In early January, the bitterly fought Buna-Gona campaign on the eastern coast of New Guinea was concluding. Further up the coastline, 4,000 Japanese troops of the veteran 51st Division landed in Salamaua, near Lae, and proceeded into the hinterland to capture Wau, a strategically located village in the New Guinea highland with an airstrip. However, with fortunate timing for the Allies, the 17th Australian Brigade, in reserve at Milne Bay, was in the process of being airlifted into Wau to reinforce Kanga Force, a company of Australian commandos currently utilizing the airfield as a base. The critical encounter in this campaign actually occured two kilometers from Wau, at a tiny village called wandumi, currently defended by a recently airlifted company of Australian regulars commanded by Captain Wilfred Sherlock and a section of commandos.
Attacker: Japanese (102nd Regimental Group, 51st Division)
Defender: Australian (A Company, 2/6th Battalion, 17th Brigade, and 2/5th Independent Company with A Company, 2/5th Battalion, 17th Brigade)
Players: 2 OBA: None Night: No
Squads: A:13.0 D:16.0
Type 89 Heavy Grenade-Launcher x 4
OML 2-in. Mortar x 2
PTO (G.1), LJ (G2.1), Huts. All non-wood Hill hexes are also Kunai covered.
Players wanting to play this game/Request a match:
Like most scenarios in the pack, I thought this one looked very difficult for the attacker. I came on heavy south, thankfully dropping some smoke to cover my assault. I figured this would be the lightest defended side, the downside being that this was the furthest point of entry from the strangely-positioned P5 VC area. Taking nine huts figured to be easy, but clearing this area of Aussie MMCs I knew would be exceedingly difficult. Alex did a nice job fooling me with an 8-0 and two dummy counters into thinking there was more threat in my entry area than there actually was, possibly buying him just enough time to hold me off in the end. I poured my first batch of reinforcements after my initial entry force, and this may have contributed to me not having quite enough oomph at the end as well. He of course ran all his reinforcements to shore up the VC zone. I didn't grab my first hut until Turn 5, as we had a bit of a stalemate in the middle, but I had two big stacks swoop around west ready to grab a few more en route to the VC area. I had been averaging a flat 1.5 HS loss per turn, but still had all my leaders. I only needed to retake one hut on my last turn, which allowed me to focus most of my force running banzai after banzai as they attempted to get in close enough to get ride of the 3 Aussie squads left in the VC area. Unfortunately they were bolstered by two heroes and a slew of Aussies ringing the area as well. It was naturally a deadly situation, with me losing 4 more HS and two leaders, but I did get enough guys in close to have a chance. While my 2-1 shot managed nothing on the bigger stack, my follow-up 2+0 broke an elite squad. My other shots at the hard-to-reach bamboo occupants (the best being 8+0) accomplished nothing. So it would come down to two CCs, and I would be happy tying him up in melee (though with HtH in effect that seemed unlikely). When I boxcarred my first roll he was able to withdraw to another VC hex and preserve the win. I didn't particularly care for the scenario, as I still think it's too hard for the Japanese, but at least it went to an exciting finish.
(D) Vilis Pavulans
A bit careful approach by the japanese in the beginning of the battle may have slowed them a bit too much. A few ANZACS moved back fast to start digging foxholes and the rest tried to retreat in a way to prevent nasty banzais. Midgame the ANZAC mortars ran out of smoke and started to take casualties. The Japanese managed to smoke a lot before their assault and prevented any good firelanes and managed to advance a lot of troops but since ANZACs had devoted a couple of good squads to 37P5 the japs had to divert units there. Too many it turned out since they lacked enough troops to take the huts. To top that off, a 20FP shot resulting in KIA killing japanese 9-1 and a squad sealed the deal. Tense scenario!
(A) Andy Bagley
The Aussies set up on the ridge line, and I could see no alternative strategy for the Japanese than to mass my forces for multiple banzai charges, which took place on turn 3. With better luck these might have got through, but the dice were against me and I lost two leaders killed (failed wound severity), with the result that many of my other units crumbled. Those that remained managed to take the ridge line, but Japanese casualties were far too heavy to make any further progress, so I had to concede. Is there another way for the Japanese to attack a ridge-line defence I wonder?
(A) Paul Works
Rich is always fun and a challenge to play. He is a great player. My Japanese just put too much pressure on the Aussies, breaking up his troops and key leader in the end-game.
(A) Eric Topp
Al decided to hold the hill line rather than fall back to the village. Japanese launched multiple Banzai Charges and wiped out almost all the original force. Al decided that the reinforcements couldn't stop the Japanese on their own and conceded.