AP86 Milling About

Mike205

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Work has slowed down my AAR posting but fortunately not my opportunities to play ASL. Not that I play ASL at work or anything…I just post AARs at work.

For last week’s scenario we decided on something from Action Pack 6 and settled on Milling About, a nice early war Burma scenario where a British relief column runs smack dab into advancing elements of the Japanese 55th Infantry Division, hot off overrunning a nearby border post during the opening days of the invasion.
10239

The fighting is set on board 7a and 5.5 turns in length. The IJA need to have six or more CVP than the Brits in order to win- these can be either through inflicting battlefield damage or by exiting squads off the north edge. Exited units count for double VP.

10234

Intended as a relief column headed for the frontier, the British force is a mixed bag of units consisting of Gurkhas,, er Gorkhas, Royal Jats, and Burmese Rifles. Force composition consists of 7 x 4-5-8s, 2 x 4-5-7s, and 2 x 4-4-7s, armed with 2 lmgs, a dismantled 51mm mtr, led by a 9-1, 8-1, and 8-0 leadership. They must set up concealed on or adjacent to the I11-H13 road. All 4-5-8s or 2-4-8s are Gurkhas, uh apologies- Gorkhas, by SSR and have an ELR or 5, other British units have an ELR of 3.
10235

The advancing Japanese are comprised of 12 x 4-4-7s, 2 x 2-2-8s, armed with 2 lmgs, 2 dismantled 50 mm mtrs, a dismantled mmg and a DC, led by 2 x 9-1s and a 9-0 leadership. Supporting the IJA are 2 x 3-3-7 squads and a 8-0 leader representing elements of the Burmese Independence Army. By SSR these insurgents are considered Partisans and may deploy freely at set up. Any BIA unit and the Japanese stacked with them move at 1.5 MF through jungle, kunai, and brush. The IJA may not set up HIP, since SSR negates the G1.631 rule.
10236


All buildings are huts, hedges are cactus, and the rest of PTO terrain rules are in effect. By SSR the setup is simultaneous, with a die roll to see who moves first. IJA/BIA units cannot double time on turn 1 if they move first, and no Banzais are allowed on turn 1 either. Doug would chafe at this rule, since he drew the IJA and first movement.

I set my guys up on either side of the road, with 2 x 4-5-8s out a bit in front to cover the G12 kunai field. Another 4-5-8 with a lmg set up in H11 to cover the road, three more 4-5-8s, one toting the remaining lmg, would be placed in I12 and J11 respectively to cover the J12 brush. Yet another 4-5-8 with the dismantled mmg and 9-1 were placed in H10. A stack of the 2 x 4-5-7s and one 4-4-7 with the dismantled mortar were in I11. Lastly, a small reserve consisting of the remaining 4-7-7 and 8-1 went into J10.

Whether I moved first or not, I planned to fan out the bulk of my force to block the road, kunai, and brush flanking it, forcing the enemy out wide and hopefully slowing him down through terrain and a methodical retreat back to a new line focused first on the J8 huts and later a third line along the I8-L7 hedges and huts. Historically, I knew that Doug favored a stand up fight with his Japanese rather than sneaking around the flanks and I was hoping this would be the case. The tradeoff would be that I would have to weather some kind of banzai charge at some point and that could be devastating in terms of CVP.

According to the rules, Doug had to set his forces up within two hexes of G17 with no more than two mmc per hex.

Turn 1 his men maneuvered to contact by entering the G14 kunai and I13 brush. Significantly, my sniper wounded one of his 9-1 leaders and my lmg toting squad in H11 step reduced a squad, which sought cover in I13.

For the next two turns my Gurkhas, sorry Gorkhas, rained down hate on the IJA. I mean, absolutely hammered them. Even with the hindrance modifiers I was laying on NMCs and 1MMCs left and right along with a 2MMC and a K/1. Even worse, Dough couldn’t seem to pass a single morale check and the invincible early war IJA faded away into stripped or cas reduced squads. Things were especially bad on his right flank, where my mortar got involved and wounded his other 9-1 after rolling a critical hit. His survivors went to ground in the brush.

Meanwhile, on the left his attack also stalled as he met accurate rifle fire attempting to cross the kunai and clamber over those cactus hedges. I’d managed to extend my line F10 to J11, all Gurkhas, um Gorkhas, with the anchor being the lmg and mmg carrying squads spraying hate down the road or into the brush to the east. My only loss was a 4-5-8 in CC when one of Doug’s squads bravely scooted forward and eliminated them before being cas reduced the following turn by pointblank fire from my 8-1 and 4-4-7.

Eventually, Doug started to outflank me though and turned my right flank back towards the road in turn three. Surprisingly, he’d committed most of his IJA but moved his BIA scouts along my left flank by themselves. By the end of turn four there was a bit of a lull, as both sides broke contact. Doug’s guys had separated into two forces, one the more worse for wear, and were swinging out on my flanks. My men pulled back to their second line of defense and in turn four pinned down some BIA but otherwise didn’t do any more damage to the elusive IJA.

