Saturday, 22 December 2012

A Literally Epic Game

 Latakia, Syria - Dec 22, 1989

As the diplomatic stuggles surrounding the Syrian-Israeli conflict continued, the UN monitoring force operating in northern Syria found itself under attack. Emboldened by the arrival of a Soviet taskforce, the Syrian regime launched an armoured assault that attempted to capture the port city of Latakia, a vital logistics hub for the UN troops. The UN security force in the city was extremely light, consisting primarily of infantry and light reconnaissance units. A joint Syrian-Soviet force consisting of two battalions of tanks hoped to overwhelm the defenders with little fighting. Unfortunately for the attackers, Western intelligence detected their preparations. Within hours an MEU (already on station off Damascus) was heading north, and a Fallschirmjager company was dropped to reinforce the defenses north of the city. While still badly outnumbered, the US and German defenders deployed to hold both the port and the outlying airfield.

This was the largest game of Epic: Moderns that I have played in, with 6000 points a side. The western defenders consisted of Pooch's USMC force and Jason's Bundeswehr (Germans), while the attacking force consisted of my Syrians and Andy's Soviets. Andy provided an absolutely stunning L-shaped table 6 feet along each edge. The port itself was on the inside corner of the L, the airfield on the outside corner. We deployed five objectives to represent the port/airfield and some approach points (bridges and roads). Pooch and Jason deployed half their force within 30cm of any of the objectives, with the rest coming in from reserve. Andy and I each had one end of the L, deploying anywhere up to 3 feet from our corner and up to 15cm into the board.

My Syrian force on the southern flank
Andy's Soviets can be seen deployed in the top left

The battle had become a race - could the attackers take the port before reinforcements arrived. The Syrian force coming from the south encountered heavy resistance (including a surprise attack by a marine M60 company rolling off the beach) and were forced to pull back and regroup behind a forest. On the northern side of the city the Soviets fared better, reaching the outskirts of the city with little damage.

An M1 platoon guarding the bridge
M60's roll in to save the outnumbered Abrams
LAR company deployed in the city itself
Soviet tanks on the northern edge of the city
The southern flank quickly bogged down. Although artillery strikes managed to hold off US armour, the Syrian tanks were not able to regroup quickly enough to support the assault. Infantry and recon units initially siezed the bridge into the city, but the defending LAR company was able to simply fall back to the next block. In the north Soviet tank companies shelled the fallschirmjager position; while the company bravely held their ground, they were quickly wiped out. However after this the Soviet attack too bogged down, unable to do more than minimal damage to the LAR company in the dense urban terrain.

With the attackers stalled just outside the city, the defending reinforcements started to arrive. A Bundeswehr infantry company arrived from the east to push Syrian infantry back from the southern approach, and an amphibious assault reinforced the northern flank, smashing a Soviet infantry company on it's way in. Seeing that taking the port would be a protracted struggle the Syrian-Soviet force withdrew.

An amphibious assault drives the Soviets back
The victory conditions we agreed on had two Blitz objectives (the port and airfield worth 2 points each) and 3 center objectives (a road and two bridges, worth 1 point each). At the end of the game Jason and Pooch had both Blitz's and two of the centers, Andy and I had the other center objective. So a victory to the West. The scenario gives the defender a bit of an advantage (since they start holding all the objectives) but the balance overall wasn't too bad - all forces suffered similar amounts of damage, and it was a really fun game to play.


  1. Hi John,

    Cheers for playing yesterday it truely was a massive fun game. You took some hard knocks early on that really blunted you advance or we would have had real trouble if you go in amongst the city...

    Good to have you along and you have left all your stuff here too...guess you might need to pick it up and get a rematch at the same time :)


  2. Cool report and welcome back John!
    We gotta get some gaming in.

  3. Hey are you guys using the epic rules? If so could you share the changed lists?