Kokoda Trail #4
|(Defender) Australia||vs||Japan (Attacker)|
|Australia||39th "Hawthorn-Kew" Infantry Battalion|
|Japan||144th Infantry Regiment|
|Japan||15th Independent Engineer Regiment|
|Overall Rating, 8 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 353 of 579|
|Parent Game||Kokoda Trail|
|Layout Dimensions||43 x 28 cm
17 x 11 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
The fight at Kokoda provided a morale boost for both sides. Though they were unable to hold the village after taking it, the tactical victories scored by A and D Companies proved for the first time that the Japanese were not supermen able to sweep all before them. As for the Japanese, the fact that no enemy reinforcements arrived to hold Kokoda told them just how thin the Australian forces facing them were. Previously content to just sit at Kokoda and wait for the main body of South Seas Detachment to arrive, Col. Yokoyama and Lt. Col. Tuskimoto resolved to purse the retreating Australians and perhaps destroy them. Meanwhile, Maj. Cameron brought E Company (the last of his fresh reserves) forward to join C and D Companies in an attempt to blunt the new Japanese advance.
The Japanese assault came against the left flank of the line, manned by the untried troops of E Company. Under constant fire for most the morning, the Australian line bent but did not break. But as the Japanese broke off the attack early that afternoon, it was clear to Major Cameron that his men could not fight off a second attack and he made plans to withdraw back to Isurava. There the Aussies would make a new stand and wait for more reinforcements. Deciding that they could not catch and destroy the Australians in retreat, the Japanese once again went back to waiting for the main body of the South Seas Detachment.
|1 Errata Item|
The order of battle in the scenario calls for 2 Japanese Army Sergeants. There is only 1 Sergeant counter in the Guadalcanal mix. As it seems there are plenty of leaders in this scenario, I left out that last leader. Alternatively you could add another Lieutenant.
(thomaso827 on 2014 Aug 29)
|Another Accckkkk Moment|
The Japanese are entering from the north and want to push the Australians out of the village and kill as many of them as they can. When on turn 6, an Australian stack rolled a 12 DF against the stack with the Japanese LTC, I thought things would go their way. A step loss, and everything else in the Japanese hex failed morale so they sat there demoralized. Half of the remaining Japanese leaders failed their own rolls under the decapitation rules, and lost the rest of their turns. On turn 7, another Australian DF roll gave the rest of the Japanese in that stack the opportunity to fail another morale check. 2 more steps lost. Alas, the Australian HMG in the firing stack failed his low ammo roll and became a rifle platoon. That sort of spelled the end for the Australians, who tried to do a fighting withdrawal, but as they took casualties and the Japanese won the initiative in bigger and bigger ways, the Japanese managed to keep up and assault again and again. The Australians kept backing out from assaults but usually with a step loss in the process. The Japanese force that was trying to flank the Australians never did manage to get ahead of them. In the end, the Japanese stalled with a diminished Australian force, both sides doing little or no further damage in the last Japanese assaults. In the end, the Japanese won with 18 points against a score of only 3 for the Australians.
|And they keep on coming...|
The Japanese will take terrific losses in stride as their morale permits them to stand up to direct fire. If you can't knock them out with opportunity fire and they get into an assault position you are in deep trouble. In this scenario the Japanese pinned the Aussies with assaults and then sent their larger numbers to flank the position, as the Australian morale started to crumble the flankers were in position to take their toll of the retreating demoralized units. They were easily able to get into the village given the disruption within the Australian force.
|Run or die|
A quick rest and we hit the fourth battle of the Kokoda campaign. 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.
The Australians established their defense line around the village, positioning forces around the trail hex before the village to make a U-shaped trap for any Japanese that moved down the trail. Japanese forces, however, noted that traveling through the jungle was as quick as down the twisting trail, and choose to navigate the thick growth and approach the Australian right while still moving towards their center. The Australians are surprised by this flanking move, and slowly begin to pull some forces back to prevent the Japanese from getting into their rear. The Japanese end up formed in a 'J' around the Australians, and are forced to decide to charge them now, or charge them later (as Daffy Duck screams "Shoot him now, shoot him now!"). As several turns have ticked by the Japanese decide it is time to charge, while still sending a small force to harass the extreme Australian right. The Japanese swoop in anywhere they can get two stack adjacent to a lone Aussie stack, and the opfire begins.
Opfire ends up inflicting two steps on the Japanese total, and one of those steps, while overcoming the demoralization, never recovers disruption until the last turn of the game. All other morale checks pass, and the Japanese are lined up well to assault the Diggers. The assaults go in, and as last time, the Japanese roll plenty of one and twos, while the Aussies manage to inflict another step during first fire. By turn 9 the Australians have inflicted three steps while losing none, and still control the village. But morale in the assault hexes is flagging, and Japanese troops continue to move to encircle the Australian position. The Australians cease opfire, and begin to pull back to avoid having all their forces pinned in place. Better Japanese morale begins to pay off, and Australian casualties mount. The Aussies abandon the village, and anyone not in an assault hex begins to withdrawal, along with demoralized troops fleeing assault hexes. In the end, every Australian unit that held position and fired opfire dies in an assault (3 Inf, 1 HMG, and two leaders), the Japanese establish control of the village, and the remainder of the Australians move off the south end of the map.
End score for the scenario, Japanese 13, Australians 3.
Rated this scenario as a 3. As the Japanese there was realization that you'd take casualties on the way in, and suffering first fire, and you had to hope there was enough left to make the Aussies pay. Opfire was fairly successful in inflicting steps, but the Japanese morale allowed most units to brave the fire and move into assault position. Aussie first fire in assaults was abysmal (although consecutive rolls of '6' on the '1' column late in the game drove the Japanese nuts), inflicting only one step and Japanese morale mostly held. Once Japanese assault rolls began inflicting steps it was only a matter of time until those units dissolved. The Australian had clear lead in the game for 9 of 14 turns, and it did not swing in favor of the Japanese until turn 11. A couple of small changes on the Australian side could have made a much closer game than the final score indicated. Only the last couple of turns felt like the scenario was already decided, and some better first fire results could have stymied the Japanese. Overall a pretty good scenario, and both sides got their share of fun and frustration.
Campaign score: Japanese 66, Australians 10.