Doug’s stronger force was on my right and he was able to double time most of his guys towards the north. However, this column didn’t include any BIA so they were slowed down considerably. Doug was running out of time.
10237

On the British left, a handful of IJA HS and BIA did make it off board while I tried to reposition the bulk of my force to cover the E6 hill and M4 kunai.

In the end, although Doug was able to exit some of his forces, it just wasn’t enough combined with the losses he’d taken trying to keep pressure on my men in the first couple of turns. After the game was over, he also admitted that he’d forgotten the real utility of the BIA until it was too late- by the time he started pairing them up with IJA the best quality troops were hexes away chopping their way through the jungle and they were left to guide the battered survivors of the fight along the road.

This scenario taught us a few lessons. First it reinforced the, sometimes neglected, message that we should always keep our SSRs in mind. Doug could have been in a much better position if his BIA had been better distributed and used to help facilitate a Japanese exit. It might not have been as fun of a scenario if he had opted for exit VP but he might have easily won if a couple of BIA HS were deployed with this left column.

The scenario also taught us a lesson in the destructive power of pre-war British rifle training. My Gurkha, sorry again, Gorkha, regulars did so much damage in the first few turns that I was reminded of a story I once read about the Battle of Mons in 1914, when German infantry, decimated by rapid and extremely accurate British rifle fire, thought they were facing a machine gun company, rather than an infantry company. I imagine the IJA who made it off board felt very similarly about that afternoon and it was reassuring to see a mixed bag of troops take on early war IJA and do so well. Reading about the invasion of Burma, it just seemed so desperate for the British, and it was nice to have a counterfactual outcome. It was also good for me to resist the temptation to have my 4-5-8s mix it up in CC and instead maintain personal discipline and get my guys back in good order with minimum number of losses.


This was a really neat scenario, primarily because the set up restrictions, terrain, and force composition really conveyed the atmosphere of those desperate days in January 1942.

10238
 

Tuomo

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Nice AAR. We played this as part of the Rocky Mountain Rumble a while back and it had the same feel - like after you played it, you wanna go back and try it again using the lessons you learned.
All those headwear styles. The IJA quartermaster corps must have been a nightmare.

And how much tripping over swords must there have been? Dude, I can't even walk here cuz of your damn sword.
 

Mike205

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Nice AAR. We played this as part of the Rocky Mountain Rumble a while back and it had the same feel - like after you played it, you wanna go back and try it again using the lessons you learned.

All those headwear styles. The IJA quartermaster corps must have been a nightmare.

And how much tripping over swords must there have been? Dude, I can't even walk here cuz of your damn sword.
Thanks! I agree- the kuri seems like a more effective bush clearing device than a katana. The guy in the picture really seems to be low riding his as well. Must be a staff officer who gets carried everywhere.
 

Ed Donoghue

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Work has slowed down my AAR posting but fortunately not my opportunities to play ASL. Not that I play ASL at work or anything…I just post AARs at work.

For last week’s scenario we decided on something from Action Pack 6 and settled on Milling About, a nice early war Burma scenario where a British relief column runs smack dab into advancing elements of the Japanese 55th Infantry Division, hot off overrunning a nearby border post during the opening days of the invasion.
View attachment 10239

The fighting is set on board 7a and 5.5 turns in length. The IJA need to have six or more CVP than the Brits in order to win- these can be either through inflicting battlefield damage or by exiting squads off the north edge. Exited units count for double VP.

View attachment 10234

Intended as a relief column headed for the frontier, the British force is a mixed bag of units consisting of Gurkhas,, er Gorkhas, Royal Jats, and Burmese Rifles. Force composition consists of 7 x 4-5-8s, 2 x 4-5-7s, and 2 x 4-4-7s, armed with 2 lmgs, a dismantled 51mm mtr, led by a 9-1, 8-1, and 8-0 leadership. They must set up concealed on or adjacent to the I11-H13 road. All 4-5-8s or 2-4-8s are Gurkhas, uh apologies- Gorkhas, by SSR and have an ELR or 5, other British units have an ELR of 3.
View attachment 10235

The advancing Japanese are comprised of 12 x 4-4-7s, 2 x 2-2-8s, armed with 2 lmgs, 2 dismantled 50 mm mtrs, a dismantled mmg and a DC, led by 2 x 9-1s and a 9-0 leadership. Supporting the IJA are 2 x 3-3-7 squads and a 8-0 leader representing elements of the Burmese Independence Army. By SSR these insurgents are considered Partisans and may deploy freely at set up. Any BIA unit and the Japanese stacked with them move at 1.5 MF through jungle, kunai, and brush. The IJA may not set up HIP, since SSR negates the G1.631 rule.
View attachment 10236


All buildings are huts, hedges are cactus, and the rest of PTO terrain rules are in effect. By SSR the setup is simultaneous, with a die roll to see who moves first. IJA/BIA units cannot double time on turn 1 if they move first, and no Banzais are allowed on turn 1 either. Doug would chafe at this rule, since he drew the IJA and first movement.

