Game Board designer
Battle Report: Gifu
Objective: US forces have ten turns to control all hill hexes on map 32.
Order of battle: US forces have four leaders, 14 squads, four 105mm OBA missions, a collection of BARS, MG’s, satchel charges, a .50 cal HMG, and a FT. The IJA get two leaders, seven squads, three Ninjutsu units, three bunkers, two caves, several foxholes, two mine counters, several MGS, a heavy MG, a 75mm gun, and 50mm mortar. Plus a crack-shot stealthy sniper with his very own spider hole, who would give the US player a lot of grief.
Set-up:The IJA forces are positioned on map 32, which sports the objective, a large hill, between map sheets 29 and 30. US forces set up north (map 29) and south (map 30)of the IJA position.
IJA. IJA bunkers set up per scenario NW and SW of hill in a horseshoe layout. Two squads are placed in heavy jungle west of bunkers as a screen. IJA squads with mortar and LMG’s set up east of bunkers in fox holes to cover their rear. IJA sniper in his spider hole is placed in a heavy jungle hex south of the hill’s tail end facing US forces on map 30.
US. On map 30, south of the enemy held hill, Col. Tall takes two of the lowest morale squads to man both 1919MGs to cover the west end of the hill. Sgt. Ferrari sets up east of him with two squads, armed with a FT and 1919A4 MG to assault the eastern tail end. Ferrari is supported by two squads adjacent on either side of him. On map 29 north of the hill, Cpl. Migliore sets up with two squads, each manning a MG and the .50 cal Ma Deuce. (I would regret later not assigning just one squad to fire both MG’s, so as to have an extra squad to assist assaulting the hill.)
Per scenario set-up, the US starts with the initiative. Col. Tall orders OBA on SW bunker. Spotting round is successful, but FFE does no harm to the IJA in hex. However, an adjacent IJA squad in a foxhole suffers casualties and is reduced. IJA pass, and Cpl. Migliore on north side attempts OBA, but spotting round attempt fails. US squad moves out adjacent to Spider hole, and is shaken by sniper opportunity fire. Having fired, the spotted, sniper undergoes two US MG attacks, but though they “spray and pray” belts of ammo, the IJA sniper is unscathed.
Sgt. Ferrari double-times his two squads into the heavy jungle terrain to take out the sniper. Big Mistake. Before he can melee, the IJA pull a successful Ninjutsu movement, ambushing him and his two squads. In the ensuing non-simultaneous melee, the single IJA squad’s firepower is tripled, and Sgt. Ferrari and his two squads are wiped out! Owie-Ouch-Ouch! They leave behind a flamethrower and a 1919A4 MG to be picked up at the IJA’s leisure. The loss of a US leader and two squads with their bunker busting weapons will greatly hamper the US odds of winning.
Two US squads advance from the north map, and come under fire from the IJA 50mm mortar. They take no losses, but in the subsequent movement to the next hex, they are hit by rifle fire from another IJA squad from a foxhole on the hill. One US squad is shaken while the other moves into the lee of the hill’s tail. The US squad with .50 cal Ma Deuce fires at the spotted IJA squad with the mortar. The IJA squad is step-reduced. Another US unit with the MG shoots at the IJA rifle squad that broke the US squad, but no joy. Snake double-times his squad and makes it to the cover of light jungle adjacent to the north side of the hill’s tail.
The US player, shocked by its heavy losses and shaken units so early in the game, passes on his remaining impulses. He hopes next turn by employing the rest of his OBA allotment he can soften the IJA enough for his forces to gain a foothold on the hill.
