Wednesday, January 20, 2010

AAR: BFP67 Coke Hill

John Hyler
Australians: John Hyler
Japanese: Zeb Doyle

Last Saturday, at Jay Harms' house on our Monthly HHS ASL meeting, I had the pleasure of playing Zeb Doyle. I had not played Zeb since Owl-Con, 2008, so I anticipated a fun match. I was not disappointed. I have wanted to get into the PTO, so we decided upon BFP-67 Coke Hill, from the new Blood and Jungle scenario pack published by Bounding Fire Productions. Upon arrival, we diced for sides with Zeb being the Japanese player. This was good since Zeb is one of our best Oracles of ASL, so I was looking forward to seeing the tricks of the Japanese trade at work.

Prior to game-day, Zeb had vowed vengeance for an Owl-con defeat and had sharpened his skinning knife. I decided that I needed my finely honed fileting knife, and since this was Coke Hill, a 100pound note to savor the fruits of victory should providence smile upon me.

Coke Hill is a small, but violent scenario played on half (R-GG) of board 50. The attacking Australians are tasked with clearing out and controlling all of the level 2 hill hexes south of the stream, and also to have at least 24 exit VP on/north of hexrow U. To accomplish this, they have an impressive force: 14 4-5-8s and 3 2-4-8s, well lead by 5 leaders ranging from 9-1 to 8-0 with an assortment of SW, 3 LMGs, 2 51MTRs, 2 PIATs and 2 DCs. Supporting this INF force are three Matilda IIs, two of the late versions, with HE for the 40L MG, and a very nasty Frog (Grond), with a 32FP flamethrower MA, along with a module of 80mm OBA

The defending Japanese have 7 4-4-7s, 4 2-2-8s and one 1-2-7, lead by three leaders ranging from a 10-2 stud to 8-0. They are well armed with a 50Cal HMG, 2 MMGs, 2 LMGs, 2 DCs and a 50MTR, with a 75* ART, 2 1+3+5 pillboxes, 4 Trenches, 5 hexsides of Panjis and 18 mine factors, along with level A booby trap capability.
After Zeb set up, I arranged my forces to on the south edge for their turn 1 entry. I deployed an additional squads to have an additional four HS for scouts. I split and placed the HSs on the flanks. The remaining squads were stacked with leaders and set up to advance through the jungle primarily on the west side of the road. The tanks set up to enter on the road.

Grond crawled on: Turn 1
In Aussie one, my infantry swarmed on, CXing to move as far as possible. The tanks entered, with one sucessfully popping smoke in BB4, adjacent to concealed Japanese units. Grond followed, belching flame into BB4, stripping concealment, but doing no further damage. There was no DF, and the squads advanced further on board.

During Japanese one, Zeb's attempt to mine the bridge in V5 with a DC failed, prompting a brief discussion of why this should qualify for a Labor -1(-2) counter. The unit in Grond's crosshairs beat a hasty retreat, with other Japanese units repositioning themselves out of LOS.

Grond crawled on: Turn 2
My OBA gained battery access, attempting a SR on X6, where there were concealed Japanese in the huts. It was inaccurate, ending up in DD8. This marked the first turn of overall futility for my OBA. With only a narrow LOS window from my off-board observer, I was forced to draw one additional card after the other. I managed to do this successfully six times in a row during the game before drawing the first red card. The HSs east of the road bumbled into two of Zeb's minefields, one in Y1 and the other in Z2. Y1 survived the attack, Z2 broke. Zeb revealed one of his pillboxes in X2 during my MPh, I think perhaps breaking who they fired at. This prompted me to start one of the 40L Matildas in that direction to provide support, ESBing to stop in Y2. After initially thinking to move Grond forward to X4, I decided to wait with it in a holding pattern in AA5 while the infantry caught up. The HSs west continued to move north on the left flank, being positioned to enfilade another concealed Japanese unit. In CC, a Japanese HS revealed itself and demonstrated how deadly the Japanese are in CC by ambushing and subsequently killing the HS in HtoH combat.

In his turn, Zeb's 75*ART that had been exposed in Y7 by advancing Aussies in Z5 pivoted and fired upon those units. A hit with no rate HOBed and rendered Berserk one squad. I think that the other occupants broke. The squad with leader successfully placed the DC on the V5 bridge, moving into U6 during the APh. Faced with Grond's emminent arrival, the concealed unit in X6 skedaddled down into the dry stream. Zeb attempted with no luck to generate a TH hero from the HS in Y1. In the DFPh, I corrected and dropped the OBA on the ART in Y7, it was inaccurate, scattering to X6. The gun crew survived the FFE.

