Jungle Citadel- Part Two

Doug Leslie

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When I did my initial set up, I hoped that the visible wire would deter the Chinese from coming down heavy on the Japanese left flank, where I felt that my defences were weakest. Ah well…

Marc – the setup was indeed daunting and I was tempted to alter my attack plan. Nevertheless, I stuck with the left flank approach.

22425

Marc hadn’t been aware of the possibility of rolling for napalm until I reminded him. He made the secret dr and I kept my fingers crossed that I hadn’t shot myself in the foot (Spoiler alert: I had).

Marc – I honestly don’t think this is correct, I definitely knew about the napalm and didn’t need any reminders, except insofar as I had rolled but the secret dr hadn’t been recorded so it looked like I had forgotten. Let’s stick with Doug’s version – it’s more dramatic 😊

Marc started off in style by prep firing two HMGs directed by his 9-2 leader at 22R2 and malfunctioning one of them with a DR of 11. On the right flank, mortar fire took out my dummy stack in the 22F2 bamboo before the rest of his force started searching the jungle hexes in front of them to reveal the panjis they were going to have to cross. He didn’t attempt to cross them with non-assault movement with the MC that this would entail and just inched forward using assault and advance phase movement. My first attempt at getting battery access for my artillery proved to be as successful as Marc’s HMG prep fire attack when it produced a red chit.
In my turn, I tried again for battery access and this time I was successful. When I set up my artillery observer, it had been my intention to place a SR in 22S1 or thereabouts, but I had failed to appreciate that LOS was blocked by the jungle around 17W1 which I had forgotten was at level 2. Suddenly my weak left flank was looking even weaker. You might think that it would be impossible for me to surpass this for stupidity. Hold my beer.
I decided to withdraw my squads in 22R2 and S3 rather than expose them to the 9-2 machine gun position. On entering S3 from R2, my 447 had concealment stripped when it was forced to take a MC following snake eyes rolled by a fire group above the panjis in S1 and T1. All seemed good at this stage when it passed its MC but the remaining Chinese HMG then proceeded to stripe it. This was the situation at the end of Turn One.

22426

Chinese Turn Two
Turn two got off to an inauspicious start when the Chinese mortar in GG9 went on a ROF tear which stripped concealment from the squad in the EE3 bunker and striped it. Fortunately, the stack in the EE1 bamboo failed to capitalise when it cowered with its attack. On the Japanese left flank, a smoke grenade in 22S2 provided cover for movement into the wire in R1 and S2. In the centre, a search revealed the mines in Z1. In my defensive fire phase, the Chinese LMG squad in S2 broke under fire from S3. Another squad in R1 broke under fire from the U4 squad. Things were looking good, but Marc had marked his HMG stack with an Opportunity Fire counter in the PFPh and now reaped the benefits when 4 ROF shots striped and broke the Japanese squad in S3.

Marc – in general my smoke grenadiers did a good job through most of the game and was pretty happy with their performance in comparison to other games I’d had with Doug up to this point!



