ESG6 Clean Up Crew AAR – Deathwish 777 Round 1

ESG6 GT1 - start-procESG6 Clean Up Crew is the first round scenario of the Asia Pacific VASL tourney, Deathwish 777.  This is the first Eastside Gamers scenario I have ever played.  This is also the first time I played Will Fleming.

This is an interesting situation.  The 2 hex building on the top right is considered ground level only stone while all other buildings are wooden.  The German wins at Game End if they control this building.  If you look at the map in quarters, Germans setup on the top left and bottom right.  A Russian patrol comes in on Turn 1 from either the left edge or the bottom edge of the bottom left quadrant.  Both sides get to attack and to defend, the 6 turn limit on this scenario promised rapid and violent action!

The Germans have a mix of elite and first liners.  The Russians have a mix of first liners and conscripts (one elite squad too) but unfortunately an ELR of 2.  They get 2 leaders on board, an 8-1 and a 7-0.  A 9-1 comes in with the patrol later on from the lower left board.  There was a bit of a debate as to whether to switch the 8-1 out for a 10-0 Commissar or not.  Bruce Probst cautioned against the idea on GameSquad, stating that there really is no where for the Russians to properly rout to and that they should take the -1 Leadership from a fighting 8-1 instead.  In hindsight, he’s right (no surprise).  At the time, I swapped the 8-1 for a 10-0 in the hopes of cycling whimpering conscripts back into the fight again.

ESG6 GT1 - After MPh-proc

German Turn 1 : The Germans were on the move.  The Russians looked to reveal as little information as possible until the Germans came within their (largely) 2 hex range, less when negative modifiers were in play.  There wasn’t much action apart from the outer ring of “speed bump” conscripts.  They didn’t expect to survive the slightest German fire and so their first shot needed to count.

ESG6 RT2 - Adv Ph-proc

Russian Turn 2 : The Germans built a deathstar with a 9-2 in the left sunken road.  Our HMG team had to relocate.  Will Fleming also pointed out that mortars cannot fire from CREST positions so the mortar team had to figure out a plan B.  One of the “speed bump” conscripts broke another German unit instead of running but got disrupted and was captured in the return fire.  The rescuing Russian patrol had entered the map but not the fray at this point from the left edge.

ESG6 GT3 - DFPh - Hell Rate - KIA 2 broke others .. Prisoners Rearm-proc

German Turn 3 : The Russian HMG went on a hellish rate tear in Defensive Fire, they KIA’d 2 German squads and broke the rest in the open!!  The Russian prisoners found their guards killed and started eyeing the German DC laying in the grass…

ESG6 RT3 - MPh - Conscript rush in w: DC-proc

Russian Turn 3 : The rearmed prisoners (Conscript HS) grabbed the German DC.  There was a German DC HS on the left end of the sunken road to the right.  A Russian squad assault moved away to draw fire in the safest way possible but was disrupted anyway.  The rearmed Russian HS then rushed down the sunken road with their captured DC!!  They survived the Final Fire from the “targeted” German DC HS, threw their DC and broke that HS.  Unfortunately it was pinned itself and couldn’t advance to rout the broken Germans out of the foxhole.  The Russian commissar decided to vol break and head towards THE house as Russian troops around him were either disrupted as conscripts or ELR’d into being conscripts.

ESG6 GT4 - Adv F - HMG got taken out snakeyes KIA-proc

German Turn 4 : The Germans moved towards the house and the Russians didn’t have too many live units left around the target building.  A German MMC on the left put a fire lane down through the grain fields and made it tough for the rescuing patrol getting into the fight on time.

Then a horrible thing happened.

A German stack Adv Fired into the Russian HMG team through the brush – and rolled snakeeyes.  The random selection that followed slated the full Russian squad for destruction, leaving a broken 7-0 with the gun.  There was pretty much no one, save the routing commissar and a solitary conscript squad, in the target building.

ESG6 GT5 - Adv F - Snakeyes finally got the conscripts-proc

German Turn 5 : The Commissar finally pulled himself together and joined the conscripts in the stone building.  Between stacking up for better mutual support or spreading out to keep the Germans out of the building, they chose the former.  The conscripts dutiful fired at the incoming Germans and did brilliantly well for the most part but things came apart at the end when the Germans rolled another snakeyes in the Adv Fire and broke the squad.

