Here is a (doctored, composite) screenshot showing the end-of-game Strength Dialog:


    Crossroads might be running low on parachute infantry about now. As for me -- I've run out of just about everything!

    In the map, again note the 25 VP Objective hex I managed to retake around Abu Sultan. For most of the scenario, the Egyptian desert infantry platoon was hiding in the vicinity of the blue circle. If you recall, at the very beginning of this DAR I had thought:


    ORIGINAL: berto

    My T-54s, I will hide them to the west. Good for a surprise flanking attack (Visibility is only 4), if and when the Israelis advance northward up the railroad.

    I now wish I had stuck to that original plan. In addition to the desert infantry, I wish now I had kept the T-54s in hiding west and southwest of Abu Sultan. How cool it might have been to unleash my T-54s against an unsuspecting Crossroads late in the game!

    As you can see in the screenshot above, the final score is 515 Total Points, Israelis. An Israeli (Side A) Major Victory. If I had not mismanaged my T-54s and other special forces so badly, if I had gotten in more kills earlier in the game, if I had not committed my forces piecemeal, I do believe I had an excellent chance to deny Crossroads a Major Victory, I would have had my self-styled moral victory. But no, my poor generalship squandered the chance.

    With the scenario now concluded, I will of course read my opponent's DAR here and also here at Grogheads.

    Bracing myself for some embarrassment...

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