ASL 245 The Time of Humiliations

The Japanese sweep forward. Hopefully.. otherwise I will have lost the game.



This has a great scenario title and without context I instantly think of teenage attempts to 'date' 'the time of humiliations' fits perfectly...Or perhaps the amount of games you lose when learning the system...And erm after learning the system.

Actually this references a bad period for the Vichy French Army in Indochina though to be frank I am a little at a loss for anything that would not be a bad period for the Vichy French. Perhaps when they prevented British raids in the Middle East. Anyway, my lack of knowledge about this particular armies World War Two's history aside, this sees a large force of decent Vichy French (the 3rd Battalion 9th Colonial Infantry) holding either a village or preventing exit of a third larger force of Japanese - 5th Canton Infantry Division (quality wise the Japanese are an even mix of 1st and 2nd line troops). Both sides have tanks. Well the Japanese have some tanks (two Type 95 Ha-Go tanks) and two 97B Te-Ke light armoured cars. The French get some middle scenario reinforcements with some motorcycle infantry and three FT-17 Infantry support tanks (WW1 types really).


Setup

I am the Japanese here and am not going for subtle. Never the IJA's strong point. My plan (should it deserve that sobriquet) is to storm into the French defenders as quickly as possible and roll the dice in combat. This will probably be a recipe for disaster but should prove amusing.




Setup plus showing the huge mass of terrain to get over before even getting close to the target village to the left/board edge

Turns 1-2 

This is an old school scenario. The Japanese (me) have eight turns to get all the way over a long board and the first two turns are essentially slowly manoeuvring to get close to fight start whilst avoiding accidental easy LOS. Unfortunately due to my parked tanks I missed an obvious sight line and took a long range 6 down 3... shot from a French medium machine gun that rolled a 3 and killed my 10-1 officer and a first line squad. Oh great. Then I managed to roll snake eyes on an acquiring shot against a French full squad plus light machine gun in the woods at Q5. It did not crit and the normal IIFT roll did nothing. Apart from that it was a lot of movement and not a lot else. I think I prefer scenarios where there is less 'marching across the board' and more fighting early. Meh. Not much else to say.

Position at the end of Vichy French Turn Two. My unerring capacity to break my main armament can be seen as well.


During the gap between sessions one of those examples of how hard it is to know all the rules occurred. I had had niggling doubts about how we handled the critical hit on the wood from the tank on the ITT and had vaguely remembered an article I had read somewhere that went into some details of how these were worked out. I couldn't find it so dived into google which eventually led to a Bushido article  .  Since then I carried out some research and worked out what we 'should' have done (I say 'I' I asked on facebook and gamesquad and learned from players who are much better with the rules) and even wrote an article explaining it on blog here


In game I took a shot with a tank (mainly to get an acquire) and rolled snake eyes. After working out it was a hit there was some confusion as to whether it was a critical and in the end decided it would be if I rolled a '1' on a dr.   I rolled and rolled a three so we said 'no critical' so rolled a four flat on the IFT which did nothing versus an eight down one which might have done something (on the rule of 7 that is a one morale check which on the rule of 7 again says the defender would more likely fail). Meh.. that would have potentially wiped a defender who could not get out of the wood therefore would be captured along with his Light machine gun. Oh well lesson learnt.


were more effective than we played them. Cant work out what the bloke on the rear tank is actually trying to do.

 

Before re-starting I had a hard look at the board as I now had the task that a lot of infantry faced during the war of getting up and moving closer to the defenders without much cover. My initial idea was to perhaps move the tanks down to the South and to overrun the four groups there mainly as there were obvious painful vertical/diagonal fire lanes to hurt me badly (especially in the centre). I worked out I could 'just' do it with all movement points. But I was still scarred by losing tanks to the Germans last scenario and would have to be exact in movement otherwise it would fail. I therefore switched to trying to draw the machine gun fire out instead.

 

Turns 3-4.5

 

First up I sent a couple of squads double timing round the south to try to draw fire. Apart from a stripe it did not get a lot of fire so next up the tanks rolled forward and parked facing the French village. I was going to try smoke but only belatedly realised the armoured cars did not have any and the light tanks only had any after 1944 so 'no'.Then it was a case of providing some tempting targets and trying to avoid nasty negatives. It was more successful than I hoped though a huge number of 'threes' were rolled by my opponent which resulted in one of my squads vaporising, two striping and the  only recompense being a full French squad with light machine gun was broken (handy for me as it had not shot yet. It just happened to be the squad that avoided taking the critical detailed above so maybe the ASL gods were getting involved).


End of turn 3 with several French units removed after my tactical left hook drove the line back.

 

My main 'break' turn three was that both knee mortars fired White Phosphorus  and both rolled low enough to hit and several morale checks were failed causing the French medium machine gun to be dropped as an officer and squad routed off whilst a further squad and a half were removed for failure to rout.

 

Turn four though I drove three of my tank(ettes) into bypass by the woods whilst the infantry moved up close and I took some Close combat risks. The bloody French half squad with the ATR in the North of the map which had shrugged of four to five morale checks the previous turn continued to prove a thorn in my side by vaporising another squad with another low roll before wiping out ANOTHER squad in close combat (and went down itself at the same time). Elsewhere a French officer went berserk on a snake eyes rally and we mucked up another rule in the tank combats.


