Illustrated Example of Play #1: Anti-Tank Ditch Crossings and More

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Historical Situation, Yom Kippur War – At 2 PM on October 6th 1973, the Syrian army and air force launched a massive assault on the Israeli occupied Golan Heights. Three Syrian infantry divisions, bolstered with an armored brigade, assembled close to the border. In the rear, two powerful armored divisions were ready to exploit any breakthrough made during the initial assault. Their goal was to retake the Golan which they lost to the Israelis during the Six Day War of 1967. The attack, which was coordinated with the Egyptian assault across the Suez Canal in the Sinai Peninsula, took the Israelis by surprise and they had only two armored brigades defending the Golan border. Along the length of the Purple Line (1967 Ceasefire Line) the Israeli army dug an anti-tank ditch and built seventeen strongpoints to serve as a major obstacle to a possible Syrian attack.

Terrain – The Golan Heights is not a good tank country and terrain favors the defender, especially in the northern parts. The southern sector is more forgiving, but sharp lava blocks enhance the difficulties on the rocky terrain. Cross-country movement is very limited and is almost excluded for wheeled vehicles. There are several Tels (volcanic hills), such as Tel Faris, occupying the heights and these serve as very good defensive positions. There are also lots of Wadis, dry riverbeds that contains water only during times of heavy rain. 1)

Overview – This example of play will show how Crossing Assaults, Anti-Tank Ditch effects, Minefields and the restrictions on mixed formations for the Syrian player is handled in FAB: Golan’73. The setup and play in this example is not optimized, it is only used to show the different rule mechanics in the game. The units used in this example are parts of the Syrian 5th (A) and 9th (B) Infantry Divisions and the independent 51st Armored Brigade (C), which belongs to the Southern Group Divisions Higher Echelon. There are penalties for the Syrians to have mixed formations in combat, this will be explained later. The Israeli units are elements from the 188th and 7th Armored Brigades, as well as the Strongpoints, all belonging to the Northern Command Higher Echelon. Note the Anti-tank Ditch markers (D) and the Minefield markers (E), which are placed at start of a scenario. The Minefield marker is placed on a boundary by the Israeli player at the start of a scenario. Six minefields may be placed and affects only the Syrian player.


2) Anti-Tank (AT) Ditch Crossing

A – The Syrian player must move across the anti-tank ditch boundary (14.12) in order to move into the Golan Heights. In the Operational Movement Phase, the 112th Infantry unit moves across the AT ditch boundary into Juhader [26]. It costs a unit its entire movement allowance to cross an unbridged AT ditch boundary. Only one unit may move across such boundary each Movement Phase, whether bridged or not.

B – The 132nd Mech unit also moves across the AT ditch into Juhader [26]. Since all units moved across an AT ditch boundary into the same area, a Crossing Assault occur (14.01) and the player places a River Assault marker in the area just moved into (to keep the series constant, we use River Assault markers to represent any type of Assaults). In FAB: Golan’73, the AT ditch is treated similar to rivers.


3) Crossing Assault – Since combat is required in newly contested areas, players resolve combat in Juhader [26] where the Crossing Assault is conducted. The Syrian (Attacker) must assign assets to the battle in Juhader [26] first with a battle asset (112th Armored), one artillery asset (50th) and one Air Support asset. The Israeli player (Defender) then follows with an artillery asset (50th). Both players then designate a point unit. The Israeli must pick the Strongpoint as the point unit (a special rule for Strongpoints) and the Syrian player pick the 112th Infantry as his point unit.

A – The attacker fires his artillery first.

  • 50th have -1 (target´s point unit is a Strongpoint), -1 (target is the defender) for a net Success Number (SN) of 5-1-1=3 and fire with one die. This is expressed as “1 try for a 3”- rolls a 5- miss!

B – The defender now fires his artillery.

  • 55th have +1(target´s point unit is an infantry and not in fieldworks), +1 (Israeli attacker and controls Mount Hermon) for SN of 5+1+1=7 and rolls a 3- a hit!

