Scenario: J116 - "Brigade Hill"
Publication: ASL Journal #8
Participants: Jim "HeavyD" D, Myself
Time: Fri, 11/9 ~ 6.30PM - 9.30PM
Sat, 11/10 ~ 1PM - 3.30PM
We have not played PTO ASL in a long time. With MMP's impending re-release of the PTO forces HeavyD and I decided it was time to get back in the jungle. I started looking for a PTO scenario to play in the recent Journals and found this one "Brigade Hill". It comes highly recommended by my Dutch/Canadian ASL Godfather and has a sterling record on ROAR as well. It's also pretty basic PTO rules...not a lot of tough stuff, thus a perfect scenario to gently re enter this theater.
The scenario takes place in Papua (New Guinea) in September of 1942. The Japanese are advancing along the Kokoda Trail and the Australians have sent a Battalion out in front of their Brigade headquarters. The Japanese have inserted a blocking force between the Battalion and the Brigade HQ. The Australian Battalion is ordered to break through to the rear as the scenario opens. The Japanese have seven 1st line squads, two crews with MMGs and a couple of mortars and LMGs to impede the Australian advance. There are three Japanese leaders as well which for a force this small is unusual. The Japanese are a allowed to set up in Foxholes and have a few concealment counters as well. On turn 3 the Japanese will get one squad, LMG and an 8-0 entering the West edge as reinforcements.
|Initial Set Up|
The Australian force consists of 6x 4-5-8s, 6x 4-5-7s and three leaders, 9-1, 8-1, and a 8-0. They have a MMG, 3 LMGs and two 51 MTRs as well as one Foxhole (which has to set up in a predesignated hex) as well as a couple of concealment counters. On turn 3 the Australians get three more squads (1 elite, 2 1st line) a leader and LMG as reinforcement entering on the North side (other side of the map from where the main for sets up). Both the Japanese and Australians set up on map so the concealment counters are valuable for the Japanese. The scenario takes place on board 36 which is full of hills and cut with streams (which are dry in the scenario, thus they are just like gulleys). Thankfully all Marsh is treated as Light Jungle. Light Jungle is also in effect.
The Australians win at game end is they control three of the four victory hexes (they start with one). It's important to note that both sides reinforcements threaten victory locations, something that HeavyD and I promptly forgot during the course of the scenario. The Japanese are limited to setting up on the three hills while the Australians set up on North of row P. I took the Australians.
As its been five months since HeavyD and I played ASL, we were bound to make some bone-headed mistake and we started off quickly in this direction. HeavyD set up concealed as if I was entering, we caught this and he did a quick adjustment and then we start, thus no harm done. I plan on leaving two half squads back in my Foxhole victory location with a mortar and run most of the rest of my guys towards the three other victory locations. It doesn't dawn on me that on turn three HeavyD will enter his one squad plus leader as reinforcement literally two hexes away from this location, but more on that later.
|End of Australian turn 1|
|One MMG down...(Australian turn 2)|
Turn one is pretty uneventful. HeavyD has set up reverse slop and thus I am able to move full speed towards the bald top of hill 526. HeavyD stays static on his turn and we are quickly into turn 2. I start the turn off breaking one of my mortars and then go straight into the movement phase. As I reach the crest of the hill I get zapped a couple times by HeavyD's MMGs. One of them gets ROF and I lose about two half squads in the course of the movement phase. I am however able to make use of his restricted covered arcs and his cooling dice to make some good progress onto the top of the hill. HeavyD ends up breaking one of his MMGs in defensive fire as well. My advancing fire takes out the crew manning the now broken MMG. During defensive final fire we find out that we have entered a hex (V5) that has a HIP 4-4-7 + LMG. HeavyD's fire breaks the whole lot (I take a HS casualty as well) and I am forced to low crawl out of the location in the Route Phase. I do advance two squads into the hex in advance phase. Melee is inconclusive. The Japanese portion of the turn goes by quickly with HeavyD mostly skulking or exchanging fire with me. I am able to break one of his mortar toting squads on another hill and don't suffer too badly from his fire. In the Melee phase HeavyD's squad is reduced while I don't lose anything (whew). This would have been a tough one to take had he been able to take out both squads when he converted to Hand to Hand.
|Surprise! TPBF Phase|
|Start of Japanese turn 2|
Oops, we're old, we forget things...
|Start of Australian turn 3|
|Australian Movement phase, turn 3|
As I set up my reinforcement for turn three, its clear to both of us that HeavyD had not considered the threat that these units (3 squads + leader) pose to the two rear most victory locations. We decide that in spite of this we are having too much fun to let this slight oversight interfere with our game. I have little prep fire to open the turn. My broken guys from turn one are almost back now and I make very good progress against light fire from HeavyD. My reinforcements make it right up nest to the victory location and the broken HS HeavyD has next to it. In the Melee phase the Japanese Half Squad goes down having failed to inflict any casualties. When HeavyD sets up his reinforcements in the bottom of the third we have a good laugh as I had just run off one of my half squads defending this location meaning to bring forward the mortar they posses to help out the rest of the team. This means that I have only a half squad to defend that victory location. So its good to know that both of us are making some bone headed moves here. Not much happens in HeavyD's half of the turn except his reinforcements enter and get next to my concealed HS in the victory location. I am able to ambush them and pull back in the close combat phase though (whew).
|Start of Japanese turn 3|
Turn 4 opens with me in possession of three of the victory locations. However, HeavyD has a concealed squad adjacent to one and I have only a HS in the area. In my prep fire phase I take out HeavyD's remaining MMG and leader with him rolling some bad dice. I also divert three squads back towards my rear to help protect the threatened location. I am still able to press in on the remaining victory location in Japanese possession. HeavyD gets busy in his turn. At the end of the turn we have four CC markers on the map! HeavyD is making an all out push to get back into this thing. Three if the CC's go his way with the fourth being the victory location in my rear converting to melee, my remaining HS survives another CC and ties up HeavyD in Melee.
|CC markers bloom as HeavyD strikes back (Japanese turn 4)|
|Start of Australian turn 5|
Turn 5 is full of exciting things as the Sun is slowly setting on HeavyD's remaining troopers. I get some nice dice in the prep phase and end up digging a Foxhole on one of the victory locations. As we are still in Melee way over on my right I am able to run up next to the victory location without interference. Some poor defensive fire enables me to slip a squad through HeavyD's line and move next to the last victory location. I also go into CC with another one of Heavy's squads near there. Its about this time that HeavyD throws in the towel. At the end of this turn I will be in possession of all of the Victory locations (or at least all but the one that the Melee is going on in and I out number him there three to one). This was a great little scenario for us to ease our way back into the PTO Theater. Very easy SSRs and some interesting terrain make this one a winner of a scenario. I can see why its so popular on ROAR and in tournament play.
|Positions at game end (Australian turn 5)|
With the new Journal released, HeavyD and I will be back for more ASL soon.