Bar-Lev: Almost Over

Tonight might be the last session of the Bar-Lev game my dad & I have been playing. Things slowed down a bit in our previous session, but still look to be strongly in my favor. I’ve still managed to hang on to air parity longer than I maybe should have, and if the game’s outcome was determined by how well I pulled off the blitz in the first 5 turns, I’d have things in the bag, but that’s not quite the case.

Though I’ve dominated on both fronts, my early domination has actually cost me big time in the things which had given me the biggest tactical advantages: my momentum and my maneuverability.

Breaking through in various places & using zones of control to prevent effective responses gave me a huge advantage early on in both theatres; in Egypt, punching through the middle allowed me to split the Israeli forces in two, eventually trapping a pocket around Rumani and isolating a group in the hills east of Suez, while in the Golan Heights I had managed to bring a hammer down from the north with some armor and artillery in the hills near Harfa and split the Israeli forces into a tiny pocket in the north, a central group and a few jeeps running around in the south. One of the biggest blows I managed to deal was breaking through to destroy the artillery reinforcements on the Syrian front.

On the Egyptian front, even though I managed to cut off and eliminate the northern contingent of fleeing Israelis, the heavy artillery and armor coming into the south is dug in inconveniently enough that I can’t punch through to dislodge them. I have to keep a few strong troops in the north and center part of the east edge of the map to prevent reinforcements from disrupting my own forces, since they’re no longer in a an organized front, and, since Egyptian troops can’t exit the map, I can’t maneuver around the southern artillery contingent. I’ve got a fairly large and impressive force remaining, but it’s now a matter of getting them where they need to be in the numbers that I need them, all while the Israeli artillery that I can’t quite suppress picks them off one by one.

Over in Syria, things were looking solid, but some of my southern troops were too busy chasing after recon jeeps, and I didn’t notice that the Israelis had a reinforcement entry point on the south end of the map as well as those on the west, so my dad managed to sneak a sizable force into the south. While this force isn’t quite behind my lines, and I’ve managed to scramble some troops that way, I had potentially left my entire rear open with nothing but anti-air and a few artillery pieces between this small force and the road to Damascus. Fortunately, I’d managed to route all of the northern and most of the central Israeli forces in the Heights, and, with most of my armored corps in tact still pushing south from Harfa, there’s no chance that reinforcements will be able to break through in the north and central parts of the map. But that brings me back to the issue of mobility; most of my best troops are now stacked up in the west-central part of the map, and while they’re celebrating their victory in Heights, the Israelis are trying to sneak a tough and highly mobile counter strike force south of Rafid with very little between them and the Syrian heartland.

The good news is, the Israeli morale is broken (I’ve knocked out 350 strength points of units!), meaning that all of my attacks are minus 1 (low rolls are better in Bar-Lev). The bad news is that despite their utter dominance in the northern theater, the Syrian morale is also going to break next turn as their threshold is a mere 120 strength points and I’ve lost around 115. The Egyptians are faring quite a bit better, but it will be a problem if they can’t take out those guns in the hills sooner than later.

Anyway, chances are, things will either all be over tonight (the Arabs only need to win in a single theatre or fight to a draw in both to win the game) or a major upset in the Golan Heights could reverse the Israeli fortunes. I don’t think that Israel can come back at this point for a full-blown win, given how close to sewn up things are in the Sinai, but there’s always a chance.

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