STL5: Put That In Your Pipe (…and some Italians)

A few days ago we headed to PTO with STL5 from China-Burma-India pack as the trial of Japanese units. Four British trucks loaded full of Japanese squads, pretending to be the long waited British reinforcements, approaching unexacting British troops along the road. Japanese needed to get CVP off the opposing side of the map.

Every British squad starts off under TI, except a lone hero with LMG. First shot wakes up the TI units, but if failing NTC, they are Pinned. The scenario is remarkably brittle, since the attacking force must enter along the road between swamps and ponds. To make things worse, there is a clear LOS to the first three hexes that the units must enter from a bamboo on a setup area.

put that in your pipe - 1

O6 bamboo hex is a pretty darn obvious.

So, I made my setup bearing in mind that if I kill enough of the trucks and cause collaterals, the Japanese have little chance to push through. It all boiled down to a TI recovery rolls, which incidentally were very good and I only had two secondary stacks pinned. Not a good start for Japanese.

put that in your pipe - 2

Sent some guys to block the path on the right. Turned out to be unnecessary. I think that only practical way for the Japanese to win is to utilize the path through the Jungle. However it is really hard, since British have ample time to relocate and block the exit.

The game was practically over after first few lucky shots, followed by really bad CS# and MC rolls. Two trucks put out of business in a Turn 1, and Japanese losing most of the units on board, and quite a few more were striped and a lot were pinned. Reminder jumped to the Light Jungle next door, regrouped, fired advancing fire to my bamboo stack, causing them to DM except for the Hero with an LMG and then prepped for a Banzai Charge over the road.

put that in your pipe - 3

Real authentic all frontal suicide Banzai charge to prepped positions. Residual is a killer.

During the Turn 2, Japanese Banzai Charge started and I just kept on dropping residual on the charge. As expected end result of crossing open ground with FFMO/FFNAM, a lot of Japanese were striped, Casualty Reduced and Broken.

By the end of turn 2 he had exactly the number of squads that needed to get out, and on the way, there was a lot of enemies to pass. So, not surprisingly, he conceded.


End game analysis: Does not take a whole lot of imagination what well placed residual Fire on the two/three first entry locations will do to the trucks, not to mention when managing to break a truck, and kill one in a first turn. Japanese losses were unbearable.

An afterthought, instead of two squads, a hero and three LMG’s, add 9-1 leader as well, and the bamboo becomes a sort of killer hex. FFNAM/FFMO and leader would give -3 to the nearby open grounds, so… Ouch.

We took the game as and introduction for the PTO, and for that it worked fine. Got to test out the infantry tactics of the Japanese to a good effect. However, the scenario itself is way too brittle to be interesting or to give nice satisfactory story. Too much depends on the TI recovery rolls, and the fact that there is straight LOS to the enemy entry, and no way to avoid it. Ouch.

Provided that the British get even more reinforcements, it is hard to see how the Japanese can win, unless British have really bad luck with the TI recovery rolls.


 

Second game of the day was from DASL The Replacements, where elite Italians go over a hill with armor support and attempt to take a few buildings at the edge of the map from Russians. We rolled for sides and I had the Russian defenders.

Learning from the past, I was not going to keep my troops on ground level to be subject to the Armor Bypass, and found out that there is actually a darn good LOS from the higher floors of the stone buildings. AT gun went to the middle crossing, pretty much dominating the hill road, and the most direct entry to the town. Two AT rifles went a bit more forward, and HMG went to the 2nd floor in the middle.

All done, the Italians entered. Armors roared over the hill only to be hit by the AT gun and rifles, and loss count was 3 to of 6 that entered. One of the remaining ones lost SA and another MA so they were becoming fast pretty useless. My MG caused a havoc on the infantry that attempted to enter on the flanks and by the end of turn 1 it was decided that this isn’t going to work out and ended the game with 50% loss of tanks, and another 30% loss of the infantry on turn one.

There was just no practical way that my opponent could have gone through with significant enough forces to take the two buildings. This was one of the days where I rolled a way too many snake eyes and threes and he literally rolled nothing under 10.


End game analysis: Attack was probably not very well planned, but it is hard to see how to go about it if the defenders opt for a high ground. Russians do not only have two pretty good ATR’s, but also pretty good gun and MOL capability so the expected life time of the Italian tanks with a frontal AC of 3/4 is quite limited, especially without infantry support. Going over the hill is really risky because of the good LOS, and possibilities to leave residual of 1’s and 2’s quite liberally. These will be deadly for relatively low morale Italians, especially with FFNAM/FFMO modifiers.

Russians also have an advantage of the time, which forces Italians to move quickly. Combined with Italian poor broken morale things look rather hard. Once Italians fail MC, they ain’t getting back in a hurry.

To that end, Italians have a small flanking force coming up later, which – assuming the initial assault has got any punch in at all, could turn the tables a bit.

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