The hit is applied immediately. The first hit priority for the attacker is a step loss. The Syrian player expected this turn of event, which is why he picked the infantry unit as point unit. The 112th Infantry unit absorbs the hit. The Syrian player does not abort the attack and presses on. Note that if the attacker aborts the combat, the attacking units may not remain in place and must retreat across the AT ditch during a Crossing Assault. All artillery assets are placed in the Used Box. Play continues to the Ground Fire step.


C – The defender now fires his ground units.

  • Strongpoint have -1 (for being a strongpoint), +1 (the target´s point unit conducting an Assault) for SN of 5-1+1=5 and rolls an 8- miss!
  • 53/188th Armored have +1 (for being armor), +1 (for Elite TQ), +1 (targeted units conducting an Assault) for SN of 5+1+1+1=8 and rolls a 6 – hit!

One hit must be resolved by the Syrian player and first priority is the point unit. Since a battle asset if present can take a step loss, he eliminates the 112th Armor to satisfy the ground fire hit.


D – Now the attacker conducts ground fire.

  • 112th Infantry have -1 (for conducting an Assault), -1 (target´s point unit is a Strongpoint) for SN of 5-1-1=3 and fires with two dice. This is “2 tries for a 3” – rolls 4,7 – Miss!
  • 132nd Mech have +1 (for being armor-class), +2 (ground support mission), -1 (conducting an Assault), -1 (target is a Strongpoint) for SN of 5+1+2-1-1=6 and fires three dice. This is “3 tries for a 4” – rolls 2,4,8 – two hits!


E – The Israeli player has two hits to resolve. He retreats the armor unit to Keshet [29] to absorb the first hit. A Disordered marker is placed on the 53/188th Armored.

F – Strongpoint units may not retreat so this unit must be eliminated to absorb the second hit.


4) Breaching the Anti-Tank Ditch –

A – There is an additional engineering function in FAB: Golan’73 that allows the Syrian player to breach the AT ditch (14.51). During the Admin Phase of the 2nd Player Turn, the Syrian player chooses to use an engineering function and breach the AT ditch running between Tel Kudne [60] and Tel Fazra [30]. He places the 5th Engineering asset from the Available Box in friendly-occupied Tel Kudne [60] to automatically breach the AT ditch by removing the marker. Breaching the AT ditch is important due to tracing supply path in the game. Syrian units may only trace supply across an unbreached AT ditch boundary if the units is adjacent to the AT ditch. The Syrian player must breach the AT ditch in order to advance into the Golan Heights.


5) Minefields – The Syrian 43rd Armored unit tries to move across the minefield on the boundary between Tel Fazra [30] and Hushniyah [31] by paying one additional movement point and by making a Morale Check (6.7).

A – The unit is successful with its check and moves across the minefield by paying the normal cost (plus the additional MP to cross the minefield) to move into Hushniyah.

B –The 43rd Armored unit tries to move across but fails its Moral Check. The unit may still continue its move into a different nonmined area (it still have sufficient MP´s to move). The armored unit moves into Tel Faris [28], costing one MP for the road connection. Then it moves into Hushniyah, costing 2 MP for the field connection. The unit have now spent 4 MP during its move.

C – During the Admin Phase, the Syrian player places an engineering asset from the Available Box in Juhader [26] and automatically removes the minefield marker. The asset is then placed in the Used Box.


6) Mixed Formations (Syrian Player)

Overview – Most Syrian units are grouped into divisions, denoted by the same colored stripe. There are five multi-unit divisions in FAB: Golan’73, three Infantry Divisions (5th, 7th, 9th) and two Armored Divisions (1st, 3rd), all having four or five units each.

A – The two units in Tel Faris [28], the 33rd Infantry and 132nd Mech, is from different divisions and therefore are mixed formations. These will have penalties in combat, such as no battle assets may be assigned and a (-1) modifier when firing.

B – The 46th and 51st Armored units are not considered a mixed formation since the 51st Armored is an independent unit (having no colored stripe).


Next Example of play will show how Air Support, SAM, Electronic Warfare and Israeli Brigade Integrity work. Enjoy!

The above example of play can also be read as a PDF on GMT’s FAB: Golan ’73 game page.



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