Escape from Oivi
Kokoda Trail #1
|(Defender) Australia||vs||Japan (Attacker)|
|Australia||39th "Hawthorn-Kew" Infantry Battalion|
|Australia||Papuan Infantry Battalion|
|Japan||144th Infantry Regiment|
|Japan||15th Independent Engineer Regiment|
|Overall Rating, 16 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 585 of 609|
|Parent Game||Kokoda Trail|
|Layout Dimensions||43 x 28 cm
17 x 11 in
|Enter & Exit|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
When the Yokoyama Advanced Detachment landed at Buna on 21 July 1942, the only Australian troops on the north side of the Owen Stanley Mountains were Company B of the 39th Infantry Battalion and scattered native troops of the Papuan Infantry Battalion. Col. Yokoyama quickly organized his own 15th Independent Engineer Regiment along with the 1st Battalion of 144th Regiment and began pushing toward his objective of Kokoda. The greatly outnumbered Australian forces elected to destroy supplies and facilities before withdrawing back into the hills toward Kokoda. As efforts began to airlift additional reinforcements into Kokoda airstrip on 26th July 1942, Lt. Col. Owen, commander of the 39th Infantry Battalion, sent the airlifted troops from Company D forward to join the retreating Company B.
In a preview of the many engagements to come, the Japanese infiltrated past the tightly bunched Australian forces and completely surrounded them. Captain Sam Templeton, commander of B Company, was killed early in the engagement, but eventually most of the green Australians managed to escape through the Japanese lines. Lance Corporal Sanopa of the Papuan Infantry Battalion led most of the Australian forces down a steep defile to the stream below the village before circling around into the jungle and heading back to Kokoda.
|KT Campaign, Scenario 1|
This could not have gone much worse for the Australians. Rolling 1s in assaults will never get you anywhere, particularly against the Japanese. The slapfight assault led by Lt Rockatansky was the back-breaker. I had the opportunity to run through a hole in the Japanese lines, and Lt Rockatansky and his 2 full platoons might have escaped unscathed, but the disrupted & demoralized stack of Japanese infantry just ahead was too tempting to ignore. Pretty much any result other than a 1 on that assault and Lt Miyagi's men would have dispersed, granting the Aussies badly needed VPs and still leaving them time to get away. As it went, it was not to be.
The Diggers absolutely have a chance in this scenario, but they have little room for error and a few lopsided assault rolls will quickly doom them.
Shad's Campaign Thoughts
I had been looking forward to starting this campaign for two weeks. I chose the officers for both sides with the utmost care. Keeping track of all the little ways they can gain or lose leadership points added some bookkeeping, but the emotional investment and pleasure gained more than made up for that.
I was only playing solo, but I still was heartbroken to see my childhood hero Crocodile Dundee shot for desertion(!) and my favorite reluctant badass Mad Max captured by the enemy in the very first campaign battle! As the Japanese I was also frustrated by the Kamen Rider's lack of chances to fight and Mr. Miyagi's stunning cowardice. (although he didn't desert like Dundee did...)
If you have the luxury of a regular face-to-face opponent, I think the Kokoda Trail Campaign Game would make for a wargaming experience you would never, ever forget.
Now, if you would please excuse me. I have to go recruit two new Australian lieutenants...
|What a Difference a Board Makes|
Got off to a false start when I had the board turned the wrong way. Amazing, at the end of 7 turns the Australians were at the edge of the board sticking their tongues out at the Japanese. I knew something was wrong and had a second look at the setup. Start over again! Sadly, the Japanese didn't get the same initiative rolls they got that first time through, but still managed to keep the initiative for the full 6 turns played. The Japanese from the flanks caught the Australians quickly and assaults ensued. Japanese die rolls continued to do well as Australians failed to do more than to disrupt a few of the Japanese troops. By the end of turn 6, the only Australians surviving were the Captain and the Sergeant. With little point in chasing them down, I called it a game. My first shot at jungle rules, learned quite a bit during the false start game that I was able to put to better use on the real one. Australians were lucky to assault on the 5 column while Japanese were assaulting on the 18. Interesting little fight to break me into this part of the system, and hopefully, making Guadalcanal more within my grasp.
|No Escape from Oivi|
NOTE on the AAR. After playing this twice, I'm of the opinion that this scenario is a small tactical puzzle for the Australians, best played solo. If you want to solve it yourself, don't read the AAR until you've played the scenario.
Was short on time, so picked this small scenario.
Australians set up in a village close to the east end of a single long board, with reinforcements coming from the West end. Japanese set up on the East, North and South edges on trails. The North and South groups are between the Aussies and their objective, which is to escape off the West end.
On the first turn, the Aussies make a break for the West edge, with their reinforcements moving to the trail crossroads to attempt to hold the road open. The Japanese pursue, with the North and South groups heading for the crossroads to block their escape.
Everyone reaches the crossroads at pretty much the same time. The Australians are in the crossroads and the two trail hexes east of it. The Japanese get the initiative and start assaults against the Australians. Once the Australians are locked up in assaults, the scenario is pretty much over. The Aussies hold out longer than I thought they would, but eventually the Japanese eliminate most of the Australians with only two step losses in return. Only one (demoralized) Australian platoon escapes.
This one looks pretty tough for the Australians to win without some luck. Fortunately, it's a very quick-playing scenario, so it's easy to reset and try different strategies. Next time I'll try heading into the jungle with the Aussies to see if they can escape that way. I'll also try pulling most of the Aussies out of the assault hexes as soon as possible, leaving a single rearguard platoon to prevent free shots.
|Sacrifice to Escape from Oivi|
My second play of this scenario. See previous AAR for my first play.
I learned from my mistakes this time. The Australian reinforcements split up, moving one hex each North and South of the trail intersection. Both platoons, along with their Lieutenant, were overwhelmed and wiped out, but they managed to hold the trail open long enough for the entire main force to escape, giving the Aussies and six-to-four VP win.
Probably won't play this again now that I've figured it out, but it's a neat little tactical puzzle.
|Aussies cut off and badly mauled|
This scenario is a pretty difficult challenge for the Australians. It's a race to try to get away from the Japanese and off the map. The main objective of the Japanese is to cut off the Australians.
The Japanese managed to achieve this and had strong forces between the withdrawing Aussies and the reinforcing troops. the only option for the Australians was to move into close assault and try to break through to the other side. This failed dismally. The strong Japanese morale made a big difference. In the end, the Australians managed to retreat off 3 steps, the remaining troops were still stranded and cut off.
Overall this would be a very difficult one for the Aussies to win.
|Escape? Not very likely.|
The Aussies had best get used to losing this scenario. There seems to be no chance for the two companies to successfully run the gauntlet of Japanese forces. I tried all sorts of tactical maneuvers and still lost every Aussie step. I was playing this as the first scenario of a KT campaign so the fact that the Aussie leaders all survived was a good thing. Obviously, in reality, the Australians would have been massively disorganized and fleeing the area but many would still have been alive at any rate. I get very little comfort from the thought...
|Take the Initiative!|
Played against a local player. I was the Japanese and he the Aussies. I advanced toward the vital crossroads from the northern trail while his Aussie units in the town headed west. His offboard units entered and moved east to try and secure the crossroads. In the subsequent turns the Australians gained the initiative advantage and were able to exit seven steps off the west edge before the Japanese could put up an effective defense. This scenario seems to be heavily dependent on who wins the initiative rolls at the beginning of the turn. If the Japanese can beat the Aussies to the crossroads they stand a chance of winning.
|Sacrifice to Win|
Played solo in 30 minutes.
This scenario is a small puzzle which is heavily dependent on who win the initiative on the 2nd turn. The Australians won the initiative in my game and took the opportunity to block the north and south trails.
The Japanese still had a chance of winning if they won the next turn's initiative by 2 by alas, the Australians won the initiative again. The Australians were able to exit 6 steps uncontested while the Japanese took revenge by eliminating the two units which blocked their path.
I rated this one a "2". It's a small, fun puzzle but it is too dependent on a single initiative die roll.
|As quick as one die roll|
A friend and I have decided to attempt the Kokoda Trail campaign game. I saw it has been tried before on this site, but not completed. We are not using personalized leaders, so I suspect it may be hard to overcome the point differential to manage more than a draw. But the campaign opportunity is too much to pass up. As I rate scenarios, the ratings will be based on the scenario as a stand alone scenario, not part of the campaign. I’m not sure if early scenarios benefit one side with the intent to gain a point lead, with later scenarios designed to close that gap, so I need to consider each as a stand alone.
In the first scenario, both sides rushed for the crossroads, with the Japanese coming in from all three directions. My opponent does not fall for the weak engineer unit bait, but smartly goes for the escape. I win initiative on turn two, take the intersection, and shrug off the opfire. All the forces form around the intersection (except my engineer group, who needs another turn), and on turn three the assaults begin. The Japanese charge into Aussie positions, and get the worst of the deal. Every officer (except the Lt with the engineers) demoralize, and the Japanese take two step losses. The Aussies also take two losses, and are in better shape, and are technically winning. The Japanese captain even deserts. But then Aussie rolls become more average, as do Japanese rolls, and things go bad for the Aussies. Broken units cannot manage to escape the onslaught. The Aussie captain and one step survives the massacre, and the Japanese take no more losses. Even that one cannot reach the edge of the board, though. Final score and campaign status, Japanese: 10, Australians: 2.
I rate this scenario as a 1 because from a win lose perspective there is no need to set up the game. You skip turn one, roll for initiative on turn two (don’t forget to add 1 to the Japanese roll), and whomever is higher wins. Seriously, this scenario is a joke. I’ve seen other AARs that discuss it as an interesting tactical puzzle for the Aussies. It’s interesting like the shiny object you see on the ground, but when you walk over to it, it turns out to be a pull tab. Once you seen it, it isn’t interesting. Could the Aussies have scored higher? Yes, by playing for points rather than the win. If the Aussies had grabbed the intersection first (and moved one hex beyond to block the Japanese side entries), then the Japanese have no real hope of stopping the three units racing across the board. Just roll two dice, add 1 to the Japanese, and pretend you played the scenario.