A Rising Tide [STL 6]

After completing a first scenario from China-Burma-India: The Lost Theatre I, Jeff and I decided on a next scenario set on January 30, 1942. Again it features Burma Frontier Force and the Japanese 55th Infantry Division. Since this scenario is quite long, I intend to only cover the most important events.

Mission Preparation

The Victory Conditions state: The Japanese win if either or both

  • all three Commonwealth OQF 3.7-in Howitzers are captured or destroyed
  • they control more hut hexes on board 5b than the Commonwealth at game end. (17 are on the board)

Suspected Enemy Intent

The British are deployed in a strong defensive position, most are concealed or even HIP. Of particular importance is the placement of the British guns. Where can they be, where would I place them? I would probably position the 3 guns somewhere on the hills in a way that they can support each other. The brush terrain on the hilltops is my best bet for potential HIP gun locations.

Own Intention and Plan

My intention as the Japanese attacker is to advance in the centre and take Hill 656. It is the key terrain in centre of the British position. Taking it will allow the Japanese to threaten the British positions on the flanks and to advance towards the town. Both will serve to lure the British out of their strong positions on the other hills. This is how I plan to keep the initiative in my hands and to unhinge the British defenses.

The Battle

Phase 1 (Turns 1 – 3): Initial Assault

The Japanese advance up the slopes of Hill 656 and encounter a British position cleverly placed in a palm grove. The nature of the terrain denied the Japanese any cover as they advanced. Hexes DD11 and EE12 both do NOT receive cover from the adjacent hedges. This caused some problems on the Japanese left flank.

Nontheless, the Japanese gain the summit and engage the British that are dug in there. A bold charge by Major Tanaka with a single squad overruns the British MMG position at the Palm Tree grove and kills all defenders, including an 8-1 Ldr. As the British have lost 3 Squads and a Lrd they probabely have 4 Squads and a Ldr on each wing.

Phase 2 (Turns 4 – 5): Attack down the back slope

The Japanese have secured the hill and are now preparing to attack the village. They come under fire from the British right flank but still push forward, taking heavy casualties. However, the attack split the British position in half. When a British 75mm gun is finally overrun, the Japanese have destroyed any resistance on the left flank. The British must now counterattack to retain control of the village.

Phase 3 (Turns 6 – 7): Figh for the village

A lone British 75mm gun holds up the attack on the Japanese left flank. The Japanese try to overrun the position and succeed only when the gun malfunctions. OBA and a good portion of luck support the Japanese attack. The British right flank is now completely broken. A sacrificial counter attack from the British left flank fails to secure the village. The Japanese command the scene.

Conclusion

The decision to attack the British central position on Hill 656 was correct. It was costly, but in the end it split the British position in two and allowed the British right wing to be destroyed in detail. Even so, largely due to heavy Japanese casualties and a bold British final counterattack, the outcome was much tighter than it first appeared. In the end, the British cannot prevent the Japanese to take the required hut locations. The Japanese win another costly and narrow victory.

  • BR casualties: 21 CVP [2x -1 Ldr, 6.5x SQ, 1x Crew, 1x Gun]
  • JP casualties: 16 CVP [-1 Ldr, -0 Ldr, 5.5x SQ]

Jeff: It’s closer than I thought, but I expect the result to be as I suspected from the beginning – a win for the Japanese. The British just don’t have enough bodies, and the ones they do have are out of position. The Japanese did a nice job of busting up the middle and splitting the British force in two. Their aggressive play at the start paid off. I think if the British were the ones with OBA this would be a close game; or if they had Gurkhas; or if there was bamboo. You’re also doing a good job of prolonging my pain here at the end.

Elmo: The terrain is obviously on the defenders side. The British chose excellent positions with good LOS for flanking fire. This caused several casualties and delay in the attack. This all forced the Japanese into bold assaults, and in this they were lucky. Again the resilience of the Japanese soldier carried the day.

Evaluation

In my opinion STL6 A Rising Tide is an gem. I really like the action, the dynamics of this scenario. I would much recommend it for anyone who plays ASL in PTO. Therefore I give it 9/10 rating.

  • + most interesting terrain and mission
  • – relatively complex
  • Balance
  • Originality
  • Fun
  • Replayability
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