16/01/2017 at 16:33 #55742
We’re here, it’s finally begun, my 15mm campaign to follow a platoon of Marines through WWII in the Pacific, 1941 to 1945, from the Philippines to Okinawa. I’m playing with toys from Eureka and Peter Pig, using Ivan Sorensen’s “No End In Sight” ruleset (modified a bit), with some campaign help/structure from Joe Legan’s “Platoon Forward.”
Overview of table, north is to top left, with the village of Dadangan at top right. It’s 0830 on 13 Dec 1941, and Captain Moon’s 1st Platoon enters the table at bottom center left, via the dirt road, moving east towards the Filipino village. The ridge on the left is Hill 100, the knob at top right is Hill 125. Mostly open grasslands, with some coconut palms scattered here and there.
Looking east from the Marine start point, you can see the ridge of Hill 100 at top left, and Hill 125 at top center right.
The opposing forces, with Japanese on left and Marines on right. The entire US force shown (three rifle squads, a sniper, a .30 cal MG team, a 60mm mortar team, and a Platoon Commander and Platoon Sergeant) will be on the table. The Japanese will be on ‘blinds’ in accordance with Joe Legan’s “Platoon Forward,” so I don’t have any idea what’s going to show up.
A Japanese Type 92 machine gun fires on 1st Squad.
A banzai charge straight at the US M-1917 machine gun, threatening the right flank.
To see the campaign plan concept, there’s a blogpost here:
To see the rest of this battle report, there’s a blogpost here:
What a fight! I think the rules, coupled with the blinds from Platoon Forward, worked like a champ, making things VERY tense. Hell, the boy was sure we were going to lose when the Japanese 3rd Squad was on the verge of breaking through on our right flank. Casualties were rougher than I expected; some of that is my fault as I didn’t play with the idea of ‘breaking/pressure,’ but I do recall Ivan saying you wouldn’t see as many casualties in these rules 😉 For all intents and purposes, the Japanese lost a full platoon of infantry, and the Marines didn’t fare much better.
The next fight will be 1st Platoon assaulting ‘Horseshoe Ridge,’ coming soon!
Jack16/01/2017 at 19:43 #55764
yet another lovely bit of eye candy.
I was going to try the Platoon Forward with FiveCore, but I might try it with No End In Sight too. They are both a great set of rules.16/01/2017 at 19:45 #5576516/01/2017 at 22:27 #55770
Just looked at the pics so far , damn that is War Panda terrain you have now Jack !!!!!17/01/2017 at 00:06 #55771
Hey, thanks everyone, I really appreciate it! The next batrep will be up on Wednesday or Thursday.
Shelldrake – You can’t go wrong either way. I will say that 5Core is still my favorite, but I haven’t been able to find the platoon-level sweet spot with it. It’s incredible for skirmish and company level, but, for me at least, NEIS works better for platoon level. It’s just an opinion, ‘feel’ thing for me.
Jack17/01/2017 at 00:52 #55772
To quote the eminent gentleman from Oklahoma, “Wowzer!”. No time now to talk but soon I want details on this battle mat you bought and if you modified it at all. The table looks great and it finally is of a size which might allow manoeuvre and machine guns to play a meaningful doctrinaire role in the combat. I gotta say Jack, I’m very impressed indeed! Perhaps even a bit envious too! We shall talk come the weekend I hope. My teddy bear fur fields and carpet contour hills are looking pretty lame these days. Well done, Jack! Keep up the great work. And no, you can never have too many minis, you heretic!
Cheers and outstanding gaming.
Rod Robertson.17/01/2017 at 01:55 #55773
Hey, thanks everyone, I really appreciate it! The next batrep will be up on Wednesday or Thursday. Shelldrake – You can’t go wrong either way. I will say that 5Core is still my favorite, but I haven’t been able to find the platoon-level sweet spot with it. It’s incredible for skirmish and company level, but, for me at least, NEIS works better for platoon level. It’s just an opinion, ‘feel’ thing for me. V/R, Jack
I do love the stress rule in NEIS – makes for very tense games.17/01/2017 at 04:04 #55775
I like your idea of fighting the one Company across the Pacific but it would have been broken up as individuals are wounded ,killed or caught Malaria , promoted and transferred to other units as the Corp expanded. So some individuals would stay but the majority would be replaced.
