Here, for example, the centre is a long gulch/canyon, with plenty of cover and a spit of rock at the middle of the southern end, allowing for good sight lines. Opposed to that rock is a building, better cover, but more restricted line of sight—also harder to assault.
The left flank, to the north, is built up and rocky, blocking line of sight to the northern board edge from the south—but the south is completely open, offering unparalleled mobility for any forces that choose to pass through there, though they'll have to weather fire from entrenched enemies.
The right flank is once more open to the south, but through the north is a lot of uneven, broken ground, which will slow the advance of any troops without providing any real cover. There's a risk of getting bogged down while under heavy fire.
The northern half of the table contains most of the buildings—a deliberate choice—as the southern half contains most of the stronger covering elements. There's a good mix of long sight lines for snipers and support weapons; tight areas for short range infantry combat; and large paths for vehicles to roll through if they so desire.
Onto the battle.
We rolled up mission 4 this time, Hold Until Relieved. I chose to attack this time, as Rob was attacker last time. This meant a lot more of my arm started on the table, not that it really helped me in the opening stages, due to some poor positioning of certain units—and a lucky Japanese flamer team.
This was the situation at deployment, a squad of IJA infantry holding the control point of an AA battery, with a machine gun team set up in the building north of them. They were surrounded by Marines that had pushed forward earlier in the day, closing in on the vital position.
Two USMC infantry teams on the left flank, with the command squad between them. One on the right flank, with the medics. To the far north, one squad of Marines waited beneath a building, hoping to ambush Japanese reinforcements. On the north of the left flank the bazooka team too position in the rocks, waiting and watching for Japanese armour, hearing reports of contact earlier. All along the southern end of the canyon, the machine guns and mortar teams readied their weapons while a sniper team crawled into position on the right hand ridge line. Everything was set to begin the battle.
It started in disaster, my sniper missing Rob's MG, which fired back with deadly effect, driving my sniper out of the battle after his observer was killed.
The situation at the end of turn 1. Rob's first wave has made it on, making a mess of my ambushing forces on the northern edge of the battle. Things are going better towards the centre, pinning the IJA squad there quite heavily, but it may not be enough in the end.
Turn 2, the end thereof. Surprisingly uneventful. Rob managed to kill off the survivors from the northern unit, and the southern unit on the right flank FUBARed, running like madmen, with only one pin— it was from a sniper though.
Elsewhere, everything advanced on the central objective, and machine guns exchanged furious bursts of fire, killing one crewman on the Japanese weapon. My Long Tom also arrived, at the south end of the canyon, while my Engineers continued their outflanking move.
Sergeant Leon ran as if pursued by the demons of hell itself. Who else could start and survive such an inferno? Private Lopez had been the unfortunate victim of the attack. The timbers of the shack above him creaked and groaned, and Leon choked on the thick, black smoke surrounding him. The Japs had a done a number on the shack, too. Maybe that's why the flamer had seemed to run out of fuel so quickly. There was a tank somewhere nearby too, but there was nowhere to hide. Leon ran, the acrid smoke filling his lungs, praying he could make it to some kind of safety. His legs failed him, tripping against a fallen beam. With a horrendous crash the building came down on top of him, burying him with the rest of his squad.
End of turn 3. As the last act of the turn, the Engineers moved on from their outflanking manoeuvre, taking aim at an IJA infantry squad in the open, attempting to pin them down.
The Japanese infantry hit the dirt, but the blast still claimed four of them, heavily pinning the unit with an additional 4 pin markers. They weren't going to be very useful anymore.
First Lieutenant Brady heard the cry of Banzai before he could see the Japs ahead of them charge from cover. He knew they were going to be overwhelmed, there were too many, wearing the insignia of the rising sun. He looked to his assistant, loading another mag into his Thompson. They would die today, but they would drag as many screaming Japs into hell with them as they possibly could.
Brady fired, taking one charger in the torso, a stray round grazing the arm of another as he rushed forward to take the fallen man's place. Another had closed enough to start thrusting with his bayonet, but Brady's assistant put a burst through the assailant's head, staggering back as the Japanese NCO drove his sword through his gut. Brady clubbed the Jap closest to him with his empty Thompson, drawing his pistol. He barely felt the blade take his left arm—but his right still held his 1911, and as he fell, he aimed up at the Japanese NCO, putting three rounds through his chest and another through the side of his face.
A Japanese soldier worked the bolt on his rifle, there was a flash, a deafening bang, and Brady fell into the darkness.
My first order die was once again spent on the Long Tom, taking careful aim at the depleted IJA squad sheltering next to the searchlight of the central objective. The resultant explosion tore the searchlight to pieces, dug a huge crater in the dirt, shook the building just to the north on its uprights, and completely obliterated what was left of the IJA squad.
In the end, it came out a draw, my MG team contesting the objective against Rob's sole surviving suicide AT trooper. A close game, with many satisfying moments. Next week though, Wild West.
I've got some painting to do.