Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

In the world of Lebanon 1982, we have seas of sand, desert heat and, well mummies. What were you expecting, Ishermans and Sho’t?

I want to wish everybody a Happy Halloween. For the dads out there, try to control you raiding of the candy bags.

As for the image, I was torn between Imhotep and Evelyn Carnahan. While I prefer Evelyn I went with The Mummy.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Golan 1973

Yesterday Mark and I played a game simulating the Syrian attack on Booster Ridge. We ran in twice, the first battle was at night. In this engagement the Syrians had better night fighting equipment. 

The IDF was unable to fire until the range was below 800 meters with the Syrians able to fire out to 1,000 meters. Unfortunately for the Syrians were unable to utilize this advantage. The fight occurred between 500 to 600 meters.

The numbers counted quickly as the IDF lost the right company with the Syrians turning the flank. The conclusion was the Syrians taking the hill but unable to advance past it as they lost over 60% of their T-55. The follow on mechanized division would have to carry on the fight with their tank battalion and a reconstituted battalion from the brigade.

The honors in this engagement go to the recon company from the Syrian brigade. They did yeoman service in identifying the Israeli positions. The goat in this has to be the IDF artillery. In ten turns (an hour and a half) they were only to put one illumination round on the Syrians.

In the next fight we made the engagement in the daylight. The IDF went from two companies to one and the Syrians added an additional two battalions to the brigade (not sure were they came from). In this fight the IDF had the ability to fire our to 2.4KM while the Syrians were only able to fire out to 1.5KM. The Syrians lost a great deal of their armor in approaching the hill. Eventually they caused the loss of the right platoon (again) and an organized assault cause the hill to be captured. Once again the losses were over 60% for the Syrians.

In both engagements the IDF had less than their historical order of battle. In the day engagement the Israelis had a third of their historic tanks.  The only reason the battles were close was the training level. The IDF were rated as good, possibly they should have been excellent. The Syrian were rated marginal, the best they could expect. In these engagements we could see how the battle happened historically. Kahalani’s 77th Armored Battalion was devastated of the initial days of the war. But due to the terrain, training and replacement they were able to hold. This was an enjoyable game and I look forward to running more of these types of battles in the near future. We were even thinking of doing the Sinai soon. Unfortunately I need to paint up some new forces. M60s for the IDF and desert tan for the Egyptians.

Thank you Steve and Dragonhead Distributors for allowing us to play there. Rules used were FFT3. Miniatures are 3mm from PicoArmor. Terrain and painting done by yours truly. 

The Syrians getting organized to take the ridge. OK not very historical.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Egyptian Lysander

As a teenager, one of my favorite science fiction books was one that used cover art from paperback science fiction. Most were of space ships. I did not know it was cover art until I saw the same images on paperbacks years latter in used book shops.

What I loved about this book was the story line were many of these space craft were personal craft or merchants that were fitted for war between Mars and Earth (I think).

While this is used in many science fiction novels and movies it does have a connection in real life. During the Falklands War civilian transports were used as reconnaissance aircraft. Often coming close to British Harriers. In the bush wars of Central America and Sub-Sahara Africa, T-6 Texan was often used in COIN operations. 

Now the aircraft I am interested in is very similar with an obscure history in the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. It is the Lysander. An aircraft that was designed as an army cooperation aircraft before World War II and was found to be perfect for short range reconnaissance and photography. After the fall of most of Europe they were pulled from front line service. These aircraft received a second life as they were able to operate from unimproved airfields and could supply the resistance fighters in France and the Balkans. 

They were also used by Egypt in World War II to patrol the Western Desert. I saw never sure if there were watching the German and Italians, or the British forces. A few lived on to see action in the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. These twenty-year-old well-used aircraft were still operational and on at least one occasion engaged an Israeli aircraft. The story is best told from

(I reached out to ask if I could use this excerpt but did not hear back. I will take it down if the owner so wishes.)

By Dr. David Nicolle  

Conflict of another kind
The war had left Egypt’s shores months earlier, but other clouds were looming, both in Egypt’s increasingly tense relationship with Britain, and over the frontier in Palestine. For this reason, the REAF hung onto whatever aircraft it could. Although nine Lysanders were sent for scrap between October 1946 and January 1947, four others were overhauled and returned to the Miscellaneous List in June 1946. Some while later, these were attached to the new Royal Flight, which itself formed part of No. 3 (Comm) Sqn. Meanwhile, their original owner, No. 1 Sqn, had regained its original status as the REAF’s elite unit, being re-equipped with secondhand Spitfire LF.IXs as a fighter-reconnaissance squadron by the end of 1947.

Shortly before the Palestine War broke out in 1948, two of the REAF’s surviving Lysanders were re-equipped for aerial photography. According to Jabr Ali Jabr, writing about the 1948 war: ‘Very few Egyptian aircraft were equipped for photography and the only ones available for this purpose were two antiquated Lysanders. One of them was usually unserviceable. At the same time, there was also a serious lack of officers trained to interpret and comment upon aerial photographs. The same went for analyzing and using the information from such pictures.’

