Advanced Squad Leader scenario 145 Shanghai in Flames (AAR)

This is the third time I am playing this scenario.  This is a great scenario that confers the heart pounding excitement of a PTO scenario without having to deal with PTO terrain.  As far as China battles go, this is perhaps the most famous one (internationally) and hence also the most over covered by ASL designers!

There’s even a new movie on the battle “The Eight Hundred”!  

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The IJA are to control the building with 3 Fortified hexes on the bottom left of the map in 6.5 turns (GMT has the balance), a representation of the Sihang Warehouse no doubts.  Clearing a large (fortified) building is a time consuming task!  Hence I race my IJA forces down the board where I can.  Being able to cut off retreating Chinese forces would be good too but so far I hadn’t been too successful.  On the otherhand, I am not as keen as my earlier self in running Banzai’s through the map.  As a matter of fact, I did none so far.  IJA’s are great in their ability to go wherever they want to with striping.  However one they get reduced, they don’t recover.  So I want be very deliberate in any losses via striping.  The “IJA HS strategy” of course hinges on having IJA leaders who behaves like Commissars.  Unfortunately, they had been replacing units over half of my rallies so far.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario 145 Shanghai in Flames (AAR)

We were almost all at the Sihang factory after 3 Movement phases.  Not the quickest really.  Let’s kill the gents in the rowhouse and figure out which hex is fortified!  The IJA has unfortunately broke though the Chinese right flank and was last seen streaking down the length of the map.  I, on the otherhand, should deploy more IJA to stop them from (unnecessarily) striping.  

145 Shanghai in Flames Advanced Squad Leader ASL AAR


The IJA ran through the rowhouse and came in front of the warehouse itself!  The massive firegroup broke the MMG stack in the fortified C6 hex (where you see an IJA 2-3-7).  The IJA were now in the house!  The platoon of IJA Banzai’d in from the right and fortunately broke the defenders in the “courtyard” and even trapped a defender at the wall (G8).  

Oh and the GMT sniper drilled a hole through my 10-0’s forehead.  His neighbours described him as nice, quiet and unassuming.  He will be missed.  Painful.  

Advanced Squad Leader scenario 145 Shanghai in Flames (AAR)

The GMT promptly counterattacked and took that MMG back.  Unfortunately, an IJA Death Star assembled (2 x MMG + 1 x HMG) and broke the GMT MMG team!  The IJA HS’s decided to do two Banzais into the factory, forcing GMT squads to FPF as much as they can.  The other IJA squads came in the right and left nowhere for the GMT squads to rout.  

It’s over.  

BPF30 Melee Near The Coast AAR – the superior mobility of the IJA

The time was 25 August 1937.  This was the second time the IJA attacked Shanghai.  The IJA Shanghai Expeditionary Forced landed troops around Liuhe (浏河), Wusong (吳淞) and Chuanshakou (川沙口) as a diversionary to draw GMT troops away from Shanghai.  This scenario depicts an engagement where the IJA troops pushed rapidly inland to encircle Shanghai.

This was a 7 turn scenario in which the IJA needed to control 10 or more buildings at the end.  The GMT (Chinese) had 13 first liners, 1 MMG and 1 LMG led by an 8-1 and an 8-0.  They were reinforced by 4 elite squads with 2 other leaders on Turn 4.  The IJA started with 13 first liners led by 3 leaders.  They were reinforced by a platoon of elite squads plus another leader on Turn 3.

There was an eastern approach for the IJA (top of the map).  That approach led through jungles paths and onto a hill before a group of target buildings.  There was also a western approach where the IJA had to navigate across a shallow stream and fight their way out of a depression.  I guessed the eastern approach would be guarded heavier as the trek was slightly easier and targets richer.

I deployed with 60% of the IJA troops on the east side and 40% on the west with 2 squads HIP’d.  Hopefully that would cause the GMT to lean a little towards the east.


Chinese Turn 1: Calamity hit the attackers almost immediately.  An observant GMT sniper seek out the highest ranking (10-0) IJA officer amidst a concealed stack and put a round through his head.

