Operation Musketeer Part II : French and Israeli Post Suez Co-operation in World War III

Operation Musketeer Part II :  French and Israeli Post Suez Co-operation in World War III

A Battle Report for Briscon 2021

By Garry Wait 

Enjoy this very special battle report in one of the first post-COVID tournaments of 2021 from our friends in Australia! ~Ed.

On the weekend of 17-18 April 2021, I was privileged to play in Briscon 2021, a 120 point Team Yankee event. With players from all around Australia it was an exciting contest of ability and the scores closely reflected the games with the top four players in the final round all bludgeoning themselves with 3-3 mutual losses, showing how close the levels of skill are locally.

(Actually a file photo from 2016)

My list was posted in advance of all player’s submissions and was composed of the following :

As an astute player can see, I deliberately chose to challenge myself with a brittle army.  All any player needed to do to break the entire army was to kill off  either the two French VAB section D’Infanterie or  one of those platoons and the FAMAS command team.

With the survivability of well run infantry in game, this proved to be much harder in practice than it appears in principal.  I didn’t lose a single formation nor did an opponent take a French infantry platoon or an objective from me during the weekend over five rounds of gaming.

My plan was to use the seven Merkava IIs (HQ + two platoons of three) as my reserve and counterattack force.  In my experience against modern MBT’s I don’t want to face off tank versus tank, instead the Mephisto’s and infantry do the heavy lifting vs heavy armour while the tanks clear infantry.  In practice this worked perfectly.  Everything is there to support the combat arms of three infantry platoons (the minimum I find that works) and two tank platoons to take objectives and I find the army works well in synergy to accomplish this mission. It was a gamble to take minimal air defence however and like any list, there are compromises that have been made.  

I plan to work with an aggressive intention to maximise my strengths while minimising my opponent’s opportunity to capitalise on my obvious weaknesses.  And I do concede this list is far from ideal but it was using what I had available at the time.

All missions were using the Extended Matrix for the April 2021 missions list which we found excellent.

Round one, I faced Ian and his USMC Rifles with 9th Infantry Division Light infantry company in Bridgehead.  This game went to plan with artillery very effective in pinning and distracting enemy forces.  With Ian’s M1A1HC platoon as sole reserves, the game was actually over on turn 4 before they arrived with aggressive thrusting infantry following up from tank assaults.  I was fortunate that the Army infantry were together on one flank while the Marines with the much more potent SMAW’s were on the other flank where I didn’t trouble them too much.  I did lose a unit of VAB transports and AMX13 DCA’s that got too adventurous taking out AMTRAK’s so a 7-2. 

Round two, I faced Scott with his French tank and French Mech in Counterattack.  Scott and I are always old sparring partners and he is an excellent gamer that always challenges my thinking.  I was on the back foot the whole game with hordes of AMX10P infantry swarming my Israeli forward deployed infantry backed up by French infantry backing them up.  I’m a strong believer in having layered defence forward of objectives and why send one platoon of infantry if you can send two ? The second French infantry went off to contest the secondary objective in no man’s land.  Scott attempted to send in Mirages to take down my infantry and APC’s first turn but underestimated the front armour of my two Rolands when the Gunslinger Gazelles tried to fire on them frontally.  Scott’s air didn’t contribute much after that.  The game saw furious fighting between Scott’s French foot backed up by hordes of 20mm armed IFV’s against my dwindling Israeli and French infantry while he dueled with the other French infantry with AMX10RC’s. When my reserves of Merkavas came on from behind his armour, it proved fatal for that flank.  The other flank was at risk with hordes of infantry coming but I got lucky with an ever reducing number of Mephistos taking out AMX30 MBT’s to break that formation.   I ended up losing my AMX13DCA’s again along with a unit of APC’s and one Merkava to a cheeky HOT shot but held the objective for 7-2.

Round three was No Retreat vs Nick Ashby, with me defending and rolling up Dusk.  I’ve never seen so many BMP3’s in one place in my life and it was a terrifying list.  Nothing heavier than a BMP3 and I lost many VAB’s, the AMX13DCA’s, my air, one unit of Mephistos and one Merkava to a cheeky side shot from BMP3’s and in return killed tons of BMP3’s (a few transport units) along with scores of infantry and most of the Shilkas and Tunguskas I faced.  Very messy and it’s always tough between Nick and I, with Nick being an exceptional player.  The mission and night rules along with many cross checks cruelled him and channeled his attacks brutally. We ran out of time on turn 5 so a 3-3 result.  

Round four, Adam in Outflanked.   Adam’s Free Kuwaiti Army was sensational and he is a great guy to play, kudos for flying in from Melbourne for the weekend.  Adam chose defend and it was a hard task to push through a mutual defence of two US style Mech platoons backed up by two M901 sections and ambushing Chieftains.  Against this I sent one French and the IDF infantry along with all the Merkavas on the left flank.  On the right flank one unit of Mephistos held off two units of M901 and two units of M113 transports for the loss of one vehicle.    We both had appalling dice constantly – in one round of fire from eight HOT launchers needing fours, I didn’t hit a single Chieftain – but ultimate I was able to manouever through the terrain and get to grips with enemy infantry.  I cleaned up two platoons of mech, six Chieftains and three M901’s to get one objective and in return lost a heap of infantry, one AMX13, two VAB, one Mephisto and two Merkava with the third remaining tank being “encouraged” constantly by the OC of the unit.  8-1 in a tough game.

Round Five, Breakthrough vs William and his Brit Mech and Brit Airmobile with me defending.  Will surprised me by sending ALL the helicopters to take down the furtherest objective and focussed on clearing a delaying French infantry platoon with two or three Mech platoons.  This was the only time I lost my Israeli infantry – in two turns from his incredibly accurate artillery.  I’ve never seen MLR’s and their tougher big brothers, the FV432 mortar tracks, perform so well with huge losses to my troops.  Not once did he fail to range in first time for each battery I think.  The IDF infantry entirely destroyed by artillery and mortar fire. 

I managed to destroy the Airmobile troops and narrowly pushed some Scimitars coming in from reserve off the objective with Merkavas contemplating assaulting Brit infantry to clear the table quarter when time was called.  3-3 result and well earned mutual loss.  Highlight was killing one Challenger ROMOR with side shot from HOT and two with side shots from Merkavas.    I have a whole new respect for AT19 MBT’s after this weekend !

This put me just over William who was leading till then and got me First on 28 points.   Thanks to my gracious opponents who were all excellent sports and great tough players.   A wonderful weekend’s gaming and I find a two day event makes for much more excitement – highly recommended.  We found 120pts worked well at these levels. 

(Via Flames of War Website)

I’d certainly suggest that mitigating a list’s weaknesses (such as the Israeli’s lack of high end AT or French lack of mobile heavy armour) can see mutually supportive lists that are stronger as the sum of the parts than individually a list would appear.  Mephisto with HOT was excellent and I was never worried about facing off heavy armour especially with good levels of terrain and careful use of infantry to block side shots often.

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About the Author

Garry wait is a longtime Team Yankee and Flames of War gamer dating back to First Editions of each, as well as an Eternal Optimist residing down under. Garry has written many articles for Battlefront, particularly on topics relating to events in Asia-pacific regions as well as tactics for competitive play.

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