The WW1 Sinai-Palestine campaign continues. The Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) has the campaign objective of reaching Damascus by October 1918, but this is now in the balance after three failed attempts to breakthrough the Turkish defences positioned around the Judean Hills.
|Campaign turn 4 showing EEF progress.|
In the latest attempt to break the deadlock the EEF have moved up a tank unit. Their attack is planned to take place, March 1918, the objective to secure a ridge overlooking a nearby rail line.
Each stage on the campaign has 3 associated scenarios selected from the book One-Hour Wargames (OHW). No scenario can be selected twice unless 3 battles have been lost by the EEF player. As this is the fourth battle one of the scenarios is going to be replayed.
|Scenarios selected from OHW for stage 4 on the campaign map|
|Layout on a 5x4 foot tabletop|
Order of Battle
- 5 Infantry (1 with supporting machine gun)
- 1 Artillery
- 1 Armoured train with machine gun
2 units are to be placed on the ridge. On turn 3 two reserve units arrive, and on turn 6 the 2 units and train arrive.
- 5 Infantry (2 with supporting machine gun)
- 1 Artillery
- 1 Tank
The EEF will arrive in 2 waves, 3 units on turn 1 and the remaining 4 units on turn 3.
The EEF have 15 turns to capture the hill.
The game was a remote game with Jon of Palouse Wargaming Journal who commanded the defending Turks. While I am getting better at remembering to take photographs during the remote games, I did forget towards the end of the game when things were getting interesting.
The EEF began their advance along the rail line and occupied the woods. This kept them out of sight from the Turkish infantry and artillery positioned on the ridge. The EEF artillery were positioned to target any Turkish reserves that arrive.
The Turks on the ridge retired to be out of sight from the advancing EEF units. They also pushed their reserves along the rail line under the shelling from the EEF artillery.
|Action around the woods and along the rail line as Turkish reserves advance.|
While units were engaged in and around the wood. The second wave of EEF units, including a tank unit, were finally positioned to launch their attack, knowing the Turks were ready to open fire as soon as they moved on to the ridge.
|The EEF launch their attack on the ridge.|
|An after battle photograph of the Turkish commander reviewing the destroyed tank.|
A game well played by Jon. From a campaign perspective the EEF are at risk of failing to achieve taking Damascus by October 1918. With only seven months remaining the EEF will only be able to fight one more game at this stage and win the first scenarios at stages 5 and 6.
|The EEF advance is stalling.|
I've followed the failure of the EEF to make much headway and have to conclude it's down to the force ratios. A defender always has the advantage; where numerical and strength parity exists, I cannot see how the attacker can win without significant luck.ReplyDelete
I'd argue the defender needs reducing by at least a unit and attacker gaining an artillery unit. While the Sinai offensive was a struggle, I don't think numerical parity was in play.
Of course you may be planning an outflanking game (shades of Beersheba) or perhaps the Turks should be stretched thin trying to cover a wide front and cope with Arab rebellion?
I tend to agree with you and will most likely think about some adjustments to the campaign rules. Not so much this game, but a couple of previous games were drawn which are as good as a victory for Turkish forces.Delete
Neil, I suggest that the forces are not equal in this scrap since the firepower of the EEF exceeds that of the Turks. Another complication of this scenario that is easily overlooked is the placement of the oasis. That terrain piece is brilliantly placed and complicates the defense and aids the attacker more than imagined. After playing this scenario twice now, I appreciate the oasis more than ever. If I was preparing this defense, my first order of business would have been to clearcut the trees to open up LOS.Delete
No 'Jerusalem for Christmas 1917,' and it's looking unpromising for the EEF this year unless something can be done. Perhaps some naval gunfire support on the western end of the line will do the trick?ReplyDelete
After a promising start to the campaign the EEF progress has ground to a halt. I am going to consider a diversionary action else the campaign will fizzle out.Delete
Love the last battle photo of your smoldering tank.ReplyDelete
Another challenging game that went down to the wire, once again. Even though this was a repeat scenario, the forces were slightly different and we both adjusted our tactics to fit the situation and our earlier experience.
Attacking is a hazardous proposition but when your first wave of attackers crested the hill, I figured the Turks would suffer. Getting off the first round of shots proved crucial as your tank failed to activate and ground to a halt. Then, the Turks could mass local firepower superiority against few targets.
Good fun and another great game.
A most enjoyable game. Agree, the loss of the tank was a crucial point and my attack quickly lost momentum in the face of the machine gun and artillery firepower.Delete
Another nice little scenario and well played by the Turks. I think Jon learnt his lesson about retreating out of sight of the enemy, which is a wise move! Love the B&W photo towards the end. Looking rather tricky for the EEF to gain a campaign victory at this stage...ReplyDelete
Yes, well played by Jon and campaign victory is looking elusive for the EEF. I am using an App called Clip2Comic to create the photo of the tank at the end.Delete
Another lovely looking game, Peter, always good to have an armoured train involved! Thinking strategically of the coming decades, perhaps the Middle East would be in less of a mess if the EEF NEVER reach Damascus, and the Turks retain control for a while longer?!ReplyDelete
Thank you, introducing a train into the game certainly added to the interest. A fascinating “what if” and possible implications to the eventual partitioning of the Ottoman Empire post WW1.Delete
I was rooting for you the whole time. 😀ReplyDelete
Very cool armored train!
Thanks Stew. Unfortunately a problematic tank was to be my undoing against a canny opponent.Delete
Very satisfying look to the game Peter, and Jon is fun to play with remotely! The train was a great inspiration! The EEF is in serious danger of falling short!ReplyDelete
The remote games with Jon are certainly enjoyable and interesting. The campaign is proving a challenge for the EEF.Delete
Love the trucks and staff car!ReplyDelete
Thanks, I had great fun making the models, particularly the staff car.Delete
Whatever the outcome of the next seven campaign months, this has been an intriguing campaign to follow. I'd expect that it has added a greater level of interest having Jon play as the Turks in the past few games?ReplyDelete
Will the EEF pull out a much-needed victory as in the fight for Gaza? A 'combined arms' approach with airpower, perhaps?
It has been a fascinating campaign added to with Jon’s involvement in the last few games. I am still hopeful the EEF can get a couple of quick victories.Delete