Not that it bothered the troops too much, they stayed out of sight a little and continued moving on.


Chinese Turn 2: As the IJA approached the Chinese forces, an IJA HS was indignant that these brothers of the Greater Asia Co-prosperity Sphere shot at them.  They went berserk but their target GMT squad routed away.  A concealed GMT squad then moved in but failed to ambush the fuming mad IJA berserkers.


IJA Turn 3 : The IJA decided to Banzai through the bottleneck on the left flank around the lake.  They almost immediately ran into a dangerous “Banzai” trap – a previously concealed stack of high fire power GMT that killed the led Banzai troops and threaten to suck in more.  Good thing I was able to avoid having an IJA leader sucked into that hex.

IMG_1092IJA Turn 3 still : The IJA on the right flank begin the second Banzai to motor across the shallow stream!


IJA Turn 4 : The turn would see the right flank of the IJA banzai the rest of their troops over the shallow stream.


IJA Turn 4 still: The left flank answered with a Banzai to the center of the board and not directly up the hill itself.  This was where I channelled my inner IJA and looked to infiltrate!


IJA Turn 5 (errata – picture is wrong): The right flank banzai’d over the hill and looked to encircle the GMT defenders.  Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out.  Always an issue banzai’ing in the open.

On the otherhand, the left flank got up (and around) the hill and encircled the defenders there.


Chinese Turn 6 (errata -picture is wrong) : Quick as you might think the IJAs were, I began to run out of time. I shift the IJA troops from the right to the left in preparation for the final push.

But look – the GMT ran a couple of squads and a leader around the IJA right flank and threatened to reclaim the buildings again!


IJA Turn 7 (errata again!) : The IJA did a massive Banzai charge on the left flank into the cluster of target buildings behind the bamboo forest.  GMT troops in the jungle to the west put up a ferocious volume of fire! The IJA couldn’t get into all of those buildings (missed 1, IJA pinned).


The End : At the close of IJA Turn 7 – the IJA got 9 buildings but stood to lose a few more in the counter attack – plus looked to lose 2 to 3 more to the GMT troops reclaiming buildings to the north (left of board).

It was a great game played with Peter-James Palmer in Australia.

Shanghai 1937 in Flames!!!

"Shanghai 1937 - Stalingrad on the Yangtze" by Peter Harmsen

(This is an interview conducted via email, where I talked to Peter Harmsen, the author of “Shanghai 1937 – Stalingrad on the Yangtze” about Advanced Squad Leader.)

Iacta Alea Est!

Wargaming is a method for historians, professionals and hobbyists alike, to get inside the minds of the actors of past conflicts. The games, or simulations, can take place at the grand strategic level, as described in a previous post about the game Dai Senso. They can also offer a more intimate look at combat, putting the player in charge of just a handful of soldiers and facing him or her with difficult tactical decisions. The Advanced Squad Leader (ASL) system is an example of the latter. It has thousands of fans around the world who use its flexibility to play scenarios from a range of theaters during World War Two and the years just before and after – including the Second Sino-Japanese War. We asked Jackson Kwan, a veteran Hong Kong-based ASL player, to introduce the system and especially describe how its versatility facilitates scenarios from the war in China. (The Q & A was performed by email, with special thanks to Jon Halfin for editing.)

Very briefly, what is the Advanced Squad Leader system?

Advanced Squad Leader is a detailed tactical gaming system that models company to battalion level combat in the Second World War period.  It simulates an amazing range of combat parameters: from weather to terrain, national characteristics, leadership and morale, different weapon systems and artillery support.  This allows the examination of engagements from the Pacific theatre to desert terrain, to European theatre and even tundra conditions.  It’s detailed enough to have rules for night battles and for vision effects under differing moon phases.

A short synopsis can be found here:

How do you generate new scenarios?

