Tuesday, August 31, 2010

AAR: BFP32 Slaughter At Nanyaun

Zeb Doyle

Chinese: Matt Schwoebel
Japanese: Zeb Doyle

For most of this summer, I was in an ASL drought, but fortunately things picked up in August and I got in some really fun gaming. One of my more entertaining battles was against Matt Schwoebel in BFP-32 Slaughter At Nanyaun. This is a nifty 1938 Japanese-Chinese battle across the relatively open boards 43 and 17, with the Japanese trying to get 80 points of CVP and EVP.

It’s a bit of an unusual scenario, since the attacking Japanese infantry are numerically outnumbered by a 3:2 ratio, and in FP roughly 1.3:1. That’s not even counting the four heavy-hitting 150mm and 75mm ART guns that the Chinese also get. To make up for this, the Japanese do receive some 70mm OBA (made very powerful by an offboard observer at level three, which can see vast expanses of the map) and three flame-throwing engineer vehicles, which operate much like the German SPW 251/16, in that they have two side-mounted flamethrowers and can thus get two shots per turn if maneuvered correctly.

This all makes for great fun if you like brain-teasers. The Japanese need to very cautiously work their way forward, identify the Chinese positions, and then work over any exposed Chinese strong-points with the flame-throwing vehicles. They have 2 AF, enough to ward off most MG fire, but not enough to stand up to the Chinese guns. This ends up being very tense but lots of fun. Every Japanese piece is precious, so there are no throw-away moves, and deciding how bold to be with the flame-throwers and what targets are worth risking the X11 20FP shots on is especially tricky.

In my playing with Matt, I sent my first wave of Japanese all down the left flank. He’d set up his Chinese scattered about in foxholes, and completely ignored the compound of stone buildings on board 43. Initially, I thought that he’d made a mistake, but it turns out the LOS from there isn’t especially good and any Chinese units placed there are probably thrown away. Instead, by concentrating his infantry further back in the foxholes, he maintained his numerical and FP edge, and had better TEM as well when my force finally contacted him. So, nice job, Matt...this is the second time your 'in-depth foxhole defense' has caused me all kinds of grief!

I sent some Type 94 tankettes rushing forward as scouts, and managed to find a 75mm and a 150mm gun at the cost of a single AFV….a very acceptable loss ratio to me. I then felt bold enough to send forward a single flame-throwing tank, and it managed to burn out several pockets of Chinese, before finding the last 150mm ART piece at the cost of its own destruction. Unfortunately, that left the bulk of Matt’s force positioned on my left flank, well covered by his big guns, and with no easy way of rooting them out. Things only got tougher in that sector when the Chinese reinforcements arrived with most of them also moving under the protective cover of those nasty 150mm monsters.

With my own reinforcements arriving, I decided not to reinforce failure, and would instead send my second wave of infantry up the middle. I would also redeploy my flame-throwing tanks to that area and see if I could force my way through an area that would have, at most, a single 75mm gun covering it. The downside to this was that the tanks would have to spend two turns moving into position, and since it was already turn four of a 7.5 turn game, I didn’t have any time to waste.

The push up the middle turned out to be a good move. As Matt’s Chinese scrambled to reposition, they had to move through a large patch of woods on board 17, and my offboard observer was able to rain airburst OBA pain on a huge number of them. Several missions, shifting between harassing fire and WP did an amazing amount of damage, with almost every 4-1 attack or 1MC breaking everyone unfortunate enough to be caught in the blast. That really cleared a path for my second wave of infantry to exit, and more importantly, I think it rattled Matt’s morale some. He reacted by bringing the Chinese armor aggressively over to block me. This is one reason I enjoy scenarios that have dual VC, like EVP and CVP-it makes a lot of otherwise easy decisions into painful trade-offs. Here, Matt threatened my infantry EVP with a bunch of 6FP CMGs, but also put a bunch of his 0 AF, 5 CVP vehicles in harm’s way.

As it turned out, my 37mm crewed infantry SW had a field day with the Chinese armor, going on several big ROF tears and killing most of it. That 3 ROF and 7TK has the potential to be deadly to everything in the Chinese armored force. The PSW 222 survived, but I managed to toast that threat with one of my flame-throwing tanks. When a scouting CX’d 9-0 Japanese leader managed to find the last 75mm gun, survive a 24-2 CH and a 24+0 CH, and then advance in and kill the crew in HtH CC, the floodgates really opened up for me, and the game ended on the last turn with the Japanese scoring 100 VP. Had Matt been a bit more judicious with his armor, or had my OBA not been so smashingly effective, it would have been a very tense and close finish.

So, BFP-32 Slaughter At Nanyaun is highly recommended. Since every move feels so vital, we both felt extra-drained and tired at the end, so be ready for that. The balance felt even to me, although I’d say the Japanese might be slightly more fragile. If they lose the OBA and several of the flame-throwers on fluke events, they aren’t going to win this. If the Chinese boxcar out those 150mm guns right off the bat, they are in trouble, but it’s not an auto-loss. I’d still take either side though for some fun Asian early-war action.

Thanks for reading,


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