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Korea: The Forgotten War» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Prospective Invasion Sites rss

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David Stoffey
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I just finished a solo campaign game with the UN Forces holding their sudden death line on October 15th. This was my first time through the Korea campaign and I really enjoyed it. The UN was sweating bullets in early September with the North Koreans deep within the Pusan Perimeter and it almost looked like the North would reach their sudden death victory line. They were only repelled due to the timely growth of UN forces on the peninsula, and then suddenly, the invasion at Wonsan.

And this is where my question lies. As the North, I was all in the assault on Pusan. I left very little defense north of the 38th parallel (roughly six units of a couple Northern multi-counter divisions, which was in hindsight, subar) and a small garrison (division and a half) at Seoul/Inchon. The rest was pushing on Pusan. So when MacArthur built up his forces in the sea box and looked at the board to see what options were available, Wonsan seemed best. Other than the relatively minor penalty of invading above the 38th parallel, I couldn't see a reason to ever not invade there, unless the North (in a gamey sense) kept a bunch of units in reserve in that region. It's a 1SP port with a 2SP port just to the north of it. Heck, that's even better than the logistical set up at Inchon! So the 1st Marine Landed and within a couple turns, had set-up a wide perimeter, and within a couple more turns had taken Pyongyang, which basically sealed the game as the Americans marched to the Chinese border with almost no opposition.

So herein lies my question: What should the North do in the game, and what did they do historically? From my research (I'm no expert on the war), it doesn't look like the North left much in reserve to defend against amphibious invasion (even beyond Inchon, I can't find anything indicating serious North reserve build-up along the coastlines).

Looking to OCS experts to offer strategic suggestions from the history, what the North should do, and why the UN shouldn't always land at Wonsan.
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Hi!

No offense, but North or South you "must" play f2f first ...
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David Stoffey
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If I could convince my regular opponents to agree to a lengthy OCS campaign, all my dreams would come true! As is, that won't happen anytime soon, unfortunately (I can convince them to play small OCS such as RE or Sicily). So my thoughts are concerning what other players see as typically strategies in their games. Does the North really need to hold back a lot of divisions in the north to defend against UN invasion or am I missing something? Hopefully people can share their experiences and thoughts.
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Tankboy
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So your saying that you didn't leave anything behind for the Communist to guard their supply network? No units guarding the mountain passes?

Were you trying to make the Commies lose?

Always protect your rear areas and supply lines. Keep a few strong units back and a "fast response" team that can get to problem areas quickly.
These are OCS Golden Rules.
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David Stoffey
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I forgot how helpful some BGG'ers are when others ask genuine questions: "The answer is obvious, just don't be an idiot!" shake

Let's quickly look at the rough strategic situation in mid-September. The North Koreans have 16 divisions (multi-counter and single) in the game by then, and that doesn't count any losses. If the UN player has been doing work around Pusan, the North should have lost a few of those already, or they are crippled beyond effective use. So let's say they have 12 divisions left at that point. Spreading breakdowns across valuable points on the peninsula to slow down the northward advance and keeping several divisions still combined to make a decent resistance at some choke points would be typical. In my game I had two divisions around Seoul/Inchon and two around Wonsan (which, in hindsight, was obviously a subpar division of units). This obviously isn't enough because the 1st Marine will land and start causing total havoc. The question was about the historical aspect of North Korean reserves to repel such an invasion and the in-game consequences of having a huge reserve force vs. a strong engagement around Pusan.

I realize you are an experienced OCS player, so you can feel free to ignore my questions, but they still stand. This is a strategy forum after all, so I'd like to know what others find to be strategically wise in this situation, not broad game system platitudes.
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Ryan Powers
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For what it's worth, I thought it was an excellent question. I just don't have a good answer for you as I haven't played Korea yet.
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keethrax wrote:
For what it's worth, I thought it was an excellent question. I just don't have a good answer for you as I haven't played Korea yet.


Just to add to that: Your questions have rekindled my interest in trying the campaign game and getting back into some of the books I picked up on the subject. I love this kind of thinking and analysis, especially when it comes to OCS, that's for sure.
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Tankboy
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Apologies if my response came across that way. You stated you completed the Campaign game, which is no small task, so I naturally assumed you were well versed.
You mentioned in your reply tactics in regards to choke points. Those mountain passes are ultimate choke points. Had a few of your sub par units dug in there, that Marine Division would have had some difficulty prying them out. Enough so to be able get some units back up to Wonson, forcing the UN forces to leave more units to protect their own supply line while hopefuy attriting at least some of the Marines in the mountains. This would take quite a bit of punch out of that Division by the time it got to the other side, which benefits the North in no small measure.
Without seeing your actual disposition of forces on the map, it's hard to point out any further options.
Again, apologies for any misunderstanding.
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David Stoffey
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They tried to defend in the mountain passes, but after a couple turns the 1st Marine had whittled them down and plowed through, and pushed to Pyongyang (it helped that US Navy planes can hipshoot with Marine spotters).

