A55 The Cat Has Jumped – AAR on Seaborne Assault!!

This scenario reflects the seaborne assault by the IJA on a relatively lightly held beach in the Philippines. The landing took place on Dec 22 1941, shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbour. Conditions were not ideal on this beach – the wind’s heavy and so’s the surf. The Japanese launched their attack on these “shohatsu’s” (or “LCs” for landing crafts) which were really big steel boats.


As such, neither the crew nor the passengers get to button up.  They were therefore subjected to a +2 CE DRM (Crew Exposed DR modifier) at all times.  The Filipino defenders had problems of their own as well : they were using MGs that were stored since the 1920’s.  The defenders’ machine guns were therefore a lot less reliable than usual (X11 instead of B12).

The IJA wins immediately if they manage to exit 25 or more VPs (“victory points”) off the right edge of the map and/or gain that number in CVPs (“casualty victory points).  The entire IJA force had 22 squads, 3 crews and 5 leaders – a total of 58 VPs which meant they needed to exit half.  The entire Philippines force was 29 CVPs should the IJA decides to focus on CVPs instead.

A55 Start-proc

IJA Turn 1 : This was a humid day at a peaceful beach.  I could almost see people frolicking in the shallow waters (almost).

The terrain on the top of the map was very restrictive, especially compared to the bottom of the map.  It would be difficult for the IJA to exit the map via there.  The terrain was more ideal on the bottom half of the map.  The orchards provided a degree of hindrance whilst requiring only 1 MF per hex to move through.  Defence looks pretty sparse on the bottom of the map and I suspect that’s because the Filipinos stationed their 4 squad equivalents there.  The way this was setup, the bottom of the map looked too inviting for me.  I therefore aim the IJA landing forces towards the top part of the map.  My opponent had gracefully given me the balance, so there were 2 MMGs and 1 HMG instead of 3 MMGs and 1 HMG, but those MGs still encouraged me to head for the jungle. Jungles are ideal banzai terrain after all.

A55 PT2 Prep - Lose both MMGs-proc

Philippines Turn 2 : The 9 IJA boats were still coming in okay.  None of the boats were lost in the heavy surf yet.  The Filipinos started shooting at the incoming LCs.  Stunning the LC crew would cause the boats to flounder and throw the IJA off their landing schedule.  Unfortunately both MMG clogged up and random selection designated both for the junk heap (and there was much cursing).

A55 JT3 MPh - Broached No Survivors-proc

IJA Turn 3 : It was difficult to beach the LCs properly in the heavy surf.  One LC was swamped and ran aground.  One LC’s crew struggled hard with the waves and wasn’t able to do much.  One LC broached against the swells and was destroyed, no survivors.  One LC got shot up bad and was floundering in the shadow seas.  The 5 that beached okay, started to unload its passengers.  Infantry on the beach are fanatic.  However, if they fail morale checks they casualty reduce.

The 5 LCs that beached, started to unload.  However being a first time seaborne assaulter I was concerned about pushing entire stacks out on the beach risking -2 shots on everyone.  So I decided to offload the heavy weapons first, those chaps would need to assemble their toys on the beach away.  This decision would cost the IJA a few more platoons as more LCs got broached in the heavy surf.

I asked my mentor Witchbottles about it afterwards, and he said to get off the boat absolutely as fast as we can!

A55 PT4 End - P moving into blocking positions-proc

Philippines Turn 4 : The IJA got inland on the left flank.  It’s great news apart from the fact that they could get boxed in with a few Filipino squads against the board edge especially with this terrain.  The remaining  Filipino MG, the heavy machine gun expired as well.  The defenders were caught with a beach full of fanatic IJAs and no high rate of fire weapon to do anything about it.  However, they had moved inland methodically to key locations.  The IJA got a bad feeling about what was to come as they couldn’t stop the Filipinos from slipping away.

