BRT CG III AAR

Thunderchief

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My NZ mate Darryl and I started the Blood Reef Tarawa CG III Utmost Savagery last night (19-9-2021).

I am the USMC and he is the IJA. We've played about 210 scenarios and 6 CGs (Edsons Ridge, OVHS, Gavutu/Tanambogo, KGP 2, KGP 4, Pegasus Bridge II) since meeting at ASLOK in 2003. Much of that has been on VASL, but we have visited each other a few times for FTF games, plus we've had a few games at ASLOK when we've both been there. We've also played some Pegasus Bridge scenarios while visiting Normandy. That's pretty good for two guys who live in different countries if you ask me. We've also toured the battlefields of Normandy and the Ardennes together, seen the Dambuster Dams in Germany, visited the Solomons for a battlefield tour (and stood on Gavutu Tanambogo with the map - see Journal 11 for a photo).

He's a good guy and I'm lucky to have him as a friend. It's only natural that I would walk face-first into a wall of AT and machine guns to take him on in this bucket list ASL event.

I am not going to go into great detail about the CG as we progress but will give a bit of a description of events and some decisions, plus some screenshots.

We played for three hours in our first session and resolved the initial US barrages and played the first turn. We play reasonably quickly so others may need more time.

The US barrages were placed as follows: 3 hex on R11 (final U13), 2 hex on N14 (accurate), 2 hex on Q32 (final R32), 3 hex on R35 (final U34).

For all my efforts, I caused a measly 5 CVP, breached the seawall twice, rubbled a few hexes and cleared some wire. Anything else? Oh yes, rubbled most of the pier!

By the end of US T1 the US had lost 16 CVP and the IJA had lost 5, by the end of IJA T1 it stood at 24 and 5.

Most of my guys bailing out of the LVTs survived, but a lucky shot from long range at my Scout Snipers killed most of them on the first hex of the pier. The US sniper has been busy, reducing the IJA sniper from 5 to 4 (Darryl spent points to increase it), and striping squads and crews from time to time.

Our next session will be game turn 2, all that lovely smoke will disappear, and that CVP is going to jump. A bit of a waste rolling well for US leaders in the first waves perhaps?

Pics are the beach zones at the end of US T1 movement.
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Thunderchief

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The CG I have renamed "Slaughter in the Water" continued last night.
3 hours of play got us through the US second turn of 20AM.
There were a few rules checking moments and the players guide and Rich Spilky charts came in handy as well.

The player turn started at 24 US CVP lost vs 5 IJA CVP lost and ended at 62 and 5, as the smoke disappeared and new guns joined in the carnage.

The first troops to set foot on the sands of Tarawa didn't last long, but I have a few LVTs on the sand now and ready to unload with MGs and passenger FP in the IJA defensive fire phase (it's a shame they can't FG!) assuming they last that long. Some troops landed onto the rubbled pier and are creeping their way along it to try and crack open a bunker or two. US T3 will see a whole bunch of US reinforcements and about half of the LVTs with the possibility of making it onto a beach hex, and about half of those will have enough MPs to unload. But there's a lot of ifs in that. The IJA has not resorted to intensive fire yet, but it may happen very soon...

Pics are of forces at the end of US T2.

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Honza

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I notice that there are not any grey pillboxes. Is that because the Japanese were saving their CAPP? Buying cheaper but more plentiful pillboxes?
 

Doug Leslie

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Those Japanese defences look terrifying enough in cardboard form. Must have been horrific in real life.
 

Thunderchief

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I notice that there are not any grey pillboxes. Is that because the Japanese were saving their CAPP? Buying cheaper but more plentiful pillboxes?
I'm not sure how the IJA have spent their points, other than to say that Darryl said he took the advice from the BRT Gamer's Guide and bought extra IJA 50 cal HMGs.
 

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The Chinese have them outflanked !


That map looks brutal.
 

Thunderchief

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The Slaughter in the Water continued last night. 3 hrs 45 minutes got us through US player T3. If you're going to play this CG - be prepared to invest a lot of time.
To date, not including setup, we have played a total of 11 hours and 45 minutes to get through 2 1/2 game turns.
We've made some rules mistakes but have also both discovered the correct way of doing things. When there's a rules issue we both look for the solution because we want to play a good and 'accurate' game, and whoever wins will be the victor because they played well, not because they exploited the rules the other player didn't know about.

This turn the US reinforcements arrived, and I usually moved them first in each beach area to see if the IJA would give up any of their acq on my guys closest to the beach. He wasn't having any of that are rarely fired at the new arrivals. Lots of LVTs were taken out this turn, about 4 or 5 by a single 37L in the RB1 zone. Nearly everyone was able to bail out, but he also scored about 4 CHs and burned some LVTs, killing all the passengers, including a number of 9-2s.