Scenario designers from all over work with Multi-Man Publishing and other third party publishers to produce scenario packs and/or entire new modules (settings) that includes map boards and new counters that represents new nationalities, troop types or weapon systems that did not already exist in the system. Scenario designers combine detailed research of certain engagements and various elements including weather, terrain, troop types, conditions and morale, weapons available and ammunition supply into an abstraction that may or may not completely parallel historical outcomes. The best scenarios often have a creative feeling of the historical events, yet balance out asymmetric conditions, allowing both sides equal chances of winning the engagement.

How good is the system at simulating the Second Sino-Japanese War? Are the results realistic, i.e. are they similar to what really happened during the war?

This is a game system that reflects the feel of the position the opposing commanders faced. It seeks to address asymmetric conditions that battles often are while giving both sides a balanced opportunity to prevail through specific winning conditions and other parameters.

T6 Axis Move-procFor example : if you look at the battle at Shanghai’s Sihang warehouse*) alone, you will find at least four scenarios from different designers that put their own interpretation to the events.  My favorite of the four is a scenario named “Shanghai in Flames” where the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) battles top quality Chinese troops (who were still around at the time) across a generically represented map reflecting the terrain styles, into the warehouse. Some of the buildings start already on fire and may spread according to wind conditions as the battle progress. As the Chinese fight a desperate withdrawal through the streets against the IJA pushing aggressively in, as the spreading fire almost becomes a third player, routing friends and foes alike.

Producing realistic results is not the primary objective of Advanced Squad Leader designs.  Putting players under similar decision making parameters and operating constraints to reflect the feel of combat command is the bigger goal.

But making these battles competitive and fun is the biggest objective!

What are the main differences between scenarios based on the war in China and, say, scenarios from Europe 1939-1945?

Obvious differences are weapon systems that the IJA uses (vs various European combatant). Differences in national characteristics, leadership styles, training and morale level – of the Japanese, Chinese, Gurkhas etc vs the Germans, Soviets, partisans plus the myriad of Allied and Axis minors. Differences in weather and terrain – jungles, kunai, caves, beaches, marshes, palm trees and huts in the Pacific Theatre of Operations vs woods, brush, buildings, rubble etc in the European Theatre of Operations.

If people want to get into the ASL system, what should they do?

The heart of the Advanced Squad Leader system is the Advanced Squad Leader Rulebook (version 2).  There are various modules for different nationalities and theatres.  The more modules you have therefore, the more variation you will have in the scenarios you can play.  The best thing to do however for new players is: Get in touch with Advanced Squad Leader players in various cities (and there are tournaments held almost every month around the world and/or on online forums.  Advanced Squad Leader is primarily about the chap across the table and definitely not meant for solo play.  (Although a well-developed Solitaire ASL system does exist, it has been out of print for some time. It does indeed make solitaire play possible.)  Most people in the ASL community are willing to teach new players and proficiency in the basic rules usually requires 3 to 6 games before you are ready to move into the various spectra the system can provide.

The Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit #1 is designed as an initial step to see if this game’s for them. The Starter Pack is a small, self-contained system that will help any new player make the decision as to whether to dive into the full system headfirst, at a minimal cost – and was designed to replace the long out of print original “introductory” module for Advanced Squad Leader “Paratrooper”.

*) An incident during the 1937 battle of Shanghai when during a general retreat about 400 Chinese soldiers stayed behind, defending the Sihang Warehouse next to Suzhou Creek. The decision to make the stand at the warehouse was mainly motivated by a wish to demonstrate to local and foreign opinion China’s willingness to continue the fight.

(Original of this interview can be found : China in WW2)

AP54 800 Heroes AAR

AP54 800 Heroes is the second scenario I played that is designed around the Battle for the Sihang Warehouse in Shanghai.  The first one I played was A110/ASL13 Shanghai in Flames.  I believe there’s at least one more : BFP31 Chinese Alamo that covers the same battle.  The subject matter’s the same but the scenario designer’s treatment is very different.

