Sunday, 29 April 2012

Bloodbath at Khafji

When putting together the series of posts in February this year about my 6mm 1990/91 'Gulf War' toys I decided to re-run some of the games from this period.  The Khafji game was last played a couple of times in 2008 so memories of it were to say the least, somewhat hazy.
In late January 1991 elements of the Iraqi III Corps crossed the Saudi border and occupied the almost deserted port of Khafji.  Iraqi forces defending Khafji are a reinforced motor rifle battalion and an artillery battalion.  A tank battalion is available to reinforce.  The force assembled to recapture the town consists of a Saudi National Guard (SANG - actually professional soldiers) Brigade with artillery and tank support.  A flight of USMC AH-1W Cobras is on call.  To add to the fun, hidden in Khafji (and unknown to the Iraqis) is a USMC artillery spotting team, with a couple of batteries of 155s on the other end of the line.
The game used my NATO Brigade Commander rules  each hex is 1km across and each stand represents a company.
US helicopters loose off AT missiles at Iraqi armour on the southern edge of town.
The field of battle.  Khafji is the larger settlement.  Iraq lies to the north (right) and the Saudis enter from the south.
Saudi NG troops (basically mechanised infantry) blundering around in the dark.  The first 3 turns were 'night'.  The detached T55 company (near the top of the frame) has ambushed the Qatari AMX-30 battalion and sent it scuttling back.
The Iraqis rearrange the defence, moving the artillery to the southern approaches to town.  Martin led the Iraqis (again) while Steve commanded the Saudis, assisted by John (in his USMC persona).
The Iraqi gunners were soon taking missile hits from US helis.
Another atmospheric shot of the first (of several) heli attacks.  The AH-1 is a GHQ model.
Eventually the Saudis managed to line up two battalions for an attack on the southern defences of Khafji - both of them promptly suffered morale failures!  I seem to remember this happened in the initial play test game...
By this time the defenders had taken some hits from the US helis and artillery.
The NBC system uses card-driven activation.
The Saudi gunners were strangely silent!
The Saudi attack continues. 
The fighting at the southern edge of Khafji was rather unpleasant.  On the left the Qatari AMX-30 battalion can be seen moving round the flank.
The Saudi reinforcements arrive  - in the form of an M-60A1 battalion.  I keep forgetting to paint up some Saudi M-60s - these are actually from my Israeli forces!
All three of the SANG battalions are now engaged and the Iraqi defences are crumbling.
As the SANG troops move through Khafji, the Iraqi tank battalion arrives (top left).  These chaps soon saw off the Qatari tanks before being confronted by the Saudi M-60s.
This surprisingly clear US satellite image shows that the SANG has largely overrun Khafji, while on of the battalions (left) is engaged in a bloody struggle with the Iraqi tankers.
Late in the game Iraqi soldiers found some HUMMWVs in an underground car park.  Here they have emerged to welcome the SANG troops.
The Saudis got victory points for capturing Khafji town hexes and the Iraqi VPs were awarded for holding Khafji hexes and eliminating Saudi battalions.  On points therefore, this hard-fought game was a narrow Iraqi victory.  Martin is already calling it 'The Mother of all Battles'.  I really can't think where he picks up these expressions....


Paul said...

Interesting outcome Tim. Well fought out.

I seem to remember the SANG not really having there heart in it back in 91 either.

Nice to see some Allies out there doing the business.

Great post.

Don M said...

ah flash back time....good looking game there Tim

Tim Gow said...

It made for an interesting game - where the Iraqis were the only battle-hardened troops present.

Tim Gow said...

Don M
I'll not ask which side you were on...

Don M said...

Tim Gow said...
Don M
I'll not ask which side you were on...

I will say I was somewhat to the west of that....)

Tim Gow said...

Don M
Without giving away any secrets, I think we need details of your unit so I can be sure to model it1

Stephen Thomas said...

A very enjoyable game indeed. . . . . . . . .

Back in 91, I seem to recall being involved with my regiment somewhat to the west of Khafji. We were preparing for the Battle of Powick Bridge. :-)

Tim Gow said...

Stephen Thomas
Quiet or I'll tell Don where you live.

Don M said...

2nd Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment

In January 1991, the Battalion deployed to Saudi Arabia as the direct support battalion for the 1st Brigade "Ready First" Combat Team, 3rd Armored Division in first Operation Desert Shield and then Operation Desert Storm. The Battalion was located in Tactical Assembly Area Henry until 19 February 1991, when the battalion moved to Forward Assembly Area Butts with the 3rd Armored Division. On 24 February 1991, the Battalion moved across the Iraqi border in support of Operation Desert Storm. During the first 2 days, the Battalion moved into enemy territory, picking up a reinforcing battalion, the 2nd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery en route.

On 26 February 1991, the "Ready First" Combat Team encountered the enemy for the first time and the Gunners fired their first round at the enemy since 1945. During the war, the Battalion fired 1467 rounds in operations against the Republican Guard, including the Battle of 73 Easting.

Tim Gow said...

Don M
That's certainly a detailed answer! Now all I need is a 'Don M' personality figure. In 6mm.