The IJA had a small weak point at the RB1/RB2 border as the gun there had malfed, so I swarmed the beach with about 6 LVTs and their passengers hit the sand ready for action. The pier is chocked with US troops all taking advantage of the rubble to inch closer to the IJA positions, and firing on RB2 or RB3. LVT MG bounding and advancing fire striped and pinned a few positions on the different beaches, but the section of RB3 furthest from RB2 is mostly vacant - wrecks excepted. I made a lot of attempts to cross the seawall for CC and less than half made it (not surprisingly) but those that did make it across got into some CC and took a few IJA positions. There is a melee or two and they will no doubt go HTH next turn (I didn't need to risk it, I generally had good odds), but IJA CVP rose quickly, and I'm hoping for more
next turn. I have not yet had any planes, but would really like some so I can hit the tanks down at RB3.

I am really enjoying the CG as the US in this. There are a lot of casualties, but that's to be expected, the troops who make it to the beach will have a foothold and must be reinforced.

As at the end of US T3 the US has lost 158 CVP and the IJA has lost 23 CVP.

The pics are each beach zone at the end of US T3.

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JoeArthur

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This was left up on VASL and had a look. The one thing that got me was the lack of IJA firelanes going down the beaches. Unloading into a firlane is not a pleasant experience...................did I miss something?
 

Thunderchief

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This was left up on VASL and had a look. The one thing that got me was the lack of IJA firelanes going down the beaches. Unloading into a firlane is not a pleasant experience...................did I miss something?
The IJA has relied upon ROF rather than firelanes, and has not suffered for it - check the CVPs! Update to follow tomorrow.
 

Thunderchief

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Slaughter in the Water update....

We're now at the end of US T4, and the average for a PLAYER TURN is 3 hours. We're not slow players and don;t spend eons pondering infinite possibilities, so if you're a slow player be warned if you are thinking of taking this monster on.

The IJA became mobile in IJA T3 as Black Beach troops started to run to the sound of gunfire on the opposite shore, and since I had no planes they could do it freely. A number of tanks drove right up to the beach on the RB3 side of the pier, and some are working their way along the beach from the far end of RB3 and have to be watched...
On the positive side, I was able to assemble a LOT of SW, and US T4 would reap the benefits of this. The rubbled pier is home to a number of mortars and MGs and it was their job to support the break-in to the RB2 and RB3 sections closest to the pier.
So far, that hasn't happened, but numerous IJA troops were striped or broken, so the front around the pier is beginning to crack, and the assault on the RB2 shoulder continued, with more troops passing the 4TC to get over the wall. Unfortunately there's nowhere for vehicles to get across the wall in that area at the moment, so it's going to be an infantry-only assault. Attacking the island and standing face to face with trenches and pillboxes is just death-by-the-HS for the US player, and the water seems to be full of wounded leaders, while everyone in the water tries to use wrecks and smoke to their best advantage as they continue to wade towards the masses of machine guns and AT guns, and one crappy little 37* SW that has destroyed a number of LVTs and is now firing along the beach into the troops who have made it onto the beak of RB1.

In a strange set of rolls across the last few turns both IJA snipers ended up in the same hex, as have the US snipers.

Pics are each beach zone at the end of US T4 and the US have now lost 227 CVP and IJA have lost 51 CVP. Interestingly, no US vehicles were lost during US T4, though some M3s mired and some Pathfinders died, so more mired vehicles are anticipated.
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Thunderchief

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BRT CGIII continued....

We're still playing the first CG date:

IJA T4 - No IJA reinforcements rolled – good! However, RB1 was a total massacre, lots more wounded leaders, lots of death-by-HS and a Stuart from the beach goes down with the crew. IJA had a few guns break, but hardly compensation. My first HOB on the beach makes a 9-2 into a heroic 10-2 on RB3. RB2 fares best but RB3 is a slaughter as well. IJA movement sees reinforcements continue towards the RB1 zone. The IJA tanks attacked along the beach from the bottom of the map tried to overrun my 9-2/668xMMG but I burned it in CCRF. The other IJA tanks move up into the P37 area and further up the airfield to the RB2 zone. IJA used a lot of AFire into CC to try and kill as many Americans as possible and make this a disaster of a turn. CC was the deadliest yet, people dying everywhere, but many US gains were lost.

