Thursday, January 23, 2014

AAR: J159 Tropic Lightning

Brian Roundhill
Americans: Rick Reinesch
Japanese: Brian Roundhill
Reproduced from Picture of defensive setup is available there.
First game day of the year, matched up against the champion of the 2013 North Texas Shootout, Rick Reinesch. If you do not know Rick yet, you should, either as fantastic director of the Austin Team Tournament, editor of Banzai, member of the Bounding Fire staff, or the all around great guy that he is.

Tropic Lightning is the return to Manila, with a superior American force attacking a tenacious and tricky Japanese defense. The Americans must control all the stone buildings, which means the scenario will usually hinge upon two separate building areas - 56R4/Q5 and 56Z1/Z2. The first is the usual board 56 stronghold, while the latter are located farthest away from the American setup area. This means the Japanese must determine how to slow the American assault in the first half of the village while also preventing any flank detachments.

The MMG and MTR on board 35 has the job of shooting riders, while the Gun eliminates vehicles. The Set DC is in the most likely location for an AFV to shoot Smoke from, and Tank Hunter Heroes can be setup as desired. The plan is for Infantry reinforcements to defend the 56Z1/Z2 complex, and the AFV reinforcements can be used as necessary or desired.

Rick brought his Americans straight up board 56 to begin with. His tank destroyer moved into the HIP DC Location, but I got greedy and hoped for a Sherman to move through as well. Net result - wasted DC. The Japanese duig-in tanks stalled the American AFVs in the centre and right, but two Stuarts meandered along the board 56 edge and through a couple of huts, push the Japanese on that side back towards the centre. The American firepower took its usual toll, and my Japanese started melting.

The Japanese AFVs came on turn 2 - half heading to the rear of the battlefield for the final combat, while the other half moved into positions for a tank battle. Two Japanese AFVs snuck around and into the 35N10 woods and eliminated one US tank at the cost of both Japanese AFVs. The US halftracks raced along the board 56 battle edge, carrying troops as far as possible.

The finale came, and the Japanese were ready. With two turns left, several Japanese squads were in the 56Z1/Z2 area as well as in 56X1/X2. The MMG and crew took up residence in 56W5 while two AFVs lurked behind the bamboo in 56X5/X6. The US AFV swarm came as expected, and took out the Japanese AFVs with a couple of losses, but the final stone buildings remained strong. The final rush into firepower and residual resulted in no American troops able to get into the final victory buildings.

Final thoughts: This scenario revolves around those final buildings, and the Americans must find a way to get firepower onto them by Turn 5. Otherwise they will come up short and lose. With my setup, Rick did the correct thing by not racing down board 35, but I believe he neede to find a time and/or a way to race some riders earlier than he did. Perhaps the Stuarts on the opposite side of the battle needed to load up and portage the troops.

I also discovered I need to learn more Japanese tricks to combat US firepower.  
-- Brian Roundhill

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