The weather is good and the communists win the initiative and decide to go first.
The communists gain 1 Pax and 5 SP. The NKA 16th Brigade is rebuilt near Munsan-ni. Divisions in the east press forward, and in the west the artillery is pulled back behind the front lines so it will be unaffected by spotted barrages. One artillery brigade begins transferring to the east, to provide additional support on the advancing front.
Air strikes from the Valley Forge DG 3 western stacks and eliminate the remains of the NKA 32nd Division. In the east, air attacks are less successful, and a squadrons of Shooting Stars and one of Mustangs are both reduced by flak. Reserve artillery kills another 2 steps in the west, including the destruction of the NKA 38th Division.
Barrages by the communist artillery destroy the US 7th Brigade at the west end of the line and DG the Hedgehogged stack just east of Seoul. The artillery in the east gets a DG result on the 2nd ROK Division.
An attack goes in on the ROK 2nd Division. Each side takes 1 step loss and there is no retreat. The attack on the 17th Brigade of the Capital Division fares badly. The defenders gain surprise with a 5 column shift, and the 3 to 1 attack is reduced to 1 to 3. With a roll of 9 the communists are forced to lose 1 step, and choose to take a second loss in order to enforce a result on the defenders. The defenders decide to lose the 17th Brigade rather than retreat, leaving the Commonwealth 27th holding the hex. Two reserve divisions cross the Han where it is now undefended, and the Chinese cavalry move to potentialy cut the supply line to the troops between the two branches of the Han from the HQ in Wonju. The communists have 28.1 SP in theatre, and the UN just 10. The artillery barrages and hedgehog construction have been eating up supply, and the UN is going to have to cut back on expenditure.
The UN is relived to roll the maximum replacements this turn. The ROK 17th Brigade is rebuilt in Seoul, and a Marine regiment and tank battalion in Japan.
In the move phase the 8th Hussars are fuelled up by the X Corps HQ and attempt to overrun the Chinese cavalry who are blocking the road. There is no surprise, but the Centurion tanks roll right over the Chinese horseman and destroy the unit. Infantry move to allow a supply path for fuel to reach the cut-off tanks of the 2nd US Division, and they are able to pull back and form a new line. 2 US and 1 ROK Regiment are pulled from the best defended stacks in the west and motor to support the east as quickly as possible. All artillery is placed in reserve again, and air strikes are made against stacks that can be hit by armour at good odds. Two stacks in the hills NW of Chipyong are DG’d. The 8th Hussars join the tanks of the US 24th Divison in an attack against the Chinese 78th. Surprise gains a 4 column shift, followed by a roll of 12 which sends the division reeling back north with 2 step losses. Porters stacked with the troops are overrun and 2T captured. The armour gain exploitation, but are constrained by the need to hold the defence line. An attack against the 6th Chinese Division at 4 to 1 goes badly, and the attackers are repulsed.
The weather turns for the worse. The communists win the initiative and decide the UN will go first.
A Greek battalion is received in Japan, and 1 ROK and 1 UN Pax are received as replacements. The ROK abandon Hoengsong in the east and pull back to shorten the line. Another ‘hog is constructed to strengthen the defence in the west now that the Chinese have the river crossing.
The communists gain 1 Pax and 4 SP. Units advance to the new front line. There is a shifting of units from west to east, where the prospects of a breakthrough seem better. UN reserve artillery DGs 2 stacks, but supply is too tight to allow for more barrages. Chinese barrages destroy the US 19th Regiment in the newly created hedgehog and in addition gains DGs against 2 other stacks.
An attack south of Hongch’on gets surprise and kills 1 ROK step but the Chinese choose to retreat rather than take a loss to force another option. At the west end of the line 3 Chinese divisions, even though losing a column to defender surprise, manage to seize the newly built hedgehog and eject the US 5th Regiment, though losses leave two units with just a single step each. A division in reserve is released in the exploitation phase to follow up the advance.
The weather clears and the UN wins initiative, choosing to go first. No replacements are gained. The lines are shortened in the east, with Wonju now on the front line. In the west, a barrage by the 1st Cav’s artillery finishes off one of the Chinese divisions in the captured hedgehog and DGs the stack. Three regiments led by the 7th Marines attack the hex, but the defenders gain a 5 column surprise shift and the attackers lose both the Marine and the 8th Regiment of the 1st Cavalry in the hedgehog to the north. This is a disaster for the UN, seriously weakening the forces in the west. Maybe he shouldn’t have risked such an attack, but he was lured by the though of recapturing the fortifications and hadn’t realised there was a full strength AR4 division backing up the 2 damaged ones. In exploitation 2 tank battalions are released from reserve and rushed to replace the destroyed units.
This was a serious blow for the UN. There are now 10 US combat units in the dead pile, and no quick way to replace them. The defensive line is stretched almost to breaking point. The UN player has to start contemplating a bug out before his line shatters and units can be surrounded and destroyed. Unfortunately the only defensible position to the south for the size of his remaining forces would be the Pusan perimeter once again!