US T5 – still no planes. Two LVTs left the map safely for the next CG date. About half the troops who tried made it across the wall in/adjacent to Q23. More guys hit the beach in the same area. One Stuart made it to the beach in T13 then overran S13 and pinned him but died from a 75. No crew. The IJA did a SAN check and reduced my SAN to 4 after an attack on a two squad and two-leader stack. My first two Shermans mired – the first in his first hex, the second in the second hex. They'd be 75MA pillboxes from then on. These were the two Shermans closest to my RB2 foothold as well, which was very disappointing. About a third of over the wall attempts made it in the APh and overall, CC went my way and I got a tank.

IJA T5 - The IJA received some reinforcements and a boost to his reinforcement pool for the first time. He chose to enter 2 x tanks and 3 x 448s and a 9-1. The slaughter continues on RB1. All RB1 SFCPs are now dead. Another Stuart is lost. A Sherman is flamed. Another is immobilised and the crew bails out. In good news - both FT guys at the end of the pier survive big shots and end up wounded only. RB2 and RB3 didn’t suffer as badly. A Korean berserker charged along the beach and was killed before he could do any damage. The two mired Shermans smacked a few IJA and killed a leader and squad as the IJA made a big move (about 16 squads worth) from the RB1 zone to the end of the airfield running towards RB2 and two IJA tanks joined the action by moving into the palm trees. A lot of the IJA second line of fortifications around the RB2/pier area were abandoned to reinforce the front line. The battle will be won or lost on the shoreline it seems. Would Rommel approve? The turn closed with another mad close combat advance phase, with the IJA advancing ONTO RB1 again for more CC to try and wipe them out. I created two more leaders by 1,1 in CC but none were good enough to change the odds, and died anyway, giving the IJA more CVP.

At the end of IJA T5:
US have lost 352 CVP and the IJA have lost 116 CVP

Compare this to the replay summary in the BRT Gamer's Guide where the initial CG date finished with 371 US CVP and 176 IJA CVP.

Also...the IJA win the CG by causing 804 US CVP. It looks like I'll have lost half of that amount by the end of the first CG date. This is great ASL fun and quite hardcore I think, but surely whatever we play next will be tame by comparison?

Images are the beach zones at the end of IJA T5.

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cwillmer

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The CVP count looks good for the Japanese. Played this more than once and the Japanese need at least 400CVP in the ICGS. Once the Marines get ashore and off the beach its very hard for the Japanese to rack up CVP.
 

Thunderchief

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The CVP count looks good for the Japanese. Played this more than once and the Japanese need at least 400CVP in the ICGS. Once the Marines get ashore and off the beach its very hard for the Japanese to rack up CVP.
At the moment, it seems that the initial scenario CVP will end up around 500 US CVP and 200 IJA CVP. I'll be posting again in a few days...
 

Thunderchief

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Slaughter in the Water continued...

We're now at the end of US T7. I have had absolutely no air support at all, and this is very disappointing, since the IJA are running out of trenches and pillboxes to get to where the fighting is, the island seems to be swarming with them.

US T6 - RB1 is almost a write-off, RB2 and the pier area are doing much better – a few stripes and kills including 4KIA on a 30-1. A SAN got my 10-3 that directed the attack and halved all the squads that were with him via LLMC. That did make room for units to move through there though. JSAN wounded a leader in the water so I tried a Sniper check and rolled 1,1 – so the IJA SAN was reduced to 3. Movement – two LVTs make it off the map. Two Stuarts get adjacent to RB1 in front of some bunkers, leaving their Pathfinders behind. One mires but the other is ok and stops – they’re adjacent to each other. I skulked away from some MMGs and berserkers around the end of the airfield, and got some extra guys across the wall. Advancing along the pier went well with some infantry smoke as cover and it looks like we may have a breakthrough! 3 Stuarts make it to or adjacent to the RB3 beach away from the pier area and are ready to cause some trouble. Two LVTs go down in one hex on RB2 in the same hex – these 37Ls have killed most of my vehicles. Very deadly. DFire is not too bad – a few losses including a wounded hero, but my main guys lived through it. Only a few CC – I killed a HS and the other was a melee. I have broken through at the end of the pier though and there’s not much in front of me. IJA thinks he can get me to 500 CVP by the end of the first scenario, but hopefully if that happens it will be mostly vehicles.

