The final Pacific scenario for my mini campaign was The Drive for Taierzhuang. When I saw the board configuration I thought it would be a slaughter for my poor Japanese. The open ground on Board 19 is daunting to say the least. I went into this one with thinking the worst. I had been blown out lately by hot dice and I figured this would be more of the same. With nothing to lose, I set out on my last Pacific scenario…
I set up offboard hugging the treeline east to the west. Four ½ squads would push up the west side towards the three building there (the wooden one and the two on the overlay), and the woods just beyond. My plan was to set up a fire group with the remaining squads stretching down the length of the northern sector from 19V10 – 19I8. With my superior range, I figured I had a chance to blast a few holes in his defense, banzai some guys across the open ground, and find out where his three 37Ls and roadblock were. Once I had done that, I planned to move the tanks and trucks on.
My opponent set up very conservatively. He has learned that the Japanese are great at swarming exposed outposts so he set up in the opposite treeline well back from where I entered. There weren’t many squads sitting up front so I knew there were hidden guys out there somewhere. I didn’t realize it at the time but we majorly screwed up the set-up. Since he had so many foxholes, we used another board (out of my sight) so he wouldn’t have to write down all the locations. The problem was that he had several with squads in them that he left on the other board until such time as I had a LOS to them. In the end, it didn’t affect anything - luckily.
I moved my guys on with impunity because of the range difference. My half squads all made their destinations only to find the hexes unoccupied. My massive fire group also worked as planned. He decided to open fire with a hidden 9-1 and MMG on a few squads I moved up in the open ground on the east side. His dice were cold (finally!) and although he striped one, they survived. I wondered why he opened fire so soon with that unit and I found out the next turn why. He also exposed his MTR hoping to get rate and airburst my squads in the tree line. No luck. I advanced everyone so that I was within 8 MP of the opposite Board 19 treeline (for Banzai).
Chiang’s Prep Fire failed to do harm and most of his time was spent moving squads from the rear towards the treeline. My DF KIAed his 9-1 and broke his squad. I was so happy that I rolled low on a meaningful dice roll I forgot to have him roll again for a LLMC. My two MTRs started cranking and broke his MTR team and a concealed stack to the east. I got tons of rate and even a critical hit or two. Nothing major occurred because of it, but it did restore some of my faith in the game. My opponent snidely asked why I wasn’t complaining about the dice now and I told him give ME three weeks of dice like YOU just had and I’ll happily admit I won on (mostly) luck. That ended that discussion.
With the far treeline mostly bare, I decided to move out and cross the open ground. That’s how I found out why he opened fire on my two squads in the open earlier. His ART was in 19K4 just a few hexes away and he was hoping to keep it from being swarmed. Well it was and I took it out by breaking the manning crew. The rest of my squads ran across the open ground and stopped short of the treeline. As they were doing so, he broke out two of his AT guns and prayed for rate. He didn’t get it. He decided he had nothing to lose at that point since my entire force of squads save the two squads manning the MTRs and the four ½ squads were now on the far side of Board 19. He Xed one and broke the other. His last was revealed when I moved a ½ squad next to it. He knew where I was going next so he revealed it. That one survived by getting rate and breaking a couple of my ½ squads. I went into CC with the other two crews. He ambush escaped one and lost CC with the other.
He was reeling now with little left in reserve. His lone AT gun was in 19Z2 and his remaining squads were pretty spread out. Realizing that most of my squads would make it off and, most likely, most of my AFVs (I planned to enter them at 19I10), he called it.
It was good to have the win, but I felt like, “Ehh,” afterwards. It wasn’t very exciting; I simply overwhelmed him. Maybe Chiang could have set up better by putting more squads in the treeline, but I was perfectly willing to trade some time to break his squads. So, in the end my Pacific adventure stood at 2-3-1. Of the six, I’d have to say Shanghai in Flames was the best. Some, I will never know because of the dice, but that’s ASL for you. I wish they could all be tense knock down drag out fights but sometimes there are lulls between those. You may also think that we call some of them too soon, and you may be right with some of them, but since we always play two a day every other weekend, we know there’s always another day. If we spent months in between, we might try and go to the bitter end. Anyway, now on to D-Day for the next six scenarios.