Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Work Bench

Here is what I am currently working on.
  • One Mosque almost completed. Just a little more dry brushing.
  • One Gazelle Helicopter - Looking to find replacement brass rotors.
  • Four M113s (different versions) been washed just need to do the detail work.
  • Eight primed journalists.
  • A new group of PLO/Militia - Waiting on Litko bases to arrive.
  • Off image, three Merkavas - Waiting on replacement LMGs and HMGs.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lebanon 1982 at the Movies Part 3

Today I had the opportunity to see “Lebanon” with my good friend Mark Kinsey. While it was a good film dealing with the effects of the first day of the war on the crew of a Centurion, I found the effects and the story very forced.

The film takes place inside the Centurion with glimpses outside through the commander’s observation port. While the closed effects have worked in other films like Das Boot, it was forced on the audience. The observation port view while voyeuristic was also forced and very centered.

Often I was thinking why doesn’t the commander open up the hatch (as most IDF tankers did) or after a RPG hit why the never checked for damage.

I understand artistic interpretation, but the writer and director was in the tank at the time.

Am I glad I watched it yes, is it a rare look at the Lebanese conflict yes, could it be better absolutely.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tanks for the Memories

Civil Wars are famous as come-as-you-are conflicts. You use what you can find in the local arsenal or what you are able to capture. If you are lucky to have the support of a major power, you can often get from them, what their armies do not want. These hand me downs are often too old for their reserves or militias.  Sometimes they may even not work.

This does not only apply to Lebanon, but the following list of what may be available to the different sides proves my point. I have broken these down by factions. In Myth Buster fashion, after the name I rate these vehicles as Confirmed, Plausible or Busted.

Confirmed means I have seen evidence that there were used. An example is the M113 used by Lebanese militias. There is lots of photographic evidence to prove they were used.

Plausible means I have seen evidence, but it is conflicting. The Charioteer is reported to have been used during the Civil War but I do not know if it lasted into the 1980s.

Busted is that the vehicles are reported to have been used in the conflict, but never used by anyone in the Middle East. I have seen the T10M reported to have been used by the Syrians against the IDF even though none were ever exported out of the Soviet Union. (The T10M is a great vehicle to have on a battlefield though. As I have a regiment of them in 3mm from PicoArmor.) 

Merkava I - Confirmed
Merkava II - Busted
M113 Zeldas  – Confirmed
M113 TOGAs - Confirmed
Magach - Confirmed
Shot w & wo skirts - Confirmed
NagmaShot -
M163A1 - Confirmed
M109AL - Confirmed
BM24 - Confirmed
M-107 - Confirmed
M-151/MUTT - Confirmed
M3 Mk. A -
M3 Mk. B - Confirmed
M3 Mk. C - Plausible
M3 Mk. D - Plausible
M3 TCM-20 - Plausible

T-55 – Confirmed
T-62 - Confirmed
- Confirmed
BTR-50 - Confirmed
BTR-60 - Confirmed
BTR-152 - Confirmed
BMP-1 - Plausible
Zil 157 - Confirmed
Unimogs - Confirmed

Lebanese Militias
Charioteer - Plausible
Sherman - Plausible
AMX13 - Plausible
M41 - Plausible
M42 Dusters - Confirmed

AML 90 - Confirmed
V-150 Commando - Plausible
M113 - Confirmed
MUTT - Confirmed
T34/85 - Confirmed
BM24 - Confirmed
Gun Trucks w/ZPU2 - Plausible

Gun Trucks w/ZPU4 -
M-151/MUTT - Confirmed
M3 Mk. A -

South Lebanese Army
Sherman - Plausible
M50 – Plausible
M51 – Confirmed
M113 – Confirmed
MUTT - Confirmed
T34/85 - Confirmed
BM24 - Confirmed

M-151/MUTT - Confirmed

M3 Mk. A -
M3 Mk. B - Plausible

This is a work in progress that will be updated often. Once done I will add in stats for Troops, Weapons & Tactics and I Ain’t Been Shot Mum! so they can be used with Rock the Casbah.

The picture of the Charioteer is from QRF. It is to cool of a tank for me not to have at least one of them. I look forward to having it for my militia.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Lebanon 1982 at the Movies Part 2

I see that my local art house theater has obtained Lebanon. I hope to see it this weekend as I do not think it will stay for long. Thank you Bryn Mawr Film Institute.

From YouTube

Monday, September 20, 2010

Merkava Mk I Turret Hatches Part 2

I want to thank Chris Stoesen ( ) for the link For those interested here is a great Merkava I image of the turret top.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Merkava Mk I Turret Hatches

I recently bought these miniatures in 15mm from QRF. It appears that the hatches for the miniature were designed to be closed. I wanted to have at least two with the hatches open and the commander sitting tall. Only problem is that I do not know were they were connected. Does anyone know or have an image of the turret open.

Thank you

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Simple Update

It has been reported by one of our journalists in the field that the PLO have received a BTR40 (by QRF) from their Syrian allies yesterday afternoon. The PLO is looking forward to having it ready to show it off for possible action early next week.  We can only hope that the journalist will be able to get footage of this new PLO toy in action.

On a related note the IDF have been seen with three Merkavas (also from QRF) at a local base. These vehicles are being made ready, but are waiting on replacement 12.7 and 7.62 machine guns (from Peter Pig) so they will take longer to get into the field.

Film crew standing by, waiting for a story.
Miniatures are by Peter Pig.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

New Recruits

Thanks to my chief recruiter Mark "Amid" Kinsey, I have thirty-one new Syrian recruits on my work table ready to be primed and painted. They are from QRF, and while they are different than the 15mm figures from Peter Pig, they look good and I am sure they will look even better painted. My only complaint is the limited number of RPGs. There are only one per pack of infantry which is very light for Lebanon.

Lebanon 1982 at the Movies

To me (and I hope to you) it is interesting that movies are now coming out about this conflict, written and directed by members of the IDF that were part of the conflict. If there are similar films made from the Syrian/Lebanese?PLO perspective I have not found them…yet.

Than this evening I heard a review of the movie Lebanon on NPR. I have been waiting for this to come to my local art house. This 2009 film is not the only film about the Israeli invasion. There is Waltz with Bashir. This animation gives a good feel for the conflict from the invasion through the attacks on the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. Beaufort deals with the Israeli pullout from this strategic location, but gives a good feel for the terrain of the area. Modern Warfare is a documentary with great images of the conflict.

These films are available through Netflix and keep a eye out for Lebanon. It looks like a must see.

Waltz with Bashir



Modern Warfare: Falklands, Lebanon

From the film Lebanon

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lebanese Communist Party

Here is a faction that may be of interest to the gamer that likes to play unusual forces. Someone that also has a POUM force for the Spanish Civil War or a battalion of Elefants for Kursk. (I have had and played with both.)

The Lebanese Communist Party was one of the older political creations in the Middle East. Founded in 1924 this party was never very strong and depended on outside support for most of its operations. For the period of the Israeli invasion in 1982 this party and militia would be limited and ineffective.

Their militia, the Popular Guard (PG) was trained by the Palestinian Fatah and were provided with Soviet-made small-arms, as well as armed jeeps and gun-trucks equipped with heavy machine guns, anti-aircraft auto cannons and recoilless rifles supplied by the PLO, Syria, and the USSR. These can include the BTR40, GAZ 469 jeep and civilian trucks. Most common weapons are available from both Peter Pig and QRF. Small arms are limited to the AK47. Support weapons other than RPGs will be very limited.

In 1979 PG command was passed on to Elias Atallah, a Maronite. Although it was active mostly in West Beirut, the LCP/PG also kept underground cells at the Sidon, Tripoli, Tyre and Nabatiyeh districts of the Jabal Amel region of southern Lebanon.

At no point will any unit have more than one big man and a single support weapon. Is it worth fielding this force? Why of course. They may not win a lot of fights but with small arms and RPGs in a city they can be a nuisance. Also they have cool images on their web site. Now I just have to be concerned about the US State Department.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Newest Syrian Acquisition

Due to the good graces of my compadre, Mark Kinsey, my Syrians now have an AĆ©rospatiale SA.342 Gazelle added to their order of battle. I think this is mostly due to the number of new helicopters of his that I have shot down the first time they were brought out on the table.

I was interested in the Gazelle after reading the following article on the Syrian during the Lebanese conflict. I was also interested in that the Syrians preferred the Gazelle over the scaled down Hind.

Syrian Tank-Hunters in Lebanon, 1982
By Tom Cooper & Yaser al-Abed
Sep 26, 2003

I will be basing my model on the image above that appears vintage.

I will base the changes on the model on this Gazelle in an Israeli museum.

Now how do I use it and not get it shot down? I am sure Mark will help.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Simple Update

Well reports are coming in for our armament suppliers in the UK and California (as well as Laurys Station, PA) that the tanks and armored personnel carriers are on the way. These will give comfort to the IDF with the Merkavas and the militias with the BTR40. OK, they are not in the same league but a gift is a gift. 

Our next battle is set for Tuesday the 12th. I am not sure what we will be doing but I can bet that Mark's new Magach 6 (I believe) will be looking for a little action.

I know it is not a Merkava I but it is to cool of an image not to use it. I also like the uniforms, great colors.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


When I started this project I was planning on doing more than just painting up a few miniatures and fighting out a couple of urban battles. I have always been interested in the Arab Israeli Wars, as my personal library shows. Why would a good Catholic school boy be interested in a conflict between differing religions. I don't know. Could be watching the conflict happen during Saturday morning cartoons back in the 1970s. I do remember buying the first few issues of Born in Battle Magazine (oh how I wish I still had those). Fast forward five years and I in the Mediterranean Sea during the latter parts of the Lebanon conflict. 