Any looking forward to any and all your AAR’s.17/01/2017 at 18:07 #55821
Rod – Thanks man, glad you like it. Regarding MG’s and maneuver, not even close! 6′ x 4′ in 15mm is still only 244 yds x 163 yds; MGs and mortars are engaging at 700-900 yards.
“My teddy bear fur fields and carpet contour hills are looking pretty lame these days.”
How would we know? You know, since you don’t have a blog and don’t share with the rest of the wargaming community? 😉
I’m no heretic, and I’m on the verge of proving you CAN have too many minis 😉 Regarding the mat, I bought it on ebay and it’s expensive but awesome. Not sure what else I can tell ya.
Shelldrake – Yeah, the friction, not knowing if you’re going to make it or not, is great. It shows up with a vengeance in the next batrep.
John – We’re following a platoon, not a company, man. And the funny thing is, I’m actually familiar with how Marine campaigns work 😉 In any case, I started this for you, you’ve been patiently waiting for some WWII USMC. Sit back and enjoy yourself, it’s gonna be a wild ride 😉
Jack17/01/2017 at 18:49 #55827
I am really going to enjoy this Jack, and I am grateful for you doing it.18/01/2017 at 00:33 #55840
You bet your sweet ass you are, it’s gonna be awesome! 😉
It’s been a blast so far, we’ve already played three and have two more scheduled for this coming weekend. The table is already set! We’re actually dodging back and forth between No End in Sight and 5 Men in Normandy, depending on the scenario/size of the fight.
I’m planning on playing these in clusters of six or seven games at a time. So, 6-7 fights in the Philippines, then the platoon makes its escape to the Dutch East Indies. Take a short break to play some other stuff, then come back for 6-7 fights in DEI, then they make their escape to Australia.
Take a break, play some other stuff, come back for the invasion of Tulagi, move over, do some early Guadalcanal, take a break. Come back, finish the ‘Canal, etc…
Jack18/01/2017 at 01:20 #55841
That sounds great, I look forward to it.19/01/2017 at 15:33 #55957
It’s 0930 on 20 December 1941 and another fight is brewing for the Marines of 1st Platoon. After the fight in Dadangan on 13 December, the platoon has been on a series of marches to shore up supply lines, avoid being cut off, avoid Japanese patrols, then find and occupy a defensible position. The platoon has reached its assigned defensive position, what they’re calling “Horseshoe Ridge,” but as the platoon makes its approach from the east, they find it’s actually occupied. The Japanese are behind them! Captain Moon and Sgt Carlson call a halt, then come up with a quick plan of attack. Sgt Carlson will take 1st Squad and move left, take up supporting positions with the MG team and mortar team, while the Captain takes 2nd and 3rd Squads right, with 3rd Squad being the assault element to take the east end of Horseshoe Ridge. Ready, break!
Overview of map, north is to top right. Horseshoe Ridge is at top center/top left, and the Marines are advancing from the east (right). Once again the table is 6′ x 4′, and my boy and are playing co-op against the Japanese in 15mm using Ivan’s rules, “No End In Sight,” and running the Japanese on blinds as per Joe’s “Platoon Forward.”
The Marine Platoon. Or what’s left of it.
The Japanese will be on ‘blinds’, so I don’t have any idea what’s going to show up. But I know what they have available: four 9-man rifle squads (each has an LMG and a knee mortar), three 7.7mm Type 92 machine gun teams, a 70mm howitzer, two snipers, two officers (complete with Samurai swords), and a Type 95 tank. Some, none, any, or all could show up on the table, I have no idea.
Japanese ‘knee mortars’ bracket the US M-1917 machine gun team (bottom left), but it and the 60mm mortar team pound Horseshoe Ridge (top right).
As Captain Moon leads 3rd Squad to the crest of the ridge. Will the Marines take Horseshoe Ridge? Check the blog to find out:
Next fight, coming right up.