Ah, I was just skimming through the Korea specific rulebook when I noticed that the rivers freeze from 1st December onwards. I’d forgotten that - mainly because my previous plays never reached December. I’ll have to assume winter came a little later to Korea this year. I’ve also just realised that I’ve been charging the UN 2T to refit planes at an airbase, when it should only be 1T. I’ll add 1 extra SP to the stores at P’yongt’aek to make up for the shortfall.
The communists get 1 Pax and 4 SP. The Cavalry Regiment is rebuilt as Munsan-ni. As the Chinese troops press against the line in the east, the UN air swoop in. The Valley Forge’s Corsairs lose a step to Flak and other attacks fare poorly, with only 2 enemy stacks affected. the ROK reserve artillery succeeds in a DG against one stack.
Communist artillery forces a step loss on the ROK 9th Division and DG another 2 stacks of the UN. A massive 4 division assault goes in against the weakened ROK 9th, gains a 4 column shift for surprise, and destroys the defenders. Three Chinese divisions advance into the position and can exploit. Two divisions move forward and attack the reserve stack south-west of Wonju, but lose a step and are forced back after the defending armour gains defender surprise.
The weather remains clear and the communists win the initiative. They decide to take the double turn to take advantage of the hole in the UN lines while half his airpower has been used. There is no adjustment to the VP schedule.
The NKA gain reinforcements of a Corps HQ and artillery plus 1 additional Reserve marker. No replacements and 3 SP are rolled for. The Chinese pour through the gap in the east and are able to surround the ROK troops with ZoCs, though there are still holes that can allow escape. Porters accompany the lead divisions to ensure they have supply in case they are briefly cut off.
UN artillery destroys one of the divisions in the captured hedgehog and DGs the remaining one. Two stacks with HQs facing Seoul are also disorganised. The planes at P’yongt’aek attack the Chinese 115th Division without success, and rebase to Taegu. All remaining UN airpower is directed against the troops forming the pocket, with little success. One stack suffers a DG result, but half a squadron of Sky Raiders is lost to flak.
The Chinese artillery in the east is amazingly successful, getting DG results on 2 key stacks and finishing off the trapped NKA 2nd Division. Artillery in the west does just as well. A ROK regiment defending Kimpo airfield is eliminated and another 3 stacks are disorganised.
Three Chinese divisions assault the now disorganised NKA 7th Division, which is holding open the escape route for the trapped units. The defender chooses to use internal supplies, as all the SP inside the pocket will be needed to fuel the potential escape of the trapped tanks and HQ. The attack is at 16 to 6 with a 2 AR advantage to the attackers. There is no surprise, and a low roll means that the attackers have to lose 2 steps to force an option on the defender, who chooses to lose a step rather than retreat and allow the closure of the pocket. Three more divisions attack the disorganised troops in the north of the pocket, who also choose to use internal stocks to defend. This attack is at 8 to 1 with a 2 AR advantage to the attackers. There is again no surprise, but this time a 12 is rolled on the attack, and the 2 remaining ROK steps are annihilated. The 78th Division advances into the gap.
Surprise is finally gained in a 4 to 1 attack against the hedgehog NW of Kimpo. A 4 column shift pushes the attack to 11 to 1, and an average roll kills the tanks of the US 1st Division and forces the remaining Regiment to retreat 2 hexes. Two divisions advance to capture the ‘hog, and one of them gains exploitation. Another large attack goes in against the ROK HQ defending Seoul. Attacker surprise gets a 5 column shift and the result is Ae4 DL1o2. A Brigade of the ROK Capital Division is lost and the remaining defenders forced out of the city. One Pax is gained from sweeping the streets as the NKA advances into a hex of Seoul. The NKA 16th Regiment benefits from the Exploit result.
In the Exploitation phase the 2 communist units engage the remaining defender of Kimpo airfield; the Commonwealth 29th Brigade. No surprise is gained, but the UN Brigade is forced to withdraw at the cost of an attacking step, and the airfield is taken. The supply situation is now just 9 SP for the communists and 8 SP for the UN, though half of this is locked into Organic trucks for various divisions, and is not generally available.
The UN ponders his situation. He will be able to escape the trap, but the retreating force will be clumped together and vulnerable to being totally surrounded again if the communist gains the initiative next turn. All his combat units are in the front line, with no reserves to speak of. If he loses the eastern forces the game is over for any defence in the west, as the Chinese IX Army Corps will be able to roll up the eastern flank. With a sigh he decides it’s time to run for the South and a more defensible position. Losses are just too great to continue to hold the current line.
Two squadrons of F86e Sabres are received in Japan. Though superb in the air-to-air role they only have a 2 barrage strength, and will not be of much use in the current campaign except for ‘trainbusting’ missions. One ROK and 1 UN Pax are also received. The 7th Marine Regiment is reconstituted in Japan, and the ROK 11th Regiment in Seoul.
The UN flees. As many units as can be are railed south, while others fuel up from the forward dumps and motor for their lives. Disorganised and non-motorised units are unable to get out of reach, so form a scratch defensive line south of Seoul and hope to survive another turn. Another half squadron of Corsairs is lost attacking units in the east, but the majority of the UN’s airforce is engaged in interdiction to slow the communist advance as much as possible until the UN can reach a new defensive position.