|(Defender) Japan||vs||United States (Attacker)|
|Japan||11th Construction Unit|
|Japan||13th Construction Unit|
|Japan||5th Yokosuka Special Naval Landing Force|
|United States||5th Marine Regiment|
|Overall Rating, 8 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 416 of 573|
|Layout Dimensions||84 x 55 cm
33 x 22 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Guadalcanal||maps + counters|
The 19th August operation by 5th Marine Regiment included a landing at the village of Kokumbona, 4 miles west of the Matanikau. The landing was designed to cut off any retreating Japanese and destroy any supplies and equipment that could be found. At 0430 the company departed the Lunga Point perimeter in boats.
Company I was fired on from the shore as the boats approached Kokumbona, but managed to land without loss and quickly cleared the village. Just landed elements of the 5th Yokosuka SNLF arrived later in the day and claimed to have driven the Americans off. In fact, the Americans had accomplished their mission and returned to the perimeter in accordance with their plan.
|Freak 'em out and F--- 'em up!|
Shad's Note: I'm dumping in a bunch of my old BGG AARs. If you've followed my "work" on BGG then you've read these before...
I took the Marines and Liverpool Dave, my steadfast wargame partner, took the sneaky Japanese. They begin with 5 platoons onboard, 3 of which are reduced. Dave chose to hide 2 of the reduced platoons, stick the 3rd in the village to be defended, and place his 2 full-strength platoons in the jungle but covering the beaches in order to defend the approach of my landing craft.
I loaded up my 4 LCVP and distributed my leaders accordingly. With only ONE steploss costing me the scenario, I was not in the mood to take chances in my tinfoil boats. Rather than push my luck by cruising towards the village and taking fire from his 2 good platoons in the jungle, I headed straight to the nearest beach and unloaded a good 1.5km (~8 hexes) from the fishing village.
The Marines formed up into two groups - the HMG and 1 platoon of Marines and my best officers (10 base morale & +2 morale mods!) were to slowly and carefully head directly west for the village. The second group, composed of the other 2 Marine platoons and the remaining good - if not quite as motivated - officers, were to take the scenic route in a long curve SW, W, and then NW to approach the village from behind. In this way I hoped to end up with his 2 full-strength JPN SER platoons pinned between my patrols without exposing myself to undue risk.
Things went quietly in the outset, with the Japanese digging in and my men slowly advancing along their pre-planned routes. Dave was rolling for hidden unit detection with every step, but nothing came up in my favor.
Finally, however, as I was closing towards his dug-in platoons from the East and Southwest, a natural 6 came up and Dave suddenly had to reveal himself. I thought I had a pretty good idea of where those 2 reduced SER platoons were (slightly west of my position) but boy was I wrong - he was to the south, completely behind me. Exposed, he did the honorable thing and initiated Assault combat there and then on the weaker of my two patrols.
Reduced SER units, however, with their fantastic 1-2 combat rating, don't last long against Marines with solid leadership. The Marines cut the Japanese to pieces and then turned to focus on the main enemy emplacement.
By mid-game I was in position - adjacent on 2 sides actually - to remove the dug-in Japanese and lay claim to the village. The -2 column shift for being dug-in AND in jungle terrain nullified my adjacent bonus, and the Marines struggled mightily but could not inflict steplosses...
I was starting to worry that I'd run out of time as the turns ticked by, but luckily for me Dave kept missing his reinforcement roll (and would continue to miss it until Turn 21!). Finally, after an hour of point blank fire and repeated rallies among the Japanese, a group of JPN service personnel cracked under the pressure and fled demoralized from their dug-in positions. FREAK 'EM OUT!
Leaderless, demoralized, and alone in an unforgiving & disorienting jungle, they were immediately pounced upon and slaughtered to the last man in hand-to-hand combat by my Marines. F--- 'EM UP!
...the key to victory had been revealed.
Smelling blood, the Marines returned to their positions on either side of the dug-in Japanese and resumed punishing waves of fire. It wasn't long before the remaining platoon cracked and cowered demoralized inside their foxholes. FREAK 'EM OUT!
Not even bothering to wait for them to make a run for it, the Marines stormed in with the HMG platoon and 2 platoons of regular leathernecks. Within minutes the entire construction unit was nothing more than a pile of corpses, including all 3 officers which had been present. F--- 'EM UP!
None Shall Pass!
Kings of the Jungle, and without losses, the Marines took up positions on the jungle fringe just west of the village to await the as-yet-unseen and futilely late Japanese reinforcements.
For awhile it seemed as if they'd never come, but then, with only an hour until extraction and return to the perimeter, that familiar battle cry was heard...
Dave, knowing all was lost unless he managed to inflict one steploss, ordered his men forward in a mad dash down the open beach towards the village... right into 3 platoons of Marines and an HMG unit.
This was the first time in my personal PG history that I had the opportunity to roll on the 45+ Direct Fire table, and I made it count!
A hail of bullets, 1 entire platoon and half of another fell never to rise again. (3X!) The stragglers? Demoralized all and in full flight for the treeline. There would be no glorious Banzai Charge this day...
With clinical efficiency the U.S. Marine Corps disembarked, eliminated all enemies encountered, secured the objective, and returned to the perimeter. Victory, perfect.
Dave's SNLF reinforcements, which would have actually put up a fight against the Marines, arrived much too late to contribute anything to the battle. If you make that roll early the entire scenario will change. Dave chose to hide his reduced SER units, I would not have done the same.
As the Marines, one steploss and you lose is the factor influencing every single decision. You have a +3 initiative advantage over the JPN so you're almost always guaranteed to go first, plan accordingly.
As the Japanese, the best chance the weak SER units have is to catch a Marine patrol off guard and initiate an assault. You'll probably only get one chance to get that steploss, but one's all you need. If you can get your SNLF forces on the board quickly then a Marine walk-over suddenly would become an even battle.
Highly recommended to those of you who have a FtF opponent and want a scenario with hidden units that you can knock out in 90min or less.
|A Real Nail Biter|
Marines landed south of town and worked their way slowly north to encircle it. As one group approached the town from the west they stumbled upon a group of Japanese and a surprise assault ensued. The assault was successful and was followed by another assault of the Japanese units in the town. By turn thirteen the Marines had taken the town and had forced the remaining Japanese unit north of the river just north of the town. The Marines then waited for the inevitable counterattack. The Japanese rolled a six on turn fifteen and got their SNLF reinforcements and moved toward the town. Before they could get to the town to assault it they were thrown back with heavy casualties and weren't able to mount a serious attack after that. Still, on the final turn they mounted a direct fire attack that could have cost the Marines a step and garnered the Japanese a draw, but they couldn't get the roll. All in all, a very fun scenario.
|Can the Americans take the village without losing a drop of blood?|
0815 – Marines land a Kokumbona.
0830 – Begin to move southwest through the jungle. They avoid a direct attack along the road.
0845- 0900 – They continue to move. Some hidden units are found but not “spotted”
0915 – The Japanese continue to let the Americans continue their advance, silently watching.
0930 – 0945 – The Marines continue their advance.
1000 – Americans advance near the Japanese line. Instead of opening fire (opportunity fire) the Japanese initiate an assault! “BANZAI!”
The Americans get off first fire (M2, M2) and cause complete disruption of the Japanese but the Japanese (rolling a “6”!) cause a step loss to the marines! (1)
Comment: This equates to a Japanese victory, but I (of course) decided to keep playing!
1015 – In one assault both sides recover. In the second assault the Japanese take losses trying to hit the marines again.
1030 – Japanese leave the second assault and the Americans pursue to eliminate the fleeing Japanese. In the first assault, the weakened Americans are set upon and lose another half platoon. (2)
Gameplay note: Perhaps the Americans should have focused on reinforcing their damaged platoon instead of chasing the fleeing Japanese?
1045 – Americans now try to consolidate their forces but are faced by screaming Japanese.
1100 – The Americans counterattack. They take another casualty (3), but rout the Japanese.
1115-1130 – The Japanese, demoralized, flee as the Americans pursue. Unable to inflict further casualties, the Japanese begin to recover.
1145-1200 – The Americans advance and the Japanese hit the Americans again. Although taking additional casualties, the Americans lose another half platoon (4).
The Americans decide to call it a day.
A very quick and small scenario. The Americans are not having much luck facing the Japanese banzai. The initial attack, both American stacks rolled a “3” causing M2 in their first fire. It was a Japanese “gamble” which paid off.
|Guadalcanal, Scenario #7 Kokumbona|
Played #7 Kokumbona from Guadalcanal tonight! The Japanese rolled a twelve and got a victory, due to the one step loss from the Americans and the Japanese victory condition! I don’t like that one step loss thing very well, because it can end a game very fast, so I replayed it from that point. I rolled the dice again and went from there and got an American victory. So maybe that was cheating but I wanted to see the out come, without the lucky roll! I’ll have to remember not to play scenarios that have one step loss victory conditions; they make me too nervous. But I like the Higgins Boats, (LCVP).
|A timely banzai charge calls this one|
The U.S. marines are able to land their small attack force unopposed and advance toward their objective of gaining control of Kokumbona with relative ease. A random event takes place at 10:30/turn 10, resulting in some Japanese friendly fire by some edgy, trigger-happy construction units resulting in the disruption of an adjacent Ensign but order is quickly restored. The defending Japanese service units did what they could to delay the inevitable but by 11:00/turn 12, the village was in American control with the remaining demoralized and reduced Japanese SER units fleeing into the jungle. It looked good for the Americans at that point and they began to dig-in and wait for the reinforcing Japanese units to arrive and make a counterattack. At 11:45/turn 15, the SNLF units begin to advance from the west. The turn after the reinforcements arrive another random event occurs causing misunderstood orders and one platoon of the SNLF goes astray back into the jungle. This was another very minor setback and that unit is able to quickly catch up with the rest but so far the Japanese seem to be either very uncoordinated or just plain unlucky. Contact is made with the American screening force outside the village at 12:15/turn 17. Both sides exchange DF for a few turns and soon one step of SNLF are eliminated along with another platoon becoming disrupted. It looks as is the Americans may be able to hold out but well-aimed Japanese DF demoralizes a platoon of marines who flee their dug-in postions leaving just one platoon left to screen the village and then the Japanese are able to rally and continue to pose a threat. Suddenly, at 13:00/turn 20, with only 5 turns left to go the Japanese are able to miraculously gain the initiative and with little time to waste mount an assault. American first fire on the 9 column is ineffective; the screaming Japanese follow through the assault rolling on the 18 column and a 6 is rolled -BAM! Two steps of marines are wiped out along with a Lieutenant! The Americans are not allowed ANY step losses so this seals a Japanese victory and control of the village is of no importance any longer. Intoxicated by their successful banzai charge the Japanese continue to assault towards the village anyway but their next assault on a marine HMG position is halted with both sides mostly disrupted and then time is up.
It's hard to say whether one side has much of an advantage over the other in this one. With the Americans not allowed any step losses it would seem that this scenario favors the Japanese but then there is also the possibilty that the SNLF reinforcements may arrive a lot later and even a remote chance that they may not ever make it into play; having to roll a 6/D6 to appear starting on turn 12. The SNLF units also have superior morale which will make their assaults even more powerful than usual when combined with the +1 ethnic assault modifier. In any case this one still gets a solid "3" rating out of me and it was a thrill to see the first banzai charge pan out as well as this one did and would of dreaded being on the receiving end of it.
A quick and small scenario. The US lands two MAR south of the village and one MAR and the HMG north of the village. Early fire from the Japanese SER is ineffective.
The southern MAR platoons trade fire with two SER platoons while the northern Marine force closes on the village. Defensive fire from the village is ineffective. The MAR and HMG close on the village. The MAR and HMG begin point blank fire on the SER platoons in the village and obtain 1X results on them forcing the remaining steps to evacuate the village as they become demporalized. The reamining SER platoon close on the village as the southern MAR platoons circle to the west to close the village also.
The firepower from the Marines soon demoralizes the remaining SER platoons. The Japanese retreat their SER platoons into the jungle to regroup. The Marines occupy the village and the adjacent hexes awaiting the Japanese counter attack.
At this point, the Japanese do not have enough firepower to take the village until the Navy reinforcements arrive, so the Japanese wait for their arrival. Turns pass and the reinforcements do not arrive. As the end nears, the Japanese begin to close on the village for a last effort to eliminate a MAR step, but time runs out with the US in control of the village and no lost steps. US victory.
|Not bad solo, but lacking for shared|
After a brutal 195 turn scenario, I turned to a small, short scenario. In this scenario a small Marine force must seize a “village” from a weak Japanese force while holding off Japanese reinforcements. Victory is determined by who owns the village, and whether the Marines suffered any casualties.
The Marines need to approach with caution, as the Japanese can start with hidden forces. They find the hidden units, get semi-aggressive using close in direct fire (can’t risk an assault column step loss), and fairly quickly degrade the Japanese force. They take the village and wipe out most of the defenders about the same time the reinforcements enter the board. Keeping just enough force to hold the village from the surviving defenders, they set up an ambush location against the Japanese moving down the trail.
The reinforcements get into quite a tangle with the Marines. They close fast in order to prepare an assault, but in doing so suffer mightily from Marine opfire. Taking a step loss seriously hurts the assault chance of the reinforcements, but they manage to launch an assault anyway. The Marines get the better roll, and the Japanese force begins a slow degradation while the Banzai rule prevents them from breaking contact.
The weak survivors of the initial defense cannot challenge for the village, as Marine opfire keeps them down. In the end the Marines hold the village without taking a step loss.
I found the scenario to be pretty balanced, tough for both sides, and required significant maneuver and use of terrain for such a small scenario. It was actually a decent scenario to play. However, when it came down to it, I felt it was a low 3 or high 2. The experience almost made me go with a 3, but in the end once I sat back and reanalyzed I went with the (high) 2. Why? Three reasons. One, I’m not a big fan of small scenarios, and this was small. Almost to the point of difficult to inflict casualties. Early east front would have made the likelihood of casualties minimal; this scenario got to the casualty point because of high Marine firepower and potentially due to Japanese assault rules. Second, the reinforcement arrival is random, and could result in the Japanese having no chance if the arrival is too late; just too random for my preference. Lastly is due to the victory condition of Japanese win by inflicting a single step loss on the Marines. This leads to a scenario where literally it is a percentage chance on a single roll to decide the outcome regardless of strategies or previous activity. I judge based on shared playability, and in this scenario players could simply resolve by allowing the Japanese player a chance to make a single die roll at best odds to decide victory without even having to play the scenario. I could play one roll of craps if I wanted to play craps, or play one round of high/low with cards. While not historical, a larger version of this scenario where the VC is more than one step loss could be really good.