The date was 29 October 1937.  The Imperial Japanese Army (“IJA”) had made successful incursions into Shanghai.  Most Chinese units had retreated and the western powers were uninvolved at this stage.  Chiang Kei Shek (the Generalissimo) was determined to keep the battle in world’s view and hence decided to keep the fighting in Shanghai which was already an international city at that time.  Sihang Warehouse had the distinction of being right across a stretch of water from Shanghai’s International Concessions.

It was  the place where Chiang wanted to bring China’s struggle to the world’s attention.  A battalion from the 88th Division, a German trained élite unit was hence given the task and so the name “the lost battalion” as they were the last to leave.

AP 54 Setup

Witchbottles played the Chinese defenders and I the IJA.  This was a training game and the great tactics on both sides were his and the bad ones mine.

This was the setup.  The IJA were free to setup certain units to the right of the map or enter via the North (top) or the East(right).  IJA tankettes didn’t have radios and were therefore setup in platoon formations.  The building to the lower left of the map was the warehouse (factory) and was fortified.  The red ring denotes the area where Chinese units were fanatic.

This is a 5.5 turn game.  The victory conditions for the IJA were either to control the warehouse or to control 3 or more hexes of the warehouse plus all other buildings in the Chinese setup area.


IJA Turn 1, the first thing the IJA needed to deal with was the heavy machine gun (“HMG“) sitting on the top of the warehouse.  After laying down white phosphorus and smoke, two tankettes started coming in from the north.  After bypassing some buildings, the world exploded around one of the tankettes.  It was a set demolition charge!  What both sides didn’t realize at the time was that set DCs don’t affect AFVs (armored fighting vehicle).

Suddenly, an IJA soldier in the woods to the right yelled :


The IJA worked out an Armour Assault together with a Banzai charge out of the woods.  The IJA thought if they could cut off the line of trenches from the base they might get a chance to stop the Chinese squads from retreating back into the warehouse.  An 8-0 IJA leader and his squad wandered out of the smoke cover and were the first to be met with a hail of bullets from HMG on the roof.  The group disintegrated on open ground.  The rest of the charge hug closer to the tankettes and kept on.


A tankette overran a Chinese trench, and a IJA squad piled in.  The tankette bogged but the Chinese squad was pinned from the shock.  Pinned as they were, they survived the overrun attack and shot at the rear of the attacking tankette.  The LMG broke and so did the men, the Chinese squad broke and ran towards the warehouse.


This was the end of the Chinese Turn 2.  The defenders took advantage of the IJA smoke.  A Chinese squad ran across the warehouse floor and threw out a demolition charge.  “CANDYGRAM!!” they yelled.  The explosion striped the approaching IJA squad who caught a DC on their laps a moment ago.

AP54-JT3a tanks went in on both sides-proc

Turn 3 IJA saw a half squad going berserk on the top left of the warehouse perimeter.  It drew fire well but got blown promptly out of existence.  An IJA tankette then smashed into the fortified warehouse on the left flank.  It was greeted by a squad on the warehouse floor.  An 8-1 leader stood a little way off.  He waved at the IJA tank and smiled, pointed at the squad and said …

“Meet my Dare Death squad.”

The Dare Death squad went berserk (PAATC free), slammed a DC charge onto the IJA tankette and set it off with maniacal grins.  BOOOMMM!!  The Dare Death squad survived but so did the tank.  The dust settled and the 8-1 leader was still there.  He said

“I am happy you survived, because I also prepared this for you entertainment pleasure.”

A little way behind him was a medium machine gun squad, and they blazed away.  On the third shot the IJA tankette exploded.  Another IJA tankette slammed into the right of the warehouse as well, one tankette in the face of 3 machine guns.  Please do not for a second mistook my blissful ignorance of tank rules for bravery though.

Nonetheless, two breaches were made in the fortified warehouse and close combat ensured on the right of the warehouse after the defenders immobilised the tankette.

The Chinese piled a hero and a berserker into the melee.  Another squad tried to creep up on the IJA tankette sitting outside so that they can blow it up before it too slams into the building.  Unfortunately the squad was shot in the rubble outside.