ESG6 GT5 - CC - 6 to 1 Wound-Killed Commissar-proc

German Turn 5 (contd) : The commissar found himself the sole defender of the house when the German broke through the windows and doors.  The ensuring close combat was 6-1.  For a moment I had hope that the commissar would roll snakeeyes as well to kill off the entire German stack but it was not to be!  The hardy commissar got wounded and finally succumbed to his wounds into the long quiet night.

A number of thoughts after the game :

  • Will Fleming is a terrific person to get to know and to play ASL with.
  • The 10-0 (if indeed a decision’s made to swap the 8-1 out) should be in the fight and helping to raise conscripts morale.  The ELR of 2 had a material impact on this game.
  • Seeing that most of the Russians ELR’d and/or Disrupted – routing, rallying and fighting was not the right strategy.  Taking a fighting 8-1, fighting and dying in place might be a better decision.
  • As a rout path, my foxholes were not properly lined up especially when there were Germans coming in from 2 angles.

Thoughts?  Comments?  Alternate strategies?  Additional thoughts on 10-0 commissar vs 8-1?

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ITR1 Debacle at Sung Kiang AAR – Not my brightest moment!

John Knowles and I recently purchased the few “Into the Rubble” packs (Bounding Fire Productions) that Sam Tyson found laying around.  So we decided to play the pack out one by one over the next year or however long it takes.  The first one in the pack is Scott Holst’s “Debacle at Sung Kiang“.  There are a few places called 松江, but since Scott mentioned “the city of Sung Kiang”, I take this as the area to the southwest of present day Shanghai.  This scenario takes from a battle on November 8th 1937 when the Chinese GMT still had their German trained & equipped elite troops.  As with all the scenarios in the “Into the Rubble” pack, it’s all about city fights.  What I didn’t realise until the first Prep Fire was how unversed I am with city fights – I have definitely been running around jungles too long!

So here’s an account of my miserable loss (not an infrequent experience for me of course, but I don’t blog about my losses often enough) :

There are 16 multi hex buildings on the map.  The IJA’s task is to capture 11 or more of them with 16 first liners, 2 elites, 4 leaders and 3 armoured cars in 6.5 turns.   The Chinese fielded 9 elites, 7 first liners, 3 leaders, 2 76 guns and 2 of their funky Type 22 dual MG armoured trucks.

Chi Turn 1 01 End - Pulled 2 LMG & crew out-proc

Chinese Turn 1 : This is what it looked like at the end of the first Chinese turn.  The Chinese decided to use their “armoured” trucks a different way.  Instead of running the trucks around with “0” armour, they decided to rip the 2 LMGs and the crews off them.  That’s 4 new LMGs with 2 elite units that self rallies.  The Chinese now have 8 LMGs, fantastic news to the IJA I am sure.

IJA Turn 3 04 End of MPh w: FL-proc

IJA Turn 3: The action exploded.  First the IJA Banzai’d down the left edge of the board.  Several fire lanes sprang up but the IJA made it across the open ground at acceptable losses.  I then figured this was going to take too long : I should have an armoured car behind the Chinese lines to interdict routs and to limit Chinese movement.  Therefore I ran an armoured car down the streets (just follow the blue dotted arrow that emanated from the concealed counter on the top left quadrant of the map).  It survived one shot from the Chinese MMG that laid down a fire lane.  Then the AC sped due south and made a right turn, surviving another LMG shot at close quarters.  It then arrived at the center of the map.  Another AC decided to do the same but via another route.  This is the blue dotted arrow that encircled the top part of the map from right to left.  Unfortunately it discovered one of the Chinese 75’s the wrong way.  It was still hoping that its speed was going to save it.  Boom – no hit, it laughed.  The gun then went for Intensive Fire as the car came closer. Boom – Critical Hit!!  The AC bursted into flames as car parts careened down the middle of the street!!

