Alaska's War #2
|(Attacker) United States||vs||Japan (Defender)|
|Japan||303rd Independent Infantry Battalion|
|United States||7th Infantry Division|
|Overall Rating, 7 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 584 of 609|
|Parent Game||Alaska's War|
|Layout Dimensions||88 x 58 cm
35 x 23 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Battle of the Bulge||counters|
The Japanese chose not to contest the initial landings on Attu, awaiting the Americans on higher ground. The constant heavy fog made the landings difficult, but also hid the Americans from the garrison. The Japanese do not seem to have been aware of the invasion until the first Americans were already ashore and the American battleships began their bombardment. The first serious clash of arms came on the eastern edge of Massacre Valley, as the 2nd battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment approached the ridge line there.
Japanese fire halted the Americans, and their subsequent attempts to take the ridge failed as well. When night fell the battalion commander ordered his men to halt and dig in, to try again the next day with the help of just-landed artillery.
|American Infantry fights the Japanese and the Cold|
May 11, 1943 – Americans land on Attu. Under the heavy fog they march forward only to be ambushed by the Japanese awaiting on the hills.
(visibility = 8 hexes due to heavy fog)
1800 American forces land and enter in the southeast. Their objective is the hill to the west. No Japanese are in sight. The Americans start their hard slog through the muskeg.
It isn’t until almost 2000 that the first Japanese are encountered in the south. Meanwhile in the centre the combination of Japanese mortars and muskeg are disrupting the formations.
As night begins to fall the Americans find a hole in the Japanese line and exploit it, gaining the hill.
In the centre the first American casualty is sustained in the muskeg.
At the 3 hour mark the cold weather sets in, as the first of the American platoons reaches the 40m heights.
Feeling the cold and time pressure the Americans try to push through the centre but are intercepted by the Japanese.
The cry of “Banzai!” can be heard as the Japanese assault the Americans in the dark of night. The Americans suffer severe casualties.
More Japanese troops move southward to block the Americans.
The US obtains their first skirmish victory as their troops on the hill silence the Japanese mortars.
With only 75 minutes to go the Americans begin to rush up the hill as quickly as possible. Some stragglers hear the “Banzai!” call and are also eliminated.
Finally, the remaining portion of the American battalion gains the heights, but a lucky long range attack by Japanese HMGs cuts down half a platoon.
The two sides exchange fire as the clock strikes 2300.
1 casualty inflicted
4 full and 2 half platoons at 50m
2 full platoons and 3 half platoons eliminated
4 American steps still in the muskeg.
Americans needed two thirds of their force at 40m to obtain victory (twice as many VPs). They only managed half.
This was a fun battle and used as an introduction to teach My Butterfly the PG system. She thought it was a lot of fun both with the hidden units and then firing (and eliminating!) my American forces.
A decent quick scenario. The muskeg rules make for some excessive dice rolling, but besides that there is very little to fault. Victory conditions seem fairly balanced, but possible a bit hard on the Americans who are really under severe time constraints.
Scenario Rating 3/5 – Good little scenario with hidden units. Worth playing.
|Alaska's War Scenario 2 Gilbert Ridge|
The Axis set up on the 40 meter Arctic Hill on the southern end of the ridge dug in. The Allies enter on 0301 on 1st turn & march north on clear terrain making two columns. On turn 3 the Allies get the initiative and begin to move across the muskeg toward the ridge line. Needless to say the advance became ragged with several units becoming mired. Then the thunderstorm came just as the allied units were becoming visible to the Axis mortars. This gave time for the Allies to close up their strung out column. Just as the Allies got to the 20 meter hill line the cold weather set in. Despite this the Allies were able to knock out the southern most axis position opening the way for the rest of column to gain the 40 meter heights. At 2130 the Axis decided to counter attack & assaulted the northern most Allied position. This assault eliminated 3 Allied steps. At 2145 the Allies counter attacked & eliminated a Japanese step and demoralized another. This pattern of assault and counter assault went back and forth for several turns. When the smoke cleared the Axis had only 3 steps left. The allies though had scored only 19 points to the Japanese 10. Japanese victory by one point. Close one. This scenario was fun but difficult to play for both sides. Both sides could win most certainly. A single demoralized unit on the 40 meter hill was the difference in this scenario. My Lt. Presley O'Bannon (8-0-1) survived with a net gain of 2 points. He was heavily engaged in assault four times and under direct fire three times. He failed MCs twice but passed four others. He eliminated 2 Axis steps in assault.
|Racin' to the Ridge|
As evening approached on May 11, 1943, units from the 7th US Infantry Division that had landed on the island of Attu moved north in heavy fog and encountered elements of the Japanese 303rd Independent Infantry Battalion that were dug in on Gilbert Ridge. By 1845 hours, the American units were beginning to take fire from both mortars and HMG’s on the ridge. They advanced across the muskeg, reaching the ridge about 1945. As darkness set in, there were US units on the lower ridge and meeting stiff resistance from the Japanese troops that had gathered there. Although slowed by the Japanese fire, five US platoons made it to the top of the ridge by 1930. They were able to eliminate the Japanese HMG platoon at 2200 and took control of the south end of the ridge before calling it a day, but several troops were still bivouacked below the ridge.
