Saturday, 24 July 2010

Welcome to the Jungle

With quite a lot of Guns, but not very many Roses.

That's quite a shameless heading really, as I'm not actually a G'n'R fan.

Anyhow, this week's meeting of the Monday Night Group (held, as tradition dictates, on a Friday) after a number of false starts ended up being in my garage. This worked out pretty well as I really wanted to get my XIVth Army out for an extended game of PBI. It's one of those ironies that I bought a Japanese PBI force to take on my XIVth Army but have actually ended up using the Japs the most to fight Phil's Russians in Manchuria. I have to say that isn't recommended, really. Lacking in any decent armour or anti-armour kit the open Manchurian plain isn't very friendly for them. Plus their main advantage, - their willingness to charge home - is shared by the Russians, and they've got SMGs as well.

So we went back to Burma, with a Japanese attack on a British base deep in the jungle. As I've said elsewhere we rarely play PBI "straight". On this occasion I set the table up as bigger than usual, - about 12 squares by 10 instead of 8 x 8. I also dispensed with the pregame sequence and all the reserve rolling bits and pieces. I like the idea of putting all my kit on the table rather than leave half of it in the box due to capricious dice rolling.

So we have a base consisting of some Nissan huts and a few other lean-to type buildings , - courtesy of the old Corgi cardboard WW2 Airfield set (excellent value if you can find one. Mine came from Duxford). In the corner of the board there's a native village - see photo - the rest of the board is covered in vegetation, with a jungle stream and a track as well. This is defended by a couple of platoons of West Africans and a Stuart tank form the Rajputs. I deployed these first, and laid them out as if they were just "in situ" not expecting an attack. So we had an outpost in the native village, a couple of MG posts overlooking one flank and then the remainder allocated to each building.

The Japanese attacked with two strong platoons (one veteran) supported by a medium mortar section and a Company Commander section with some flamethrowers attached. Their third platoon has been sent on a flank march and will turn up at an appropriate time.

We played the game with the MNG amendments, - the principal of which is to roll the motivation and AP dice together and chose which one applies to which. This gives us more motivations and makes the game much more action packed and decidedly more bloody. We also modify the motivation rules in the jungle squares, - although they count as closed squares only the first square counts as closed for motivation purposes as long as there's a contiguous series of squares occupied by bases of the same platoon between the commander and the bases being motivated. Finally for the moment we allow bases in the same platoon to "spot" for light mortars in the same platoon (we're talking about this costing extra APs, which I think is a good idea).

The game started with the two Japanese platoons surging across the stream. The veteran platoon was on the Japanese right, the average platoon on the left, supported by the medium mortars. The West Africans were in a bit of confusion, principally as I can't tell the difference between rifle and SMG groups at a distance. Fortunately it had no real effect on the game, other than to tempt one Japanese section into an ill advised bayonet charge ("I wouldn't have charged if I'd realised they had an SMG!!!". The main damage, however was done by the light mortars grouped round the Nissan hut in the foreground. Using observer fire they were able to break up the initial Japanese attack through the jungle, although the lead section eventually succumbed, and were wiped out. It was looking sufficiently dodgy enough for me to move the Stuart up to support the section under pressure in the second Nissan hut. Although looking in the picture it seems to have been moved back and I don't remember doing that.

The Japanese on the left had also gained a foot hold, overrunning the village building closest to the river. They also started to get the medium mortars into the game, and they can put down a fearsome lot of fire.

That's about where we finished, with the game poised for next week's entertainment. There's some reserves sitting in boxes off table, just waiting to see who turns up for the restart.

All I need to do now is go away and make the flag pole flying the lone Union Flag which should be in the middle of the parade ground.


  1. It was I, sir ...

    I moved the Stuart back to the parade ground after the game to redo a photo I had taken of it there which turned out to be blurred.
    It finished the game lined up with the section facing the contested Nissen hut (where you thought it should be ...)...


  2. That's a relief. I thought I'd gone mad. Or at least madder than usual.