“Big Data Analysis” on ASL Scenarios

This is nothing that is as sophisticated as the title might suggest.  It’s just that I got a free trial to a data visualisation software called “Tableau”, so what better data to play on it with than ASL data?

First, I took Tom Kearney’s excellent “Master ASL Scenario Listing III” from the Texas ASL website.

Years vs TO

1944 wins out.  We got a couple of ETO scenarios at around 1919!

Years vs TO 2

We clearly have a lot more Western post-Normandy scenarios.  “MTO” is the Mediterranean, in case you are wondering, this theater comes in 3rd in front of PTO.

Years vs Publishers

The tall blue line is of course Avalon Hill / MMP.  What caught my also is the very long (light blue) lead that Le Franc Tireur (LFT) has early in time.  We are probably talking about their Russian Revolution scenarios here.  The red line running along LFT is Dispatches from the Bunker (DB) and the orange Bounding Fire Productions (BFP).

Locations

No surprises here for the most part, but I didn’t know we have that many scenarios on events that took place in the Philippines!

The following are the Nationalities featured by different Publishers, ie get BFP if you want to play more Chinese OB, BFP & SP for more IJA (assuming that we all get core modules by default).

AlliesAxis

 

Finally I took the 100.000+ records we accumulated on ROAR and worked out the Percentage of Wins minus Losses per Nationality.  (Get the IJA, don’t take the Canadians .. )

ROAR

 

Again, I am a novice when it comes to the science of Data Analysis, so please take everything with a grain of salt.  It certainly interests me though!  I hope this is entertaining for you as well.

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Gavutu-Tanambogo CG, 1st Assault Period

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200mm NOBA does interesting things.  For one it keeps all the heads at Tanambogo down since anyone who breaks out of concealment will be targeted.

The Marines need to move off the beach quickly and clear the island.  The issue here is to make sure that we have rout paths amidst IJA units dashing out of caves to close combat unsuspecting bystanders.

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This concludes the 1st assault period of the Gavutu-Tanambogo CG, more to come!

DB104 The Police Station – AAR – Canadian Valor in Hong Kong!!

Winnipeg Grenadiers in Camp Shamshuipo HK Credits : http://stpaulslestweforget.wikispaces.com/

The IJA landed on Hong Kong island near North Point / Aldrich Bay on Dec 18 1941 and proceeded to move inland through the middle of the hilly island.  The Winnipeg Grenadiers made a particularly heroic stand at the Wong Nai Chung Gap Police Station.

This is a rather interesting scenario in which part of the Canadian and part of the IJA forces started using simultaneous and hidden placement in an area in front of the Police Station.  The scenario began with a round of Close Combat between forces that started in the same location, two of which the IJA could designate “hand to hand”.  The IJA’s goal was to take the Police Station and to make sure that there were less than one squad equivalent of “good order” Canadians within a 4 hex area around the station, all within 5.5 turns.

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The game started off quite intriguingly as Carl Nogueira and I discovered where each other’s hidden forces were, where they “co-existed” and what the Close Combat odds were.  I designated two of the melees as “hand to hand” and off we went.  As expected, “HtH” battles both pretty much resulted in mutual annihilation.  The Canadians lost 2 leaders in addition but an 8-1 rise to the fore in the heat of battle!

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IJA Turn 1 : The IJA led off with their two offboard field guns putting Willie Pete on two corners of the rather well MG-equipped station.  Unfortunately the flamethrower team got ID’d early and was shot at.  Anxious that they’d never get to use their toy, they promptly went berserk.

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IJA Turn 2 : The berserk FT team rigged up their toy and in their blind fury, must had bent a trigger or something.  Flamethrower died without a shot.  The IJAs discovered the Canadian pillbox cross the front of the Police Station.  Fighting outside took quite a toll on both sides.  The IJA hoped to hook around the back (left) of the police station as “Failure to Rout” seems to be the only way to clear the station of Canadians.

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IJA Turn 3 : The IJA malf’d one of their two offboard guns and therefore proceeded to setup their mortars so as to provide smoke cover.  To the top of the map, the IJA piled on top of the pillbox while trying to hook around the left.  To the right, the IJA continued to navigate through the open field and hoped to advance though the pillbox laid fire lane.

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IJA Turn 4 : The berserk HS charged across the street and into the station!!  The maniacs survived fire that left 12 and 8 residuals, only to die later in Close Combat.  Their buddies took advantage to the situation and walked around the left.  The IJA on the right continued to hit the station in front.  The newly established deathstar had a malf’d HMG, true to IJA weaponry of the period.

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IJA Turn 5 : So the Berserker couldn’t stay in the station.  The IJA opened with a DC HS that got shot out of existence when they advanced to the MG nest. On the other side of the station, poor Toshi was volunteered to be the “DC Hero of the Day”.  They sent him to the front door, patted him on the back and stuffed a DC into his arms.

They couldn’t get the berserker either, they said.

Toshi popped out to the middle of the street and was promptly vaporised along with his DC.

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Canadian Turn 5 : With 1 Movement Phase left, there was not enough time for the IJA to clear the building (nor the 4 hex radius around it).  The IJA conceded.

Thoughts :

  • Forget about walking around the station.  Turn 2 is probably when I should just walk STRAIGHT UP to the station and get part of the gang into the house.
  • I used WP and smoke from the offboard guns.  I should probably have used my knee more for additional cover.
  • I should have protected my Flamethrower a lot better.

What else would you have done?  Please comment.

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.

J116 Brigade Hill AAR, a PTO classic!

