Tulagi: The First Night
|(Attacker) Japan||vs||United States (Defender)|
|Japan||3rd Kure Special Naval Landing Force|
|Japan||Tulagi Seaplane Base personnel|
|United States||1st Marine "Edson's" Raider Battalion|
|United States||5th Marine Regiment|
|Overall Rating, 13 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 559 of 565|
|Layout Dimensions||84 x 55 cm
33 x 22 in
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Guadalcanal||maps + counters|
As night fell on the evening of the 7th the 1st Raider Battalion was aligned across the southeastern end of the island approximately two-thirds of the way down. Those Marines who had seen the Japanese fight in China knew they were fearless and had heard that the Imperial Navy's SNLF troops were fanatical. The Marines were unprepared for their absolute unwillingness to surrender and the aggressive night fighting tactics they encountered.
The Japanese attacked several times during the night and although they inflicted many casualties, they could not break the American line. The attacks cost the Japanese a significant number of casualties, but did prevent the Marine Raiders from adequately resting. The morning of the 8th found many tired Marine staggering to his feet to continue the advance.
|1 Errata Item|
In the victory conditions the Americans are required to control hexes 1709 and 2309, not 1706 and 2311.
(PG-Tank Dude on 2010 Apr 30)
The Tulagi scenarios aren't the most dynamic, but I do still enjoy them. In this case a very static nightime assault on American lines. I made one goof allowing Japanese to exit the assault hex behind American lines (overrun) which isn't allowed by the Banzai! scenario special rule. Japanese victory because the Americans took a few step losses. These first few Tulagi scenarios allow hardly any American casualties.
|Bushido & Jimmy Greek team-up against the Marines|
Or in other words: It at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try, try again; repeat!
The game opens with a reasonably solid USMC line, lots of back-up, and an outlier platoon on the wrong side of the island. The American want to Japanese on their side of the island, with out losing to many steps. The Japanese just want to kill a lot of Americans, regardless of their own casualties.
I form my force into 3 attack groups, 2 SNLF and the base personnel, and a support group. The lone raider platoon on the east end of the island should be an easy 2 steps. One group goes there, the other 2 against the American line. It appears to be a good, though suicidal plan.
That raider platoon proves uncooperative. Repeated assaults just don't kill it. Many turns later, like 10ish, they are still alive. Disrupt & recover, demoralize & recover, just can't get a step on them. Meanwhile similar things are happening on the main line. I attack, they shift and reinforce. The deadly dances go on, but no one really gets hurt.
Suddenly 2 weird things happen. The raider platoon demoralizes the force attacking it. He jumps out and runs to the town, while my big brawny SNLF guys are crying for mommy! (WTF dude? All 3 of them?) The other thing is that the "Meh" attack group, so named because I don't expect much from them, kills 2 American steps. So the seaplane mechanics come through when the Imperial Marines cannot. Go figure.
Now the American weight of marines begins to tell. The attacks against the mainline get broken up. I manage to extract some survivors for later use. In the meantime I also try to keep the raider platoon from breaking away. Fortunately the scenario rules discourage marine pursuit.
I start attacking the raider platoon again, with less of an advantage because of the town hex. Eventually they do take a hit. The turn afterward, they completely succumb. It is a draw now. One more American step and I win. I reorganize my troops into 2 attack groups, and a support group, and head out again.
My last lodgment in the American line is wiped before the attack is renewed. Though both attack groups do not assault in pristine condition, one does inflict a step loss. in the first round. The Emperor throws me a posthumous parade.
This was a very luck dependent scenario. The Japanese are severely out gunned and out numbered. It the Americans were not functionally immobile for half the time, there would be no chance. As it is, you decide which ogre to whack. If it doesn't work, whack him again, until you can whack no more. You only need to get lucky a couple times.
|First night at Tulagi|
Gli americani mantengono le posizioni conquistate a Tulagi dopo l'invasione. I Jap contrattaccano di notte come è loro uso. Lo scenario e tutto qui. Combattimento di solo logoramento se non fosse per le unità americane in 2310 isolate dal resto del battaglione. I Jap attaccano le unità isolate americane che tentano una stregua resistenza ma sono costretti a soccombere. Il giapponese ha ora eliminato 4 step e ne manca uno per vincere. Le unità del 3rd Kure Special Naval Landing Force prendono posizione davanti alle posizioni americane che intanto si sono trincerate (DUG-IN). Inizia un paziente attacco Jap di logoramento nella speranza di eliminare almeno uno step al nemico. Dopo qualche turno, un tiro fortunato dà la vittoria ai Jap.
|A very long and restless night finally ends|
The Japanese were doomed from the start due to a poor choice of deployment and delaying their assaults. The attack on Marine positions was more of an annoyance, preventing front line troops from getting rest. When assaults were made they were easily repelled with the Americans getting first fire advantage and never having more than one demoralization result and the Americans didn't even take one step loss. Even the one isolated platoon of Raiders delpoyed on the east end of the island was able to make it back to the front lines intact. The Japanese attack was called off after the last suicidal banzai charge at 04:15. After which there was no point in going for the Japanese as what few units were left were all reduced and in poor order with no capabilities left. Just a handful of SNLF units survived and their Commander just barely escaped. All Tulagi Seaplane Base personnel units were wiped out entirely save one leader.
