Sunday, February 9, 2020

Australian Milne Bay, New Guinea Counterattack

New Guinea Campaign From The Studio of General Pettygree
Mission: Link air, naval and land action in a campaign and story context
"The currency of friendship is time."   Dr. Mark Miravale.

Game #8

February 1, 1942/2020
Australians Counterattack 
The Japanese Foothold at Milne Bay, New Guinea

Prelude Concludes (See previous story)

Joey Flight searching for the Japanese now gone to ground. 
Joey 1: Flight Officer Horne in the left-hand Gloster Gladiator.
Joey 2: Lt. Riley is to his right.

"Joey 2, this is Joey 1. We'll turn to the right passing along the hedgerow."

"Right Sir. --- Hell-loooh. --- I've spotted the enemy below at one o'clock."

I see them Joey 2. Well done. More are popping up like toast."

"Tracers com'n in." 

"Sir my engine and tail section are hit. Fire and smoke erupting forward."

Joey 2. Head for home immediately. These crates can't take much punishment.

"I'm too low to bail out, Sir."

"Joey 2, I know. I'll follow along and also radio mum."

"Mama Roo. This is Joey Flight. Are you there?"
"Repeat. --- Joey Flight for Mama Roo!"
"This is mum Joey Flight. What's your situation?"
"Mum, we're returning for breakfast. Joey 2 is smoking but able to fly.
"We spotted a few of  the enemy east of the village bush line. Send regards to dad."
"Well done Joey Flight. I will. Mum out."

Morning Attack Commenced Soon Thereafter

Australian Left Flank 
Colonel Ballard's regulars advanced out of  the village toward the same hedge line.

Resistance was light and overcome.
The right of the line was "refused" in case of trouble from that quarter and....

It came almost immediately. (Photo courtesy of Bill K.)

Mortar fire, infantry and the sole surviving Ha-Go tank....

Pushed into the refused wing which.... 

Initially stood its ground but withdrew before the onslaught.

To the left at the hedge, Ballard's regulars stood their ground but were soon fired upon by soldiers from the beach. The Australians pulled back deeper into cover and halted to trade fire. 

The Japanese attack was next supported by an ineffectual air attack.
The two Ha-Go tanks shown were destroyed in the battle of 25 January.

Ballard then counterattacked with three Stuart tanks.
This with stiffened resistance from the regulars stopped the enemy attack.
The front was restored but reorganizing would be needed.

Rule: The Australian called a halt or reset. Both sides were allowed to redeploy in logically controlled areas, recover stragglers, return lightly wounded comrades to their units and bring up reinforcements for our afternoon session. 

Afternoon Attack
Left Flank

This time Colonel Ballard led with three Stuart tanks preceded by smoke to obscure enemy fire.
The rear-most Stuart bogged down as a light rain started.

The leading tanks stopped on either side of the road covered by the hedge. 

Awaiting two universal carriers, a 37mm anti-tank gun in tow and the still bogged down Stuart.
The IJA Ha-Go tank was knocked out days ago.

Then Ballard ordered his regulars forward again.

When time was right....

 They crossed into the open area....

Toward the foe.

Awaiting them behind log breastworks....

Captured earlier on invasion day.

Farther back more of the foe patiently waited.

Right Flank --- Jepson's Bar

Australian militiamen advanced out of the bush toward the hedge.
Hidden Japanese held this flank near and within Jepson's Bar.

The Australians pushed through
out onto the beach under continuous rifle and mortar fire.

They secured the bar having influenced defenders to hastily leave.

The Japanese reestablished a line to the east on the beach.

The Australians reacted by bringing up Stuart tanks and a universal carrier.

Which deployed onto the beach firing upon the enemy.

 The Japanese Special Naval Landing Force rushed to counter the Australian thrust.
Some even charged out onto the beach causing a serious bother.

The Australians shown would pull back due to losses.
No photo of this.

Back To The Left Flank

Newly arrived Japanese infantry banzai charged the Australian Left Flank.

It did not work. After two turns of hand to hand combat the charge failed.
Something was up.

The End

"Crikey. Nothing backed up that banzai charge Collin."

 "Captain, I don't see anyone to our front now. --- Wait!"

They are boarding a landing barge and...

Setting up a blocking force to....


A general retreat!

"Ballard. We did it!"
"The two last attacks by the Japanese on both our flanks covered a retreat."

While a lone Zero flew air cover.

Slowing the advance toward the embarkation area.

A new artillery position was established
with newly arrived Papuan New Guinea allies in reserve.

Closing Remarks

In our four sessions these companions participated:

Japanese: Dan E., Jim H., Dave G., Kurt D. and Todd B. 
Australians: Morgan E, Greg B., Bill K.,  and yours truly Bill P. 

Well-played by all participants. Japanese players were particularly startling in aggressiveness.

We used miniatures we like and have though some were not present historically. It works.

Thank you for looking in.

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