Monday, September 17, 2012

Bloody Ridge on a Grid

As I haven't read all the way through the PTO supplement for Nuts! yet, last night, I again brought out the USMC and the IJA for a grid-based wargame.The scenario was "Hold the Ridge!" from Sands of Blood, Sweat and Tears from TFP Games, which takes the Battle of the Bloody Ridge(Edson's Ridge) as its inspiration.

I translated the scenario from a game intended for 1:1 with a platoon on each side, to Bob Cordery's Memoir of Modern Battle. Given the limited space on my grid at this point in time (it's an 8x9 grid of 3" squares), I treated each MoMB unit as a section. Rifle sections were represented by 6 figures (only 4 counted for strength points - the other 2 were for aesthetics).

The Marines had 1 Platoon + 3 MG sections (of 3 figures each, only 2 counted for the basic strength value), for 6 sections total I left the forward observers off as I couldn't decide how to represent them - unfortunately, that left my Marines without artillery support (and completely unhistorical).

The Japanese had 1 platoon (3 sections of 6 figures each) and 2 assault sections (3 figures each), which I treated as mortars for MoMB.


The OOB in Sands of Blood, Sweat and Tears includes the HQ section. I decided to treat the HQ section as the General in MoB - with mixed results. Specifically, I wrestled with how to treat the "1" when the officer was attached to a unit.I flip flopped on this far too much.

I gave the Japanese 1 extra die when at 1 grid space distance.

At the beginning of the game, I decided that the Japanese needed to receive two retreat results in order to force a retreat and then decided that, in accordance with most other rules I have, they would just ignore any 1s instead.

The scenario called for Japanese casualties to be replaced (up to 2d6 figures) each turn. Since I wasn't playing a 1:1 game, I opted to use the "hospital"  found in Kevin White's "In Good Company" (Lone Warrior #168), which he borrowed from Donald Bailey's Pith Helmet 2.All of that is to say a figure would return on a 1,2 on a 1d6 and be permanently removed on a 5 or 6.

Unfortunately, I kept confusing figures that were there for aesthetic purposes with figures legitimately in the "hospital."

The scenario takes place at night (the book didn't specify if this is 1st night or 2nd of the battle, but I'm guessing 2nd). To convert the rules for visibility to the grid, I set visibility to one grid space +1d3 additional grid spaces.

Finally, I ran the Japanese using the tactics section of the Nuts! War with Japan supplement.

So, what about the game?

Starting positions

An MG section - a cold, steely, unblinking eye watches for movement in the jungle below.

The Japanese prepare their advance.

They get within range! If only we could see them!

Steady boys!

Mortars: heroes of the hour

A USMC section falls to the attackers!

The greatly reduced Marine force as they prepare to fall back.

The ranks of the marines were thinned at will by the Japanese mortars, while the Japanese suffered brutally at the hands of the Hospital system. I've never rolled so many 5s and 6s! 

I called the game here, as the Marines, rationally, would have fallen back. Not an unhistorical result if this takes place earlier during the night of September 13 - it wasn't quite the last stand yet. However, by the victory conditions presented in Sands of Blood, Sweat and Tears,  the Japanese suffered 80% losses and thus could not win. For the USMC, it seems a Pyrrhic victory at best.

I'm not sure the rules + mods worked as I hoped. I think I'll try this scenario again ,but using the Pacific Island Assault rules minus the Marines landing on the beach of course. Eventually I'd like to play it 1:1 with Nuts! 

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