IJA Turn 4 got even more intense.  The tankette on the right make another breach in the warehouse.  The tankette to the north was shot and killed by an MMG before it could hit the warehouse walls.

IJA troops from the north finally made it to the perimeter.  At Witchbottles’ suggestion, they decided that a Banzai charge was in order!!


This was the situation after the Close Combat phase.  The IJA killed all defenders in 2 out of 3 hand to hand combats inside the warehouse.


Chinese Turn 4!  The reserve unit that slipped outside earlier tried to make its way back into the warehouse.  Unfortunately it broke under a hail of IJA gun fire and was pinned outside.

This is where the story ends as the Chinese didn’t have enough bodies to take the warehouse back.

In reality, the 423 Chinese defenders held out for another two days.  They succeeded in winning international attention to the Sino Japanese war.  The British allowed them to retreat across the New Lese Bridge into the International Concessions.

The Sihang Warehouse still stands today.

What thoughts do you have?  What would you have done?  What are your experiences playing this scenario?

Please comment!

Sihang Warehouse looking from the other side o...

Sihang Warehouse looking from the other side of the Suzhou River. October 2006 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

RPT72 Yangtze Doodle AAR

Same Setup on VASLRPT72 Yangtze Doodle is a scenario from the latest Rally Point pack – “Sons of the Rising Sun”.  It presents a rather interesting layout between the Imperial Japanese Army (“IJA”) and the Chinese.  The date’s Oct 5 1937.  The IJA had crossed the Wusong Creek (also known as the Suzhou Creek).  Wusong Creek is a river that cuts across Shanghai from the west to east which, in 1937, divided Shanghai up into the Japanese concession and the International Concession (Americans and British).  Tangbeizhai was one of the Chinese garrisons that stood between IJA and a new line the IJA wanted to establish from the river crossing.

North is to the left of the map.  The Chinese squads in the little village in the middle were elements of the 3rd Battalion, 467th Regiment, 78th Division that were surrounded by the IJA.  The Chinese squads on the far left were the 2nd Battalion sitting in reserve.  The IJA would get reinforcements coming in from the far right.  Chinese were 4-4-7s, IJA were 4-4-8s except for the two stacks you see on the right on the map.  Both the Chinese and the IJA would have to fight in two directions.  The IJA winning conditions were to control the bridge hex (which could be on the bridge or under the bridge, see A26.131) and to clear the village buildings in the middle of the map of any good order Chinese squads in 5 turns.

This was a “face to face” game, with me being the IJA and a visiting friend “John Doe” who wants to remain anonymous.

RPT72 End of C T1

The IJA moved first and this was the end of the Chinese Turn 1.  If you noticed the two hidden (“HIP”) IJA half squads deployed as speed bumps on the left of the map, you know I wasted  an opportunity.  The better use of HIP would have been to put the in the hamlet to the left of the stream and jump the Chinese while in concealment.  Anyway, since the “hidden” IJA half squads were not in concealment terrain, they were spotted immediately and overran.  The IJA LMG malfunctioned on the first shot (a common affliction for the IJA) but the IJA sniper broke a Chinese squad in the village to the right of the stream.

RPT72 End of C T2

This was the Chinese Turn 2.  In the preceding IJA turn, an IJA half squad tried to move to the bridge hex but was broken on the way.  The Chinese rushed head-on to the hamlet from the left.  I made the mistake of leaving an IJA 9-1 leader by himself with the enemy in close proximity.  While two out of the three incoming Chinese squads were pinned on the left, the Chinese 8-0 slipped through and swung around to the IJA leader.  See that smoke counter?  The IJA mortar smoked out the Chinese medium machine gun (“MMG”) and the Chinese hero dropped the gun and rushed in to kill the IJA leader from the right.  The striped squad you see would eventually ran off and dived under the bridge.  In the ensuring close combat, the IJA 9-0 was wounded and killed by the 8-0 and hero tag team.  However the half squad under the malfunctioned LMG would withdraw from close combat (Chinese rolled boxcars) and killed the Chinese 8-0 and hero in hand-to-hand during the following IJA turn!

