The Trail to Gorari, Day One
Kokoda Trail #29
|(Attacker) Australia||vs||Japan (Defender)|
|Australia||2/25th Infantry Battalion|
|Japan||144th Infantry Regiment|
|Overall Rating, 5 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 125 of 607|
|Parent Game||Kokoda Trail|
|Layout Dimensions||43 x 28 cm
17 x 11 in
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
With the advance of 16th Brigade stalled by the strong Japanese position at Oivi, 25th Brigade was ordered to move forward in support. They would travel along back trails before swinging back to the main trail at Gorari in the rear of the Japanese position. Things went well until the middle of the afternoon when the lead battalion, the 2/25th, turned to move back toward the main path.
The Australian forces were unable to reach the main track before darkness fell, but remained confident that they could be in position to cut off the Japanese position at Oivi during the following day.
|In Doubt Till The End|
The Japanese set up in the village and on the north-south trail to slow the Aussie advance. The Aussies entered the board on the eastern edge in order to use the jungle to gain as much cover as possible while trying to advance to the trail. As they slowly moved south, the Japanese platoons in the village used the trail to cut off the Aussie advance while the other Japanese units approached the Aussies in the jungle from the west. The two sides met a couple hexes north of the road. The Aussie HMG's were effective and eliminated a half dozen Japanese steps. One of the full strength Japanese stacks was very effective in assaults and eliminated a number of Aussie steps. The Aussies were able to survive lots of opportunity fire to move their platoons onto the trail by games end and secure an 16-8 major victory. It was a fun, close scenario and I could easily see it going either way.
|Another good quick Kokoda scenario|
No longer sick, and the snowstorm has made a mess of the roads, so good excuse to knock out this quick scenario. This time the Australians are trying to reach the east west trail with a small force, and the Japanese have a small force to try and prevent it. The Japanese have a flanker force on each end of the east west trail, and have a contact force far forward blocking the north south trail with another group two hexes behind as a reaction force. The Australians come in mostly at the trail entrance, but have a force flanking either side of the north trail ready to assist moving down the trail or taking an alternate route through the jungle towards the ends of the east west trail. All three HMGs are stacked together. Victory conditions are one point per enemy step inflicted, one point per undemoralized step occupying the east west trail (Australians), and one point per demoralized Australian step or any condition step not on the trail (Japanese).
The north end of the trail becomes an Australian disaster after the forces make contact and the Japanese win initiative. That stack of Australians will die in place. But the others move down the trail with the Japanese slowly falling back to try and intercept the Aussies before they make trail fall. In some places they do, others they don’t. Where the Japanese can assault they do significant damage to the Aussies, but they hesitate against smaller groups since that just ties down their forces. The stack that attempts to block the HMGs gets turned into mush, as the HMGs just rip apart six Japanese steps. The Japanese decide to stay away from this slow moving force and concentrate on chasing down the Inf units.
In the end the Japanese inflict 11 steps against the 18 Australians steps (the HMGs and one Inf step live). The Australians inflict seven steps on the Japanese (six by the HMGs), but have all surviving seven steps on the trail in good order. Final score Australians 14, Japanese 11, giving the Australians a minor victory.
I didn’t expect a lot from this scenario since the victory conditions seemed tilted towards the Australians. But the quick speed of the scenario combined with combat risk and (albeit slow) maneuver was definitely more fun than I expected. I’m giving this one a 4, but that’s a round-up as I still think the VCs favor the Aussies a little. But like scenario 18, another nice little gem.
|Head on to Defeat|
This is my first playing of one of the Kokoda Trail scenarios. I picked this one as it looked to be small and fast and I just finished a Guadalcanal scenario and wanted to play another Pacific front one. As I was playing it I looked up the history of this fight, as I don't much about the Kokoda battles. I was struck by the comment that something to the effect that by the time of this battle (it was among the last of the Kokoda fighting) the Australians had learned to not make frontal attacks but to fix the main enemy force and flank them through the jungle. I learned this the hard way. I had figured that I as the two sides had pretty much parity in forces that a slog through the Jungle would just be met by Japanese forces moving up and down the t main trail to get into to position to intercept.
So I tried to have the Aussies hit the Japanese guarding the north south trail and break though and get to the crossroads. But the Japanese stopped them cold (they rolled very well on many attacks too). So about mid game the Aussies moved into the jungle which forced the Japanese to spread out. One Australian HMG Platoon and Company Commander did make to the main trail but were later surrounded and wiped out. The Australians were having some success with the flanking moves but time ran out and they were decisively defeated.
In the real battle, they were stopped as well but with less casualties. when another battalion was brought up, the Australians then could overwhelm the Japanese flanks and force them to withdraw. This is what the second scenario on this fight depicts (scenario 30). What I found a tad curious was that the scenario has the Australians coming out of the north heading south then turn to the west. But in the real fight they came out of the South. This maybe was done to have the map fit the situation.