Alaska's War #6
|(Attacker) United States||vs||Japan (Defender)|
|Japan||Adak-Attu Occupation Force|
|United States||7th Infantry Division|
|Overall Rating, 6 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 606 of 609|
|Parent Game||Alaska's War|
|Maps||2: AK1, DR4|
|Layout Dimensions||116 x 88 cm
46 x 35 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Battle of the Bulge||counters|
On the far left of the American Northern Force's landings, the 7th Infantry Division's Provisional Battalion (its scout company and recon company, without their vehicles) landed at the mouth of an isolated valley and marched inland. When they reached the pass leading toward Holtz Bay, they ran into fearsome resistance.
The American battleships Nevada and Idaho emptied their magazines of high-explosive shells on fire missions against the possible Japanese positions in and around the nameless pass. Yet the Japanese endured, helped by the heavy fog and sheer stubbornness. When the battalion commander called off the attack by his exhausted men the Japanese still held the pass. "Japanese tactics comprise fighting with machine guns and snipers concealed in rain washes or in holes or trenches dug in each side and at varying heights of hill along narrow passes leading through mountain masses," reported Gen. Albert E. Brown, the 7th Division's commander. "These positions are difficult to locate and almost impossible to shoot out with artillery. They produce casualties in excess of casualties which can be returned." Unimpressed, Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner of the Alaska Defense Command fired Brown the next day.
|1 Errata Item|
The Japanese receive no OBA.
(PG-Tank Dude on 2010 Apr 30)
|Heartbreak Ridge -US snatches defeat from the jaws of victory|
Bottom Line - contrary to other AARs, this turned out to be a real cliff hanger and came down to the last roll. I REALLY wanted to prove the U.S. could win and they almost did it... wiping out the Japanese accept for 1 reduced INF step, and that platoon would not go down and was able to prevent U.S. victory conditions by being able to range 3 hexes with direct fire.
IMPORTANT: To give the U.S. any fair expectation of winning, players must play with the Strategic Movement Optional Rule. This will also benefit the Japanese by allowing the American to take more risk of being ambushed with an additional column shift.
Casualties: U.S. kill ratio was 3:1 -Japan: 16 of 17 steps eliminated, 1 reduced INF survived, all leaders survived -U.S.: 5 steps eliminated (all INF), all leaders survived
Situation: The scenario basically allows the U.S. mass his entire force and approach from along any of 3 ridge lines. The American can split his force or advance through the Muskeg, but at his peril. Advancing along the arctic hills in the fog will help mitigate Japanese advantages.
Japanese Plan: The Japanese dilemma is to decide to mass forces along a 1 or 2 ridge lines and risk choosing the wrong American avenue of advance, or attempt to defend a little bit on each ridgeline in the hopes that he can delay the Americans long enough for his other forces to reposition and establish a blocking position or infiltrate within range of the American corridor to prevent American victory conditions.
The Japanese leaders were OK but lackluster ( CPT 1-9-0, LTs 0-9-1, 0-9-1, 0-9-1, 0-8-0)
The Japanese player chose to guard along each ridge line. 1 INF and the Mortars in the North, 2 INF in the central corridor, the CPT and 2 x HMGs took up positions on the small central hill to overwatch both the central corridor and the north slope of the large southern ridge line corridor., 3 x INF were dug in on the north, central, and southern portion of the sourther corridor ridge line on Board 4. Their mission was to defend in order to delay American Advance, and on contact with the enemy, unengaged sectors were to reinforce in order to deny American victory conditions.
American Plan: The American leader draw was fairly strong.
7th ID chose to advance along the southern slope of the southern ridge line (Board 4) in order to anchor their corridor on the southern muskeg in order to make it easier to defend their flanks and prevent Japanese infiltration and interdiction from only the northern flank. They would use strategic movement until contact was made and use Alsakan Scouts 3 hexes in front of the main body and the cover of the Hills to mitigate any chance of surprise. The Battle Ships would establish a kill box ( hexes 1229 to 1626) along the northern eastern slope of the American avenue of advance, in order to destroy forces in place and disrupt any reinforcement/counterattack efforts on the American left flank. Finally a small task force (1 x INF, 1 x HMG, 1 -9-0 LT) was dispatched with the mission to guard the left flank of the main body by setting up a blocking position vicinity of hex 0922 (bd 4) to prevent Japanese reinforcement from the north.
