Saipan 1944 #1
|(Defender) Japan||vs||United States (Attacker)|
|Japan||136th Independent Infantry Battalion|
|United States||6th Marine Regiment|
|Overall Rating, 13 votes|
|Scenario Rank: 12 of 588|
|Parent Game||Saipan 1944|
|Maps||2: 80, 81|
|Layout Dimensions||86 x 28 cm
34 x 11 in
|Kill Them All|
|Scenario Requirements & Playability|
|Saipan 1944||maps + counters|
The opening invasion of Saipan targeted the southern coast of the island where the beaches where the least obstructed and suitable for amphibious operations. Red Beach 1,2 and 3 encompassed the northern landing areas, while Green Beach 1,2 and 3 paralleled them to the south followed by Blue 1 and 2, and Yellow 1, 2 and 3 furthest to the south. The 2nd and 4th Marine Divisions hit the beaches aboard 300 LVTs, but Red & Green Beaches saw the most heated resistance while nearly a dozen ships softened up the beach area with covering fire.
The initial thrust of the 6th Marines stalled 100 yards from the water's edge, the ribbon of sand littered with the hulks of knocked out Amphibian Tractors. Intense enemy fire from the higher ground slowed progress, but the Marines plunged into the thickets along the coastal highway determined to achieve their beachhead. On a happier note, the underwater demolition teams had done a pretty good job of clearing mines and blowing holes in the reef for the landings.
|AFV Rules Pertaining to this Scenario's Order of Battle|
|1 Errata Item|
The 8-3 Marine Infantry counter appears in most of the Saipan 1944 and Marianas 1944 scenarios, replacing the 10-3 DF valued Marine counters for those scenarios and is currently published in the most recent Saipan printing.
(JayTownsend on 2015 Dec 26)
|Saipan, scenario one: Red Beach|
Disclosure, I am the Designer and feel all my scenarios fall into the range of 4-5, 90-100% or I wouldn’t have created them, so take my ratings with a grain of salt! The only reason any are a 4, is because they are more difficult to make from design to development.
Saipan, scenario one: Red Beach
I finally setup scenario one today and have played two turns so far. As the Marines I hit the beaches in two general areas and have avoided that 75/88 Japanese gun so far, I have taken a few losses to the AFV/LVTs so far but not too bad considering they took out one step of Japanese Type 95s. A few units have hit the beach but haven't unloaded, the rest are about it land on turn three and the Japanese are spread too thin to defend the whole length of the beaches in any detail but still all that off board artillery will hit again on turn three and might roll better next time and the Marines only have a total of four hours to clear the beach area in detail. Part two when I have time, maybe Thursday!
My Japanese AT rolls have been pretty bad the first two turns, one was even a 2! I do have 3-4 steps of burning LVT/AFVs burning or sunk however, after two turns.
Turns three and four:
I got a few more turns in and I am going with the two flanking attacks on either side to create a pincer move as the Marines. I will be racing against the clock. The Marines have taken a few more casualties but the Japanese are really starting to take some losses as well. Nothing like have two Marine Infantry units with a DF values of 10 each plus two LVTs with 6 DF each and a leader with 1 DF for 33 DF point total and adjacent modifier to rock those Japanese defenses. Ok, let see if time and casualties permit? Bang off board artillery is keeping the Japanese in this thing!
I played through the last 12 turns tonight and did come away after 16 turns with a close American victory. I used the stretched out Japanese lines and hit them on the south and north flanks avoiding the more heavily defended middle and brought my two Marines flanks to the middle in a huge pincer, crushing the Japanese in the middle. Believe it or not, from the beaches in, there was four hexes clear with only a few scatter Japanese mortars, leaders without units and a couple demoralized Infantry units and one 75mm gun poorly setup to help only a small area. The Americans lost 22 steps however and one or two more heavy artillery shots could have made it a draw but their luck held out.
Scenario one an American victory! It was tense the whole game and maybe I should have given the Americans 20 turns instead of 16 but I was trying to minor the real thing at PG scale, as since I won as the Americans maybe not?
I really enjoyed my first real play in Saipan, with the real maps and counters, I hope you guys will as well. Nice change of pace getting into the pacific with those beautiful maps to look at.
LVT 4 = APC LVT A1 & LVT A4= AFV
LVT 4 & LVT A4 are open top. LVT A1 is closed top.
LVT 4 = 1 step units. LVT A1 & LVT A4= 2 step units. LVT A1 & LVT A4 both have inherent leaders.
Ocean traveling LVT 4’s do not suffer leader decapitation while at sea, which would make no sense at all, as other landing-craft would still head for the landing beaches regardless if the Colonel in another craft was killed or not and most likely his death would be acknowledge for some time. LVT (A)'s should have been given an amphibious armor symbol.
|Red Beach 1.....or This beach is an expensive place to park the amphtrack!|
The US landed with their left flank on the north edge. The Initial landing went well. Although the US did loose 4 steps when an LVT with a whole platoon on board was hit and eliminated with one shot. But other than that no Axis ATG shot scored any more step losses. The Axis OBA was mostly ineffective with the US passing most morale checks.