IJA wins initiative. During the Rally phase the IJA Ninjutsu squad that ambushed and eliminated Sgt. Ferrari and his squad picks up their flamethrower and 1919A4 assault MG, and fires both at the adjacent shaken US squad that had originally flushed out the IJA sniper in the previous turn. The FT reduces the US squad, forcing it to retreat (Successful FT attacks result in attacked unit retreating one hex) into a light jungle hex occupied by another US squad. Then the hapless survivors of the flame attack are gunned down by a follow-up attack (Squads may shoot two SW’s by forfeiting their own inherent FP) by the US-made 1919A4 MG in the hands of the IJA squad. The only good news is the hex with the other US squad the attacked US squad retreated into are not harmed by the MG attack.
Col. Tall, south of this SNAFU, calls in an accurate OBA fire mission on the hex that contains the Ninjutsu squad and the sniper. The IJA squad is KIA’d by a liberal dose of 105mm high explosive, but the sniper remains unscathed in his apparently bombproof spider hole. I knew bamboo was pretty tough stuff, but not this tough.
North of the hill, a previously shaken US squad undergoes an IJA 50mm mortar attack, and is reduced. Cpl. Migliore calls down a fire mission on the enemy mortar, and makes a successful spotting round. But the enemy mortar position, along with adjacent squad and bunker on either side, suffer no casualties from the resulting artillery barrage. The activated two squads under Cpl. Migliore, armed with MG’s, then fire at the revealed mortar position---to no effect! The Americans are having the worst luck.
The IJA passes on its impulse, preferring to wait for better opportunity fire opportunities. A US squad north of the hill moves quickly to the side of the hill. IJA passes again. A US double-stack of squads advance, and come under opportunity fire by an IJA rifle squad. One is shaken and retreats, and the other moves to the adjacent hill slope. Exploiting the rule that permits the IJA player to insert a Ninjutsu unit at any impulse, a successful dr allows an IJA squad to stealthily infiltrate the light jungle hex adjacent to squad leader Snake and his squad, and fire point blank at them with rifle fire and a LMG. Snake is wounded, and both he and his squad breaks under the murderous unexpected fire.
The US player moves his last unbroken squad toward the southern side of the hill. The IJA has no LOS to it. The IJA player is tempted to use his last Ninjutsu unit against the broken US units near the hill, but decides to hold it in reserve for use later.
At the end of Turn 2, the US player casualties total three complete squads, a Squad leader killed, another one wounded, and three other squads shaken. All their available 105mm OBA missions are spent, and the US lost an MG and a FT.
All for the gain of a toe-hold on the north side of the hill by one good ordered squad.
The IJA Ninjutsu squad adjacent to wounded “Snake” and his shaken squad, enters into melee with them. Since they are shaken, they are automatically eliminated.
Before an adjacent US squad to the former “Snake” and squad can react, they too are suddenly beset by the last Ninjutsu squad released upon them by the IJA player. At three-to-one odds, due to the Ambush bonus, as well as possessing a LMG, the US squad is eliminated in a non-simultaneous melee.
Cpl. Migliore directs MG fire group at this latest Ninjutsu squad, and successfully KIA’s it. A US BAR and IJA Type 99 LMG counter remain facing each other in the hex, a grim monument to the savage encounter between East and West.
South of the hill, the IJA sniper shoots at a US squad ensconced in light jungle terrain, and breaks it. Meanwhile, north of the hill, a US squad runs into a mine field while advancing up the north slope of the hill. Fortunately, they manage to discover the mines, and suffer no casualties. Then they come under a 50mm mortar attack. Despite being caught between a rock (Mortar attack) and a hard place, (Minefield) they survive unharmed. The north US MG fire group covering them shoots at the revealed mortar position, but does no damage.
IJA passes. A previously shaken US squad enters Col. Migliore position, seeking morale support. Back on the South side of the hill, an IJA squad fires it’s LMG at a US squad moving in the open to the eastern tail of the hill. The fire is ineffective. IJA player passes.
Col Tall on the south flank of the hill directs MG fire at the IJA unit that opened fire. He curses and berates his MG gunners who failed to score hits against these sons of Nippon. IJA passes, and remaining US squads retreat to the rear. An IJA rifle squad opportunity fires at the running Yankee dogs, but to no effect.
