I commanded Ni Company and an attached platoon of Engineers.
My forces were earmarked to be the first company to attempt to break through the British defences of Lardak. I was faced with having to cross two rivers initially, and a long valley leadng the dense jungle of the village of Lardak itself. To either side of the valley road two hills overlooked the position. Initial discussions with my fellow Japanese commanders lead us to decide that the key to success was to keep the momentum going at all costs. With plenty of troops to hand, I felt that the Japanese had to seize the initiative and make use of all their blind dice movement to keep the momentum going. I was to be supported by the Tank Coy and another Infantry Coy. My forces were supplemented by a platoon of Engineers. We also decided that if our opponents had troops occupying the two hills either side of the valley road I was to ignore them, and push on down the centre. Best laid plans eh?
My first platoon was spotted early on and were deployed on the first river crossing. It was at this point that the 25pdrs opened up on 4th Platoon , causing numerous wounds a couple of kills. The enemy artillery obviously shook the Japanese somewhat and they moved VERY slowly across the river. Obviously Captain Mizushima Tokutaro had not listened to the battle plan, and inched his way towards the second river crossing.
The rest of my forces forged on, crossing both rivers on blinds, until stumbling onto a mined road and British fortified positions straddling the road. 5th Platoon suffered heavy casualties from the British defending the road, and seeing this I felt it was best to try and avoid wasting my ace ( i.e. the engineers) and their blind veered to the left, clambering up the slopes of the hill to get some much needed cover. However, my Japanese troops had stumbled onto another fortified British position, and this resulted in immediate hand to hand combat. This is where the Japanese really prove themselves, and with a cry of Banzai, Engineer-Captain Hirano Mibu forced the enemy Punjabis out of the position, slaughtering anyone foolish enough to surrender. Sadly this assault cost the life of Engineer-Sergeant Yasuda Yoshito, the first of my big men to fall. The Punjabis felt that the position was worth sacrificing their lives for, and attempted a counter charge. However, the Japanese engineers stood their ground, and for the honour of the Emperor, slaughtered the Punjabis to a man. The Engineers had drawn blood!
5th Platoon were suffering badly at the hands of the British occupying the road, and with mortar rounds raining down, and little cover available, it was clear that desperate measures were called for. The brave men of 5th platoon, seeing the success the engineers had had to their left attempted a charge of the British position. This time however, the brave British Soldiers bounced the attackers back, with the Japanese suffering more casualties. The Captain of 5th Platoon lay dead on the bard wire position. It was Fortunate at this point that the Japanese armour arrived, driving directly onto the British position on the road, and spraying their enemies with their MMG's. 6th Platoon had now established themselves on the left, and supported by the Armour, they too attempted to charge the British positions. Once more however, the British stood firm, and the Japanese troops took what cover they could behind the armour.
It really looked as though my assault was faltering. 5th Platoon were no longer a cohesive military formation, and only the knee mortar section were capable of any offensive action. The rest of 5th Platoon concentrated and removing their wounded comrades back to their lines! 4th Platoon were still stuck in between the river crossings, and despite their leaders encouragement, were going nowhere fast and still suffering the effects of the British 25pdr barrage, Despite the Engineers Platoon early success on the hill, they now faced a fresh platoon of British to the front of the recently captured position. It was decided that they should wait for support before another assault was attempted.
Despite initial success the armour was struggling to break down the British positions occupying the Road. With limited infantry support from my 5th and 6th Platoons, it was clear that reinforcements were required to clear the position. Luckily, the 2nd Japanese Company were ready to enter the fray, and launched an honourable assault on the British trenches, forcing the enemy out. Upon seeing this, my HQ section , now clear of the river crossing, assaulted the positions on the left of the road, and this fresh section forced the British clear of their positions. The road to Lardak was open again!
The success of the assaults in the valley lead the Captain of the Engineers to lead a charge of the British platoon to their front. However, their mistimed charge resulted in them being caught by withering fire from the British, and costing the Engineers Captain his life. Down to 2 sections, the engineers dug into their positions and waited.
My assault had come to an abrupt halt, and it was now up to the Tanks and the 2nd Company to carry the British position. With the success of this fresh assault, and with the arrival at last of our illustrious leader, it was time for the Engineers to mount their assault on the British on the our right flank. The engineers were once more successful in the assault, driving the British from their position, and opening up the entire flank of our enemy to the 4th Platoon . By this time the Emperor's finest were upon the British artillery line, and it would not be long before Lardak was in our hands!
In all a brilliant days gaming, and a great challenge to all the players. I feel that I was very fortunate to carry the British position on my left flank, as this opened the way for my forces to flank the British position. Of course, this was all part of my plan...but the final part of the battle was a bit hazy, what with all the excitement, nail biting, Singapore Slings and the lager Id knocked back!