WARGAME WEDNESDAY: The Arab-Israeli Wars Pt 2: Kalkiliah

Wednesday , 14, September 2016 1 Comment

israeli_tank_on_golan_heights_-_flickr_-_the_central_intelligence_agencyAfter the sound drubbing I’d given the Egyptians, I thought I would hand my dad a gimme by playing as the Jordanians in 67 battle of Kalkiliah (Qalqilya). We were both very wrong in our prediction of how this battle would turn out.

Set-up primarily as an infantry battle with some Israeli Tanks coming in at the end presumably to mop things up, this siege proved not only to be a Jordanian decisive victory but a massacre. The setup has a few Jordanian regulars and commando troops clustered around one of the towns; you’re also given a fort token to put out in one of the town adjacent hexes or in the town itself. The Israelis get some infantry, some combat engineers and some half-tracks with mounted machine guns to move them around. Eventually, a few more Jordanian infantry show up in trucks with a single mortar.

By the end of the scenario, I had killed so many Israeli units that even if my dad had fulfilled the primary Israeli objective of seizing the fort and got points for killing every one of my units on the board, he would not have reached half as many points as I had at the end.

I feel like there’s a dreadful balancing issue with the fort. We read the rules over and over again, but it specifies that the fort gives a +10 strength to EACH unit in the same hex. This, on top of the +2 combat modifier, meant that the Israelis could barely score any Dispersal hits and absolutely could not muster odds for a Close Assault. Any time units did receive hits, I could shuffle a few more in while I shuffled others out to launch forays against enemy infantry. I’m having a hard time finding a decent map of the actual terrain around Kalkiliah, but in this scenario, it’s got enough high-ground nearby and slopes to hide behind that you’ve got a pretty impregnable stronghold. The Jordanians can shuffle about in the hills, the town and the fort, rush out and attack the Israeli infantry at enough of an advantage that they can quickly wear their attackers down with minimal casualties to themselves.

While I suppose the Israelis could rely more on direct fire, the difficulty in getting decent attack odds, especially against those in the town and fort, might make for a more trying and prolonged siege than some players have patience for. If I were to play this as the Israelis, I’d probably ignore the fort as long as possible and focus entirely on wearing down the Jordanians who could be caught in the open.

For some reason (not because I’ve been winning), I’ve felt more comfortable with how the Arab-Israeli Wars plays compared to Panzer Leader, but I’d like to play at least one scenario that isn’t just a slaughter. We’ll probably do at least one more of this one before moving on, and will, in all likelihood, be playing the Chinese Farm.

-Alex

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