The US did well vs the somewhat thin Axis line. They carved out a beachhead in the center but both US flanks were threatened by Axis positions. On the left was an entrenchment with a good Capt. and two INF platoons. These were backed by a casement on the high ground just behind. On the right flank the Axis advanced up the coast and established dug in positions in depth just inside the 28 hex beachhead zone. In the end the US just were not timely enough to capture the entire required hex zone. The northern positions fell but the US just could not get enough strength back south by the end to make a winning attack. The beachhead was four hexes deep but only 25 hexes wide, falling short by 3 hexes. This was an absolutely a great scenario. I don't usually play scenarios this big, but this one was surly worth it. I give this see saw battle a 5 all the way.
|A Tough Landing|
The Japanese strong boy their line from the town on the left to the village on the extreme right. The Marines landed on each flank and tried to push through and meet in the center. The Japanese OBA scores numerous hits on LVTs and Marine infantry. The Japanese strongpoints on each flank also held up the Marine advance causing numerous losses. By the time the Marines started making headway on each flank, the Japanese had started falling back to the center. Without coming close to clearing the beachhead, the Japanese caused heavy casualties and the Marines would have to regroup to establish one.
|Tough landing for the Marines|
With my first play I was interested in the invasion scenarios to see how they had been updated. This first one is a good one, their is plenty of powerful Marine units, including amphibious tanks. The Japanese have a good force too. Plenty of AT guns and entrenchments to hold them. The key is how to spread them out to defend the beaches. The Marines will need to move quickly to land as they will be vulnerable at sea. The Japanese will not be able to take on the Merines directly but will need to look for weaknesses to exploit. The Marines need to take and hold most beach hexes with the Japanese need to get step losses. Both have tough goals and not much time to do it.
The Japanese setup has the AT guns spread out just behind the beach hexes but covering most advances to the beaches. Setup in the entrenchments and grouped with HMG's and INF's they are powerful defenses. Casements were positioned in towns and jungle to give them a powerful effect. A company of Japanese INF with the Type 95 hold the the beach town on board 80. The Japanese mortars are placed in the hills behind the beach to provide support once the Marines land. This should make the defense simple, kill as many LVT's at sea, then maneuver to disrupt the Marines beach control and kill as many as possible.
For the Marines, they are forced to enter the board loaded on the LVT's. They will need to move as fast as possible to land. They will need to try to stay out off the AT fire and minimize the losses. Once on land, they will need to get into assault groups quickly and clear the entrenchments and casements. Morale is good and with good leaders they should be able to clear the beaches. Losses will be tough to keep down.
The invasion starts with LVT A's advancing from the south west on board 81 and from the north west on board 80. This exposed them to just one AT shot per turn and one hit on a LVT A1 reducing and demoralizing it. As they continued the advance the LVT 4's with the Marines appear right behind them from the nortwest and southwest. But given there numbers they need to spread out and are exposed to more AT fire, particularly from the 75/88 positions on the point that straddles boards 80 and 81. The force advanceing from the southwest takes the fire from this gun and takes out one LVT 4 with the Marines and leader riding in it. Another AT shot from the 47mm hits another LVT 4 and a critical hit on a LVT 4 carrying the Marine Colonel. (This is where I slightly deviate as I played with the decapitation rule at sea. This has been subsequently clarified.) While stuck at sea two more LVT 4's are destroyed before they are able to get to the beaches. The southwest force looks to be in trouble.
To the northwest the Marines advance a little better as the LVT A's are able to land and drive a covering INF away so that the LVT 4's can land. But here to AT fire destroys one before it can get to the beach. Once on land the Marines deploy and begin to advance to the large beach town on board 81. As the Marines move forward Japanese HMG fire disrupt and demoralize several Marine units, while the Type 95 advances to deal with LVT 4's. The Marine LVT A advance up the road to take on the Japanese tank. Heavy fire from the LVT 4's help disrupt the Japanese HMG's but leave them vulnerable to the the Type 95. But in the next turn there is an exchange of kills with a LVT lost with the lose of the Type 95. Assaults on the town start with the Marine units. They are able to eventually kill the Japanese but take two step losses as well. This make a total of 15 losses within 6 turns.
Back to the south the Marines land and go directly for a AT/HMG entrenchment, but the HMG fire is devastating with two step loss on the first Marine unit. The AT hits another empty LVT 4 as a second group advances on the jungle strongpoint. This time two INF's with a FLM unit get close and assault. They are able to kill the AT gun on the first attack, but the Marines are demoralized. Japanese OBA slam the exposed Marines with a step loss and a double demoralization. This is going to be a long slog for the Marines. They eventually take the entrenchment, killing all the Japanese, but they lose another Marine step.
To the southern end of board 81, the Marines have better luck with the an attack on a casement and INF hold up in the town. The Marines are able to advancing into the assault unmolested and score a kill on the casement and demoralization on the INF. Next turn it is cleared.
