Last night at our club, I ran a Combat Patrol™: WWII South Pacific game using the rules from the soon-to-be-released supplement. It was a chance for a final play test of some of the rules before the release of the supplement in a couple of weeks. In particular, I wanted to test the vehicle-mounted flamethrower rules.
In this scenario, the Japanese held a string of bunkers in a jungle area. A U.S. Army platoon with a man-pack flamethrower and a Stuart flamethrower tank attacked to seize as many of the three bunkers as possible. The Japanese had a slightly under-strength platoon with an attached anti-tank gun and a medium machine-gun. They also occupied three bunkers and two sand-bagged emplacements.
The Americans wisely decided that they should mass on one flank or the other, rather than attacking on a broad front. This left the Japanese anti-tank gun with few targets during the game. They might have gotten off a shot later in the game as the Americans advanced across the open area, but by then the Stuart had been knocked out.
The Americans reached the edge of the jungle and were preparing to dash across an open area toward one of the Japanese positions. The first unit at the edge of the wood line was an American .30 cal machine-gun team, but before they could get it set up, they began taking effective fire from Japanese infantrymen in their right-most bunker.
Seeing that they were being flanked, another Japanese team advanced from their original positions into a small jungle area in the middle of the table.
At this point the Stuart reached the edge of the wood line and fired on the Japanese machine-gun team in the sandbagged position. This was extreme range for the flamethrower. Two members of the machine-gun crew were killed in this attack.
The Japanese infantry team that advanced in the previous picture was equipped with a lunge mine. The South Pacific supplement includes a rule for Japanese suicide anti-tank attacks. The soldier with the lunge mine and another solider charged out and attacked the Stuart. The attack was successful. The player drew a card to determine where the tank was hit (the side of the hull) and the amount of penetration. Receiving a penetrating hit, the Japanese drew one more card to determine if the vehicle brewed up. It did. So after just one shot, the flame thrower tank was knocked out. Because this was an intentional suicide anti-tank attack, the Japanese figure became incapacitated immediately, but his unit did not accrue a morale marker.
As the flamethrower tank was their most important weapon for reducing the Japanese-held bunkers, things began to look grim for the Americans. Fortunately they still had a man-packed flamethrower and some hand grenades.
The remaining member of the machine-gun team fired a few shot before running out of ammunition. Although the Stuart was knocked out early, the fact that it suppressed the machine-gun team enabled the Americans to cross the open area with few casualties. The remaining member of the machine-gun team put up a good fight for a couple of activations, but eventually the Americans incapacitated him and moved past this position to get behind a Japanese bunker.
About this time the Japanese realized they were out of position and needed to close with the Americans to slow their advance and keep them away from the bunkers. They declared a Banzai charge. In Combat Patrol™, there is a nice balance in Banzai charges so that they are interesting and effective without being too powerful. Once the charge begins, the Japanese draw two action cards for movement rather than one, giving them much greater speed; however, they do not receive any benefit of cover. The charge continues until a card is drawn from the Activation deck ending it. This could occur in the next turn or several turns later. The Japanese accrue morale markers, but they do not resolve them until the Banzai charge ends. In this game, the card ending the charge was drawn as the first card of the next turn, ending the charge earlier than expected. Still, it had the desired effect: the Japanese had closed with the Americans and slowed their advance on the bunkers.
In the meantime, the man-packed flamethrower advanced on the rightmost Japanese bunker, but when his team was taken under small arms fire, the operator was incapacitated. The Americans then made an attempt to drop a grenade into the bunker, but failed.
At this point it was getting late, and the American attack had been spent. I declared the game a Japanese victory. It was a very fun scenario, and all agreed we need to try it again soon.