Buck's Blog

The Stream-of-Consciousness Journal of a Wargamer

Americans in the Philippines at Historicon

Overview of the table.

I ran a Combat Patrol(tm) game set in the Philippines in 1941 Thursday evening at Historicon 2019.  The game involved and advancing Japanese infantry platoon supported by light tanks and defending American infantry with an anti-tank gun.

Japanese advance through a defile.

The Japanese were very cautions with their tanks, moving them through the difficult terrain instead of up the road.  They guessed that the Americans would have the road covered, and they were correct.  The Japanese weighted their right flank.  Initially it was slow going (at half speed through the jungle) but when they hit the thick grass they picked up the pace a bit.

The American defenses along the creek, which was impassible to vehicles.

The Americans chose a very linear defense.  When they detected the Japanese movement through the jungle, they quickly repositioned their machine-guns.  A lot of hidden movement can really slow down a convention game, so I had the Americans deploy their infantry on the table, but I let them do hidden placement for their two machine-guns and the anti-tank gun.

The Americans advanced from their line along the creek to attack the light Japanese left flank.

The American player on their right flank recognized that the Japanese had weighted their right and that their left was weak.  To make the game interesting, he chose to advance to try to disrupt the Japanese attack.  Unfortunately, luck was not with him, and the Japanese spotted them first and opened fire.  by the end of the game, this American squad was all but wiped out.

Eventually, the Japanese decide to advance over the bridge.

Toward the end of the Japanese finally mustered the courage to advance across the bridge with their tanks.  The anti-tank gun took a reaction fire, which brewed up the light tank.  Though the Americans lost the battle, this provided a moment of victory.

The Japanese and Americans engage in a firefight across the creek.

The Americans were defending the creek on their left.  The Japanese advanced to the creek.  The Americans reacted first, mauling the first Japanese squad that showed itself.  After a couple of turns, however, the Japanese recovered somewhat and began to gain the upper hand in the protracted firefight.  When the smoke cleared, the Americans were withdrawing, and the Japanese easily advanced across the creek to the hut along the road.

Another view of the table.

I think all the players had a good time.  They were all engaged throughout the battle.

I used the rules from the South Pacific supplement, including the Banzai! charge rules.  For some of the players, this was their first exposure to Combat Patrol, but they grasped the rules quickly and were soon playing the game with only minimal involvement by me.


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