Jack19/01/2017 at 16:41 #55965
Great report (they always are). 🙂
A question about the mortar firing, which may be a dumb one so apologies in advance if it is. As you place a blue bead for where the mortar is aiming then roll for where the round lands later, shouldn’t a mortar firing off 3 rounds in quick succession have one aiming point with three shots diverging from the one point, rather than 3 different aiming points?
I really wanted to see how they dealt with a tank, maybe next time. 🙂
(Oh, and I bet Dishman is glad Marines don’t shoot their own.)19/01/2017 at 19:27 #55980
Thanks, glad you liked it. Regarding your question, understand I’m ‘cheating’ a bit, though I’m doing it for both sides. In real life, the mortar fires one round, wait’s to see where it lands (whether they do it or have an observer at a different location, but with comms), then adjust (‘up 50, right 100’), fire again, keep doing that until they get a round on target, then ‘fire for effect,’ which is putting a bunch of rounds on the target area. So, because this is a game and not real life, and I want more action out of my mortars, we’re skipping straight to the ‘fire for effect,’ though we can somewhat justify this due to 1) the short range of the engagements, and 2) the fact the mortar crews usually have eyes on their targets (as opposed to being shifted onto target by a forward observer somewhere).
In any case, once you get on target and you fire for effect, you’re supposed to fire a ‘sheaf.’ That is, you don’t want all the rounds to hit on one spot, so between each round small adjustments are made to the sighting mechanism to change the impact of the round longitudinally and latitudinally (I don’t know if mortarmen call it ‘traverse and elevation,’ or what?). However, I have seen mortars fire what they called a ‘field sheaf’ when they’re in a hurry. Instead of making changes to the sight between each round, they just thump the rounds out as quick as possible, knowing that each round fired knocks the tube off the original target line a bit anyway. Every time you fire a mortar round, it kicks the tube over a bit, digs the baseplate in a bit deeper**, which changes the point of impact slightly, creating its own ‘sheaf,’ just not as dispersed as they’d normally like.
**After all the WWII movies I’d watched as a kid, I got quite a shock the first time I was next to a mortar being fired. In the movies it’s a cute little *bloop*, but in real life that @#$% will make you wet your pants if you’re not paying attention 😉
I’m not looking forward to dealing with a tank, and Cpl Dishman simply didn’t perform well. The Cap’n can deal with that; running away, on the other hand 😉
Jack19/01/2017 at 19:33 #55981
Thanks for the explanation about the mortar, that makes sense to me now. 🙂
I’m really loving these reports, the larger table and the new terrain mat makes it all seem more realistic somehow. Though I do worry if any of them will survive at this rate.19/01/2017 at 20:19 #55989
(I don’t know if mortarmen call it ‘traverse and elevation,’ or what?). Every time you fire a mortar round, it kicks the tube over a bit, digs the baseplate in a bit deeper, which changes the point of impact slightly, creating its own ‘sheaf,’ just not as dispersed as they’d normally like.
Sorry for the temporary hijack:
We call it Bearing and elevation here in Australia. I am an artilleryman by trade, and they took our guns from us as gave us mortars
What Jack has described is very accurate… more accurate than actual mortar rounds themselves
Hollywood has a lot to blame for peoples’ impression of artillery – it is an area effect weapon, which means you can expect to hit something within a given area in the impact zone.
For 105mm howitzers, that is 100 x 100 meters if they converge. Target rounds (rounds that actually hit a specific object) do happen, but not as muchas in the movies.
We play ‘grid square bingo’ with the mortars, as they can really hit anywhere within a grid square, even when aimed and fired accurately. The mortar round is so light and slow (being a high trajectory weapon) that the wind can blow them a bit off course on the way up or down. I can’t speak about the 120mm mortars as my trade is in 81mm mortars.
There are no petrol explosions either. Just a big ball of dust that obscures a little burst of flame as the projectile detonates.
Oh, and they really do make a much louder bang than one expect from such a tiny thing. And concussion.