Japanese Turn Two

The Chinese got off to a good start by repairing the malfunctioned HMG. Things didn’t go so well for them on the Japanese right flank. The HMG in the DD2 pillbox revealed itself and fired point blank at the adjacent 537 in EE2 which broke it. That was as far as the Chinese would get in this sector. Flushed with this modest success, I now turned my attention to what was happening in the centre. At this point, I had a 447 in U4 which had previously retreated from U3 in turn one. It would have been better to have retreated through the tunnel in U3 to U6 but now it found itself facing a large Chinese force on the left flank which threatened a 16 +3 attack in defensive fire. The smart thing to have done would have been to stay put but I had a dumber plan in mind and it skulked back to V4. This would have been fine were it not for the existence of the Chinese air support and the fact that V4 also contained an HIP 447 in a bunker. The first FB failed its sighting TC but the second rolled the six that it needed to see the moving unit. The 50 cal in AA8 failed to do any damage with light AA fire as did the AA gun in S10. The initial FB MG attack striped both of the Japanese squads and the subsequent point attack revealed the bad news that the FBs were indeed carrying napalm. At the end of the ensuing carnage, the HIP 447 had achieved the rare distinction of being eliminated without any enemy ground unit ever seeing it and the other squad which created the mess by moving into the location in the first place was now reduced to a HS sitting on top of a napalm flame from which it would have to rout in the next RtPh. On the Japanese right flank, defensive fire reduced the striped squad in EE3 to a HS but I received some compensation when the FT in the E1 bamboo ran out of gas. This emboldened a concealed 447 with DC to move into DD1 to threaten the F1 units. Interestingly, Marc did not attempt to attack with his third FB despite having unconcealed targets to aim at in R4, EE3 and the pillbox in FF4. These targets could have been sighted with a DR of six or less as opposed generating a mistaken attack with a DR of ten or more. It appeared that Marc was taking a cautious approach and didn’t want to risk a mistaken attack by FBs while they were carrying napalm bombs and, presumably, he was saving those for higher value targets. Whatever the reason, the less sighting TCs being carried out by the Chinese air force the better as far as I was concerned.
This was the situation at the end of turn 2. Attrition was starting to take a toll on the defenders, and my left flank was disintegrating. I was not optimistic about my prospects.

Marc - The Chinese on the right flank had one job – keep the Japanese over there looking away and staying away from their left flank. I was happy to achieve my first (remembered) hit with Napalm and it was a doozy. I think Doug thought the sighting TC would protect him, and it did for one bomber. I held my breath and tried another! I knew I really needed these FB to stick around until the end, having them recalled early would have been a death blow to the Chinese chances for victory. Due to my caution employing these, two of them were around until the end of the game, so I think I made the right decision putting the reins on these assets. Napalm can’t achieve a critical hit so I was annoyed my 2 DR made no difference, but the subsequent IFT result was still devastating for the Japanese and they really didn’t regain defensive initiative on their left flank for the rest of the game. The collective Chinese firepower is very brutal in this scenario and hard to stand up to.

22427

Turn 3
The Chinese started off with the aerial observer launching an artillery barrage at the AA gun in S10 and striping the crew in what was the beginning of a remarkable sequence of events for those guys. The force on the Chinese left switched to the centre and tried to clear the mines in Z1. On the right flank, they started to try to get through the wire. It has to be said that Marc’s wire clearing efforts in this game were less than stellar and it turned out to be slow going for many of his troops. In my turn, the main event was when the fighter bomber that had wiped out one and a half squads in the previous turn broke its MG while attacking a broken half squad in U7 and thereby ended its participation in the battle.

Marc -- I hadn’t remembered what a pain it is to get this aerial observer to do anything. The restrictions on AR placement are very severe and on top of that a sighting TC has to be accomplished to even be allowed to place it. I whined about this a bit, but Doug (as usual) had a rational explanation – without the limitations, the Aerial Observer would be just too powerful.

22429

Turn 4
The Chinese onboard artillery observer made his only contribution to the war effort by laying a smoke FFE on their right flank. The aerial observer placed a SR adjacent to the victory building in W7. The rest of the troops continued to inch forward through the wire. On the Japanese right flank, my two HIP HS started to funnel back through the jungle while the crew manning the HMG used the assistance of the 9-1 leader to fall back through the pillbox tunnel. The Chinese aerial observer landed a FFE beside the W8 victory building which striped the crew manning the INF gun there. The Chinese were coming in strength down the Japanese left. The radio phone observer gulped and maintained a SR near the stream. Apart from OBA, there was not a lot to stop the Chinese horde in that sector.

Marc: smoking efforts were more or less successful through the mid-game but wire-crossing suffered a lot of men handing their knickers out to dry with many 5 and 6 die rolls. The double line of Panjis wire and in one case a nasty minefield in the mix were causing my advance to break up into groups. Fortunately, the Japanese suffered quite a few bad MCs at the sharp end, so momentum wasn’t lost, but it was clear the turn 6 VC wasn’t going to be happening.

To be continued...
 

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