A Wargaming blog chronicling the campaigns of the Israeli Defense force from 1948's War of Independence through the Border Wars, the 1956 Suez Crisis, the War of Attrition, the 1967 Six-Day War, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the 1982 War in Lebanon, through the various incursions one way or the other in the present day. This will be done at skirmish scale in 15mm.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

War for Independence, Fight #2 Part 1


AKA, the second fight in the Battle of Mar Gush

It is 0415 on 30 March 1948, and the Jordanians have returned to the northern edge village of Mar Gush.  Two days ago they approached further east and were treated rather roughly by Baruch Eitan's 1st Platoon.  The Company commander, Captain Avi Peled, had been switching out the platoons on watch at the roadblock east of the village, on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem Road.  As of 0415, 3rd Platoon was manning the roadblock, 1st Platoon was manning outposts in a 360 degree perimeter around the village, and 2nd Platoon was located in the center of the village, acting as a quick reaction force, able to move against threats at all points of the compass.  At 0405, member of 1st Platoon manning the outpost to the northeast, across the shallow (fictional) Nelani River, came in to report movement to Avi, the Company commander, and he immediately summoned the 2nd Platoon commander, Lt Danny Tzur.  Danny was a 29-year old, American born Jew was drafted into the US Army in May 1942.  In boot camp he was recognized as having leadership potential and so upon the completion of boot camp he was sent to Officer Candidate School, minting a new 2nd Lieutenant in time to drop into France on 6 June 1944.  Danny served as a platoon commander, company executive officer, company commander, and battalion operations officer throughout the campaigns in Normandy, Holland, and Belgium, returning to civilian life in mid-1946.  Back home in Toledo, it was his parents that first pointed out the plight of the Jews in Palestine, and with a steadily deteriorating situation in 1947, Danny crossed the ocean and arrived in Tel Aviv just after the New Year, 1948.

Avi quickly explained the situation and what needed to happen; Danny immediately gathered his men and began moving towards the enemy.  Avi stated: "Danny, I'm not sure what exactly is out there, so I'm coming with." 

Overview, north is up, looking at the north edge of the village of Mar Gush.  At top right is a portion of the Nelani River, at center right is a citrus orchard, at center left is what is now known as Cemetery Hill (and it will be referred to as such here).  Spread from left to right across the bottom of the photo are various homes and shops of the villagers of Mar Gush.

The opposing forces, with Jordanians on top and Jews on the bottom.  As with the last fight, the Jordanians will begin with a set amount of troops (16, in this case), but will receive reinforcements during the fight.

The Jewish Company commander and 2nd Platoon: Captain Avi Peled is at far left, with 2nd Platoon from bottom left to top right:

Danny Tzur, age 29, former US Army paratrooper, M-1 Garand
Binyamin Lipz, age 34, a refugee from Latvia, Sten
Adriel Barak, age 24, village butcher, Mauser
Ephraim Gur, age 25, former member of the Palmach that returned home, Sten
Gabriel Bar-Lev, age 30, former British Motor T, Lee-Enfield
Aram Mofaz, age 18, a village youngster, MP-40
Eli Yadin, age 18, a village youngster, Sten
Abel Dori, age 47, village pharmacist, Mauser
Davi Yaklef, age 27, refugee from the Soviet Union, Sten
Hiram Laskov, age 50, refugee from Poland, MP-40
Hanan Elazar, age 25, former British Army clerk, Mauser
Sagi Shamron, age 19, a village youngster, Mauser

The point element of the Jordanian Army element, consisting of four Bren teams and eight riflemen.

All the figures are 15mm troops from Peter Pig, and I'm playing these fights using Ivan's "Five Men at Kursk," modified slightly.

Another look at the table, this time with troops.  At top left (northwest) and top right (northeast) you can see Jordanian Army elements approaching Mar Gush from the north.  At bottom left (southwest) you have Danny leading half of 2nd Platoon forward towards Cemetery Hill, and at bottom right (southeast) you have Avi leading the other half towards The Orchard.

Avi at the head of the right-hand section of Jews.

And Danny leading the left.

Looking at the Jordanian troops in the northeast: at top left you can see a Bren team moving up on the far left flank, while six riflemen move up in skirmish order across a field towards Cemetery Hill (bottom right).  At top right, mostly obscured by the two trees, the Jordanians have placed another Bren team, with a field of fire straight down the north-south running road, effectively cutting the battlefield in two.

Looking at the right-hand side, you can see the Jordanian Bren team on the road at top left.  At far right, the Jordanians have set up a Bren team in the trees, covering another Bren team with a couple riflemen preparing to cross the Nelani River and get to The Orchard (bottom left).

