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Reluctant Enemies: Operation Exporter: The Commonwealth Invasion of Lebanon and Syria, 1941, is small game meant to serve as an accessible introduction to the Operational Combat System (“OCS”). It is one map, with 60 or so combat units (both players) in action at any given time. This allows for a pace of play not possible with the previously published OCS monster games. Regardless of the reduction in scale it remains an OCS game with all features relevant to the system. In this game there can be wide open, swirling, DAK-like battles in the desert (with some: limited armor forces), river lines to break, and very rough, mountainous terrain to contend with. The British have the possibility of an amphibious invasion. Naval shore bombardments, by both sides, can be important in the early part of the campaign. There is a small but significant air campaign. As always in the OCS, supply constraints make each player feel he may be on the edge of disaster.
This campaign remains a footnote in WWII history even among many knowledgeable enthusiasts. However, given the nature of events in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations during the first half of 1941, this campaign was arguably the hot spot in the world at that moment in time.
The Vichy were well equipped and organized. They put up stiff opposition, and counterattacked with great effect. The Commonwealth and Free French forces, at first, were stopped cold. Ironically, it was the failure of Operation Battleaxe (June 15) in the Western desert that allowed reinforcements for this campaign from the Western Desert and a resumption of the Commonwealth offensive. After Damascus fell, Beirut was seriously threatened and with Indian 10th division troops (along with Habforce) moving on Aleppo and Homs to the North, the Vichy proposed an armistice to end the fighting.
The armistice was signed on July 14. However, this result was far from certain. Here you can examine why.
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