Saturday, August 17, 2013

WWII PTO : Defend Against a Raid

Watching Ken Burns's The War has been giving me the itch to play more wargames and I had some time Friday night, so I grabbed my old cloth, threw it over the table and then randomly generated the terrain using the rules from War Against Japan.

For the actual game I used Disposable Heroes & Coffin for Seven Brothers, but I've been thinking part of the problem with any platoon sized game at 1:1 is moving the figures can take up precious game time. 

The obvious answer was multi-figure bases. So I used some cheap DIY movement "trays" (craft foam glued to cereal box) with 2 figures to a base. 

Voila, 1/2 as much to move!

For my force, I decided to use the Early War Marines (as detailed in Red Sun, Red Death) - treating the game as taking place in '42.

The scenario I rolled was Defend Against a Raid and was generated using Platoon Forward. The Japanese were on the attack and my Marines were dug in and defending an observation post. Only 1 squad would be on the board with a 2nd squad available as reinforcements.

The Japanese were to capture a prisoner. Odd, I though, given the "no quarter given" nature of the Pacific, but, OK. 

Tactical decisions for the Japanese were handled by Platoon Forward's "All Knowing Odds Table" which is like a simpler version of Mythic GME using just 1d10 and no Chaos factor.

Since I use a card activation instead of the rules-as-written initiative for DHC7B, as suggested by Platoon Forward I added an event card (when drawn, roll a d6, 6=event, then roll on appropriate tables in Platoon Forward).

The setup:
My squad set up on the hill, per the scenario description. 

My BAR team is top most, sarge and the rifle team is in the foreground. 

The Japanese started out represented by four Type A blinds (infantry) and 1 Type B (support weapons). They would not be revealed until they shot,  even if they moved  into the open.

The Game:

There wasn't much (any) movement on my part, save for being forced to Fall Back and then advancing to the original position. 

During turn 1, four A blinds were revealed, two were nothing, one was an LMG team, and one was this:

an entire squad plus their platoon commander.

In Turn 2, the B blind turned out to be an HMG team and the Japanese began their attempted assault on my position.

[here the pictures stop. They were breaking my flow and I was really getting into the game]

The LMG and HMG did a number on my squad but we still managed to force the Japanese to fall back.

Multiple times I contemplated getting my squad off the table and conceding the game to the Japanese, especially since my reinforcements seemed to be AWOL.

But the dice gods decided to grant me some favor and, suddenly, I was cutting down the Japanese, nearly entirely eliminating that once imposing full squad. 

So each turn, I'd tell myself, "just one more and then we'll fall back if the reinforcements don't show."  I wanted my men to put up a good fight, but I didn't want to see them massacred. Even if this wasn't a campaign game, I didn't want to lead them total destruction.

But I got greedy. I wanted to win, not just escape.

Their HMG and LMG managed to eliminate Sarge and the rifle team and then, to my surprise, the LMG team decided to advance, with the HMG providing covering fire and pins.

Activation went their way for several turns in a row and the Japanese charged into close combat, at which point it was clear that the dice gods had decided to abandon me.

Outnumbered 4 to 3 (the bar team suffered a wound back in Turn 1), I thought I had a chance still. Especially when, after the Japanese finished their portion of the round of melee, I only suffered 1 loss. My attacks missed their mark entirely though, and on the Japanese 2nd attempt, they scored 3 wounds. 

I counted this as taking 3 prisoners. It took 9 turns, but they achieved their objective and won the game and I spent the rest of the evening replaying the game in my head.

I should have gotten those boys out of there. I should have learned the rules for artillery fire and taken advantage of the fact that the odds were high that i'd have arty support. 

But I was lazy, and then I got caught up in the thrill of combat, and those boys paid for it.


  1. Does your cat, Pumpkin, ever flop down in the middle of the battle? Perhaps he could have provided some support for those American soldiers.

    1. Unfortunately, as a cat, she doesn't respond to requests to do anything with more than a raised eyebrow to remind me of my folly.

      The best i could hope for would be a random and unexpected cat artillery strike that would as likely wipe my men from the map as the enemy.

  2. Great report and I love the way you are syncretizing the various rule sets.

    1. Thanks, Sean! I try to make use of as much material as I own as possible. It helps me justify having acquired it in the first place and the shelf/disk space it takes up now!