Counterattack at the Golan Heights

The Middle East is no stranger to armed conflict. With very few exceptions, you can toss a coin at a map of the Middle East and you will find it dropped at a place where some sort of brouhaha or all out war happened in modern history. It is no mystery then that Schwerpunkt Games has an entire title devoted to it.

In Middle East 1948-2010, war gamers are treated to the Israeli War of Independence, the Sinai Campaign, the Six Day War, the Yom Kippur War, the Iran-Iraq War, Operation Desert Storm 1991 and  Operation Cobra II 2003. Many of these big wars are divided in several scenarios, for ease of play.

What Schwerpunkt Games under delivers in interface efficiency, it completely makes up in game design/mechanics and scenario selection. The relatively less war gamed wars in Middle East 1948-2010 are a proof of the later. For the former, let me expand why I think the Golan Heights scenario is spot on.

The game engine has shown a great flexibility in that it can model combat at different scales, in this case mixing unit sizes from companies to reinforced brigades. There is literally no impact due to the dissimilar force sizes right at the frontline (see screenshot above).

Also, the use of combined arms makes a real difference. Playing as the Israelis you will see that in the frontline I have a few sorties of F-4 Phantoms (circular counters) in a fighter bomber configuration, providing ground support to the thin frontline of company-sized outposts. I have also provided the frontline with a couple of combat air patrols. Needless to say, I am also in the receiving end, with some Mig 17s (red circular counters at Haifa) in a deep interdiction role. The computer opponent is doing this to me unscripted, even when the scenario creator can create scripts for historical authenticity.

The elephant in the room is the onslaught of Syrian mechanized forces pushing west. They have already broken into my right flank (see screenshot below), and that open flank leaves me seemingly with no option rather than to retreat west of the Jordan River. A counter attack will have to resort on reinforcements coming from Tel Aviv and Haifa. It’s good that this scenario just focuses in the Golan Heights portion of the Yom Kippur War, I tend to make awful decisions when my interior lines are threatened in more than one direction.

Besides the geographical issues that can be envisioned in a map of the area -i.e. mounting a counter attack with limited resources many of them brought from a long distance-, the game brings also logistical, grand tactical (the game features different movement types and stances for the units) and operational (headquarters units have a big role bringing units into the fight).








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