This scenario took place on Dec 15th 1927, a full 12 years before World War Two. It’s based on some of the earlier conflicts between the Red Chinese and the Nationalists (Guomintang, GMT or Kuomintang, KMT). The conflict took place in Canton 廣東, not too far away from Hong Kong. The Canton Red Chinese overestimated their strategic position, started a general uprising on Dec 12th and the Nationalist Chinese came for a brutal visit.
Carl Nogueira and I played this scenario twice. I was the attacker – KMT Chinese and Carl the Red Chinese. We then switched sides and played it again, you will read about the second one from a later AAR.
The victory conditions of this scenario is structured around the multi-hex buildings on the map. The ones north of the canal are worth 2 points. The ones south of the canal are worth 1 point except for the two building designated as factories. The game ends on Turn 4 if the KMT Chinese get 8 points, Turn 5 for 9 points, Turn 6 for 10 points and Turn 7 for 12 points. The KMT has to accomplish that while losing no more than 24 CVPs.
I planned to focus the main body of my troops to the right. They are to capture the building on the right. From there they can attack the factory immediately to the south of the canal, meeting up with a smaller force on the left flank. Capturing the right building also allows for the possibility of forces wading across the canal for the higher value buildings on the north bank. The small force on the far left is to protect the buildings from possible Red Chinese reinforcement on Turn 3. You see, the Red Chinese can choose to introduce their reinforcements from the north (top) side of the map, or the west (left) side of the map. However if they come in from the south side of the canal, the VP requirements for the KMT drops by 1.
Anyway, that’s the plan .. until bullets start flying.
KMT Turn 1 : The KMT rushed across the street. A fearful death star appeared on the left flank in the single hex two storey building I never paid attention to before. On the 2nd level, there was an MMG, a HMG and an 8-1. On the ground level, there’s the 37mm gun sporting an ROF of 3. These guys shot up a few of the squads on the left, rendered my HMG team useless for the duration of the scenario and made the rest of the folks very nervous. The fortunate bit was that the elite Chinese squads were well placed to offer smoke grenades in support.
I was perhaps too careful with the armoured cars. They are 5 CVPs and 7 CVPs (with a 9-1 armour leader) each, points that I hope won’t contribute to the Red Chinese 25 CVP goal. Fearing a gun on the right side of the board, I planned to sneak around the side of the roadblock. However when we ran into the death star, we froze. In retrospect, the 37mm infantry gun has little more than 6% chance (HE only) of killing the KMT Type 22 armour truck (Chris Edwards’ Kill Calculator). Granted, MGs can kill these vehicles but freezing in place is not the proper tactic either.
Red Chinese Turn 1 : Folks in the Red Chinese death star probably didn’t get their ancestors properly lined up. First, a sniper killed the 8-1 .. and then both the MMG and the HMG malfunctioned on the same shot! The concealed squads in the factory advanced out to the walls, which was brilliant. I am not entirely sure why I never made use of the upper levels of the buildings I had to negate the walls.
KMT Chinese Turn 2 : KMT attacks! The turn opened with squads advancing into the smoke that the élite squads laid down. A 8-0 leader on the right went across the street and kicked the door in with the squad behind him ready to fire. Other squads moved up and found the second gun at the rear of the building to the right of the map, as expected. You can see the laid and the Red Chinese squads putting down residual fire very efficiently. The deathstar saw the HMG fixed but the sniper returned and broke the crew!
End of KMT Chinese Turn 2 : This showed how ineffective the KMT attack was. Losses was light fortunately, the Red Chinese accrued 4 CVP so far.
Red Chinese Turn 2 : On the right of the map, the KMT squads in front of their target building hope to survived enemy fire and return a massive Defensive Fire back. The KMT got a MMG team together with a 9-2 and kept the MGs in the death star suppressed. The KMT Chinese were getting ready to attack again.
KMT Chinese Turn 3 : KMT troops advanced forward on the right into the building. LMG fire from across the canal came straight down the street. On the left flank the KMT Chinese figured they should take advantage of the crippled death star and tried to rush the building, only to find the bottom floor fortified. Worse – it’s fortified with a building full of self rallying crew!
End of KMT Chinese Turn 3 : We got into the building on the right. The rush on the left failed as the squad got shot up and bounced off the side of the fortified building. The centre was pretty decimated. The leaders were working hard to convince a few to get back into the fight.
Red Chinese Turn 3 : The reinforcement came in from the north. Things were not looking up for the KMT Chinese. We only had a foothold on the right. The troops on the left and in the middle were broken in huddled masses. KMT didn’t seem to have enough people to make a third try.
KMT Chinese Turn 4 : The KMT made an all out attack for the factory and the rightmost buildings. Whilst they would get the right most building, the KMT Chinese got shot up everywhere else.
End of KMT Chinese Turn 4 : The KMT Chinese captured the gun on the right although they haven’t quite secured that building. The force in the middle were almost entirely reduced into broken stacks. Folks on the right who were there to guard against the Red Chinese reinforcement decided to move north to have a go at the death star. I really like Carl’s demonstration of high level tactics. Here we have a position where, if I attack, makes no contribution to the CVP. However if I don’t, it will always interfere with my attack elsewhere.
Red Chinese Turn 4 : The Red Chinese counter attacked! Can you see the stack with the “DM” counter on top and a grey dotted line that extended to the left? There’s an MMG in the stack and I should have laid a fire lane down that path to stop the Red Chinese from counter attacking. However instead I was distracted by the first squad that rushed up. Now I got 2 big stacks of broken troops threatened by marauding Red Chinese troops. Since the Red Chinese already racked up 25 CVP, the scenario ended and Carl Nogueira won as the defender.
Notice the 2 fortified locations Carl revealed after the game. He had the commissar situated in a fortified location in the middle of the factory. He also had the other fortified hex immediately behind. That last hex would be his “Alamo” before the Red Chinese bow out of the building. Capturing a building like so was going to take a few turns more.
I would have the opportunity to improve my play by being the Red Chinese defenders against Carl’s KMT Chinese.
That will be in the next AAR!
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Very well done AAR!!
I admire your pluck. Carl probably play-tested this scenario for Dispatches. The upside is that you are learning a lot by taking him on. Will be interesting to see Carl’s attack.
Do not sell yourself short. You used smoke, which many players forget in the heat of battle. Try to stay in the fight until the end. A sudden turn of events occasionally can put you in the driver’s seat at an opportune moment. Learning to recognize such an opening, and capitalize on it effectively, can upset best-laid plans. Continue, as you clearly do, to take away something from every game. The wins will follow.
The death star looked like it pushed you of balance and broke up the rhythem of your attack. Nice AAR as always..
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