It’s tons of fun and I’m actually doing well!
(Ok, I’m actually 6 months in, but I had to take June off due to previously-mentioned bad times).
I went into this month’s game with a 3-1 record. Not bad!
This month, I was playing against Vlad M, a very gracious guy from the Midwest USA. We managed to coordinate a Saturday afternoon game this last weekend.
This scenario has the Australians (me) facing off against the Japanese (Vlad). The Australians are split up a little bit and the Japanese are desperately trying to breakout through their lines.
A couple of special rules:
Thankfully the Australians get enough foxholes for all of their units as well as a Heavy Machine-Gun that may really help with any Charges.
I did a pretty standard setup for the Australians and Vlad strung the Japanese out up and down the map (some players I’ve seen do a couple of concentrations in the north and south).
(You can click on the pictures to see them full size)
The Japanese set up last so that Vlad knew how I was positioned, and then they get to move first.
Then we began.
The first thing Vlad did was bring in a radio using an Asset Request! It helps to know what the next card in the deck is (thanks to the Reconnoiter order).
It was only 81 mm artillery, but it did come in handy for him.
Vlad’s next order was to move the units in the north.
That went well for everybody except for the leader himself, Lt. Atsuda. He and the squad that was with him broke under thunderous Australian Opportunity Fire. Sadly, those were the only units that broke.
That was unfortunate for him.
On the Australian turn, I fired at him again to try and kill him. We passed the Initiative back and forth a couple of times until finally I kept it and rolled something good, which ended up killing both him and the squad.
Losing a 2-leadership leader on the first turn is not a good start.
Japanese artillery broke the squad with Sgt. Phillips but they quickly recovered.
Spoiler alert: that was the last Revive card the Australians ever saw.
The Australians tried to do even more devastating damage to the Japanese southern flank by killing the leader there, but sadly only the squad with him broke.
That fire also caused the first Time trigger! Since the Australians start off well in the lead and the Japanese can really only win by causing the Australians to surrender (they’d have to exit a lot of units, even with the extra VP for it, to make up the deficit, especially when the Australians are getting points for killing Japanese units too), Time triggers are great for the Australians.
That did bring Atsuda back, but small victories.
Then the Japanese got Air Support! I guess taking place in 1942 will allow that to happen. Thankfully the subsequent dive bombing had no effect.
Vlad played an Asset Denied card to break the HMG, but thankfully I had an Asset Request card to quickly fix it.
Another Japanese squad was toasted in the south by Australian fire. Lt. Ishabashi broke but was quickly revived and the Japanese continued their slow advance.
When would the inevitable Charge come?
Not before the Japanese fire broke the weapons team on the HMG!!!
Remember how I said that the Australians did not see another Revive card?
The HMG was out of action for the rest of the game!
(I just now realized that the team could have transferred it to the squad with an Advance order…oops)
More fire back and forth and another Time trigger. Time was starting to count down.
Then the Charge came!
Lots of card draws back and forth as everybody was moving and the Australians fired on every move (even though some were just 4 firepower potshots).
Though unluckily one of the Japanese morale checks caused a sniper that broke one of the Australian northern squads. They would no longer be able to defend against the Charge!
Australian Air Support also arrived during the Charge and the bomber subsequently broke a Japanese leader later in the game.
The Japanese deck also ran out, making things even more dicey for the Japanese.
A blaze broke out in a hex occupied by a broken Japanese squad adjacent to the broken Australian squad, so they used that opportunity to enter melee.
The Japanese had an Ambush card and the Australians didn’t, so that squad was quickly gone.
As the Australians discarded, the Japanese advanced in the north, getting way too close to the Australian lines. Thankfully, on the Australian turn, the dive bomber came in and broke Lt. Atsuda!
Unbeknownst to me, that prevented a mass assault on my foxholes, as Atsuda could no longer command the squads right next to me. Broken, he only had a leadership range of 1 hex and they were 2 hexes away.
Instead, only the squad in E4 could advance into melee.
During the subsequent melee, Vlad pulled a sniper that eliminated the weapons team! Bye-bye, HMG (though again, I should have transferred it first).
The Australians fended off the attacking squad, though they were broken by an ambush.
Then came the second charge. All of those broken units rally! They lose any suppression they have! And they start moving forward.
During the charge, another Australian Time Trigger!
We were one round away from Sudden Death.
Not nearly the same carnage as the first one (though most of the units in the south didn’t move)
The Japanese were still moving closer, and with another Advance order, Sgt. Swanton in the north was in trouble!
Not only that, but a Japanese Walking Wounded event caused an Australian squad to revive…right on top of Lt. Ishibashi!
Things could be looking bleak for the Australians.
The Walking Wounded squad died, but on the next melee roll, the Japanese rolled a Time trigger! Without the Initiative, they couldn’t redo it.
Vlad rolled a 7 (less than an 8 would be enough to finish) and the game ended with the Australians at 23 points.
This was such a great game. When the HMG was killed and the Japanese started rolling forward, I was seriously wondering if I would survive.
If the game hadn’t ended from Sudden Death and he would have had one more round, it’s very possible that he would have forced me to Surrender.
Just for fun, we finished the other two melees and both would have ended in mutual annihilation! I think I would have been one or two units away from Surrender at that point.
Vlad was a great and gracious opponent. He definitely showed his skill and the scenario could have gone either way.
This puts me at 4-1 in the Ladder! I was #17 so I should be up near #10 next month.
Next month we’re going back to Europe with a scenario from the Stalingrad Battle Pack.
I’m looking forward to it!
Combat Commander Ladder – After Action Reports
May 2021 – Scenario #112 – Sonnenwende
July 2021 – Scenario #23 – No Man’s Land
August 2021 – Scenario #34 – Encircled at Hill 30
September 2021 – Scenario A – Grassy Knoll
October 2021 – Scenario M6 – Breakout
November 2021 – Scenario #35 – Spartakovka Salient
December 2021 – Scenario #51 – The Uneasy Wait
January 2022 – Scenario #65 – Road Trip
February 2022 – Scenario #75 – Sturmgruppe Beton
March 2022 – Scenario #90 – The Man Who Would Be King
April 2022 – Scenario LoM9 – Operation Mercury
May 2022 – Scenario #119 – Sky Fall
June 2022 – Scenario #9 – Rush to Contact
July 2022 – Scenario #14 – At the Crossroads
August 2022 – Scenario #30 – Red Skies At Night
September 2022 – Scenario E – West Tank Barrier
October 2022 – Scenario M4 – Templeton’s Crossing
November 2022 – Scenario #41 – The Commissar House
December 2022 – Scenario #53 – Deeds Not Words
January 2023 – Scenario #67 – The Orient Express