As a result, the two Lysanders were thrown into the early part of the Palestine War. One of these, or perhaps the third surviving Lysander, was soon involved in an extraordinary aerial combat with an Israeli Avia C210 (Czech-built Messerschmitt Bf 109) on June 9, 1948. Air Commodore Muhammad Abd al-Munaim Miqaati, one of Egypt’s first three military pilots, and now Deputy Director General of the REAF, was due to fly from al-Arish to Cairo-Almaza, but had been expecting trouble. This would, in fact, be the first day of the so-called Ten Day War, which followed the collapse of the first UN Truce. As Miqaati recalled: ‘It was Condition Red. I had been advised to keep the radio on, but I was still nervous as I set across the Mediterranean. Fortunately my gunner – I don’t remember his name – was a keen-sighted man and he spotted an Israeli Messerschmitt as it maneuvered into position to attack. Of course, my Lysander was a very old kind of airplane, but I’d flown these for a long time. Still, we were at a big disadvantage and you’d expect such a contest could only end one way… The pilot of the Israeli aircraft came up behind us. I told my gunner to fire just as the Messerschmitt came into range and I went down to about 100 feet. Then the gunner fired and I throttled right back. You know the Lysander can drop like a stone to land in a field, like they did when the RAF took spies in and out of France. The Israeli must have been concentrating on keeping me in his sights because he dropped his nose to follow. He overshot and went right in, almost level with me. I honestly felt sick in my stomach and, I don’t know why, I saluted him. Then we flew straight back to Cairo.’

The Israeli pilot was Bob Vickman, and his loss remained unexplained for the Israelis until Miqaati’s account was published. According to an unofficial report obtained by the British Air Attaché in Cairo in October 1948, No. 3 Sqn no longer had any Lysanders, but one was still listed as serviceable at Almaza in January 1950. Air Commodore Miqaati said that a Lysander was among many different types kept there in the early 1950s, intended for an air museum that was never built because of the 1952 Revolution. British bombing during the 1956 Suez War destroyed most of these historic aircraft. One way or another, Egypt’s Lysanders went out with a bang rather than a whimper, and they were surely the last to see combat.

While I have played and helped design a number of flight and combat sims, I find it hard to believe (but not impossible) that a Lysander could down a Messerschmitt Bf 109. What can I say; the Lysander has a place at least for 1948 and 1956 conflicts.

I am happy to show these aircraft off in 3mm. These have just been released by O8 and came from PicoArmor.

The models are very clean with little flash. You can see here both the bare metal and primed and washed versions. 

I have also painted both the silver and camo patterns of the REAF. This will make a nice addition to my 1948 collection. While it is an aircraft that was available, I do not think I would want to be in one against any fighter. But that is just me.

Additional colors can be found at Wings Palette.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

T-62 from Khurasan

Here is the T-62 from Khurasan built but not yet primed. It is a clean model that was easy to build. My only complaint with the build is that the external fuel tanks were a little hard to attach. (The map it is on is the GCACW game On to Richmond. The CSA wants one of these to protect the capital.)

I also found the main gun is a little heavy for the resin turret. It size allows it to be used with my existing QRF model. I am sure I will also pick up a Battlefront one as soon as they release one. I am optimistic. 

For now this tank will be joining my Egyptian forces. More to come.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Libyan Kit

It is amazing how much Cold War kit is still out there. Much of it coming from the 1950s and 60s. I saw these great pictures from a fellow blogger of graduation ceremonies in Libya. 

For me the T-55 never goes out of style.

I wonder if these are the same camo patterns used in the border conflict with Egypt in 1977?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Syrians on the Table

Well I got a late start today but here they are. I am impressed with the sculpt of the T62. The QRF T62 is 3-4mm shorter but this will not keep me from fielding both types. 

My real disappointment was with the tracks. The tracks had an indent to ensure you put them on correctly. Unfortunately it is center so you can still put it on wrong. Not a big issue but with the level quality of the mold this it should not of happened.

The infantry are nice and will be fun to paint up. As you can see here they are taller than my QRF/Peter Pig figures I have already painted (not sure which). While I will not mix them in the same squad I will have no issues with using both on the table. These will make excellent big men for the TOOFATLardies rule sets.

Now for you Chris, here are the Syrians standing next to Peter Pig range 17 pack 87.  They are taller but I do not think there will be an issue with using them on the table. What do you think? The BTR-50 is from QRF and used for size comparison.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The New Syrians

I am very please to add a few more figures to the workbench. These creations from Khurasan Miniatures include some Skinnies for Starship Troopers (ok they are called The Intruders from their Earthdoom line) and a batch of their new Syrians. I will only say a few things as they are still in the bags.

The T-62 is a resign hull with white metal fixtures. It is a clean casting and I look forward to putting it together in the morning.

The 15mm Syrian infantry and support look really good and clean as well. My only concern is the size. They are well proportioned but large. I will be checking them against my existing Syrians in the morning to see if I can use them together.

These are welcome additions and I look forward to having them ready for gaming latter this month. More soon.