Here we are again for another recounting of a Saturday Game. It's amazing to think that Dan and I have now been playing these "Our Saturday Games" since 2017. I never imagined how those games would enrich my ASL experience. Dan and I have played every theater from Syria to Burma to China to Saipan to North Africa to Sicily to Italy to France to Germany to Norway to Finland to Russia. It's exhausting just to type that out!!! Night, OBA, seaborne landings, airborne landings, river crossings, Khamsins, extreme cold, and on and on...just amazing. Getting outside your comfort zone in ASL can be scary...but the rewards are enormous. Once you play a couple night games...it's no big deal. The same holds true for desert, PTO, airdrops, gliders, OBA. Honestly, ASL is only s as daunting as you let it be. Imagine if Dan only picked Russian Front scenarios and I only picked Normandy Scenarios. It would get old fast. Variety is the spice of life and ASL is no exception.
Of course all that blather is a prelude to the game that Dan and I would play this past Saturday evening. It would be my turn to choose. I would pick Scenario BFP-56 White Beach 1 from the BFP 3 Blood and Jungle pack. Designed by Steve Swann, this scenario depicts the Marine landings on White Beach 1 at Tinian. The Japanese would hold their fire until the Marine began to struggle ashore and up the narrow beach front. The Marines would quickly overwhelm the initial Japanese defenders and blast them out of their caves. CAVES...oh how I hate caves. No lie...I really hate them. But I'm forcing myself to play more of these kinds of scenarios and develop some sort of skill when facing an enemy in caves. Let's just say that tonight's game would not be a showcasing of any cave prowess on my part. Instead focus on Dan's excellent use of caves as the defending Japanese.
On a personal note...Dan has actually been on the Island of Tinian and seen White Beach 1 up close.
As the defending Japanese, Dan would command the men of the 3rd Company, I-50th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division. This force would consist of 8 x 4-4-7's and 2 x- 2-2-8's led by a 9-1 and 8-0 with an MMG, 2 x LMG's, an ATR and 2 x 50 MTR's. Dan would also have 4 x Caves, 3 x Foxholes, 6 Factor AP Mines and 2 Factors AT mines. The mines would be in the water and on the beach.
As the attacking Marines, I would command the men of Company E, 2/24 Marines, 4th Marine Division. My force would consist of 12 x 7-6-8's, and 6 x 3-4-8's led by a 9-2, 8-1, and 8-0 with 2 x MMG's, 2 x 60 MTR's, a BAZ 44, a Flamethrower and 2 x DC's. Ya gotta love 7-6-8's...!! I would also have 6 x LTV4's, an LVT(A) 4 and an LVT(A)4(L).
Overlays are not usually everyone's cup of tea. I personally dislike overlays, but a scenario like this requires them and to give the 4 hex beach, you have to put these overlays on over overlays...pretty cool huh!?!
If you never done a PTO seaborne landing, I would definitely recommend this scenario to get you some experience with that type of scenario. The scenario is 8 turns long, but it takes the Marines almost 4 turns to reach the beach. The moderate current causes you to drift and it would actually mess up one of my LVT's which would not get to land in time to support the attack. Overall, I must say that this is a nicely designed map configuration. Kudos to Mr. Swann.
And now for Dan's Pre-Game Comments:
"The Japanese must stop the Americans from exiting two squads and from controlling two caves. The plan is to try to defend the caves and concentrate fire on the narrow beach. The 9-1 with crew and MMG plus a HS with 50mm MTR will set up in a cave in H6 looking at H5. The MTR will bore site a beach hex while the MMG will fire lane another. The other MTR and squad will set up in a cave in I7 (looking at I6) with a beach hex bore sited. The final beach hex will have AP mines. Plus the Anti-boat mines will be off the beach. Hex K6 (looking at J5) will have a squad and LMG. While L7 will have a cave with the 8-0 and squad LMG. The tunnel will be between I7 and L7 caves. A HS will set up HIP in building N6 and the crew with ATR will be HIP in building I8. The final squads will set up in P4, O5 and D9 all in foxholes with a squad in H9. Hopefully these can protect the flanks from easy exit."
The LVT's are ready to head to the beach. The LVT's can only move onto the island through the beach hexes. However, they can let out their Marines in the other hexes.
The only criticism I would have of this scenario is starting the LVT's so far from shore. this consumes 3-4 turns of the game. The Japanese player only has an ATR and Mortars with real long range capability and revealing their locations too early allows the American Naval OBA (NOBA) to get real targets early in the game. Dan would remain HIP and concealed until I hit the beaches.
The first three turns are really uneventful. The LVT's only move three hexes and then drift one.
I was successful in drawing two Black Cards which allowed me to lay Willy Pete on the hill.
We there yet???
BAM!!! we make it to the beach!
Another concentration of Willy Pete...but I miss the most important cave...
The Japanese Sniper manages to stun my errant LVT, which had drifted out too far and now was unable to move for another turn. I managed to avoid all the mines. Dan rolled 4-6 on every attempt. I was very lucky with regard to that. Dan's first cave position happened to have a mortar and the MMG with the 9-1 Leader. Of course...and it was not in the smoke. Dan would go an infinite rate of fire tear and eventually destroy the LVT and both Marine Squads and the 8-0 as well as the 3-4-8 with the Flamethrower. When you get 6 or more chances...you will eventually get it done. This was of course catastrophic for me. I lost my single best method of clearing the caves. My bad for not putting the flamethrower with one of the flanking groups. Dan would get another LVT later on with that same group, but that would be the extent of their success.
I'm always jealous of other folks' success at getting rate of fire. Dan has hurt me on more than one occasion with a successful rate tear.
Overall, despite losing one LVT and two squads, I was still happy with my initial landing. My next focus would be the two flanks.
On the south part of the Island, I was able to get the jump on a Japanese 4-4-7 and then eliminate them in close combat.
In the North, I was lucky again and managed to KIA a Japanese 4-4-7 with a critical hit and casualty reduce a second squad. The surviving half-squad would go into CC with an LVT and be eliminated in close combat. These three squads would be the extent of Dan's losses for the scenario.
By the end of Turn 6, I had successfully gained control of both flanks, but I had failed to do anything to Dan's cave boys. In fact, in one series, Dan had rolled two snakes and battle-hardened the 9-1 to a 10-1 and the half-squad with the mortar. I honestly, couldn't impact these guys now.
"Let the Americans come...they will break upon us likes waves crashing onto rocks!!"
Turn 7 - the white circles indicate the 4 Japanese caves. One of them I would not discover until the end of the game.
The final picture I took during the game. I was not able to do anything to Dan's cave defenders and was unwilling to put my boys in front of the caves and take the punishment in what would be vain attempts to break the Japanese...who would only stripe anyway. So...I gave the concession and made myself some dinner.
My congrats to Dan on another successful cave defense. I have never beaten Dan when he has caves. Dan does a great job with fortifications. I don't generally enjoy games with fortifications. It takes a bit more planning and focus to overcome those and I do tend to be to loosy goosy in my attacks. I had lost my flamethrower. I had stupidly exited two squads and a DC. I had to exit two squads and control two caves for the win. I should have passed the DC to my 8-1 and had him carry to one of the caves. My other DC was stuck in the LVT that drifted too far from the beach and was stunned for a turn by the sniper. Without those assets...taking the caves was nearly impossible. At least by me.
As I said at the beginning, it's always good to go outside of your comfort zone and experience some of the amazing variety that ASL offers. You can't always attack a Russian Village!
Dan's Japanese had the victory!!!
"The plan worked. Although it was close. The Marines easily eliminated the flank units and were able to exit two squads. Effective use of WP from the NOBA made shooting at units in the water and on the beach ineffective for one MTR. Early loss of the FT and exit of one DCs left the Marines with too few tools to effectively clear the caves. The Japanese were able to hold out for the win. This is a nice small beach landing scenario that plays very fast as four turns are taken up just reaching the beach. Great scenario bringing together seaborne landing, NOBA, and caves. Without a cave complex the caves are easy to play. My thanks to Grumble Jones for a great game!"
GAME NOTE: (EDITED 4-21-21)
So we received some critical comments regarding our use of NOBA in this scenario. This was my first time using it. Apparently, you cannot fire at concealed units by drawing the two Black Cards in a row as you would do with standard OBA when shooting at a concealed target. Then apparently, Willy Pete was not available for use in this scenario. So double check the NOBA and SSR's prior to playing White Beach 1 to avoid making any of the same errors. But don't let the NOBA stuff keep you from playing this great scenario. Don't ever be afraid of making a mistake....because there has never been nor will there ever be a perfectly played game of ASL.
That's all for this post.
Dan and I will be back next Saturday for some more PTO Action.
We will see you then!