In the pre-dawn darkness, both sides hustle forward, hoping to surprise the other.

On the Jewish right, Avi's section gets up to the first gate.

While the Jordanians are just coming out of the river, covered by their light machine gun team (top right).

While on the left, Danny has reached the base of Cemetery Hill.

But the enemy is not only at the base on the other side of the hill, they have a Bren team in place to cut it off (far left).

And it was right about this time that the two sides crashed into each other.  As with the last fight, it was the professionals of the Jordanian Army that got the drop on the amateur Jews.

From the far left flank, Danny picks up the chatter of an enemy Bren gun (bottom left).  The enemy light machine gun has spotted the Jews crossing the road (far right) and opens fire; short, staccato bursts tear the air.  The Latvian, Binyamin Lipz, and the village butcher, Adriel Barak, are pinned.

With the fight commenced by the far left flank Bren (off camera to top), the Jordanian Bren team on the Jews' far right (bottom center) also opens fire, pinning the Polish refugee, Hiram Laskov (top left).

With their Bren team hammering out covering fire (bottom left), the Jordanian team on the left comes out of the river and sprints up to the northern wall of The Orchard (top center/right).

Looking north to south, on the Jewish left the Jordanians sprint up Cemetery Hill (center top, with Danny's section just visible at top center, and the far left Bren just off camera to right).

The aggressive Jordanian riflemen crest Cemetery Hill (top center), and Danny (bottom center) spots them.  The former American paratrooper raises his M-1 Garand and fires...

Killing one enemy soldier and pinning another (yellow bead at right).

With Danny (top right) firing at the crest, one last enemy soldier moves up, on the west end of the hill (center right).

The former Palmach member, Ephraim Gur (bottom center) spots him (top center, with Bren at top left) and fires...

But the rounds from the Sten are inaccurate; the enemy rifleman (bottom center left) calmly shoulders his Lee-Enfield and returns fire, knocking Ephraim (far right) down!

On the right, Hiram (bottom left) stands defiantly as machine gun rounds zip and snap past his head, returning fire with his MP-40...

Killing the assistant gunner (top left) and forcing the gunner to fall back (red bead at bottom center)!

A little to his left, the former British Army clerk, Hanan Elazar (bottom center, just below yellow bead, which marks Hiram) shoulders his Mauser and fires on an Arab soldier on Cemetery Hill (top left)...

The enemy soldier is knocked down (top left), and Hanan moves up to the wall (bottom center), where the Soviet, Davi Yaklef, joins him as the Company commander, Avi Peled, and the village pharmacist, Abel Dori, hop the wall and move up to the southern wall of The Orchard (center right, with Jordanians opposite them at top).

Meanwhile, one of the village youngsters, Sagi Shamron, creeps up to Hiram (yellow bead) and helps steady him (rally), while Hanan (bottom left) and Davi (left) lay down fire from behind the wall.

On the Jewish left, they, too, decide to take on the enemy light machine gun team firing on them.  Though pinned, Binyamin (bottom center right, with Danny just above him) raises his head and Sten above the brush and returns fire on the enemy Bren team (top left, with Jordanian riflemen scattered across the top right)...

The assistant is knocked down (white bead) and the gunner is forced to fall back (red bead), suppressed!  Things are going well as both enemy flank MGs are at least temporarily out of the fight.

Adriel the butcher, right behind Binyamin (bottom center), fires on the enemy soldier (top left) that knocked down Ephraim...

Knocking him down (white bead at bottom right) and pinning his mate (yellow bead at center).

With Danny, Binyamin, and Adriel (top right) laying down fire, Gabriel Bar-Lev, the former British Motor Transport driver grabs Ephraim, drags him out of the line of fire, and looks him over (white bead) at bottom left).  Ephraim is able to snap out of it and is back in the fight.

The two Jews stacked at bottom center are two more youngsters, Aram Mofaz and Eli Yadin, steeling their minds to step out into the storm.  Aram is up first...

He takes a deep breath, checks his MP-40 one last time, then dashes into the street (center left), looking to reach the cover of a nearby garage.  But enemy troops atop Cemetery Hill (top right) spot him and fire...

Aram dives behind the building, suppressed (red bead at far left), while Eli follows him into the street (bottom center left).  Enemy rounds chase him, too.

As rounds churn up dirt in the road, Eli (bottom center) pulls up, levels his Sten, and returns fire, spraying the trees with 9mm rounds...

Pinning one enemy rifleman (yellow bead at top center).  Amidst the storm, Danny charges up the east end of Cemetery Hill (far right, above the sedan)...

