Tuesday, October 30, 2012

1956 Israeli Tank Company

It has been a little quiet on the gaming front for the past couple of months since my son joined the family. It has been way too easy to just go home, watch TV and hang out with him! As luck would have it though it seems that my hobby mojo is coming back thanks (as usual) to the announcement of a couple of new tournaments, plus getting out to a few gaming days or events over the past couple of weeks!

Next up: FlamesCon 2013 – Late War GT
In 1956 the President of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser announced that he would nationalize the Suez Canal. The threat of access being restricted or lost caused France and Britain to travel down the path to war with Egypt, with Israel acting as the third member of the alliance.

Operation Kadesh (ironically launched 56 years and 1 day ago - Oct 29) was the Israeli plan to invade the Sinai Peninsula and involved a parachute drop to capture the vital Mitla Pass, as well as the capture of the city of Rafah and Gaza Strip.

For the better part of a year I have had figures lurking in a box in preparation for a 1956 Israeli Tank Company using Blood, Guts and Glory as my template list (at least until I get around to making up a “proper” list). The Israeli army in the post war error was a jumble of equipment purchased (and I use that term in its widest possible context) from a variety of sources.
  • 32 M4 (105mm) Shermans bought from surplus in Italy
  • M4A3 (late) bought from the Philippines
  • M3 Halftracks of every type bought from all over the place...
My list is going to comprise of the following (all Confident Veteran):
Company HQ
2 M4A1 76mm Shermans
1 M32 TRV

Tank Platoon
2 M4A1 76mm Shermans
1 M4A3 (late) Sherman

Tank Platoon
2 M4A1 76mm Shermans
1 M4A3 (late) Sherman

Tank Platoon
2 M4A1 76mm Shermans
1 M4A3 (late) Sherman

Field Artillery Battery
HQ Section
4 M2A1 105mm Howitzers (these will be played by British 25pdr guns)

The list is a bit of a compromise between what I can reliably expect to paint over the next couple of weeks, what was (more or less) in service together, and the lists as they stand in BGG. From my reading I should have chosen to use the Confident Trained list from BGG but there was no way that I was going to get it all painted in time as I would have added a platoon of infantry (using a mix of figures from the British Commonwealth Infantry blister) and some recon.

The biggest issue is going to be getting the tank markings sorted out. During the ’56 the Israeli’s had issues with tank recognition as both sides were using much of the same equipment (especially Sherman tanks) and after the war adopted a secretive (but very large and obvious) tank marking system. But during this war the tanks had a small ID number painted on the hull in white, a blue and white stripe on the turret roof, and/or a blue and white cross on the engine deck of spare wheel. The stripes or crosses I am going to have to hand paint, although I might try an experiment using Tamiya masking tape to get nice clean lines. I am not sure about the ID numbers – as far as I can tell no-one makes those decals in 15mm and they are still used today on vehicles.

As for how the list will perform – I am not really sure. Veteran tanks with high AT guns are normally a good option in Flames Of War, and American artillery is quite powerful thanks to the Time on Target National Rule (another thing the Israeli artillery should not really have), but it is still a fragile force that will not like coming across 20 T-34/85s – but then I guess that is something that historically they would not have been keen to face either!

Once I have the last of the vehicles assembled I’ll take some photos of the work in progress.


juergen olk said...

that picture is actually ex-Israeli shermans in Ugandan service 1979,Kagera war

Wargamer on Tour said...

Wow, did not even know that they exported them. Time for me to do some more reading - thanks for the info.