This scenario has it all in terms of Aleutian conflict: muskeg, arctic hills and cold weather. Objectives include control of the 40-meter ridge hexes and step elimination for the US, and prevention of US ridge control for the Japanese. The US strategy here was to move quickly toward the ridge, not even taking turns to return Japanese fire. Movement across the muskeg went fairly well for the Americans, getting as far as possible before the cold weather rules set in and made it harder to recover from the inevitable disruption of the muskeg. With most of their firepower intact, the Americans were able to eventually overpower the limited Japanese resources and get some viable units to the 40-meter ridge, but not enough for the victory. It was close as the US ended up with 17 VP’s (9 steps on the ridge and 8 Japanese steps eliminated), while the Japanese had 10 VP’s (7 US steps still on the muskeg and 3 eliminated), so the US did not achieve double the Japanese total needed for victory.
|Alaska’s War, scenario #2: Gilbert Ridge|
Again, the Japanese setup too far back for the Americans to do anything in 20 turns and the Japanese win easily. Not much to say about this one! I feel all the scenarios are pretty good in Alaska’s War with the exception of this one & #6, as I have now played them all, so I guess two bad ones out of 11 isn’t too bad but they should have been caught in production.
|A Ridge Too Far -Historical Outcome-US plan unraveled like a cheap sweater|
Summary: Though this scenario lists 1 US win, I cannot find it in the AARs - all are listed as a Japanese win. I agree this scenario makes it extremely improbable for the US to reach the 40m ridge crest, much less achieve victory if the Japanese player is playing with half a brain.
Japanese Plan: The Japs did not draw strong leaders. The plan was to dig-in and hide at the base of the ridge and decimate the US as it tried to cross the muskeg. If the Japs needed to reposition, they would be able to move parallel to any US movements. The 81mm would be used to harass the US, but with the terrain, there was little probability of doing any damage with indirect fire. The plan was to be able to use the 81mm and leave it exposed to spot the US and prevent force marching/strategic movement as best as possible. The Jap line was centered on 2 x HMGs in 1205 flanked by 2 x INF PLTs each hex with leaders. and the 81mm where it could spot an US attempt to enter the muskeg on the 04xx line.
US Plan: With a very strong CPT and LTs, the US decided to try to attack to seize the ridge line quickly across the muskeg to get to the ridge as quickly as possible with the expectation they had to get into the hills before cold weather set in for any chance at success.
Execution. The US formation seemed textbook as it set out across the muskeg. 3 PLTs abreast as a screen, followed by 6 PLTs with LTs who could combine hexes for a firing line, followed by 22PTs worth of HMG for fire support and a maneuver reserve. The US proceeded with only harassing mortar and artillery fire until 1915hrs when they spotted a part of the hidden Japanese defensive line. The Japanese decided to expose all hidden units and opportunity fire at maximum range on the US. They successfully demoralized the front three platoons and then contined to mass fires on one hex and causing the 1st US step loss through demoralization.
The US column was generally pinned until 2030 in the Muskeg until it was able to slightly suppress the northern Japanese flank as darkness fell, causing one Jap leader to dessert. To take advantage of the opportunity, the US had to split forces. Sending the bulk of forces Northwest, and 2 x PLTs southwest with a leader.
However, US forces could not get to the ridgeline fast enough as cold weather settled in and the Japanese interior lines were able to respond to the US movement and get opportunity fire on them each time they came to the base of the ridge.
In the south, 2 x Japanese platoons were able to completely destory the southern US company through two "12" rolls on direct fire and then a BANZAI into the remaining platoon. Killing 4 steps and a MAJOR. this decaptiation further delayed US efforts.
The last ditch effort to break the Jap line in the north and make it onto the ridge was thwarted with the Japanese decisively one initiative twice and cut down 2 more US steps and demoralized the front firing line.
By 2200, there was no chance the US could make it up the ridge to the 40m heights before the end of the scenario With that, the remaining hour was spent consolidating forces in muskeg and getting out of Japanese LOS until they could try again the next day with reinforcements.
US. This is a scenario that might benefit from two-three separate efforts in order to cause a dilemma for the Japanese Player. One massed formation did not work once it ran up against the integrated defense of the Japanese. I DID fail to place the US 81mm on the board, but I don't think it would have made much of a difference.
Japanese: Don't hide all your units. Keep a unit exposed to either deceive the US as to where your concentration is, or to deny his ability to use strategic movement is key. Also, I believe being dug-in at the base of the ridge gives you maximum protection, while you should aim to engage him in the muskeg as far out as possible to disrupt his movement.
Results: 20 Japanese Victory Points ( 7 US eliminated steps (33% casualties), and eliminated senior US commander - no US on the ridgeline); 0 US Victory Points (no Japanese steps, 1 junior officer casualty).
DECISIVE JAPANESE VICTORY