Some readers were curious about how the rest of the turn played out for the Iranians as they attempted to clean out Kuwait and hit out at Saudi Arabia. Let’s do this!
|Iranian AH-1 Cobras at the ready in Gulf Strike – Scenario 1.|
For the first part of turn 2, Iran’s air force hammered on the Saudis, who had blundered by predicating their entire defense plans around their early warning aircraft (which was promptly shot down by Iran at the beginning of the turn). With Saudi Arabia’s air force blinded and the ground units at the front out of supply, the Iranian player licked his chops as the battle on the ground continued. Here’s how things stood before the ground forces engaged.
|Turn 2 – First Action Stage|
The Iranian player wants primarily to eliminate the remaining Kuwaiti units without any casualties this turn while forcing back the Saudi ground forces from this clearing operation. The first thing Iran does is send in an armored division and a brigade coupled with a pair of AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters to completely eliminate the Kuwaiti 3rd Mechanized Brigade. Both Cobra units made their bombardment rolls and the use of artillery to back up the attack against the Kuwaitis sealed the deal and the Kuwaiti unit was gone from the map in short order.
Kuwait’s 2nd Armored Brigade had been protecting the road to the west of the capital for the past two days and its efforts at defending against both an Iranian armored and mechanized division were Herculean. But luck could only hold out so long as the Iranians repositioned their forces for a deliberate assault against the proud but badly damaged Kuwaitis. A huge combined push at the cost of over 20 supply points helped the Iranians deal out the defenders and by the end of the First Action Stage, the road to Kuwait City was wide open with only an HQ and an MP brigade to defend the capital from Iran’s onslaught.
With the Saudi ground forces out of position, Iran took advantage of the situation by shoving an armored division straight south towards the Saudi 2nd Armored and 4th Mech Brigade stacked together right near the Kuwaiti border in hex 0547. A hasty attack by the Iranians resulted in 2 hits to the Saudis, which was negated by withdrawing the unit further to the south. The Saudis were happy to pull back their unit as this put them back in supply. The attacking Iranians, on the other hand, made a half-hearted pursuit as they were now stretched to the limit of their own supply lines.
|Aftermath of attacks in Turn 2: General position and situation of units at end of turn.|
The immense cost of all this combined air and ground offensive in the early stages of turn 2 was nearly 30 supply points, depleting the Iranian supply reserves to dangerously low levels (around 10 supply points). A transport truck unit was used to move the Iranian supply depot from Basra towards the border with Kuwait but it was going to take until next turn for Iran’s military to reconfigure its supplies to deal with the unexpectedly rapid advance south. The Iranians had little choice but to wait for supply to catch up and spend the rest of the turn helplessly watching as the Saudis pulled back the rest of their forces towards their supply depot to the south and towards more favorably defensive terrain.
If I had to project ahead a bit, I would say things are going to probably continue to go well for Iran for the next several turns depending on the luck of its air force to keep neutralizing the enemy’s ability to counterattack. With very few losses in the early stages of the game, it will really be up to the Americans to prevent an Iran/Soviet victory here. Most importantly, the Americans (who will enter the game on turn 7) will have to contend with keeping their carriers safe from Soviet Backfire bombers while at the same time using offensive air power (B-52s and A-6 Intruders) to keep Iran from pushing over the rest of the dominoes on the Arabian peninsula. It would be a very tough job for the US but made slightly easier by the fact that the Soviets are currently tied down in Afghanistan and will have fewer sorties available with which to hit the US carriers and supply head.
From here on out, I’ll be putting quite a bit of energy into learning and talking about Vietnam: 1965 to 1975 although some day, I’ll definitely come back to Gulf Strike, which I’ve grown to admire and enjoy immensely. Once you experience how nicely everything works together in the system, you can really see Mark Herman’s gem of a game shine through. Thanks for reading and if any of you Gulf Strike players out there see any mistakes I’ve made, please feel free to let me know.