Sunday, 1 July 2012

6mm Moderns- First Battle in Lebanon....

Well, finally everyone has caught up with me and my 6mm moderns, so much so that we are in the midst of writing and adapting Games Workshops' Epic rules to suit modern armies!

With much list frothing going on over the past two weeks, some speed painting and some general smack talk going on, it was time to have our first test of the rules.

The game was British and Israelis against Soviets and Syrians, 1000 points per force.

I was running...

Mechanised Company (42nd Black Watch), with 3 attached Milan Sections
Tank Troop- 3 Challenger 1 (Royal Scots Dragoon Guard)
1 AV8b Harrier from the Royal Navy

So... 3 activations, 13 Warriors, 3 Challengers, a load of Infantry and the solitary Harrier.

Add that to Jason's force of Israelis being a Merkava Company, an Infantry Company in M113s and an F-16, and it looked like alot of stuff.

However, the War Pac brought

3 Companies of T-72, 1 Company of Mechanised Infantry, 3 Zeus AA tanks, Sagger armed scout vehicles, Recon tanks, a Hind Gunship and a DESTROYER. So... we were horrendously outnumbered and outgunned.

Uh Oh.

The Russian flank ready to advance

With our superior initiative, we planned to hit hard and fast, hoping to deal big damage to the enemy forces.

The Israelis claim forward objectives, only to come under fire from T-72s

The Black Watch advance, engaging enemy Recon and T-72 tanks with their Raden and Milan

Raden Cannons wreak havoc on BMP-2

It was at this point that the Destroyer began to make it's presence known, unleashing a vicious barrage of SAM missiles at our incoming Aircraft...

So many targets, pity you are dodging missiles...

The Israeli Mechanised Infantry on the Left Flank suffered heavily under T-72 bombardment

Boom go the aluminium bath tubs!

But soon enough, the Merkava Company arrived and showed off what they could do...


The Royal Scots Dragoons had been observing the battlefield from afar, taking in all the sights. Unfortunatly, they themselves were spotted by a marauding Crocodile...

It's got HOW many Rockets?

And, for the first time (ever) a Challenger was lost to enemy fire!

The Harrier came streaking in, seeking vengance and loosed a sidewinder at the Hind....

Only to have the missile have no effect!

The Challengers upon losing a single tank, became instantly broken and never did anything further in the game. Sigh. Which is something we are going to tweak in the rules!

The Black Watch were engaging not only T-72 tanks, but also a full Soviet mechanized infantry company by this time, Radens and Milan pumping out fire at full force...

And being shot back, a lot

The Israeli Merkava Company suffered tremendous casualties from the enemy T-72 tanks (Jas and I didn't actually pass an armour save with our tanks. 6 of them. On a 4+. Sigh) which left the Black Watch even more unsupported!

Proving that when the going gets tough, the Scots get angry, they proceeded to engage the enemy tanks with all their firepower, getting good results! Destroying multiple T-72 with Milan ATGMs, and even destroying one with a Raden!

Ok, so we destroyed five, that still leaves... more tanks than we started with. Oh.

The Syrians on the left flank captured all the objectives, the Israelis suffered too many casualties to counter their advances, leaving the Warsaw Pact in charge of the battlefield!

The battlefield with a whole lot of burning stuff

Casualties on all sides were immense, the Harrier was shot down (eventually) by SAM missiles, the Black Watch lost almost half of their Warriors, as well as most of their Milan ATGM teams, as well as the Challenger 1.

So for the much vaunted Air Superiority and Tank Superiority, neither did the west any good! Bit hard to claim superiority when they die just as quick as the T-72....

All up, a super fun game. And actually not many big things to tinker with rules wise. I need to give some more thought to army composition, but I like having problems to solve. And I sure as anything have my work cut out for myself when I am outnumbered 3 to 1 by guns which can vapourize my tanks!

Finishing the last of my 6mm British tonight, then will crack into the Americans...



  1. Can you say which mark of Merkava it was in the scenario, and/or some kind of time-line? If you are using Challenger 1 and Warrior without upgraded armour blocks, that makes it c1986.

    What on earth was the Soviet Destroyer?

    Mark Bevis

  2. The destroyer was Sovremenny class, providing off-table artillery support.

  3. ah, two twin 130mm guns, equivalent to a land-based artillery battalion given their rate of fire. Only 28km range though, so the battle fairly near the coast. Also two single SAN-7 with 35km range, rather effective system, better than land based Sa-8. Ouch, that must have been a lot of points.

    I quite like the idea of the scenario, mid 1980s Cold War but set in the middle east, would be some fierce naval battles in the Meditteranean as well.

  4. We are talking late 80s/early 90s to give us a time scale.

    It's not perfect yet, but we are working on it!

    The destroyer was scary- poor Harrier and F-16 didn't even get a chance to know what was firing missiles at them!

    The Merkavas were 3's I think? Not sure, I will check.

  5. If they were Mk.3 then they would have a 2+ save on a D6 against any T-72, it can only be penetrated in the hull out to around 750m at best I reckon, unless the T-72s were using 2nd generation DU rounds (BM46) which possibly became available in 1991. Although the Soviets never issued DU rounds as far as I know, they never went to war against powerful tanks, so who knows?

    I do respect that you might not want to go into such detail as ammunition types for game simplicity :)

    The morale result on the Challenger troop is not necessarily wrong - whilst even 132x 57mm rockets sounds impressive, they wouldn't have a massive hit chance against a tank, but the morale effect of rockets and air strikes is significant, as is being attacked from flank or rear. As long as it's not a guaranteed morale failure in the system you're using.

