By Joe Moore and Eric Lauterbach
This Thursday's game night saw me blooding my 8th Army Perry Miniatures Brits against Ed Leland's Warlord Japanese in a no holds barred bungle in the jungle cage fight using Too Fat Lardie's Chain of Command rules. Sure, I painted my figures for desert, but not unlike their real-life counterparts, the exigencies of the conflict mandated their fighting in an entirely different theatre of war! This was also Ed's first use of the Japanese so this was a debut for both sides.
We opted to play a patrol scenario and my additional forces amounted to an adjutant to keep forces moving onto the board and a medium machine-gun for some extra destructive effect. Ed chose "ruse" to allow him to deploy farther from his jump-off markers. In the Patrol Phase, my thought was to pin down his patrol markers as quickly as possible given his ability to deploy a greater distance away and to hopefully limit his flexibility a bit. As it turned out, we essentially ended up having the trail running through the area as the boundary separating the two forces.
Patrol Markers in the patrol phase.
With the patrol phase over the jump off markers are deployed both sides stay on their side of the trail.
Ed's new Japanese force.
The Japanese deploy first with their higher force morale.
Bad command dice - only the senior leader and machine-gun can reply to the Japanese
The Japanese knee mortar squad very very deadly.
The Japanese outflank squad.
With my early deployments, I got the machinegun and crew set to dominate most of the trail and to begin to reduce Ed's first squad deployed in woods opposite the trail. My two following squad deployments were to my left flank to support the machinegun and right flank to (hopefully) harass his knee mortar squad when they showed up on Ed's left. I managed to seriously weaken Ed's center squad to the point that they fell back. At that point I erroneously chose to advance my left squad on a double turn opportunity. All this managed to do was to initially weaken a squad Ed had deployed to his right and lose me the squad in close combat. I felt compelled to do something at that point as Ed's previous fire had weakened my right-most squad - I had initially intended to maneuver them against the knee mortars, but Ed was fully aware of my intent, ham-fisted as it was... With the loss of my squad and wounding of the senior leader on the left accompanying them (the other senior leader had deployed to the right and been wounded early in the fight), I was at level 3 morale and Ed was at level 5 - I had caused a few leader casualties and damaged his center squad significantly. We chose at this point for me to withdraw down the track toward Singapore and get ready to be outflanked again on a later date. I never got my 2" mortar deployed as I was using the "1"s to fire the MMG, and the ATR I deemed to be of negligible value to the situation. Between all those available assets, the Brit commander can be challenged to effectively use his resources most effectively. Lastly, over the course of the action, both Ed and I had generated a Chain of Command die, but never applied it.
The Japanese knee mortars are wrecking these guys.
The British shoot the hell out of the Japanese center squad forcing a fall back.
The British counter the Japanese with a grenade dual and rifle fire.
The Japanese use their last reserves to push the flank.
The rifle and grenades are flying and the Japanese squad leader is blown up.
The Japanese senior leader move to take over the squad and apply the Banzai!
Once the British are pinned its time to go in for the kill.
Hand to hand on the trail.
A short bloody fight and the squad is wiped out and the British senior leader is wounded.
It was a very fun and interesting action with loads of insights regarding the Japanese and Brits. We erred in our support choices for the scenario as we had planned them out prior to the event and brought only the forces we were using (I need to expand my support choices for the Brits over the coming weeks), but it wasn't significant. The knee mortars give the Japanese a BIG ability to influence the action. With that much hip-pocket artillery, they did serious damage to my units and reducing cover was key to those losses. Their machineguns lack the firepower that the Allies generate, but the size of the squads mean the Japanese were putting out punishing amounts of firepower anyway (I believe they were generating 15 shots a turn to my 14-16 depending upon range). The "ruse" action gives the Japanese a lot of flexibility when deploying and allowed Ed to maximize his response to my one aggressive action of advancing. In retrospect, I should have stayed defensive as I was having a more telling effect on the Japanese in that mode. I also could have used the Chain of Command die to end a turn, revive the senior leader on my right that was wounded and get some momentum re-established to deal with Ed's mortars.
Overall, it was a lot of fun and I am scheduling time this weekend to paint a spare Brit squad, engineer team, a sniper, and forward observer. Eventually, they will be joined by at least one more infantry platoon.