In this scenario the Australians are trying to capture trail and village hexes. They have a strong contingent of HMGs, but the Japanese are well armed as well. The Australians do get to use hidden movement, which paid off in spades later. The Japanese start by lining their troops along the north-south trail, anchoring the intersection with HMGs.
The Australians take their time aligning their forces as close to the Japanese as possible without risking getting spotted, except the HMGs take that risk to get in firing position against the Japanese center. Once their troops are in place, the HMGs open up. The Australian shooting is abysmal during the first ten turns, and they do no steps to the Japanese while the Japanese marksmen and a small assault take out four Australian steps. But while the Japanese haven’t lost troops, they do suffer a fair amount of disruption and demoralization, and the intersection guards repeatedly weaken and must be reinforced by platoons assigned to other trail positions.
During the second ten turns the Australian HMGs finally begin to tell. Each side batters the heck out of the other, and steps are traded back and forth. Three stacks of Australians are still hidden, and attempt to move around the Japanese flanks, two to the south, and one to the north. By the end of the middle game the body count stands at 15 Australian steps lost, and 12 Japanese steps lost. While the HMGs are taking their toll on the Japanese troops, the Japanese are having some success in small assaults and are beginning to take a toll on the Australian HMGs. Of the three hidden stacks, one on each flank is discovered, but the one containing the Col, an Lt, and two Inf manages to get to the village unseen. While some Japanese demoralized troops fell that far back, they eventually recovered and moved forward to reinforce the intersection, which is now piled high with bodies.
During the last ten turns the HMGs finally begin to fail. The Japanese start stacking up the losses against the Australians, and except the exposed southern flankers the Australians can’t respond with significant firepower to do much more than disrupt and demoralize Japanese. The exposed northern flankers collapse under Japanese assaults, but the southern flankers manage to dish out some damage to the defenders. The troops in the intersection finally secure their hold, and the Japanese close in on what few Australian survivors that are left. But, the hitherto hidden Australians manage to gain control of the village and the entire eastern half of the main trail. The Lt and one platoon even manage to capture most of the northern spur. The Australians still control the western end of the main trail. The Japanese control is limited to most of the southern spur and the intersection to the midpoint of the main trail. The final tally is the Japanese inflict 28 step losses and hold 11 trail hexes, while the Australians hold 23 hexes and inflict a total of 14 Japanese steps. Final score is 39 to 37, a draw.
I rated this one a 4. Great combat action. Length was ideal. Five fewer turns, the scenario would have ended with a lower Australian body count, and an Australian victory. Five more turns and the Japanese would have disassembled the remaining Australians in the center and taken the western end of the trail back, and earning victory. The scenario was not highly dynamic, and dragged during some turns since it was basically limited to in your face combat. That damped the excitement level a bit, but both sides fought very hard for the intersection and the hope to use it to open the path to trail hex points. And that forced each side to weaken other efforts, spreading troops thin and forcing risk. It felt pretty balanced for forces and length, so overall a really good scenario.