    For the planes, do you allow them to duck below the level of intervening hills/terrain to avoid the SAMs, but then cause them less chance to spot/hit the ground targets (and be more vulnerable to AAA)?


  6. It is a fair point about the Merkava. To have a 2+ save I think would unbalance the game totally- as it is the Merkava has a 4+ rerolled save. Problem is, we fluffed it!

    I totally agree that penetration v armour is tricky- there has to be a balance in realism vs game play. Plus, as you say, who knows what the soviets exported? Or how good it was?

    I like the idea of flying nap of the earth- something to ponder. Our Air was monumentally bad, so anything to help my Harrier is a good thing!

    Thanks for your thoughts, these are all really good things to know for us developing it going forward!

  7. It is now generally known that the Soviets were quite devious in exports - they gave/sold their good tanks really cheap, but with the worst ammunition. Even within the Warsaw Pact, their so called allies. The standard export FSAPDS 125mm round for the T-72 was the BM15, with penetration of only 42cm/90 deg/100m, it couldn't do a Chieftain over 500m, never mind a Merkava Mk.1 or Challenger.
    This is one aspect of the Cold War often overlooked. In the 1973 war the Arabs were still stuck with full bore APCBC rounds for their T-55s, which couldn't do much against Israeli Centurions and M48/M60 over 500m. Even HEAT rounds were limited to about 4 rounds a tank for Egyptian T-55s. I suspect this was deliberate policy by the Soviets, they must have known how poor the Arab armies were, and realised their tanks and ammo would end up in western research labs fairly soon after any middle eastern conflict. The only exception was the T-62, which didn't really have a 'low quality' shell to export.

    The western nations were never so parsimonious, things like M48s, M60s, Chieftains, Challengers, Centurions all came with current generation APDS and HEAT ammo. A few countries in the Middle East even got DU rounds in the 1990s. The Israelis of course soon started making their own ammo so it wasn't a problem for them.

    I assumed the T-72s in your game were Soviet manned! By the look of the Israeli saves, they must have brought DU ammo with them.


  8. Interesting info Mark. I was running the Russians and was kind of assuming more like mid 90's.
    We were using essentially an auto kill with main gun shots but the Challies and Merks got a save.
    Good observation! We probably did bring some DU to save our Syrian customers.;-)

  9. Very interesting Mark. Tank vs tank from those stats is far less "fair" than I had thought! It makes the likes of 73 Easting less impressive in a way- if the Abrams really couldn't be penetrated by the T-72.

    As Adam said, the T-72 were auto kills, no save. The Merks and Challies had a 4+, which we failed! DU indeed....

  10. I think we'll have to drink the Soviet Kool-Aid[1], and assume their export weapons are at least close to as effective as claimed. Otherwise it's just going to be impossible to balance Soviet-client armies in a way that still makes them remotely fun to play. Between their lower quality ratings and armour T-72's should already need quite a numbers advantage to win. Although I admit, they did a lot better than I expected in this game.

    [1] Kool-Aid is the official sponsor of Epic Moderns.

  11. Yep, totally agree Than. Game balance wins out this time I think.

    Kool-Aid is definitly a major factor in our rules, shall it be renamed?

    Epic Moderns- Drinking the Kool Aid.....

  12. Sultanbev, I have some contradictory info of course.
    The T72M was considerably less armored as well as it didn't have the laser rangefinders or passive IR.

    Agreed, game balance, however lets get some more info and fine tune these lists and rulesets

  13. We use real world armour values in equivalent of vertical steel armour for my rules, and a D20 kill system related to shell size, target weight, and armour type. You're free to have copies, if I can have an email address to send them to.

    They have extensive data charts in an exell file. For the T-72M1 I have it as 36cm ceramic layered armour on 41t weight, with laser ranging and IINF, in service from 1983.
    It's standard BM22 penetrator is good for 45cm/1000m. The BM32 DU round of 1985 penetrated 50cm/1000m, the BM46 DU round of 1990 about 62cm/1000m.
    Any exported T-72M1 may well not have the laser or IINF, I think the Syrian ones do, but they didn't get that version until c1998.
    The Merkava 3 from 1990 has 56cm Chobham on the turret, 50cm on the hull, weighs 62t. It's 120mm FSAPDS round penetrates 60cm at 1000m.
    The Challenger 1 of 1983 has 46cm Chobham turret, 42cm hull, on a 60t weight, it's L23 FSAPDS round penetrating 50cm at 1000m, or DU from 1991 penetrating 58cm at a 1000m.

    Bit of a difference. Coupled with better training, superior comms systems, a company of 11x Merkava 3 should wipe out a Syrian battalion of 31x T-72 with ease. In our games we don't use points values, we just give Arab/Soviet armies a company for every platoon the NATO/IDF side gets.
    Which then gives them more artillery support.

    Of course, no one really knows the actual armour of post 1980 tanks, so you can take it all with a pinch of salt, and err one way or the other. Especially for rules balance.

    We also use the MicroMark army lists for organisation details, available on the Wargames Vault.


  14. Sure Mark, send them through. Chrisjpooch at gmail dot com. I am always interested to see new rulesets. I think we will stick with what we have, but as I have said previously, we fully intend to tweak the rules.

    The net result of all this talk is that I want to play more 6mm games!

  15. On the way. And that end result, to play more 6mm games, is perhaps the best thing of all. I look forward to more battle reports