Another bad turn for the US. Losses now total 5 squads and 2 leaders KIA, with three shaken. The IJA have lost only three squads, and still possess strong forces and leaders in the north and southwest bunkers. End of turn 3.
IJA wins initiative yet again. A shaken US squad rallies under Cpl. Migliore. An IJA squad picks up a US MG from the eliminated “Snake” squad hex and moves to a cave entrance on top of the spine of the hill. Facing west, the cave will present excellent enfilading fire against any US squad that makes it to the top on that side.
Meanwhile, a US squad on the south side charges the IJA spider hole, only to be broken by opportunity fire from the sniper. Still, they did succeed in revealing his position, and Col. Tall directs MG fire at the enemy position. This time his MG gunners aim is better, and sniper is wounded.
The only effective and good order US squad on the northern slope of the hill advances. It survives OP fire by an adjacent IJA squad that possesses the 50mm mortar. But before it can enter the enemy foxhole to melee it, it suffers deadly enfilading fire from two MG’s---one of which is a captured US weapon--from the recently relocated IJA squad in the hilltop cave! It breaks under the hail of bullets.
Cpl. Migliore directs his MG gunner’s fire over the heads of the shaken US squad, and wipes out the revealed pesky IJA squad and their mortar adjacent to them.The IJA player passes, and turn 4 ends.
IJA wins initiative. IJA passes. US squad moves adjacent to IJA sniper to attempt to flush him out. Sniper shoots, shaking squad. Col. Tall’s MG fire groups unloads yet more belt loads of .30 caliber goodness at sniper----To no effect. Another squad activated by Col. Tall moves towards south east of hill to attempt to outflank IJA positions. Meanwhile, IJA squad in cave on hill hammers again the previously shaken US squad, and reduces it to a 1-4-4 half-squad.
Cpl. Migliore north of the hill actives the 2 squads under him and works his way through the jungle out of the Japanese LOS to head towards the hill. In a later impulse, a nearby shaken US squad will join him, seeking to be rallied next turn. The IJA player moves up an IJA squad from the jungle northwest of the bunkers. US player passes. IJA moves a second squad northwest as well, and is spotted by a US squad possessing a .30 MG and a .50 cal HMG. They fire and the IJA squad suffers step reduction. End of turn 5.
IJA wins initiative, again. Cpl. Migliore is successful in rallying the shaken squad that joined his stack last turn. IJA passes. US squad south of the hill move closer to hill. IJA passes again, waiting for a better shot. Col Tall decides to join the US squads heading to the hill. The Sniper opportunity fires at him, but misses. The US MG fire group on the south side shoot at the sniper, but to no avail. That is one superbly camouflaged spider hole! The remainder of the turn passes uneventfully as Cpl. Migliore and his squads carefully work their way to the hill, and the IJA holds its fire due to lack of LOS and range. End of turn 6
US finally wins an initiative roll. Col. Tall rendezvous with a shaken US squad cowering in the jungle. IJA passes. Another US shaken squad moves out of snipers’ LOS into Col. Tall’s position. The wounded IJA sniper forgoes shooting at the shaken squad earlier because he wanted to take a better shot when the US troops move in the open. IJA passes. Another US squad south of the hill moves, IJA has no LOS, so it passes again. Cpl. Migliore on the north side moves his squads adjacent to the cave entrance on the top of the hill. An IJA squad in a foxhole west of him fires at him---No effect! The north side US fire group of MG’s blast away at the revealed Japanese squad, and step reduces them twice to a 1-2-4 remnant. MG fire group on south side have LOS to the same IJA squad, and also fire—No effect. These guys really need to go back to gunnery school. The Japanese player moves an IJA squad from northwest of the bunkers to take over the foxhole with the 50mm mortar. End of turn 7.
