A Moment in ASL: Imperial Japanese Army in Hand-to-Hand Combat

Dead Japanese personnel lie where they fell on...

Dead Japanese personnel lie where they fell on Attu Island after a final “banzai” charge against American forces on May 29, 1943 during the Battle of Attu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So here we were, right at the opening of DB99 The Gin Drinker’s Line. Indian troops were sitting in trenches on a windy mountain pass, staring down advancing IJA troops bent on breaking through the last defence line between them and the capture of the entire Kowloon peninsula (Hong Kong).

At a particular trench, defensive fire broke and routed two Indian squads from the trenches. A squad nearby advanced into the trench hex. IJA troops kept moving in and it was too late to get into the trench. One IJA squad broke through the grain fields straight up front, our squad pinned it down with First Fire. Good. Another IJA half squad raced by to the right and Subsequent First Fire failed to bring them down. The Indian squad was now out of guns and wishing for the enemy Movement Phase to end.

From the swirling mist to the left, an IJA 8-0 leader at the tree line thrust his sword into the air and screamed : BAAAANNNNZZZZZZZAAAAAAAAAIIII!!!

Two IJA squads pour out of the forest with the 8-0, running straight for our Indian squad.  Staring Death in the eye, the Indians invoked Final Protective Fire, survived the Morale Check but failed to knock back the IJA horde.

The Indians were locked in Close Combat with two IJA squads and a 8-0. With 2-1 Hand-to-Hand odds and the IJA -1 DRM, a DR of 10 would wipe the Indians out (92% probability). Sure enough, IJA rolled a 7.

With death being a certainty, the Indians decided to take on all comers. Hand-to-Hand combat at 1-2 odds calls for a dice roll of 6. Since they were fighting the IJA, they needed a 5.

Our squad rolled 1 & 3. 

They took the 2 IJA squads and the 8-0 leader down with them.

Brian Youse pointed out the dangers of Hand-to-Hand (HtH) combat in his article “The Case for Infiltration” (ASL Journal 3).

It is not a good idea to commit too many IJA troops to a HtH combat because of the high chance of mutual destruction. In our case H-t-H allowed the “dying” Indian squad to take out 1 IJA squad with a die roll of 6 (42% probability) vs 4 in normal close combat (17%), or 2 IJA squads with a die roll of 5 (28%) vs 3 in normal close combat (8%).

This is an important note to self.