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.
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.
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).
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.