 

J116 - Setup-procThis is a game that I setup earlier in the year when I found that J116 Brigade Hill was going to be one of the scenarios in the Malaya Madness tourney.  Erwin & I managed to do a few turns before the Malaya Madness and sure enough, Brigade Hill was my last game at the tourney.

The Battle for Brigade Hill was part of a campaign where the IJA pushed the Australians along the Kokoda trail towards Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, during the Second World War.  The IJA setup a blocking force between the Australian brigade headquarters and its forward battalions.  The cutoff Australians were therefore asked to reestablish contact with their headquarters.

I played the IJA and my buddy Erwin from Belgium, the Australians.  The Australians had to take 3 or more of the hill tops marked with “V”s.  The fourth “V” that you can’t see from the map above was under the foxhole on the top right.  This setup is taken from Chris Doary (of BattleSchool).  The Australians came in from the right.  The big hill was tough to defend apart from a reverse slope setup.  In this instance the big hill was left bare and covered by 2 medium machine guns from the hill on the top left and a mortar from the bottom left.  This channelled the Australians through the jungles on both sides of the big hill, ideal IJA country.  I put a HIP (“hidden initial placement”) in the second most likely frequented clump of jungle on the big hill.

J116 - T2 IJA - End Vol Breaks-proc

End of IJA Turn 2 : The Australians advanced carefully to their first VC position and probed the right IJA flank.  The mortar from the top right hill opened fire but it broke on the first shot.  The IJA chucked it down the hill in frustration.  The IJA on the right flank voluntarily broke and melted away into the jungle, looking to use the gully as the second line.

J116 - T3 IJA - Blocking on right Shoot Brits off Hill top Reinforcement entered 02-proc

End of IJA Turn 3: Guns and mortar from both of the small hills start shooting Australians off the big hill-top.  Reinforcements from both combatants entered.  The IJA chose to enter in the “back field” to help defence on the left flank and to tie some Australian units down.  The units on the right flank got into a blocking position and would gain concealment before the turn was over.

J116 - T4 IJA - ? 237 ambush 458 squad-proc

End of IJA Turn 4: The IJAs got aggressive on the right flank.  An IJA half squad was sent to unconceal an Australian squad.  It was killed in the process but the Australian squad was ambushed and killed in the subsequent close combat when a concealed IJA half squad moved in.  The IJA was pressured on the left flank however, the forward units pulled back and the reinforcement group pushed forth to the Australian hilltop.

J116 - T5 Bri - Mortars fight Leader wounded berserk-proc

Australian Turn 5: The opposing mortars continued to duke it out, the IJA finally caught a lucky shot that wounded its leader and made a half squad go berserk!

J116 - T5 Bri - HIP-proc

Australian Turn 5 (still): The IJA revealed a previously HIP’d unit in hex W7 when an Australian squad left its 9-2 leader behind.  We didn’t do this correctly though as the HIP’d unit should have appeared concealed.  Either way as such, the adjacent Australian squad piled in (which I was happy about) but they managed to roll an ambush against the IJA (which I was less delighted about).  The Australians decided to take their leader and withdrew.

J116 - T5 IJA after MPh-proc

IJA Turn 5: The last Australian turn put the IJA left flank under pressure.  The IJA reinforcement group decided to shift back to threaten the Australian rear.  The previously HIP’d IJA squad continued to pursuit the escaped Australian 9-1 (and the 458).  See that stack I noted as “Dummies” in the foxhole?  That hill would have been Australian quickly had Erwin know this.  The IJA stepped up their counterattack on their right flank.  The IJA broke the other Australian squad on the lower left of the map and the berserker piled in!

J116 - T5 IJA CC Entire Stack killed-proc

IJA Turn 5 (still): An  IJA HS jumped back into the 9-1 & 458 stack and managed to annihilate everyone in the hex.  The brokie routed away from the berserker on the bottom left at the moment, for a little while longer.

J116 - T6 Bri Mortar + Snakeeyes killed 8-1 breaks squad .. both MMGs broke-proc

IJA Turn 6: The hill on the bottom left was threatened by a slow-moving concealed Australian stack up the middle.  The wounded 8-0 in the lonely foxhole decided to grab the mortar himself and took a shot at the approaching Australians.  A snake eyes shot along with fire from the previously HIP’d IJA squad on the big hill broke the Australian squad and killed a leader.  This squad would then be eliminated for failure to rout.  Our death star on the top left tried to hold off the hoards and broke BOTH MMGs together!  Baadddd timing …

J116 - T6 IJA CCPh -procIJA Turn 6 (still): This was the last IJA turn before the final Australian onslaught.  The IJA made an unsuccessful effort to take the Australian fox hole on the top right.  The IJA berserker chased down and killed an Australian brokie on the far left.  A concealed IJA squad, determined to clear the field, advanced onto and killed a half squad in the middle right.  The MMG crews and some half squads stacked up on the top left hill.  Since IJA crew stripes instead of breaks, one round of gun fire would not be able to push them out of the hex.  If the Australian half squad moved up the hill and engaged the stack in close combat, the Australians wouldn’t be able to own the top left VP hex without another squad stepping in.  The IJA right flank resumed its blocking position.

J116 - T7 Bri End CC-proc

Australian Turn 7: On the top left of the map, the Australian half squad refused to be broken by IJA gun fire. It advanced up and engaged the IJA stack in close combat.  Since Hand to Hand combat is not an option for the Australians, the likely outcome here was that the units would be locked in a perpetual mêlée.

We rolled.  The Australians failed the “To Kill” number by 1!

The IJA got a Critical Reduction result, thereby killing the Australian half squad.

The IJAs won.

Other AARs: