For our Saturday game, Dan Best and I decided to take a swim in the pacific theater. It's still a rarity for me to play PTO or DTO scenarios. So Dan and I decided that we would make a bit more effort to play something outside of the European theater. We selected ASL Scenario 159 - White Tigers (designed by Pat Jonke). It's a good size scenario with 10 turns. Dan and I expected that it would take us two gaming sessions to complete. But fate would intervene to make it a one session game.
Yeah...and by fate...I mean the dice.
**(disclaimer...I will be complaining about my dice once again.)
On Friday night my regular opponent in St. Louis and I finished up a Starter Kit Scenario. And I was diced so badly that my emotions were still raw as Dan and sat down to play White Tigers. We had played Simple Equation and my Americans were completely dominated by German 4-4-7's and 4-3-6's. My opponent's dice were hot....2's and 3's just killed me left and right. Meanwhile I was repeatedly rolling 10's with 26 factor +3 shots. Can't do anything playing the game like that.
Frustration with dice rolls is certainly not unique to me. I've seen my opponents suffer from them as well. It's just a part of the game that can be harder to accept some days than others. For me, it was tough to accept this weekend. And you never want your frustration with the dice to impair your sportsmanship. Cause your bad rolls are your opponent's good fortune. So enough said. As this AAR unfolds you will at least know my state of mind as I played the scenario.
One of the interesting aspects of my dice rolling in this game was that I would go from awful rolls one after the next to a series of great rolls, which inflicted a large number of KIA's on Dan's Japanese. The bi-polar nature of my dice rolling would frustrate Dan and I both in equal measure.
This scenario is set in Ningthoukhong, India on June 7th, 1944. Monsoon rains had made a morass out of this part of India during the summer of 1944 and both sides would struggle to move men and equipment due to the muddy conditions. The EC for this scenario would include Overcast, Mud and falling rain. All in all, a nasty weather day indeed...especially in the jungle.
The creek bisecting the battlefield would be flooded with a bridge in the center and a ford on the left and right. All the single level buildings on board 22 would be rubbled. The victory conditions gave the Japanese an immediate win with control of 12 multi-hex buildings or a win a game end with control of 10.
After rolling for sides, Dan ended up with the Japanese and would be the scenario attacker. Dan would command the veteran IJA 33rd Infantry Division, better known as General Yanagida's "White Tigers". This force would consist of 12 x 4-4-8's, 9 x 4-4-7's, 3 x 2-2-8's, led by 2 x 10-1's, a 9-1, 2 x 8-0's, and an 8+1 with 3 x MMG's, 7 x LMG's, 4 x 50 MTR's, 3 x DC's and 5 Chi-Ha Tanks with one 8-1 Armor Leader. An awesome force of Japanese. I had never before faced such a large force of Japanese troops and armor. And this force would be well led with a large number of support weapons.
By the end of the evening I would come to respect Dan's White Tigers!!!
Naturally, I wasn't facing the White Tigers with just any force. I would have command of the famed Gurkhas!
Yeah baby!!! Gurkhas!!! As the scenario defender I would command elements of the 1/7th Gurkha Rifles. Some bad ass hombres!!! My force would consist of two groups. The first group would set up on board and have the task of slowing down the White Tigers long enough for the second group to come to their rescue. Group 1 would include 2 x 6-4-8's, 6 x 4-5-8's, 6 x 2-4-8', 2 x 2-2-8's, led by a 9-2, 9-1, and 8-0 with 2 x HMG's, 2 x MMG's, 3 x LMG's, 2 x 51 MTR's and 2 x 40L AT Guns. Group 2 would include 6 x 6-4-8's, 4 x 4-5-8's led by a 10-2, 8-1, and an 8-0 with a Hero, 4 x LMG's, and 2 x Piats for good measure.
My hero would represent Ganju Lama, whose performance stalking Chi-Ha's with a Piat would secure him the Victoria Cross.
Let's get ready to rumble!!!
My defense was focused on covering the fords and the bridge in the center. On the west side, I had no units across the creek. On the east side I had lots of dummys interspersed with some half-squads to sow confusion and maybe catch the Japanese in the open.
Dan would send a token force on the west side (Dummys as I later deducted). His main force would armor assault along the road with a force on the east edge dedicated to collecting building victory locations.
Dan's White Tigers would execute a bold and ultimately successful plan.
Turn 1 came and went quietly. I kept all my unit concealed and just let the Japanese move forward.
At the end of Turn 1, Dan's boys were slogging their way through the mud and rain.
For whatever reason, it never occurred to me that Dan would just ram straight ahead in three armor assault mega stacks. I felt like the Confederates at Spotsylvania watching Emory Uptons assault forming up.
By Turn 2 - Dan's boys were crossing the river. I held my fire, rather than lose concealment and be hammered by Advancing Fire. Probably not the smartest move...(but I didn't trust my dice...and figured I would do nothing to Dan and then be smacked hard in his Advancing Fire Phase.)
Only my half-squads south of the bridge opened fire. They would become magnets for all of Dan's Advancing Fire.
Dan's juggernaut was across the bridge and in my grill. I was in big trouble.
In my Prep Fire I opened up. I managed to shock the lead Chi-Ha, but then MALF'd my gun while going for Intensive Fire. I couldn't keep up the rate of fire My 6-4-8 by the swollen creek had broken and would be eliminated for failure to rout. My other D-Fire was largely ineffectual.
As we headed into Turn 3, Dan had made great forward progress.
Two of Dan's squads had gone berserk and would head for my MALF'd AT Gun. My 9-2 hit them with -4 and rolled a 4. Both berserk squads were vaporized. One of the bigger successes for my boys in the game.
The battle for the M2 Building would be the toughest fight of the night and its conclusion would also figure largely in the battle's overall outcome.
Dan's push up the middle was proving to be successful.
Dan's Shocked tank would go Unconfirmed kill but then would completely recover.
Dan's Armor would continue to move forward.
Dan's Turn 4 moves would be decisive. My second AT managed to destroy 2 of the Chi-Ha's before MALFING while intensive firing.
Dan's White Tigers were also taking victory locations all over the battlefield.
In the east, I managed to inflict some body blows on the Japanese, but ultimately my forces were shattered and Dan would take 7 of the needed 12 victory locations.
My half-squads actually turned in a pretty good performance.
The stars show the 15 victory locations. Dan had control of 9 and was a turn away from 3 more, which would give him the immediate win.
Finally realizing that Dan's boys in the west were dummys, I sent my boys scampering to help in the center.
It was the end of Turn 4 and my reinforcements were still a half-turn away. Dan's Japanese had secured 9 building and by the end of Turn 5 would have at least 10-11 with 12 by Turn 6. With 12 in hand, Dan would have the immediate win. My reinforcements wouldn't be able to get through the mud of Board 37 fast enough to prevent Dan from taking the necessary buildings. So after 5 hours of play and 4 hard fought turns, I offered the concession.
Dan's White Tigers had bested my Gurkhas.
Congrats to my opponent on a great win. I learned a lot about the capabilities of the Japanese in this game and will remember how tough they can be with good leadership and support weapons. Dan's 10-1 with 4-4-8's was very nearly unstoppable. All in all another great evening of ASL.
Dan and I will be in action again next Saturday! See you then!
Can't wait for to start Scenario MM33 Ariete on Totensonntag!!