I set my guys up on either side of the road, with 2 x 4-5-8s out a bit in front to cover the G12 kunai field. Another 4-5-8 with a lmg set up in H11 to cover the road, three more 4-5-8s, one toting the remaining lmg, would be placed in I12 and J11 respectively to cover the J12 brush. Yet another 4-5-8 with the dismantled mmg and 9-1 were placed in H10. A stack of the 2 x 4-5-7s and one 4-4-7 with the dismantled mortar were in I11. Lastly, a small reserve consisting of the remaining 4-7-7 and 8-1 went into J10.

Whether I moved first or not, I planned to fan out the bulk of my force to block the road, kunai, and brush flanking it, forcing the enemy out wide and hopefully slowing him down through terrain and a methodical retreat back to a new line focused first on the J8 huts and later a third line along the I8-L7 hedges and huts. Historically, I knew that Doug favored a stand up fight with his Japanese rather than sneaking around the flanks and I was hoping this would be the case. The tradeoff would be that I would have to weather some kind of banzai charge at some point and that could be devastating in terms of CVP.

According to the rules, Doug had to set his forces up within two hexes of G17 with no more than two mmc per hex.

Turn 1 his men maneuvered to contact by entering the G14 kunai and I13 brush. Significantly, my sniper wounded one of his 9-1 leaders and my lmg toting squad in H11 step reduced a squad, which sought cover in I13.

For the next two turns my Gurkhas, sorry Gorkhas, rained down hate on the IJA. I mean, absolutely hammered them. Even with the hindrance modifiers I was laying on NMCs and 1MMCs left and right along with a 2MMC and a K/1. Even worse, Dough couldn’t seem to pass a single morale check and the invincible early war IJA faded away into stripped or cas reduced squads. Things were especially bad on his right flank, where my mortar got involved and wounded his other 9-1 after rolling a critical hit. His survivors went to ground in the brush.

Meanwhile, on the left his attack also stalled as he met accurate rifle fire attempting to cross the kunai and clamber over those cactus hedges. I’d managed to extend my line F10 to J11, all Gurkhas, um Gorkhas, with the anchor being the lmg and mmg carrying squads spraying hate down the road or into the brush to the east. My only loss was a 4-5-8 in CC when one of Doug’s squads bravely scooted forward and eliminated them before being cas reduced the following turn by pointblank fire from my 8-1 and 4-4-7.

Eventually, Doug started to outflank me though and turned my right flank back towards the road in turn three. Surprisingly, he’d committed most of his IJA but moved his BIA scouts along my left flank by themselves. By the end of turn four there was a bit of a lull, as both sides broke contact. Doug’s guys had separated into two forces, one the more worse for wear, and were swinging out on my flanks. My men pulled back to their second line of defense and in turn four pinned down some BIA but otherwise didn’t do any more damage to the elusive IJA.

Doug’s stronger force was on my right and he was able to double time most of his guys towards the north. However, this column didn’t include any BIA so they were slowed down considerably. Doug was running out of time.
View attachment 10237

On the British left, a handful of IJA HS and BIA did make it off board while I tried to reposition the bulk of my force to cover the E6 hill and M4 kunai.

In the end, although Doug was able to exit some of his forces, it just wasn’t enough combined with the losses he’d taken trying to keep pressure on my men in the first couple of turns. After the game was over, he also admitted that he’d forgotten the real utility of the BIA until it was too late- by the time he started pairing them up with IJA the best quality troops were hexes away chopping their way through the jungle and they were left to guide the battered survivors of the fight along the road.

This scenario taught us a few lessons. First it reinforced the, sometimes neglected, message that we should always keep our SSRs in mind. Doug could have been in a much better position if his BIA had been better distributed and used to help facilitate a Japanese exit. It might not have been as fun of a scenario if he had opted for exit VP but he might have easily won if a couple of BIA HS were deployed with this left column.

The scenario also taught us a lesson in the destructive power of pre-war British rifle training. My Gurkha, sorry again, Gorkha, regulars did so much damage in the first few turns that I was reminded of a story I once read about the Battle of Mons in 1914, when German infantry, decimated by rapid and extremely accurate British rifle fire, thought they were facing a machine gun company, rather than an infantry company. I imagine the IJA who made it off board felt very similarly about that afternoon and it was reassuring to see a mixed bag of troops take on early war IJA and do so well. Reading about the invasion of Burma, it just seemed so desperate for the British, and it was nice to have a counterfactual outcome. It was also good for me to resist the temptation to have my 4-5-8s mix it up in CC and instead maintain personal discipline and get my guys back in good order with minimum number of losses.


This was a really neat scenario, primarily because the set up restrictions, terrain, and force composition really conveyed the atmosphere of those desperate days in January 1942.

View attachment 10238
Good AAR. My TBP list just keeps getting bigger, but think this will go to the top of the PTO list. Thanks.
 
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