RPT72 End of J T3

This was a shot of the cleared hamlet in IJA Turn 3.  The striped IJA squad mentioned in the earlier turn survived defensive fire and dove under the bridge.  This IJA half squad just avenged their 9-1 leader with their bayonets.  (Yes, all my counters have four healthy corners.)

RPT72 J T4 Banzai

This was the IJA Turn 4.  The IJAs on the right had to break into the village before the Chinese on the left cross the bridge and link up with the surrounded garrison.  Since the IJA sniper broke another Chinese squad in the village (he’s really earning his pay today), it’s time for a Banzai attack!

RPT72 J T4 Banzai after

Three IJA squads got reduced into 2 half squads (they do a great podcast by the way) but where they pointed, they reached.

RPT72 J T4 Banzai Took All

Hence in turn 4, the IJA sniper, a Banzai attack and a separate close combat took the Chinese garrison!

RPT72 J T5 Rush Bridge

The Chinese to the left however, wiped out the avenging IJA and took the bridge hex.  Hence in the last IJA turn, the situation called for another Banzai charge into the stream.  All IJA personnel within running distance piled in.  The other IJA squads and the MMG crew occupied key buildings in the village to prevent a Chinese counterattack in the last turn.

So one striped squad and one half squad made it through the enemy fire and piled in on 2 Chinese squads.  And do you know what I rolled?

RPT72 J T5 CC roll


Two Chinese squads got wiped out in an automatic ambush.  The bridge hex went back to IJA hands!

In the last Chinese turn, a Chinese squad piled in after some ineffective preparatory fire.  They had to kill all Japanese units in the bridge hex to retake it.

So it all boiled down to the last Close Combat die roll.

When the chatter in the dice tower died, the IJA won!!

Looking back at this,  we have a few thoughts:

  • the IJA sniper played a key role in breaking two squads in choice locations today.
  • as mentioned before, I wasted my HIP option via improper use.  A better use would be to put them in the hamlet on the left of the stream and jump the incoming Chinese while concealed.
  • I should have CX’d the IJA reinforcement coming in from the far right.  I was struggling to get enough IJA to rush the bridge at the end.  Had the IJA reinforcement got on the scene earlier, I wouldn’t have this issue.
  • On the last IJA turn I could have run another Banzai attack on the other side of the village, making it two parallel Banzai attacks for the bridge.  That would give me enough mileage to hit the bridge hex and a heightened morale level to do it with.  However that could also open the village to counterattack.

Any thoughts?  Comments?  Suggestions?   Happy to hear from you as always!!

Suzhou Creek

Suzhou Creek (Photo credit: Wolfgang Staudt)

A110 Shanghai In Flames

West wall of Sihang Warehouse, Shanghai, China, late Oct or early Nov 1937

Chinese soldiers on the roof of Sihang Warehouse, Shanghai, China, late Oct 1937

It was October 27 1937. The Imperial Japanese Army had already been in China for years. Manchuria and Beijing were already under Japanese control. Chiang Kai-Shek, the leader of the Chinese Nationalist Party and a graduate of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy had been until then, conceding to Japan’s demands at every turn while building up an army with the Germans (see the German helmets in the photo? The Tripartite Pact wasn’t signed until 1940.) The 88th Division was the elite of the Nationalist Chinese forces. Its 524th Regiment held out against IJA’s 3rd Divison at Sihang warehouse situated across the Whampoa River from the “foreign concessions” long enough to sway western opinions about IJA’s aggression on Chinese soil. (Here’s a GamesSquad Forum thread with a great writeup about the battle.)

I am playing another scenario around this battle at the same time – AP54 800 Heroes. You will certainly see an AAR here once that’s done. By the way, there was only 423 men and 16 officers defending the warehouse but they reported their numbers to be 800. Hence this incident is known to the Chinese as “800 Heroes” or “八百壯士”.

The interesting bit about A110 Shanghai in Flames is that the Blaze is the 3rd player. Both players need to work around it and even with it, as you will see.

