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Opening Sho`t: I Ain`t Been Sho`t Mum

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:04 pm

With growing fleets of 15mm mid-east tanks, Steve and myself looked for a way to get them on-table. Having played several enjoyable games of `I Ain`t Been Shot Shot Mum` from the `Two Fat Lardies` stable, this seemed the obvious choice. As IABSM is predominantly for World War Two (but with growing reach into other conflicts), Steve hunted down stats for the Arab-Israeli wars written by Rob Avery, then added twists of his own, including points values which allowed us to arrive with forces drawn from our existing model collection, and that were reasonably matched. The date for our game was the 14th October, anniversary of the huge and pivotal tank battle that took place between the Egyptians and the Israelis in the Sinai during the 1973 war.

Steve had five blinds concealing a `regular` T-55 tank company (HQ and three platoons), and a mech infantry platoon riding in three BMP-1 armed with Sagger missiles.
I also had five blinds: four concealing a `veteran` Sho`t (Israeli Centurion) tank company (HQ and three platoons), and a dummy blind which I had because of my better quality troops.

The opening turns saw blinds on both sides manouevre for an advantage, and to spot. As blinds have better movement and more actions than the forces they represent, these preliminary moves can be quite important. Both sides began to make succesful spotting attempts and soon all the units towards the northern end of the table had their blind replaced with the actual force they were disguising. This adds a nice `fog-of-war` element before the shooting starts meaning the opening turns are more than a dull plod to contact.

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In their central position, it fell to the Israeli second platoon to open fire first, brewing-up a T-55 of Egyptian second platoon for their efforts. This is where tactics and good fortune come into play. With the Israelis coming off blinds first, it may seem that they would be at a disadvantage: being identified and losing the bonuses that come with being on a blind. The upside is, that putting models on the table in place of the blind means that their unit cards and that of their `Big Men` (unit commanders) goes into the deck of cards that decides which unit activates next. With more Israeli cards in the deck early on, the odds favour Israeli units being activated. This swung the Israelis way when third platoon`s card was drawn. Unfortunately, my dummy blind was in the way and prevented the Sho`t from firing. The Israeli `blind` card was turned allowing me to remove the blind. Lady luck smiled, and the Israeli Big Man commanding third platoon had his card turned; ordering his platoon to engage the Egyptian third platoon, damaging two T-55 and destroying the third, the resulting catastrophic explosion causing further damage to the surviving two T-55.

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The good fortune had arisen, in part, to the Israelis having more cards in the deck, which had not been their intention. But now the Arab left was in trouble. Damage was limiting their effectiveness even when they fired. The Sho`t had sixteen defence dice in the forward arc against the eleven attack dice of the T-55, so any negative modifiers due to damage was not good news for the Egyptians. Suffering `points of shock` due to hits, reduced the T-55`s ability to hit the target, and as these points accumulated, Arab gunnery deteriorated. In the slugfest that followed, Israeli third platoon destroyed the two survivors of second platoon, and the remaining two from third platoon.

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The Sho`t looked better on paper, and in a toe-to-toe fight, proved to be the superior of the T-55, boasting fourteen attack dice to eleven, and sixteen defence dice to ten. The Israelis rode their luck however. Several times, Steve rolled a respectable number of fives and sixes to hit the Israelis, but almost every time, I would roll just one more saving dice to deflect the shot off the armour. Looking back, it was remiss of me not to buy a lottery ticket on the way home as some of my luck was quite extraordinary.
Last edited by WingAttackPlan-R on Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Opening Sho`t: I Ain`t Sho`t Mum

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Wed Jan 23, 2019 12:08 pm

In the centre, on the outskirts of the town, both company commanders happened to face each other in a spaghetti western-style duel. Again, fortune favoured the Israeli as his card was drawn first, and the `Man With No Name` shot down Ramon to the incomparable Ennio Morricone soundtrack.
On the Israeli right, third platoon now devoted their available actions to movement, pushing forward to perform a right hook on the remaing Egyptians. Gimel Three (3rd tank, 3rd platoon) spotted a distant T-55 in the town, preparing to engage third platoon in the flank as they crossed the road. Unbelievably, the Israelis got the rub of the green again- third platoon`s card was drawn from the deck, and Gimel Three fired to his flank, hitting the T-55 and forcing him back. Third platoon continued-on, now threatening to encircle the surviving Egyptians.

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It was now that the Egyptian mechanised platoon came off it`s blind to fire it`s Sagger missiles. On-table units have a minimum range that almost stretches across the whole board, limiting their abilities, meaning Steve had to manouevre for a shot, which only came in the final two turns. The other way of using Sagger is off-table where an on-table Big Man gives-up actions to `call-in` a Sagger, like it was artillery. I find this problematic as well as it does not allow for counter-measures which occured during the war.

The early days of the war in 1973 was a turkey shoot for the Egyptians. Entire Israeli tank battalions were fed into the fray and simply disappeared, ambushed by Sagger teams using a type of weapon the Israelis had dismissed because of their own experience with ineffective French anti-tank missiles. However, the Israelis soon learned to only use tanks with infantry and artillery to supress or destroy the Sagger teams as they attempted to guide their weapons onto the target. There is also anecdotal evidence that Israeli tankers, on detecting a launch, would either attempt to machine gun the team directing the missile by wire guidance, or would fire into the ground between the team and the tank, throwing-up sand and debris to obscure the missile teams view of the target: and ad-hoc smokescreen, so to speak.

