J9 A Stiff Fight

Time to get back to ASL. Longtime friend Greg Schmittgens and I got together over live VASL to play J9 A Stiff Fight. A smallish firefight between my troops of the Emperor’s best and Greg’s Gurkhas.

My Japanese are a mix of elite and first line troops supported by three Chi Ha tanks. Greg’s Gurkhas are a similar group of elite and first line fighters without any armor support. He does get some wire fortifications to try to slow me down as I attempt to clear a road (and adjacent hexes) through dense jungle. This scenario is popluar because of the size and it’s reputation for balance. ROAR has it listed as 105 Japanese wins to 100 Gurkha.

Certainly, I was going to find the wire the hard way, as it doesn’t need to be revealed until I bumble my way onto it. The dense jungle makes for a different scenario as multi-location firegroups are NA and the stacking limit is 2 per hex. Also, my nifty little Knee Mortar is practically useless as it can’t be fired from a dense jungle hex. I guess we’ll throw it at them if we get close enough.

I kicked off my assault and quickly found the first wire. Greg had forgotten about not needing to reveal them until I ran into them, and so he put them on the map before I was able to stop him. No biggie, I don’t think there is much subterfuge, as the playing area is pretty small.

Normally, roads are paths in the Pacific Theater, but this road is still in play in this scenario, providing a way for the tanks to get forward. There is some nasty bamboo at the bottom side of the road which could be troublesome, but could also catch the Gurkhas without a way back if they get stuck in front of them.

I move forward but my troops start getting hung up on the wire. I could have gone around, but at 6.5 turns with wire and dense jungle, I decided time was not on my side and plunging forward was going to be my strategy. Greg made a stand with one of his 458 squads, engaging with a Japanese squad and getting the worst of it. He definitely couldn’t trade squad for squad with me as I outnumbered him by just enough to get the job done.

I attempted to remove the wire with my tanks, but only succeeded in bogging. They got free but the other tanks were unable to remove the wire either. The infantry was going to have to do it the hard way, as anticipated.

I decided to take advantage of my unique Japanese characteristics, but a deuce on a fire attack from the Gurkhas in front of the bamboo removed a full squad from the map. While Greg couldn’t afford to trade me squad for squad, I couldn’t afford to just get my guys wiped out in one shot either.

Ouch.

I continued the slog forward and through the wire. Moving the tanks up ensured that the Gurkhas in front of the bamboo were going to have to make a stand or go into the bamboo, not a pleasant choice there.

I find the rest of the wire, getting hung up again. Greg waited for a side shot with his ATR, a very patient play as my Japanese were surrounding those troops. He gets the hits, but doesn’t get the penetration, and they end up in serious trouble. Broken and eventually eliminated.

Our session for the evening ended there and we were scheduled to play again the following week, but some serious health issues with my mom caused me to have to postpone as I was out of town for a while. She is fine, but her life is changed now, and so is mine.

Greg and I finally got to finish up our game a couple of weeks later. The first half of the scenario was looking favorably on the Gurkhas. I had had some good fortune, but the dice had favored Greg. Not overwhelmingly so, but I felt I had gotten the shorter end of the dice. Welcome to wargaming. My Japanese had been whittled down significantly, and while I had done well against his forward line, I knew the real meat of his forces were in the back consisting of three elite 648 Gurkhas. Not a pleasant foe to run into.

Fortunately, while I can’t say the dice favored me this session, they definitely turned against Greg. And I forgot to start a logfile to get pictures from.

I pushed the tanks up, finally getting rid of the troops in front of the bamboo, time was running out. It turns out all I had to do with Elite Gurkhas was get morale checks on them. Greg’s dice took care of the rest. A streak of 11’s and 12’s on morale checks made the job easy for the Japanese. And I did get the game end picture.

Mission accomplished with some help from the dice bot.

Greg and I are now playing Up Front. It’s one of my grail games that I wasn’t sure I was ever going to get a copy of. Found one at a good price, and in good shape, and crossed it off my list.

As for ASL, I have another game going with Adam, and will soon be starting one with Boomer.

Thanks for reading.

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