But an enemy rifleman (center bottom right; the one bad guy without a bead on Cemetery Hill.  There are two guys knocked down -far left and bottom center, and two guys pinned yellow beads at center bottom) spots Danny (center top) and fires, pinning him.  Damn, there's a lot more Arabs up here than I thought, Danny mutters to himself as he ducks down...

But ducking down, Danny doesn't see the wild-eyed Arab that just shot at him charge!  The Jordanian rifleman lets out a yell and jumps down onto Danny!

And butt strokes him, knocking him out!

See, this is what can happen in solo games if you're doing it right! ;)  For the enemy I come up with the most likely course of action (in this case, having pinned Danny, move back and rally some of his buddies), a most dangerous course of action (in this case, charge Danny), and then a third way, usually less aggressive or not as tactically beneficial (after firing on Danny, move further into cover on the hill), then roll a D10, with the roll weighted towards most likely, then most dangerous, then the third way.

His blood up, the brave Jordanian comes charging down the hill (center right) at Binyamin and Adriel!  Luckily, Eli (bottom left) spots him, spins, and fires his Sten, knocking the enemy trooper down!

Back up the hill, a pinned Jordanian moves over (bottom left) and checks on a knocked down buddy; he's good to go, back in the fight.

Looking west to east at the battlefield, the two enemy Bren gunners on the flanks (bottom left and top left) both attempt to self rally: the gunner at top left is good, the one at bottom left only manages to get up to pinned.

On the Jewish right, the enemy assistant Bren gunner (bottom center) fires on Avi's section (top left), targeting Hiram and Sagi...

The enemy rifleman (top right) misses, and Hiram (bottom center left) again stands tall with rounds snapping past, his MP-40 barking...

The Bren gunner (bottom right) looks on in horror as his assistant soaks up some of Hiram's 9mm rounds (left).

Up on the north side of The Orchard, the first Jordanian soldier hops the wall and gets in amongst the citrus trees (far right)...

But Avi (bottom left), with Abel next to him, spots the enemy soldier (center left) and cuts loose a long burst from his Sten gun...

The Arab crumples to the ground, and the nearby Bren gunner is knocked down (white bead)!

But as Avi (top right) is hosing the area down with his submachine gun, another Jordanian (bottom center left) returns fire...

The .303 caliber slugs tear into the wall, forcing Avi (red bead at top center) to drop down and ponder some life decisions, whilst another Jordanian rifleman creeps left, following the wall (far left).

Eagle-eyed as ever, Sagi (bottom center left, with Hiram to his right) spots the encroaching enemy rifleman (top right) and fires his Mauser...

But the youngster (top left) is a bit overexcited and his rounds are high.  The Jordanian (bottom center) snaps a couple rounds off in return, pinning Sagi.

But Hiram (bottom right) slaps a fresh magazine into his MP-40 and sends a flurry of 9mm rounds back at the Jordanian (top left), pinning him.

Back on the left, the youngster Eli (bottom center) is proving to be quite the tough little fighter.  Having just knocked down the charging Jordanian (white bead at right) that knocked out Danny and was coming after Binyamin and Adriel (yellow beads at bottom center right), he pivots left and fires on the two Arabs on the west end of Cemetery Hill (top center left)...

Keeping one enemy soldier pinned (yellow bead at bottom left), and forcing another to fall back, suppressed (red bead at top left).

Back on his feet now, Ephraim dashes into the street (center right) to rally Binyamin and Adriel; Binyamin is good, but the butcher, Adriel, is still a bit shaken up.

Meanhile, the youngster Aram (red bead at left), who barely made it out of the street alive, self rallies, and Gabriel climbs up on a roof to get a better look (bottom center).

The Latvian, Binyamin (bottom left) sprays the hill with his Sten...

Then moves up to finish off the charging Jordanian (top)...

Which he promptly does...

Before charging up the hill (center right), past the unconscious Danny*.

*Just to be clear, Danny was put out of the fight like any other figure, and I rolled to figure out the long-term results after the game.  It turned out he was only knocked out, so I'm using that in the context of the narrative.

Adriel (bottom left) bangs away at the hill with his Mauser, covering Binyamin (far right).

Back on the right, the former Bolshevoi, Davi, hops the wall and moves up to The Orchard wall (center, with pinned Jordanian at top right)...

But an Arab (bottom right) spots him through the citrus trees and fires...

A .303 round thwacks into the stone wall, but Davi (bottom center) spins and cuts loose with his Sten...

Dropping the enemy rifleman!