Chi Turn 3 04 End-proc

Chinese Turn 3: The Chinese moved folks over from the left, one of which CC’d my AC.  The IJA uncovered a fortified position and strangely, a 75 gun popped up in the middle of the building complex on the right.  That, together with the interior wall in the stone factory (see the hex side on the hex in “direction 2” of the gun) made it a little difficult to clear it out.  The Chinese sped a unit to the far right to close the flanks.

IJA Turn 4 01 End of MPh-proc

IJA Turn 4: Check out the middle of the board – here’s one of my extreme moments of stupidity: with a Chinese squad in the hex, I decided that it would be good idea to back the AC up to the Embankment Railroad.  So I stopped the car meaning to go in reverse.  The Chinese folks promptly declared CC Reaction Fire and disabled the car.  A subsequent LMG shot killed it.  *Brilliant*

All the action on the right were the IJA trying to pile more troops into the factory.  The Chinese started shooting a lot better than they did a turn before unfortunately.  The good bit was that the IJA finally broke the folks in the Fortified hex.  The IJA folks in the top part of the map were starting to appreciate how exposed their positions were.  Having said that, the Chinese MMG malfunctioned the turn before and so they were having a go at crossing the street.

The IJA then ran the last of their armoured cars down the middle of the street to help take the building complex on the right.

Meanwhile on the quiet left side, a couple of Chinese troopers pulled out a bag of marshmallow and strolled over to the bonfire ..

IJA Turn 4 02 End-proc

IJA Turn 4 : This is end of IJA Turn 4.  IJA managed to capture the big factory on the right.  In retrospect I should then have “spilled” more forces down the right edge to turn the Chinese flank.  That would perhaps take me to the buildings to the lower half of the board.  The folk in the center had to rout back.  The MMG that malfunctioned was fixed prompted in the next Rally Phase.  Meanwhile, the AC got into a threatening position but it had to get on an embankment to interdict any Chinese movements.

Chi Turn 4 02 End-proc

Chinese Turn 4 : Two Chinese squads went berserk and both targeted the striped IJA squad sitting in the Fortified hex on the right.  One of the berserkers was underneath the Pinned squad next to the green Fortified hex so you can it imagine it doing the zombie dance against the wall.  The other Chinese berserker rushed up (blue dotted arrow), spotted the IJA elite through the smoke to the right and switched directions.  The IJA elite squad threw their DC at the crazies but only managed to CR the berserkers while ELR’ing itself to a first liner.  The berserkers rushed in and got wasted by gunfire but it caused enough damage by taking the one squad the IJA had with a decent smoke component plus used up their DC!

The Chinese shifted their forces to the right as other sectors were not under threat (a street party was in progress around the bonfire by now).  Notice also the 2 LMG squads closing in on the lone AC sitting in the middle of the board.

IJA Turn 5 01 End-proc

IJA Turn 5 : With all 3 mortars out of smoke and the one elite squad ELR’d to a first liner, the IJAs were not able to put more troops into the factory on the right as the Chinese had an MMG under an 8-1 in the middle of the map.  Tried as they might, the IJA group in the middle couldn’t put much pressure on that MG, apart from discouraging it from putting up a fire lane.  This is the end of IJA’s Turn 5.  The troops inside the IJA’s hard won Fortified hex was steadily reduced.  The fact that it should have advanced into the HMG squad (with the 9-1) long time ago to take them out by CC only occurred to me now.  (Urgh..)  Meanwhile, the 10-1 came forward to rally the troops.  The 1st liners grabbed the flamethrower they recovered, vol broke and routed it back to the 10-1 in the hopes that the 10-1 would know how to use it.

I was definitely not at my best!

Chi Turn 5 02 Dare Death-proc

Chinese Turn 5 : It’s increasingly evident that the IJA were getting bogged down at the first factory.  The Chinese reoccupied the Fortified hex and a Dare Death squad successful took back another building.  While the retaking of the occupied hex didn’t mean immediate reversion of control, it did pretty much put the IJA at where they started with a lot less troops and only 2 Movement Phases to go.

This was where I conceded.