US wins initiative roll again. Col. Tall successfully rallies shaken squads. Outside the firing arc of the cave occupied by an IJA squad armed with two MGs, Cpl. Migliore men toss a satchel charge into it. The resulting explosion KIA’s the IJA squad. Meanwhile the IJA squad that moved into the foxhole that held the 50mm mortar fires at Cpl. Migliore group. One of Migliore’s squads is reduced, and he with all his squads are shaken. The north US fire MG group fires at the revealed IJA mortar position, and eliminates it under a combined hail of .50 and .30 caliber bullets.
IJA passes. A US squad south of the hill moves, and the IJA sniper fires at it, reducing one US squad to 1-4-4. The southern US MG fire group sees the sniper briefly, and sprays his position. Again they fail to do any harm. Those gunners must be all near-sighted, and lost their GI issued glasses. End of turn 8.
(In retrospect, the IJA player should have moved the IJA squad into the safety of the tunnel once Cpl. Migliore group moved adjacent to them. Chalk it up to the “Fog of War” where the IJA not able to see Cpl. Migliore’s group coming up outside his shooting arc of the cave entrance.)
IJA wins the initiative roll. Cpl. Migliore rallies himself and his two squads. IJA passes, not wanting to draw unnecessary fire from the US MG fire groups on either side of the hill. Cpl. Migliore activates his stack, and sends a squad forward to flush out IJA positions on the north side of the hill (“Gee, Thanks a lot, Sir!”). An IJA squad opportunity fires at it, both reducing it to a 1-4-4 and breaking it. US MG fire group from the North side fires and eliminates the Japanese troops.
US Player concedes. Not enough time or effective units to take out the intact IJA units in bunkers on the western slope of the hill.
The US should have not tried rushing the hill so early in the game. Losing Sgt. Ferrari and his squads, along with their FT and 1919A4 LMG in the first turn really put the US behind the proverbial eight ball. More turns should have been spent setting up his numerical advantage in squads to advance on a broad front, covered by MG fire groups and OBA.
Yet even with careful staging and deployment by the US, the IJA Ninjutsu unit’s ability to appear on any impulse, and ambush at triple FP in non-simultaneous melee is devastating to the US best laid plans. Sure, there is the 1-in-3 chance the Ninjutsu unit will be permanently lost when employed, but when it succeeds, it succeeds BIG time. A lowly 1-2-4 IJA squad armed with a LMG can expect to get as much as 3-to-1 odds against a US squad stack. Add two mine field counters that the IJA player can place in any hex at any time, results in a situation where no matter how careful the US player deploys his units to advance, he is going to take some serious losses.
The reader will notice in my action report the frequency of impulse passes by the IJA player. Since the IJA player only has to win by having possessing of the hill, there is no reason for him to expose his troops unnecessary to return US OBA or MG fire, except when they have the most favorable odds to attack the US squads moving in the open or adjacent to them to gain bonus DFT mods to their attack rolls.
The IJA sniper almost single-handedly stalled the US advance on south of the board. Positioned in heavy jungle in a spider hole made him all but impervious to the US MG fire groups who tried throughout the scenario to take him out. Even when successful in wounding him, it did little to reduce his ability to reach out and vex US squads trying to cross open ground to get to the south side of the hill.
My one consolation is historically it took the US forces over 20 days to take the entire hill. So gaining possession of most of the hill save for the bunkers in a horseshoe position on the west side---Which rhythms to actual events---removes some of the sting. But such consolation came at a high price; out of the starting 14 US squads and four leaders, only five full squads, two reduced ones, and two leaders remained. The IJA inflicted much greater losses in proportion to their own, losing only 4 squads, three of which were lowly 1-2-4 Ninjutsu units, and having their sniper wounded but still able to fight.
- Last edited Tue Sep 29, 2015 2:53 pm (Total Number of Edits: 29)
- Posted Sat Sep 26, 2015 7:37 pm
Great AAR. Thanks for sharing and taking the time to post.
Glad I found this.
Going to give this scenario a run through shortly.