Now back to your normal transmission…19/01/2017 at 21:05 #56005
Thanks Shelldrake, it’s appreciated. As someone with no real life experience of this it’s always good to learn more from someone who knows first hand. 🙂20/01/2017 at 04:52 #56026
Vicki – No sweat, glad to help. If I’m using terminology you don’t understand or concepts that I didn’t explain well enough, please let me know. It makes me feel important 😉
Regarding the bigger table: yeah, of course it’s cool looking, but I caution you guys to not get too used to it. Games this big take a long time to set up, a long time to play, a long time to clean up, and a long time to write up, and I just can’t do too much of that. So, my plan it to play clusters of 6-7 games like this, then get back to my normal 2 x 2 or 3 x 3 games for a bit, then come back to the big ones. I have too many campaigns going on to spend too much time on one thing. And those ten years in the Corps didn’t do my back any favors, so another cool aspect to 2 x 2 or 3 x 3 gaming is I can sit down while doing it.
And regarding anyone surviving: if you’re not familiar, the Pacific was rather rough on Marines between 1941 and 1945; it’s gonna be a rough ride. But the stories of these fights is why I joined the Marines in the first place.
Shelldrake – Cool man, I didn’t know you were a plunker 😉 And 81s, too. Man, I just remember looking over at the 81mm platoon whenever we went on a hump and thinking, ‘thank goodness I’m a machine gunner.’ Them tubes AND the baseplates are heavy, and there just isn’t a good way to carry it. Sure the .50 cal is heavy, but it’s flat, you could just throw it on top of your pack and let it ride. That tube…
Anyway, quit screwing around: what did you think of the fight?
Jack20/01/2017 at 18:45 #56075
Sorry I’m late for the second fight, been under the weather, damn you got to aggressive again Jack. I really love your new mat it looks so good for what you are doing.20/01/2017 at 23:48 #56090
John – No sweat man, hope you get to feeling better. Yeah, too aggressive; in NEIS you can really push your guys if the dice are cooperating and you’ve got leaders in the right place. I should have halted them just under the crest, out of LOS of the Japanese atop the ridge, pounded them with the MG one more turn, then close assaulted them. But I thought I could make it this turn.
The mat is awesome; it’s got me playing games on the big table, and liking it. I need to get a desert mat and a snow mat…
Jack21/01/2017 at 00:16 #56092
I’m hoping it’s just a cold and not the flu. BF has a new 2 sided mat grass and Deseret no idea how much.
Yeah you should have held back one more turn…but then you are a Marine..22/01/2017 at 17:12 #56170
Regarding MG’s and maneuver, not even close! 6′ x 4′ in 15mm is still only 244 yds x 163 yds; MGs and mortars are engaging at 700-900 yards.
What ground scale are you using? For 15mm I use 1cm = 2m or in imperial 1 in. = 5m (16.25 ft). At this ground scale on a 6′ X 4′ table that’s 360m X 240m or 450 yds. X 300 yds. Are you using 1.5 cm = 2 yds.? Given the limitations of visibility imposed by terrain usually that area of 360m X 240m is just about right for MG’s and light mortars like the British 2″ mortar or the Japanese knee mortar. I’ll admit that the US 60mm mortar operated out to longer ranges but what range did most light mortar engagements occur at? While MG’s could fire indirectly at greater ranges, terrain and vegetation constraints would often limit direct engagement ranges to less than 300-500m. I admit that I’m not overly familiar with the topography and vegetation of the Philippines or Guadalcanal but my impression is that most infantry combat took place at ranges of less than 300m. Am I incorrect in my appreciation of the ranges your Marines would be operating at?
The new mat looks great. What is it made of? What has the manufacturer done to the basic materials from which it was made? Is it painted, washed or stained? However it was made, it looks outstanding!
As to blogging, we each follow our own path and the interweb is not my dharma at this time. It’s not born out of selfishness but rather out of limited time and a profound lack of interest in learning the mechanics of blogging.
I’m going to read the second report now and will comment later when I have digested it. Thanks for posting these and sharing them with us.
Cheers and good gaming.