This frees Sagi up to dash right (far right) and bang away with his Mauser, keeping the enemy rifleman on the far right pinned.  Yeah, just keeping him pinned; the teenager's aim isn't all it could  be...

In the center, Avi is still suppressed at bottom right, so he self rallies and is good to go.  Meanwhile, Hanan (center) spots movement on Cemetery Hill (far left) and leaves the cover of The Orchard wall, creeping left to get a better shot...

But Hanan is unaware the Jordanians have a Bren team on the road (bottom right), covering the gap between The Orchard and Cemetery Hill.  The enemy light machine gun team spots, adjusts, and opens fire on Hanan...

Knocking him down (white bead at bottom left).  "Dammit," Avi curses (still have the damn red bead on him, though he's already rallied), "they've got a gun out there.  How the hell am I going to get him back to cover?"  To his right, the old pharmacist, Abel, hops the wall and moves into the citrus trees.

But at that moment, four more enemy soldiers arrive on the battlefield, just west of the Nelani River (far right).

And the newcomers also furnish a new assistant gunner for the Bren gunner on the Jewish far right.  The new assistant collects the gunner and they move up, getting the gun back into position (top center, from bottom right, with the body of the previous assistant at far left).

On the far left, the gunner is still pinned, but he moves up cautiously to check on his assistant, who was knocked down.  The assistant remains unconscious for the time being.

Then shifting back to the right again, the pinned enemy rifleman on the east side of The Orchard (top left) raises up and returns fire on Sagi, forcing him to flop to the ground, suppressed.

Then back to the right again (sorry!): unfortunately, things have been a bit stalled out over there, so that Adriel, Ephraim, and Eli are bunched up in the road, sheltering (maybe) behind a bit of scrub.  A pinned Jordanian rifleman on the west end of Cemetery Hill (bottom left) sights in and fires on the cluster of men, but they are totally unfazed!

While they're buddy is banging away with his Lee-Enfield (bottom left), two suppressed Arabs on the hill self rally.

And then we get to the Jordanian reinforcements (bottom center) north of The Orchard (top left).  One of the enemy riflemen spot Binyamin (top center right) atop Cemetery Hill and fires...

The Latvian falls next to his Platoon commander, Danny.

Binyamin's assailant and another Jordanian move up (top center), towards The Orchard.

But they (top right) are spotted by Ephraim.  Ephraim had become quite close with Binyamin in their short time together; he wipes his tears on his sleeve, turns his Sten on the enemy soldiers, and returns fire...

Dropping a Jordanian, though another quickly steps up to replace him (top left).

But this time Gabriel, atop the building in the southwest (bottom left) spots them (top right) and joins the fight.  He shifts position and sights in with his Lee-Enfield and fires. 

But being an old Motor-T guy, he (top left) misses, and he's quite fortunate when the bad guys (bottom right) return fire, missing as well.

But there are problems when the last enemy soldier moves up (bottom center) and fires on Gabriel (top center), knocking him down.

This really sucks, as a knocked down troop can only get back in the fight by a buddy moving into base contact with him.  So, not only do all his friends have a long way to go to get to him, but anyone trying to help will be very exposed once on the roof.  Dammit!

Again, Eli (bottom center) is hanging in like a champ on the left side.  Fresh from raking Cemetery Hill with his Sten, he sees the enemy get their Bren gun back into place on the far left (top left).  He slaps a fresh magazine into his weapon and fires...

The enemy gunner falls next to his knocked down assistant!

Ephraim (center bottom) continues firing his Sten at the enemy reinforcements (top right), pinning two of them.  You can see Hanan knocked down at far right.

With Ephraim (bottom left) laying down covering fire, Avi (top right) crawls out to Hanan...

And drags him back, though the former British clerk is still unconscious.

On the left, still shaken a bit, Adriel falls back (bottom left), looking to get to the roof to check on Gabriel.  Aram (on ground at top left) has finally got his courage screwed back on tight...

He dashes around the left side (far left) looking to get on the flank.

He leans out around the corner of the building (bottom left) and opens fire with his MP-40...

A Jordanian is knocked down (white bead at far left)!  An enemy rifleman further up the hill (center top left, between the trees) sights in on Aram (bottom right) and returns fire...

He ducks back as rifle rounds slam into the side of the garage.

And I'm afraid, ladies and gentlemen, that's where we will wrap up for today.  The situation very much in doubt, things not going overly well for either side, the Jews about to make another push on the far right, skirting The Orchard.  Coming right up, so stay tuned!



  1. Loving this AAR.
    Really interesting table with a mix of open spaces and dense terrain to fight over.

    1. Hey buddy, where ya been? Glad you're digging the batreps, Part II coming right up.