End of Turn 4. The bottom melee contains the incorrectly immobilised tank.

 

I had not known that Street fighting applied automatically to bypassing tanks (which seems something I should know but this is certainly a problem with intermittent playing) so my lead tank looked in serious difficulty with a squad and a negative one officer using Reaction Fire to attack. The roll initially was just an immobilisation but in the later Close Combat phase we did not know if street fighting or having fired impacted the subsequent combat roll (street fighting still does and firing doesn't as its post phase) my opponent just rolled the dice and unless it was close we would look into it in the week off. It was close with a 'nine' so we resolved to stop and look into it during the gap between play. The problem there was that as I dived back in the rules post game I rapidly noticed we had done the first combat wrong (and actually in the previous game). My oppo took the squad CCV (five) added two for the SMC to make seven then used the officer leadership number (minus one) to make eight then added street fighting bonus (minus one) to make nine then took two off for motion to make a base danger number of 'seven'. He then rolled seven so immobilised the tank. What he should have done was added plus one for the officer IF the officer was fighting with the squad (and using his leadership number, the 'two' for the SMC is for a SMC fighting on his own) and then the others so the initial danger number was actually six and the attack failed. In the second attack it would have remained six (or eight if the immobilisation stuck) and the nine failed again.  Now apologies for the detailed rule dive (again) but it does cover something important about the game in that you are often confronted or success is impacted by rules you don't know/get wrong or have always gotten wrong. The key is to learn and do better next time. 




some of the strongest tanks of the (previous) world war


Now as this is a friendly game I have left it up to my opponent as to whether the tank is immobilised as we noticed the mistake a phase after it occurred. It did not impact anything so doing it correctly should not be an issue but equally I am happy to follow the base rule of 'once another action has occurred you cant re-adjust' though in that case my chances of success will drop and I will be trying less for winning the scenario as my options will have been constrained again. I'm probably not verbalising this well but am basically trying to say that rule failures help improve your game by fixing the correct method in your head and nothing helps memory more than a rule causing a game loss and that such game losses are fine as they show you are improving (I seem to have a much worse reaction against game losses caused by bad dice mainly as that seems to 'waste' what can be a considerable amount of time spent on a game)


French 4- Japanese 5


Back to the game and lots going on. The tank remained immobilised so I decided to switch to 'test' play where I try out stuff I normally would not to see what would occur in a live playing situation. The French moved on their reinforcements and in a taste of things to come I had a 6 down 1 versus a unit in open ground that did nothing and the 2 flat that that same squad threw back in the advance phase rolled another of the seven threes the French managed to (continue the trait from last week) roll in these two turns and striped my squad. I did better in the woods. My initial 28 up 2 (it would have been 30 up 2 but a 4 up 1 French shot managed a three (surprise) and striped another attacker) failed to hurt the French officer and squad but the follow up from next door broke, casualty reduced and ELR'd the squad and made this officer berserk as well. The key thing was that the officer just attacks at 4 (SMC, street fighting, immobilised) so had it harder and he failed. The tank though managed to wipe the withdrawing squad out with the helpful extra minus 4 (if the tank had not been immobilised then the squad would be under a CC counter so could rout out without restrictions. As it was immobilised they were stuck in combat)


In the Japanese turn I then moved into complete 'test' mode' I ran a striped squad into the woods with the berserk officer on on SMC Overrun and managed to kill him, evacuated the crew who scrounged a light machine gun on the way. Then I  moved the big stack through to try and threaten the South of the Village. Two of the stack were pinned though which sucked. Next up I moved a tank (after passing the radio TC) and tried to bypass the squad with a light machine gun in the middle of the village. Unfortunately the Light machine gun managed to immobilise the tank just before the bypass. Then it was my chance to try a Banzai so I launched two squads and the 8-0 at the East end of the village. Both were striped coming in but survived the triple point blank fire of the in hex stuff. Somewhat unexpectedly I won both the resultant melees without dying helped by a later French 'three' that caused my only successful sniper activation that pinned one of the defenders.


I also launched another tank bypass and two tiny combats with 1 factor troops which both unsurprisingly failed. The French needed ten-eleven to kill and I six but it was reasonable odds so why not?


Another stop here as the previous single turn was fairly rule intensive. I did briefly consider an early concede here. The chances of a win are probably around 10% now but there is still useful information to be learnt and given the opposite of last turn (I get seven to eight threes and my opponent fails around half of all morale checks) and things could change so I will give it another week.




The Japanese are in the village but numbers are dropping...

Final Turns


I thought the final session of the game would be quite quick as it turned out we ran through a good couple of hours. The issue (if it could be called that) was that I had an excellent round of shooting and  a further successful Banzai and the French were dying in droves with the French lead tank shot up by my immobilised (shocked it then a second shot caused a burning wreck) and the French middle tank immobilised by a French ATR (hohoho) (the crew vacated it and were then broken as they abandoned). It looked , temporarily, as if the Japanese might have a chance after all but then with some wise troop movements the French made a solid defence of the last few buildings. That would have been overrun able but the troops I had left behind to protect the village rear were weak and with two spectacular combats (one by one of the reinforcing squads and the other by the cursed mortar dragging half squad) I lost two close combats and did nothing in return and lost control of my rear.

 

Nicely played by my opponent as he lived through one of 'those' turns..


The Victorious French held a fashion parade to celebrate


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