Obit: Yacef Saadi, Abimael Guzman

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Yacef Saadi, military commander of the FLN’s Algiers Autonomous Zone during the Battle of Algiers, has died age 93.

This went almost unreported in English language media, so French language link. https://information.tv5monde.com/afrique/algerie-dernier-hommage-yacef-saadi-figure-emblematique-de-la-bataille-d-alger-423953

Saadi’s name would likely be lost to history if he had not made a place for it by bringing Gillo Pontecorvo’s film on the Battle of Algiers into the world.

Pontecorvo couldn’t get money for the project in Italy, so when he was approached in 1964 by Yacef Saadi, who was the director of the Casbah Film Company – Algeria’s first and only film production company – with an offer of money and logistical cooperation, they set to work. Saadi altered the script significantly several times during the process, and gave himself the major role of Djafar in the film – that is, he plays himself in the movie, though under another name. Pontecorvo put up with this because Saadi’s political connections with the Algerian government allowed them to film in Algiers and the Casbah zone itself, for five months in 1965. President Houari Bomedienne, who had recently taken power from Ahmed Ben Bella in a coup d’etat, made sure the film got all the necessary permissions, and loaned both troops and equipment from the Algerian Army for crowd scenes (which explains the jarring appearance of a Soviet SU-100 assault gun in the riot scene near the end of the film).

Yacef Saadi did not only rewrite the film, he rewrote the role he played in its subject. Towards the end of the Battle of Algiers a tip from a double agent led the French to Yacef Saadi’s hideout, where he was discovered with Zohra Drif, one of the women who had set bombs in the milk bar attack. Both of them talked freely, without physical coercion, and were kept prisoner until the end of the war in 1962. At the beginning of the film you see a frightened man who has just been tortured into giving up the location of Ali-la-Pointe, the last leader of the FLN in Algiers. This man never existed. In fact, it was Yacef Saadi himself who led the French paras to the hideout, because the real life equivalent of “Little Omar” in the movie was Saadi’s nephew, working as an errand boy for Ali-La-Pointe, and the boy’s mother had appealed to him to save his life.

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In other news, Abimael Guzman, leader of the Sendero Luminoso movement in Peru, has died in prison aged 86.

He had been in solitary confinement more or less continuously since his capture in 1992; I was a bit surprised he lasted this long.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-49110427

District Commander ZNO: now available!

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https://hollandspiele.com/products/district-commander-zno

Now available – the fourth and so far final module in the District Commander series.

ZNO stands for Zone Nord Oranais, the operational area depicted in this game… the hill country generally to the south and east of Mostaganem in Algeria, around Mascara – Pelikao – Relizane.

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The game is set roughly during 1958-59, when generally either the 4th Motorized Infantry Division or the 5th Armoured Division was responsible for most of the area (it’s difficult and rather pointless to pin down as areas of responsibility were constantly in flux depending on mission and deployments of other units).

French combat units that appear in the game include:

Cavalry
1st Cuirassiers (French Army unit, cavalry reorganized for infantry role)
2nd Spahis (mixed French-Algerian cavalry unit)
30th Dragoons

Infantry
6th Chasseurs d’Afrique (mixed French-Algerian light infantry unit)
19th and 20th Chasseurs (French Army light infantry units)
21st Regiment Tirailleurs Algeriens (mixed French-Algerian unit)
battalions of the 93rd and 158 French line infantry regiments

Other
4th, 31st Bataillon Parachutiste Coloniale (elite French parachute unit)
8th Regiment de Parachutistes d’Infanterie de Marine (elite French parachute unit)

Fun things you get to play with in the game include:
– FLN supply convoys;
Commandos de chasse (special small units of mixed French-Algerian troops (including turned guerrillas) who specialized in reconnaissance and tracking);
Sections Administrative Specialisees or SAS (French officers given special training and sent to assume control of all aspects of life in selected rural villages to organize indigenous resistance to the insurgents);
– population resettlement (when the SAS didn’t do a good job);
– double agents and psychological war assets;
– terror cells;
and more!

Note: Now that this one is properly published, I will be taking the PnP files for this module (with my substandard artwork) down and substituting PnP files for the Maracas module, so a free game of the District Commander system will still be available.

Free Games!

OSS Games Summer Sale! 20% Off!


One Small Step Games has announced its Summer Sale!

On now through the 4th of July, get 20% off on all published items.

Amounts to five bucks off each of my folio designs with OSS.

Sale does not include items already on sale, pre-order games, or subscriptions… so Tupamaro is not eligible as it’s still in pre-order.

Use coupon code “SummerSale” at checkout.

http://ossgamescart.com/

 

Back to USAWC

  • May 16, 2017, 4:30 pm – Strategic Art Film: The Battle of Algiers, moderated by Brian Train.  US Army War College, Root Hall, Wil Washcoe Auditorium. For more information, call Army Heritage and Education Center at 717-245-3828.

In about two weeks I will be returning to the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania for a repeat performance of last year’s event: I will be moderating a screening of the Pontecorvo film The Battle of Algiers and then we will have some guided play of Colonial Twilight.

Algiers and Algeria at AWC

The difference is this time Colonial Twilight will be in its final, approved form! Apparently it is still on track to appear in June 2017, just a bit too late for the Consimworld Expo in Tempe, Arizona (at the end of May, this year) but about three years since GMT first approached me about doing the game.

After this I am going to Ottawa for a couple of days, where I will be at the Cangames convention on the weekend. It’s their 40th annual convention! Maybe I’ll see some of you there. I’ll be running a couple of games of Colonial Twilight there as well, and maybe some other goodies.

http://www.cangames.ca/

Algeria is available for pre-order!

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Now available for pre-order from OSS Games: the revised version of Algeria: The War for Independence 1954-62, the first game ever published on the war (Microgram Co-op, 2000).

Revised counter mix (140, back-printed, diecut, art by Jon Compton), a redrawn map with very nice graphics by Ania Ziolkowska, and cleaned-up and streamlined rules that feature three scenarios (1954, 1958, 1960).

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Sample counters, scattered aesthetically… the game uses the familiar “four boxes” system.

Preorder price is $18.95; later, it will cost you $23.95.

http://ossgamescart.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6&products_id=77