Review :

  • In retrospect I should probably have approached from the left side of the board where there were more cover.  The center group should be anywhere BUT center in that wide open space.
  • I didn’t fully appreciate the threat that the MMG with the 8-1 poised on my operations either.  We should have at least wrecked an AC in front of that building if nothing else.
  • Running the Armoured Cars around to the enemy’s back field was the right idea but they should not be left on their own for too long.
  • I should also have focused more efforts on sliding my troops down the right side to turn the Chinese flanks.  Had I done that earlier, the dynamics would have been different.  Instead, all the IJAs where bogged down in front of the big gun (of all places) and in the Fortified hex next to the highest ranking enemy officer and their HMG.  The first thing IJA should have done was to advanced out of the Fortified hex and CC that HMG stack like there’s no tomorrow.

These are some of the major points I should have done better.  In real life the IJA prevailed (and the ROAR was 15:11 Japanese:Chinese).  As with real life, this is how much damage a bad leader (yours truly) can do!

What else could I have done better?  What are your thoughts?  Please comment.

PBP02 The RHA at Bay AAR – a fighting withdrawal!!

This was May 27 1940.  German mechanised units chased Allied forces through Belgium and northern France.  A detachment of the 5th Royal Horse Artillery found themselves to the immediate south of Dunkirk with 80 men from a searchlight unit and Germans units threatening to overrun. PBP02 is part of a scenario pack created by the Paddington Bear ASL Club in Australia.  I had a look through them, there are good number of PTO scenarios that never fails to draw my interest but overall the Paddington Bears often portray interesting tactical situations. PB2 Start-proc This was the setup. The German wins if both British guns were eliminated and more than 10 CVPs of Good Order Germans exit off the east edge (right edge of the map). It’s a draw if both guns were eliminated without the requisite exits. There were two nice locations to where the guns could be emplaced : both were orchards with stone walls. I had the two ATRs positioned to not take immediate fire but to be where they would cause the most delay. Their threat was more powerful than their actual effectiveness against German tanks. So here we are: eight British second liners (they were search light operators) and two guns against ten German élite and first liners plus five tanks. Turn 2 Ger 02 - EoT Berserk Germans Brit Right Wing collapse-proc German Turn 2: The British reserves moved up to front line positions after seeing how the Germans commit. The British right flank got shot up pretty bad. All that was holding that side up was a British second liner. The Germans used smoke and cover well but a squad got tired of the searchlight operators shooting back and promptly went berserk. Turn 3 Ger 01 - ATR Left bounced Berserker died Folks keeping huns at bay while comrades rally-proc German Turn 3: The berserkers charged! You can see how they made their way straight into the first stone building only to be cut down when they got to the house. The single British second liner continued to hold up the right flank while their compatriots were busy rallying. The first German tank rounded the corner on the British left flank and the ATR team got to work, only to bounce a round off the tank. German tanker: “That wasn’t even scary.” Turn 3 Brit 01 - Units fall back left Greenies in front.-proc

British Turn 3: The British were in general retreat .. erm .. retrograde.  The idea here was to stay ahead of the Germans and get to the next building before the Germans get their guns on and to keep the inside lines open.  On the right, a rallied British green squad switched a second liner out as the rear guard.  These guys would see a few medals before the day is over.  

Turn 4 Ger 01 - tank bounce off ATR shot but got nailed by gun-proc

German Turn 4: The action heated up on German Turn 4. On the British left, a German tank tried to get to the back field. The British ATR team held their shot until the tank went to the other side of the building. However they bounced a second round off the German tanks even when they had a side shot. The 18 pounder (typo in the picture) on the British right “appeared” and wrecked the German tank in the Defensive Fire Phase.

Turn 4 Bri 03 - G folks killed Ger 1st line-proc

British Turn 4: The British green squad on the right dispatched the German first liners who held them in melee!! The rest of the British squads got to the last line of buildings. They cut it quite close, as the Germans shot some of them between the gaps. The British continued to get to positions that were a little out-of-the-way but cover grounds the Germans would move into.

