SP95 Burn Gurkha Burn – AAR

Well, last night I completed my first LIVE VASL game. I’ve done a couple if email games before but never had the time to sit down for a long session.

I played SP95 Burn Gurkha Burn vs. Aaron Sibley. We actually started this game at the UK Heroes Tournament in Blackpool two and half years ago. We’d only got to Turn 4 when we ran out of time and the game was adjudicated in my favour. To be honest, it was a close call but the judges felt that in the time available it would be very tight for the Japanese to win.

We wrote the game up intending to finish it by email and then for various reasons lost touch. Last week I popped in to VASL for the first time in ages and spotted Aaron logged in. We agreed to finally finish the game this week. Is two and half years a record for a single scenario?

Anyway, here’s how it went. SP95 sees a mixed force of Gurkhas and Indian troops defending three hills on half of Board 36 as a strong Japanese force including engineers come from Board 37 and the Allied flank to take the hills.

I can’t remember too many details from the first part of the game (it was a while back!) but what does come back was Aaaron’s appalling dice and my rather more successfull dice. He ran out of WP for both mortars and broke both flamethrowers early on. Despite this he’d effectively pushed me off the large hill to the north (526), was threatening the large southern hill (507) and closing on the small hill (502) to the east. As he moved troops southwards my reinforcements had arrived and my last ditch defence of the hill (526) succeeded against the odds leaving a squad and half squad holding it and meaning he would now need to come back and clear them off.

That’s the situation as we re-started with Allied Turn 4.

Allied Turn 4

SP95 Allied Turn 4. Board 36 only. N–>

My defence of hill 507 was looking bad and the H-t-H vs. my encircled troops looked grim as more squads moved in to kill the supporting Indian troops and leader. I could only really try and pour fire at anything near by and hope for success. I did some damage but not enough and the DFPH saw the Indian troops in BB4 break and die and the leader charge into the H-t-H only to die with everyone there.

In the Japenese turn his main stack in Z1 (Mtr, HMG, MMG) dropped smoke in CC3 and the Japanese moved in for the kill. Other troops moved against Hill 502 and despite a MMG and 9-2 I didn’t get the casualties I wanted, only step reducing the attacking squads.. Hill 507 fell in CC and things were looking grim.

Allied Turn 5

SP95 Allied Turn 5. Board 36 only. N–>

Next turn saw the Gurkhas on 502 struggle as the leader had broken in the DFPh and I decided to pull off the crest in the hope of rallying the leader and then advancing back on and hoping for a successfull CC.

Japanese Turn 6 saw the Japanese move on to the top of hill 502 and the Gurkhas (with a still broken leader) pour fire onto the hill.This seriously upset them as a squad went berserk and charged down the other side and into the Gurkhas hex. Desperately firing the MMG to try and cut them down the Gurkha drew their Kukris and prepared to fight to the bitter end which was not long in coming.

Japanese now closed in on the last troops on hill 526. I moved the squad into the foxhole and the half-squad into the jungle in V5. The Japanese poured smoke in their hex and moved in for the kill as more troops moved across for a final assault bringing a recovered Demo Charge with them. The Indian troops in the smoke filled Jungle fought valiantly, killing all who came at them (well, a half-squad anyway!)

With only two units to move there was little to do for my final turn but I moved the HS back in to the foxholes and the Gurkhas ran down the back of the hill and emerged in W8 to await the final attack. As the assault began the first half-squad broke adjacent and then a second toting the DC moved adjacent as well and survived all fire.

Over in the foxholes the Indian troops broke the first half-squad but could do nothing to stop another squad and half-squad moving into the smoke ready for the kill. In the AdvFPh the DC was tossed in to the open and although only causing a 1MC the Gurkhas panicked and broke.

The Japanese moved into the foxholes outnumbering the Indians 3-1 and began the last deadly hand to hand combat of the game. I needed to be in GOOD ORDER to win so I had to kill him at 1-4 and survive his 3-1 at -1 attack. My last comment before the dice fell was ‘Roll that 12!’. And he did! My Indians crawled out of the foxholes and withdrew back into the jungle to stand victorious still holding hill 526!

End of Game

SP95 End of Game. N–>

It was an outlandish victory and not really deserved. My troops had been systematically wiped from each hill in turn and the same should have happened at the end. Aaron was ‘gutted’ and I would have been too. It was a classic last turn, last dice roll game and I would recommend this scenario highly. It was also good to finally finish the game after sooo long. I’d been carrying the piece of paper with the writeup on to each subsequent Tournament hoping to bump in to Aaron again.

We’ll be playing another game in a couple of weeks. Live VASL was surprisingly tense and fun if a little slow at times. Maybe I need to type faster!

All in all a great experience. Thanks Aaaron (and Rodney!)