A 117 Maggot Hill

hayman

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A117 Maggot Hill
The big Nhpum Ga scenario sees the besieged Marauders defending the hilltops in the centre of the map, surrounded by Japanese attackers from two regiments. To win, the Japanese must take all 20 level 4 & 5 hill hexes in the U.S. set up area, provided the Americans don’t exit 20 CVP off the north edge. Given that the attackers have the option to enter from the east &/or west flanks of the playing area as well as set up in the north and south, and the number of covered approaches to the U.S. hilltops, the Marauders will be hard pressed to retain their hills. Consequently, the Americans choose to set up the majority of squads in the north, and plan to drive off board for the EVP’s, leaving the majority of their Heavy Weapons (81mm Mortars, 60 mm Light Mortars, & HMGs manned by crews and ½ squads) to delay the Japanese drive from the south.
The Japanese, setting up second, take advantage of the 10% HIP at start & hide 4 squad equivalents in the northern sector. The southern attack force has been split into four platoons to envelop the hills from all directions, with a flank platoon entering on Turn 1 (or after) from the west to either attack the U.S. held hill or reinforce the northern defence force.

Turn 1 –
In the pre-game bombardment of the U.S. set up area, the ‘immune’ hexes are on both sides of the American area (containing most of the Marauder units); then, a run of pin results segued into collapsing huts & breaking units, finishing in a boxcars roll on a LtMtr ½ squad: end result for the U.S. was fairly light damage, with one ½ squad & a HMG destroyed & 5 units broken. In the opening Japanese turn, the southern units slog forward through the jungle; a couple of northern LtMtr units head to the gully to take up firing positions. The flank reinforcements are kept off board.
In the U.S. turn, the southern Heavy Weapons fire at any available target in the jungle, sending one Japanese squad berserk; while in the north, most Marauder units strike northwards to take on the Japanese blocking force. Highlight: an American squad runs toward the northern trail to draw fire, they are hit by a K/2 in DefFirstFire, with the resulting ½ squad rolling snake eyes and turning fanatic; then later on in the DefFire Phase, Japanese fire gets another 2MC on the fanatic ½ squad and they roll snake eyes again to create a hero!
 

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hayman

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Turn 2 –
The southern Japanese force crashes forward; the northern force sits tight. The berserk Japanese squad shrugs off several U.S. DefFirstFire shots, a handful of units make it onto the level-3 hill hexes (the light tan hexes that look like ‘regular’ level 1 hexes), most of the Japanese southern force make it to the jungle periphery hexes. The reinforcements are delayed again, but will probably come on next turn to support the north force in defence if the American attack continues to press forward. Highlight: the berserker in the central valley kills a U.S. LtMtr ½ squad, but dies in the process.
In the American turn, southern units PrepFire, whittling away two Japanese squads to nothing. In the north, the U.S. force attacks the Japanese line. Highlight: Two Marauder engineer squads attempt the throw WP grenades at concealed Japanese units, both fail their rolls whilst only needing a ‘4’ (& lose concealment themselves). Japanese return fire is minimal, but the U.S. force hasn’t punched a hole in the defence line.

Turn 3 –
In the Movement Phase, the Japanese reinforcements come on in the northwest corner to try and stifle the American attack, whilst quite a few southern units make it onto the level-3 valley hexes. U.S. defensive Fire is effective, killing a ½ squad, wounding a leader, striping & pinning other Japanese squads. Highlight: in Advancing Fire, on the north front, a 9-1 led Japanese MMG crew uses Opportunity Fire to break an adjacent U.S. squad, then malfunctions the MMG on the Rate of Fire shot. Two Close Combats end in Hand-to-Hand melee at the end of the turn.
In the Marauders turn, fortune swings around, as the U.S. PrepFire is truly appalling, resulting in only one Japanese squad being striped. Highlight: in Movement, the doughty fanatic U.S. ½ squad runs forward to ‘bump’ a concealed Japanese unit, only to be returned to their previous hex that reveals a HIP Japanese LMG squad that pins the Americans in DefFirstFire resulting in CC. The northern Marauder force tries to wedge a gap between the Japanese reserves & their original force; meanwhile, Japanese DefFire takes its toll on the southern U.S. force, killing a crew & breaking 2 squads. American Advancing Fire in the north wounds another Japanese leader and pins another couple of squads. In Advance, the northern U.S. units attack, but with poor results, out of seven CC/melees, the Marauders lose four, and three remain in melee or CC.
 

