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Memoir '44: Pacific Theater» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Down 1-6, Best Comeback Ever at The Meat Grinder rss

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dave
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Best Armor Assault and Comeback Ever: The Meat Grinder

So I was down 1 medal to his 6, with 7 medals for victory.
My 3 Engineers, dead.
Flame Thrower Tanks, useless.
Scores of dead Marines strewn about the Amphitheater.
My Right (south flank), decimated.
My Left (north flank), overrun and crumbling without leadership.
Marines are dying!

But then the ground starts to tremble as the remaining allied tanks rumble forward.
The morning dew on the metal catches the sunlight, creating a magical glow that will long not be forgotten.



Fig.1 Initial set-up


Historical Background
Iwo Jima is a small (8 sq mi) volcanic island 750 south of mainland Tokyo containing 3 strategically important airfields. The Battle of Iwo Jima lasted 36 days from February 19 through March 26, 1945 and is the site of the famous photograph of US Marines raising the American flag on Mount Suribachi (see below).

With 70,000, fully supported, US troops attacking 22,000 isolated Japanese, there was no plausible circumstance in which the Americans could have lost the battle, despite the extensive cave networks and defensive fortifications. However, the Japanese goal was to delay the American advance and inflict heavy casualties, to which they did as Iwo Jima was the only US Marine battle where US casualties (26,000, including 6800 dead) exceeded the Japanese (essentially all 22,000 dead).

‘The Meat Grinder’ represents the 9 bloody days of February 26 through March 6 in the area surrounding the 2nd airfield in the center of the island. Here the Japanese had a formidable complex of defensive positions including mines, caves, bunkers, and tanks in reserve. Unfortunately for the marines, the ghastly name ‘meat grinder’ was all too apt and the Japanese win this scenario 68% of the time.


Fig. 2 Pre-invasion bombardment of Iwo Jima, Feb. 17, 1945 with approximate location of the map board.



Fig. 3 Tactical map showing approximate location of the map board.

Strategy
Japanese
With their superior defenses, the Japanese can just sit back and pummel anything that moves. 5 US infantry are in 2-dice range of Jap artillery, and every single space on the map board is in range of at least one of the 3 fortified artillery. The Engineers are top priority, then the Flame Thrower tanks, and of course finish off any weakened units. This is just deadly.

If you haven’t played with the Caves yet, they are simply awesome. They offer incredible defense with -2 dice attack dice and can transport weakened units to safety. And they also are powerful offensively as you can transport in fresh units to fully utilize your command cards. It’s probably wisest to hang back and stay in the caves, but a timely banzai charge can be devastating to close out the game.

Finally, the 2 tanks in reserve should be brought up as soon as possible for some additional firepower. I’ve won games without using them, but they can certainly be decisive in stabilizing the Jap Left and Center flanks.

US
Because of the vulnerability of the US troops, you really can’t just sit back as you’ll slowly get shredded. However, an ill-planned attack can actually be worse as it can easily turn into a disastrous suicide mission. As such, my approach has been reduced to merely trying to stay close medal-wise. This means simply looking for places where I can get a 1 for 1 exchange. And although this doesn’t sound like much of a strategy, even this is pretty tough to do.

As discussed above, the caves are really tough. Your best bet is for a combined attack with engineers, tanks, and artillery to make sure you actually get a kill as otherwise you’re left with nothing as the wounded guy teleports away to a distant cave. Which makes it clear that any Jap in to open should be target number 1. Take what you can get while the gettin’s good.


Session Report
Part 1: Japanese Romp
In their first 4 turns, the Japanese come out with 5 powerful cards—Pincer Move, (Ambush), General Advance, Move Out, and Infantry Assault—totaling 18 orders (+1 for Ambush), throwing 48 dice, for 21 hits, and gaining 6 Medals. Meanwhile I’ve played Right Probe, Center Attack, Right Probe, and Center Attack—totaling 14 orders (4 less), throwing 23 dice (25 less!), for 15 hits (6 less), and gaining 1 Medal (5 less!). Oof. My cards really weren’t that bad, but it sure seems like I’ve been out gunned and out maneuvered as I’m fortunate to even being on the board after luckily killing his arty with a Flame Thrower/Engineer successful combo.

The 3 guys I sent out on the Right are dead. At least the Engineers took out that artillery. The 3 lead infantry on my Left are dead without a shot. My center tanks have finally gotten out and taken some quality shots, but down 1 to 6, it doesn’t’ get much more ugly than this.


Fig. 4 Analysis of first 4 game turns.


Fig. 5 Map board at the end of the Japanese 4th turn showing their commanding position.

Part 2: Greatest Armor Assault of all Time
So I had started the game with Armor Assault and had been trying to get my tanks in position from the get go. The previous turn I had moved the 2 center tanks out from behind the arty for quality shots and in anticipation of the Assault, but little did I know that my Right would open up as well. At that point, with him 1 relatively easy Medal away from victory, it was clear that the tanks had to roll—and roll they did. Even though I knew in theory they could do it, I didn’t really expect to make all of the rolls.

To start, my Right Flame Thrower tank was supposed to overrun the 1-infantry (94%) and kill the 2-infantry in the bunker (50%), but he came up 1 short. The 2nd tank then overran his 2-infantry (69%), and finished off the remaining 1-infantry in the bunker (75%; but 5 shots for 2 hits is 81%), but he didn’t get his pot shot at the 1-tank in the jungle (33%). I’m still in the running, but the pressure was on now for a perfect sweep in the minefield.

Starting on the far left, I overran the 2-infantry (69%), but then retreated the middle 3-infantry with double Flags! Noooo—wait, I’m still ok. And actually he should have retreated the other way, but that turned out not to matter. Next up the FT tank blasts the 4-infantry followed by last tank (8 shots has 64% kill if you ignore double flags as that’s kindof the same result as it’s just a different tank overrunning), and the 4th overrun picks off that last retreating 2-infantry (69%; but 7 shots for 3 hits is 77%). WOW.


Fig. 6 Screenshot of greatest Armor Assault ever, with the 'wall of dice' shown as well.

The Numbers
So that’s 5 orders with 4 overruns, rolling 33 dice, scoring 14 hits and gaining 6 freaking Medals. It’s just a bit too difficult to know exactly what the odds are for getting 6 medals, but 20 empirical trails gave a 50% success rate, and actually 10% scored 7 medals, with the left side being slightly better at gaining 3 medals (14 of 20 times) than the right side (13 of 20 times). All in all though, that’s alot of dice and medals for 1 turn which has got to be about the upper limit in a real game.

Aftermath
Looking back from my ever-so comfy chair, I might not have been so aggressive right off the bat and maybe just used a center probe for some artillery blasts. He didn’t know that I didn’t have any left cards, but armed with his Ambush, his Pincer Move worked very well even though he exposed his guys out of the caves. Then with his General Advance, he pulled those 2 guys back. At that point, I might have just let them keep firing, but he was in a very strong defensive position rather than leaving those guys out to dry. If they stay, I probably play the Armor Assault then and we’ve got a very different game. Finally, and this is something that I like to do too, he once again came out of the caves without sealing the deal; but come on, at 6 to 1 you can’t really fault him for this either. A solid Japanese game all around I think.

Finally, down 1-6 and then coming back with a 6-Medal Armor Assault is absolutely amazing and something unlikely to happen ever again. And as amazing at that feat is, what actually was the most amazing thing was my opponent said ‘gl’ before I started rolling and then counted along with me as the turn unfolded. Infinitely classy as he transcends this game and shows himself a true winner. Kudos for that.

Conclusion
Once again Memoir ’44 continues to surprise, entertain, and keeps getting better. Here we’ve seen maybe the best Armor Assault and come-from-behind victory ever, but I just know tomorrow will have even better games in store…



Fig. 7 Here's the famous photograph of US Marines raising the flag on Mount Suribachi on the southern tip of the island.
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Dougie LB
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Sounds like a great game. I've only played the original Memoir'44, when did it become 7 medals for victory as I've only ever needed the 6?
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Matthew Cordeiro
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dougielb wrote:
Sounds like a great game. I've only played the original Memoir'44, when did it become 7 medals for victory as I've only ever needed the 6?

It depends on the scenario.
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Simply FANTASTIC session report. Pics, great insight, a fun, fun read. Write more asap!

If I had GG I'd tip you big.
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A.T. Selvaggio
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I have this scenario set up on my table to play right now. Now I am even more excited for it.
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dave
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Ok, so you set up a great card and had some great rolls. Impressive.

But if you want to see some tricky maneuvering, hanging on by a thread for a bunch of cards in not one but 2 games, come see THIS..
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I don't want to. I want to continue enjoying this story here.
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Minot
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Definitely a good example of why you should not concede games in C&C!

Reminds me of the time I won Zama 8-0 as the Cartheginians (in fact, the only time I have won Zama), in about four turns. Lead with a light infantry card, then a combo of leadership and heavy cards allowed my elephants and a couple of heavy infantry to mow through the Roman right.

The only time I think I have ever played a "perfect" game in C&Cs.
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