Game 2 of our narrative skirmish campaign in 28mm. The Japanese are attacking in a High Ground scenario, with my Brit’s dug-in, defending either side of a stream and nullah (ravine). My defensive system was simple, infantry sections dug-in in foxholes on either side of the ravine, each supported by either the Bren section or the Vickers MG team (with loaders) for firepower. Out front, 16” ahead of the man line, a PRTP that the Japanese would have to advance through. A battery of 4.5” guns off-table to hit one, a battery of 3” mortars off-table to hit the other, as a curtain of defensive fire in front, using harassing barrages unless the Japanese bunched up near the PRTP. In reserve, a spare rifle section to support an M3 Grant tank, a sniper team, the Tiger scout team and a mobile Bofors gun for AA cover. The problem was that with the Defences, the off-table guns and the PRTPs, all bringing 0 BR, the force’s BR total was mere 23… compared to the Japanese’s at 38.
The Japanese attack came on the left and right, not along the central nullah (it was well covered by Brens and the Vickers on ambush fire anyway), and thus through the PRTPs. They would pay for that as the guns rained down fire and caused repeated pinning and hits, making their attacks slow and uncoordinated. But the guns alone couldn’t stop them. The Japanese also had a PRTP, on the hill top and their off-table 90mm mortars hammered at it, until they ran out of ammo on turn 5 due to a special counter pulled. That left them just their 70mm battalion gun. They also used 2 timed 75mm artillery strikes on turn 1 to soften me up, with some pinning. But the bombardments had done some damage and on the right, left just 3 men in the rifle section to fight off the coming infantry attack.
On the left (Japanese right), the attack was led by a recce tankette, which was quickly KO’d by artillery fire, and the infantry held back rather than move up through the 4.5” shelling, instead waiting their reserves to join them, one in tracked armoured truck!
It had been a cagey first few turns with lots of IDF traded… and low orders rolls. The reserves arrived and moved up through the jungle. With the main pressure on my right, the M3 and following rifle section went this way, to save the hill top objective, whilst the sniper, Bofors and Tiger scouts lurked behind on the left, a reserve of last resort.
Trading fire into the dense jungle, my few infantry hung-on and saw-off one suicidal assault team, but the Japanese numbers were mounting. The M3 and infantry support arrived just in time and hammered 75mm HE into the undergrowth and rifle fire adding to the pinning. Japanese LMG fire and then their light mortars got me pinned down and I had to repeatedly unpin, costly in BR counters, but his anti-tank team was creeping up, unseen and now in close assault range of the M3, which went onto ambush fire, but was low on 75m ammo now, and it only has 1 MG! 2 man teams not firing are hard to spot.
On the left, the Japanese attack suddenly got going, when Orders allowed, and rushed up, taking ambush fire, but in a rude surprise, one squad were assault pioneers and had a flamethrower team attached. My ambush fire dropped a couple of his men (dense jungle is all 4+ cover) and the flamethrower let fly, frying my rifle section and forcing 2 more counters to be taken. His pioneers rushed in and tried to finish my Vickers team, but it was cut down, leaving just 1 man pinned (but still a threat for the Japanese). My left had collapsed, and the sniper team and Tiger patrol (just 5 men) tried to hold it. The sniper got his flamethrower (now empty though), but more enemy infantry were coming up and through my front line. My BR total was now at 23…
And then it was all over. His anti-tank team launched themselves in a close assault at the M3, ‘Banzai!’, which critically failed to spot their approach. Charging with the lunge mine the anti-tank grenade assault roll was a 6… a hit, and the M3 went up in flames and smoke (as did the lunge mine guy). That BR counter, the loss of the tank, broke the British. Time to fall-back.
So, after 2 games, it’s a win a piece. I actual caused more BR loss, 28 in all to the Japanese, but their fierce will to fight carried the day. Problem was with defending with too much off-table fire (self-inflicted). Nice to have the guns, but risky. More BR required next time.
The next game, with the Japanese still on the attack, will be their first assault up ‘Artillery Hill’, south of the Admin Box. If they can take it, they’ll gain bonus OPs and PRTPs and guns, etc, as they will have clear views over the box area below. It will be another attack/defence game, and another ‘high ground’ scenario, but this time with 1 big jungle hill (the biggest we can make). No vehicles are allowed, the hill is too steep, so an infantry-only fight.
|Hills and jungle either side of a stream, running up the centre of the board. |
|Bren section, on ambush fire, dug-in, covering the nullah. |
|Vickers and loader team dug-in on the edge of the nullah. |
|First enemy arrive and move up. |
|With some harassing fire from their little 70mm gun, on the PRTP, very useful in jungle conditions. |
|Reserves arriving, Bofors on ambush for the JAAF... a cheeky timed air strike is favoured enemy ploy. Oil drums are an objective marker. |
|Other flank, M3 and its infantry guard help to hold the hill top objective. |
|Tiger scouts hack their way up to reinforce the front line.|
|Here they come... |
|Last man standing, the pioneer commander is all that is left of the rush at the Vickers' position. |
|Japanese pioneers transport... we allowed 1 of these rare beasts for the campaign, it was blown up by a mortar hit... |
|Banzai, the lunge mine team gets through and scores a hit... 25th Dragoon lost a tank and crew. |