I am fortunate enough to be playing the Chinese. Here’s the IJA Turn 1.
End of T1 Axis
The Sihang warehouse is the factory on the lower left of the screen. Three hexes within were fortified. I find the row house in front to be incredibly useful in providing blind hexes against IJA machine guns situated in the multilevel buildings at jump-off (top part of the picture). The IJA could slide down the far left, come through the row house (using the big stone building in the middle) or swing around the far right. I made sure that I got fire lanes down some of the streets and the leaders (there are only 2) sited to keep the chaps from cowering. I also made sure approaches to these machine guns were covered even if it’s the inherent firepower of lone squads, FFMO+FFNAM (penalties for moving on open ground and not using assault movement) is a deadly thing.
Axis Turn 2 - Chinese squad volunteered routing on the left to avoid CC
The above was the IJA turn 2. IJA pressed down on the left and the middle. A Chinese squad broke voluntarily to avoid close combat on the far left. The mission was to survive long enough to delay the IJA onslaught for as long as possible! The IJA machine guns from the top of the map were pretty threatening but my opponent had the worst of luck with the dice. They broke repeated and finally knock themselves out of the game!

The best thing I did was to lit the building on the bottom left of the screen above the factory (see the “flame” blow the broken unit?) up early. It soon developed into a blaze that denied the IJA use of a terrific jump off point for the final attack on the factory.
T5 Axis Move-proc
Okay, this is the Axis Turn 5 where the Chinese took the wraps off their heavy machine gun (lower left, “First Fire”) from within the factory and laid a fire lane down the street. Unfortunately it malfunctioned not long after. A light machine gun in the row house did the same joined by the medium machine gun from the bottom right at the end of the long street.

You can also see that the big stone building the middle was pretty much engulfed in flames. The IJA was forced to come through its immediate right. The Chinese was able to put a HS up the wall and laid out some pain as the IJA squads came towards it on open ground.

This is what I mean by the Blaze being the 3rd player. Time and time ahead the Chinese had to rout out of buildings as their hex bursted into flames but it also denied the IJA some really great positions.
T5 Allied AFPh - Sulking-proc
Two more IJA turns to go, the Chinese troops skulked like the best of them. The MMG on the bottom right should have went down to the other side of the row house and prep for the last fire lane but had to scoot upstairs instead to avoid the pesky IJA half squad hanging around the streets. The row house defence line was collapsing at this point.
T6 Axis Move-proc
IJA Turn 6 – the legendary IJA step-reduce steamroller! I was careful about planting each residual fire right but it’s awe-inspiring to see them running through the bullet storm.

The board’s on fire ..

After the Final IJA Movement PhaseThis was the scene immediately after the last IJA Defensive Fire Phase.  The Chinese saw no less than three Banzai attacks after waves of feints from reduced-strengths/half squads.  You can see where they were from the red “Human Wave” markers.  The Chinese heavy machine gun had already malfunctioned and their medium machine gun was out of place, so no fire lanes were possible.  They had to be careful about their shooting so they don’t run out of bullets before the IJA run out of squads.   The focus of course was to build a “wall of fire” in an inverted “v” immediately north of the factory.  The top three factory hexes in that “v” was fortified and was invaluable in stopping two out of three banzai attacks.

You can see the two places where the IJA broke in as well.  The Chinese could only spread out inside the factory so that the IJA couldn’t engage them all in close combat before time ran out.  Oh, stacked underneath the broken squad on the bottom end of the factory right next to the IJA squad was a 8-0 leader holding out his corner with a light machine gun!

Both players had to account for and in the Chinese case, “ally” with the Blaze.  The triangular cluster of houses top left of the factory should be lit up as soon as possible, as should the big stone complex (H2) in the middle of the board, top of the row house in the picture .  Blazes in these locations denied the IJA important jump-off points for attack.  The row house top right of the factory was a terrific defense line that allowed routs back into the factory (especially when the  left cluster of buildings were on fire).

Overall, an awesome scenario and I had an awesome opponent!

Resources :