Monday, July 23, 2007

AAR: SP30 Evicting Yamagishi

Zeb Doyle

Japanese: Zeb Doyle
Russian: Nathan Hoin

Nathan and I had decided to play a Russo-Japanese scenario and settled on SP30 Evicting Yamagishi. This is a late-war Manchurian struggle with a powerful Soviet force trying to clear a road against some decent Japanese opposition on the dense terrain of boards 32 and 39. We diced for sides and Nathan got the Soviets, as befitted his uniformed status. That left me formulating a set up as the Japanese but since I'd played the scenario once before, it didn't take a lot of effort to take the tough terrain and my OB-given fortifications to make some nasty choke-points. With that, we started play and Nathan immediately ran into some horrible luck. The Soviets get two pre-registered hexes that are hit by 120mm OBA on the first turn, and although Nathan had done a masterful job of guessing where my HMGs would be positioned to cover the road, both OBA missions drifted off-target and did no damage at all.

The poor Soviet and good Japanese luck continued throughout the first few turns, with a HIP 'brave defender of the Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere' immobilizing a 'Godless Commie oppressor' T-34 with a daisy chain and then killing it with a THH. I also managed to break the FT-toting 6-2-8 riding the tank, kill him, and capture the FT. This worked out well a few turns later when Nathan brought up his second FT to try and suppress my defensive position. This was described by Toreki as some 'hot FT on FT action,' featured a Berserk Japanese squad charging the Soviet FT and eating a 4KIA, and ended with both FTs destroyed, lots of dead Soviets, and worst of all, some Gust-aided blazes torching most of the forest that Nathan needed to move through.

That pretty much shut down one flank of the Soviet attack, but over on the board 39 hill, things weren't going quite as well for the Japanese. An ISU-122 lobbed a shell right through the vision slit in one of my pillboxes, with the resulting 3KIA erasing one of my HMGs. An escorting T-34 didn't do quite as well, managing to disable his CMG, BMG, and MA before being immobilized by a THH and being ignored for the rest of the game. Still, the loss of my HMG hurt quite a bit and Nathan was pushing me back far too fast for my liking until a big concealed Soviet stack advanced against difficult terrain onto one of my 4-4-7s. The ambush mods were even but I caught a big break by ambushing an entire platoon. My 4-4-7 went with a 1:4 HtH attack, needing a 7 to kill everyone and got it, which really took the pressure off. At that point, the Soviet threat on the hill had dwindled down to two 6-2-8s and when I got another good roll to K/2 one of the squads, I felt confident enough tomake some silly joke that "of course the remaining 3-2-8 will pass the 2MC. It's Darwinian survival...all the weak Russians have been killed off and only the strong remain."

It turns out that comment was a big mistake, because the 3-2-8 did pass the 2MC and because Nathan is one of those great opponents that will keep playing hard and staying focused no matter how badly the dice are hurting him. Over the next three turns, the 3-2-8 and his lone 6-2-8 wing-man cut a bloody swath over the hill leaving numerous Japanese bodies in their wake. Aided by a leader creation, a battle hardening on the leader, and a hero generation, the squad and a half ran unscathed in and out of minefields, shrugged off large amounts of firepower, and generally wreaked havoc. They eventually died, but not before they'd done as much damage as the rest of the Soviet force combined. If Darwin had been there, he would have written on that HS, not those dumb finch beaks.

In the end though, despite the heroics of the brave hilltop 'Novo Homo Sovietus Indomitablus,' Nathan ran out of time and wasn't quite able to clear the road. Had his luck been better (I haven't mentioned the other ISU that ran out of ammo after three shots or the numerous boxcars or the 9-1 that wouldn't ever rally or the...), it would have been a very tight and tense finish. Overall, the scenario was pretty fun but not quite top-notch. Despite the bad luck leaching some of the suspense out of the game though , I still had a great time thanks to Nathan's encyclopedic knowledge of all things Russian (I would never have guessed that the Soviet LMG has only seven moving parts, among many other interesting pieces of trivia I learned). Also adding to the fun was Scott's great's great to finish up a Japanese scenario with sake and banzai cake!

No comments: