Korean Run, 2002
Stephane and I had a Cold War Commander Commnder game at the club last saturday, this was the chance to give his modern Chinese army, and my Team Yankee, a chance to have their first run on the tabletop. Since he prefered a modern setting rather than the Cold War, everyone had to do some proxying : US tanks were M1A2 rather than M1A1, his type 98 were Chinese T80. His AA guns were turned into ZSU 57/2, the only Chinese flak available in CWC. The game was a supposed conflict in Korea around 2002, after a successful military coup in Beijing. All the Chinese are Stephane’s and have been painted by him, nice paintjob isn’t it?
Here is a complete list of the armies, with associated pics.
The Chinese army
I won the toss, so picked up the western side. Terrain was overwatched in the West by the massive Dragon Hill, that overlooked the small town of Inchangjon. The Flowers River divided the US deployment zone in the west. In the east, it was way more open, but some low hills, farms and woods in the north gave a good approach road to the Chinese. Chinese won the toss for deplyment, and the one for 1st move, so I deployed first and moved second.
Terrain seen from the East
And seen from the west
Deployment were fairly as expected for the US, with the tanks poised to occupy Dragon Hill, the ATGW Brads to take position in the shelter of the woods, while the other Mechanized infantantry company would speed down the road and establish a blocking position in Inchangjon. The Chinese are ready to roll forward, mainly towards Kim’s Woods, while a part of their force will take Wong’s farm and converge back towards the rest.
The Chinese trundle slowly forward, getting closer to Kim’s Woods. They occupy Wong’s farm, and move back towards Kim’s Woods. The US quicly occupy Inchangjon, setting up blocking positions on teh road and guarding teh town’s northern flank with their M2s. The recce advances into Kim’s Woods. The 2nd M2 company reaches its position, but fails to disembark. The heavy tanks get on top of Dragon Hill, and a first volley by a tank company dispatches a ZSU 57. The other company targets the T79 east of Kim’s woods, but only manages to suppress one. This allows the Chinbese to resume their advance into the woods, leaving but a single type 63 behind the hill North of Wong’s Farm, and the stranded T 79 east of Kim’s Woods which is unfaillingly dispatched by massive 120 mm fire.
1 Bradley ATGW fire destroys a ZSU 57 3 The Chinese reach the shelter of the woods
2 A single T79 is killed by M1A2 guns 4 The Recce platoon enters the woods
M1A2 on Dragon Hill
1 Mechanized Infantry company occupies Inchangjon
Another one takes position in the woods on Dragon Hill with its TOWs
The Chinese start their advance
A mass of armour!
American fire takes out one AA gun
The Chinese reach the shelter of the woods…
… and start to expand in them.
though not every one makes it there.
The game moves into a more static phase, since the Chinese now have to tidy out their forces in Kim’s woods while the US have reached excellent firing positions. The only incident is the expulsion of the US Recce platoon from the woods, who are suppressed and have to fall back out of the woods. the presence of the massive US force on Dragon Hill however deters the Chinese from pursuing, and the beleaguered unit makes it safely on foot back to the US lines in Inchangjon.
1 The Chinese start to reorganize their vforce in the woods… 2 … and expell the US recon platoon.
Chinese forces expel the US recon from Kim’s Woods…
But they make it safely back to Inchanjong
At that stage, everything had gone swimmingly for the Chinese : they had taken but minor losses during their approach, and were poised to strike. They rushed their tanks out of the woods, first the 2 T80 with the remaining 3 ZSU 57. The US elected to leave the T80 unimpeded, but M1A1 fire took out all 3 ZSU. The T80 retaliated and took out 2 Bradleys. ATGW and tank fire stopped 5 T79 in their tracks, the remainder reached their position ready to blast the remaining Brad. And at that very moment, while they needed to roll 7 to pass, the Chinese rolled 12. Command blunder, and the most damaging in these circumstances : fall back a half move.
1Recon spots for the US 2some T79 are suppressed, some are destroyed 3 The ZSU 57 are taken out
4 Chinese tanks come into position 5 and take out 2 Bradleys 6 But a command blunder cancels all gains
Chinese tanks rush out of the woods, taking lots of suppressive fire
But are at last in position to attack the town… aren’t those Bradleys exposed?
Of course they are, 2 are destroyed…
It was the US turn to answer. This started with a mistake, the last Bradley North of the town falling back to take shelter. But it took only 2 hits out of 12 shots by T80 reaction fire, and, incredibly, saved both. It was then the other Bradley company’s turn to move, reembarking infantry and rushing towards Inchangjon, reaching its western border. At that time, the US FAO (who had certainly been advising the US armor to take out all AA assets) managed to contact an A10 Thunderbolt to bomb the T79. He was also fairly accurate, bringing the strike close to its intended target; and the pilot managed top escape fire from 2 Chinese command units, losing but one attack dice. It was truly a horror story, as the Chinese T79 were very close to eacxh other. No fewer than 8 were in the attack zone. 6 were suppressend, and 2 destroyed by DU 30 mm shells. It was then the Abrams that opened fire on the T80, taking out both, while desultory fire froim the remaining T79 failed to do anything. 3 more T79 were destroyed by the next Abrams fire order. We stopped the game then, as with 12 units destroyed, the Chinese were really close to their break point, with a prospect of more air strikes the following turn on the stranded T79.
1 Air raid on!!! A 10s wreak havoc on Chinese armor! 2 Abrams add on the carnage, blasting more T79s
3 That is a lucky Bradley platoon, back into the town’s shelter… 4 While the second infantry company rushes to Inchangjon
Chinese armour is slaughtered.
All in all, an excellent game (even though that command blunder, and its consequences, somewhat doused Stéphane for a moment). My first reaction, when I saw what each side fielded, was some dismay at the small size of the US force (remembering how a US force had been outfought outnumbered 2 to 1 in a previous game). This was compounded by the Chinese use of the woods and cover. But US firepower is fearsome in CWC, and that last bound was lethal for the opposition. I think that for the Chinese, it is crucial to devote some points to a credible artillery force. This can somewhat counter the Abrams’ threat, which can be further softened by some long range ATGWs, both things missing in the opponent’s army. The main weakness of the US lies in the predictatibility of their force’s composition, turning any successful strategy against them into answering that question : How to neutralize the Abrams?