This was a learning experiance for nightime jungle fighting. I seriously erred with the Japanese attack and once I realized my prime mistake it was too late but I played out the scenario until it was beyond futile to attempt any more assaults as there was no chance of even getting a draw. I'm glad that I went through this one as long as I did. Valuable lessons were learned the hard way for when this phase will be repeated in the full Tulagi scenario. I think the biggest mistake I made with the Japanese was triple stacking units from the start knowing that the Americans would get the intiative and spray down the Japanese lines with DF before they could respond. The Hidden units didn't seem to have much use either as no Marines were leaving their lines due to the automatic disruption for movement and the one SNLF platoon hidden on the east end of the island was easily avoided. Though there is nothing really broken about this one it only gets a 2 rating from me as it probably wouldn't be much better as a shared play. It does seem to have some sort of balance to it but just doesn't seem to be a very exciting scenario for either player. The Japanese could have done much better with more patience and not all massed together from the start.
|The Night Belongs to the Japanese|
In this scenario the Marines are trying to hold their line after advancing most of the way across Tulagi. The Japanese are trying to break that line, or inflict significant losses to the Marines. The Marines must hold the line losing no more than two steps, while the Japanese win by inflicting at least five steps.
The Marines set up well led triple step stacks across the line, intending to punish any Japanese attempts to attack their line. There is one platoon of raiders on the far eastern end of the island, and several units to the west having cleared that end. All remaining troops are trying to form a second line to back up the main Marine line. The Japanese set up their SNLF troops in the caves adjacent to the Marine line, with the HMGs in the middle and a pair of infantry to either side. The remaining two platoons are positioned to attack the raiders at the eastern end. The service troops are positioned to harass the north end of the Marine line.
I am very aggressive with the Japanese. They wipe out the eastern raiders, and those units move back west to reinforce the Japanese line. The service troops die quickly as the Marines riddle them with direct fire, demoralize them, then assault them, and repeated morale checks slowly take steps off the hapless service troops. Direct fire also pops a step off the SNLF HMGs, making that force much less deadly than expected. One pair of infantry assault the Marine positions, but over time that goes poorly, and they eventually die. The remaining infantry and the HMGs hide in the caves and fire against the Marines. The exchange of fire forces one HMG to demoralize and run, and takes out one step of infantry, but two lucky Japanese rolls inflict two more steps against the Marines.
The two SNLF platoons from the east make their way back and hold up in a cave until the time seems right. Finally, the Marines around the one remaining step of HMGs are all spent, and there appears to be a weakness in the line. They run into the caves with the HMGs, and the Marines are facing disaster. They spend all their activations trying to reposition units against an assault by the Japanese. They partially patch the line, but the Japanese manage to assault a large stack of Marines. Amazingly the assault goes very bad, and the Japanese lose a step for no impact. To make things worse, the undamaged platoon demoralizes. The Marines manage to eliminate the assaulters over the next couple turns with no losses.
The only danger left to the Marines is the remaining position with three SNLF infantry steps. The Marines go crazy firing on the position on turn 17 and appear to have victory in grasp as they knock off a step with snake eyes. Just as they contemplate celebration the Japanese platoon opens fire and also rolls snake eyes, killing step five of the Marines.
The Japanese have one platoon of infantry in one cave, half a platoon of HMGs in another, and a platoon of disrupted HMGs to the east. Lots of Marines everywhere. But no reason to play this out. I rate this scenario a 2. While the Marines had some movement requirements to keep a solid line against the Japanese, the constant disruption made it tough. It really felt like the scenario was more about who got the right number of lucky rolls first rather than some deep strategy. I probably could have set the Marines up only two units per hex with a reinforcing unit behind to reduce the likelihood of lucky rolls, but that would have simply increased the odds of Marine victory without making the scenario any more exciting. This is just not the type of scenario I enjoy, and would have been frustrated in a two player situation. The limited Marine casualty rates in many of these scenarios make victory dependent on a lucky roll, and that’s not my idea of fun. Others may get more out of it.
