My third game at Council of Five Nations 2010 found me commanding Marines this time (rather than shooting at them!):
Cape Gloucester - 1943 * Battleground WW2 (28mm)
Game Master: Irish Marine * 6 Players * Teen14
The 3rd Battalion 5th Marines are slugging it out with the yellow peril on Aogiri Ridge on the island of Cape Gloucester. It's do or die and blood always makes the grass grow. Beginners encouraged.
In real life, there was apparently a Marine general who saved the day at Aogiri Ridge by manhandling an anti-tank gun up and over the ridge. As Marine players, our job was to accomplish the same. My partners each had a flank, and I had the center (along with the general and the anti-tank gun).
We knew it was going to be tough after the right-flank Marines were mown down approaching the first trench line!
The scenario allowed us to see the Japanese positions, but our troops couldn't fire on them until they had been "spotted." The jungle was considered to make it more difficult to spot a target, but did not block line of sight. The game system provided for random activation of units, which added a great deal of uncertainty to the play.
The Marine plan was simple: My central force would go up the middle, and the other players would provide flank support.
By the luck of the random activation system, both Marine flanking forces activated at the same time as their Japanese opponents, and were annihilated on the first turn. (Both players then received reinforcements.) By the same luck, my units were unharmed as they activated late and cautiously advanced. The anti-tank gun fires on a newly spotted Japanese bunker.
Now the second wave of right-flank Marines have charged up the foot of the ridge, only to be cut down by the first enemy trench, and a second trench that supports them. Special rules for this scenario mean that the Japanese ignore morale checks, which means we can stun them for a turn, but they jump back up the next turn - they're very hard to kill. (My troops are at the extreme left in the photo.)
On the left, the second-wave Marines still haven't pushed past the foot of the ridge. Some of my troops are edging into the woods.
Realizing that our progress is too slow, I've decided to aggressively move my men up the ridge, hoping that I'll get lucky on the random activations and get to fire before my adversaries. (The anti-tank gun is keeping the bunker suppressed.)
While the left-flank Marine player is in his own life-and-death struggle with the forward line of Japanese defenders, they've suppressed the Japanese sufficiently that more of my troops can advance in the center.
On the right side, I've got to help the right-flank Marine player clear that first trench line. I've also decided to bring my sole flamethrower Marine into the fight. (I didn't want to use him this early, but this trenchline is killing us!) Meanwhile, I can't afford to advance the anti-tank gun - it's the only thing keeping that bunker from opening up on us...
My headlong rush up the ridge has paid off, as the Marines get the jump on a Japanese defensive position and suppress them.
But my success is short-lived... the Japanese cut down my leading troops! (The Japanese players just realized that each of them thought the other was operating the central bunker... whoops!)
At last! The flamethrower clears the last living Japanese soldiers from the right-flank trench line.
But then the Japanese players suddenly realize: If they can knock out the anti-tank gun, the Marines will automatically lose this scenario. And since the jungle doesn't block line of sight, and the anti-tank gun has already been spotted, anything on the board can shoot at it! And so every gun from the top of the ridge fires on the General and his gun...
And the Marines lose the scenario.
Afterwards, Irish Marine confesses that when he playtested this scenario, the Japanese used banzai charges instead of lurking behind their fortifications. This scenario looks like it needs some adjusting...