Advanced Squad Leader scenario DB131 Thorn in the Side (AAR)
A buddy and I continue to play the excellent series of “Dispatches from the Bunker” scenarios backwards. After DB132 One Last Victory, we were on DB131 A Thorn in the Side. This scenario puts us in February 1 1944 Kangaw Burma. The No 1 Commando “Royal Marines” took a hill (Hill 170) that oversaw a vital road junction in the path of Japanese retreat. The Japanese found that unacceptable.
The first map is from Combined Operations and the photo of the “salamander badge” of the 1 Commando is from Commando Veterans Archive.
Victory Conditions & Tactical Considerations
So here we have a 4.5 turn scenario in which the Japanese wins at the end of any Player Turn if all British AFV are eliminated/ recalled/ not on level 3 hill hexes. It’s never good to meet the IJA in close quarters. I hope to take advantage of distance, higher firepower and all the leader mods. It would be hard to keep the IJA off my tanks for 5 IJA Movement Phases. I thought about this and I realized there’s a clue in the Victory Conditions. I had 3 AFV’s and AFV’s can move. The Victory Conditions say “If ALL British AFVs .. not in Level 3 hill hexes.” There are 3 Level 3 hill tops on the map. I could start on one side, delay the IJA for as long as I could and move the tanks to the other level 3 hexes. I would be fine as along as 1 of the 3 Shermans stayed on level 3 at any given time!
So that was my plan.
After Action Report
The IJA moved up to my positions from the south (bottom of the map). Most of them succeeded in keeping their Concealment but we weren’t shy about opening fire. We were not going to find out whether we could survive IJA ambushes even though we were Stealthy. We simply didn’t have the numbers to swap them bodies for bodies. The time to reduce the IJA was now! We were mindful about keeping rout paths open but that wouldn’t last as the IJA close in. We also made sure that we keep HS’s between our main forces and the IJA. We didn’t want our main force caught in a Banzai or even in a friendly HtH. The idea here was to block them, to induce MC’s and to waste their time.
Post Allied MPh, Turn 3 (of 4.5), the British got a line of HS’s blocking off the IJA from their foxholes (FH). HtH’ing these guys would take one of the 2 Movement phases they had left. The AFV’s moved to the “3rd” Level 3 hill top to the North. Some infantry went as well as the last line of defense. The 2 Level Jungle helped here as you need to see a target to initiate a Tank Hunter Hero or a Banzai. Our 10-2 ran off successfully but we had issues moving the MMG squad out of their FHs. The squad broke under IJA fire but a Hero came by to pick up the MMG. We figured we could do a Minimum Move and pass it to some friendies nearby (but we were wrong, as per A4.134 we need to have at least 1 MF to do a Minimum Move, best we can do was to send a HS back in and hand the toy over during the Rally Phase). Those guys were also looking to CC the Wounded IJA 8+1 nearby since he couldn’t vol break.
The IJA conceded.
How’s this Scenario Interesting?
It’s interesting when I remembered Guderian insisting that an AFV’s engine is as much a weapon as its guns. This scenario a delightful “return” to the PTO for me. It takes discipline to minimize CC contact with the IJA in the Jungle. More to screen off Banzai attacks, to keep my distance and to shoot to get MC’s. This is a very tight design: terrific troops on both sides, tight mapboard and a tigher 4.5 turns. This definitely reminds me why PTO is my first love.
We are on to the next: DB130 Tigers and Flames!