Allowing the Sagger team a `free hit` in IABSM seems, on the surface, a bit much, but in our game, Steve`s three BMP-1 got off a missile each over two turns, only two of which hit, resulting in two damaged tanks but no kills: suddenly Sagger did not seem to be the wonder weapon I had feared it to be. True, having the well armoured Sho`t helped, and it would definately been a different story with the weaker armour of the M48 Magach or M51 `Super Sherman`. I still think a direct fire weapon like Sagger should run the risk of counter fire, but it`s use takes a Big Man out of the fight to direct it and, as we discovered, it is not all conquering, so maybe the abstractions balance one another out.

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With this final action, and the Israeli hook closing-in, the respective sides broke contact and brewed little 15mm urns of tea, or whatever. The battle was over.
The Egyptians had lost ten tanks with the eleventh damaged, whiles the Israelis suffered three tanks damaged, a result which somewhat flattered the IDF. Their better troop quality and the superiority of the Sho`t over the T-55 were obvious advantages. The problem with the on-table engagement constraints of the Sagger, which kept it out of the better part of the battle, did not help the Egyptian cause. The Israeli`s good fortune when it came to card draws and dice rolls added to the Egyptian woes, meaning that only about 5% of the Israeli effort could be attributed to my tactical genius- which is probably just as well.
On reflection, I`m still not sure about the transition from `Blinds` to on-table units. It may have been a quirk of this game but, at one point, the Israelis had fourteen cards in the deck compared to the Egyptian one (their `Blinds` card), and it was this moment that allowed the Israelis to shoot-up two tank platoons without reply, effectively deciding the outcome very early in the game. Although this was to my advantage, I could not help but feel that this was a bit brutal and one-sided. Again, maybe a quirk of this particular game.

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Another advantage I feel Team Yankee may have is that each unit comes with it`s specific `to hit` stats, gun penatration, etc. which I feel allows for a greater range of `flavours` over the IABSM data chart system. Again, this is just an interpretation and I welcome comments. I believe that Steve and I will be playing like games of IABSM and Team Yankee/Fate of a Nation and direct comparisons will be easier to make. But overall, there is a lot to commend about IABSM, and some advantages over TY/FOAN, one being the `Blinds` interpretation of `fog-of-war` rather than having the Godspot view of everything the enemy is doing.

Next, I believe we are going to employ some infantry and artillery, some better tanks for the Arabs, some not so better tanks for the Israelis, and see how this flamin` firework called `Sagger` works when used from off-table.

I`ve played several games of IABSM now, and I like it. It`s guid. I recommend it, lots! :D
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Re: Opening Sho`t: I Ain`t Been Sho`t Mum

Postby maelmordha » Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:23 pm

Just when I had blotted that particular reaming from memory, you have to write a comprehensive report, damn you. At least the bright sunshine kept the pictorial records sufficiently obscure!

Next time it will be T62s and sagger teams by the dozen.... I was firing training ammunition during that scenario I think.

The sagger teams are easy enough to deal with, you just reserve dice on your centurions and use them to (try and) shoot the sagger controllers in their scrapes. The results take effect before the missile hits. In the end I think taking more T62s rather than the sagger units would have been a better choice for me. Those Centurions crewed by dead sea pedestrians are just superb.

If we had been using Fate of a Nation there would have been quite a few burning centurions I suspect and a shed load more saggers. A 16 inch minimum range is far better than a 48" one in IABSM! and there's no way for you to counter them in FAON. That's the advantage of FOAN not having a clearly stated ground scale I suppose. We must try that soon!

I'm not sure why you see a static stat on a card allowing more flavour than a flexible contested dice system though. You can explain that one to me on Sunday if you can see me past my mountain of East Germans!
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Re: Opening Sho`t: I Ain`t Been Sho`t Mum

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Sat Feb 02, 2019 12:46 pm

maelmordha wrote:I'm not sure why you see a static stat on a card allowing more flavour than a flexible contested dice system though. You can explain that one to me on Sunday if you can see me past my mountain of East Germans!

Because I like going into my virtual `Tanks R Us` store and shopping around for tanks.

`Good afternoon` says the virtual tank salesman `is sir looking for anything in particular?`
`Yes` I says, `I want something big, heavy, with big shooty gun. I want it to be big, British, and unreliable, like myself`.
`Ah!` says the perma-tanned salesman through his bleached-white teeth `sir would like a Chieftain tank`.
`Does it drink too much and collapse at the side of the road more often than it should?`
`Indeed it does sir!` grins oily Ollie.
`Then you have a sale, wrap it and I`ll take it to go` says I with a beer in one hand and a Chieftain repair kit in the other. :P
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Re: Opening Sho`t: I Ain`t Been Sho`t Mum

Postby maelmordha » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:03 pm

WingAttackPlan-R wrote:`Then you have a sale, wrap it and I`ll take it to go` says I with a beer in one hand and a Chieftain repair kit in the other. :P


Just make sure you don't try and drink the chieftain repair kit instead!
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Re: Opening Sho`t: I Ain`t Been Sho`t Mum

Postby WingAttackPlan-R » Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:32 pm

Awww, but that`s the best bit!

Leaping lizards everywhere...probably.... (add vomiting emoticon)
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