Aleppo Comes To Newark

Hind over Aleppo

Conventions are back! Much awaited and much anticipated we were back at The Other Partizan on Sunday October 10th and it was like we hadn’t been away ๐Ÿ˜Š Everyone was super excited and there were some excellent games on display although our chance to to view them was restricted by it being just the two of us this year and so our time was taken up with our own game.

Quiet before the storm

We took along our Syrian Civil War city streets game with the superb terrain from Task Force Terrain and had our streets populated by the crew of a downed Hind, Syrian Special Forces on a search & rescue mission, various representations of the numerous insurgent factions and Hezbollah units bolstering the government forces. The rules were Spectre Operations V2 which we are fairly confident with these days hence the numerous factions (9 different units in the end plus armour support) but as we were at a show and we knew we’d get distracted we didn’t deploy all in one go but rather fed them on as we went.

Syrian NDF deploy outside the police station

Elsewhere in the hall were some excellent games, none of which we managed to take a picture of, but from memory the outstanding ones for us were; a 28mm Plains Indians War game, excellent Indian village and what looked to be quite an innovative basing system – wish I could have stopped and chatted about this, a superb looking C18th game complete with star fort and two enormous galleons out to sea (I mean the size of the things you see in antique shops!), very visually arresting, an excellent looking El Cid game, although I couldn’t see Charlton Heston ๐Ÿ˜ and a quite extraordinary 60/70mm ancients Macedonian v Persian game – wow!

Insurgents take the high ground

On the trade front it did seem a bit thin; the stalwarts were there, Foundry, Warlord, Empress, Dave Thomas, and Warlord and Foundry occupied a significant amount of hall space but I did have a feeling of something missing. This could of course be just not enough time to look around properly or the fact that October is now brimming over with conventions, SELWG on the 17th and FIASCO on the 31st plus Battleground and Warfare in November so maybe traders are taking it steady in the post pandemic times.

Insurgents clash with Special Forces over the downed Hind

In terms of attendees the morning seemed very busy and we spent a lot of time chatting with interested gamers and meeting familiar faces who we literally hadn’t seen for 18 months! Certainly by the time I got home my voice was gone ๐Ÿ˜‚. The numbers were a bit worrying in these post mask times and some people were wearing and some were not, we wore ours to start but eventually abandoned them due to the difficulty in conversing and with so many people not wearing it all seemed a bit redundant. The fact that the weather was kind to us meant that the double doors could be open so there was plenty of air circulation. What was very noticeable was that by 2.00pm the show was largely depopulated, why I have no idea but it was far more acute than ‘normal’.

Insurgents occupying a building

What did strike me this year, from a display gamer point of view, was that the little extras (the coffee vouchers, the free figure, the raffle tickets, etc) were not on hand which was mildly disappointing; hey there’s no rule that says they have to be available it’s just one of those nice Partizan traditions. Maybe with no revenue from 3 cancelled shows some of the costs had to be throttled back and I get that, we also didn’t see anything of the organisers either which was unusual ๐Ÿค”.

Into the ruins

So, was it good to be back? Of course it was! Will we back next year? Obviously ๐Ÿ˜. So many thanks to Laurence, Richard and the the Irregulars, well done.

Rescue At The Old Fort

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This was the 2nd of our ‘Adventures In Syria’ campaign (more of a collection of loosely connected events) and followed on from the ‘Hunt For Ali Suliman’ game where 2 Syrian special forces troopers and their Russian adviser were captured. The rules are Spectre Operations V2.

Fast forward a couple of months and Damascus Mission have negotiated with the insurgent group and agreed a hand over of cash for the captured soldiers and their adviser at the old Ottoman fort some miles west of Aleppo, although unfortunately one soldier has died of his wounds in captivity. Of course nobody negotiates with terrorists, especially Bashar al-Assad, and so a rescue team headed by Marton Csokas are approaching the fort through the eastern cactus field maintaining comms contact with Dmitri Davidovich a seconded sniper on overwatch in the high dunes to the south west. The insurgents are the Azaz Command headed by Amir El Masry one of Suliman’s lieutenants.

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Most of the insurgents are positioned in and around the fort with a couple of men in an outlying shelter and another in rocks to the west scanning the road. A variety of small arms are carried by the group supplemented by two RPG’s, an M249 and a PKM plus a technical with a mounted machine gun, an armoured technical and a truck; all are on Alert and the prisoners are under the watchful eye of Abu Nazir.

The first few moves nothing happened, the Syrians moved cautiously and the insurgents got impatient resulting in El Masry finally sending off El Adouari & Boussalet down the road in the armoured technical to see where the hell the money men were. However once the Syrians were at the wall they were heard and Sleiman & Sheik turned from their positions on the walls to see the Syrians at the breach but the Syrians had the initiative and opened fire killing Sleiman and Nazir (useful) but missing Sheik (not so useful) who let go with his RPG, missing the target but still hitting the wall and killing private Tahir al-Malik in the AOE.

Out on the desert road Adouari reacts to the firing and hauls the technical around and comes roaring back up the road which activates Davidovitch up on the dunes who calmly picks off Boussalet in the back of the vehicle and then picks off Hamza who is manning the machine gun on the other technical.

 

Back at the chaos of the fort El Masry lines up for a shot down at the rescuers from the tower but is gutshot by private Hamza who was left behind in the cactus on overwatch, Masry dies in 3 turns.

 

Csokas and his men are into the fort now, eliminating Sheik before he can let go with another RPG but before they can get the prisoners freed the two guys from the shack, Marhyar & al-Malik make a belated appearance and in the gunfight that follows, Csokas & private Hamdouch kill Marhyar but don’t kill al-Malik before he can spray the area from his M249, missing them but killing prisoner Pushkin (not in the plan at all!). Csokas downs al-Malik before he can do anymore damage and the one remaining insurgent in the fort (Hammoud)is grabbed for questioning (not nice).

Making their way outside with the prisoner, the rescued, and two dead team members, the section are witness to the bizarre sight of Adouari trying to shoot from the window of his moving vehicle with his AK74 and not surprisingly failing while private Hamza calmly suppresses him.

With the sun now high in the sky the team move off to the extraction point leaving behind the shattered remnants of El Masry’s cell and a weakened Ali Suliman.

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Postscript: The parents of Corporal Vladimir Pushkin received the news of their son’s tragic death in a motor vehicle accident on the outskirts of Damascus several weeks later.

 

The Hunt For Ali Suleiman

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A bit of a play on the ‘hunt for Osman Bin Laden’ this came out of a discussion around a modern middle east game we played recently where Syrian special forces and their Russian advisers attempted the capture or elimination of a noted terrorist/resistance fighter/legitimate opposition leader – delete as appropriate according to which news channel you’re watching, somewhere around Aleppo.

Continue reading “The Hunt For Ali Suleiman”