A Moment in ASL: Imperial Japanese Army in Hand-to-Hand Combat

Dead Japanese personnel lie where they fell on...

Dead Japanese personnel lie where they fell on Attu Island after a final “banzai” charge against American forces on May 29, 1943 during the Battle of Attu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So here we were, right at the opening of DB99 The Gin Drinker’s Line. Indian troops were sitting in trenches on a windy mountain pass, staring down advancing IJA troops bent on breaking through the last defence line between them and the capture of the entire Kowloon peninsula (Hong Kong).

At a particular trench, defensive fire broke and routed two Indian squads from the trenches. A squad nearby advanced into the trench hex. IJA troops kept moving in and it was too late to get into the trench. One IJA squad broke through the grain fields straight up front, our squad pinned it down with First Fire. Good. Another IJA half squad raced by to the right and Subsequent First Fire failed to bring them down. The Indian squad was now out of guns and wishing for the enemy Movement Phase to end.

From the swirling mist to the left, an IJA 8-0 leader at the tree line thrust his sword into the air and screamed : BAAAANNNNZZZZZZZAAAAAAAAAIIII!!!

Two IJA squads pour out of the forest with the 8-0, running straight for our Indian squad.  Staring Death in the eye, the Indians invoked Final Protective Fire, survived the Morale Check but failed to knock back the IJA horde.

The Indians were locked in Close Combat with two IJA squads and a 8-0. With 2-1 Hand-to-Hand odds and the IJA -1 DRM, a DR of 10 would wipe the Indians out (92% probability). Sure enough, IJA rolled a 7.

With death being a certainty, the Indians decided to take on all comers. Hand-to-Hand combat at 1-2 odds calls for a dice roll of 6. Since they were fighting the IJA, they needed a 5.

Our squad rolled 1 & 3. 

They took the 2 IJA squads and the 8-0 leader down with them.

Brian Youse pointed out the dangers of Hand-to-Hand (HtH) combat in his article “The Case for Infiltration” (ASL Journal 3).

It is not a good idea to commit too many IJA troops to a HtH combat because of the high chance of mutual destruction. In our case H-t-H allowed the “dying” Indian squad to take out 1 IJA squad with a die roll of 6 (42% probability) vs 4 in normal close combat (17%), or 2 IJA squads with a die roll of 5 (28%) vs 3 in normal close combat (8%).

This is an important note to self.



6 thoughts on “A Moment in ASL: Imperial Japanese Army in Hand-to-Hand Combat

  1. Japanese are as tough to play as they are to play against.

    Banzai is a valid tool but needs to be used properly. Smoke the target or approach if possible. Use other units to reduce possible fire into the Banzai as was done and if possible use units in the Banzai that will enter the hex in different phases of the move so the defender is forced to take multiple FDF shots and so hopefully save you from needing to go in for HtH

    Ian (Custard Pie)

    • Thanks for the plug Jackson, I learnt that the hard way, those 666 squads do not like those odds LOL. Even having just a squad and a leader in two hexes against Yanks tends to be the decider.


  2. One of the Journals covers that in detail (I think! Journal 9!) though it also warns that if you are trying to do this to a defender with a machine gun handy then a fire land can really screw up your day. Not quite certain how never having used one though…

  3. Sure running down a firelane can sure make you wish you had taken another route so it’s best to have already triggered that gun if you can tempt it with other targets.

    If the G has held it’s fire then at least you have got other units forward with no pain. Simply don’t Banzai that turn but keep the units able to wave banzai the next turn and repeat the process and chances are that the MG will fire at the supports leaving you then free to get going.

    Two most common mistakes are using the Banzai too early or it being too large or worse still neatly stacked in a huge pile that shrinks with every step.

    Your most important Banzai or units should be at the end after either getting the support fire used up on other targets or after you have moved risky units that have got their safe as the risk of Banzai has held the opponents fire, though knowing how your opponent likes to play makes all the difference


  4. Pingback: DB099 The Gin Drinker’s Line AAR | Hong Kong Wargamer

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s