Rod Robertson.22/01/2017 at 20:40 #56178
Shelldrake – Cool man, I didn’t know you were a plunker And 81s, too. Man, I just remember looking over at the 81mm platoon whenever we went on a hump and thinking, ‘thank goodness I’m a machine gunner.’ Them tubes AND the baseplates are heavy, and there just isn’t a good way to carry it.
Every thing you mentioned is why I hate the 81’s. I want my guns back!
The AARs are really cool, and looking forward to the next one.22/01/2017 at 21:34 #56180
Shelldrake – Thanks man, next one coming tomorrow (Monday).
Rod – Yep, 1.5cm=2 yards.
“While MG’s could fire indirectly at greater ranges, terrain and vegetation constraints would often limit direct engagement ranges to less than 300-500m.”
Fire indirectly at greater ranges? Most MGs on a tripod will fire grazing fire to 600 or 700 yards, and can engage area targets out to 900 to 1100 yards. You’re right that terrain and vegetation can constrain field of fire, but that all gets to choosing the right position for the gun. Guadalcanal and the Philippines have lots of jungle with lots of bald hills and slopes; close range, patrol on patrol engagements occur at point blank range, attack/defense scenarios usually at greater ranges as the defender would select a hill with good fields of fire. Even early in the war the Japanese preferred to attack at night as they believed it gave them a psychological advantage and it negated US supporting fires, which the US, Brits, and Australians almost always outpaced the Japanese in, even in fights they lost.
“The new mat looks great. What is it made of? What has the manufacturer done to the basic materials from which it was made? Is it painted, washed or stained? However it was made, it looks outstanding!”
Thanks man, and I apologize, but I have no idea about any of that other than it’s made out of teddy-bear fur.
Blogging is just a joke, though I do wish all wargamers would blog and put stuff out there for everyone to see. I wouldn’t be here but for the inspiration drawn from others’ work. Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment, and hope you enjoy the second fight.
Jack23/01/2017 at 05:52 #56191
Look forward to the next AAR .23/01/2017 at 09:17 #56197
Me too !
Great looking table.23/01/2017 at 17:48 #56234
Ask, and ye shall receive 😉
It’s 2130 on 20 December 1941, and following its ass-whoopin’ at Horseshoe Ridge, 1st Platoon is moving Back up the slopes under the cover of darkness to recover its casualties.
Sgt Carlson: “Alright, here’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna wait ’til it’s nice and dark, then we’re gonna go get our men. We’ll set the gun and Cpl Duncan’s mortar into the same exact positions, and I’ll take 2nd Squad up the ridge. 1st Squad stands by down below, just in case. We go up, grab our guys, then get the hell outta dodge. If any shootin’ starts, I want the mortar and MG to open up. I want a wall of fire between the eastern side of the ridge and the west, keep the Japs from getting at us.”
With that, the Marines of 1st Platoon moved into their start positions, ready to jump off.
The full table is still set up, but this is the contested area we’ll be dealing with for this fight, just the eastern slope of Horseshoe Ridge. North is to top right, and you can see the Marine casualties lying in the open at center top left. It’s night time, but apparently the moon is pretty bright 😉
The Marines: the actual fighting force will the Platoon Sergeant (bottom center), Sgt Carlson, and the six Marines of 2nd Squad (right). As a figure, Sgt Carlson is carrying a .45-caliber pistol, but for the game he’s carrying a Tommy Gun (I have plenty of Tommy Gun figures, I just wanted his pose to stand out).
The MG and mortar teams are for decoration, scenario fodder. The Marine fighting force is just seven men with Tommy Guns, a BAR, and Springfield 03s.
The Marines move up the slopes to recover their fallen buddies, but as they do, a Japanese sentry spots Sgt Carlson and fires. To see how the fight went, please check the blog at:
The remains of 1st Platoon falls back to regroup, and they make contact with higher headquarters. Major Ford, their Company Commander orders them return and take Horseshoe Ridge! While a few of the wounded have been able to return to the line, the Major knows 1st Platoon is still pretty understrength, so he lets them borrow an M-3 Stuart of the 194th Tank Battalion, an Army National Guard unit.
