Martin's been conspicuous by his absence on the previous thread about our series of Break Contact scenarios. As we finished that one up last week, it's probably a good time to give a quick AAR of the latest one in the series: Put to the Sword.
The scenario features around 11 Japanese 1st liners up against some solid but not spectacular Aussies who are in a bit of a predicament.
Not as strong a scenario as the first, but Put to the Sword certainly evokes some grim feelings as to what the Aussies were up against. It's pretty much backs to the wall (crocodile infested river, to be exact) - so little chance of manoeuvre for them, especially as they're all hunkering down in foxholes for the most part.
My strategy as the Aussies was to hunker down behind the hill and cover from the Palm Trees. Expecting the mortars to find nasty positions I didn't want to give them too many nice shots to start with. A dummy counter to my far right would pull some Japanese squads out to investigate, whilst I had a mortar ready to fire on the edge of the jungle where I hoped the Japanese would stumble into my only "trap" - a dummy counter in the Jungle in sight of the mortar.
Martin attacked strong on my right and I assumed would wheel around, but it was slower going than expected there, and although the Australians offered little resistance an active sniper whacked the top Japanese leader, and pinning one squad from the LLTC. Martin swiftly brought the SAN down to 4 with a successful san check, the hero, and remaining squad and a half knocking the Allies sniper around, but by the end of the first turn, it was looking good for the Japanese.
A banzai followed, which I expected to be the end for me - 4 stacks could end up in CC at the end of it, but there was plenty of accurate First and Final firing. Several KIAs and step reductions left the Japanese left in tatters.
With an upward battle, and some mutal destruction in the CCs that did develop Martin was left with little hope to remove me from my setup area - except that's where it almost all went wrong for me.
Feeling far too clever I started to advance, concealed, north out of the way of the Japanese putting more ground between me and the CC seeking enemy. It turned out I'd advanced a couple of hexes too far and for all the world it had looked like an Aussie win, suddenly I only had 2 stacks in the setup area by the final turn. Martin had 3 squads that could do the job and so they set off.
A pin (the bane of the Japanese army!) and finally a double break to halt a charging HS put pay to the last of the attack, but the shots were only just good enough - I could have very easily turned an easy win into total defeat.
Luckily my dice held up at the end to prevent us going to the CC phase and the Australians won the game.
2-0 to me in the series and I now have the Australians against the Germans in the strange "42nd Street" - a scenario where each Aussie unit can go for a berserk TC even when broken, once during the game. Interesting...
As for Put to the Sword, I'd recommend it to new PTO players who want a taste of what the Japanese can do to them, if you let them. No bamboo keeps things a little simpler and the Aussies really need to fire and not worry too much about the moving aspects. Not a bad scenario, but we probably enjoyed Short Sharp Shock more.