Gents, I exchanged a few emails with Keith Hathaway, the designer of the upcoming Sangshak Project. It’s a brilliant new project involving Gurkhas & Indian paratrooper vs elite Japanese at Sangshak (India) during Operation U-GO. I figured you should hear it directly from him, so here we go :
[From Keith Hathaway]
I designed it from the start of Operation U-GO until just after the battles at Sangshak, Jessami and Kharasom. I have included some actions which V Force fought in front of the main British/Indian Forces. I’ve included the Japanese 31st Division and some of the 15th Japanese Division. I wanted to place the events before the Kohima HASL coming out and the Imphal scenarios. Carl [Nogueira, Project Developer] is working with the play test group to refine my initial research and create playable scenarios. There will be roughly 20 scenarios included with a CG or two for Sangshak.
The Scenario’s are in chronological order and start with the Japanese crossing the Chindwin River and attacking a V Force radio station. It then goes to Point 7378 where C Coy 152 Parachute Battalion make a last stand. Then a scenario show a relief effort of the trapped Company. Other scenarios show a fighting retreat to Sangshak along with delaying actions helping the Brigade concentrate at Sangshak. There are 5 or 6 scenarios on or around Sangshak itself.
I have written a few CGs around Sangshak and Carl has worked hard on the rules (amazing work on his part). These include shortage of water, food and ammo. Japanese attacks and supply drops. The problem here is getting a good picture of the area. I have the hand drawn terrain maps from the war dairies, modern photos and maps from the books but nothing with enough concrete detail. I have contacted the US archives and a researcher to pull aerial photos from that time. I know the roll of film I need but they are closed due to Covid. Once they are open Sandy White can finish the map of Sangshak.
The action moves on to the 1st Battalion 1st Assam Regiment at Jessami and Kharasom. There are patrolling clashes as the Japanese move toward Kohima. Three scenarios around the two bases but trying not to be repetitive on earlier themes. Their relief force has a fight to save the Jeeps and trucks used in the column. Then the final scenario is a section of the Assam Regiment’s retreat to Kohima for an even more desperate stand.
I’ve researched everything I could find. I have a ton of books and have gotten a few War Diaries along with Division histories and a couple of scraps of information.
I wanted the pack to have the British players feel the on rushing tide of the Japanese advance.
It’s July 26th 1944, St. Gilles, France. Combat Command A was tasked with clearing elements of Panzer Lehr divison from the town of St Gilles. This one wasn’t going to be easy, the tough Panzer Lehr veterans had largely recovered from the shock of air bombardment.
Victory Conditions and Tactical Considerations
The Americans win by controlling all multi-hex building in the bottom half of the board and exiting 30 VPs of American units off the south (bottom edge) in 7 turns. The Panzer Lehr group had seven second line squads, four Panzer IVJ sporting 75L (TK 17) guns and a STuG, a Roadblock and plenty of Bocage. The Americans had 12 squads, 9 Shermans with TK 14, 3 with TK 17 (German frontal armor’s 8 vs US armor that’s mostly 11). There were also 2 fighter bombers carrying bombs and rockets between Turn 2 and 4. Our armor could take on the Germans apart from the fact that we were big targets. I had no doubts that the quick route down the middle’s blocked and bore-sighted. Let’s see if we couldn’t take an alternate route with our Cullin Hedgerow devices.
We picked a route from the top left of the map. The American troops came in riding their tanks “Russian style” and I realized I forgot one detail : they couldn’t ride through Orchards like so and had to dismount and re-mount. That delay most likely costed me my game. Running down the right in that sense seems more “Orchard” free. I got the cutters to work in pairs. Unfortunately 2 cutters bogged where it’s orchard free.
The fighter bombers came in Turn 4 and discouraged German armor (amongst others) from moving in. One fighter bomber blew up some dummies and the other immobilised a vehicle that was backing out of the Woods. The lead tank that reached the village was surprised by a HIP crew popping out with a panzersheck!! (“AH HA!!”) Good thing it promptly malf’d. Another tank scored a lucky CH on their HMG team, there goes their anti-air. Other tanks moved up in support and we were really missing our Infantry cover. Every one of these Germans must have brought their panzerfausts, right?
Turn 6 saw us trying to bring the sheer numbers of American tanks to play. Some of our tanks got round to the German left flank but a STuG, crouched low in Bocage caused some delay. Our infantry arrived but was blocked building by building on the way to our objectives! What we should do more (better) is to use all the sM’s we got to help our squads get around the German blockage intact. Failing such, we plodded on building by building and quickly ran out of time.
At the end, we couldn’t reach all of our VC buildings. We did try getting some of the tanks off board. We got three off, one got blown up by the STuG right through the smoke and the last one ran out of MPs at the edge of the board, failed its ESB rolled and immobilised.
How’s this Scenario Interesting?
The tradeoffs. I arrived at the fight with most of my assets intact by taking the least defended route but I ran out of time. Taking the right side of the map down might offer a better solution although there are chokepoints I’d to fight through. The key seems to be timing the approach so that we benefit from immobilising effect of our air cover between Turn 2 and Turn 4. I gotta to do better at combined arms as well. Generous application of smoke mortars and smoke rounds would help the American squads get around the German blockage. That would involve moving the AFV’s closer but I did have more than 2:1 advantage from the start and 3:1 advantage as the game developed.
It’s July 25 1944, the 83th Infantry Division “Ohio”, tried to pushed through a bocage area held by a few SS squads and some REALLY good guns. They are to push from the green dotted line to the red dotted line with 37VPs (minus German CVPs) in 7.5 turns. The action came hot & heavy on Turn 1 where all German HIP units (apart from the Raketenwefer) were revealed and the “Ohio” lost 3 out of 8 AFVs ..