A55 JT5 Another boat broached 11 squads 10-2 10-1 9-0-proc

IJA Turn 5 : The IJA got another LCs broached!!  The IJA had lost a total of 11 squads and the best 3 of the 5 leaders.  Considering that the IJA started with 22 squads 5 leaders ad 3 crews, that was almost half of the force!

A55 JT6 Banzai 02-proc

IJA Turn 6 : This is Turn 6 and the IJA just got off the beach.  Witchbottles’ advice to always read the scenario victory conditions at the start of every turn definitely helped here.  The IJAs couldn’t move fast enough to get 25 VPs off the board, especially not with the Filipinos shooting at their backs.  The IJAs decided to change tack and to round them up in the jungle instead.


This was the second banzai attack of the game.  The first one was almost exploratory.  The aim ws to catch and kill the blocking force in front.

A55 JT6 Banzai 03-proc

IJA Turn 6 (contd.) : This is the third banzai to catch the bulk of the Filipinos in the woods.  The jungle was just perfect banzai country!

A55 JT6 End CVP16 IJA 13 sqs 4 ldrs-proc

IJA Turn 6 : This was the aftermath of Turn 6.  The IJA lost a total of 13 squads and 4 leaders but have scored 16 CVPs in total.  They needed 9 more to win the game.  The Filipinos were wiped off the top of the map.  However, there were still enough Filipino troops retreating into blocking positions.

A55 PT6 Using FLs to stop the P from retreating-proc

Philippines Turn 6 : The IJAs used fire lanes to delay the Filipino retreat.  Meanwhile, the left flank looked to be clear all the way to the goal line!

A55 JT7  Banzai 04 IJA 13 Ldr 4 CVP 18-proc

IJA Turn 7 : The IJA sprung their 4th banzai.  It was a big decision considering they had only 1 leader (8+1) left.  However the way he was positioned he definitely didn’t need to get too intimately involved.  You can see by the red arrow, how the IJA looked to catch the rest of the defenders.  The IJA now had 18 CVPs.

A55 PT7 Firelane Hero-proc

Philippines Turn 7 : The Filipinos got themselves a hero!  The hero, when coupled with the remaining 8-1 produced a fairly respectable stack with a HS and an IJA LMG.  Either way, the IJA moved into positions where they could lay down fire lanes to delay the Filipino retreat.  My opponent had already seen the bottleneck on the top right of the map where there was a lake.  To get to the board edge, the IJAs on the left flank had to run through the one hex that was 4 hexes from the top and 2 hexes from the right.

A55 JT9  Banzai 05 Need 5 more CVPs stop FL-proc

IJA Turn 9 : The Filipino leader / hero / HS / LMG stack got into a position to lay a fire lane down on the IJA exit.  The first fire striped the lead IJA squad.  The IJA had about 7 VPs worth of squads who could exit off in this very turn and we needed only 5. We had to get rid of that fire lane and one good way was to force the enemy squad into Final Protective Fire.  The Filipino leader-hero stack’s collective hearts must had skipped a beat when they looked away from their gleefully laid fire lane and saw the bunch of IJAs looking menacingly at them from their left.

Uh oh.

The fifth banzai attack had no problems crashing through the open  and into the fire lane stack.  There was nothing the Filipinos could do.   The fire lane stopped after a quick struggle and the 7 VPs worth of IJA squads exited at their leisure.

A55 JT9 Ends-proc

IJA Turn 9 : This was the end of the game as the IJA killed and exited more than 25 VPs.

As my opponent warned me, seaborne assaults are not for the faint of heart.  The attackers should expect to lose more than half the force to the elements and to casualty reduction until his troops hit the hinterland.  For the IJAs, only 4 LCs managed to head back to the ships.  4 others were wrecked and 1 went aground.  Half the force was dead at turn 6, mostly to broaching LCs.

I got to remember to get EVERYONE off the LCs immediately next time.





13 thoughts on “A55 The Cat Has Jumped – AAR on Seaborne Assault!!

  1. Pingback: A55 The Cat Has Jumped – AAR on Seaborne Assault!! | grumblejones

  2. Seems a bit like gliders/paratroopers where the randomness of the beginning/setup has a far greater chance of destroying your chances then any other scenario type. Also nice to see so many banzais…

  3. Pingback: Unwrapping : Action Pack 11 “29 Let’s Go!” | Hong Kong Wargamer

  4. I enjoyed your AAR but wonder whether there was a rules glitch on IJA Turn 3? You appear to have made a decision to unload one or more LCs by disembarking squads carrying heavy weapons first and (as I read it) leaving the remaining passengers on the boat on that turn. I am no rules guru but this does not seem to square with rule G14.231 which stipulates that, once a LC is beached, all passengers must unload “as soon as possible”. I interpret this to mean that (assuming the LC has at least one MP remaining) they have to unload immediately, even if this means moving as a stack. If the LC has more than one MP, it will be possible to unload in two separate moves (the LC loses a quarter of its total MP each time one or more passengers) disembark(s). The ideal therefore is to beach when the LC (assuming that it has 4 MP) has only expended one MP in order to allow passengers to unload in three separate moves and avoid moving as a stack in the open.
    I might be totally off beam here and would be grateful if you could let me know if I am missing something!

    • Thanks for stopping by Doug and thanks for this [URL=”http://www.gamesquad.com/forums/index.php?threads/beach14-234-assault-what-is-meant-by-as-soon-as-possible.141152/”]Beach14.234 assault- what is meant by “as soon as possible”?[/URL]

    • Please see G14.234 that addresses specifically “ASAP”

      14.234 “ASAP”: Within all otherwise-applicable restrictions (e.g., those conferred by the presence of a Recall/TI/Shock counter), PRC forced to Abandon/unload “as soon as possible” (even as per D5.341) may do so at any time during, but must do so before the end of, the current or a subsequent friendly MPh (whichever is possible first) [EXC: if broken at the start of a RtPh, they would have to Abandon/unload in that RtPh]. Units need not unload as a single stack just to comply with the “ASAP” requirement, but while still aboard the vehicle they and it are prohibited from performing (or even attempting) any activity [EXC: Manhandling] that would (or possibly could) delay/prevent them from debarking at the required time.

  5. I posted o here before spotting G14.234- it’s been a while since I tried to get my head around beach assaults! I did kind of wonder whether the option of not exiting as a stack only applied when there were sufficient LC MF remaining to allow that choice to be made eg if the LC had only expended one MF and there were three passengers that could unload separately before the end of the MPH but, on reflection, I was probably overthinking it.

    Anyway, I love the blog. I have had a few years hiatus from ASL but am starting to feel the urge to take it up again.

    • Thanks Doug .. and welcome back! Here’s the thing that makes your interpretation correct (learned that from the thread you posted) .. while they do NOT have to leave the LC all at once .. the LC pays a quarter of it’s MP for every unloading stack. That means either I spend a quarter of its MP unloading everyone together .. or I spend a quarter unloading a squad first and another quarter unloading another squad (or two squads) etc afterward. If I don’t have enough MP on the LC I have to wait til the next turn.

  6. Yes, I think that a the sensible interpretation of the rulebook is that a beached LC must unload one stack (which could be a single unit at the attacker’s option) for each MF that it has remaing until all passengers have disembarked.
    There is one thing from the AAR where I think that you might have got the rules wrong though (unless I am misinterpreting). In the picture accompanying IJA turn one, there is a comment that the LC risk running aground in shallow ocean hexes. As I understand it, this does not apply during heavy surf. The LC risk being swamped in ocean hexes (and therefore sinking in deep ocean or becoming fast aground in shallow ocean) or smashed up when they hit the shore, but they cannot run aground as can happen in normal ocean conditions. (G13.446).


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