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Turn 4 –
Few PrepFire shots from the Japanese, lots of Movement as the southern force tries to move around the flanks of both the hills, whilst the centre forms a line across the valley floor. DefFire chips away at the brittle advancing Japanese units, Highlight: a desperate U.S. LtMtr ½ squad up on the east hill goes on a RoF tear to eliminate a full Japanese squad via 4 breaks. Japanese Advancing Fire is average (the MMG’s & HMG’s that push forward are unable to contribute their fire in the follow up Phase). DefFire & Advancing Fire both result in few casualties for both sides. The Japanese Advance sees most of the east hill and all the valley huts in their possession, with only a few U.S. units clinging onto the west hill; whilst the northern units close up to the American line in the jungle. In CC, during 5 fights, the Japanese kill 2½ U.S. squads in the north, but lose a squad on each of the hills.
In the Marauders turn, with only 11 squads & a couple of leaders remaining on the northern front, the idea of getting 20 EVP off the north edge has slipped away from the U.S. forces; their best hope for victory now is to deny the west hill to the Japanese attackers. Lots of PrepFire in both the south & the north, Highlight: a U.S. LtMtr CR’s a Japanese HMG crew & breaks a ½ squad with a RoF shot. Japanese DefFire CR’s the only American full squad in the southern area, and breaking & pinning several LtMtr ½ squads, but another U.S. ½ squad turns fanatic with a hero created on the east hill. Limited Advancing Fire shots fail to do harm. In Advance, the U.S. troops form up at the north side of the west hill. A few CC/melees go the way of the contracting Marauder force.

Turn 5 –
Japanese PrepFire only manages to break one U.S. LtMtr ½ squad on the west hill; two northern squads Opportunity Fire. In Movement, the southern Japanese units split to envelop both hills; the northern force pushes southward to engage the American units near the west hill. Only a couple of U.S. DefFire shots are effective, one striped squad is CR’d away in FinalFire. In Advancing Fire, the two OpFirers strip concealment from, and pin, a U.S. squad. Lots of Routing for the Marauders, one ½ squad dies for FtR. In Advance, the northern force presses in, initiating 3 new CC’s & reinforcing the east hill melee. Highlight: a striped MMG crew advances into a HIP U.S. HvyMtr hex on the west hill & they are ambushed, but the Japanese crew kill the Americans with a snake eyes roll. In the other CC’s, the Japanese lose 2½ squads against a single U.S. squad killed.
In the Marauders turn, a couple of PrepFires are ineffective. In Movement, the northern units start to withdraw back up the western hill, while a few units near the northeastern gully head toward the eastern hill. Japanese DefFirstFire & Final Fire is ineffective, U.S. Advancing Fire results in a few MC’s that are all passed. In Advance, the Americans form a picket line on the northern edge of the west hill. In CC, a couple of small fights with ½ squads & crew both go the American’s way.
 

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Turn 6 –
In the Rally Phase, the U.S. units pick up 3 abandoned weapons. A couple of Japanese PrepFires do no harm. In Movement, the northern line advances to strip American concealment, one Japanese squad goes down to a snake eyes DefFirstFire shot, & two more are pinned. A mini banzai charge of one hex results in a 9-1 officer dying, but a squad + ½ squad enter the U.S. squad’s hex. The Japanese forces take all but 2 hexes of the east hill, but the west hill attack force is being whittled down, losing another NCO & a few units breaking. In DefFire, all available U.S. units fire, killing another leader & crew. Advancing Fire from most Japanese units that are adjacent to the Marauders results in not much damage. Highlight: A U.S. 8-0 manning a LtMtr Battle Hardens & turns Heroic on a snake eyes MC. During Rout a broken U.S. DC Engineer squad dies for FtR surrounded by Japanese units. In Advance, 3 more CC’s are entered into (not including the banzai CC). In CC Phase, the fighting goes the American way again, with the Japanese losing 3 squads & another leader to the U.S. one squad lose. Only east hill hex H7 is not Japanese controlled; while most of the west hill is still in Marauder hands.
The Japanese suffered huge losses in squads, and especially in officers, last turn; the Americans may be able to bleed the Japanese to a scenario loss with a successful west hill defence. In U.S. PrepFire, one MMG shot fails to harm, while a squad gets a 1MC that breaks a striped squad to a ½ squad. During Movement, most American units drop back out of enemy LOS. Half a dozen DefFire shots have no effect. No Advancing Fire; no Rout. In Advance, the Marauders occupy defensive positions again; one eastern squad occupies the H7 hex, with another squad adjacent in the jungle. In CC the H-to-H melee ends in a U.S. victory (just).