Grond crawled on: Turn 3
During the PFPh, I found myself on the horns of a dilema. My OBA FFE was sitting on the location that my Berserk squad needed to charge, and I would need to charge through one clear hex of FFE (16 down 2) enroute and another when entering the gun's hex, and this was before facing any DF from the gun. After no little hemming and hawing, I decided to cancel the FFE. The Matilda in Y2 start firing AP rounds into the pillbox with no effect. In the MPh, the berserk squad charged the gun, only to meet with a grisly end, courtesy of a CH. I then moved a 40L Matilda in an overrun attack. The tank survived the DF, which maintained ROF, but the overrun was unsuccessful. Due to the gun maintaining ROF, I left the tank in motion in the hex.. A squad moved into Y4, only to get mowed down by the 50cal in T5. I opted for a more circumspect approach, easing the rest of the OB forward. Another squad, having in an earlier turn survived entry into Zeb's third minefield in Z3, assault moved out into Y3, surviving exit and DF. Grond Moved to X4, but I do not remember if it fired or not. I advanced three concealed squads and leader into the hex with the gun, three squads into Y4, one of which had survived fire from the 50cal during a bonehead stroll through Z4 during the MPh. Two squads, each with a 50MTR and a leader into Z4, and a HS, squad and leader into AA8 where another concealed Japanese squad waited. The squad in Y3 advanced onto the pillbox in X2, only to break and leave various precious body parts dangling on the now-revealed panji they had blundered into. CC saw the gun crew killed and the Japanese squad in AA8 CRed to a half squad and the hex left in melee.

In his turn, Zeb's PF into the stack at Y4 from both the 50cal and a MMG from a newly revealed pillbox in X3 was ineffective except to battle-harden a squad into fanatic status. In the MPh, he unleashed a HIP T-H hero on Grond in X4. It took just about every bit of firepower able to fire at the T-H hero to finally kill him. The leader and squad in U6 moved into T5. A second attempt to generate a T-H hero in Y1 failed. About this time Zeb started to mutter that he was running out of bodies to do things with. In the CCPh, the melee in AA8 ended with both sides completely dead.

Grond crawled on: Turn 4
In my PFPh, my 50MTRs fired smoke at T5 and U5 with success in T5. OBA gained battery access and tried to place a SR in T5, which was inaccurate and scattered off the board, sigh. In the PFPh, two of the three squads in Y4 fired at X3, with no effect on the Japanese in the pillbox. The tank in Y2 finally got results and reduced the crew in the X2 pillbox to a vehicular crew. In the MPh, the fanatic squad in Y4, now kitted with a RPh transferred DC, moved into Y3 and attempted to place it. Deadly accurate fire from the MMG in the pillbox ended that terminally. The three concealed squads and leader in Y7 assault moved into the hut in X6 and the Matilda in X6 moved into the dry stream in V4. Grond started the MPh with a bounding fire shot into X3. I think that it may have killed the crew in the pillbox, but I cannot be sure. It then went into motion and ended up in by-pass in W4 on the W4-X3 hexside. Elsewhere, the HSs on the left flank continued to roll up a gaggle of broken Japanese HSs to the north. There was no advance fire since everybody had shot or moved. In the APh, I eschewed moving the two squads in Y4 either into X3, figuring that I would skewer myself on more panjis, or into Y3, into the CA of the pillbox, so they stayed put. One squad with MTR advanced into Y5.

In his turn, Zeb fired the HMG out of smoke, but now directed by the 10-2 into my squads in Y4. The result was a MC that the first squad passed and the second squad rolled another snakes. The ensuing HOB DR was yet another snakes, resulting in a hero. With very little else able to fire, the turn went quickly. My AR in the DFPh scattered off the board again. In the APh, Zeb advanced a concealed unit into X3, leaving another concealed unit in W3.

Grond crawled on: Turn 5
In the PFPh, I finally drew a red card on the OBA, ending their misery, my MTRs started to home in on his kill stack in T5. In the MPh, the Matilda in Y2 started up and moved to X4 and stopped. The two squads and hero in Y4 assault moved to Y3, surviving the DF. The three squads and leader in X6 moved singly, all ending up in X4. Grond continued the bypass movement in W4, ending up in V3 with the TCA facing W3, stopped and fired again. A three on the 32 column removed the dummy stack. The last Matilda I seem to remember continued moving up the stream bed. Zeb's DF with the 50cal again did not have any effect on the squads in X4. In the APh, the squads and hero in Y3 braved the panji, remained good order and advanced into X2. The squads and leader in X4 all advanced into X3. I was happy that there were no panjis on that side. CC eliminated the Japanese units in both pillboxes, and with that, Zeb conceded.

I liked the scenario, but it has a pro-Aussie feel to it. My moves were far from perfect, but my mistakes were made up by above average dice rolling. I cannot complain. The Matilda Frog destroyed a good third of the Japanese OB all by itself. If the Japanese player can destroy that tank, they have a much better chance of holding off the Australians. Zeb was also the victim of some bad dice. Afterwards, Zeb said that in retrospect, he should have setup some things, like the ART elsewhere. Hindsight being 20-20 that perhaps may be the case. But I had a great time versus a fun and knowledgable opponent, and I was able to see some of the neat tricks that the Japanese can do. Thanks a lot, Zeb. I will approach my next PTO scenario will much less trepidation. We are now 2-2 against each other. I look forward to our next game.


No comments: