Kokoda Trail #14
|(Attacker) Australia||vs||Japan (Defender)|
|Australia||18th Infantry Brigade|
|Japan||5th Kure Special Naval Landing Force|
|Overall Rating, 2 votes|
|Scenario Rank: --- of 588|
|Parent Game||Kokoda Trail|
|Layout Dimensions||43 x 28 cm
17 x 11 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
After stopping the Japanese assault on No. 3 Airstrip, the 18th Brigade was brought forward to pursue the retreating Japanese. It did not take long for the Australians to discover how difficult it was to advance against the Japanese.
From 1 Sep to 5 Sep the Australians engaged the Japanese in a series of running battles and gradually pushed them back into their landing areas. During the nights of September 4th and 5th, the Japanese were evacuated by naval ships.
|All Tied Up|
This one has a couple of companies of Australians entering the west end of the board in a night scenario trying to eliminate steps of SNLF troops and command and take trail hexes. The Japanese can't be closer than 4 hexes from the west end of the board, and since that allows them to set up in the village hexes there, that was where I put the Lt Cdr, an Infantry and an HMG in the northernmost village hex and an LT with the other 2 HMGs in the southern hex. This guarantees an unpleasant surprise for the Australians likely to enter nearby. The rest of the Japanese force I set up in a zigzag, 2 hexes apart and adjacent to the north and south edges of the trail. This allows them to ambush any flanking Australians while also being able to step forward onto the trail to hold there. This worked to some degree as the Australian Maj stacked with 2 Infantry, and grouped with an LT and 2 more Infantry, walked right into the ambush along the trail. First blood drawn was the demoralizing of the Major's stack and a step loss from one of his platoons. The rest of the force came in two groups, north and south of the trail, Captains stacked with HMGs and 2 Infantry, LTs stacked with 2 Infantry each. These helped get the Major out of a hot spot and the SNLF Lt Cdr stepped back one hex to break contact rather than open fire and possibly get stuck there, while the other SNLF stack traded shots and some casualties before being able to pull back. This 24-turn scenario gives plenty of time for this sort of advance as long as it doesn't get bogged down. Alas, the Australians forgot a couple of times that those SNLF Infantry units build up to units 3 times their size because of the column shifts, and this had a rough effect on a couple of stacks before the Australian command put a stop to it in preference to a slow and steady forward movement and exchange of rifle fire, which usually had more effect, although Austalian LTs had a nasty habit of being disturbed (disrupted) by that fire while their troops took it like men and kept moving. The Japanese would inflict morale loss most of the time while the Australians caused step losses when they actually hit something - there were a lot more 2s and 12s rolled for the Japanese than for the Australians but the Japanese took similar losses overall to the Australians. Things bogged down mid-board, but Japanese losses were starting to pick up just as dawn came and things stopped. Japanese losses, 9 steps to 10 Australians. Trail and village hexes - 10 to Japan, 11 to Australia. A tied score of 20 all.
In this scenario the Japanese are trying to block an Australian advance. The Australians have decent morale at 8/8, a major upgrade, and outnumber the Japanese by over 50%. The Japanese, however, are hidden. Hidden scenarios are tough to run solitaire, but it’s important for the Japanese force. Victory points are awarded for steps and trail/village hexes under control.
The Japanese set up primarily in and around the village, with some flankers to the north. The Aussies come in from the west on a wide line. Most of the Japanese are located at range 1, and deliver devastating opfire. One Japanese position is not found, and the Australians pay for that failure. Despite large numbers, the advance against the Japanese is hindered by casualties and disruptions/demoralizations. The Japanese jump into a couple of assaults to try and take advantage of the roughed up Australians, but overall steps are running almost equal. The approximate one for one swap in steps is horrid for the Japanese with their smaller numbers.
But the shaken condition of the Australians begins to tell. Flanking forces are slowed to a crawl, while the Australian center is completely halted. Some flankers get around the Japanese and attempt to pick up some trail hexes, but Japanese troops that had fled earlier begin to recover, blocking the trail from the east while the Japanese hold to the west. The Aussies get some hexes, but not nearly enough to make up for the increasing losses.
Australian casualties are too many as the Japanese begin to score steps against shaken Aussie troops. The Japanese end up ahead on points both in casualties and trail hexes. With a final score of 37 to 16 the Japanese win a major victory.
I rated this one a 3. It was nice to finally have decent Australian morale, but the burden of attack against hidden Japanese troops was just too much. Japanese casualties petered off, while Aussie casualties continued to grow. The jungles slowed down Australian advances as thoroughly as the Japanese defenders. The beginning seemed challenging for both sides, but as the scenario wore on, the Australians struggled more than the Japanese. Decent scenario, but not great.