IJA T6 – Not bad for me – I grab some SW including a FT and DCs and some MGs. IJA choose reinforcements of 9-1, 3 x 448 1 x LMG. Prep wasn’t too bad – cost me a leader, a few HS and a Stuart and its crew but that’s all. The berserker died in the first hex he entered – good shooting guys! The IJA became really bold and one squad jumped into the water on RB1 with the intent of CCing a Stuart. Lots more IJA moved down from RB1 to reinforce RB2. The tanks in the palm trees moved in closer to my guys and didn’t bog despite palm trees and a trench. Also lots of movement towards the pier from the RB3 zone. SAN and tank MGs reduced the two squads going after my tank into HS and one ends up pinned. Other DFire pinned and broke a bunch of guys saving me from a lot of CC. Very little CC in the end – good for the guys around the pier who will look forward to smashing the IJA next turn.

US T7 – Not long to go now. Still no planes! Prep was good – a few stripes and breaks and KIAs, though a FT shot went 6,6. Movement – I mired a Sherman who abandoned his Pathfinder, but it was adjacent to a beach hex and some IJA infantry, so not so bad. One Stuart broke through and ran across the IJA lines into L12. A Sherman unmired with a 1,1 and then was hit with a 120L with a 1,1 and burned, such is ASL life. I moved along the pier – some guys were taken out but most made it, and I have broken into the IJA trench lines. The FT in T34 lost it’s third user (almost everyone who has entered the hex has picked it up, fired it and then been eliminated). I lost three vehicles though, which is disappointing. Big hit from the 8in gun killed two crews in the same hex – costing me a dm 50cal and dm 81mm mtr. After advancing there were about 10 CCs to resolve. Highlight was a wounded 10-3 who went into CC against a striped 237wLMG and killed them, but died in return – he had no one to fight with in the RB1 zone so it was the best he could do. Overall the CCs went my way, I created another leader and got some more terrain at the end of the pier. I’m now well into the trench system.

At the end of US T7 - US have lost 437 CVP and IJA have lost 170 CVP.

Two player turns to go in the initial CG date - it's getting very nasty, but the pier is strong as is the Q23 trench system which is now full of Americans.
Pics are the beach zones at the end of US T7.

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Thunderchief

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Slaughter in the Water...

We have now completed the first CG date in BRT CG III - 20AM

I thought in the last US turn I would see if I could kill off a few more IJA squads and grab a few more hexes to prepare for the second scenario.
The dice had other plans, and the IJA got a bunch of 3's when he needed them and I got a bunch of 12's when I didn't need them.
This meant I lost a bunch of squads and four tanks on this last turn, just trying to move about and not do anything crazy - but the price was high.

At the end of the scenario I had nothing left on RB1, and just one Sherman in the water, one Stuart and a crew on RB3, and my main force on RB2 and the pier.

So after 14 VASL sessions and 37 hours of play.....the US had lost 490 CVP and the IJA had lost 201 CVP.

We then went ahead with the cleanup, and I'd gained 20 points of pillboxes/bombproofs but lost another 9 CVP with wound and UK resolutions. The US SAN was reduced to 3, and there's no way to raise it that I can see. Two of my immobilised Stuarts remained immobilised, but two LVTs got their groove back and are available with my setup troops for the second scenario. One of my off-map LVTs was lost but all the rest are ok, so I have about 6. Captured weapon repair and destruction gained me a few more points and all my captured IJA SW were lost except two LMGs, and I scrounged a LMG from a tank, which explains the British LMG. During fortification removal we each lost another HS, the IJA removing two of my seawall breaches on RB1 (there's no-one to exploit them anyway), and I cleared one wire off the beach and destroyed a bombproof in the RB2 area - one less fortification for the IJA to try and sneak back into. After all that, the losses stood at:

US 501 CVP and IJA 212 CVP.

The best part about this is that the IJA has only 9 leaders remaining for the whole island. A lot of credit goes to my snipers for that, but this number will increase with the troops the IJA can bring on for the reinforcement pool.

Pics are the beaches at the end of the initial scenario, and the US setup areas (there's a very small one on RB3).
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von Marwitz

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That's some grim stuff going on there...


By mid-day the ocean ran red as bloody Tarawa descended into chaos.

Assessing the situation just a few hundred meters from Colonel Shoup was Major John
Schoettel, a battalion commander caught in the worst of the fight. Looking out on the chaos and
carnage that was happening all around him, he radioed back to Colonel Shoup three words that
no one ever wanted to hear – “Issue in doubt”. The actual transmission reads like this:

0959 - Major Schoettel to Colonel Shoup: Receiving heavy fire all along beach. Unable
to land all. Issue in doubt.
1007 - Schoettel to Shoup: Boats held up on reef of right flank Red One. Troops
receiving heavy fire in water.
1015 - Colonel Shoup to Major Schoettel: Land Beach Red Two and work west.
1018 - Schoettel back to Shoup: We have nothing left to land.



von Marwitz
 
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