Friday 28 September 2018

Gnuston Heights - part 4 - crossing the line

Syrian infantry was by now pouring across the AT ditch...
 ...while impatient tankers* fumed at the delay in deploying bridges.  *At least I think that's what the Syrian CO called them.

 Some Israeli SP artillery was nearly in firing positions
 The creative Syrian engineers soon fashioned this eco-friendly crossing
Israeli artillery in action
 Two more Israeli armoured battalions moving to the front

 You can never have too many photos of F-4s
 Syrians crossing the ditch in force, with infantry deploying to assault the strongpoint.  A Sagger AT missile is in flight in the bottom left of the photo.

By now the Israelis mostly had command of the air but still Syrian raids came in

Wednesday 26 September 2018

Dusty Dakota

Another survivor has emerged from the Partizan ‘Plane Purchase. Beneath this clump of dust is a rather useful Dakota. I do indeed have a (vague) game idea for this. And last week at this time I was in Arnhem....

Tuesday 25 September 2018

Gnuston Heights - part 3 - A bodge too far?

 As the Syrians approached, Israeli Centurions opened up at long range.
 But still the Syrians rolled forward

 As their historical counterparts did, our Israelis targeted the bridgelayers and scored an early kill (actually my bodged Chieftain AVLB but a bridge is a bridge)
 Syrian artillery - strangely this didn't fire every turn.
The artillery fired a mix of HE and smoke
 Israeli Phantom and Mystere
 A Syrian bridgelayer arrives at the AT ditch.  Ironically, Ian had bodged this from - of all things - a Merkava kit!
Further north, engineers were creating a breach.
 Israeli aircraft were hurled against the vast Syrian horde (not literally - it's bad for the models)

The thin line of Centurions was starting to suffer.  It still didn't look good for the Israelis.

Sunday 23 September 2018

Gnuston Heights - part 2 - Skyhawk down!

As the Syrian onrush rushed on, Israeli tanks took up their prepared positions (both photos by Ian Drury)

 The Israeli Air Force - recipient of much of the pre-war defence budget - was expected to save the day...

 ...but still the MiGs and Sukhois roared in.
Israeli mechanised infantry moving up
Each Purple Line strongpoint was garrisoned by a platoon of infantry and a tank platoon.  Here an additional platoon of Centurions has arrived.  Cynical readers may suspect that the strongpoint is not in fact a meticulously researched and finely detailed hand crafted bespoke replica but merely an Airfix Coastal Defence fort with the guns removed.  As if.

The Syrian forces amounted to two tank brigades and two mechanised brigades, with plenty of artillery support...

...and - crucially - three bridgelayers.
Soon the Syrians armour reached the anti-tank ditch and engineers were deployed.
Accompanying Shilkas saw off some of the Israeli airstrikes...
...and shot down this Skyhawk.  At this point the Syrian steamroller appeared unstoppable.

Friday 21 September 2018

Gnuston Heights - part 1 - All along the watchtower

An Israeli watchtower goads the Syrians by flying a big flag.
Looking west (right) with the AT ditch in the foreground.

Like many fine games, this one started rather by accident.  In late May a certain individual – let’s just call him 'Ian' – emailed me a photo of a couple of Israeli aircraft he had just completed.  Following a process neither of us can remember, a few days later we had booked  the lawn at Knuston Hall and ‘marketed’ the game to potential players

This was by some margin the biggest yet Little Cold Wars game.  We’d previously had six players and a total of three brigades back in 2015.  The er, 'plan' was to fight through the first day of the Syrian assault on Golan.
This year on 31st July nine of us gathered the lawn – a better scale model of the Golan Heights you’d struggle to find! 
The toys were the usual ‘wrong but somehow right’ mix of 1/32 figures, 1/48ish AFVs and 1/72 aircraft, mostly provided by Ian and I, though Bertrand and Russell also contributed.
Photos by me unless otherwise captioned.
 Syrian strike aircraft (MiG-17 and MiG-19) overfly the border.  The latter is in the process of falling off it's flight stand while making it look like a skillful aerobatic manoeuvre
 Israeli Mirage III fighters scramble to intercept
 The key town of Kuneitra, seen from the north

 All along the watchtower.  Part of the Israeli 'Purple Line' with two tank platoons in attendance.
And there was plenty to watch.  Syrian armour masses for the attack (this and the next two photos by Ian Drury)

 Wave after....
 ...wave of Syrian aircraft flew over the border to attack the Israeli positions...
...but some of their pilots looked overly hirstute (photo by Ian Drury)

 Even FROG missile were fired - to no effect!
While some of the Syrian AFVs  - like this SU-100 had clearly been in the area for some time, others had apparently been shipped straight from Soviet units.