Captain Moon saw to it that his men got plenty to eat and drink, and plenty of rest. Then they mounted up on the morning of 24 Dec 41 and began making their way back to Horseshoe Ridge for our next fight, which I’ll post in a couple days.
23/01/2017 at 20:17 #56246
- This reply was modified 2 years, 4 months ago by Just Jack.
Woohoo !!! That was one pissed off Japanese soldier !! Jack you have to stop being so cocky !!! It’s getting us killed !!!
Oh and I envy that grass mat it will be great for Bloody/ Edison’s ridge on the Canal !!!23/01/2017 at 20:42 #56258
I wonder how the platoon will perform next time with the strength it has. I wonder what would have happened if you didn’t ‘tinker’ with the process in regards to the Japanese berserker.23/01/2017 at 21:57 #56265
John – That really wasn’t me being all that cocky, just that Japanese soldier being really pissed at us! And yeah, doing Horseshoe Ridge really reminded me of pics of Edson’s Ridge.
Shelldrake – With wounded coming back, the platoon has the Commander, Plt Sgt, MG team, mortar team, and two seven-man squads, plus the loaned out tank. The Japanese aren’t really on the ridge (I hope, anyway) in strength, it’s just an outpost, while the bulk of their troops in south Luzon move northwest on Manila.
“I wonder what would have happened if you didn’t ‘tinker’ with the process in regards to the Japanese berserker.”
Hmmm, I’d like to think his luck would have run out very soon, but who knows. I make no bones about cheating every now and again: one, I can’t get everyone killed, I’ve got a campaign narrative to move along (which is not to say that it’s set on a specific course, but it does have a general direction it has to go, and it doesn’t go anywhere if I don’t have anyone left), and two, it seemed right to me. There were three Marines standing there that may have been surprised the first couple times it happened, but I figure they’d have leveled their rifles and remedied the situation, just as it happened.
Jack24/01/2017 at 12:17 #56294
It’s not cheating, it’s using your initiative and playing creatively. 🙂
If the worst happens, disband 2nd platoon and split it between 1st and 3rd to bring them up to strength?24/01/2017 at 14:33 #56304
Amen to that initiative/creative stuff! 😉
Cannibalizing other platoons to ‘re-fill’ 1st Platoon? You’re reading my mind, and it’s already happened (I’ve already played fights 4 and 5; 4 will be posted Wednesday or Thursday, 5 probably next week, it’s long as hell). By the way, you need to check this out:
Jack24/01/2017 at 15:33 #56311
Dale’s figures are great, they’re what inspired me to start making my own figures. He has way more artistic talent than I ever will, which why I decided to go the route of casting rather than his way of individual works of art. 🙂24/01/2017 at 17:39 #56320
Damn, and I thought I’d actually found something cool 😉
Jack24/01/2017 at 18:05 #56323
Jack, you don’t find something cool, you do something cool. Super cool, even. 🙂24/01/2017 at 20:19 #56349
You be cool , Jack !!!25/01/2017 at 15:55 #56430
The talk about mortars got me thinking:
How much could a mortar round potentially drift off course due to strong winds? Are we talking 10s of meters? 50? A hundred or more?
FIgure a shot at half range for an 81.
Nordic Weasel Games
https://sites.google.com/site/nordicweaselgames/25/01/2017 at 17:02 #56439
Really enjoying this! Thank you although all this talk of 81’s reminds me just how loud the outgoing rounds are. It is a wonder most older mortar men weren’t deaf.
Never wrestle with a pig. You both get muddy and the pig just likes it.26/01/2017 at 08:44 #56513
The talk about mortars got me thinking: How much could a mortar round potentially drift off course due to strong winds? Are we talking 10s of meters? 50? A hundred or more? FIgure a shot at half range for an 81.
If the wind strength is around 50 kph plus we don’t fire at all during training. They could end up anywhere at all within reason*
As Australia doesn’t send artillery to war zones (for some weird reason we don’t send artillery or tanks to a war zone, as it is very war like and might upset people) I have never actually fired a shot in anger to know if we would fire in high winds in a combat zone.
Thus I can’t give a good anwer to this question.
*reason being combination of where ever the wind forces it and the charge fired .
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