Monday, September 6, 2010

AAR BFP60 Thrilla in Manila

My opponent and I played "Thrilla in Manila" from BFP's Blood & Jungle pack. This one features the high powered American forces trying to root out every Japanese soldier holed up in the Agricultural building in 1945. The Americans have a big hammer, but the Japanese are hard to kill.

Jim set up on a broad front. He had two kill stacks of .50 cal /MMG on the first level of buildings near the center. He would send a few squads up the middle while the larger attack would come from the flanks.

My defense featured the a pillbox /HMG covering the row I road, and the other with a MMG cover hexrow F. I fortified four ground level hexes of the victory building, and the two northernmost 1st levels. I swapped the remaining two fortified locations for tunnels; one from E5 to G4, the other K4 to H3. Both pillboxes also get tunnels, which lead into the victory building.

My AA guns were covering the back of the building from the brush patch. The INF gun was in G4. I considered putting the gun on a fortified upper building level, bu decided I didn't want to expose it the big American guns so early.

Each of the northernmost hexes of the victory building have 6FP AP mines. To try to keep the fire spewing sherman at bay, I put all 4 AT mine factors in F5, and a set DC in I7 to be detonated by a HIP T-H hero in J5.

Jim's first WP shot was effective on G5, stripping concealment of all the units and revealing a HIP rooftop squad. So much for that surprise. That was the only WP round the Americans brought with them, however. The didn't bring any regular smoke either.

The early battle had the American guns and kill stacks pounding the front of the building as the Japanese skulked and tried to hold off two bazooka squads creeping up through the debris. The squads were turned back, but the Japanese 10-1 leader died early, failing a MC and the ensuing wound severity dr.

One of the M18s came rolling down the main street hoping to clear some wire (which it did), but ran into the set A-T DC as well. Leaving a burning wreck.

There was a fairly intense fight for the buildings on the Japanese right. The Americans took some beating in there. I had hoped to get most of my troops back to the building through the E5 tunnel, but the flametank parked in F6 made the tunnel hex one of the more dangerous on the map. In the end, only 2 half squads were able to get back.

The American of the Japanese left moved without much opposition. A HIP Japanese half squad did manage to scare a big American stack moving in the open, but gacked the roll. 2.5 of the 3.5 squads I had on that side were able to get across the street with out much trouble. The HMG crew in the pillbox got back as well, although they had to cross open ground to do it (can't carry the HMG through a tunnel.) By turn 5 the main battle was on.

The Americans initially gained a toehold in the building on the north side. The troops on the flanks were beaten back by point blank fire a few times.

As the Americans moved in, there was no longer any place to hide in that building.

 The Japanese continued to attrit under the massive firepower pounding away at them. Insult to injury came when the last full strength elite Japanese squad went berserk, charging out of the victory building to their death.

The flame tank finally tried to move in closer and hit the AT mines. Burn. The next turn we got wind, and the smoke drifted into the building.

The Japanese on the south end finally gave way to fire from a sherman with armor leader, and now Americans were getting in from both ends.

As turn 7 started, the issue was still very much in doubt. The known Japanese consisted of only only a wounded 9-1 leader, one half squad, one full squad, and 3 reduced strength gun crews. There was still a HIP half squad at large somewhere. An American squad would bump into it, hiding in the cellar.

The drifting smoke made the American's job harder, as it made the FP less effective. The Japanese full squad won a CC killing an American squad, and a Japanese gun crew was hanging on in melee against the odds. Still on the edge.

Turn 8 saw Jim's shermans going CE and driving into bypass of the two remaining Japanese MMCs, freezing them. A squad and leader executed an infantry overrun on the wounded leader who was trying to bottle up the stairwell, and pushed him into the location of the Japanese squad.

CC came and the Americans, with advantages in both, prevailed.

Jim's attacking strategy was sound. I think my defensive set-up was as well. One thing I did not do well during play, was take full advantage of the O6 cellar locations. I was only able to generate one T-H hero during the game, who was cut down by the MG's of the sherman he was desperately charging.

This is a very intense scenario. Both of us were pretty well drained at the end. I was feeling pretty good about my position in the odd numbered turns, and certain all was lost on the evens. That's the kind of roller coaster that defines an exciting scenario. More like this, please.

I would highly recommend downloading the enlarged map section from Bounding Fire . Otherwise, the map becomes cluttered and tedious late in the game.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New Business

Jim and I will later be taking on Thrilla in Manila , from BFP's Blood and Jungle pack.

As the title indicates, this one has the Japanese and American troops in a city battle as the U.S. fights to retake the Phillipines in 1945. The American are tasked with taking a five hex three story building, which has RB-style cellars to boot.

"Slugfest" doesn't quite do this one justice. The two sides set up right on top of each other and start hammering away. The US has a flame tank, two 155 arty pieces being used as direct fire, flamethrowers, dcs, the whole kit.

The Japanese counter with two AA guns, an INF gun, a few pillboxes, and multiple fortified building locations. In addition, they have all the usual Japanese defensive tricks.

This will likley be a bloodbath.

Old Business

It's been a few weeks since the Despbry Defiant playing. I didn't have my camera and all I got were a few iPhone shots that aren't very good.

Suffice to say that Desobry was not defiant. In fact, he was downrigtht compliant.

I set up the .50 cal, & -2 leader in the steeple location. Even thought ahead enough to have a spare half-squad on level one to man the MG if needed. In the opening prep phase, with German infantry in the open (except for the mist), the .50 cal whiffed. No effect. No Rate. in the ensuing DF phase, Jim needed a three to hit the steeple with his halftrack mounted 75*. Rolled a three. Broken squad, wounded leader.

So we rout the squuad out of there, and let the spare squad advance up and take over. Jim rolls a two on his next shot. Critical. The .50 would end the day having taken only one shot. It was that kind of day.

Jim moved his armor up and the roads to avoid bogging in the mud. The infantry mostly moved up the middle between the roads. I gave Jim a few anxious moments with my artillery, but his casualties remained light. When at last he had significant infantry near my pre-registered hex, I pulled a red card.

I was careless with my armor reinforcements, using them to engage a panther tank that would have been a very difficult kill. I should have held them back behind the village in a reverse slop defense. Jim obliged my carelessness by blowing the reinforcements away.

Soon, he was killing the HIP tank on my left flank and mopp-ing up the infantry in that area.

The German path almost entirley clear, we called this in turn 6.

A combination of bad dice and careless play made this a reasonably easy German victory. Jim's slow and steady approach capitalized on my errors.

It's an interesting enough scenario, and certainly should have been closer. Jim and I both gave it the "slight recommend" rating on ROAR. We agreed that it is not as fun and interesting as it's AP6 sister scenario, Nishe Nyet.