Monday, December 31, 2007

DANG Recap

December 28th was Dave's Annual Naval Game, or DANG for short, hosted by the Schuelers each year at about this time. There is always a different theme, and this year's game was based around the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the actions at sea. Arthur Brooking, Dave Creager, David Sullivan, George Kettler and I were the participants. David Sullivan and Dave Creager ran the Israelis and George, Arthur and I volunteered for Arab duty.

We Arabs knew we were all in a hard way. I think each of us played the old Yaquinto Missile Boat game, so there were no big surprises. The Israelis would be hard to beat. George took on the Syrians, whom I knew would be doubly stinky, and Arthur and I opted for the Egyptians. They were merely bad. We had lots of boats. Mainly Osas and Komars with some lesser vessels thrown in for good measure. As with all DANG games, it was run as a mini-campaign. In this case, we had daily missions to run, some required, some optional. Unfortunately, on Day One we drew a required patrol off Haifa, which we knew would not be fun.

The actions looked a lot like this: Syrians or Egyptians encounter Israeli boats. Israelis slaughter Syrians or Egyptians. Scenario ends. The Israelis had some significant advantages. One was that their boats were simply larger than the Osas and Komars. They mounted heavier guns, more missile launchers, and missile reloads. Another plus, was that they were technologically more advanced. They had ECM capability, and also had decoys and chaff to defend against our Styx missiles. Our advantages were A) more boats--not an inconsequential factor, and B) our Styx missiles had greater range than the Israeli Gabriels, and greater hitting power. The problem was getting them to hit.

The rules we used were David Manley's Bulldogs Away. Dave and I ran them at Enfilade, and they are very easy to use. It allowed us to play through lots of encounters. We ran through five days of the Yom Kippur War, with at least one encounter almost every day. It gave we Arab players plenty of opportunities to test, and improve our tactical doctrine. Unfortunately the doctrine frequently involved launching all of our Styx missiles at one or two Israeli Saars, only to see them diverted by chaff and flying off after a flock of seagulls that happened to be circling nearby. Meanwhile, the Israelis could fire a couple of missiles at each of our boats and we'd be faced with having to remember the next verse to "There's a hole in the bucket."

In the end, both the Syrian and Egyptian navies were wrecked in five short days. The truly tragic part is that in wrecking our navies we were also able to sink or seriously damage four Israeli vessels, out performing the historical record. I think the Arab fleets were able to preserve a few more of their boats however.

Just some quickie notes about the pictures. The first picture shows the ending moments of the game as six Egyptian missile boats encountered an Israeli patrol off the Sinai. We implemented new tactics which, sadly, worked about as well as the old tactics. These worked almost as well as raising one's hand and saying "shoot me." You can see the two Israeli Saar boats in the middle about to do the old rope trick and escape all but one of the red Egyptian missiles. The Egyptian boats, on the other hand, are also surrounded, but they will simply plunge to the bottom of the Mediterranean. The second shows an Israeli Saar boat surrounded by incoming Styx missiles. By the time these sixteen VW sized missiles penetrated the chaff and flare dispensers maybe three or four would remain. By the time we were finished rolling badly the Saar would be sailing back to Haifa with the Big Smile signal flag hoisted in its halyards. If precedent was broken and we actually rolled a hit, it was big nastiness. However, I titled the picture Houdini, because more often than not the Israelis escaped. The last picture is just photo of a couple of Dave's wonderful Skytrex Saar boats.

Struggling through the difficulties did not diminish our good time. Dave and Lynn always know how to show us a fun with comfort and good eats. DANG is always high on my dance card of annual miniature events.

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