Turn 7 –
In Japanese PrepFire, half a dozen units fire, resulting in 1½ U.S. squads breaking & one ½ squad pinning. During Movement, a Japanese squad & two half squads run into the ‘valley’ to attack the west hill; one squad with a captured U.S. HMG is pinned but most of the U.S. DefFirstFire is ineffective. Only a few shots ring out during DefFire, with a squad striping & a ½ squad breaking. Highlight: A U.S. sniper shot kills another Japanese leader, pinning a ½ squad on the LLTC. Advancing Fire strips concealment from a U.S. 9-1 + CX squad. Rout sees a ½ squad from each side using Low Crawl, and a U.S. squad dying for FtR in the north. During Advance, all Japanese units move another hex closer to their hilltop objectives. Two CC’s are initiated, one on each hill area: in the west, a U.S. squad ambushes and CR’s the attacking Japanese squad (normal melee results); in the east, a striped, CX Japanese squad & U.S. squad kill each other in H-to-H combat.
At the start of the Marauders turn, the U.S. force still holds 3 west hill hexes and one east hill hex. In PrepFire, the U.S. fire at mostly adjacent targets, with very good results. Hightlight: the 81mm Mtr crew gain a MC on a Japanese HMG crew who roll boxcars and die. The only Movement is a concealed U.S. stack AM’ing toward the east hill. DefFire from the Japanese results in one squad breaking, one broken ½ squad breaking to death & a crew pinning. Rout sees some more Low Crawls from both antagonists. In Advance, the Americans circle the wagons by putting a squad + hero in a Foxhole, almost surrounded by defending U.S. units; the east hill units take back a second hill hex. In CC, the melee turns
H-to-H and the Marauders dispatch the Japanese leader & ½ squad.
 

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hayman

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Turn 8 –
With the last Japanese turn, they need to secure 3 west hill hexes & 2 east hill hexes, a tall order considering only one Japanese squad can physically reach the west hill H12 hex, occupied by a concealed squad & hero. A U.S. ½ squad picks up a Japanese 50cal. HMG on the east hill. Limited PrepFire shots on the west hill leads to the U.S. Mtr crew double breaking to death. In Movement, on the east hill, a Japanese leader takes a ½ squad on a one hex banzai charge to their death, with a 4KIA result from the captured Japanese 50cal. The rest of the DefFirstFire against Japanese movement has similar results: with a 1KIA and a pin from U.S. units, the desperate Japanese draw off west hill attackers to head east, only to have a U.S. squad roll snake eyes for a 3KIA against another moving unit. Over on the west hill, a few Japanese units gain objective hexes; the only unit that can reach hex H12 in the coming Advance Phase survives DFF shots, but is striped in the process. In DefFire, lots of adjacent shots only result in one Japanese CR’ing to death; in Advancing Fire, four Japanese shots fail to harm the Americans. In Advance, all available Japanese units advance into CC for the last four objective hill hexes, with the attackers needing all results to go their way. Starting with the H12 jungled Foxhole defended by a 667 + hero against a striped Japanese squad, no ambush, but the attacking 1-4 (-1) fails miserably & the Marauders hold onto at least one hilltop objective hex (after killing the attackers in the CC phase) to secure a U.S. victory. Playing the last three CC attacks out, the other west hill attack sees the Japanese killed as well; over on the east hill, one attack ends in mutual destruction, and the other results in a H-to-H melee.

Post-Game –
A bloody affair in the jungle, going down to the second last player turn and resulting in a pyrrhic victory to the Americans; the ferocity of the cardboard fight can be seen in the detritus of battle littering the central playing area, especially two of the adjacent objective hexes on the west hill: I12 had a Foxholed 747 + 9-2 with 2 Japanese LMG’s & a LtMtr in the jungle; I11 had an abandoned U.S. HMG, U.S. 2 LtMtrs & a Japanese 50. Cal HMG on the hilltop. The major hightlight of the last turn was the defence of the east hill by 2 U.S. ½ squads, until one fell in CC. The U.S. forces survived with only 6½ squads & 4 leaders (one heroic), but the Japanese were cut to ribbons, with just 5 half squads & one wounded leader limping off into the unforgiving jungle from an original 33 squads, 8 crews & 9 leaders. An enjoyable P.T.O. nightmare.
 

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Mike205

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"the Japanese were cut to ribbons, with just 5 half squads & one wounded leader limping off into the unforgiving jungle from an original 33 squads, 8 crews & 9 leaders."

Sounds about right for the IJA. Thanks for posting!
 

hayman

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Yes, hard to reinforce across an open valley without suffering losses, and the Japanese can rarely afford to lose the manpower at the end of any scenario, as they are usually whittled away to the bare minimum to win the game on the last turn (at least that's the way I generally end up with my Japanese attacking force).
 
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