As you all know, Tzahal was voted as the next Nation Pack for Wargame: Red Dragon. And we haven’t been twiddling our thumbs since the results were published…
Although some vehicles & aircrafts are still being modeled as we speak, units balance is already well on its way. It is therefore the perfect time to ask game designer Félix “FLX” Habert how Israel is shaping up as a Wargame nation … and to extract some pro-tips from
the sly b… our esteemed colleague.
As you may have learnt by now, Israel will be a stand-alone nation, meaning it won’t be combined with any other nation into a coalition. Yet, despite that, “Israel’s national deck will be a competitive one” according to FLX, “fielding weapons & vehicles both varied and modern, making it able to stand up to any of the most played decks“.
Regarding ground units, Tzahal’s strong suits will be its “mighty tanks, extremely efficient ATGMs, a varied infantry selection and a reliable artillery support“.
The mighty tanks FLX is referring to are the Merkava family of course: heavily armored up front, they are much more fragile if outflanked. But although Merkava are Israel’s sole indigenous designs, they won’t be its only choices: the IDF also fields British (Centurion) & American (M60) import tanks, some of them heavily modified, and even some tanks of Soviet design (T-55, PT-76) salvaged from its neighbors’ armies in previous wars!
At the beginning of Wargame‘s timeframe, Israel relied only on foreign ATGM, mostly TOW and … M47 Dragon! This latter fact should suffice to explain why they frantically worked from the late 70’s to develop their own weapon systems! It proved fruitful though, for Israel has since been developing and testing very efficient anti-tank missiles: the Spike family (infantry & vehicle variants), MAPATS (TOW-2 modification) or LAHAT (gun-missile). Most of them are favoring long range and/or accuracy over extreme damage.
And then comes the dreadful Nimrod missile which, by our expert’s own words “is a purveyor of dreams” …
Tzahal’s infantry units cover most infantry role & deck types, from regular (Rovait) & reserve (Miluim) squads to Marine (Givati) & Airborne (Tzanhanim) ones, backed up by MANPAD, FIST & ATGM team. Of course, specialized command, recon (Bedouin), commando (Shayetet 13) & Special Forces (Maglan) will be there too to perform their specific tasks.
The IDF’s final forte lies in its artillery support. And yet, as a matter of fact, rare are the state-of-the-art weapons here, instead Tzahal’s artillery arm has learned how to make the better use of good ol’guns.
Hence the presence of some old WW2 Sherman tanks mounting unusual guns, such as the Makmat self-propelled heavy 160mm (!) mortar or the MAR-240 MLRS. Israel’s heavy guns are mostly American ones: Rochev & Doher (M109) & Kardom (M110A2), but also with some local improvements such as the Romach (M107) firing ERFB rounds at extreme range or the Sholef mounting a Finnish gun on a heavily armored Merkava chassis.
Israel will also field its own range of MLRS. Aside from the MAR-240 mentioned above, the heavy MAR-290 on Centurion chassis and much smaller LAR-160 will allow Tzahal a wide array of ammunitions’ loadouts.
Tzahal can also rely on the Israeli Air Force, with a vast inventory of both American (A-4, F-4, F-15 & F-16) and French (Mirage III & Mirage V) planes, as well as indigenous variants (Kfir) or even prototype (Lavi).
The IAF will “provide an effective ground support with several laser-guided bombs loadouts, supported by modern SEADs and fighter planes“.
Unlike the fixed-wing aircrafts, Israel’s helicopter force is strongly dedicated to anti-tank duty, with several Lahatut (TOW Defender) variants and culminating with the Peten (Apache) tank hunter in full-Hellfire mode.
Tzefa (Cobra) will provide some more versatile gunship/close-support loadouts.
Yet, “Israel will have its weak points, the main one being its air defense: all its best SAM (Hawks & variants) & SPAAG (Vulcan & variants) are indeed radar-guided and thus vulnerable to SEAD attack, leaving its air-defense to short-ranged weapon systems“, such as old-fashioned twin-20mm guns (BTR-152 TCM 20) and light IR SAM (Chapparal & Stingers) when all radars are turned off.
Also, “one of Israel’s gameplay specificities will be its utter lack of IFV“, notwithstanding one Merkava being configured in transport mode (meaning very, very few 105mm ammo!). Yet, they make up for this lack of combat transports with widely available super-heavy APCs such as the Nagmachon & Achzarit. With MBT-grade armor, including armored roof resilient to cluster bombs, those transports, although lightly armed, should be able to bring your infantry into the thick of the fight safely.
Nation Pack: Israel for Wargame: Red Dragon will be released on Octobre 4th, 2016.
In the meantime, if you want more details about Tzahal in Wargame, make sur to watch our Twitch session on Monday, September 19th, at 7 PM (Paris’ time): some Eugen members will be facing each other in an Alpha-balanced version of incoming Nation Pack: Israel.
And if you have any more questions regarding Nation Pack: Israel, feel free to ask them here.