Summary: The American Plan almost worked perfectly. The Alaskan Scouts discovered the first Japanese in Hex 1620 on Turn 4 (0700) and this allowed the American Main body to maneuver south and make contact with the southernmost Japanese Platoon. The Japanese HMGs repositioned to Hex 1622 as well as the PLT on the North slope in 1321 repositioned to 1621. The Mortars and INF platoons from the other ridge lines used strategic movement to move south, but ultimately kept getting bogged in the muskeg. The U.S. overwhelmed Hex 2022 Jap INF around 1000, losing a step in the process. Just in time to turn the force toward the newly dug-in Jap Positions after they got pummeled with battleship OBA at 0930. The Battleships killed two steps and demoralized an HMG that basically would be combat ineffective and never rally until the end of the game, where it was killed again by assault and battleship OBA. For the remainder of the game the main effort became trying to dislodge the Japanese defenses in Hexes 1620,1621,and 1622 because they could range the very edge of the US corridor to prevent victory. From 1015-1045, the initial American Assault went well, killing 6 Japanese steps, for 3 American steps. American mortars were stellar, rolling snake eyes for 3 turns in a row and earning some significant results. Japanese attempts to reinforce failed dismally. At the base of the Northeastern slope, the American blocking force successfully established a position in Hex 0922 by 1100hrs and was able to range Japanese reinforcements in the muskeg. The blocking force successfully gunned down all Japanese in the muskeg or while the Japs tried to break the blocking position in assault. These two platoons (~15% of U.S. force) accounted for 7 Japanese steps (40% of the Japanese force). Meanwhile the U.S. remain locked in close assault on the three Japanese dug-in positions, from 1100 to 1245 they failed to yield a decisive result and had to pullback as the BattleShip artillery approached. OBA in the final turns killed the last Japanese HMG, but failed to shake the lone remaining reduced platoon at 1300. In one last desperate measure, U.S. direct fire and assault forces went into hex 1621 after the battleships once again prepped the target area, but failed to destroy or demoralize the 0-8-0 LT and his valiant platoon. The Americans had culminated just one hex shy of victory.
|Alaska's War #6 Excess Casulties or Muskeg Madness|
The Axix were dumbfounded when they read the victory conditions and looked at the board for this scenario. They promptly set up on bd 4 in hex 1318 with the mortar platoon dug in with infantry support. The rest of the Axis force were dug in around the mortar position. The allies then spent 30 turns advancing on the axis positions failing a few activations along the way. The game ended with the Allies still a number of hexes away from axis positions with no contact made. This allowed the axis to claim victory because there was no five hex wide corridor from west to east that was not under axis direct or BOMBARDMENT fire. Axis win. The playtester must have suffered from muskeg madness when playtesting this scenario, not to mention the designer. This is a ailment common to players of Alaska's war. A certain numbness sets in after about three scenarios.
|Alaska’s War, scenario #6: Excess Casualties|
I had to set this one up on the dinning room table, as two desert maps are too large for my normal playing area and Alaska’s War scenarios usually play out pretty fast. Once I set it up however, I realized as another gamer had already mentioned, that there is no way for the Americans with the small quantity of forces in this scenario can cover the area required to win and the time is too short as well, they have no chance unless the Japanese really setup very poorly. After playing most of the scenario from this supplement, I pulled the plug on this one and called it a Japanese victory. This one is kind of messed up! Good thing there are other much better ones.
|Clearing the Path|
At 0615 on May 14, 1943, elements of the American 7th Infantry Division moved east toward Holtz Bay on the island of Attu. The came under fire from Japanese units of the Adak-Attu Occupation Force at 0630 hours as they advanced east up the north ridge flanked by a line of battleship support fire in the valley on their right. When the Japanese saw the advance on the ridge, they began to shift some forces from the other ridges to assist but had to muck through the muskeg to get there. By 0800, one Japanese infantry platoon had arrived to support the HMG units on the north ridge. The US had destroyed one HMG nest by 0845, and the other Japanese units on the north ridge retreated east. By 1030, the last Japanese infantry and HMG units on the ridge had been cleared, and a safe corridor north of the ridge established. At 1115, three more Japanese infantry platoons arrived from the south on the east end of the ridge, but they were forced back into the muskeg within a half hour by the advancing US contingent. At 1300, the US eliminated a Japanese infantry platoon that threatened the corridor, and the corridor was secured again for good at 1315 hours
The objective of this scenario involves the US being able to trace a 5-hex corridor that is free of Japanese fire across the East-West axis of the playable map. This involves a bit of a guessing game since the Americans note four hexes that will receive a 70 OBA blast every other turn prior to the Japanese setting up their hidden units. It was decided that since the Americans would advance on the north ridge to just lay the fire down in the adjacent valley to the south and protect the corridor north of the ridge itself. Japanese hidden units were managed by the solo method described in the 4th edition rules with the mortar unit centrally placed to cover a large portion of the terrain. This scenario seemed particularly difficult for the Japanese despite their morale advantage because of the need to maintain cover on all potential east-west routes, while the Americans can concentrate their forces to establish a single corridor. Using the board edge as one side of the corridor makes it relatively easy to isolate those spaces given the overwhelming firepower of the US versus the need for the Japanese to spread their limited units. Even though the Japanese had remarkably little trouble moving through the muskeg to send in reinforcements from the south, they simply didn’t have enough firepower to hold back the American onslaught. With the corridor established, the US had the victory after 29 turns, and had a step loss advantage of only five steps lost to ten for the Japanese.