To the north the Marines push the town as the Japanese move out into the jungle to save some units to attack weaker parts of the Marine line. This is also where Japanese OBA score step loses on three straight turns, wiping out four Marine steps. But what was more devastating was the 75/88 on the split board point. It was able to destroy another LVT 4 and keep the LVT A to the north in the town, while Marine INF moves to eliminate it. After a quick advance, the Marines are next to the AT gun. But they will need to deal with an INF with the gun. Again the assault takes out a Japanese step but demoralization's hit the Marines. Japanese OBA hit the bunkers with the Marines on top of the bunkers, double demoralizing both units for step loses. At this point the Marines have lost 24 units giving the Japanese the first half of their VC's.
To the south, the Marines push north, but mortar fire disrupts units as the advance and force a Marine platoon to go after them on the hill. The others advance but are forced to attack the second AT bunker with the 47mm and 2xINF's. This attack gets ugly for the Americans as the force is hit again by OBA demoralizing them, followed by DF from the INF's with Marine losses. A second group advances and are able to assault the hex and get a step loss on the INF's. But the Marines are forced to pour more men into this fight for several turns as well as take one more step loss.
The Marines eventually link up in the split board, but Japanese units infiltrate back into the north board 80 and recapture beach hexes. This forces the Marines back to the north, but Japanese OBA hit them again and disrupt and demoralize them. They keep pushing but run out of time to get all the hexes needed for the VC. The Japanese have successfully disrupted the American invasion. The final losses are 32 Marine steps and 22 for the Japanese.
In the end a good fight tough, but achievable VC's for both sides. The Marines have the numbers but the Japanese can be wily and try recapture beaches once the Americans are stretched. The must also hit as many LVT 4's at sea, with a three step loss with a loaded LVT 4 they cannot pass these up. As for the Marines, morale issues were the issue. Demoralized in assaults with Japanese OBA raining down was hard to overcome. They eventually became stretched and the remnants of the Japanese were able to deny the Americans.
|Close but no cigar|
My first game from the Saipan set was naturally the first amphibious landing scenario. Roughly a regiment of Marines in LTVs with no artillery support (other than pregame bombardment) must clear a beachhead 28 hexes long by 4 deep of Japanese defenders, consisting of a few battalions of Japanese army with a ton of off board artillery.
The Japanese defense plan hinged on holding the coastal town in force. No matter where the Marines landed, they would have to take the whole town to get their 28-hex long beachhead. Since the town was closer to the north end of the board, the Japanese placed a few entrenched positions in the south to contest any landing there and spoil the Marine's advance up the coastal road.
The Marine's plan was to land in two large groups in the south, immediately assaulting the Japanese positions there with one group while pushing up the road to the north with the second group.
The battle proceeded according to plan for both sides. The Marines landed with few casualties and made relatively quick work of the Japanese delaying positions. However, they became very disorganized and spread out as they struggled to advance up the road past subsequent Japanese positions. Taking to the jungle and marsh behind the beach, while not impassible to infantry and amphibious vehicles, was slow and confused.
In the final hour of the 4-hour battle, the Marines began straggling up to the town. One company of Marines, trying to flank the town to the east, was attacked by a company of Japanese and forced to make a desperate defense of a hilltop position. Taking a risk, more Japanese moved out of the town and set up a defensive line in the canefields and jungle south of town. One marine company risked passing through a minefield laid at a key road junction, and paid heavily for it. As the final turns ticked by, the Marines were breaking through the Japanese line south of town and firing on the town defenders, but they were unable to begin any serious assaults to contest the town. Their casualties exceeded the scenario limit and they failed to take the town, so this was a solid Japanese victory.
1 more hour could have made all the difference for the Marines. If a few rolls had gone their way as they approached the town they might not have suffered as heavily and could have taken the place. I rank this as a very good scenario because it was pretty close even though a big challenge for the Marines. It played out in a very narrative fashion, bringing to mind many accounts I have read of the war in the Pacific, so I enjoyed it a great deal. The Marines lost over a third of their LTVs, all of them on land, where they contributed enormous firepower and absorbed quite a few losses. Marine firepower in this game is simply awesome, but necessary to root out defenders in trenches, towns and jungle. Both sides have excellent leadership which kept the game flowing even despite the tortuous terrain.
|Deep & Wide|
The Marines invade in force against a thinly held beachhead, defended with lots of AT and HMGs. I spread the AT weapons out along the second row of hexes in from the beach for the most part, keeping a reserve force just back from that line of infantry with good leaders ready to charge into the Marines to try to keep them from consolidating their hold. The Marines landed in 3 groups, with a large force to the north, another in the center and a smaller one to the south. In hindsight, the southern force would have better been used in the center, as trying to take an entrenchment became a bit of a boondoggle as Japanese and Marines traded little damage but lots of morale issues. Overall the Japanese took pretty heavy losses, but in the end, while I could keep the beach itself secure, the Marines just could not completely dislodge the Japanese in the 3rd and 4th rows in, but the Japanese were never able to take more than 6 steps of Marines, including a step of LVT4s that fled the beach and left the board. This one deserves another play to work out the puzzle a little bit more.