Turn 5 Bri 01 Gun appears WP ne.  fire & fun, concript died earlier-proc

British Turn 5: The Germans started building a death star on the British left and the left British gun appeared!!  It promptly put a round of white phosphorous into the building. The British ATR teams repositioned towards buildings where they could prevent the German tanks from exiting. On the right, the malfunctioned British gun couldn’t be fixed and was eliminated from the game. The Germans sent another squad in on the right flank and killed the pesky British green squad that was holding up traffic but these heroes had already saved their brothers.

Turn 6 Ger EoT-proc

German Turn 6: The Germans were almost of top of the British now. A German tank got inside the British lines but one ATR team was broken and the other one couldn’t get close enough.  Good thing the white phosphorous forced the German death star to move.

Turn 7 Ger MPh-proc

Turn 7 Ger CC Got the gun!!-proc

German Turn 7: The Germans got up to the right ATR team and was wrecked at pointblank range! The Germans rushed up on the British left as well. They advanced up and captured the gun hex in the CC phase!!

Turn 7 Brit End .. KIA'd-proc

British Turn 7: The British couldn’t let the Germans have a fire phase to spike the left gun.  The British squad fired pointblank and KIA’d the squad!  This led to an interesting revelation after a few rounds of discussions on the forums.  There’s no way to kill the gun by small arms fire without a crew / possessing infantry (A9.74) present!  So the only chance of the Germans getting a tie is to kill it with the tank ordnance. 

We never got to that so here we go.  It’s a three hex range with an infantry target.  The base TH is 8.  The gun was emplaced, so there’s a +2 DRM. 

snakes

SNAKES!!  The Modified TH# is 8 .. rolled a 2+2 which is not less than half but it’s an original 1,1 nonetheless.. so we need a subsequent roll ..   subsequent That’s equal to half the Modified TH# of 8!!  CRITICAL HIT!!!

As AZslim pointed out to me on GameSquad, guns (and crew) are automatically destroyed on Critlcal Hits.  So both British guns were gone.  This game went all the way to the last roll – and it’s a DRAW!!

Gotta admit, this is some finish!!  Witness the narrative power of an ASL game – and that’s why we love it.

AAR A79 Mike Red – Defense in Seaborne Assault!

A079 - 01 German-proc

A79 Mike Red depicts the part of D-Day landings at Courseulles-sur-Mer, the most heavily fortified position – “Mike Red” – that the Anglo-Canadian forces had to face on Juno Beach.

A total of 16 Canadian squads bore down on 5 second line German squads and 6 gun crews.  The crews, with their 8 morale and self rallying ability, were the backbone to the whole German defence.  The Canadians win by clearing all pillboxes of good order Germans and by exiting 7 VPs of personnel in 7 turns.

The defence layout you see is actually created by my opponent.  The tetrahedrons discourage landing crafts from unloading directly in front of the pillboxes.  The antitank gun in the leftmost pillbox and the medium machine gun in the trench next to it covered most of the beach.  The pillbox in the center housed a heavy and a medium machine gun, accompanied by an 8-1 leader.  The approach to the pillbox was covered by mortars on both sides.  Behind the row of wires, there was a seawall that ran all along the edge of the hinterland.  The singular pillbox that pointed inland was for rallying and for concealment generation, apart from being a great position from which to shoot any Canadians who broke through.

A079 - 02 Brit - LC aground DP1 LC stunned 2.5+ldr landed 1.5 squad + leader died-proc

Canadian Turn 2 : The first Canadian boat beached.  Two and a half squads hit the sand with their gear.  They were promptly shot up by the German defenders and only 1 squad survived (note : infantry doing seaborne assaults are Fanatic on beaches, but they Casualty Reduce instead of Break).  The survivors did their best to pick up the mortar and the PIAT in the meantime.  The other boats kept coming in.  One of the landing crafts went aground precisely where the German AT gun was bore-sighted.  It was a scary moment for those involved but the Germans kept firing armour piecing shells instead of high explosive shells which were a lot more effective against landing crafts.  Someone must had gotten the shells and the boxes switched!

A079 - 02 Germans - Shifting right-proc

German Turn 2 : The Germans figured this was a good time to shift their people to the right flank.  The reinforcement arrived as well and positioned itself as a the “back stop” to possible breaches.  A team of gun crew started moving the left most medium machine gun into the pillbox so as to cover more of the beach against the incoming Canadians.  Their ability to reposition quickly was really a tribute to the top quality machine gun designs the Germans had, which made them more portable than their opponent’s MMGs.

