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Friday, September 05, 2008

Oldie but goodie

Mark and Robert, a couple of old, old buddies, passed through last weekend. Mark was an avid and skillful Up Front player back in the day, so it was a cinch that we'd get a few games in; unless, that is, I could persuade him to try his hand at Combat Commander instead. In the event I deferred, naturally enough, to Mark's inevitable yearning to revisit battlefields of old, and we got stuck in.

We started with Scenario 1. Patrol, as you do; my Japanese against Mark's British (not jungle). My variant Japanese set-up having been decisively refuted at last year's post-Claymore mega-session, I went with the standard Japanese 3-group setup (2 ML rifles, firebase, and Sgt. Okimoto's 4-man bayonetting group). Against this, Mark too deployed 3 groups, including a 5-man firebase and Sgt. Vasey in a 3-man manoeuvre group. Hmm, I thought.

For the unititiated, Mark's choice of setup had reopened the old issue of the better basic British/German 10-man-squad setup: fire, or fire and manoeuvre. Or, as veteran players will know: the 2-group, 6-man firebase setup versus the 3-group, 5-man firebase setup. You lose 1FP from 9 and 10FP at RR1 and 2 respectively by going for fire and manoeuvre, so that the essential question is whether that 1FP is worth the additional fire and manoeuvre opportunities.

Mark clearly thought it was. He was almost right too. My initial Japanese rush was quickly pinned and started taking casualties early. That was the point at which I managed to keep my nerve. I pulled everything back together quickly enough to leave Mark facing the killer tactical problema of the British versus the Japanese: how to avoid your firebase getting stuck at Range Chit 0 while the Japanese swarm forward. His failure to solve this problem left me winning comfortably from the position I enjoyed once I'd rallied from under Mark's early hails of fire.

An excess of whisky renders vague the precise order in which followed the subsequent 3 games. But I can avow that Mark's SS enjoyed an easy victory over my Russian Conscripts in Scenario K. Elite Troops on the Attack. I'm also certain that I defended with the US in Scenario F. Infantry's Iron Fist, and with the Germans in Scenario D. Rearguard Action. What I can't remember (whisky again) is who won which playing what to leave us tied 2-2.

Circumstances conspired to force us to declare a draw just as we were readying ourselves for our next game. I have to confess I was a bit relieved. I was going into the attack with the US against the Japanese in Scenario S. Jungle Assault. A flamethrower and 2 BAR's might be all very well; but you've still got to get through the jungle to use them on the beggars, and they're dug-in with their MMG to stop you. So, like I said, I was satisfied to call a draw! ;)
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