Given your experience, Tankboy, is it typical for the UN to land around Wonsan/Hungnam or Inchon? Given Inchon has few areas where units can land successfully then take the port, you can see why other generals did not like the idea of landing there, and why the landing was seen as a really daring move. Whereas Wonsan has many hexes of clear beaches and the North can't possibly defend them all. The other area where the UN could invade would be Chinnamp'o, the small town just southeast of Pyongyang, but it suffers from a 1SP shipping cap. It just seems to me that the design promotes an ahistorical invasion point (not that that's a problem, but that isn't a typical game design decision in OCS).

Also, on another note, I'm very thankful for your counter tray stickers (I use them in every OCS title I own now). You can count me as a big fan!
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Tankboy
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I personally would never consider coming across the mountains. Too many variables to consider and too easy to get bogged down.
OCS offers a lot of different play styles, so there is no "1" way to succeed.
I played the campaign game twice years ago against one of the Masters who is no longer apart of the BGG community. Kiraly kicked my ass both games coming and going. He landed at Inchon as the UN player and I figured to do the same. In my case it didn't work out.

Just proves the point that what works for one doesn't work for another.
Some players always use their 5AR armor as leading in every attack. That is until they lose them. I learned to use an AR4 Infantry as lead.
To each their own. Just keep playing.
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Bill Lawson
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My last Campaign game was with Kiraly. I was the U.N. and invaded at Inchon. I won an auto victory by getting all the objective hexes on the Chinese border. I got the last one in an attack in the exploit phase the turn before the Chinese could intervene. Talk about a close shave!
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ER Bickford
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billyboy wrote:
My last Campaign game was with Kiraly. I was the U.N. and invaded at Inchon. I won an auto victory by getting all the objective hexes on the Chinese border. I got the last one in an attack in the exploit phase the turn before the Chinese could intervene. Talk about a close shave!


Anyone hear from Kiraly anymore?
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Bill Lawson
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ermj1986 wrote:
billyboy wrote:
My last Campaign game was with Kiraly. I was the U.N. and invaded at Inchon. I won an auto victory by getting all the objective hexes on the Chinese border. I got the last one in an attack in the exploit phase the turn before the Chinese could intervene. Talk about a close shave!


Anyone hear from Kiraly anymore?


I have in the past year. He congratulated me when my granddaughter was born.

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Tankboy
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We were in the middle of a Burma campaign when he up and disappeared. That was in November 2013.

Hope he is doing well and knows that he has my undying gratitude for taking the time to teach me OCS.
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Tagore Nakornchai
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Me and Tekopo played a game of OCS Korea the other day - we're still both relative newbies to OCS (We've played Tunisia II, Sicily II and Reluctant Enemies before doing this), but we think it's clear that Inchon is by far the best choice because it's the only way you can actually relieve pressure on a Pusan Perimeter and force the North Koreans to fall back. This is because it is one of the few landing sites where you can actually feasibly land and then cut the main Pyongyang->Seoul->Taejon->Taegu->Pusan Railway that the Communists depend on for supplying forces pushing on the Pusan Perimeter from the North/West.

Wonsan/Hungnam (on the east coast) is too easily bottled up; too much close and very close terrain where the North Koreans can block your route west while they extract their forces from the Pusan Perimeter. It is also across the peninsula from the aforementioned railline. It is also unrealistically far away from Pusan - if the landing runs into trouble, it's going to be very difficult to support them.

Chinampo'o (just Southewest of Pyongyang) isn't great for two reasons - firstly, it's a small port (only 1S capacity), meaning your offensive options will be limited, and secondly, you can't actually cut the rail line easily without taking Pyongyang itself - though at least you can force them to basically halve their rail cap by shipping supplies down the single track rather than double track.

Kunsan has similar supply capacity, and, while it is very doable to cut the main railline just west of Taejon, it's difficult to cut the eastern lines supplying the forces attacking the Pusan Perimeter from the North. It's also quite some distance from the rail line, and while you can get there relatively quickly (no major terrain obstacles), you give the North Koreans a much better chance of extracting their army, particularly the ones attacking the eastern end of the Pusan perimeter.

A succesful landing at Inchon gives you the best chance of slicing the peninsula in half - you can easily cut the Main double track line running south towards Taejon/Taegu/Pusan, and if you can cross the Han River, you should also be able to cut off the rail lines heading east. This will put the entire North Korean Army investing the Pusan Perimeter out of supply, and they'll evaporate very very quickly.
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