After my military service I worked on both a degree in History and a library on the Middle East. Most of my books were on the 1948 and 1973 conflicts. Only recently at the urging of Mark Kinsey did I look at Lebanon. What you will see with this bibliography is the best I can currently find on Lebanon from the invasion to the siege of Beirut. Most of the works are general as there is a lack of company/battalion histories for the IDF. While I understand the reasons and still does not make it any less frustrating. Online works are also limited for the IDF. The Lebanese militias and the PLO are easier to find online but as a historian I take what they say with a big bag of salt. 

The Lebanon specific books are written shortly after the conflict. This causes them to not have the benifiet of reflection or time seperation. Alas nothing has been written recently, at least not in English. Another reason why I need to learn Hebrew.

Clarke, Richard. Troops, Weapons & Tactics. TOOFATLardies. 2007.

Clarke, Richard, and Nick Skinner. I Ain’t Been Shot, Mum.
TOOFATLardies. 2005.

Stoesen, Chris. Rock the Casbah. TOOFATLardies. 2008.

Published Materials
Creveld, Martin Van. The Sword and the Olive. New York, N.Y.: Public Affairs. 2002.

Gabriel, Richard A. Operation Peace For Galilee. New York, N.Y.: Hill and Wang. 1984.

Gelbart, Marsh. Modern Israeli Tanks and Infantry Carriers 1985-2004. London; Osprey Publishing.   1985.

Herzog, Chaim. The Arab-Israeli Wars. New York, N.Y.: Vintage Books. 1984.

Kahalani, Avigdor. A Warrior’s Way. New York, N.Y.: S.P.I. Books. 1994.

Katz, Sam. Merkava Main Battle Tank MKs I, II, & III. London: Osprey Publishing.1997.

Katz, Samuel M. Armies in Lebanon. London; Osprey Publishing. 1985.

Katz, Samuel M. Fire & Steel - Israel’s 7th Armored Brigade. New York, N.Y.: Pocket Books. 1996.

Katz, Samuel M. Israeli Elite Units since 1948. London: Osprey Publishing. 1988.

Liban A 1:200,000 scale map of Lebanon by Institut Geogra Phique National

Petit, Michael. Peacekeepers at War. Boston, MA.: Faber and Faber. 1986.

Pollack, Kenneth M. Arabs at War. Lincoln, Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. 2002.

Rabinovich, Itamar. The War For Lebanon. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. 1985.

Schiff, Ze'ev and Ehud Ya'ari. Israel's Lebanon War. New York, N.Y.: Simon and Schuster. 1984.

Zaloga, Steven, J. Armour of the Middle East Wars 1948-78. London; Osprey Publishing. 1981.

Zaloga, Steven J. Tank Battles of the Mid-East Wars (2) The Wars of 1973 to the Present. Hong Kong: Concord Publications Company.

Friday, September 3, 2010

First Battle - Playtest Part II

...things appeared to be going extremely well for the IDF. The PLO fired at the column with both their re-coiless rifle and their RPGs to little effect. Just as the Magach was clearing the center of town it took a RPG hit that injured the drive and stopped the tank.

A group of the PLO felt it was safe to approach the tank very slowly (rolled a two on two dice). It took two turns to get into a firing positing.  This first shot at the rear of the tank missed, as did many other shots on this tank.

Our brave fighter approaching the tank.

IDF soldiers disembarked from a M113 to help protect the tank as a new driver took his place in the tank. There was also concern about the PLO troops, with their Big Man, on the third floor of the building next to the tank.

Very lonely IDF troops.

After shots from three sides with RPGs the Magach finally took a shot to the rear that destroyed the tank and killed the crew. A M113 came in to rescue the four soldiers.

While the Israelis were able to get their senior leadership, a Lieutenant Colonel, off the board with one of the M113s, the loss of the Magach and four crew was devastating. Losses on the PLO side was limited to two soldiers.

I know Mark and I look forward to running this game again in the next couple of weeks. The major buildings and roads were Marks. Troops were painted by Mark and myself.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

First Battle - Playtest Part I

We had our first playtest last night running through the rules for TWT and Rock the Casbah. Results were mixed. A platoon of M113s and a Magach (that looks a lot like a Shot) advanced through the outskirts of Tyre. A group of PLO militia were set up to block them from the buildings along the road.

Aerial view of the battlefield.

No sign of any militia.

A quiet town in the south of Lebanon.

A not so quiet town. IDF advancing through the town.

The IDF had no trouble moving their column through the town. Up until this point the PLO's RPGs were just spit-balls against the TOGA armour of the M113 and the Magach. One one of 12 RPGs hit and that only wounded a couple men on a M113. The IDF was able to kill two PLO members, one of which had an RPG.
Than things went wrong...