|One Long Night|
Units from the 3rd Kure Special Naval Landing Force (SNLF) and Service troops from the seaplane bases continued to battle into the night of August 7th on the Island of Tulagi. Troops from the 1st Raider battalion and 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment would get little sleep that night as they strove to hold the territory gained following the landings that morning. The US troops had established a defensive line north of the caves on the south coast and then moving north along the trail that led towards the north Japanese seaplane base. SNLF units were in the caves, and dug in hidden adjacent to the north trail. In addition, one US Raider unit and a group of Japanese service units were engaged near the south seaplane base. Thunderstorms broke out for the better part of an hour beginning at 2145, during which time the Raider units weakened the Japanese left flank. By 0145, the south coast road had been opened and a US Marine/Raider rescue group began to move west to assist the beleaguered Raiders in the jungle north of the south seaplane base. After turning the flank and pinning a Japanese HMG in the caves, the Allies pressed north to where the US troops had suffered casualties. A service platoon moved east to reinforce the Japanese position on their right flank. By 0300, the Japanese right flank was reeling, and it folded completely at 0400 hours when the commander and his remaining units fled east to assist the service units that were still trying to suppress the lone Raider unit on the eastern tip of the island. The US units reinforced their defensive line across the neck of the island, while the Japanese remnants gathered to try and eliminate the Raiders that were trapped out east; however, the Raider unit broke through and joined the main body of the Allied forces, effectively ending the battle with an American victory. By 0545, there were a few remaining Japanese units that were in disarray and bravely holding the south seaplane base.
This scenario was played using 4th edition rules (including the updated cave rules), and the special rules regarding Hidden Units (#4) and Disorientation (#5) from the Kokoda Campaign scenario book. It basically requires the Japanese to eliminate 5 American steps and break through the defensive line to control at least one hex, while the Americans must prevent the breakthrough while not losing more than two steps. While this plays with historical accuracy, the choice of topic leaves much to be desired as this quickly devolves into a die-rolling contest, with the Americans on the front line hoping to damage the Japanese units to a level where they pose little threat to the Americans. There are two primary choices for the Japanese to have a chance to secure a guaranteed draw: 1) line up toe-to-toe dug in along the American line and hope to hit “snake-eyes” before the Americans do; or 2) quickly pull back the SNLF units and eliminate the Raider unit that is placed behind enemy lines, which would give the first two steps of American loss. Then move back west and hope to secure at least one more step to insure the draw, or be lucky enough to get thee more steps for the win. There is no need for the Americans to move forward, particularly with a disruption penalty associated with movement, as their opening position is in jungle, mainly upslope and with limited night visibility; this sets up a maximum negative two-column shift on Japanese fire, which must occur from an adjacent hex due to the limited visibility. With a US front line that has some “2’ morale officers and a starting morale of 9/8 for the Raiders that are the predominant units manning the line, step losses are very hard for the Japanese to achieve. In this playthrough, the first tactical approach was used for the Japanese, who got a US step loss on Turn 15 and a second one on Turn 21; after that, the US had weakened their units to the point that “X” results were very hard to attain. The scenario ended with 16 Japanese step losses to only two for the Americans, resulting in an American victory.
|Tulagi: The First Night – Where superior numbers matter not!|
August 7, 1942 – Seized by the Japanese on 4 May 1942, the Americans invade to take back Tulagi, 17 miles from Guadalcanal Island. This is where our story of the Americans attack on the Solomons begins.
During the day, the Americans have set up a beachhead and captured two-thirds of the island with minimal losses. They were unable to roust the Japanese from their caves when night settled.
A platoon of raiders is settled in the east tip of the island.
American Goal Hold the line and suffer minimal casualties (less than 3 steps)
Japanese Goal Inflict casualties (at least 5 steps)
American Casualties will be presented by (#).
2000 – The SNLF opens fire as the Japanese Seaplane Base personnel fight the raiders in the east. The raiders lose half a platoon (1).
Americans send some reinforcements to the east. This will be slow as they are disrupted at the end of every move (special rule).
2015-2030 – Stalemate by the caves. The line is holding.
2045 – Japanese SNLF takes their first casualty and their HMG is broken. Americans can’t risk an assault though (due to post-movement disruption special rule). The US Raider in the east is eliminated (2)
play note: Americans can’t pull back, move forward, nor assault (they would all get disrupted). Jungle also gives the defender first fire. Frustrated and knowing the Japanese have 40 turns of rolling to score a hit, the mission is aborted and restarted with the Americans starting BEHIND the line. Premise: They can hold off the Japanese with direct fire and advance near dawn to deny Japanese control if required.
The Battle – Take Two
2000 – All quiet on the Pacific Front.
2015-2045 – In the east the Raider fought off the Japanese, who have lost a step and retreat into the jungle to recover.
2100 – SNLF advances toward the line into the empty caves. 1 SNLF is demoralized by direct fire.
2115-2130 – SNLF recovers under fire, and begins to exchange fire
2145 – First American Casualty from SNLF fire (“box cars”) (1)
2200-2215 – SNLF fire in the darkness eliminates an American platoon! “snake eyes”.
THE AMERICANS GIVE UP!
Facing 3 step losses already, and with the fate of the eastern Raiders doubtful, the Americans decide to concede the night rather than roll dice for the next few hours.