A079 - 03 Brit - Hero w FT-proc

Canadian Turn 3 : The Canadian mortars were very successful in getting off smoke shells in key places.  More Canadians hit the beach.  At this stage of the landing, the Canadians lost 5.5 squads, 1 crew and 3 leaders!  The bright spot here was that a hero stepped up from amongst the ranks and appeared to have picked up a flamethrower ..

The German antitank gun got their ammo figured out at last.  However in most cases the Germans waited for the landing infantry to step onto the sand before opening fire.

A079 - 05 Brit - Try to set DC to blow the seawall, hero with FT shot-proc

Canadian Turn 5 : The Canadians tried very hard to set a demolition pack against the seawall.  Luck was simply not with them that day.  The Germans had already positioned their medium machine from the left flank to one of the shell holes on the right so as to cover any breaches.  You can’t see this too well but the Shermans fired off a few smoke shells already.  The flamethrower wielding hero took advantage of the smoke cover, ran across the beach and got ready to roast up the center pillbox, only to be KIA’d by the antitank gun!

A079 - 05 Brit - Melee Brit CR-proc

Canadian Turn 5 (contd) : There was a mild breeze that day and hence the smoke drift.

A079 - 05 Brit - Melee Brit CR Xray view-proc

Canadian Turn 5 (contd) : This is the same view as the one above but with the smoke (mostly) deleted.  What I meant to say in the diagram was that the Canadians got casualty reduced (“CR’d” not “DR’d”) in close combat.  Taking advantage of the drifting smoke, the MMG crew voluntarily broke and ran towards the right flank, getting itself positioned to hinder the Canadians from exiting.

A079 - 05 Ger - MMG & crew broke and ran last turn .. Ger squad KIA-proc

German Turn 5 : Some of the German troops went back to the pillboxes on the left flank.  The Canadians need to clear the pillboxes AND to exit 7 VPs off the board, so keeping the melee going would be an important element to the German plans.  The MMG crew on the right flank (top of the map) couldn’t rally though.  The Germans did what they could to move some folks in and if necessary, grab the machine gun!  The Canadians were not doing well with the melee at all, they got casualty reduced again!

A079 - 06 Brit - 4 close combats-proc

Canadian Turn 6 : The Canadians finally managed to set demolition charges against the seawall, now they need to get away from the wall to blow it.  The Canadians flung themselves onto the pillboxes in this round.  They would win a couple of the close combats but they would continue fight it out at pillbox locations.   The center pillbox might be the most frustrating, not only did it yield no German casualties in face of steady Canadian losses, it now sprung a new German leader!

As per my usual practise, I promptly named this rising star after my opponent.

The Shermans moved across the beach in anticipation of a successful breach in the seawall.  The Canadian infantry had little chance exiting the board at this stage, but getting two Sherman’s off would make this a Canadian game, provided they were successful with the pillbox melees as well.  One of the Shermans bogged.

A079 - 06 Ger - Melee still on- Vol break away with the plunger-proc

German Turn 6 :  The Germans on the top right of the map managed to join up with the MMG crew.   The notable move from my opponent here was that he voluntarily broke the Canadian squad that held the detonator switch to the set DC which allowed a leader to rout with them as well.  The leader would then grab the switch from the brokers in the coming rally phase.

A079 - 07 Brit End-proc

Canadian Turn 7 :  My opponent’s enterprising leader grabbed the detonator switch as planned and breached the sea wall.  The Shermans started up and drove inland.  The first one rolled for “excessive speed breakdown” and got off the board.

The first 6 VPs!  The Canadians only need one other Sherman to get off.

The next Sherman drove across the breach and rolled for ESB.  It went too fast and was immobilized.  Okay, there’s still a last one.  All the Canadians need was 7VPs off the board, after which it’s up to the melees.

The last one got onto the hinterland, clanked forward steadily ..

.. and broke down as well.

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.

Shohatsu

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.

BAAAAANNNZZZAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!

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.